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House of Commons Hansard #55 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was farm.

Topics

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

Randy Hoback Conservative Prince Albert, SK

Mr. Speaker, many of Canada's hockey rinks and other community rec centres were built over four decades ago as part of a special national program to help celebrate Canada's centennial year. Over the past four decades these facilities have served as gathering places for friends, families, neighbours and communities. In towns and communities across our country, Canadians have learned to skate and play hockey in some of these facilities.

Can the Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification tell the House how our government is helping upgrade these facilities while helping Canadians get back to work?

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Blackstrap Saskatchewan

Conservative

Lynne Yelich ConservativeMinister of State (Western Economic Diversification)

Mr. Speaker, in Canada's economic action plan our government announced a new fund to help upgrade and renew hockey rinks and other community rec centres from coast to coast to coast. We want to ensure that Canadian families will continue to enjoy these facilities. In addition, this fund will put Canadians back to work and help stimulate the economy.

It is one more way our Conservative government is helping guide our country through these challenging economic times.

Lobster FisheryOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Lawrence MacAulay Liberal Cardigan, PE

Mr. Speaker, I tried to warn the government for the last number of months that the eastern Canadian lobster fishery was heading for a crisis. Well, the crisis is here. Markets have dried up and the prices are at a historic low.

When will the Conservative government realize there is a crisis and provide assistance before the situation worsens? When can eastern Canadians expect some consideration from the government? When will the Prime Minister start standing up for the lobster fishermen in the eastern part of this country?

Lobster FisheryOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge—Mission B.C.

Conservative

Randy Kamp ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, this government is always concerned when fishers are faced with hardship, as the lobster fishermen in P.E.I. and other Atlantic provinces are this year due to the low price. We are continuing to work on this.

We have already taken some action by improving access to credit for harvesters, processors and buyers, and funding for marketing. We are working together with the provinces and industries to come up with a solution.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Bloc Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup, QC

Mr. Speaker, Omar Khadr is a child soldier. A child soldier is a child under 18 who is part of an armed group or national army and who may unfortunately have participated in killings. Omar Khadr fits this definition contained in the convention on child soldiers signed by Canada perfectly.

Could the government explain why it is appealing the Federal Court's recent decision ordering the repatriation of Omar Khadr?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

3 p.m.

Thornhill Ontario

Conservative

Peter Kent ConservativeMinister of State of Foreign Affairs (Americas)

Mr. Speaker, I am sure the hon. member realizes that the U.S. administration continues to evaluate each of the most serious cases at Guantanamo. He should know that the charges facing Omar Khadr are among the most serious.

It is in Canada's interest to await the outcome of the decisions of the panel.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

3 p.m.

NDP

Jean Crowder NDP Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Mr. Speaker, a year ago the Auditor General blasted the Conservative government for its deficient funding model for the first nations child and family services program. It was not based on the actual cost of delivering services and it did not take into account the needs of first nations communities.

The government was given a year to consult first nations and submit a new funding model. Well, time is up and nothing has happened.

When will the government live up to its responsibility to consult first nations and appropriately fund the child and family services program?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

3 p.m.

Chilliwack—Fraser Canyon B.C.

Conservative

Chuck Strahl ConservativeMinister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians

Mr. Speaker, we are all concerned that child and family services be delivered not only in a cost effective way, but in a way that puts the child first. That is why we started with the tripartite agreement with first nations from Alberta and the Alberta government. We announced funding in the latest budget to add two more provinces to that list. We have added Saskatchewan and Prince Edward Island. We are halfway there.

Obviously, more work needs to be done, but the child and family service issue is being addressed.

National ParksOral Questions

May 11th, 2009 / 3 p.m.

Conservative

Rick Casson Conservative Lethbridge, AB

Mr. Speaker, Canada's national parks are world renowned and represent some of our country's most beautiful treasures. Their breathtaking scenery attracts people from around the world and from across our great nation.

In my southern Alberta riding, the rolling plains and picturesque coulees are only further complimented by the glacial mountains, pristine lakes and spectacular waterfalls of Waterton Lakes National Park.

Our national parks give every Canadian the opportunity to learn about our collective history and the chance to explore Canada's natural beauty.

Could the Minister of the Environment please inform the House of the government's recent announcement and how it will benefit Canadian families planning their summer vacations?

National ParksOral Questions

3 p.m.

Calgary Centre-North Alberta

Conservative

Jim Prentice ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, Canada has some of the most magnificent and fascinating places in the world. I thank the hon. member for his work on behalf of Waterton. Other national parks such as Torngat, Nahanni, and Grosse Île, where I was on the weekend, come to mind as well.

For many families every dollar counts. We want to protect the time-honoured Canadian tradition of student backpacking adventures and summer family camping trips. To that end, we have frozen fees for all of the national parks and all of our historic sites for two years. This is good for tourism, good for Canadians, and good for our national parks.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

Joyce Murray Liberal Vancouver Quadra, BC

Mr. Speaker, the environment minister appears content to be a lap dog of the Americans on climate change.

The National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy released a report called, “Achieving 2050: A Carbon Pricing Policy for Canada”. It calls on the Conservatives to move quickly on a nationwide policy to meet the government's own climate change strategy.

Will the Conservative government accept the recommendations of its own advisers? Will it finally take action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, or is the Conservative plan and targets simply a plan to bamboozle the public and nothing more than hot air?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

3 p.m.

Calgary Centre-North Alberta

Conservative

Jim Prentice ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, the government has been engaged constructively domestically, internationally and continentally with respect to all of the issues relating to climate change, with respect to the long-term nature of our obligations and with respect to technology.

I am sure the hon. member is sincere in her desire to help. I would suggest she talk to her leader. Perhaps she could convince her colleagues not to play tiddlywinks, not to embark on a program of carbon taxes, and to support the government in its efforts.

Presence in GalleryOral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

I would like to draw to the attention of hon. members the presence in the gallery of Mr. Pierre DesRuisseaux, the new Poet Laureate of Parliament.

Commissioner of LobbyingRoutine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

Prince George—Peace River B.C.

Conservative

Jay Hill ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 32(2), I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the certificate of nomination and biographical notes of Karen E. Shepherd, whom the government is proposing to appoint as the Commissioner of Lobbying.

Pursuant to Standing Order 111.1(1), this matter is to be referred to the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics.

Canada-Israel RelationsRoutine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

Conservative

James Lunney Conservative Nanaimo—Alberni, BC

Mr. Speaker, there have been consultations with all parties and I believe you will find unanimous consent for the following motion. I move:

That, in the opinion of this House, the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Canada and the State of Israel should be highlighted confirming the deep bond of friendship between the Canadian and Israeli democracies.

Canada-Israel RelationsRoutine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Does the hon. member have the unanimous consent of the House to propose the motion?

Canada-Israel RelationsRoutine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Canada-Israel RelationsRoutine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The House has heard the terms of the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Canada-Israel RelationsRoutine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Canada-Israel RelationsRoutine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

(Motion agreed to)

Fisheries and OceansCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

Conservative

Mike Allen Conservative Tobique—Mactaquac, NB

Mr. Speaker, I move that the fourth report of the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans, presented on Wednesday, May 6, be concurred in.

Today I will be sharing my time with my hon. friend from New Brunswick and the member of Parliament for Saint John.

I am pleased to rise here today to support the fourth report of the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans on Canada's seal hunt.

One of the main concerns provoking the debate in Europe and the movement to ban seal products has to do with considerations related to the well-being of the animals. Our government has committed to applying the strictest standards in this area. That is why we are seeking the best scientific advice, and adapting our regulations and licensing criteria based on that advice.

This year was no exception. I am grateful for the opportunity to describe the measures we have taken this year to improve hunting methods, monitoring and oversight. Regulating the seal hunt is a very complex activity undertaken in an ever-changing marine environment in which human safety and the well-being of the animals must be taken into consideration.

It is important at this point in time just to talk a little bit about the motion which actually came out of committee. It is important on the wording. It states:

The Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans fully endorses the harp seal hunt, it approves of current regulated killing methods, approves that the harvesting of harp seals is fully acceptable and that the Canadian harp seal hunt is humane, responsible and sustainable and should continue for generations to come and the Committee strongly condemns the ban of Canadian seal products by the European Union.

I also want to say how pleased I am for the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans to have passed this motion unanimously, by recorded vote.

What is important also to understand is that to enhance the safeness and humaneness of the harvest, our government recently amended the marine mammal regulations and licence conditions that govern the hunt. Changes were made in consultation with sealers, veterinarians, provincial and territorial representatives and others, and they were quickly put in place before the 2009 harp seal hunt. The regulations now reflect the latest scientific advice and enable us to continue adopting sophisticated technology, which will increase our capacity to monitor sealing activities.

The purpose of the regulations has not changed. The regulations continue to spell out the proper tools and methods required for a humane kill. Changes have been implemented, however, in a number of key areas, including definitions to improve clarity, prohibitions against unacceptable behaviour and new requirements regarding the broadly supported three step process: striking, checking for unconsciousness and bleeding. Getting these changes in place in advance of the 2009 harp seal hunt was a significant accomplishment and reflects the goodwill and cooperation of all those involved.

The department has also worked with sealers to develop conditions of licence that work in tandem with the new regulations. Successfully finalizing the licence conditions well ahead of this year's hunt is further evidence of sealers' willingness to work among themselves and with officials in establishing these detailed rules.

The industry has evolved over the past several hundred years or since the early 1700s when the first organized occurrence of an annual hunt was actually documented. This hunt has been going on for well over 500 years and in documented cases of our first nations people well before that, so our people, our fishers and our seal hunters have had to evolve.

Education and training is an important aspect of a professional workforce, especially one that is formally adopting a new set of practices. Training centres reinforce a two year apprenticeship process, whereby new entrants are licensed as apprentice seal harvesters. As apprentice sealers, they must be accompanied by a professional sealer during the course of their apprenticeship. There is significant support among industry representatives for further education and skills development through a training and certification process focused on humane killing. Discussions with stakeholders to create a joint strategy for training and certification are ongoing.

Commitments are in place and efforts are under way at the regional and provincial levels to develop and pilot enhanced training tools and to ensure this work remains part of a broadly supported strategy.

Significant efforts have been made and will continue to be made to ensure that the new rules are clearly understood by sealers throughout Atlantic Canada.

The department has worked with the Atlantic provinces, the Fur Institute of Canada, the Canadian Sealers Association, veterinarians and others to design and deliver information workshops. These have been extremely well received by all stakeholders. They gave departmental officials a chance to engage sealers and others in a dialogue about implementing the new rules.

The government believes in collaboration, and high collaboration was the key to preparing for the 2009 seal hunt. I want to share just a few examples of the collaboration that took place before the 2009 hunt.

DFO and the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade partnered to ensure a focused and effective strategy to counter the threat of trade restrictions.

Hundreds of meetings have been organized by representatives and ministers with member state ministers, members of the European Parliament and commission officials.

The Canadian Coast Guard, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Quebec Provincial Police are collaborating with Fisheries and Oceans enforcement staff to monitor compliance and to enforce regulations.

Government representatives, veterinarians and seal hunters have been working together to develop new regulations.

The Fur Institute of Canada provided its expertise and helped bring sealing leadership together through its seals and sealing network.

Finally, the Canadian Council of Professional Fish Harvesters, with support from Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, developed a process for further training and eventual certification. The hard work and goodwill demonstrated by participating organizations reflect this shared commitment to a well-managed and professional hunt.

As important as regulations are, it is also important to note that DFO also carries out effective monitoring, control and surveillance programs in Atlantic Canada, including some of the enhanced program operations that were implemented in 2009. We continually make improvements to our monitoring program to ensure compliance with regulations, which results in a humane and sustainable hunt. These actions help dispel the notion the seal hunt is impossible to regulate and manage effectively.

Canada's enforcement of the sealing regulations is thorough and comprehensive. Fully trained professional fisheries officers, designated under Canada's Fisheries Act, closely monitor all commercial and recreational fisheries in Canada, including the seal hunt. Fisheries officers conduct monitoring operations of the seal hunt, using a variety of platforms, including aerial surveillance; vessel monitoring systems, also known as satellite tracking; at-sea patrols and inspections; dock-side landing site patrols and inspections; and inspections of buyer processor sites and facilities. The integration of these different tools and methods enables a well-balanced monitoring and enforcement program.

The Canadian Coast Guard is an integral partner in supporting seal hunt monitoring operations through the use of a dedicated icebreaking vessel from which many of the on-site monitoring activities are coordinated and deployed.

As part of Canada's ongoing initiatives to enhance program delivery, DFO has made several modifications to its strategies for 2009 seal hunt monitoring activities. For this year's hunt, monitoring operations were enhanced by deploying additional shipboard fisheries officers on the dedicated icebreaker. The helicopter surveillance capability was also augmented this year, with the leasing of a private long-range helicopter and remote surveillance technologies; that is, a powerful high-resolution video camera.

To enhance the data, we developed a report to augment the standard inspection data. It contains more observations, including more detailed information on the humane aspect of this harvest.

In conclusion, the Government of Canada is mobilizing considerable resources to ensure that the seal hunt remains sustainable and humane.

The Canadian seal industry is supported by a professional workforce committed to upholding a high standard with regard to animal welfare.

We invited the world to watch the 2009 hunt, and this year's hunt has demonstrated Canada's leadership among sealing nations.

We support an industry that is humane and sustainable, a harvest that reflects the best interests of all fishers, a harvest that has officially gone on for over 300 years, a harvest that is so critical to our small rural communities and our Inuit people.

We strongly condemn the ban of Canadian seal products by the European Union.

Fisheries and OceansCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

Gerry Byrne Liberal Humber—St. Barbe—Baie Verte, NL

Mr. Speaker, my colleague, who sits on the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans, quite rightly pointed out that this motion did indeed flow from that committee during our deliberations and there was indeed a unanimous vote by all committee members in support of this motion.

Would my the hon. member please explain to the House the power and the influence that should have on the European Union community when it explores or tries to understand the position of Canadian parliamentarians on that particular issue?

Fisheries and OceansCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Conservative

Mike Allen Conservative Tobique—Mactaquac, NB

Mr. Speaker, the fisheries and oceans committee is a great committee to work on because, generally, we can get that consensus on reports. I think everybody understands the importance of the fishing industry to all of us. Even though I represent an inland riding, I represent a rural riding, I do understand the importance of these rural ridings and the importance of these types of industries to them.

I do concur with my hon. friend that when all the members of a committee get together and we do not have a dissident report, maybe is the best way to put it, that has tremendous leverage for the government. It is also important because it gives us reinforcements. When we get someone like Norway's foreign minister indicating that the Norwegian government has decided to initiate consultations under the WTO dispute settlement mechanism should the EU take a decision on the lines it now seems to be developing, that is a great thing for us as a government because this is the power that we can all get behind.

Fisheries and OceansCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Conservative

Cathy McLeod Conservative Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo, BC

Mr. Speaker, first of all, I would like to thank my colleague. I think there are many misperceptions out there in terms of the seal hunt, the humanity and the sustainability, and what he has done is clearly articulate the regulations and the number of changes that have been made.

I would ask my colleague to talk a little bit further, because the consultation process that created all those changes was very important and I think it is worth hearing some details around the process by which we have new regulations.

Fisheries and OceansCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Conservative

Mike Allen Conservative Tobique—Mactaquac, NB

Mr. Speaker, it is really great sitting in on the fisheries committee when we get a chance to talk about these issues and about how important this industry is.

As to how that fishery has evolved, I think the first organized hunt was in 1723. It has evolved over almost 300 years. DFO has worked very hard with the fishers and the seal hunters to actually engage them in this process. I think the apprenticeship program is very important. It just underscores how important the consultation process is and how important it is that the government wants to work with the sealers to understand what is going on in these small communities, but also to work hard to make sure that we can sustain this harvest for generations to come.

We all know this harvest is sustainable, and it really has to be developed for all fishers concerned, because at the end of the day, just looking at what the seals eat, they eat other fish. So it is important for a long-range, sustainable hunt, and for all fishers, that we continue to work with the sealers to ensure this harvest for many years to come.