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House of Commons Hansard #134 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was scientists.

Topics

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Francis Scarpaleggia Liberal Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government says it will privatize the Experimental Lakes Area program, if it does not eliminate it altogether. However, the program does large ecosystems-scale research whose findings inform federal public policy. Because of the program, we have an acid rain treaty with the United States and we have taken phosphate out of detergents.

Canada's ecosystems belong to Canadians. Only the Conservatives would think that privatizing research fundamental to the health of our aquatic ecosystems is a good thing.

Why is the government not treating Canada's water as a public trust?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Thornhill Ontario

Conservative

Peter Kent ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, let me assure my colleague that it is.

He is indeed correct. The Experimental Lakes Area program, over the decades, has greatly informed both treaty-making as well as public consumer goods; it played a big part in the acid rain treaty.

At the same time, we want to put the research where the challenges are. Environment Canada is moving its scientists farther west, to examine the acidification of lakes in western Canada.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Francis Scarpaleggia Liberal Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government is throwing out tools that would allow it to develop and implement a national water strategy.

It is sabotaging the Fisheries Act; it is abandoning the Experimental Lakes Area; it is cutting the Institut Maurice-Lamontagne—the only francophone research centre at Fisheries and Oceans Canada; it is eliminating the water resources strategy group at Environment Canada; and it is ending groundwater modelling. The list goes on.

Will the government ever stop pretending that it wants to adopt a national water strategy?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Thornhill Ontario

Conservative

Peter Kent ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, clean and cleaner water is a priority of our government, certainly for Environment Canada. We have invested significantly in our Great Lakes, in Lake Simcoe, in Lake Winnipeg. We continue to maintain the highest standards of water quality monitoring across the country, leaving to the provinces and municipalities water quantity because they are the ones that regulate both metering and pricing.

This government does not pay lip service to the environment, as the previous Liberal government did. We are getting things done.

AgricultureOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Malcolm Allen NDP Welland, ON

Mr. Speaker, yesterday at the agriculture committee, Canada's honey and honeybee producers testified first-hand their gut-wrenching accounts about devastating losses to their industry. Some witnesses reported up to 85% of colony losses. This could lead to a crisis in agriculture production in areas of this country. They also highlighted the lack of support programs for this disaster.

What support is the government providing to these producers to ensure that they will make it through this crisis, and will it take action immediately?

AgricultureOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Battlefords—Lloydminster Saskatchewan

Conservative

Gerry Ritz ConservativeMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, we take these types of allegations very seriously. Of course, we rely on sound science to prove these types of situations.

There are reports from the United States and other areas that this type of action has happened. There are studies that are ongoing. Certainly, we will look at those. We will begin our own studies and get to the bottom of this as quickly as we can.

AgricultureOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Alex Atamanenko NDP British Columbia Southern Interior, BC

Mr. Speaker, the witnesses we heard at committee believe that the death of their healthy bees this spring is directly linked to corn planting in neighbouring fields. Corn seeds are coated with neonicotinoid insecticide. Recent research shows that seed planter exhaust containing this dangerous chemical is likely responsible. A number of countries have banned the use of neonicotinoid insecticides. Canadian voices calling for a moratorium are growing.

What urgent action is the minister taking now to ensure these chemicals are not destroying a vital and irreplaceable part of the food chain?

AgricultureOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Battlefords—Lloydminster Saskatchewan

Conservative

Gerry Ritz ConservativeMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, as the government, we understand the importance of bees in pollinating our crops and moving forward on that front. We have spent some $3 million on research and development projects to make our bee industry healthier here in Canada.

These are new allegations that have just come to light yesterday.

We are a good government. We react as quickly as possible. However, we do not do things overnight, just like that. We rely on sound science to make sure we are moving in the right direction. We spend our money appropriately, with taxpayers' funding. We can never ever count on the NDP to backstop any of that spending.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

Dave Van Kesteren Conservative Chatham-Kent—Essex, ON

Mr. Speaker, despite the budget bill having the longest amount of debate in the House and the longest amount of committee stage consideration of any budget bill in over two decades, the NDP and its partners want to delay it and the implementation of the economic action plan 2012.

At a time when the global recovery remains fragile, especially in Europe, Canadians want the government to focus on promoting jobs, economic growth and long-term prosperity.

Could the Minister of Finance explain why the implementation of Canada's economic action plan is so important to ensure that Canada's economy remains strong?

The EconomyOral Questions

3 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, that is the best question of the day so far. It is about the economy and it is about jobs. The economic recovery, particularly in Europe as I know from my discussions today, is fragile. We must protect our own country.

The economic action plan is vitally important for our country. It has been working. We have created over 750,000 net new jobs in Canada. We have the bill before Parliament now to continue with Canada's economic action plan. It is important that we get this bill passed to protect Canada and protect—

The EconomyOral Questions

3 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

The hon. member for St. Paul's.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

June 5th, 2012 / 3 p.m.

Liberal

Carolyn Bennett Liberal St. Paul's, ON

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Minister of the Environment effectively shut the door on including aboriginal groups in the new advisory panel on hunting and angling. That is the same minister who has refused to apologize for listing first nations as “adversaries”.

How can the Conservative government exclude the only Canadians with constitutionally protected hunting and fishing rights from this important consultation?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

3 p.m.

Thornhill Ontario

Conservative

Peter Kent ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, I reject the entire content of that question. The hunting and fishing advisory panel was created to deepen the dialogue with a group which had not been previously broadly consulted, and that is fishermen and hunters.

As my colleague has rightfully said, first nations have a constitutional right to hunt and fish and they are regularly, if not constantly, consulted with regard to wildlife and conservation issues. They also, in many cases, are members of the panel committee.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

3 p.m.

NDP

Anne Minh-Thu Quach NDP Beauharnois—Salaberry, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Experimental Lakes Area of the Freshwater Institute is a vital program for keeping our ecosystems healthy. It has helped us make outstanding discoveries, especially in terms of the effects of acid rain and pollutants—

The EnvironmentOral Questions

3 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

The EnvironmentOral Questions

3 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

There are still too many conversations in the House. The hon. member for Beauharnois—Salaberry has the floor and all hon. members should give her their attention.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

3 p.m.

NDP

Anne Minh-Thu Quach NDP Beauharnois—Salaberry, QC

Mr. Speaker, this program has helped us make outstanding discoveries, especially in terms of the effects of acid rain and pollutants on freshwater ecosystems.

Unfortunately, the Conservatives have decided to end the funding for the program. Its elimination will have major consequences that will jeopardize the health of Canadians, our water and our environment.

Why are they putting Canadians' health at risk?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

3 p.m.

Thornhill Ontario

Conservative

Peter Kent ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, as I said in my previous answer, the experimental lakes program has proved invaluable over the decades. It did inform the writing of the acid rain treaty. However, our knowledge of the impact of acid rain from the American industrial region is very broad and deep. We are now moving our science father west where there are acid-sensitive lakes and where research is required.

Natural ResourcesOral Questions

3 p.m.

Conservative

Bob Zimmer Conservative Prince George—Peace River, BC

Mr. Speaker, the NDP leader has shamefully attacked Canadians who work in Canada's resource sectors by calling the industries that provide their communities with jobs a “disease” to Canada. This irresponsible position is offensive to Canadians everywhere.

Could the Minister of Natural Resources please update the House on the government's position regarding resource industry jobs?

Natural ResourcesOral Questions

3 p.m.

Eglinton—Lawrence Ontario

Conservative

Joe Oliver ConservativeMinister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, a new study from the Conference Board of Canada and the Business Development Bank of Canada has found that, contrary to the ideological views of the NDP leader, massive investment in the oil and gas and mining sectors is fueling growth in industries ranging from manufacturing to engineering.

Pierre Cléroux of the BDC said:

It is interesting to note that the economic boom linked to oil and gas and mining activities is benefiting many industries--not only in Western Canada, but throughout the country.

The NDP's divisive view that Canada's resource industries are a disease is irresponsible—

Natural ResourcesOral Questions

3 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

The hon. member for Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier.

Neuville AirportOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

NDP

Élaine Michaud NDP Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier, QC

Mr. Speaker, let us see what excuse the Minister of Transport will use today to wash his hands of the Neuville airport.

Last week, I was in Saskatoon at the FCM conference, where 1,600 mayors unanimously asked the federal government to consult them before building private airports in their municipalities. At the same conference, the minister stated that he was very willing to work with the municipalities. That is a clear commitment.

Will the minister keep his promise and work with the municipality of Neuville on the airport file?

Neuville AirportOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean Québec

Conservative

Denis Lebel ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, that is unbelievable.

The town met with the developers seven times. The developer received a plan with seven possible sites from the town. It was the town that provided the plan. The town signed a memorandum of understanding with the developers. If that is not being consulted, I wonder what is. There were seven meetings and the developer decided to use a parcel of land proposed by the town. That is no longer consultation, that is an agreement. Just because the mayor wants to rip up a memorandum of understanding, that does not mean that it is not valid.

We will continue to do what must be done. In future, we will analyze the scenario and all possible options, but this matter is closed.

Fisheries and OceansOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, the hon. memer for Trinity—Spadina already raised today in question period the decisive vote of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities urging the government to remove non-budgetary environmental items from Bill C-38.

My question is for the Minister of Fisheries, since he has repeatedly referenced FCM as a supporter of the bill and in fact said, “countless other municipal leaders have been calling for these types of reforms for many years”. Now that we can count them on the fingers of one hand, will the government admit it made a mistake in going after and gutting the Fisheries Act in Bill C-38?

Fisheries and OceansOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Fredericton New Brunswick

Conservative

Keith Ashfield ConservativeMinister of Fisheries and Oceans and Minister for the Atlantic Gateway

Mr. Speaker, I have said many times that we are focusing our fish and fish habitat protection on Canada's fisheries. In fact, it is true that municipalities across the country have indicated to me on many ocassions that the red tape they have to go through for work in and around minor waterways is excessive.

I have a quote from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities that says, “By reducing the time municipal employees are forced to spend filling out forms...the changes will make it faster and less expensive for local governments to perform routine public services”.