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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was section.

Last in Parliament September 2008, as Liberal MP for Scarborough Southwest (Ontario)

Won his last election, in 2006, with 48% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Interparliamentary Delegations February 25th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 34(1), I have the honour to present to the House, in both official languages, the report of the Canada-China Legislative Association regarding the seventh bilateral meeting held in China from October 29 to November 9, 2004.

Justice February 21st, 2005

Madam Speaker, continuing in my series analyzing whether the courts are protecting our children, I would like to draw the House's attention to a recent study.

Led by Ron Langevin and published in the Canadian Journal of Criminology and Criminal Justice , this October 2004 study reveals the disturbing recidivism results of 320 sex offenders. In his study, Langevin concludes that child sexual abusers showed the highest recidivism rates, at 94%.

These findings communicate one clear message. Our children are not being protected.

Child abusers need to stop being offered chances to abuse again. They need to be sentenced to proper jail times, including the Crown seeking more dangerous offender designations.

A pedophilia recidivism rate of over 90% shows clearly that we are not protecting our children from sexual exploitation.

Civil Marriage Act February 21st, 2005

Mr. Speaker, I probably spent at least 10 minutes delving into that point so I cannot do the question justice, but I do thank the hon. member.

In brief, I would say there is no absolute right to get married in Canadian law. We have to abide by the rules that society has set out in order to marry, including age restrictions, mental capacity restrictions, bloodline restrictions and, up until now, couples had to be of the opposite sex.

Indeed, we can only marry one person, notwithstanding that at least one, huge, major world religion, with hundreds of millions of adherents across the globe, believe that it is quite proper to have more than one spouse. This is not a matter of rights. This is a matter of abiding by whatever society decides are the rules for engaging in a marriage.

Civil Marriage Act February 21st, 2005

Mr. Speaker, in my remarks on Friday I went through the bill at great length to talk about section 3. I said:

It is recognized that officials of religious groups are free to refuse to perform marriages that are not in accordance with their religious beliefs.

That section would not apply to marriage commissioners because I do not believe they necessarily are members or officials of religious groups. However, whether I am right or wrong in that interpretation, my point on Friday was that section 3 has been improperly put into the bill.

The Supreme Court of Canada clearly stated that the section is utterly ultra vires, which is that it is beyond the power of the federal Parliament to indicate what it would do, how it would act or how provinces should act in matters within their own exclusive jurisdiction and that the solemnization of marriage is within the sole jurisdiction of the provinces.

The Supreme Court even went further in the reference case. It specifically said that no matter how well intentioned, no matter how supposedly noble a declaratory statement is, it is of no force and effect whatsoever if it pertains to the powers granted to a province under the British North America Act, now known as the Constitution.

That section should not even be there because it is beyond the legislative capacity and competence of the Parliament of Canada.

As far as the preamble is concerned, I pointed out that the preamble has even less relevance or less weight than an actual section of an act. I want to remind hon. members that the courts have already shown us that they are quite prepared to overturn the common law of the country, which had traditional marriage as the definition, and it has been overturned. They are quite prepared to declare legal, acts that have been declared illegal in writing in the Criminal Code of Canada with the stroke of a judicial pen. They are also quite prepared to ignore sections of acts passed by the House, in this case section 1.1 of the Pension Benefits Act which specifically states that the Parliament of Canada passed an act saying that marriage is the union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others.

If the courts are prepared to ignore acts of Parliament, if they are prepared to ignore the common law of long standing and are prepared to ignore and change the Criminal Code by judicial fiat, what confidence can we have that the preamble, which is not legally binding, would be followed in any particular event?

To answer the member's second question, I want to go back in history to Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, the Conservative prime minister. When he brought in his abortion legislation he required his cabinet ministers to vote in favour of that legislation. I say required because no one can be forced to violate their own conscience. There is no such thing as a button that will electrocute somebody if they vote the wrong way. Only an individual member can violate his or her own conscience.

However there are consequences for every vote that individuals take or give in the House of Commons. It may very well be that if one votes against a particular piece of government legislation the consequences would be that one would no longer be in cabinet. However that is hardly forcing someone to violate his or her own conscience.

Brian Mulroney was roundly criticized by many people in the House, no more loudly than by us, the Liberals, for forcing his cabinet ministers to vote in favour of legislation that dealt with a moral matter. I personally disagree with the Prime Minister's decision to call upon his cabinet to do so in this case. I have told him that and he is of a different view. It is his call. He is the Prime Minister and it will be up to him to justify his actions.

Civil Marriage Act February 18th, 2005

Madam Speaker, the member is asking two questions, one about civil unions and the other about politics.

Obviously the nature of this place is such that one side is going to say that the other side is wrong. We saw what happened in the last election. We saw what happened in the reports of the debates of the leaders' speeches. This is a very emotional topic. People take their positions very carefully and strongly. To my mind, this matter should be debated in, if I may put it this way, a very legalistic manner, to take a look and see what the ramifications are.

From the point of view of civil unions, my answer would be this. If we take the analogy of a hockey game, particularly a Stanley Cup hockey game, one never worries about the next game until one wins the period one is in. There is no point in even discussing civil unions if the bill passes, because if the bill passes we will have same sex marriage in this country. To my mind, the object is to defeat this bill. Once Parliament has spoken and the same sex marriage bill is defeated, then Parliament will have to come to grips with what the alternatives are.

Clearly one of the alternatives is civil unions. That was discussed when we were speaking to the pension benefits act. It was spoken to in a whole series of discussion groups, both within the Liberal Party and across the country. It is one of the alternatives that has been suggested. The member is absolutely right: many countries have adopted it.

Civil Marriage Act February 18th, 2005

Madam Speaker, it is a privilege to rise today to make some comments with respect to Bill C-38. I want to divide my remarks into four basic sections: first, I will briefly make some political observations; second, I will deal with how I see the history of this matter; third, I will discuss what I consider to be a duty to act; and fourth, I will examine Bill C-38 and what I consider to be its weaknesses.

Just a few words on politics. I am privileged to be in my 17th year as a member of Parliament. During that period of time I have served with three leaders of the Liberal Party and one interim leader of the Liberal Party. Throughout that time my opposition to same sex marriage has been well known. Yet it is obvious by the fact that I am the first Liberal backbencher to speak, in fact the first Liberal to speak immediately after the Prime Minister, that there is no underhandedness in determining who will speak to this bill on this side.

In 17 years under three leaders and one interim leader, never have I been asked to submit a speech to anyone to have it reviewed or to have it vetted. Not that it would work, but it has simply never happened. I lament that there are situations where people seem to think that is necessary in a House of free and open debate.

I would like to turn now to the history of this matter as I see it. Back in Chilliwack, British Columbia, in 1994, I issued my first speech on this matter. I predicted that if matters were not observed quickly and a halt was not put to the movement, same sex marriage would become a fact in this country.

In a paper dated November 16, 1994, which I distributed to all members of Parliament, so anyone who was a member of Parliament in 1994 received it, I outlined exactly how this would happen and the steps that would be used to achieve this objective.

Sadly for me, because I hoped I would be wrong, matters have proceeded exactly as I predicted almost 11 years ago. Unfortunately, people refused to listen and they refused to believe.

I wrote a letter to former justice minister, Mr. Rock, pointing out that there was a court decision in Ontario from the then divisional court where two judges to one had decided in favour of traditional marriage. My point was that the dissenting judge had found that traditional marriage was unconstitutional. I warned the justice minister of the day that two to one in favour of traditional marriage today could be two to one against traditional marriage tomorrow, and what was he going to do about it?

He had written a letter to a concerned Canadian and this is dated February 24, 1997. I want to quote two paragraphs from it. It reads:

I take your concerns and those of Mr. Wappel seriously, but I do not agree that it is necessary to legislate to define marriage in heterosexual terms and I would like to take this opportunity to clarify why. The definition of marriage in law in Canada is already the union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others.

Thus, the definition of marriage is already clear in law in Canada as the union of two persons of the opposite sex. Counsel from my department have successfully defended, and will continue to defend, this concept of marriage in court. Let me assure you that this government remains committed to supporting Canadian families and that there are no plans to change the concept of marriage in Canada.

I was not reassured by the reassurance and therefore I proposed a bill to amend the Marriage Act of Canada to enshrine the traditional definition of marriage into law.

I explained to the then justice minister why this was necessary given the divisions that were beginning to appear in the courts in our country. I brought that bill forward and it was vociferously opposed by the Department of Justice of the day. A new justice minister took up the cause and wrote to a supporter of my private member's bill on April 24, 1998. Justice Minister McLellan stated:

I take your concerns and those of Mr. Wappel seriously, but do not agree that it is necessary to legislate to define marriage in heterosexual terms, and I would like to take this opportunity to clarify why.

Clearly, everyone can see it is the same wording as a year ago from a previous justice minister. It continues:

The definition of marriage in law in Canada is already the union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others. It is not necessary to pass such legislation as in legal terms it would not add to or clarify the present state of the law in Canada.

Thus, the definition of marriage is already clear in law in Canada as the union of two persons of the opposite sex. Counsel from my department have successfully defended, and will continue to defend, this concept of marriage in court. Indeed, the same concept of marriage is present throughout the world. Even in the few European countries...which allow limited recognition of same sex relationships, sometimes in the same manner as common law spouses, a clear distinction is maintained in the law between marriage and same sex partnerships.

The House considered a motion on June 8, 1999, which stated:

That, in the opinion of this House, it is necessary, in light of public debate around recent court decisions, to state that marriage is and should remain the union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others, and that Parliament will take all necessary steps to preserve this definition of marriage in Canada.

That motion passed 216 to 55. Among the members of Parliament who voted in favour of that motion were, according to Hansard , Mr. Cauchon, Mr. Chrétien (Saint-Maurice), Madam McLellan (Edmonton West), Mr. Martin (LaSalle—Émard), and Mr. Rock.

In the year 2000 the House passed legislation known legally as the Statutes of Canada 2000, Chapter 12. In section 1.1 of that act, the House of Commons, in a government bill, supported by the Government of Canada, enacted the following legislation. This is not a preamble; this is legislation.

For greater certainty, the amendments made by this Act do not affect the meaning of the word “marriage”, that is, the lawful union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others.

In the face of that, in June of 2003 along comes the Court of Appeal decision in Halpern. In the meantime, the Prime Minister of the day had mandated the justice committee of Parliament to go across Canada to study this issue, make recommendations, and deliver a report to Parliament so that Parliament could debate this issue.

This brings me to the next part of my speech concerning duty bound to act. I maintain that it was the duty of the prime minister of the day and the justice minister of the day to uphold the laws and integrity of Parliament. As we have already heard, two justice ministers had already stated that the law was clear. A motion had been passed by Parliament supported overwhelmingly, including the government members and the cabinet, that the definition was included in a statute of the Parliament of Canada and the justice committee was mandated to study this issue.

After Parliament was adjourned and we were no longer sitting in caucuses, the Court of Appeal decision came out. Contrary to this duty to act to support the laws of Canada and the Parliament of Canada and the integrity of the Parliament of Canada, the prime minister of the day, without consultation with caucus, without consultation with Parliament, and without letting the justice committee finish its job, decided not to appeal the Court of Appeal decision of the province of Ontario, effectively undercutting and undermining his own legislation and the expressed will of Parliament.

I would now like to explain my views on why I consider Bill C-38 to be discriminatory, a sham, and a hoax on parliamentarians and Canadians. I am going to refer specifically to each of those categories.

In my view this bill is discriminatory. It has been argued that same sex marriage is somehow a right. This is not legally accurate. The Supreme Court, in the reference decision, did not declare that permitting same sex couples to marry was a right. Absolutely no country in the entire world has declared it to be a human right, including the two countries which presently allow same sex marriages. No one has done that.

How can something be a right when it is not recognized in law by anyone in any country in the world, including the Supreme Court of Canada, as a declared right? Therefore, to say a right is a right in the context of same sex marriage is legally wrong.

Then we have to turn to section 15 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms which talks about laws being enacted without discrimination; in this case, without discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. We have to look at the institution of marriage then.

Is the institution of marriage discriminatory? Of course it is, by its very nature. We cannot get married unless we are of a certain age. That is discrimination on the basis of age. We cannot get married if we do not have proper mental capacity. That is discrimination on the basis of disability. We cannot get married unless we are of the proper bloodline. That is discrimination on the basis of who our parents are or who our siblings are, including, as we will see later, adoptive children.

It discriminates against religion because it says we can only have in this country, not in the world but in this country, one spouse: one wife or husband. This is discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation because it says we must marry someone of the opposite sex.

To my mind the bill seeks to “fix” discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation by allowing people of the same sex to marry, but at the very same time the bill continues to permit discrimination on the basis of age. People still have to be of a certain age even though according to our laws, they can legally have sexual intercourse at the age of 14, but they cannot marry at the age of 14. It discriminates continuously on the basis of mental capacity and who decides on the mental capacity. It discriminates on the basis of bloodline and indeed, this particular bill perpetuates that discrimination in clause 13. It states:

Subsection 2(2) of the Marriage (Prohibited Degrees) Act is replaced by the following:

(2) No person shall marry another person if they are related lineally, or as brother or sister or half-brother or half-sister, including by adoption.

It discriminates and continues to discriminate on the basis of religion because it says in clause 2:

Marriage, for civil purposes, is the lawful union of two persons to the exclusion of all others.

That discriminates against those religions that believe that it is perfectly acceptable to have more than one spouse. That is discrimination on the basis of religion.

Therefore, why is it acceptable to remove discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation but continue to permit and perpetuate in legislation and common law other forms of discrimination? Either we eliminate all forms of discrimination or we leave the current definition alone. It has worked for millennia. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

That brings me to the subject of polygamy. Some say that raising polygamy is a red herring and has nothing whatsoever to do with this bill. That is utter legal nonsense. Polygamy is currently against the law, section 293 of the Criminal Code.

At the stroke of a judicial pen, that section can be declared unconstitutional on the basis of section 15 charter guarantees of freedom of religion. People say that is not going to happen, but I am going to give two real life examples.

The first one is the very definition of marriage. The law of this country was the common law for millennia. The law was that people had to be of the opposite sex. With the stroke of a pen, that which was illegal was made legal by the courts, not by the Parliament of Canada.

Section 159 of the Criminal Code reads: “Every person who engages in an act of anal intercourse is guilty of an indictable offence...”. It goes on. There are exceptions: “...any two persons, each of whom is eighteen years of age or more,both of whom consent to the act.” That is fine. There is no problem there.

That section was challenged on the basis that it was discriminatory because of age. Justice Abella of the Ontario Court of Appeal struck that section down because it was contrary to the age discrimination in section 15, in her view.What did that mean? That meant that for the Criminal Code of Canada, written into the laws of this country, which denied anal intercourse to people under the age of 18, with the stroke of a judicial pen that which was illegal became legal.

Why would members think, when those two examples have already occurred, it is beyond the pale that a judge at the stroke of a pen will declare polygamy legal because the law against it discriminates on the basis of religion?

Those who argue in favour of polygamy will say, “How can we end discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in marriage but continue to permit discrimination on the basis of religious beliefs in marriage?” Where is the logic in opposing this argument?

Why is this bill a sham? First, the preamble is sleight of hand. It is meaningless legally. A court can refer to and follow preambles and has, and a court can ignore and has ignored preambles. The courts have already ignored the express will of Parliament, as I read from section 1.1 of the Modernization of Benefits and Obligations Act, so why does anyone think they will not ignore a preamble?

Why is the bill a hoax? Clause 3 of the bill states:

It is recognized that officials of religious groups are free to refuse to perform marriages that are not in accordance with their religious beliefs.

The Supreme Court in the reference decision has stated clearly and unequivocally that this subject matter is out of bounds to the federal Parliament; it is ultra vires federal Parliament. That is not the member for Scarborough Southwest speaking. That is the Supreme Court of Canada speaking:

Legislative competence over the performance or solemnization of marriage is exclusively allocated to the provinces under s. 92(12) of the Constitution Act, 1867....Section 2 of the Proposed Act is therefore ultra vires Parliament.

Section 2 of the proposed act was virtually the same wording that is in Bill C-38. The court goes on to say:

While it is true that Parliament has exclusive jurisdiction to enact declaratory legislation relating to the interpretation of its own statutes, such declaratory provisions can have no bearing on the constitutional division of legislative authority. That is a matter to be determined, should the need arise, by the courts. It follows that a federal provision seeking to ensure that the Act within which it is situated is not interpreted so as to trench on provincial powers can have no effect and is superfluous.

That section has no effect and is superfluous, according to the Supreme Court of Canada. How can a justice minister put a section into an act which the Supreme Court of Canada has already said is ultra vires Parliament of Canada? He cannot do it.

In conclusion, I just want the people of my riding to remember that I was very clear in my position. In June 2003 in my householder, I said:

--Parliament, by statute, reaffirmed the definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman, to the exclusion of all others.

For me, there can be no other definition of this term.

This has been my consistent public position since I entered public life in 1988, four elections ago. My position is firm and unalterable. I will do all I can as an individual to try to preserve and promote the only definition of marriage I know.

I ask the Parliament of Canada to defeat this legislation and ensure that marriage remains between one man and one woman, to the exclusion of all others.

Justice December 9th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, in this statement, the fourth in my series analyzing whether the courts are protecting our children, I would like to draw the House's attention to the case of Sergio Arcana-Martinez of Toronto who used an Internet chat room to lure an 11-year-old girl.

Fifteen hours after he seized her from a public meeting place, took her to his apartment and sexually abused this poor 11-year-old, Martinez dropped her off alone at a Toronto subway station.

The police and the Crown both asked for a 10 to 12 year sentence. Judge Bruce Hawkins ignored these requests and sentenced the child predator to time served while awaiting trial, namely 21 months; 21 months for kidnapping an 11-year-old girl, terrifying and sexually assaulting her.

Toronto Chief of Police Julian Fantino stated, “The system has failed this young girl. The system has failed all of us”. I agree. The courts are not protecting our children.

Supply December 9th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member has illustrated the problem. I do not think it is accurate to say that most of the witnesses were calling for a judicial inquiry. I would say that it is true that some of the witnesses were calling for a judicial inquiry, possibly close to a majority, but not most. One of the things the committee could help out with would be to identify in our report precisely who called for what.

May I make an alternative suggestion. If people do not believe that unanimous reports of the fisheries committee are going to be listened to, there is a procedure in the House to move to concur in the report of the committee. With respect to the fisheries committee, I invite my colleagues in the House of Commons the next time we table a unanimous report to move a motion to concur in that report.

Supply December 9th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, I guess we will have to agree to disagree. If the House were to pass this motion today, and clearly, if the committee had come to the conclusion after considering all the evidence that we did not want to recommend a judicial inquiry, for example, what would be the point of that if the House had already passed a motion saying that a judicial inquiry should take place?

On the other hand, if the House pronounces today and decides that there should not be a judicial inquiry, does that not preclude or certainly handicap a discussion within our committee as to whether we should recommend a judicial inquiry when we know that the House has already disposed of the issue? What would be the point of spending all of that time and effort discussing whether we should have a judicial inquiry and the reasons therefor, if the House has already pronounced and said no, we are not going to have a judicial inquiry?

Likewise, if we wanted to allocate the moneys otherwise used for a judicial inquiry elsewhere and wanted to make those recommendations, if the House decided today that there would be one, that also would preclude us from making those recommendations.

Supply December 9th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, since this is the first opportunity I have had to enter into debate in the House with you sitting in the chair, allow me to begin by saying congratulations and best wishes to you for however long this Parliament lasts. I know you will do a good job, as you have been doing to date.

I am standing here today in my capacity as the chairman of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans. I want to make my remarks in the capacity of chairman because I have great respect for the hon. member for Pitt Meadows--Maple Ridge--Mission. He is a very hard-working member of our committee and has contributed to our deliberations. However, I have a real problem with this particular motion and the day upon which it has been presented. I want to give my perspective.

The official opposition brought the issue of the collapse of the 2004 Fraser River salmon fishery to the attention of the committee in a very timely fashion, and brought a motion asking that the committee travel to British Columbia to investigate the situation. That motion was supported unanimously, by all parties and by all members of the fisheries and oceans committee. That was done, I believe in early October, very shortly after the committee was formed. Because of all of the things that have to happen before a committee is allowed to travel, it took some time to get that in order, but eventually, the week before last, we were finally authorized by the House of Commons to travel to undertake a study on this issue.

The House should know, and people who are listening should know, that things like this do not come cheap. For our committee to travel to the west coast last week, with all of the logistics that go on with a House of Commons committee travelling, cost the Canadian taxpayers approximately $90,000.

We flew into Vancouver on Wednesday night and we began our hearings on Thursday. We had three fulsome days, well over 12 hours a day of evidence from all of the various stakeholders. Bear in mind that the committee was asked to investigate this issue and then, obviously, to report to the House of Commons and to the minister what our conclusions were.

Last Thursday, Friday and Saturday we heard evidence well into the evening hours, a lot of it interesting, a lot of it compelling. Ten of the 12 members of the committee were there at one time or another. We returned on Sunday.

Our first meeting was scheduled for today, because of other business on Tuesday, to begin to instruct our drafters to prepare a report. We wanted to do this report in a very timely fashion, bearing in mind that it was a week ago today that we began our hearings, but on a complex issue like this one, we cannot conjure a report out of the air in 30 seconds. Clearly it is going to take our researchers time to listen to the views of the committee members, get some direction, look up some of the information we need to have looked up, and then prepare a draft report for us that we can consider after the Christmas break when we return at the end of January. That is precisely what the agenda was and that is what was asked of us when we were asked to study this issue.

Last night we found out that there was going to be a votable motion, that the House was going to be asked to set up a judicial inquiry on this issue, thereby in my view totally kneecapping the work that our committee had been asked to do. If the House moves to have a judicial inquiry and the government follows it, then what is the point of our committee continuing with its deliberations since the focus is going to be on a judicial inquiry? Who knows how long that is going to take and how much money it is going to take?

I am very concerned that we in the committee are doing precisely what we were being asked to do, and in effect we are going to be kneecapped if this motion passes. It is totally inappropriate. We had 36 hours of evidence from every possible interest group that one could think of. Many of them expressed reservations about coming to the committee. They thought that their evidence and their time would be better spent elsewhere but they gave the committee another chance, only to find out that having given their evidence to a committee that had travelled there, for all intents and purposes, the work of the committee would be pre-empted by a motion of the House which would only have a limited amount of debate, one day, and then members would have to vote on it.

I do not think that is the way to proceed. I do not think it gives the issue the consideration and the time that it needs. There is no doubt, and I do not think anyone would dispute the fact, that this fishery is a very important fishery to the people of British Columbia on a variety of levels. I think it behooves the standing committee to do what it was asked to do, and that is to complete its study. It should do what it was asked to do by the official opposition, I might add, which was joined by the other parties and members of the committee.

Let us look at the actual words of the motion. Who can dispute that the maintenance of the sockeye salmon stocks in the Fraser River is crucial for conservation and for commercial, recreational and aboriginal users? I do not think there is anybody in the country who would disagree with that statement.

It is fair to say, and we have heard plenty of evidence in this regard, that over time the resource has been mismanaged. I am talking about a historical progression of mismanagement. It is sad to say that it is not the only fishery in Canada that has been mismanaged over a period of time. One cannot, realistically, argue that.

There is certainly also a dearth of proper science for a variety of reasons. Human beings really cannot know everything about every portion of what a species of animal does from the moment it is conceived until it dies. We do the best we can but with lack of money, there is less science. There is no question there has been a dearth of science and this has contributed to the problem.

However, I think it is premature to call on the House to ask the government to establish an independent judicial inquiry, when we have only now heard the evidence that we were asked to hear. On what basis is the House going to ask the government to have an independent judicial inquiry?

The House has not heard 36 hours' worth of testimony from witnesses, as our committee did. The House will hear perhaps five, six or ten members. I have not heard all the speeches, but one has to presume that some of them undoubtedly condemn the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, DFO and the Liberal government because this is the place of political action and that is to be expected.

Our committee, we like to think, in the past four or five years has demonstrated that it works as apolitically as possible. Most of our reports have been unanimous reports, not all but most of them have been unanimous. We have tried our best to recommend things that are capable of being done.

We have not discussed yet the potential costs of a judicial inquiry, how long that judicial inquiry would take or whether a judicial inquiry would be completed before decisions have to be made for the 2005 Fraser River fishery. Of course it would not. I am aware of no inquiry that has been set up and completed in a matter of a couple of months.

Besides that, I wanted to say that not everyone in the industry--commercial, recreational and aboriginal--is in agreement that there be a judicial inquiry. There are those who agree that there should be one and there are those who feel that the money could be better spent on things like better scientific studies, better monitors and echo sounders to count the fish as they travel up the Fraser River.

Quite frankly, I think that the motion is ill-considered in that it would in effect kneecap the committee's work which I think is very important. It would do a disservice to those witnesses from all sectors who came to give us their testimony and asked us to recommend something to the House of Commons.