Skip to main content
Start of content

HERI Committee Meeting

Notices of Meeting include information about the subject matter to be examined by the committee and date, time and place of the meeting, as well as a list of any witnesses scheduled to appear. The Evidence is the edited and revised transcript of what is said before a committee. The Minutes of Proceedings are the official record of the business conducted by the committee at a sitting.

For an advanced search, use Publication Search tool.

If you have any questions or comments regarding the accessibility of this publication, please contact us at

Previous day publication Next day publication




[Recorded by Electronic Apparatus]

Tuesday, June 5, 2001

• 0905


The Chair (Mr. Clifford Lincoln (Lac-Saint-Louis, Lib.)): I would like to declare open the meeting of the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage, which is meeting to consider Bill C-10, an act respecting the national marine conservation areas of Canada.

Before I turn the meeting over to the witnesses who are with us today, if you will give me just a couple of minutes, we have two items of business to deal with reasonably quickly.

The first item is to give notice to the members that I received a notice of motion from Ms. Cheryl Gallant from the official opposition:

    Please accept this letter as sufficient notice to my intent to submit the following motion to the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage:

    Moved by Mrs. Gallant that “the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage hear from a newly Elected Representative from the Province of British Columbia before the Committee begins clause by clause consideration of Bill C-10, An Act Respecting the National Marine Conservation Areas of Canada”.

    As I am sure you will agree, it would be inappropriate for the federal government to pass legislation that could affect a provincial government that has not had the opportunity to provide input. In the spirit of co-operative federalism, I look forward to your support for this motion.

So the motion will be debated 48 hours hence.

There's another motion, about which Mr. Mills gave us notice at the last meeting of the committee last week, regarding the Catholic World Youth Day 2002. The motion has been distributed to you in both languages. If you want me to read it, I will read it; otherwise, I will dispense.

A voice: Dispense.

The Chair: I think Mr. Mills put out his case the other day. Do you want to say anything to the motion, Mr. Mills?

Mr. Dennis Mills (Toronto—Danforth, Lib.): Briefly, Mr. Chairman and colleagues, as you know, the influence of this committee on the CBC has precedent that cannot be challenged. We're hoping that the unanimous support around the World Youth Days happening in Toronto next July could have the priority attention of the CBC. I would seek the unanimous support of my colleagues on this committee to support this motion. Others may like to speak to it.

The Chair: The motion reads:

    We, the members of the Committee, unanimously support World Youth Day 2002 and urge that the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation consider the coverage of this event a priority project.

Yes, Mr. Comartin.

Mr. Joe Comartin (Windsor—St. Clair, NDP): I'd like to briefly speak to it, Mr. Chair.

It seems to me my son-in-law was involved in this when it was in the United States a dozen years ago. It is a major event, and one I think it behooves this committee to support. I am quite happy to indicate my support for it.

(Motion agreed to)

The Chair: You've had notice of the motion by Ms. Gallant, which has been read.

A voice: Do we have the motion?

The Chair: No, I just read it out. I'll get the letter circulated.

A voice: So we don't have to deal with it now.

The Chair: No. She's just given notice. It will be dealt with at the next meeting of the committee.

• 0910

Today we have, as witnesses in a panel, the Canadian Aquaculture Industry Alliance, represented by Mr. David Rideout, president; the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, represented by Ms. Sabine Jensen, conservation director of the B.C. chapter; the Lake Superior Regional Committee, Mr. David Tremblay, chair, and Mr. Kal Pristanski, member;


the Alliance des pêcheurs professionnels du Québec, represented by Mr. Serge Langelier, a biologist with a group representing professional fishers on the lower and middle North Shore; and the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, represented by Mr. Paul Barnes, East Coast manager.


I'd like to turn the meeting over to you. We'll start in the same order, with Mr. Rideout.

Mr. David Rideout (President, Canadian Aquaculture Industry Alliance): Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.

The Canadian Aquaculture Industry Alliance is pleased to have this opportunity to provide our comments on Bill C-10, an act respecting the national marine conservation areas of Canada. This proposed act will provide a legacy for future generations, and is a signal for those generations that in the early part of the century we recognize the importance of environmental sustainability and sustainable development. It is the same message the aquaculture industry has been telling Canadians over the past number of years.

Before discussing our views on the proposed legislation, I'd like to first highlight for the committee that the Canadian Aquaculture Industry Alliance is a not-for-profit national industry association headquartered in Ottawa. It represents the interest of Canadian aquaculture operators, feed companies, and suppliers, as well as provincial finfish and shellfish aquaculture associations.

Member associations include the New Brunswick Professional Shellfish Growers Association, New Brunswick Salmon Growers Association, the P.E.I. Aquaculture Alliance, the Aquaculture Association of Nova Scotia, the Newfoundland Aquaculture Industry Association, the Aquaculture Association of Canada, the B.C. Shellfish Growers Association, the B.C. Salmon Farmers Association, the Ontario Aquaculture Association,


and the Syndicat professionnel de l'Association des aquaculteurs du Québec.


The Canadian Aquaculture Industry is a vibrant and exciting industry, with current farm-gate value in excess of $600 million, which represents 25% of the landed value of fish in Canada. There are over 14,000 people employed in the industry, including professions such as veterinarians, feed technicians, divers, researchers, vessel operators, and fish husbandry experts.

Our industry exists primarily in coastal and rural Canada, and is a net contributor to Canada's economy. In recent years, we have seen 10% to 20% market growth per year.

The Canadian Aquaculture Industry Alliance is an association of associations, and is focused on a bottom-up approach. We strive to develop partnerships with decision makers, and to work with all stakeholders to resolve issues.

As an example, we have developed, in conjunction with our international partners, principles for cooperation between the North Atlantic salmon farming industry and the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organization. This has culminated in the development of a liaison group that has recently concluded international guidelines for codes of containment.

Similarly, we have developed principles for cooperation between the Canadian Aquaculture Industry Alliance and the Atlantic Salmon Federation. We are looking to develop similar arrangements with other stakeholders.

These are important initiatives, and while we may not agree on all issues, we have agreed to discuss them in an open and transparent dialogue, with the overall goal of a sustainable industry and a healthy environment, with robust wild fish stocks.

We approach these discussions from a mutual gains approach, and it is with that in mind that the Canadian Aquaculture Industry Alliance suggests that Bill C-10 needs to be carefully considered. We support the intention of this bill, but remain concerned respecting the potential harm this bill could have on important coastal communities that have fought economic adversity and made new choices that are now being seen as a benefit for the community and the environment.

In preparing for this discussion with you this morning, I faced a situation where some of those in the fish farming community were raising serious concerns about the underlying motives for this legislation. Yet upon reading the bill and background notes, it seemed to me it was important for the aquaculture industry and all Canadian to protect and preserve our marine heritage for future generations, and provide concrete examples of that heritage.

Facing that conflict, I considered that the following aspects of the bill presented potential problems, which I'd like to outline for you.

One, it is important to fully understand the implications of decisions today on generations 50 and 100 years from now. If I correctly understood the draft bill, once the marine conservation area is described in schedule 1, it can never be reduced without, I assume, a change to the act. The removal of the ability of the Governor in Council to have any power to reduce the size of an MCA could create significant difficulties. First will be the ability to come to agreement on the area affected. The citizens will know that there will be no opportunity to change the decision on the size of the MCA, except to enlarge it. Therefore, the tendency will be to go small at the beginning. Second, we need always to ask ourselves the question, what if we are wrong? With the current proposal, the only option is to keep the MCA and find resources for another that better reflects the intentions of the proposed bill. I submit that this will be difficult.

• 0915

Two, potential conflict exists between subclause 9(1) and subclause 9(4), in that subclause 9(4) requires an agreement between the Minister of Canadian Heritage and the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans on the management plan as it affects the latter's mandate, but there is a requirement in subclause 9(1) to table a management plan every five years. It is conceivable that the ministers will not agree, and therefore the preparation and tabling of a management plan may not be possible. It may, therefore, be necessary to have the ability to submit possible disputes to the Governor in Council.

Three, we recommend that the bill be more precise on who should sit on the area and other advisory committees identified in clause 11.

Four, it is unclear if in clause 15 the superintendent of a marine conservation area can issue permits or licences under the Fisheries Act, as subclause 15(3) only indicates that the superintendent “may not amend, suspend or revoke a licence issued under the Fisheries Act”. We understand the intention here, but caution that fisheries measures, including those affecting aquaculture, are taken following considerable scientific review and consultation, and it would be wrong to duplicate this process and have two departments with competing objectives regulating the same activity.

Five, subclause 15(3) should also include licences issued by provinces under memoranda of understanding with the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans.


The Chair: Excuse me. Go ahead.

Ms. Christiane Gagnon (Québec, BQ): There are two official languages, French and English. When people come to us with a presentation...

The Chair: Look, it is not for lack of good will. Okay, I will tell him, Ms. Gagnon.


Mr. Rideout, the translators can't pick up your message if you go too fast, so could you go more slowly, otherwise they won't pick it up.


Mr. David Rideout: I am sorry.


The Chair: He wasn't doing it on purpose, Madame Gagnon.


Ms. Christiane Gagnon: I know it, but this is what always happens.


Mr. David Rideout: Would you like me to start again?

The Chair: No, just carry on.

Mr. David Rideout: I realize I'm under a ten-minute rule, and—

The Chair: I know, so just summarize your message.

Mr. David Rideout: Yes, sir.

Six, following on from point four above, it is highly likely that there will be a conflict between the mandate of the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans respecting the conservation and management of marine resources and protection of marine habitat and a development of regulations under paragraph 16(1)(c) “for the management and control of renewable resource harvesting activities”. Bill C-5, the Species at Risk Act, proposes a council of ministers to manage competing mandates, and I would like to suggest that this approach should be strongly considered in this case.

Seven, with few exceptions, all aquaculture operations must undergo an environmental assessment under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act. This is a result of CEAA triggers found in the Fisheries Act and the Navigable Waters Protection Act. Subclause 16(5) may affect these triggers and thereby diminish the intentions of the Fisheries Act and the Navigable Waters Protection Act.

• 0920

Further, there is an implication here that regulations made under Bill C-10 can have precedence and override an act of Parliament, and I find this quite disturbing, notwithstanding that the regulations referred to in subclause 16(2) are made on the recommendation of the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans. Clearly, the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans should not make recommendations, since to do so would mean that the work that minister is undertaking to conserve and manage fisheries is different outside and inside an MCA, thereby implying a double standard for conservation.

Eight, there are several terms that will require definition so as to remove any uncertainty respecting enforcement of the proposed bill. They are: sustainable manner, subclause 4(3); ecologically sustainable use, subclause 4(4); precautionary principle and approach, referred to in the background papers—and although it's undefined, the background papers indicate that a strict application of this principle and approach will apply; ecosystem management, subclause 9(1); and dispose, subclause 14(1).

The proposed bill will provide the necessary guidance as to what is meant by the above terms. Precautionary approach is a good example, and there are many who would say that the precautionary approach means no, while others would advocate that it means proceeding, but with caution, ensuring that appropriate monitoring and evaluation systems are put in place. Not only do terms need to be defined, but there needs to be a discussion on those definitions. Procedurally, I am unsure what to suggest, but if proposals are developed for definitions, I'd like to have the opportunity to return to this committee to discuss the implications of proposed definitions for the implementation of this proposed bill.

We believe in an open and transparent approach to fish farming and advocate a no surprises policy. We are improving our systems and have benefited from the recent leadership provided by DFO and the provinces to ensure a sustainable and vibrant aquaculture industry for the future. Further, we advocate a holistic approach that recognizes the technologies that currently exist and stimulates a focus on the research necessary to develop new technologies.

Our industry has learned much about preventative medicine and the use of techniques such as vaccination. We understand the important of biosecurity, and we contain and treat all blood water from our salmon operations, as an example. However, we do not see the same concern respecting other elements of our aquatic environment. Specifically, the lack of firm requirements concerning ballast water, movement of live fish for food, the unregulated aquaria industry, and the allowance of live bait in the recreational fishery are all issues that will require attention if we are to ensure that preventative measures are taken to protect not only threatened stocks, but also those stocks that are now seen to be healthy.

Further, our industry is working hard to bring to life a comprehensive aquatic animal health program, so that the protection already afforded to terrestrial animals, such as we have seen with racoon rabies, BSE, and hoof-and-mouth disease actions, can also be found in the aquatic environment. I raise this issue because the best intentions respecting marine conservation areas could be thwarted if we do not have the necessary tools to ensure a healthy marine environment.

In the aquaculture industry our farmers raise their animals in an aquatic environment, and we understand what effects an unhealthy environment can have on those animals. Failure to properly focus on this results in diminished economic activity in coastal and rural Canada. We clearly understand the importance of protecting the environment for future generations and believe we can play an important partnership role in the development of marine conservation areas. However, as noted above, there needs to be further discussion before proceeding with the proposed legislation.

Thank you.

The Chair: Ms. Jessen.

Ms. Sabine Jessen (Conservation Director, B.C. Chapter, Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society): Thank you, Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, for inviting me.

• 0925

I'm presenting three slightly different perspectives on this bill. The first is a national one from the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society or CPAWS. We were founded in 1963. CPAWS is Canada's grassroots voice for wilderness, with ten chapters and about 20,000 members across Canada. We're Canada's only national non-profit organization focused exclusively on protecting Canada's wilderness and natural heritage. We have over 35 years of experience on national park issues. We've actually worked to protect over 400,000 square kilometres of wilderness in Canada.

We have appeared before this committee many times on matters related to the National Parks Act and on the two previous incarnations of this bill. We've been active on marine protected area issues since the 1980s, when some of the initial policy development was undertaken.

The second of the perspectives is the west coast perspective. Our most recent marine work is focused on the Pacific coast through our British Columbia chapter, where I'm responsible for directing the marine program.

There are two sites of particular interest to us, where we are working with local communities to advance national marine conservation areas. They are in Gwaii Haanas on the Queen Charlotte Islands, and also in the southern Strait of Georgia.

The third perspective is from the island communities in the second of the sites, the southern Strait of Georgia. In the area, we're working with a variety of local people, including first nations and fishermen, to develop a vision for a national marine conversation area that was first discussed over 30 years ago and has been promised four times by the minister since 1995.

As they have seen the precipitous decline in the abundance of many local fish species and the deterioration in the general marine health of the area, the local communities on the southern Gulf Islands are most anxious for a national marine conservation area process to begin.

I've been working on these issues for over eight years in British Columbia, and began in this field over 20 years ago. I've conducted research on coastal zone management issues across Canada, especially in B.C. and Ontario. I was recently appointed by the Honourable Herb Dhaliwal, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, to the Minister's Advisory Council on Oceans.

I also serve on the North American Commission on Environmental Cooperation's marine protected areas steering committee and the World Conservation Union's North American marine protected areas working group.

As I mentioned, in British Columbia we do work with a number of first nations and community groups to advance the establishment of various kinds of marine protected areas. We recognize community support and involvement are absolutely critical to the long-term success of initiatives like these.

We see an important need for Bill C-10. We're concerned about what's happening to ocean environments that surround Canada. We're concerned not only about the reduction in marine biodiversity, but also the impact this has had on coastal communities across Canada.

Based on the experience around the world and the most recent scientific evidence, some of which was tabled with this committee last week by previous witnesses, we are persuaded that a network of marine protected areas is a very effective tool in helping to stem this loss of marine biodiversity. It is also clear from this research that some of the key beneficiaries of marine protected areas are the coastal communities and fishermen who rely on healthy fish stocks.

We support Bill C-10 for a number of reasons. The bill does provide a balance between long-term protection of marine ecosystems and the sustainable use of marine resources. This will ensure the long-term viability of coastal communities. This balance will be implemented through a zoning mechanism that will provide clarity for users and is a proven mechanism in marine protected areas around the world.

There's a strong emphasis in this bill on public consultation and involvement during every step of the process, from identification, evaluation, designation, to the subsequent management of these areas. The marine conservation area program is a complementary one to the other two federal programs.

Unlike the other federal programs of Fisheries and Oceans and Environment Canada, which are focused on special features or critical habitat for individual species, the marine conservation area program will develop a system of sites that are representative of the key marine habitats of Canada and will establish large protected areas that focus on the conservation of biodiversity.

• 0930

Finally, our other reason for supporting this bill is that it's built on internationally recognized strengths of Parks Canada in the fields of natural history, interpretation, and public education. This will ensure that Canadians gain a better appreciation of their connection to the ocean and the need to take greater responsibility in their stewardship.

We have made seven recommendations in our brief. I don't intend to go through all of them, but will focus on four key areas of concern to us.

First, we would like to see the incorporation of the concept of ecological integrity and a new purpose statement. I would refer you to subclause 4(3). In our view, this clause provides fundamental direction to Parks Canada in how marine conservation areas will be managed. This clause in fact incorporates the concept of ecological integrity without explicitly using the phrase.

However, ecological integrity is now the galvanizing vision for Parks Canada in terms of decision-making, staffing, and training. This concept is also gaining currency more broadly in the management of protected areas. For these reasons, we would recommend the concept of ecological integrity be included as a key feature of the bill. We believe this should be done in subclause 4(1). We have recommendations for wording for a new purpose clause. I won't read it, but I can later if you would like. We would also recommend it be incorporated into a revised subclause 9(3).

The second recommendation is related to the zoning section of the bill in subclause 4(4). We believe this clause is critical to providing for both the protection and sustainable use of national marine conservation areas. We have two concerns about the present wording. The first is the current language doesn't fully reflect our belief about the intention of the drafters to require the establishment of zones that are fully protected from industrial and other uses, in that the areas are described only as “special features and fragile ecosystems”.

The second issue we have with the zoning language is that as they are described in Bill C-10, they're really not completely consistent with the 1994 Parks Canada policies for national marine conservation areas that actually define three different zones. We believe the three zones in the policy should be reflected in the zoning section.

Our third area of concern is on the list of prohibitions. CPAWS would echo the concerns expressed last week to the committee by the World Wildlife Fund and the Canadian Nature Federation about the need to expand the list of prohibited activities in marine conservation areas. In our view, the current list of prohibitions is inadequate to meet the management and use provisions of subclause 4(3) that I referred to earlier.

We believe the following activities should be added to clause 13: finfish aquaculture, bottom trawling, pipelines, and acoustic deterrent devices. We would suggest dredging and blasting be added to clause 12, allowing them to occur in special circumstances only. In some cases, national marine conservation areas may include harbours that require dredging. We understand it might be the case. We would suggest the dredging and blasting elements be put under clause 12 to allow for them in some exceptional circumstances.

Our fourth area of concern is about making permits and fishing licences consistent with the management plans. This is in clause 15. We think we need to link both the issuance of the permits and fishing licences to the management plan for national marine conservation areas. The management plan is a reflection of the community's vision for how the national marine conservation area should be managed. It is developed in consultation with key federal and provincial agencies, including the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.

Given the importance of the management plan for setting the management direction for the marine conservation area, and for giving voice to the community's vision, it is important that the decisions on activities that may be allowed within the national marine conservation area be consistent with this plan. We have recommended a new subclause 15(4) to reflect the concerns.

I'd like to thank the committee once again for hearing our concerns on this bill and for providing the opportunity to bring them forward. Thank you.

The Chair: Thank you, Ms. Jessen.

Next we have Mr. David Tremblay and Mr. Kal Pristanski from the Lake Superior Regional Committee.

• 0935

Mr. David Tremblay (Chair, Lake Superior Regional Committee): Good morning.

First of all, Mr. Chairman, there is French translation of our presentation. We gave it to the clerk this morning.

The Chair: Then it can be distributed.


Mr. David Tremblay: Yes, sir. Thank you. We're pleased to be here this morning as well.

We are a citizens' group and I believe we are the only citizens' group in Canada that is currently examining the feasibility of establishing a marine conservation area in Canada. Our area is Lake Superior. We were created by the Minister of Canadian Heritage in May of 1998 to explore the feasibility of a national marine conservation area on Lake Superior.

Our committee was comprised of 14 members, local residents who are nominated by their communities and organizations. Of these, eight represent communities and first nations directly adjacent to the NMCA study area, and the balance are stakeholders and user groups from within the region.

Our committee has held 36 meetings during the past three years, including seven weekend meetings, to determine the merits and feasibility of establishing a national marine conservation area on Lake Superior and to make recommendations to the Minister of Canadian Heritage.

Our committee hosted two series of open houses in 1999 and 2000. During the 1999 open houses, we sought public input on boundary options in seven north shore communities. The following year, our committee sought public input in all eight north shore communities on a refined boundary option, management practices, zoning and accessibility, roles of education and science, management principles, management board, monitoring, and regulations.

In both rounds of open houses, the feedback we received from the constituents and residents of the north shore of Lake Superior was that there was sufficient support for us to proceed with an NMCA proposal.

In addition, we heard deputations from several individuals and organizations who had requested a forum to express their views both for and against the national marine conservation area proposal. Our committee members also provide updates to our constituents through council meetings and seek input on an ongoing basis.

Broadly speaking, the mandate of our small committee was as follows: to review scientific and technical information on the nature and cultural features of the Lake Superior study area; human use patterns; potential economic impacts; ship wrecks, etc. These and other studies are included in the appendices of our feasibility report, which is due to be released very soon.

We were also asked to develop boundary options and to refine a preferred option should there be support to proceed in that direction, and there was. We were asked to make recommendations based on public consultation and to update our municipal councils and constituents on the progress of our feasibility study.

Our committee used a consensus-based approach to make decisions and recommendations while working with an independent facilitator. After this process of three years, after a review of the final survey information from the open houses we held in the spring of 2000, the committee recommended in favour of establishing a national marine conservation area on Lake Superior in July last year. Our recommendation to establish an NMCA, it's interesting to note, is based on the legislation contained in the current version of Bill C-10.

In October 2000 our committee submitted their recommendations to the Minister of Canadian Heritage covering first nations, boundaries, mineral interests, resource management, tourism, research and education, infrastructure and services, capital expenditures, jobs, partnerships, and scheduling issues.

We have a few comments we'd like to make on Bill C-10, and my colleague, Mr. Pristanski, will speak.

• 0940

Mr. Kal Pristanski (Member, Lake Superior Regional Committee): Basically, the committee feels Bill C-10 is well constructed and is workable. The legislation will help people understand the differences between national parks and NMCAs. NMCAs are clearly founded on ecological sustainable use. This allows for protectionists and user groups, such as commercial fishermen, to achieve an appropriate balance.

The committee recognizes that Bill C-10 honours existing aboriginal and treaty rights as recognized and affirmed in section 35 of the Constitution Act of 1982. The committee is pleased that an interim management plan is required before an NMCA is established. The provision of a local advisory board in Bill C-10, as per subclause 11(1), is critical to ensure local residents have an ongoing role in the management of the area and that public consultation continues. The committee endorsed the precautionary principle in subclause 8(3) and in the preamble to Bill C-10.

Overall, the committee supports Bill C-10 and feels the legislation is workable.

Thank you.

The Chair: Mr. Barnes.

Mr. Paul Barnes (Manager, East Coast, Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers): Thank you for the opportunity to appear before the committee today.

My name is Paul Barnes and I am the east coast manager for the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, which is normally referred to by the acronym CAPP.

CAPP represents 150 companies whose activities focus on exploration, development, and production of natural gas and crude oil throughout Canada. Our member companies produce approximately 95% of Canada's natural gas and crude oil. Our head office is located in Calgary, Alberta, and we have regional offices in Halifax, Nova Scotia and St. John's, Newfoundland. I am based in and manage the St. John's, Newfoundland office.

We appreciate the opportunity to provide our views, particularly given the potential for significant impact of the proposed act on the Canadian oil and gas industry. Let me begin by saying that CAPP and our members are committed to protecting the environment and are interested in conservation of areas of special interest that will benefit the people of Canada and the world. We have demonstrated this in previous initiatives, in consultation with the Department of Canadian Heritage, through the establishment of protected areas in the northern Rockies and other areas in Alberta where no industrial activity is permitted.

We believe broad consultation and collaboration with stakeholders early in the process to establish government policy is absolutely critical. The oil and gas industry is an established and legitimate stakeholder in the management of the marine environment and wishes to be involved in this consultation.

Our submission today will focus first on our concern that Bill C-10 overlaps with the Oceans Act, and that the idea of marine conservation areas could be introduced as an amendment to the Ocean Act, therefore making Bill C-10 unnecessary. Secondly, we will outline specific problems with the bill that we feel must be addressed before it is pursued.

I'll begin with the overlap with the Oceans Act. The Oceans Act was passed in January of 1997. When this act was being developed, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans recognized that jurisdiction and responsibility for the management of activities affecting the oceans was very disjointed and split amongst 23 federal government departments, the provinces, and municipalities.

The Oceans Act was passed to improve the coordination of these activities, to reduce inefficiency and duplication of effort, and to result in better management of oceans-related activities. This oceans management strategy under the Oceans Act is intended to be a national strategy, not just a DFO strategy. It includes three tools, two of which were integrated management and marine protected areas. Marine protected areas under the Oceans Act are established to conserve and protect marine resources and habitats.

We recognize that Heritage Canada, in the proposed national marine conservation areas act, has a different focus from the Oceans Act, proposing to conserve representative areas for the benefit, education, and enjoyment of the people of Canada. However, we question whether a new act is required to achieve this goal.

Amendments to the Oceans Act could easily incorporate the idea of marine conservation areas. The types of issues that will arise from the various ocean users and other interested parties will be similar for marine protected areas and for marine conservation areas. A separate marine conservation areas act will likely result in overlap, duplication, and more consultations by different sets of federal government employees on similar topics. Operating in two separate streams, it is even possible that the two programs may actually be in conflict.

• 0945

With respect to our concerns with Bill C-10 as it's currently tabled, we have three specific concerns. Our first concern is the prohibition of oil and gas activity. Although Bill C-10 proposes that there can be zones within marine conservation areas, clause 13 of the bill states:

    No person shall explore for or exploit hydrocarbons, minerals, aggregates or any other inorganic matter within a marine conservation area.

The upstream oil and gas industry is committed to doing business in an environmentally responsible manner. Our members meet and often exceed the extensive regulations established by governments for working in a marine environment. We believe that exclusion of our industry is premature without a discussion about what requires protection and from what in the conservation area.

Our second concern has to do with the permanence of exclusion. We're concerned with subclause 5(3) of the bill, which states:

    No amendment may be made by the Governor in Council to Schedule 1 for the purpose of removing any portion of the marine conservation area.

This clause causes us concern, as it implies that once established, a marine conservation area will exist in perpetuity. This is of particular concern, as these areas can be established out to the 200-mile limit, where the oil and gas industry is active, especially on the east coast of Canada. This potential permanence, combined with the proposed blanket exclusion of oil and gas, exacerbates the need for the development of strict criteria to govern the choice of sites, if this bill is passed.

Lastly, we have concern over the lack of some clear definitions in the bill. There are a number of terms used in the proposed bill that require clear definition, including precautionary principle, self-regulating marine ecosystems, and fragile ecosystems. The precautionary principle, in particular, is often confused with the precautionary approach, which is defined in many United Nations agreements.

Other Canadian acts provide a definition for the precautionary principle and this bill should adopt the same definition in order to be consistent and to provide the needed clarity.

In conclusion, I would like to reiterate that CAPP supports the concept of conserving representative marine areas of special interest for the benefit of all Canadians, and we believe this can be best accomplished through amendments to the Oceans Act.

Thank you.

The Chair: Thank you very much, Mr. Barnes.


Mr. Langelier, I apologize for having forgotten you, but sometimes it is better to speak last. People listen to you more attentively. Go ahead.

Mr. Serge Langelier (Biologist, Regroupement des pêcheurs professionnels de la haute et moyenne Côte-Nord, Alliance des pêcheurs professionnels du Québec): Thank you very much, Mr. Lincoln.

I would like to begin by introducing the Alliance des pêcheurs professionnels du Québec. It is a federation of regional fishermen's associations from Gaspé, the North Shore and the Magdalen Islands which represent the majority of the professional fishermen of Quebec. All fleets combined, there are approximately 1,000 professional fishermen spread throughout the coastal regions.

The Alliance members are essentially independent in-shore skipper-owners. They harvest the fishery resources using primarily fixed gear vessels of less than 50 feet in length.

The Alliance members fish for most of the fish and crustacean species found in the coastal zones, including lobster, snow crab, various species of ground fish such as cod, black turbot and Atlantic halibut, scallops, off-shore species such as herring and mackerel, and other related species.

I will now read from my brief.

The Alliance des pêcheurs professionnels du Québec is pleased to have the opportunity to table some preliminary comments on Bill C-10 respecting the national marine conservation areas.

The first part of my brief looks at general considerations.

Canada's national marine conservation areas will be in addition to the Priority Intervention Zones put forward by the St. Lawrence Vision 2000, the marine protection zones and national parks such as the one at Tadoussac, not to mention the existing Marine Protected Areas Program.

All of these agencies or programs have objectives related to conservation and public education. It would be worthwhile to take advantage of this bill to obtain some concerted action.

Does not the recently tabled Oceans Act already contain provisions to protect fragile or representative marine environments?

A marine space cannot be visited in the same way as a land- based park. The former can be enjoyed by recreational boaters or people engaged in underwater pursuits. The term "marine conservation area" then becomes another name to designate a marine park. Why is the Saguenay-St. Lawrence Marine Park not covered by this program?

• 0950

Does not the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada have a mandate to manage and protect the marine environment, a mandate it has held for more than 100 years?

Conservation and development: It has been the consistent policy of the Alliance to promote conservation and the use of environmentally sound gear, so that future generations will have the option of fishing for a living. Since the collapse of the cod fishery, DFO has increasingly taken into account conservation measures and the precautionary principle when setting fishing quotas.

As fishermen, we cannot remain indifferent to the cod fishing during the spawning season at Black Tickle. In the course of this destructive trawling, deck hands have to sluice down the boat's deck in order to remove the cod roe. When coastal fishermen denounce this practice, their words sometimes fall on deaf ears.

The principle of sustainable use must be carefully defined, since the semantics may vary the definition of this expression depending on whether it is being used by an environmental group or a group of fishermen.

Under subsection 5(1), the power to decree a conservation area is given to the government of Canada with no possibility of challenge by the provincial governments or Aboriginal communities. These areas should be established through consultation with the communities involved supported by scientific research for the purpose of defining the special character of such areas.

Will there be substantial limits on the marine conservation areas? Would it be possible that someday the whole of the Gulf of St. Lawrence will be defined as a marine conservation area?

Management Committee: Does the definition of coastal community include representatives of the fishermen's organizations? Will those organizations incorporated under Part III of the Non-profit Companies Act have the right to sit on these management committees?

Prohibitions: It is reassuring to see in subsection 15 (2) that the superintendent of a marine conservation area does not have the power to revoke the fishing licence issued by DFO under the Fisheries Act.

Regulations: The marine conservation area management committee should not be able to charge fees for any harvesting activities, since fishermen are already paying for the resource with the DFO fishing licences.

What is the meaning and scope of the following clause?

    Regulations made on the recommendation of two ministers prevail over regulations made under the Fisheries Act, the Coastal Fisheries Protection Act, the Canada Shipping Act, the Arctic Waters Pollution Prevention Act, the Navigable Waters Protection Act or the Aeronautics Act.

Enforcement: The DFO already has fisheries officers who patrol the waters. These officers are trained and know the laws and the custodial role assigned to them.

Offences and Punishment: The conservation area authorities should not be both the judge and prosecutor in regard to any enforcement of the regulations. Penalties should be handed out by unbiased judicial authorities.

Mitigation of Environmental Damage: It is completely normal that environmental damage should be remedied at the expense of whoever caused the damage.

General Comments: The Alliance des pêcheurs professionnels du Québec is favourable to the principles of conservation and sustainable development. However, the marine conservation areas management mandate should be under the jurisdiction of the DFO, as are the Marine Protection Areas. Will there be some connection between the conservation areas created by Canadian Heritage and those created by the DFO Marine Protection Areas Program?

Isn't it worth the trouble to standardize all of these conservation areas that are being set up by the various government departments?

• 0955

We are also favourable to the exploitation of maritime species using ecological fishing gear. In the marine conservation areas, trawling should be officially prohibited owing to the damage it may cause to the habitat of the fish. The coastal fishermen have for many years now been denouncing these devices that are harmful to the sea floor.

Definition of the Precautionary Principle: The precautionary principle should be clearly defined, with some clear guidelines. The government is committed to adopting the precautionary principle in the conservation and management of the marine environment so that, where there are threats of environmental damage, lack of scientific certainty is not used as a reason for postponing preventive measures.

It is important that the objectives of conservation and sustainable management of the fisheries be achieved and that the roles, responsibilities and relationships between the various participants in the territorial management system be spelled out.

Thank you.

The Chair: Thank you very much, Mr. Langelier.


I'll open the meeting to questions. I would remind members about the way the rules are set up. Each party's allowed five minutes. We start with the Canadian Alliance and the Bloc Québécois, for five minutes each. We go to two Liberals, for five minutes each. We come back to the NDP and the PCs for five minutes each, then back to two Liberals. After that, it's an open session. As we have till 11:30, there's plenty of time for all members to ask questions.

After the party questions it's on a first-come, first-served basis, so if you put your name in for the second round, there'll be lots of time for questions.

Mr. Dennis Mills: Mr. Chairman, I had my name on the list. I had some lengthy discussions with my colleague Mr. Comuzzi, and I'm so delighted that he's here today. I'd like the clerk to strike my name and time. Mr. Comuzzi could ask my questions.

The Chair: We'll give your time to Mr. Comuzzi, so he'll be the first to speak.

From the Canadian Alliance, Mr. Burton.

Mr. Andy Burton (Skeena, Canadian Alliance): Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I want to get it on the record that I did have three expert witnesses lined up for today, Mr. Chairman. I was informed by the clerk on May 31 that they would not be allowed. I'm very concerned about that. They were witnesses from the west coast, from my area, with concerns regarding the potential for offshore oil and gas exploration. I think they should have been allowed. I respectfully request that you allow more witnesses so that we can bring these people out, and possibly more.

I have 19 letters of concern to date from concerned communities and individuals on the west coast. They deserve to be heard. I would appreciate it if you would consider that, Mr. Chairman.

The Chair: I would like to set out the position of the committee as it has been discussed so far, Mr. Burton. You've written me a letter, which I've answered to you officially today, but in-between times I should mention this.

On March 12 the clerk of the committee sent out a memo asking for members to make suggestions about people to be heard. Subsequent to that, we had a meeting in early May, and I could give you the dates, where we reviewed... and I formally asked the members if suggestions were forthcoming. None were, so eventually, with all the members of various parties present in each case, the decision was made to close the list so that the clerk could make suitable entries in the budget for how much would be allowed for people's travel to Ottawa, etc.

Since then I received your letter. It was dated May 21, with requests from 28 communities on the list, with 19 letters that were all dated between May 25 and May 28, or thereabouts. We brought it up before the committee last time when Mrs. Gallant was here, and the committee chose to keep its decision on witnesses, because we'd given ample notice, as is usual with these committees. We did nothing different this time from what we did before.

Now we have a motion from Mrs. Gallant to reopen the witness list because of the B.C. government. If you want to add to that motion, make notice to hear other communities, that will be for the members to decide.

• 1000

Mr. Andy Burton: Okay. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. We will deal with that, but I don't want to lose all my time.

The Chair: No, no, that's fine. I won't take this out of your time.

Mr. Andy Burton: Okay. Thank you very much. I do appreciate that.

I understand there has been another witness allowed since I received this letter.

The Chair: That is not correct.

Mr. Andy Burton: Okay. I stand to be corrected. Thank you.

My point is made, and hopefully the committee will consider that when Mrs. Gallant's motion comes forward.

Now to the questions, Mr. Chairman? May I start?

The Chair: Yes, by all means.

Mr. Andy Burton: Thank you.

Mr. Barnes, I'd like you to expand a little bit on the industry approach and experience off the east coast and how you would relate that to potential for the west coast in terms of offshore oil and gas and the exploration that needs to be done prior to any potential for extraction—the need to gather information so that decisions on situations like MCAs can be made with information and good, sound, solid information from the industry as well as from other witnesses. Could you expand on that a bit for me, please?

Mr. Paul Barnes: Sure. My experience has been on the east coast because I am resident in the province of Newfoundland and have worked in the oil and gas industry there for ten years now—ten years with the government regulating body on the offshore and the past two years with CAPP.

The industry obviously is very environmentally conscious when it goes about its activities, whether that be exploration, development, or production. On the east coast the provinces are open for offshore activity, and have been since the mid-1960s, when oil exploration began off Newfoundland, and the late 1960s, when oil exploration began off Nova Scotia. And we do it in a very environmentally responsible manner. There are a number of government regulatory processes industry has to go through in order to be granted the opportunity to explore, develop, and eventually produce oil and gas off the east coast.

As that relates to the west coast, of course there is a moratorium there, where oil and gas activity is not permitted. The industry is interested in doing some exploration on the west coast, off B.C., but won't do so until the regulatory regime is in place there and until aboriginal land claims and other settlements are in place, and of course until the constituents of the province of British Columbia decide that it's appropriate to lift the moratorium.

Mr. Andy Burton: Okay.

I have another question on the concept of when it gets into actual production, which of course would be a long way down the road. Can you explain for the group the concept of directional drilling? If there were, for instance, an area that was an MCA, how could you actually access that area from outside it? I'm not sure everybody's clear on that. Can you give just a quick explanation of that?

Mr. Paul Barnes: Sure. I'm not an engineer or a driller by any means, but the technology exists today in the oil and gas industry. It's called horizontal drilling, which basically means that you can drill into the ocean floor or on land and the bottom hole coordinates are not directly below where you start drilling. You can drill horizontally out quite a distance from the actual location where you start drilling. For instance, in the Hibernia production field, which is offshore Newfoundland, there are wells that are about five kilometres away from where the actual drill bit enters the sea floor.

So the oil and gas industry can easily set up its exploration drilling rigs or production drilling platforms outside of any protected area and drill underneath that protected area in search of hydrocarbons.

Mr. Andy Burton: Okay.

I lost my train of thought.

Go ahead. Do you have anything?

Mr. David Chatters (Athabasca, Canadian Alliance): I was interested in the presentation from the Lake Superior Regional Committee. I'm curious how the minister came about setting up your particular committee and why similar committees weren't set up on the west coast to study the whole concept and make recommendations to the minister and build community support. Every witness I've heard to date has suggested that this marine conservation area couldn't be successful without community support. Yet it's curious that only in the Lake Superior region has a community committee such as yours been set up. How did that happen?

• 1005

Mr. David Tremblay: That was done under the auspices of Parks Canada. I really can't speak to the dynamic that created our particular committee, although I am aware we were the only one in Canada that had been set up. This was the first time, so we were kind of a test case to see how we would do. My understanding is that they would be looking at more of this in the future. I can't really speak directly as to... You'd have to ask someone from Parks Canada how they went about the dynamic of initiating our committee.

Mr. Kal Pristanski: If I could add to that, our committee was set up in May of 1998. Parks Canada, in 1997, held a series of open houses and met with various community groups, industry, municipal councils, fish and game clubs, boating societies, yacht clubs, basically to test the water to see if there was any support to establish a committee. After that, those interest groups were allowed to submit names to sit on the regional committee. Some chose to, some chose not to. Our committee was made up then of 14 members, representing a wide variety, from one end of the spectrum to the other, of individuals, working by consensus.

I can't stress that enough. We said it in our report. You had 14 people, from environmentalists on this side, to the boating societies floating around the middle, depending on where the wind blew, and the commercial fishermen, then you had me on the other side, but that's beside the point—and by consensus, agreeing. Everybody gave a little. We came up with a proposal, and the proposal works. We hope it works.

The Chair: Madame Gagnon.


Ms. Christiane Gagnon: My question is for the Alliance des pêcheurs professionnels du Québec.

You've expressed a number of reservations about Bill C-10. Does this mean that you're not in favour of the bill or that you hope that it can be improved?

Your presentation does not contain recommendations, but rather suggestions. Are you against Bill C-10 because it does not respect the principle of consensus-building? You would like to see consensus-building take place. Is it because C-10 disregards Quebec's way of doing things and because there would be duplication within various federal administrations? I'd like you to be a little bit more specific, because the position stated in your brief is not clear.

Mr. Serge Langelier: We have very little time to prepare a brief. We're not against Bill C-10, but we see an ever-growing number of conservation programs. That's why I wanted to discuss the priority intervention zones within the framework of St. Lawrence Vision 2000, in which both the provincial and federal governments are involved. There is even a conservation area program within Fisheries and Oceans. In French, the title of Bill C-10 includes the words "aires marines nationales de conservation". Thus there is the Act respecting the National Marine Conservation Areas of Canada and also the Marine Conservation Areas Program. In effect this is duplication of duplication of duplication.

We agree with conservation and that is part of our concerns, but we'd like to see Bill C-10 gather all this together so that we can have a single program or a single piece of legislation. Even the legislation on oceans that was tabled provides for constraints regarding conservation and the protection of marine environments. We can no longer see clearly through all this.

Ms. Christiane Gagnon: I have a second question. If Bill C-10 were to be enacted, there would be no respect for the integrity of the territory. According to the Constitution Act, the management of the lands is a matter of provincial jurisdiction. Under C-10, for the Quebec part of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, we'd have to fight to figure out who keeps... How could this be allocated? Does that concern you?

• 1010

Mr. Serge Langelier: We already see jurisdictional problems with regard to the sea floor. Right now, one can receive an aquaculture licence issued by provincial authorities of the MAPAQ which is not subject to Fisheries and Oceans management regulations. For us, the manager is Fisheries and Oceans. When we have aquaculture problems, we're subjected to disputes between the federal and provincial governments, and nothing ever seems to be solved in these matters.

Ms. Christiane Gagnon: In the case of the Saguenay Marine Park, we seem to have reached an agreement from the outset. In a bill like this, we would have had to proceed on a case-by-case basis for Quebec, in order to solve all the disputes about territory and duplication of work by various departments. Would you have liked to see that kind of approach?

Mr. Serge Langelier: It would be desirable to have some standardization to simplify the system. Such simplification would solve many problems.

Ms. Christiane Gagnon: That means that the government could have made all these approaches before tabling a bill like this.

Mr. Serge Langelier: Upon reading the bill, we see that one of the objectives behind it is to standardize and unify all the environmental conservation programs. We're in favour of this standardization. We're really not against that.

Ms. Christiane Gagnon: Well if that were to happen, who would be in charge of this standardization? The federal government or the provincial government?

Mr. Serge Langelier: Right now, fisheries management comes under Fisheries and Oceans. So we've always dealt with Fisheries and Oceans.


The Chair: Mr. Comuzzi.

Mr. Joe Comuzzi (Thunder Bay—Superior North, Lib.): Mr. Chairman, before we get into the questions, would you mind if we just went over the procedure with respect to the terms of reference in the bill?

As I see the bill this morning—but I would stand to be corrected by you, Mr. Chairman—there is no listing of those areas that are proposed for the marine conservations areas.

The Chair: There's no listing. They would have to be listed. In other words, when there's a reference to the amendments in the schedule, the schedules are blank. So there would have to be the various processes—

Mr. Joe Comuzzi: What page are you referring to in the legislation?

The Chair: If you look at page 23, schedule 1, and page 24, schedule 2, these are blank. There's nothing listed. So you would have to have a process whereby under subclause 7(1) there would be a report tabled in the House of Commons, tabled in the Senate, that would go to the respective committees of the House. Once there was a proposal to establish a marine area, then there would be what is called an amendment to the schedule, which would mean that a particular MCA would be added to the schedule. There are none at the moment.

Mr. Joe Comuzzi: Let's assume, if I may, that the bill passes. There are no schedules prior to any conservation area being proposed. It comes back to the committee—

The Chair: It comes back to the House, it comes back to the Senate, then to the committee.

Mr. Joe Comuzzi: Then to the committee, at which time members of Parliament, whoever they may be, can come and speak on it.

The Chair: Absolutely.

Mr. Joe Comuzzi: Then at that point in time, if there is a proposal for a conservation area in a particular area, that would go back to the House for a vote.

The Chair: That's correct. It's either accepted or rejected or amended. In other words, there's a proposal that is... Before an Order in Council is issued—and the lawyer of the committee will correct me if I'm wrong—

Mr. Joe Comuzzi: I'd like to hear from the lawyer on this, yes.

A voice: We don't give opinions.

The Chair: Oh, you don't give opinions.

Mr. Joe Comuzzi: You're the only lawyer I know who doesn't.

A voice: We're special.

• 1015

The Chair: It says:

    7.(1) Before an amendment is made to Schedule 1 or 2

—which is really the inscribing of a particular MCA into schedules 1 and 2, which are blank at the moment—

    the proposed amendment shall be laid before each House of Parliament together with a report on the proposed marine conservation area or reserve, which report shall include... information on consultations undertaken... and an interim management plan... and an amendment so laid stands referred to the standing committee of each House that normally considers matters...

    (2) The committee of each House may, within 20 sitting days after the amendment... report to the House that it disapproves the amendment, in which case a motion to concur in the report shall be put to the House in accordance with its procedures.

    (3) The motion shall be debated for not more than...

    (4) A proposed amendment to Schedule 1 or 2 may be made if 21 sitting days have elapsed after the tabling of the amendment in both Houses and no motion referred to... has been proposed in either House.

Mr. Joe Comuzzi: You're satisfied, Mr. Chairman, that there's adequate protection within the present legislation and that before any conservation area is proposed there's adequate representation from the communities involved to express their opinion as to whether there should be a marine conservation area in their area.

The Chair: Absolutely. I'm perfectly satisfied.

Take the case of the Lake Superior pilot projects. Before anything happens they have to issue a report of all the consultations that have taken place, to which any one of us here can object, if not all the community groups have been included, for example. They have to have a management plan, and this will go before both Houses, which in turn will appoint their respective committees to study it. So it will come back here, or it could go another committee. It could go to any committee the House appoints, but it probably will be this committee and the relative one in the Senate, which then convenes the members and looks at the plans and the reports to be satisfied that they're okay and then they'll go back to the House.

Mr. Joe Comuzzi: Okay. I think that's pretty clear. That dictates my line of questioning then. My questioning time starts now, after that clarification.

The Chair: We needed to know how this thing works.

Mr. Joe Comuzzi: Okay.

I want to thank you, Mr. Tremblay and Mr. Pristanski, for all the time you've spent. I know you've had 35 or 40 meetings up and down the area I represent. Just by way of information, the area of which we speak for the proposed Lake Superior marine conservation area is entirely within the riding I represent, so I appreciate very much Mr. Tremblay's...

You're from Dorion, Mr. Tremblay, am I correct? Yes. And Mr. Pristanski naturally is from Red Rock and is the Reeve of Red Rock.

I'm sure other politicians have not the same problem we do. In our area, being so diverse, there's always a vast difference of opinion with respect to what happens. And as you know, gentlemen, there's a pretty diversified difference of opinion with respect to the work you're doing.

Let me read a letter... You say, Mr. Tremblay, that you started this process in May of 1998?

Mr. David Tremblay: Correct. The committee was appointed in May of 1998.

Mr. Joe Comuzzi: Were you the chairman then?

Mr. David Tremblay: No, I was not.

Mr. Joe Comuzzi: Who was the chairman then?

Mr. David Tremblay: In June of 1998 it was just an initial meeting to kind of get to know everybody who was on the committee. We actually didn't decide on a chairman until the fall.

Mr. Joe Comuzzi: I see. So who was acting chair?

Mr. David Tremblay: I was the first chairman of the committee.

Mr. Joe Comuzzi: No, but who was acting chairman in that initial stage? Who convened the meetings?

Mr. David Tremblay: There wasn't one. Parks Canada convened the very first meeting in June of 1998. It was late in the month. We had one session, which was mostly just to get to know one another.

Mr. Joe Comuzzi: But how did you all get there?

Mr. David Tremblay: A meeting was arranged. We were informed that there was a meeting to be held in the Nipigon Memorial Hospital, one of their rooms there. We were to be there at a certain time. We got to the meeting and mostly it was members of the committee who had been appointed by their groups.

Mr. Joe Comuzzi: Were you advised that you were a member of the committee prior, or...

Mr. David Tremblay: Yes, I was.

Mr. Joe Comuzzi: How were you made an advisory board member?

• 1020

Mr. David Tremblay: Actually the municipal township of Dorion advised me. I put my name forth in regard to another committee, the Lakehead Regional Conservation Authority.

Mr. Joe Comuzzi: Was there any preamble... I think Mr. Pristanski said there was something going on in 1997. Prior to 1998 there was an information process or something like that.

Mr. Kal Pristanski: Yes, there was.

Mr. Joe Comuzzi: What was that? Explain that, Mr. Pristanski.

Mr. Kal Pristanski: Basically a Parks Canada team visited every community on the north shore. They spoke to councils. They spoke to interest groups. From that point on it was certainly made clear that a regional committee would probably be established and if you wanted to be on that committee you had to request it.

Mr. Joe Comuzzi: So from 1998 you became official as the advisory committee to...

Mr. Chairman, I wrote a letter to the minister at that time, Mr. Mitchell, on April 29, 1999, which is a year after the formation of the 1998 committee. I don't think I was briefed. I travel this area quite a bit. I was finally advised that we were going to put a marine conservation area on Lake Superior. I knew nothing about it. So I asked for a briefing from Parks Canada, which they were good enough to give me.

I wrote the minister—and what I want to emphasis, Mr. Chairman, is that I'm not coming in at the last moment—on April 29. This pretty well solidifies my position as a member: there is no way I disagree with the establishment of the Lake Superior Conservation Authority. There is no way I disagree with the formation of the conservation authority in that area. What I do disagree with is the procedures that are being used to attempt to gain public support. What I meant by that and what I've been hearing is that there is some problem with respect to representation and there are some groups that have not been heard.

I'll close my questioning, Mr. Chairman, because I know my time is up.

We can't have that. This is a good-news story. We can't have dissension in all of those communities with respect to the establishment, if there is an establishment, of the Great Lakes Conservation Marine Authority.

So you wouldn't mind, Mr. Tremblay, and you're certainly not opposed... the recommendations made through your advisory committee could be reviewed?

Mr. David Tremblay: Absolutely.

Mr. Joe Comuzzi: And your committee and your chairman would be very supportive of a thorough review of all the recommendations you have made over the last two years by an independent group, which would also report to your committee, Mr. Chairman. Would you have any opposition to that?

Mr. David Tremblay: Absolutely not.

Mr. Joe Comuzzi: And your committee would give them full and complete cooperation with respect to that review?

Mr. David Tremblay: Sure.

Mr. Joe Comuzzi: Those are my questions, Mr. Chairman.

There are transcripts here, are there not?

The Chair: Yes, there are transcripts.

Mr. Joe Comuzzi: Thank you.

The Chair: There are four minutes left on the Liberal side. Ms. Bulte.

Mr. Kal Pristanski: Can I comment on Mr. Comuzzi's—

The Chair: Yes, sure.

You're just taking over from the time that's left, but that's okay. Go ahead.

Mr. Kal Pristanski: Joe, we've had this discussion many times about representation on the committee.

Mr. Joe Comuzzi: But I'm not discussing that now; I'm not discussing representation. I'm discussing the recommendations.

Mr. Kal Pristanski: Well, you've certainly made it clear that you feel there are groups that were not represented on the committee.

Mr. Joe Comuzzi: Do you want me to list them?

Mr. Kal Pristanski: All of those groups have had the opportunity to make deputations to the committee. Some have, some haven't. We've received many deputations and we're continuing to take deputations to the committee. Again, some of those groups at the time did not want to be on the committee; they chose not to be on the committee. Certainly the industrial representatives did not want to be on the committee at that time.

Our support for the proposal is almost 80% of the surveyed people in the area; 80% are in favour of establishing an MCA. The statistics are there, Joe.

The Chair: Ms. Bulte.

Mr. Joe Comuzzi: Can I respond, Mr. Chairman?

• 1025

The Chair: Mr. Comuzzi, you'll have lots of time after. I'll put your name down.

We'll go to Ms. Bulte—

Mr. Joe Comuzzi: That will be this morning.

The Chair: This morning, yes.

Ms. Bulte.

Ms. Sarmite Bulte (Parkdale—High Park, Lib.): I'd like to thank everyone for coming today and speaking to the committee on this legislation.

I have a couple of questions. I heard Mr. Langelier and also Mr. Barnes talks about the duplication of the Oceans Act. I know this is something that came up at the last committee meeting we had.

Again, I don't mean to put you on the spot, Ms. Jessen, but based on your expertise and the work you've been doing for 28 years, perhaps you could give us your opinion about whether there is a duplication. I know in the last session there was some discussion about complementing. Just to set the record straight in this group of hearings, maybe you wouldn't mind addressing that. That's one question.

Also, Ms. Jessen, you talk about having been involved in a lot of the B.C. community consultations on the marine conservation areas. I don't know if you were here last week when we had Mr. Mercredi from the first nations speak about the lack of consultation with the first nations in British Columbia, and I believe it was the aboriginal fishermen's group. I wonder if you're aware of any consultations, or have you been involved in any? Could you perhaps address Mr. Mercredi's concerns?

Lastly, very quickly, Mr. Barnes, I understand you're the east coast representative of CAPP. I wonder if you could comment on the west coast CAPP and how they surrendered their leases and the agreements they came to in the Gwaii Haanas area, which is a proposed area where consultations have been going on—the role CAPP plays there and how they were able to come to an agreement on the west coast with respect to those leases.

Thank you.

Ms. Sabine Jessen: In terms of the issue of duplication, certainly the Oceans Act does give direction to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans to take the lead role on oceans issues, but it doesn't prevent the role of other federal agencies, in a variety of areas, to have jurisdiction over various oceans issues that are part of their mandates.

In my view, there are a number of clear distinctions between the different marine... if you consider them a generic family of marine protected areas, where you do have the marine protected areas under the Oceans Act, you have national marine wildlife areas under the Canada Wildlife Act, administered by Environment Canada, and then you have the national marine conservation areas program of Parks Canada. They are each quite distinct.

I think one of the contributions of Parks Canada... First of all, I would submit that Parks Canada actually has the longest experience in developing policy and in working on a program of protected areas in the ocean of any of the federal agencies. There are policies and discussion papers on this going back to the early 1980s.

In addition, what Parks Canada brings—and this was also discussed, I believe, by the witnesses last week. One of the key things Parks Canada brings to this... actually, there are a couple. First is the idea of representation of habitats. We do not find that under any of the other programs. There will be a discrete number—Parks Canada has identified 29 marine regions in Canada—and there will be a site set up to represent each of those regions. That is the limit of the program, one in each region. In some cases, like Gwaii Haanas, you'll have one site that will actually represent two regions because of the way it's situated.

In addition to the representation mandate, I think one of the key things Parks Canada brings to this—and I mention this in my brief—is the interpretation and the public education function. That's not really part of the mandate of the other agencies that are setting up marine protected areas, and it's not really a focus for those types of marine protected areas.

The national marine conservation areas are intended to be places where people can go, where they can experience the ocean environment and they can learn about what's there. That is not the same kind of mandate that the other federal agencies have.

I guess the final point I would like to make on this issue of duplication is that we are talking about three federal programs. On the terrestrial side of things, we have the same kind of mix of programs of protected areas. We don't only have national parks protecting our natural heritage on the land; we have a variety of different types of legislation, different types of protected areas that are run by both federal and provincial agencies, that take advantage of the different kinds of expertise the different agencies have and the different kinds of mandates.

• 1030

I don't find this to be at all out of line on the marine side. That would be my answer on that.

Ms. Sarmite Bulte: And your comment on—

Ms. Sabine Jessen: Yes, I'll get to that.

I've been involved in a number of consultations regarding this legislation and the overall programs. In fact, I've also attended one of the meetings where Parks Canada specifically outlined the marine legislation to the B.C. Aboriginal Fisheries Commission. I don't recall the date, but there was a detailed review of what was in the legislation for the B.C. Aboriginal Fisheries Commission, and certainly an invitation from Parks Canada to provide other information, to do other kinds of consultations, whatever the fisheries commission would have been interested in following up on.

I don't know the extent to which they followed up on that, but I do know there have also been a number of other consultations, because in British Columbia, one of the interesting things that the federal and provincial agencies have embarked on, in order to avoid duplication, overlap, and conflict in these kinds of programs, is that the three federal agencies, as well as their provincial counterparts, have come together in a steering committee and working group.

They have actually issued a draft marine protected areas strategy for the west coast and outlined ways in which they are going to work cooperatively. They have had a number of consultations as well with the first nations community, about what kind of role the first nations could play in that kind of cooperative initiative. There has been a lot of work on the west coast to talk about marine protected areas in general and the marine conservation areas program.

Ms. Sarmite Bulte: Did you say there was a task force or a working group set up with the province?

Ms. Sabine Jessen: There is a steering committee with the province, and a working group of people who support that senior level steering committee.

The steering committee is made up of people like the regional directors general of Fisheries and Oceans and Environment Canada, as well as the senior Parks Canada officials in British Columbia, and various provincial agency assistant deputy ministers.

Ms. Sarmite Bulte: And they're all on the steering committee?

Ms. Sabine Jessen: Yes.

Ms. Sarmite Bulte: Thank you.

The Chair: Mr. Barnes, briefly. There's a question to you.

Mr. Paul Barnes: Yes. I don't know if I'm in a position to answer that question adequately. I'm not sure of the history behind the leases that are offshore B.C. in the moratorium area. I don't know if there is a procedure this committee follows by which I could provide a written answer to that later, once I consult with our B.C.—

The Chair: Can you provide a written answer?

Mr. Paul Barnes: We can.

The Chair: Could you file it with the clerk, please?

Ms. Sarmite Bulte: I think that's important, Mr. Barnes. You were speaking on behalf of the association. I notice that you're the manager in the east, but the west has actually been able to work with the communities there. So I just want to make sure it's clear for the record that you're the east coast manager, and you're not aware of what's happening in the west.

Mr. Paul Barnes: Yes.

Ms. Sarmite Bulte: Thank you.

The Chair: Mr. Comartin.

Mr. Joe Comartin: I have no questions, Mr. Chair.

The Chair: Mr. Hearn.

Mr. Loyola Hearn (St. John's West, PC): Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I think what we're seeing here this morning, more so than during the last few days perhaps, is what we tried to point out on Thursday, that we really have two categories of presenters, one representing almost the department's chain, parks or whatever, people very interested in preserving the environment, which is a very laudable aim, one we all agree with and support. But we also have to remember, as I've pointed out in the past, that in marine areas, in particular around the coasts of Atlantic Canada, Western Canada, and perhaps to a degree the Great Lakes, though I'm not sure whether Lake Superior really fits in with what I'm about to say, but in many of these areas, the people that live in these communities have to make a living from these environments.

So it's great to bring in legislation that just protects for the future or for the present, but we have to remember that in the present, and perhaps in the future also, the resources that are in the sea and under the sea have to be harvested in order for these people to live.

• 1035

I must say—he's gone—he has a lot more faith in the process than I have, because he said, in answer to Mr. Comuzzi's question, that he was completely satisfied that the protection was there, as any recommendations will come back to the Senate, the House, and the committee. Politically, I don't have to remind you that the Senate, the House, and the committee are all dominated by Liberals, by the present government. So if the minister or her department wants something put through, it goes through, and we can object all we like.

So I would like to see the protection in legislation, and then we don't have to worry about who's in the chair or who is on the committee. There are too many parts of this legislation that are extremely vague and can be interpreted one way or another, that certainly do not give protection to people who live in this environment, particularly when it comes to using that to gain a living.

Perhaps I'll just throw it open. I listened particularly to Mr. Langelier, representing the fishermen in his area. I represent a fishing district also, so I'm well aware of what he's saying.

Also, to the people representing the aquaculture, Mr. Rideout, and certainly Mr. Barnes, in relation to the offshore, we are just scratching the surface in relation to offshore development, certainly on the east coast. Who knows where the next find is? It's really in relation to that development that our future depends. So it's great to say preserve the marine environment... and I'm all for it, and again, I think both can be done as long as they are done properly, with proper consultation, with one not infringing on the other. I'd like to ask perhaps Mr. Barnes or Mr. Rideout, or anybody, to comment on this.

Mr. Paul Barnes: Maybe I can start.

I would certainly agree that from our industry's perspective, we certainly support consultation. We believe, as well, that we can mutually coexist in any offshore area with other stakeholders, like the fishing industry, the tourism industry, or the transportation industry. We've exhibited that mutual cooperation and interaction in a number of areas around the world, including the Gulf of Mexico, where there's an extensive fishing industry activity in amongst oil and gas activity, and also in the North Sea areas of the U.K. and Norway, where there's also a huge amount of fishing activity and petroleum activity and both industries interact. They're learning where each other is and how their activities may potentially affect each other, but interacting in a mutually cooperative way. I fully support his statement.

Mr. David Rideout: I would like to support the statement. I think it's important that we find a way that all groups can get together and talk and resolve issues respecting not only marine conservation areas, but all aspects of ecosystem management. For the aquaculture industry, that's an approach we favour. We look to have an open and transparent discussion, and as I said in my presentation, a no-surprises approach.

I think one thing that's really quite important is the importance of industries like aquaculture and the fishery to coastal communities and coastal community development. We believe we represent a viable economic choice and an environmentally sustainable choice for coastal communities in the future.

Ms. Sabine Jessen: Mr. Chairman, could I add to the comments, please?

I mentioned in my presentation—and it was mentioned last week as well—the research that has been done by scientists on marine protected areas that have been established elsewhere in the world. A consensus statement that summarizes this research and the benefits that in fact come from establishing marine protected areas has been signed by 161 scientists.

I mentioned in my presentation as well that the key beneficiaries are fishermen. What they've shown in places like New Zealand, where they have these highly protected areas, is that the fishermen are finding that the fish eventually disperse outside of these areas, and their fishing has improved as a result of the establishment of these areas.

• 1040

These are tools we need to start using in our efforts to improve the fisheries. The evidence from these scientists around the world is very clear, that they result in more fish and bigger fish and that the fishing communities actually benefit from having these areas established. I don't think we should see them as simply a cost for coastal communities. There are some real benefits to them. That's just on the fishing side. There are other types of benefits, such as tourism, that can accrue as well. Certainly the consensus statement addresses the clear benefit to fisheries.

Mr. Loyola Hearn: Again, I have absolutely no problem with what you're saying, and I agree, as long as the original establishment is done with all the proper consultations and the legislation gives proper protection. At the present time it is very vague and needs to be revisited. Hopefully that will happen in light of all the input we're getting from the witnesses who come before our committee.


The Acting Chair (Mr. André Harvey (Chicoutimi—Le Fjord, Lib.)): Thank you, Mr. Hearn.

I'll give the floor to Mr. Comuzzi, and then to Mr. Cuzner, Mr. Chatters and Ms. Gagnon.

Mr. Comuzzi.


Mr. Joe Comuzzi: Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.

Let me just make a comment to Mr. Hearn. I hear what you're saying with regard to people having to make a living on both coasts. I want to assure you that on the north shore of Lake Superior the quality of life is no different from what you experience. Let me also say that I think the last thing they wanted to see this morning was me on the Liberal side of the table.

Mr. Loyola Hearn: I didn't mean that. It was just in relation to, we're government and we look after you. I want it in writing, Joe.

Mr. Joe Comuzzi: So do I, Loyola.

Mr. Tremblay, there is a difference of opinion with regard to what you folks are saying and what I'm saying. I didn't want to get into this, but let me just... You'll find the need for the third party.

The majority of the landowners—I'm talking exclusively, Mr. Chairman, about the Lake Superior area—haven't been consulted. The representative on your committee from the landowners was someone who didn't live in the area and who represented Donahue Corporation. They owned a particular piece of land in the area. They owned an island. Is that correct?

Mr. Kal Pristanski: They are the largest landowner in the area.

Mr. Joe Comuzzi: But there are many other landowners.

Mr. Kal Pristanski: Yes, there are.

Mr. Joe Comuzzi: There was some talk that the Donahue Corporation wanted to sell the island to the... This is the perception in the community. I'm not saying it's true or not true. The landowners aren't being represented.

The Red Rock Band tells me they haven't had representation and there has been no consultation. I have all the correspondence with regard to Norampac. During the process I went down and talked to the owner. It's your town, Kal. I think you did a little gerrymandering and accommodated them. Am I correct? I haven't followed it through, but through the initial part of the process, Norampac was the lifeblood of Red Rock.

Buchanan Forest Products had people at all the open houses but never had any representation. You would agree with me that Buchanan Forest Products is the largest single employer of people in northwestern Ontario.

Mr. Kal Pristanski: I honestly don't know.

Mr. Joe Comuzzi: I thought you would.

Kimberly-Clark and Weyerhaeuser feel they haven't been included in the consultative process.

Ontario Hydro is going through a change. At one time they indicated to me that they weren't involved in the process.

The Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters, who are not our best friends inasmuch as we took away their gun rights... They're very suspicious people, and I don't blame them for being very suspicious people. They think that now we're going to take away their hunting rights and we're not going to let them fish. I don't blame them for doing this.

There's the Thunder Bay Port Authority. I knew that one of the major industries in that community was putting in a new set of barges to take some of the pressure off the highway system to move ships from Marathon down into Wisconsin. That would necessitate going through the area designated for marine conservation.

• 1045

These are the people who indicated to me that they would like to be consulted. I'm not saying they haven't been or that you haven't talked to them. I'm saying that they feel they have been left out of the process, and they want to be consulted. That's why there's going to be a review of your committee's findings. You don't have any problem with that.

Mr. Kal Pristanski: Not at all.

Mr. Joe Comuzzi: I think you should welcome that, to really get the thing out in the open.

Mr. Kal Pristanski: All of those groups have been consulted at one point or another.

Mr. David Tremblay: I'd like to speak to that. First of all, during our committee's deliberations any individual or group was allowed to come and speak before us. We did hold several deputations. In fact, two of the private landowners, Mr. Somerleigh and another gentleman, who are two of the larger landowners, did come and make very lengthy presentations to us. I believe one was in excess of two hours.

With regard to Kimberly-Clark, three of the people who sit on our committee are employees of Kimberly-Clark. What they've told us is that they brief their constituents on a regular basis.

As far as OFAH is concerned, I am a card-carrying member of the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters. In addition to that I did make presentations and have meetings with them.

For those who wanted to make presentations to us, they knew we were working on this program for three years. We had two sets of open houses, and they were certainly more than welcome to come and give their input. Also, during our open houses we provided an option to all of the people who were opposed to the national marine conservation area. There was a box on the feedback column they could check that said, no, we oppose the national marine conservation area for Lake Superior. I feel that the process we oversaw as a committee was fair and open.

Mr. Joe Comuzzi: I appreciate the input you've given, but the people I've mentioned feel alienated, and they want to have some input.

I'm reading from another document here. If I were to say to you, “The regional committee”, which is you folks, “while appearing to represent a cross-section of interests, simply does not”, you'd disagree with that statement.

Mr. David Tremblay: Yes, I would.

Mr. Joe Comuzzi: That appears in an independent analysis that was done not on behalf of my constituency but on behalf of the parks authority. You must have a copy of this. Have you not been given copies of this?

Were you given a copy of my letter I wrote three and a half years go that said I didn't think the process was being done properly? Did you get a copy of that? Were you aware of that?

Mr. Kal Pristanski: Did you send it to us?

Mr. Joe Comuzzi: I sent it to the minister. It should filter down. It was sent on April 29. It said that the process should be looked at. Did you get a copy of it?

Mr. David Tremblay: I don't recall seeing that particular letter.

Mr. Joe Comuzzi: Okay. How about this: “The advisory committee be charged with the responsibility of designing the process to engage those citizens who are known dissenters to the initiative”? It's better to bring everybody into the tent than to have them outside the tent. That's a recommendation. The bottom line is it is highly likely that the philosophy could be achieved based on a work plan suggested.

Ms. Sarmite Bulte: Sorry, Mr. Comuzzi, but I just want to inform everybody that we have a vote.

The Chair: In how many minutes?

Ms. Sarmite Bulte: In 29 minutes.

Mr. Joe Comuzzi: Let me close off, then. I appreciate that.

• 1050

We'll have an independent review, and you'll be supportive of the independent review. Is that okay? You'll support that, right?

Mr. David Tremblay: Absolutely.

Mr. Joe Comuzzi: You were in my office on May 3 and you said 80% are in favour of the proposal, so we'll find out. We're going to do that. We'll compare your report with the report by an independent authority, and then we'll come back and talk about it. That's fair, isn't it?

Mr. Kal Pristanski: We'll talk about that later.

Mr. Joe Comuzzi: No, is it fair or not?

Mr. Kal Pristanski: We'll talk about it later.

Mr. Joe Comuzzi: Oh.

Mr. David Tremblay: I'd like to speak to that. In fact, our committee does represent a wide range of interests. I disagree with the honourable member quite strongly. It took us many meetings and many months. We had many complex and contentious issues to deal with. We didn't always agree, we had many arguments amongst ourselves. For example, our recommendation for a proposed management board took us a period of six or seven months of monthly meetings, just to come to some kind of consensus. So to make the statement that we see as one group or represent a very narrow spectrum of interests is incorrect.

Mr. Joe Comuzzi: Mr. Chairman, I disagree with that statement, so that's why the opposing sides need an independent third party to review the process and see if it's fair.

The Chair: Anyway, I think Mr. Comuzzi, Mr. Tremblay, and Mr. Pristanski have had a chance to put out their respective cases, so we go from there.

Thank you, Mr. Comuzzi.

Mr. Cuzner was on the list, then I had Mr. Chatters, Madame Gagnon, and Mr. Harvard. If the questions are brief, we can finish by eleven and go to the vote. The vote will be around 11:15.


So if we hurry up...


Mr. Cuzner.

Mr. Rodger Cuzner (Bras d'Or—Cape Breton, Lib.): I will be brief. It's a question, or probably more of a request, for both Mr. Rideout and Mr. Barnes.

In the ongoing debate between the conservationists and those who have industrial or commercial interests in marine areas, assertions are made on both sides. Mr. Rideout, during your presentation you talked about your industry trying to work to improve systems and develop technologies that work towards providing a safer environment for the marine areas. We talked about directional drilling, diagonal drilling, in your section, Mr. Barnes.

I guess the continuum ranges from total devastation, when some people speak, to zero impact and total sustainability from the industrial perspective. I think it would be of benefit to me, maybe to other committee members as well, if there were some information about, or at least resource reference to, some of the most recent research or science that would support those claims. I don't know what the protocol would be. If they could forward it to the chair...

The Chair: Correspondence should be sent to the clerk, and the clerk will make sure it's translated and distributed.

Mr. Rodger Cuzner: Yes, okay. But if there's some that has to be further researched, maybe even to the research staff...

The Chair: Yes, we'll take care of that.

Mr. Rodger Cuzner: Would you be able to provide those?

The Chair: Mr. Rideout.

Mr. David Rideout: Yes, I would. There's a tremendous amount of research going on now. The results will take a bit more time, but what we have I will gladly provide to the committee, along with whatever research I can find that has been done.

The Chair: Mr. Rideout, send us what you've got and whatever else you know exists, give us references, and we can get our researchers to follow them through.

Mr. David Rideout: Yes.

Mr. Rodger Cuzner: Thank you.

Mr. Paul Barnes: We can do that as well.

• 1055

The Chair: Thank you, Mr. Barnes. Send them to the clerk of the committee. They will be distributed.

Mr. Chatters.

Mr. David Chatters: Following up on what Rodger was referring to, I would also request of Ms. Jessen that she forward to the committee evidence she referred to, including the draft marine protected areas report from the west coast and the evidence from around the world on the effects of marine protected areas on the fisheries.

Also, Mr. Comuzzi made reference to his proposed independent study on the consultations on the Lake Superior one. I'd love to see that one as well.

Going back to this whole consultation area and the chairman's comments that the appendices are blank because there are no proposed marine conservation areas, I have in my possession, and Madame Gagnon has on the table in front of her, some 29 proposed marine protection areas that seem to exist.

The Chair: Hold it a minute. I never said there were no proposed areas. There's a very big difference between what is in legislation and what is proposed. There's a map showing various marine conservation areas that will have to be established, but there are none in the bill.

Mr. Comuzzi was asking me about the bill itself. Schedule 1 and schedule 2 are blank. Before a marine conservation area is established, whether it's Lake Superior or another, there has to be a report filed in both Houses. That's what I said. The map shows, obviously, there is a master plan; otherwise there wouldn't be a bill to show where we are thinking of putting marine conservation areas. Before these can happen and become legal under the bill, they have to go through all the process of clause 7. That's really what I explained.

Mr. David Chatters: Okay. I perhaps misunderstood you, Mr. Chairman.

Ms. Sarmite Bulte: On a point of clarification, Mr. Chatters, what you see is that Canada is divided into 29 marine conservation regions, and that's the way the country is divided as a whole. That has nothing to do with putting in marine conservation. It's important to understand that before we're in a position to amend or better certain legislation.

Mr. David Chatters: Divided by whom?

Ms. Sarmite Bulte: By Parks Canada, the same as the parks are divided—divided by the government into different regions of Canada. That's the basic premise we start from. Whether there are marine conservation areas or not, there are 29 marine regions in Canada, by land, by sea, by habitat. It's actually quite scientific.

Mr. David Chatters: Thank you for that clarification. However, I still have concerns.

Certainly Mr. Comuzzi feels there's a problem with the consultations that have taken place already on the Lake Superior marine conservation area. At least there has been a process of consultation on that particular marine conservation area, which is much more than has taken place on the other proposed areas. Clause 9 of the bill suggests that within five years of the creation of the marine conservation area there will be consultations and a management plan. In the Lake Superior conservation area there have been four years of consultations already, and yet there seems to be a problem in the local community, as voiced by the representative of the local community, about those consultations.

Going further than that, when this bill was before the last Parliament, the bill was in fact mailed out to 700 interest groups and stakeholders for their input. It was suggested that this bill that is back before this Parliament is amended and reflects the concerns of those 700 stakeholders. Yet it's my understanding that the same 700 stakeholders did not receive a copy of the amended bill for their consideration and their suggestions again.

So again I have some real concerns with the lack of consultation and the process of consultation when it takes place, because if it takes place after the marine conservation area is created, then those consultations in fact are a waste of time.

The Chair: Mr. Chatters, there's a total misunderstanding. What you're saying is completely incorrect. There can't be a marine conservation area under this bill, if you read it properly, under clause 7, unless there are consultations. So if no consultations have taken place in area A, B, or C, there can never be a marine conservation area. If none have taken place, and you don't want one, it's to your advantage that none have taken place, because nothing can happen without the consultation. It says so right there.

• 1100

Mr. John Harvard (Charleswood St. James—Assiniboia, Lib.): The bill itself does not create an MCA.

The Chair: It can't create an MCA. The report must include information, consultation, an interim management plan, and then that is deposited before both Houses. If that hasn't taken place, there is no way there can be a marine conservation area. You are saying that a marine conservation area will be created and then there will be consultations. It can't be created without consultation.

Mr. David Chatters: I apologize for my ignorance, Mr. Chairman, but if I don't understand the process, then thousands of Canadians out there don't understand and don't trust the process. Therefore, I suggest there is a need for much more consultation with the public on this issue. Instead of restricting the witnesses and cutting off the witnesses at the existing two days of witness hearings, there is a need for a much broader consultation so that people do understand it. I certainly don't understand it, and I will admit that I am new at this process and I have only been asked to become involved in the process because of the concerns and distrust on the west coast with this process.

The Chair: Perhaps the two representatives from your party who took part in all the invitations to witnesses should have been on the ball and should have given us a list of the hundreds... You say we need two days. These are the people we had on a list to invite. If you had given us before May 31, or before May 20, as Mr. Burton did, a list of the people you wanted to invite, we would have invited them. There is not even the slightest desire from this committee to try to hide witnesses and not hear them.

At the same time, when we ask for suggestions verbally here, in writing as well by the clerk, to give us names of people you want to hear, and we don't hear from anybody, then what do you want us to do? Pick people out of the air? If people don't want to be heard, we will not hear them. If your members don't want to ask the people from the west to be invited, then we can't just invite people like that.

To say that we are trying to rush this through is not true at all. We have given all kinds of notice since March 12 that we wanted people there. Mr. Abbott was there when we closed the list. Ms. Gallant was there when we made the invitation.

To say that there's been no transparent system here and we're trying to close this off is not correct.

Mr. David Chatters: I didn't say that, Mr. Chairman. I suggested that because of the confusion around this issue... And perhaps it has something to do with the fact that Ms. Gallant is a new member of Parliament, only elected for the first time last November, that she didn't act the way she should have in presenting the witnesses.

Clearly, the last time this bill was before the committee there was in fact a list of 700 witnesses who expressed interest in this bill. It would have been useful for the committee to use the same sort of consultation they did last time by mailing out the bill.

I'm not suggesting that you or the committee is trying to rush this through and hide anything. All I'm saying is the discussions we're hearing today are evidence that there needs to be further and much wider consultations. We need the presentation of much more evidence that the witnesses who are before us today suggest exists, and we need to see it. We need to take the time to do that.

The Chair: It behooves us, as members, to certainly also study the legislation, because what it says seems crystal clear to me. If you read clause 7, it's as clear as daylight that there can be no MCA, that there's no MCA listed there.

If you look at schedule 1 and schedule 2, it's completely blank, and no MCA can be put into place without consultations. If no consultations have taken place, there will be no MCA there, whether it's in B.C., the north, or anywhere, because they are blank. That's what I am trying to put out.

There's ten minutes to the vote. We should close off now.

• 1105

Members will be advised that we have still not received any amendments from the ministry. I don't know what the status is. So we'll let you know about the progress of Bill C-10 in due course, in writing.

Ms. Sarmite Bulte: So we may not have clause-by-clause.

The Chair: If no amendments have been received to date, then we can't have clause-by-clause until amendments have been supplied.

Ms. Sarmite Bulte: Okay. I'm just asking, Mr. Chairman.

The Chair: The meeting is adjourned.

Top of document