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View Bruce Stanton Profile
View Bruce Stanton Profile
2019-06-21 14:54 [p.29473]
I have the honour to inform the House that when this House did attend Her Excellency this day in the Senate chamber, Her Excellency the Governor General was pleased to give, in Her Majesty's name, the royal assent to the following bills:
C-71, An Act to amend certain Acts and Regulations in relation to firearms—Chapter 9.
C-81, An Act to ensure a barrier-free Canada—Chapter 10.
S-203, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and other Acts (ending the captivity of whales and dolphins)—Chapter 11.
C-82, An Act to implement a multilateral convention to implement tax treaty related measures to prevent base erosion and profit shifting—Chapter 12.
C-59, An Act respecting national security matters—Chapter 13.
C-68, An Act to amend the Fisheries Act and other Acts in consequence—Chapter 14.
C-77, An Act to amend the National Defence Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts—Chapter 15.
C-78, An Act to amend the Divorce Act, the Family Orders and Agreements Enforcement Assistance Act and the Garnishment, Attachment and Pension Diversion Act and to make consequential amendments to another Act—Chapter 16.
C-84, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (bestiality and animal fighting)—Chapter 17.
C-58, An Act to amend the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts—Chapter 18.
C-88, An Act to amend the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act and the Canada Petroleum Resources Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts—Chapter 19.
C-93, An Act to provide no-cost, expedited record suspensions for simple possession of cannabis—Chapter 20.
C-102, An Act for granting to Her Majesty certain sums of money for the federal public administration for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2020—Chapter 21.
C-101, An Act to amend the Customs Tariff and the Canadian International Trade Tribunal Act—Chapter 22.
C-91, An Act respecting Indigenous languages—Chapter 23.
C-92, An Act respecting First Nations, Inuit and Métis children, youth and families—Chapter 24.
C-75, An Act to amend the Criminal Code, the Youth Criminal Justice Act and other Acts and to make consequential amendments to other Acts—Chapter 25.
C-48, An Act respecting the regulation of vessels that transport crude oil or persistent oil to or from ports or marine installations located along British Columbia's north coast—Chapter 26.
C-83, An Act to amend the Corrections and Conditional Release Act and another Act—Chapter 27.
C-69, An Act to enact the Impact Assessment Act and the Canadian Energy Regulator Act, to amend the Navigation Protection Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts—Chapter 28.
C-97, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 19, 2019 and other measures—Chapter 29.
It being 2:55 p.m., the House stands adjourned until Monday, September 16, 2019, at 11 a.m., pursuant to Standing Orders 28(2) and 24(1).
(The House adjourned at 2:55 p.m.)
The 42nd Parliament was dissolved by Royal Proclamation on September 11, 2019.
Aboriginal languagesAboriginal peoplesAccess for disabled peopleAccess to informationAdjournmentAgriculture, environment and natural res ...British ColumbiaBudget 2019 (March 19, 2019)C-101, An Act to amend the Customs Tarif ...C-102, An Act for granting to Her Majest ...C-48, An Act respecting the regulation o ... ...Show all topics
View Geoff Regan Profile
Lib. (NS)
View Geoff Regan Profile
2019-06-17 15:18 [p.29190]
Pursuant to order made on Tuesday, May 28, 2019, the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the amendment to the motion to concur in the Senate amendments to Bill C-68.
The question is on the amendment.
View Geoff Regan Profile
Lib. (NS)
View Geoff Regan Profile
2019-06-17 15:26 [p.29191]
I declare the amendment defeated.
The next question is on the main motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
Some hon. members: No.
The Speaker: All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.
Some hon. members: Yea.
The Speaker: All those opposed will please say nay.
Some hon. members: Nay.
The Speaker: In my opinion the yeas have it.
And five or more members having risen:
View Todd Doherty Profile
View Todd Doherty Profile
2019-06-14 10:03 [p.29109]
Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to once again be here to talk about the Senate amendments to Bill C-68.
I would be remiss if I did not talk about what we have witnessed over the last three and a half years, this week and last night, with the egregious affront to our democracy. It is pertinent to this discussion, because what we have seen with Bill C-68, Bill C-69, Bill C-48 and Bill C-88 is the government's attempt to subvert democracy to pass legislation that is really payback for the assistance the Liberals received in the 2015 election.
Last night, we had the debate, or the lack of debate, on Bill C-69. There were hundreds of amendments from the Senate, and the government forced closure on that debate without any debate whatsoever. Even the Green Party, in its entirety, stood in solidarity with the official opposition to vote against the government on this. That says something.
Bill C-68 is the government's attempt, in its members' words, to right the wrongs of the former Conservative government in amending the Fisheries Act in 2012. The Liberals said that the Conservatives gutted the Fisheries Act. The bill would replace the wording for HADD, the harmful alteration, disruption or destruction of fish habitat. However, we studied this. We consulted on this, and not one example was given. When pressured yesterday, throughout the last week and throughout the last year, not the minister nor anyone from the government was able to provide one example of where the 2012 changes to the Fisheries Act by the previous Conservative government led to the harmful alteration, disruption or destruction of fish habitat. As a matter of fact, despite the government's assertions that changes to the Fisheries Act are necessary to restore the lost protections for fish and fish habitat, the government's response to Order Paper Question No. 626 showed that the government had no record of harm or proof of harm to fish or fish habitat resulting from the 2012 changes.
On November 2, 2016, the then Minister of Fisheries and Oceans appeared before the fisheries committee and stated that “Indigenous people have expressed serious concerns with the amendments made to the [Fisheries Act]” and that his department was “holding face-to-face meetings with various indigenous groups and providing funding so that they can attend these meetings and share their views on the matter”. However, according to the government's response to Order Paper Question No. 943, DFO did not undertake any face-to-face consultation sessions in relation to the review of the changes to the Fisheries Act in the 2016-17 fiscal year.
The Liberals have stood before Canadians in the House and have been disingenuous. They continue to use the same eco-warrior talking points we see from Tides, Greenpeace and the World Wildlife Fund, which is essentially an attack on our natural resource sector, whether that be forestry, fisheries, oil and gas, mining or agriculture. That is what Bill C-68, Bill C-88, Bill C-48 and Bill C-69 are attempting to do. They want to shut down anything to do with natural resources.
In the Senate right now, Bill C-48 is being debated. It deals with the tanker moratorium on the west coast, yet we have double and triple the number of tankers on the east coast, but it does not matter. We do not see groups like Greenpeace, Tides and the WWF protesting those ships and oil tankers from foreign nations that have far more egregious human rights issues than what we have here in our country.
Dirty oil is flowing through our eastern seaport, but there has not been one mention of that by the government. Instead, it wants to shut down anything to do with western Canada's economic opportunities, and that is egregious and shameful, and that is why we are here today.
The Senate amendments with respect to Bill C-68 were decent amendments. They folded into Bill S-203, the cetaceans in captivity bill, and Bill S-238, the shark finning bill.
For those who are not aware of the shark finning bill, it would ban the importation of shark fins, with the exception that they must be attached to the carcass. Shark fin is a delicacy in some Asian cultures and is used in soup and medicinal products. We asked officials at committee if shark fin in any form could be imported into our country, and they replied that it could be imported in soup. That was their testimony. When pressed further on this, they said, “soup is soup”.
The whole intent of Bill S-238 is to stop the importation of shark fins so that shark fin soup may be stopped or that at least the fins would be imported into the country with the entire carcass used. That is a fairly reasonable thing to ask.
The other Senate amendments to Bill C-68 that are important are with respect to the inshore fishery. We heard time and again that the inshore fishery is important to Atlantic fishermen. Adjacency and the inshore fishery are the same thing, but the language is different on either coast. It is important to our coastal communities and fishermen who depend on fishing for their livelihood.
Another important Senate amendment is with respect to third-party habitat banking. I went into great detail about what third party habitat banking means in terms of fish habitat. That was a reasonable amendment put forward by a Conservative, and all senators agreed with it.
Interestingly enough, before the Senate finished studying the bill, the minister directed our fisheries committee to study third-party habitat banking. Prior to the fisheries committee getting a chance to study it, the Liberals scrapped any of the third party habitat banking amendments brought forth by the Conservative Party and agreed to by independent senators. It was an exercise in futility.
Senator Wells, who appeared before committee just the other day, said that by all accounts, it appeared that the only people who were interested in protecting fish and fish habitat were those around the table, and the only people who were against protecting fish and fish habitat with respect to third party habitat banking were the officials. That is odd.
I want to talk again about why we are here. I spoke at length about the influence of third party groups at the highest levels of our offices. I will remind the House that the former chief adviser to the Prime Minister, Gerald Butts, was the president and CEO of the World Wildlife Fund. The Prime Minister's new director of policy is a former top executive at Tides Canada.
Why is this important? It is important because these are the very organizations whose mandate is to shut down Canada's resources every step of the way and to tarnish Canada's natural resource sector on the world stage.
It says right on their own websites that they were going to use celebrities, their media and their influence to tarnish Canada's oil and gas and forestry to attack and landlock our resources. They have now permeated every office in this government.
In 2015, 114 third parties poured $6 million into influencing the election outcome, and many of those parties were funded by the U.S.-based Tides foundation. The World Wildlife Fund is deciding fisheries policy on the east coast.
As the shadow minister for Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, I went to meetings with the former fisheries minister, and there were no fisheries stakeholders there. The table was surrounded by environmental groups. We are placing a higher priority on these environmental groups than we are on the stakeholders who make their living and depend on our natural resources for their economic well-being.
Late last night, I took another phone call about another mill closure in my riding of Cariboo—Prince George. I know that colleagues understand our economic plight in western Canada. We have seen a lot of emotion over the last weeks and months about the plight of the west. The reality is that we are losing our jobs, and we do not have other opportunities. It is not that we are against the environment, unlike what a parliamentary secretary said yesterday, in response to Bill C-88, which is that the Conservatives blame the Liberals for putting such a high priority on the environment. That is not true. We blame the Liberals for putting such a high priority on environmental groups, not on the stakeholders, indigenous peoples and our local communities that depend on our natural resources for well-paying jobs to provide for their families.
There are hundreds of workers in my riding and adjacent ridings, and thousands of workers across the province of British Columbia, who are waking up today to more work curtailment and job closures. That is shameful.
When the House hears our emotion and concern when we raise the issues, it is not that we are against the environment, as much as the Minister of Environment would like people to believe that. It is that these policies the government has put forth have shaken the confidence of industry. They have a real impact. They may not impact those members of Parliament from downtown Toronto or in major urban centres, but they impact rural Canadians, and that is the truth.
I am going to close by reminding the House that this House does not belong to any of us who are in here. We are merely vehicles to be the voices of the electors. There are 338 members of Parliament in this House. Last night, we saw one courageous Liberal who stood against what her government was doing. We have been placed here to be the voices of those who elected us.
Despite saying in 2015 that they would let debate reign, the Liberals have time and again forced closure and time allocation on pieces of legislation. In doing so, they have silenced the voices of the electors who have put us here.
I would like to move the following motion, seconded by the member for North Okanagan—Shuswap:
That the motion be amended by deleting all of the words after the word “That” and substituting the following:
“the amendments made by the Senate to Bill C-68, An Act to amend the Fisheries Act and other Acts in consequence, be now read a second time and concurred in.”
View William Amos Profile
Lib. (QC)
View William Amos Profile
2019-06-14 10:20 [p.29111]
Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the member opposite's passion. I also appreciate the economic struggles that a number of industries in his region are going through. However, I can say without a doubt that one of the reasons I got into politics was the atrocious law reform the Harper government engaged in, particularly with respect to the Fisheries Act and fish habitat.
Scientists all across this country were well aware of this. They did not just believe politicians that something was awry with Harper's amendments to the Fisheries Act. They believed the science, because diminishing habitat for fisheries and fish in Canada is the wrong thing to do.
Canadians across this country are so glad that this government is sticking to its guns and restoring those protections, because they trust scientists more than they trust politicians, who ultimately do not really know what is most important for fish habitat. It is the scientists we have to trust, and that is exactly what our government is doing.
Why does the member opposite not trust the scientists across Canada?
View Todd Doherty Profile
View Todd Doherty Profile
2019-06-14 10:21 [p.29111]
Mr. Speaker, who is being divisive now?
At committee, we had scientists, academics, environmental groups and industry. People from all over our country came before committee, even groups that one would think would not be friendly to Conservatives, as apparently we waged a war on scientists, but we had the very same scientists before our committee. When they were asked, time and again, to provide examples that the 2012 changes to the Fisheries Act resulted in any harmful alteration, disruption or destruction of fish or fish habitat, none were given.
View Gord Johns Profile
View Gord Johns Profile
2019-06-14 10:22 [p.29111]
Mr. Speaker, my colleague talked about the thousands of jobs that might be affected by the act's coming into place. I live in a coastal community, and I have not heard from a single constituent who does not want to see the act brought back to fix the gutting of the act done by the Conservatives with respect to fisheries protections. We are talking about thousands of jobs in my riding that are directly related to the health of the fish habitat.
In one part of the member's speech, he talked about third party habitat banking. He said the only opposition was from bureaucrats around the table, who are against it. He did not talk about indigenous communities, which have made it very clear that they have not been adequately consulted.
The member sits with me on the committee. He knows that indigenous peoples were not invited to the Senate committee to speak about their concerns. We know that indigenous communities have made it very clear that third party habitat banking can often be manipulated. It is a trading scheme.
Why does the member feel he can support this with no regard for indigenous communities and hearing their voices?
View Todd Doherty Profile
View Todd Doherty Profile
2019-06-14 10:23 [p.29111]
Mr. Speaker, our hon. colleague is sorely mistaken. Perhaps I would ask that the volume be turned up on that side so he can hear me a bit more clearly.
When I talked about jobs being lost, I referenced thousands of jobs being lost across our province right now because of the forestry policies and the lack of securing a softwood lumber agreement. The member knows full well that we can turn on the TV or look at the newspaper every day, and there is another mill closure. There is work curtailment going on throughout our province. Our forestry sector has been under attack from the very beginning of the current government.
With respect to third party habitat banking and the testimony, we heard that there were indigenous representatives on the Senate side who supported this wholeheartedly. As a matter of fact, there were indigenous groups that rode in and provided feedback to the Senate. That is why the Conservative senator was able to garner support from the independent senators across the way so that this amendment would be included and not gutted, as we usually see in Liberal-led committees.
View Mel Arnold Profile
View Mel Arnold Profile
2019-06-14 10:25 [p.29111]
Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member for Cariboo—Prince George for his speech on this topic, the Senate amendments to Bill C-68. We have sat together on the fisheries committee for years now. We have seen a government that has totally ignored the restoration of fish stocks across the country. Time and again, recommendations from our committee have called on the current government to take action. It failed to do so.
I also want to speak briefly on comments I got from a fisheries officer, who said that the changes we made in 2012 made it much easier for fisheries officers to do their job. Rather than having to gather incredible amounts of evidence, convince Crown prosecutors and then take cases to court, which would take years to prosecute, with the changes made in 2012 fisheries officers are able to immediately demand restoration where damage has been done. There has been no indication that habitat has been lost or damaged in any of the evidence ever produced by the government or in testimony at committee.
I would like the member to comment further on why the government fails to do anything to restore fish stocks, whether Atlantic salmon or salmon on the west coast, and why it continues to push this ill-conceived bill through the House.
View Todd Doherty Profile
View Todd Doherty Profile
2019-06-14 10:26 [p.29111]
Mr. Speaker, our colleague from North Okanagan—Shuswap is former president of the Canadian Wildlife Association. Our colleague from Red Deer—Lacombe is a former Parks employee and I believe has a degree in zoology. Our former colleague on the fisheries committee, the member for Dauphin—Swan River—Neepawa, is a marine biologist. I would put our bench up against the Liberals' bench any time. I am proud to serve with these colleagues.
When we met with DFO front-line officers on the ground, they told us that, previous to the 2012 changes, it was onerous for them to regulate and enforce. As a matter of fact, because it was too challenging, they received directives not to bother doing it, which made it hard. The changes in 2012 made it very clear. It was black and white: this is right and this is wrong. It set in motion a clear course and a schedule for proponents so they knew where they overstepped their boundaries, when they were in the right and when they were in the wrong.
As a matter of fact, a witness stated that the 2012 changes “have in practice broadened the circumstances in which the section 35 prohibitions apply and increased the circumstances in which an authorization and offsets are required.”
It gave the tools that our front-line officers needed to enforce the rules. It made it clear when proponents were offside and when they were following the rules. It did not make it easier, and it did not gut the Fisheries Act.
I will offer this. Time and again, including today, we have asked for evidence that the 2012 changes resulted in any harmful alteration, disruption or destruction, and none could be provided.
View Elizabeth May Profile
View Elizabeth May Profile
2019-06-14 10:29 [p.29112]
Mr. Speaker, I am able to answer a question from my hon. colleague from Cariboo—Prince George.
Yes, Bill C-38, in the spring of 2012, gutted the Fisheries Act. Yes, it was an appalling decision to take away protections for habitat. On the ground, the effect was that habitat officers for DFO were laid off. I got calls all the time. My hon. colleague knows I tell the truth on these things. People would call me to say they called DFO about a beach where a clam licence was allowed that was being over-harvested, and DFO would tell them that officials could not get there and there was nothing they could do. There were times when habitat was being destroyed and people working on stream restoration who lost funding would call DFO to say that habitat was being lost for cutthroat trout and for getting salmon back, and the answer would be that DFO could not help, because there was no law and DFO did not have any manpower.
We need Bill C-68 to be passed. I lament that it was a bit weakened when my amendment that was accepted at committee was removed, but this bill needs to pass. Every single fisheries organization, the economic backbone of my community, wants this legislation passed before we leave this place.
View Todd Doherty Profile
View Todd Doherty Profile
2019-06-14 10:30 [p.29112]
Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the comment from my hon. colleague, but I will again offer this. At committee, when officials, academics, environmentalists and scientists were pressed, there was not one piece of evidence that the 2012 changes to the Fisheries Act by the former Conservative government led to any harmful alteration, disruption or destruction.
View Gord Johns Profile
View Gord Johns Profile
2019-06-14 10:30 [p.29112]
Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise today to speak to Bill C-68, which would amend the Fisheries Act. I will be splitting my time with my good colleague and friend from South Okanagan—West Kootenay.
It has been a positive week for our oceans. Monday, Bill S-203 was passed, which would end cetaceans in captivity. There was also an announcement to ban single-use plastics, although we are waiting for the details. It has been a progressive week.
Now we have Bill C-68, an opportunity to fix the gutting of the Fisheries Act under the Conservatives. I am glad this place has an opportunity to do even more work to ensure that aquatic environments are safeguarded, which should be our priority as parliamentarians.
The bill would restore protections for all fish across Canada, protections that were previously removed by the Conservatives six years ago. This could have been changed sooner. We wish it had been done sooner, but we are glad it is being done now and we welcome changes to this bill.
Fish stocks are in decline in many parts of the country, as we know, especially on the west coast. It is due, in large part, to the negative impacts of human activity on fish habitat and the health of water bodies overall. Bill C-68 would put back into place legal protections needed to conserve fish habitat and the aquatic environment in a manner consistent with the minister's mandate to restore lost protections and introduce modern safeguards to the Fisheries Act.
With respect to the specifics, Bill C-68 would first and foremost compel the minister to consider any effects that decisions under the Fisheries Act might have on the rights of indigenous peoples of Canada and authorize agreements to be made with indigenous governing bodies. It is so important that the work we do embeds these protections and the rights of indigenous communities.
Pacific salmon are a primary food source for culture and the economy of indigenous peoples and people in coastal communities. The government has taken steps to help incorporate the rights and traditions of indigenous peoples to support their economic and cultural sustainability. I am very proud of the determined and continued stewardship of the indigenous communities in our country, especially on the west coast and in my riding. We really need their input and local knowledge to do this work; it is absolutely essential.
I want to share with the House a couple of comments.
Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council president, Dr. Judith Sayers, said that while Bill C-68 may not be everything Nuu-chah-nulth would like to see, it was a fulfillment of the Liberal promise to undo the damage the previous government did to the act. She said that habitat restoration was critical for their fisheries to remain sustainable so they may continue to exercise our rights and that the inclusion of indigenous wisdom was a start to recognizing their laws and knowledge systems. She did highlight, though, the need for co-management and the need to work toward that.
Eric Angel, the fisheries program manager for Uu-a-thluk, which is a Nuu-Chah-Nulth fisheries program, said:
The changes to the Fisheries Act under Bill C-68 are the most important amendments to federal fisheries legislation in a hundred years. Nuu-chah-nulth are very concerned that these proposed changes become law. The restoration of habitat protection that was stripped out of the Fisheries Act under the Harper government is absolutely critical. We are facing a crisis on the west coast with the destruction of salmon habitat and we desperately need this legislation to be able to force government to do a better job of looking after fish habitat. The proposed act also contains some small but important steps towards recognizing the laws and traditional knowledge systems of First Nations.
It is important to move forward with this. We know water is sacred. We, as parliamentarians, are coming to better understand that. We have a commitment to improve the ecology, especially the habitats that surround indigenous communities in coastal communities, as well as their important rights, ensuring their local knowledge and leadership in their traditional territories are respected. They have taken the lead on water issues. In my riding and many indigenous communities, the bill would directly and positively affect them.
Bill C-68 would also modernize measures to protect fish and fish habitat in ecologically significant areas and establish standards and codes of practice, a public registry and create fish habitat banks initially by different projects. This bill would also allow the minister to establish advisory panels and to set fees, including for the provision of regulatory processes, and allow the minister to make regulations for the conservation and protection of marine biodiversity.
We are happy to see clauses that build greater oversight over what companies do to fish habitats. It would allow the minister to stop companies from putting down anti-salmon breeding mats and protect the stock of coastal salmon.
The New Democrats are pleased to see that after so many years of trying, the bill would prohibit the import and exportation of shark fins. We have been working incredibly hard to ensure this practice is a thing of the past.
I want to thank my colleague and friend, the hon. member for Port Moody—Coquitlam, for his tireless efforts to make this happen, both in Bill C-68 and through Bill S-238. I also want to thank the members of the fisheries and oceans committee, who have taken the time to look at the issue closely.
The fact remains that shark populations, both in Canada and abroad, are at significant risk. My office has heard from many ordinary citizens, as well as conservation experts, who feel strongly about the effort to protect shark populations from needless slaughter. We have spent enough time over several parliaments looking at the issue and this is a critical juncture for us to act.
Along the same vein, this bill would further enshrine the ban on the capture and captivity of cetaceans, which I mentioned earlier. I am so grateful to the House for its support of Bill S-203 on Monday. It shows that the House is an active participant in changing the dialogue on marine conservation, and also on animal rights. I am pleased this bill gives us an opportunity to reaffirm that participation.
Bill C-68 would strengthen the enforcement powers and establish an alternative measures agreements regime, which includes $284 million over five years to enforce the protection of habitat wherever fish are present. This bill would allow the minister to stop or limit fishing for a period of 45 days to address the threat to the proper management and control of fisheries so the conservation and protection of fish is maintained.
Bill C-68 goes beyond just restoring the protection and habitat that were removed in the changes to the Fisheries Act in 2012. It goes as far as to include all fish in the definition of “fisheries”, and would include the rebuilding of depleted fish stocks in the Fisheries Act.
All that said, the latest suite of amendments proposed by the Senate presents some setback to the work that the House has been doing. The biggest thing that comes to mind are the changes that touch heavily on third-party habitat banking.
The creation of habitat banks has been poorly executed in the past, where first nations, municipalities and conservation organizations saw damage accumulated in their territory or watershed and the habitat bank in a neighbouring first nations territory or watershed. Therefore, it was disappointing to see these amendments, calling for the proposal of third-party banking. There was no consultation with indigenous groups, which mostly oppose it.
While I am happy to see the Liberal government is listening to some of these concerns and has proposed to remove these amendments, I am disappointed in the Liberal government for not taking the opportunity to really make a difference in protecting water flows, both upstream and downstream.
Back in the spring of 2018, when Bill C-68 was before the fisheries and oceans committee, the hon. member for Port Moody—Coquitlam proposed several amendments to strengthen the bill. These amendments included proposals that explicitly recognized that the quantity, timing and quality of water flows were vital to ensuring the free passage and the protection of fish and fish habitat. These important amendments were passed by a majority vote during the clause-by-clause review.
The Senate has not taken the issue of water flows seriously. It proposed that the addition of upstream protection was unimportant and that companies that obstructed the flow of water should do the bare minimum required to conserve populations. This was something the industry wanted. We worked with conservation groups to find a solution to water-flow issues, but the Senate only listened to the lobbyists, who cannot be bothered to be proactive partners in conservation.
What is more, the Liberals are on board with this amendment, despite the expert advice of the Canadian Science Advisory Secretariat, which pointed to the absence of legal protections for environmental flows, resulting in a situation where fisheries resources, fish habitat and the supporting freshwater ecosystems may not be consistently protected across Canada.
I am sure I could speak for a lot longer on this, but this is a great step. I have to commend the government for working together with us to repair so much of the damage left by the previous government. However, if we are to walk the path to restoration, it will take many more steps.
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