Mr. Speaker, I want to thank all members who have taken the time and interest to speak on behalf of Bill C-222.
What exactly is Bill C-222? As has been mentioned today, it is about the recognition and the protection of Canada's history and our culture, which is made up of hunting, fishing and trapping. More important, it is not about the past or present, it is actually about the future because it is the future we need to think about.
Two concerns were raised, in both the first hour and the second hour of debate, that concerned me. One concern was about the infringement on aboriginal rights. I would just like to say that this would have absolutely no infringement on aboriginal rights because their right to hunt and fish has been written into our Constitution. If anything, the right to hunt and fish by a non-aboriginal community will augment and strengthen the aboriginals' right to hunt and fish.
There is no motive to infringe upon provincial rights, even though we know that the management of wildlife resources is a provincial jurisdiction. We can correct that simply by amending the preamble to ensure it is very clear that these are provincial rights.
I will repeat again, as the member from Churchill stated in the first hour, we will delete all three clauses from the bill so that we have a one clause bill which basically says that all citizens in Canada have a right to hunt, fish and trap in accordance with the law, which means all laws, municipal, provincial and federal.
Unfortunately, there is no protection for these activities as they exist today. The only protection for hunting, fishing and trapping is accorded to the aboriginal community. For instance, if down the road this House passes a cruelty to animal act which says that hunting and fishing is cruel to animals, what would happen? That would be the end of hunting, fishing and trapping.
We understand how important it has been in the past, why we need to continue exercising these heritage activities in the future and how it affects our economy. It is worth at least $10 billion a year. I do not know of anyone in this House who does not know people who take part in hunting, fishing or trapping. Most of us do it on a personal level, as do our families and friends. That is the intent of the bill and I applaud members of this House for recognizing that.
I will close by saying that no bill that comes to this House is perfect on its first try. I know because I have been here almost 10 years. I have babysat many bills through this House. We have a committee structure and we move a bill on to committee. The committee does its work and then the bill comes back to this House.
This bill is long overdue. I thank all members and urge them to support this bill in the best interests of our future children and grandchildren.