Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have this opportunity to talk about a question that I asked on June 19 about the Rio+20 conference and the Conservatives' catastrophic record.
May 22 was the International Day for Biological Diversity, and the United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, issued this appeal: “Rio+20 must galvanize action to improve the management and conservation of oceans.”
Rio+20 was held in June 2012, the 20th anniversary of the Earth Summit. Two very important environmental proposals were on the table, but unfortunately, the Conservatives fiercely opposed them, which angered Canadians and the people in my riding of Drummond.
The first environmental proposal on the table at Rio+20 was to eliminate over $1 billion in subsidies that the Conservatives give every year to fossil fuel companies—both oil and gas companies. The people in my riding are sick and tired of seeing their tax dollars subsidize billion-dollar oil and gas companies. Unfortunately, at Rio+20, the Conservatives opposed that proposal.
The second environmental proposal was to better protect marine biodiversity in extraterritorial waters, as called for by Ban Ki-moon. Instead of protecting our environment and our health, the Conservatives have another agenda. They are continuing the destruction that they began with Bill C-38. Let me remind the House what that bill included: the Conservatives withdrew Canada from the Kyoto protocol; they eliminated the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy; and they abolished the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act.
With Bill C-45, they can do more of the same by attacking the Navigable Waters Protection Act this time. For instance, only 97 lakes and 62 rivers in all of Canada will now be protected. That is unbelievable. This means that 99.7% of lakes and 99.9% of rivers in Canada will not have any protection whatsoever. On top of all that, of the only 97 protected lakes, 89% are located in Conservative ridings, which is even more shocking. Of the remaining rivers, the one that runs through Drummond, the Saint-François River, is not protected. People from Drummond are calling me and asking me what the repercussions of this will be. They are shocked to learn that the river will no longer be protected.
Furthermore, I would like to come back to Fisheries and Oceans Canada and more specifically the Maurice Lamontagne Institute, located in Mont-Joli in the Lower St. Lawrence, which has experienced some cuts. This is another example of the vague budget cuts imposed on Fisheries and Oceans Canada. Near Rimouski, more than 120 scientist jobs are affected, including about 30 that will be eliminated altogether. This important institute is one of the main francophone marine science research centres in the world. As I was saying, it plays a very important role, not only here in Canada, but also around the world.
My question is the following: how can the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans claim that the federal government oversees the sustainable development of the oceans, when it is shamelessly cutting anything to do with the environment, whether it is with Bill C-38 or Bill C-45? Can he show us that he truly cares about protecting the oceans?