Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to finish off my comments on Bill C-3, an act to enact the aviation industry indemnity act, to amend the Aeronautics Act, the Canada Marine Act, the Marine Liability Act and the Canada Shipping Act, 2001 and to make consequential amendments to other Acts.
To put the debate in context, the last time I spoke to this bill, I talked about the fact that while the Marine Liability Act amendments are important, they are really not what we are looking for from the government in terms of the protection of marine areas. Liability implies problems; it implies accidents.
We are looking for regulations, enforcement, and investments in coast guards around this country to prevent and alleviate accidents before they happen. We want to ensure that what we are doing in our marine areas is the very safest for Canadians and for the protection of the environment, people, and property. Those are things that come first. Liability is important, but it simply does not give the protections we are looking for.
In its past budgets, the government has cut coast guard stations, including the coast guard station in my riding, in Inuvik. The station that was in place for many years has now been removed. We do not have a coast guard response capability in Inuvik.
There are companies looking at investing hundreds of millions of dollars in offshore oil and gas drilling in this region. The same thing is occurring in the Alaska region. We have no capacity for oil spill remediation. That does not exist for the Arctic to any degree. In fact, the ability of anyone to extract oil from ice covered waters has not yet been proven to the satisfaction of those who look into these matters. We are making the area more hazardous through less investment in infrastructure in that region, and that is a problem, moving forward.
The Conservatives have said over and over again that they are interested in exploiting the resources of the Arctic. They want to move ahead with economic development in the Arctic. They want to see the wealth of the Arctic being exploited.
Let us start with taking care of the Arctic by making sure that the regulations for shipping are in place and that we are conducting ourselves by investing in infrastructure that can deal with the issues that come forward in the future. Surely as we increase the risk for companies working in an area, we should respond with the kind of protection that can reduce the liability from people who may suffer from accidents, because we would have some way of dealing with the accidents. That is not the case now.
There are cruise ships moving through the Arctic. If we have a problem in the Arctic with a cruise ship, we have no way to deal with it. We have increased traffic through the Northwest Passage, a passage that has never been charted properly. We do not know where the rocks are, and we are putting ships through there now. When will the accidents happen? It will be soon enough. What will liability do to protect the environment? What will liability mean to the people of the Arctic?