Mr. Speaker, I shall be splitting my time with the hon. member for Etobicoke Centre. Please allow me, as well, to congratulate you on your appointment as Deputy Speaker.
It is with great pleasure that I rise today to support Bill C-3, an act to amend the Canada Shipping Act, the Canada Shipping Act, 2001, the Canada National Marine Conservation Areas Act and the Oceans Act, that has been introduced by my colleague the Minister of Transport.
The bill clearly outlines the changing responsibilities mainly affecting the Minister of Transport and the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans as brought about by the Prime Minister's decision last December and reflected in the related orders in council.
It is a positive move, not only for the government but also for those who are governed in the marine world by a variety of legislation which can be confusing and difficult to find who is responsible and for what.
This change is encouraging as it would provide Transport Canada the responsibility for policy relating to pleasure craft, marine navigation services, pollution response and navigable waters protection. It would provide a single focal point for the majority of ship, vessel or pleasure craft safety matters as well as protection of the marine environment from vessel spills.
Many stakeholders will see this as a move in the right direction. I am aware how difficult it has been to identify, within the Canada Shipping Act, areas of responsibility covered by Transport Canada and those of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.
I too realize that the Canada Shipping Act, 2001 was drafted to clarify the division of responsibilities. It is an improvement but in fact, the Canada Shipping Act, 2001 does not offer one-stop service in matters of security.
For example, in an accident involving a pleasure craft and a commercial vessel, there will certainly be representatives of Transport Canada and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans on the scene. Obviously, this could lead to confusion for those involved, and be seen as a duplication of services. We must correct this situation at all costs.
The bill will correct and clarify who will be responsible under those acts. It is reassuring to know that the same department will be responsible for the safety regimes for all vessels. This can only lead to further harmonization in the development and application of regulations and standards.
I also understand that the bill does not contain any changes in policy, and the changes reflecting the new and more appropriate responsibilities of the Minister of Transport will not create any new resource burden for the government. It just makes sense.
In conclusion, I would like to restate my support for this bill. It is appropriate and it clarifies responsibilities. It provides Canadians with one-stop service in terms of marine safety and does so without unwanted financial impact.
In plain words, it makes sense. The throne speech said we would streamline legislation and regulations to enable government to work better and smarter. Bill C-3 does just that.