Committee
Consult the user guide
For assistance, please contact us
Consult the user guide
For assistance, please contact us
Add search criteria
Results: 1 - 60 of 222
View Richard Cannings Profile
NDP (BC)
Mr. Chair, today is World Oceans Day. My riding is landlocked, but beautiful rivers run through it: the Okanagan, Kettle, Slocan, Kootenay and the mighty Columbia. Each year, the ocean returns to my riding in the form of salmon; sockeye, chinook and n'titxw, as they are known in the Okanagan language. Salmon have nourished people in this region for millennia. Tragically, their numbers collapsed in the 20th century when dams were built throughout the Columbia system. Although a few managed to return each year to the Okanagan, the upper Columbia stocks were wiped out with the construction of the Grand Coulee Dam.
Thanks to the recovery efforts of the Okanagan Nation Alliance, salmon numbers in the Okanagan have increased dramatically in recent years, and I say Lim'limpt to them. The renegotiation of the Columbia River Treaty opens the possibility that once again salmon will return to the upper Columbia, bringing the ocean back to the Kootenays.
Collapse
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2019-05-06 16:51
Expand
I see.
Thank you, Ms. Dionne.
Mr. Brooks and Mr. Buonsante, we hear a lot about these plastic containers in the Pacific Ocean. In the other oceans of the world, are there the same kinds of plastic areas and about the same size?
Collapse
Keith Brooks
View Keith Brooks Profile
Keith Brooks
2019-05-06 16:52
Expand
Yes, there's plastic. I mean there's a bunch of these gyres circulating whirlpools, where the water moves very slowly and isn't in major currents. That's where the plastic collects. It's not quite a floating island of garbage. It's actually a bunch of plastics that have broken down into pieces—they can be large pieces and small pieces—up and down through the water column. It's very difficult to clean up. It's not as though we can go out there and just hoover it all off the surface. It's up and down throughout the water column, and it's all different sizes.
Collapse
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2019-05-06 16:52
Expand
How deep in the water does it go?
Collapse
Keith Brooks
View Keith Brooks Profile
Keith Brooks
2019-05-06 16:52
Expand
Plastic has been found in the deepest ocean trench. As far down as we've gone, we've found plastic. We've found plastic in the High Arctic. It's everywhere they look and in every animal they test. They followed eight different people across the world. These were people with different diets and different ways of life, and in 100% of the feces samples that were tested, they found plastic. It's everywhere.
Collapse
Peter Ross
View Peter Ross Profile
Peter Ross
2019-04-10 15:36
Expand
Thank you very much.
I'm delighted to join you today from rainy Vancouver via video link. My apologies for not being there in person.
My name is Dr. Peter Ross. I'm vice-president of research at the Ocean Wise Conservation Association in Vancouver.
We at Ocean Wise, formerly the Vancouver Aquarium, have been showcasing for over 25 years the harm that plastic can cause. Through a range of research, engagement and action initiatives, we have engaged individuals, communities, the private sector and the public sector in a number of positive, practical and solution-oriented ways. We believe that in order to solve the plastic pollution crisis, we need a team approach, one that is inclusive and speaks to the role and the potential of each and every Canadian. After all, plastic is all around each and every one of us: at home, at school, at work, at play and on the road.
I'll simply touch on a few key points that are important to us and salient in terms of the plastic pollution crisis, and steps that we can take as a country.
The first point I'll make is that plastic is everywhere. The plastic pollution issue is widespread and very real. Our great Canadian shoreline cleanup has been documenting the “dirty dozen” items on beaches across Canada for over 25 years. Our plastics laboratory first documented the widespread distribution of microplastics in the north Pacific Ocean in 2014, and we are currently finding tiny microplastics throughout the waters of the Arctic Ocean. Simply put, plastics of all sizes, shapes and kinds are found everywhere in the Canadian aquatic environment.
Second, plastic is being consumed by all creatures, big and small. Everywhere we look, we find plastic: from rubber boots found in the stomach of whales to microplastics found in oysters. Our researchers even discovered that zooplankton, the foundational group of animals that sustain life in the ocean, are mistaking tiny pieces of plastic for food in the north Pacific Ocean. Plastic now appears to be found throughout aquatic food webs.
Third, plastic is harmful. In that, I refer to plastic pollution being harmful. Plastic is frequently confused for food by albatross and sea turtles—as we've known for decades—and it represents a serious conservation threat to several species and populations. Plastic can block or damage the gut; it can smother, suffocate or drown; it can entangle, slow down or get in the way; it can deliver a cocktail of endocrine-disrupting chemicals to the consumer. Simply put, plastic is not nutritious. Our marine mammal rescue team, together with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, has been disentangling sea lions off the coast of British Columbia for several years, a costly and dangerous operation that is important but cannot deal with the many hundreds of marine mammals that are presently swimming about the ocean with packing straps, nets and lines around their necks.
Fourth, plastic pollution threatens the quality of traditional seafoods for indigenous communities on Canada's three coastlines. Coastal communities along our three ocean coastlines rely heavily on seafoods. In coastal British Columbia, we have shown that the average first nations consumer eats up to 15 times more seafood than the average Canadian. In the Arctic, this can be as much as 25 times more seafood than the average Canadian. This means that seafood is far more important to these individuals in these communities, and it means that plastic pollution in the oceans threatens the quality and safety of their seafood.
Fifth, plastic pollution is not just about unsightly litter. Litter and marine debris present obvious risks to sea life, but the smaller pieces of plastic, the barely visible or invisible to the human eye plastics, which we call microplastics, have emerged as a significant new concern over the past decade. Canada's leadership in banning the microbead, a deliberately manufactured microplastic particle, through CEPA regulations was novel and forward-looking, an easy win. It was low-hanging fruit, but while conducting research in the ocean, we rarely run into microbeads.
What we run into, rather, are broken-down bits of larger plastics. These are called secondary plastics or, in the case of very small ones, secondary microplastics. Where do these come from? There is evidence from our group and others that larger products and items like old bags, containers, shipping materials and microfibres from textiles are actually escaping their intended use or leaking into the environment.
Our plastics lab has partnered with Mountain Equipment Co-op, Arc'teryx, REI, Patagonia, Metro Vancouver, and Environment and Climate Change Canada to track fibres from clothing—that's right, clothing—from home laundry through municipal waste-water treatment plants to the ocean, using high-end forensic science technologies and study designs.
In 2018, we published the first study documenting microplastics in a Canadian waste-water treatment plant. That was here in Vancouver. In this study, we estimated that 1.8 trillion particles of plastic enter the plant every single year.
Some of this, of course, is very bad news, but I view the bad news as an opportunity. Bad news can lead to good news. Everyone seems to understand that we have a problem, be they school children or professionals, and this offers everyone today an attentive audience and an invaluable opportunity to engage and to lead. Every year, the world throws away 150 billion dollars' worth of single-use packaging materials. A sizeable reward awaits the innovator, and this is a leadership opportunity for Canadian industry.
I'd like to suggest that Canada can take advantage of opportunities in the following key areas.
Number one is innovation and collaboration. If we are to effectively tackle this problem, we'll need to identify the sources of plastics in the ocean so as to be able to track those back to source. This understanding is key to engaging the public, the private sector and waste management agencies, and it will support green design, source control, recycling and regulations.
Number two is expert advice. Science is needed to support the identification of solutions. This includes the application of engineering technologies and designs. Our approach at Ocean Wise has been to establish partnerships with industry and government to identify and facilitate solution-oriented opportunities. These include our microfibre partnership with apparel retailers, the hosting of stakeholder workshops, participation in G7 discussions in support of the ocean plastics charter, and invited presentations across Canada and around the world.
Number three is education and engagement. If we are to solve the plastic pollution crisis, we'll need to arm Canadians with a better understanding of the topic. Engaging Canadians of all walks of life should be a very high priority. We designed our plastic wise program with this in mind. Plastic wise was designed to reach millions of people in Canada and around the world through our Vancouver Aquarium exhibits, our digital stories and online content, our media interactions, and through lectures, panels and workshops.
I put it to you that the time is right. We have an audience. Canadians are waiting, and never in my career as a pollution expert have I encountered such a desire for answers, such an appetite for positive change and such an expression of interest from virtually every sector in society.
Canada can help with a cohesive, forward-looking approach that nurtures scientific discovery, industrial innovation, best practices, green design and a circular approach to the plastic economy. Plastic is not the only threat to the world's oceans, but it is a significant one. The plastic pollution crisis offers us a chance for creativity, discovery and innovation.
Thank you for your time.
Collapse
Bob Masterson
View Bob Masterson Profile
Bob Masterson
2019-04-10 15:51
Expand
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
We're very pleased to be with you today on behalf of Canada's leading chemical and plastic resin manufacturers.
It will be no surprise to this group, but over the last year global citizens have demonstrated a very deep concern about plastic waste and marine litter. Last year, we took that as an opportunity to survey 1,500 Canadians, and we found that their views were very much in line with global attitudes—nine out of 10 Canadians surveyed indicated strong concerns about plastics.
While plastics and plastic litter are not a new issue for our industry and the work we've been doing—and Mr. Goetz just talked about that—certainly the speed with which public perception has changed caught our industry off guard. Our industry, both in Canada and globally, has responded very quickly and very meaningfully. The North American industry has struck a leadership position and made clear its support for a circular economy for plastics.
Ambitious goals have been established that would ensure that 100% of plastic packaging is designed to be recycled and recovered by 2030. We've also committed to working with all the other partners to make sure that by 2040 all plastic packaging is indeed reused, recycled and recovered. These goals were advanced before, but they fully align with the G7 ocean plastics charter, which was agreed to by Minister McKenna last year.
Additionally, this past January, our industry's global leaders launched the Alliance to End Plastic Waste. This was a partnership with the United Nations Environment Programme, the World Business Council For Sustainable Development, and Circulate Capital. Industry endowed that alliance with $1.5 billion U.S. to kick-start marine litter prevention projects in key developing countries. Imagine that. In six months, the global industry got together, agreed that this was a difficult problem, and pledged $1.5 billion towards it.
If we turn back to our survey results, we know that a strong majority of Canadians feel that they as consumers are responsible for the plastic litter problem. That result echoes what you would've seen in the CBC Marketplace survey issued last week. Canadians report that despite having broad access to recycling programs, they are extremely frustrated by the confusing rules for recycling and how those rules differ from home, to work, to play.
In Ontario, there are over 250 different municipal blue box programs. This is very frustrating to people. Personally, I can share with you that it's very confusing. In my household, we have four university degrees, and another one on the way, and we spend endless time arguing about the proper approach to recycling.
It shouldn't be that hard. We have to find a way to better educate people and to make the system work. There are jurisdictions that outperform us by seven to one in the amount of plastic material and other waste recovered and recycled. Surely if Japan and Scandinavia can figure it out, so can we in Canada. It does not have to be so confusing.
This confusion and lack of consistency contribute to the nearly 80% of post-consumer plastics that end up in Canadian landfills. As the other speakers have said already, that's a terrible waste of energy and precious resources.
I know the public has concerns about the amount of plastic in their lives. Before proposing any measures or actions, I think it's important that this committee understand why we're seeing that tremendous increase in plastic in our lives, at about twice the rate of global GDP growth.
Much of this committee's work over the past year has focused on the pressing issue of climate change. In many instances, plastics are the solution to the climate change problem, and that is a key contributor to the drive in growth. That includes lightweight, high-strength plastic composites in the automotive sector, improved insulation in the building sector, enormous quantities of plastic resins that are vital to the production of renewable energy from wind turbines and solar panels, as well as the very important role of plastic packaging in reducing food waste. I do hope you come back and ask the difficult question about why your cucumber is wrapped in plastic in your grocery store. Please ask that question.
We urge this committee to ensure that the proposed actions on post-consumer plastics do not undermine ongoing efforts to achieve our climate change objectives.
We're also aware that this committee has questions regarding chemicals in plastics, and we would ask you to reflect on the months dedicated to your review of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, including Canada's world-leading chemicals management plan. We urge the committee to recognize that CMP is the appropriate process for considering the risks of chemical substances, including plastics, in any aspect of commerce.
Indeed, over the past several years, many of the substances that have been identified as possible concerns with respect to plastics have been assessed and, where appropriate, risk management actions have been implemented through CMP. These include BPA, phthalates, flame retardants, dyes, pigments, microbeads in personal care products—which we've just heard about—and more than 350 different plastic polymers. I could provide a longer list, but my point is to encourage this committee to place its emphasis on the areas that most need attention: improved plastic reuse, recycling and recovery. There would be very little value for this study to repeat the ground covered by your comprehensive CEPA review.
Instead, our advice to you is to focus attention on defining the appropriate role for the activities of the federal government to support the national zero plastic waste action plan to be delivered this June. From our perspective, we see three key areas for the federal government to play a role.
The first is certainly working with provinces and municipalities to better educate Canadians and to standardize the collection and the sorting, as well as the functioning of EPR markets for post-consumer materials.
Second, consider the needs and means to expand what we have, which is a paucity of modern recycling and recovery infrastructure across Canada. Many of the plastic materials going to the landfill could be easily recycled with investments in more modern infrastructure. We often hear people talk about black polystyrene, that we can't recycle that. Maybe you couldn't 20 years ago, but with optical readers in modern facilities now, it's just another material. It's very easily recovered, but you have to have more modern infrastructure.
Finally, we would encourage this committee to forgo short-term actions on bans covering a limited range of plastic products. This will distract attention from the need for a very comprehensive shift to a circular economy for plastics and could lead to unintended environmental outcomes.
I'll conclude by saying again that the study by this committee is very important and welcome. We thank you for this opportunity to share our perspectives, and we certainly look forward to whatever questions you may have.
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Collapse
View Scott Simms Profile
Lib. (NL)
Okay.
Mr. Thurlow, it's good to see you again, sir.
On fire bags, you outlined the jurisdictions where these bags are feeding into the penstock. This is interesting in many respects, because the big story now in the fisheries area is about plastic getting into our oceans. How does this fit in? I know there are plastics, and from a terrestrial standpoint I see that you put it in the fire bag instead of putting it out, and you convert it and it goes to the penstock.
Can you offer a solution for those of us...? I'm co-chair of the oceans caucus, so I'm looking for an answer. Tell me you have wonderful things to tell me and we're going to save the oceans.
Collapse
W. Scott Thurlow
View W. Scott Thurlow Profile
W. Scott Thurlow
2018-12-06 17:06
Expand
I would tell you that by reducing the amount of plastic we use as consumers, we are contributing to saving the oceans, but—
Collapse
W. Scott Thurlow
View W. Scott Thurlow Profile
W. Scott Thurlow
2018-12-06 17:07
Expand
To the best of our knowledge.... I have not seen something about recovering fisheries technology in a way that pencils out, but certainly that's something we could look into.
Collapse
View Sheila Malcolmson Profile
NDP (BC)
This is a government that's willing to spend on infrastructure but hasn't necessarily done so in those areas, so that's a good ask.
The oceans protection plan's anchorages initiative is something that has been announced and it's looking at this very situation. What are your impressions of that program's effectiveness?
Collapse
Chris Straw
View Chris Straw Profile
Chris Straw
2018-10-18 10:26
Expand
Our key focus of engagement with Transport Canada is through the anchorages initiative. I will point out that when it was announced we were surprised that the overall budget allocated for this three-year review of the entire anchorage system across the country was only $500,000. I think members of this committee would know you can't do much studying of anything for that amount. Our main concern is that the study actually takes a detailed look at the situation to not only investigate all the available options but also to figure out exactly what's going on.
With respect to the economic side, there's also the impact that they're having, and the anchorages initiative has agreed that it should be looking at the environmental, social and health impacts of these anchorages as well. Our concerns are that they're not well placed to be able to do that with the resources they have, and we're finding that they're already way behind in the timelines that have been proposed.
Collapse
Isabelle Bérard
View Isabelle Bérard Profile
Isabelle Bérard
2018-10-16 15:39
Expand
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I am pleased to be here today to speak about Canada's climate leadership on the international stage.
My name is Isabelle Bérard and I am the assistant deputy minister of the international affairs branch at Environment and Climate Change Canada, or ECCC.
I am joined today by colleagues from my department: Matt Jones, Assistant Deputy Minister of the Pan-Canadian Framework Implementation Office; Catherine Steward, Canada's Chief Negotiator for Climate Change and Director General for Multilateral Affairs and Climate Change; Lucie Desforges, Director General of Bilateral Affairs and Trade Directorate; and Erin Silsbe, Acting Director, G7 Task Team. I am also joined by my colleague from Global Affairs Canada, Anar Mamdani, Director of Environment.
I would like to begin with an overview of ECCC's international engagement. I will then turn to my colleague from Global Affairs Canada who will describe her department's activities on climate change from the broader development assistance perspective.
When it comes to international engagement, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, UNFCCC, is the primary forum for advancing global climate action. I’m very pleased to note that Canada is a key player in this arena. There is a lot of growing momentum, by all actors, on climate change. The growth in size and scope of the UN climate change conference, or COP, is a clear reflection of this reality.
Under the UNFCCC, the Paris Agreement, adopted in 2015, establishes global climate goals, including to limit the increase in global temperatures to well below 2°C and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C.
Canada is a strong advocate of the Paris Agreement because it has obligations for all parties. Under the UNFCCC, what we are doing now is negotiating the implementation guidelines for the agreement, often referred to as the Paris rule book. In general, these guidelines will set out how each party will communicate its plans and actions to address climate change, how it will measure and report transparently on progress and how this information will be used to measure global progress.
The robust and effective implementation of the Paris Agreement is a top priority for Canada. We know that the adoption of common and robust guidelines for all countries will promote ambitious, credible and transparent climate action.
The Paris Agreement also offers the possibility to co-operate with other countries using market-based measures. Markets can help increase mitigation ambition and provide the incentive for public and private investment to achieve the necessary shift toward low-carbon pathways.
Last, if we are to successfully implement the Paris Agreement, we know that we need to continue to deliver on climate finance. As you may know, Canada is delivering $2.65 billion over five years to help developing countries transition to low-carbon, sustainable and resilient growth. Canada has already announced over $1.2 billion of this commitment, providing direction and stability to developing country partners. I will leave it to Anar Mamdani to provide further details on this commitment.
We believe fundamentally that the Paris Agreement will help drive global ambition on climate change. But there are other ways that Canada is providing global leadership on this front.
For example, on the margins of COP23 last year, Canada and the United Kingdom launched the Powering Past Coal Alliance, which is a voluntary coalition of governments, businesses and organizations that are helping to end the use of unabated coal power around the world. The Alliance continues to grow, with 74 members now who recognize the value of this initiative.
Canada has also demonstrated global leadership this past year through the G7 presidency. Just this past September, Minister McKenna hosted the G7 environment ministers' meeting and co-hosted the G7 joint ministerial session on climate change, oceans and clean energy.
We had good exchanges among G7 ministers and representatives of business and civil society on several important issues related to environment, oceans and energy. For example, we saw a number of countries, such as Jamaica and Norway, as well as major multinational businesses, such as Unilever and Volvo, make important commitments to reduce plastic pollution by supporting the Oceans Plastics Charter announced at the Charlevoix G7 Summit. G7 members also came together to establish a G7 Innovation Challenge to address marine plastic litter.
I would like to highlight a few more international initiatives that my branch has helped to further this past year.
For one, Canada, along with China and the European Union, launched the ministerial on climate action, and has co-hosted two meetings among ministers to identify common ground towards adopting the Paris “Rulebook”.
Last May, Minister McKenna also hosted the “Climate Leaders’ Summit: Women Kicking It on Climate”, which brought together high-level women influencers from all sectors to develop climate change solutions that contribute to gender equality and the empowerment of women.
My branch also does a lot of work to advance our bilateral relationships around the world. ECCC works in close collaboration with several countries to advance Canada’s international climate change and environmental protection agenda.
For example, in North America, Canada undertakes co-operative work with the United States and Mexico under the Commission for Environmental Cooperation, the CEC, which is a trilateral organization that has facilitated environmental work since 1994. Under the CEC, parties are committed to continuing this existing co-operation as part of a new environmental co-operation agreement that is being negotiated.
In November 2017, Canada joined with like-minded U.S. states and Mexico to create the North American climate leadership dialogue, committing to work co-operatively on clean transportation, vehicle efficiency, and clean power, and on reducing short-lived climate pollutants. In September 2018, a new statement was endorsed in San Francisco.
Another key partner that we have been working with is China. During Prime Minister Trudeau's visit to China in December 2017, he and his Chinese counterpart issued a joint leaders' statement on climate change and clean growth. This statement establishes the new ministerial dialogues on climate change, environment and energy and recognizes the leading role that Canada plays in the China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development, CCICED, for which Minister McKenna is the international executive vice-chair.
We also have considerable engagement with Europe. Canada and the EU have strong bilateral relations on the environment and climate change. On May 24, Canada hosted the Canada-EU high-level dialogue on climate change to share expertise on climate change issues and negotiations.
On April 16, 2018, the France-Canada climate and environment partnership was signed in the presence of Prime Minister Trudeau and President Macron. The partnership includes nine areas of co-operation.
Canada is also working with the U.K. on issues such as climate change adaptation, carbon pricing and phasing out traditional coal under the Canada-U.K. partnership, which was announced by Prime Minister Trudeau and Prime Minister May in September 2017.
ECCC also works closely with Global Affairs Canada to advance Canada's trade and environment objectives which are based on the principle that trade and environment are mutually supportive. A prime example is the new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).
The USMCA incorporates the most ambitious environment commitments Canada has ever included in a trade agreement. It integrates substantive environmental provisions into an environment chapter, subject to dispute resolution, which aims to level the playing field by ensuring parties do not lower their levels of protection to attract trade or investment.
This chapter also includes new commitments to address a range of global environmental issues, such as illegal wildlife trade, sustainable fisheries and forestry management, species at risk, conservation of biological diversity, air quality and marine litter.
To conclude, I would note again that Canada's significant engagement on climate change on the international scene is designed to build trust and capacity among parties for progress on climate goals, to ensure that leading emitters—developed and developing countries—are accountable, and to create conditions for innovation and clean growth for all.
Thank you for your time.
I would now like to turn to my colleague from Global Affairs Canada.
Collapse
View Wayne Stetski Profile
NDP (BC)
View Wayne Stetski Profile
2018-10-04 16:21
Expand
Okay.
I have a question then for Mr. Morel on aquatic ecosystems. Are you responsible for science in that section?
Collapse
Philippe Morel
View Philippe Morel Profile
Philippe Morel
2018-10-04 16:21
Expand
No. I'm responsible for species at risk.
Science is a different sector, but depending on your question, I may give you an element of the answer.
Collapse
Andrew Van Iterson
View Andrew Van Iterson Profile
Andrew Van Iterson
2018-09-26 17:16
Expand
Mr. Chairman and honourable committee members, thank you for inviting the Green Budget Coalition to speak to you today.
Active since 1999, the Green Budget Coalition is unique in bringing together the expertise of 21 of Canada's leading environmental and conservation organizations as members, supporters and volunteers, and includes groups from Ducks Unlimited to Greenpeace.
The Green Budget Coalition's mission is to present an analysis of the most pressing issues regarding environmental sustainability in Canada, and to make a consolidated annual set of recommendations to the federal government regarding strategic fiscal and budgetary opportunities.
Over the past week, we mailed each of you copies of this document, in English and French. It's the Green Budget Coalition's detailed recommendations for budget 2019, with five feature recommendations that I would like to highlight today.
Before doing so, I would like to reiterate the Green Budget Coalition's appreciation for budget 2018's investment of $1.3 billion to create and manage protected areas and recover species at risk. I would also like to reiterate the Green Budget Coalition's strong, long-standing support for taking credible, responsible action on climate change, particularly for implementing an effective price on greenhouse gas emissions. This is a measure that has broad support within Canada's business and environmental community.
For budget 2019, the Green Budget Coalition recommends that the Government of Canada prioritize actions to advance the following five recommendations collectively, with the potential to create notable economic, health and environmental benefits for Canadians, and offering many synergies amongst them: toxics and pesticides, fossil fuel subsidies and non-tax supports, sustainable agriculture, freshwater management and oceans.
First, we recommend tackling toxics and pesticides to protect the health of Canadians and our environment by providing regulatory departments—Environment and Climate Change Canada, and Health Canada—with sufficient resources to meet and enforce their current and anticipated federal legislative requirements related to the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999, and the Pest Control Products Act for managing toxic substances including pesticides.
Second, regarding phasing out fossil fuel subsidies and non-tax supports, we recommend that the government continue progress on aligning fossil fuel tax policy with the government's climate change objectives through increased transparency and reporting, a credible peer review process, defining what “inefficient fossil fuel subsidies” means, and a phase-out timeline for remaining subsidies and non-tax support.
Third, to deliver on Canada's commitments to sustainable agriculture, the Green Budget Coalition recommends investing in agri-environmental programs, research and development, and food loss and food waste prevention programs. This would make Canada a trusted global leader in sustainable food production and improve the agriculture sector's sustainability, resilience and competitiveness.
Fourth, to deliver 21st century management for freshwater protection, the Green Budget Coalition recommends addressing water challenges due to climate change and changing land use with improved data collection, restoring aquatic habitat, reducing land-based run-off of nutrients and pollution, and balancing hydroelectric development with river connectivity and flow.
Fifth, for conserving the biodiversity and health of our oceans, we recommend investing in long-term, stable funding to support Canada's domestic and international commitments to ocean co-management and conservation, ocean governance, and a blue economy, as well as addressing fisheries stock assessment, aquaculture research and ocean plastic pollution.
Last, in our document we also outline a number of complimentary recommendations relating to environmental science, data management, carbon pricing, international climate financing, allocating the costs of climate change, arctic ship fuels, zero emission vehicles, home and building energy efficiency, community ownership of clean energy, bird conservation, plastic waste, and first nations drinking water and waste water.
To conclude, I would like to thank you again for inviting me to speak here today. I look forward to your questions. I would happily meet with you individually with the coalition at another date.
Thank you.
Collapse
Robert Lewis-Manning
View Robert Lewis-Manning Profile
Robert Lewis-Manning
2018-09-26 14:31
Expand
Madam Chair and members of the committee, thank you for having us today.
Just before I kick this off, perhaps I can give a reminder that tomorrow is World Maritime Day. It's also the 70th anniversary of the International Maritime Organization, of which Canada was a founding member. So there's lots to celebrate and there are some positive things happening.
Our organization represents the interest of shipowners, their agents, and service providers responsible for moving people and commodities globally to and from western Canada. Our members' ability and capacity to move products and people safely, in a timely manner, and competitively is good for Canadians, good for our economy and also good for our environment. Commercial marine carriers compete in a global marketplace. They generally view the Canadian market positively, but they have certain reservations associated with the supply chain's efficiency and productivity, regulatory agility, and data and infrastructure.
The Government of Canada has made the largest-ever one-time investment in coastal protection, and we fully support the programs under the oceans protection plan. Now that this plan is implementing specific programs, this effort should include a greater focus on ways to improve our supply chain's competitiveness, as this will be beneficial to protecting both our marine ecosystems and the Canadian economy. There are already strong indicators that efforts to increase coastal protection will also require the marine sector to innovate in the way it operates and the technologies it employs. For this to be effective, the national transportation strategy must strive to drive innovation that makes our marine transportation framework nimble and adaptable so that it can fully support the coastal protection initiatives and also remain competitive.
As stated in the review of the Canada Transportation Act that was chaired by David Emerson, there needs to be a whole-of-government approach to a national transportation strategy, with an oversight body that requires all affected government departments and agencies to work collaboratively toward common goals. Currently, there is some lack of coordination in policies and priorities and an absence of data-sharing that results in an increase in administrative burdens and inefficiencies.
While the Transportation Modernization Act has initiatives under way to improve supply chain visibility, it is equally important for the government partners to come together in a common strategy to clearly articulate the vision for safety and environmental protection to marine users and stakeholders, as they are intrinsically linked.
Understanding our supply chain holistically is essential to Canada's economic competitiveness. I think you heard that in droves this morning. The continuous growth in volumes of cargo and passengers, together with the limited availability of industrial land for marina operations, requires terminals and berth capacity to be utilized very efficiently. We are witnessing some traditional and also some new constraints to our supply chain that are resulting in negative impacts to the economy and even some of our local coastal communities.
For example, break-bulk cargo is nearly impossible to import into western Canadian ports right now. It's causing delays and increased costs to projects in British Columbia and Alberta, as cargo is diverted through ports in the United States. This should have been within our collective ability to predict, based on the supply chain data relating to efficiency and productivity. Efforts like the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority's supply chain visibility project are positive. We are optimistic that the port's modernization review will also benchmark the performance of our ports and supply chain with competing jurisdictions such that priorities for policy development and future funding are focused appropriately.
There have been successive tranches of infrastructure investment by the public and private sector that have supported an expanding international trading market. We are encouraged by the Government of Canada's intentions to facilitate this in the future through the national transportation corridors fund.
Future funding initiatives should better leverage the expertise of ocean carriers and their awareness of global trading trends. Infrastructure should include marine infrastructure that facilitates safety, environmental protection, and data management and integration. Ocean carriers that operate in the global marketplace know that certain commodities are less competitive in Canada. A focused effort on measuring the throughput of our ports and collaboratively engaging on ways to improve the situation would be positive for many sectors of the Canadian economy and would ultimately support better coastal protection.
Thank you again for the opportunity to speak. We look forward to answering any questions.
Collapse
View Anita Vandenbeld Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you to all of you for being here.
Mr. Hutchinson, you mentioned the oceans protection plan in your statement, and you said it allows for a year-round presence. I believe, Ms. Weldon, you also talked about the oceans protection plan. What is new with this plan? What is it that you're capable of doing now that you weren't able to do before?
Do you want to start, Mr. Hutchinson?
Collapse
Jeffery Hutchinson
View Jeffery Hutchinson Profile
Jeffery Hutchinson
2018-09-19 16:10
Expand
I'll turn to Deputy Commissioner Pelletier. He's the oceans protection plan lead for the Coast Guard, and for Fisheries and Oceans, as a departmental family.
To be clear, when we speak of year-round presence in the Arctic, we have a base that operates year-round in the Northwest Territories. I don't mean to suggest that we're currently able to deploy icebreakers year-round. Although, as Mario will describe in a moment, one of the key elements of OPP in the Arctic is extending the icebreaking season, both in the spring and in the autumn.
Mario.
Collapse
Mario Pelletier
View Mario Pelletier Profile
Mario Pelletier
2018-09-19 16:11
Expand
There are a number of issues under the OPP that benefit the Arctic.
As the commissioner mentioned, the first one is the extension of the season. Last year we were out there for 35 more sea days. We intend to increase that by another 10 sea days in the next few years, basically showing up there a few weeks earlier in the spring and June and leaving a few weeks later in November. That's a major one, because more and more the resupply ships are there at the ice edge earlier, and they want to start resupplying. Obviously, they need to adjust depending on the ice conditions, but we make it our responsibility to make sure we're there to support them.
Another initiative is around the Coast Guard Auxiliary. We created a Coast Guard Auxiliary chapter in the Arctic. To give some context, throughout Canada the auxiliary has about 4,000 members, and about 1,100 units. In the Arctic right now we are at 15, we're going to be expanding with another five next year, and we have about 200 members. We're working really hard to expand that. We're going to increase the role of the auxiliary as well. Right now it's focused on search and rescue, and we provide training and everything else, but we want them to be part of the emergency response. If there's any pollution, they're on the ground, they're right in the community, so we can draw from their presence. Again, we'll provide training around that.
This year we also opened the first inshore rescue boat station in Rankin Inlet. That's a program we've had down south for many years. We hire students to deliver the search and rescue services. It's a very successful story in Rankin. We canvassed the 45 communities up north and did some risk assessment, and determined Rankin to be the best location. Also, we recruited from colleges and we had indigenous youth minding that station this summer. They just ended the operation last week.
The final one I want to touch on is the operational network. It's little known but the marine communications and traffic services centre in Iqaluit monitors the entire Arctic. This is where people report for NORDREG, ask for ice information and so on. We have dedicated, professional people at the centre who provide information and monitor the activities. We upgraded all the centres, and we have 11 communication towers throughout the Arctic that they use. Now we're upgrading the links between those towers to make sure we use state-of-the-art technology to ensure reliable communications networks, plus a business continuity plan.
These are all parts of investment for the Arctic.
Collapse
Jane Weldon
View Jane Weldon Profile
Jane Weldon
2018-09-19 16:14
Expand
Our role, of course, is quite a bit less in terms of actual operations, but under the oceans protection plan, we did get some funding to be able to do vessel inspection in the Arctic. We have been able to dramatically increase the availability of our inspectors up north. They spend large chunks of the season up north inspecting various vessels at various facilities like Baffinland and in various ports as well. That allows us to ensure that the level of marine safety on vessels up there is kept to the same account. Historically, we had done the inspection in the south, but some vessels don't come down a lot and it's not the same thing.
Additionally, under the oceans protection plan, we've put a significant amount of funding into training. We have a contribution agreement with the institute in Iqaluit, and it has now opened up a training facility in Hay River where there wasn't previously a facility. That facility is doing training in marine with the goal of supplying more qualified mariners for various jobs in the north to increase the safety level for people who are fishing and engaging in other traditional uses of the marine environment.
Third, as I mentioned in my opening remarks, we're working with a number of Inuit groups to look at how to better supply them with marine domain awareness information. There are issues in the north about access—for example, when you're out in a boat—to satellite information or other information about who is in the Arctic and who is in the water. The goal we have there is to ensure that we have a tool, like an app, designed for their needs as opposed to the kinds of things you can get on site now that are designed for other people's needs.
I should also highlight that, outside of the oceans protection plan, we are working with corporate interests that mine in the north to look at whether there are needs for formal pilotage services, be they formal through one of the pilotage authorities or less formal but requiring certain qualifications for people to be able to land those large ships in the various ports to ensure that there is adequate safety with respect to how those vessels land. As you can imagine, a large cargo ship is not the easiest thing to “park”, as we like to jokingly say. We are now working with various companies to ensure that there are appropriate services in place so that we don't have any accidents.
Collapse
View Judy A. Sgro Profile
Lib. (ON)
I call to order the meeting of the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities in this 42nd Parliament. Pursuant to Standing Order 108(2), we are starting a study of ocean war graves.
To all of our members, welcome back, especially Kelly. We missed having you with us.
To the various individuals and witnesses, thank you for coming.
From the Department of National Defence, we have Steve Harris, acting director and chief historian, directorate of history and heritage.
From the Department of Transport, we have Ellen Burack, director general, environmental policy, and Nancy Harris, executive director, regulatory stewardship and aboriginal affairs.
From Parks Canada, we have Marc-André Bernier, underwater archaeology manager, and Ellen Bertrand, director, cultural heritage strategies.
Welcome to all of you. Thank you for finding time in your busy schedules to come before the committee today.
We would like to start with the Department of National Defence.
Mr. Harris.
Collapse
Steve Harris
View Steve Harris Profile
Steve Harris
2018-03-19 15:30
Expand
Madam Chair and members of the committee, I would like to thank you for this opportunity to appear before you today as part of your study on ocean war graves.
I am Dr. Steve Harris, the acting director and chief historian at the directorate of history and heritage, National Defence headquarters. I began my career there in 1979, became chief historian in 1998, and have been the acting director since 2012. As such, I am ultimately responsible for the DND/CAF casualty identification program, which is managed by DHH within military personnel command. This program is just under 20 years old, and exists because in the late 1990s the Commonwealth War Graves Commission transferred its responsibility for identifying recently discovered remains of commonwealth sailors, soldiers, and airmen killed in the two world wars to the participating national authorities. This task was given to the chief of military personnel and delegated to DHH.
Using historical research and physiological records, we identified our first casualty in 2002—a soldier missing from the Lincoln and Welland Regiment whose remains were discovered and reported two years before.
Until 2005, our experience was entirely with remains found on land—soldiers or victims of an air crash—and whether in Europe or in Canada, clear protocols were followed. The discovery was reported to the police, who police determined that the remains were likely a war casualty. When evidence suggested that the individual was from a commonwealth service, the remains were gathered and stored by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. If evidence suggested that the individual was Canadian, we were informed and began our work.
In 2005, however, the wreckage of an RCAF Nomad aircraft was discovered in Lake Muskoka, Ontario, by civilian recreational divers. It was not known at the outset whether the aircraft presented an environmental hazard, whether it carried any ordnance, and whether the crew were still on board. It was also not clear at the outset whether the wreckage should remain where it was and hopefully be declared to be a war grave should legislation exist, or whether it should be removed. Eventually it was removed, and the remains of the crew were given a proper military burial in 2015.
That was the first occasion upon which we at DHH became involved in discussions about defining a “war grave”, an occasion complicated by the fact that Lake Muskoka waters are in the purview of the Province of Ontario, not Canadian jurisdiction, as such. What we saw then was no clear way to provide protection for the wreck and the human remains in it. In discussions that followed, however, we realized that although the Nomad case had raised our awareness, it had become very clear that our involvement in wrecks was limited to those that contained human remains and that could be defined as a war or operational grave.
If something is going to be defined as a war grave, that suggests that the wreckage and the human remains are not going to be touched, removed, and reburied. In that case, DHH has no involvement whatsoever. The question for us has always been whether there is a requirement to consider whether a wreck in easily accessible waters is likely to be exploited despite its having been declared a war grave. From what we know, that consideration will apply mainly to aircraft, not ships, the Nomad in Lake Muskoka being the prime example. In that case, the lack of legislative means to declare the wreck a war grave was part of the decision-making process that led to its being lifted and human remains removed and buried. However, another part of that decision-making process was that it was easily accessible, and even if there had been a mechanism to secure Ontario Provincial Police assistance in shielding it, the likelihood that it would be dived on, and human remains potentially tampered with, was high. That was clearly a factor, too.
I would be pleased to take any questions.
Collapse
Ellen Burack
View Ellen Burack Profile
Ellen Burack
2018-03-19 15:35
Expand
The Department of Transport does not have any opening statements, Madam Chair.
Collapse
Ellen Bertrand
View Ellen Bertrand Profile
Ellen Bertrand
2018-03-19 15:36
Expand
Thank you.
Madam Chair, members of the committee, it's a privilege to be here with you today to discuss the role of Parks Canada in the protection and management of heritage wrecks in the context of the study of ocean war graves.
Parks Canada protects and presents nationally significant examples of natural and cultural heritage, and we administer 47 national parks, four national marine conservation areas, and 171 national historic sites. The Parks Canada Agency Act established Parks Canada as the federal lead for federal archaeology and built heritage. Over the past 50 years Parks Canada has built an international reputation as a leader in the field of underwater archaeology through work on projects such as the excavation of a 16th-century Basque whaling ship in Red Bay, Labrador.
The agency is currently the only government entity that has the operational capacity for evaluating and managing heritage wrecks. This is expertise is led by a team that my colleague Marc-André heads up at Parks Canada. A high-profile example of this expertise is the work we did discovering, excavating, and documenting the wrecks of Sir John Franklin's ships, HMS Erebus and HMS Terror, in Nunavut.
Under the Canada Shipping Act, which is still in force, the Minister of Transport and the Minister responsible for Parks Canada Agency have joint authority for making regulations to protect and preserve wrecks with heritage value. These authorities came into force in 2007, but no such regulations have yet been introduced. Bill C-64 would transfer these authorities to section 131 of the new act.
Regulations, whether developed under the existing act or a new piece of legislation, would establish a definition of heritage wrecks that would be exempt from certain salvage provisions, for example, entitlement to a salvage award, which could include the wreck itself. These regulatory authorities would allow for the creation of an inventory of heritage wrecks and, importantly, a requirement to report new discoveries. They would also define activities directed at heritage wrecks that would require a permit. This might include searching for a wreck, excavating a wreck, and removal of artifacts.
Of the thousands of historic shipwrecks in Canada, a small but significant portion is military wrecks. In addition to the wrecks of vessels and airplanes belonging to the Canadian Forces, we estimate that at least 50 military wrecks belonging to foreign governments have been located in Canadian waters. We estimate that perhaps another 100 remain undiscovered. Approximately 90% of these foreign military wrecks in Canadian waters are the property of the governments of the U.K., France, and the United States of America.
In some cases, a foreign government has identified Parks Canada to act on its behalf to ensure the appropriate management of the wrecks. The management of the wrecks of HMS Erebus and HMS Terror is a good example. We have a memorandum of understanding with the Government of the U.K., but under future heritage wreck regulations, Canada would be able to protect these foreign military wrecks from unauthorized disturbance.
Wrecks are often the final resting place of those who perished on board. Almost all Royal Canadian Navy vessels that sank in Canadian waters have had at least one loss of life. However, human remains are found on other wrecks as well.
A poignant example is the wreck of RMS Empress of Ireland, an ocean liner that sank in the estuary of the St. Lawrence in 1914. Over 1,000 passengers and crew perished, making it the worst peacetime maritime disaster in Canadian history.
While the Province of Quebec put into place specific legal measures to protect this particular shipwreck in response to years of looting at the site, the proposed heritage wreck regulations would provide automatic protection of such underwater grave sites from unauthorized disturbances.
Heritage wreck regulations would also support Parks Canada's ratification of international agreements that would help to protect wreck sites at the international level, including sites that contain human remains.
In 2001, Canada and 85 other countries voted to support the language of the UNESCO Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage. Member states agree to cooperate and work towards the protection of underwater cultural heritage within their jurisdiction and the high seas. To date, there are 58 state parties to the convention. Before ratifying the convention, Canada would need to demonstrate that adequate measures are in place to protect underwater cultural heritage, including heritage wrecks.
Similarly, Canada worked with the U.S.A, the U.K., and France on a draft agreement to protect the wreck of RMS Titanic, which rests at the edge of our continental shelf, beyond the exclusive economic zone.
Over 1,500 lives were lost, and after it was discovered in 1985, explorers penetrated the hull and removed over 5,900 artifacts. They removed them largely for commercial purpose and profit.
While the agreement is not yet in force, it does promote in situ preservation of the wreck as a memorial and a historic site. The proposed heritage wreck regulations could be extended extraterritorially to such an area to provide legal tools to regulate activities of Canadian nationals and Canadian vessels directed at the Titanic.
It is the view of the Government of Canada that the introduction of regulations would provide an effective solution to protect all heritage wrecks in Canadian waters under Canadian jurisdiction, including those that may be considered ocean war graves. To that end, Parks Canada has recently begun reviewing past work in this area and has had preliminary discussions with Transport Canada, the Department of National Defence, and Veterans Affairs to look at options to develop a regulatory regime for the protection of heritage wrecks under the existing joint regulatory authority in view of the new piece of legislation.
We would like to sum up by saying that if there is a clear framework and a management regime through regulations, the Government of Canada will be able to protect these important cultural sites.
Collapse
View Kelly Block Profile
CPC (SK)
Thank you very much, Madam Chair, for your kind words welcoming me back. I recognize that I was not here for the completion of our study on Bill C-64, but I want to thank you for considering the amendments that were put forward by the Conservative of the committee. Also, thank you very much for your response to those amendments and for agreeing to hold this study on this very important issue. I am very glad to be back to be able to take part in it.
I also want to note that as part of this study, I've been made aware—I'm learning as we go—that there are a number of acts that could relate to this study. As has been mentioned, there is some work being contemplated between a number of ministries.
I think you referenced the question that was in my mind before you gave your opening statement, but I am wondering if you could expand on what kind of legislative framework would make the most sense in providing protections to these ocean war graves.
Do you see it taking place in regulation, as I think I heard? Would you see amendments being made to the acts that might provide oversight to this issue, or would you see, perhaps, the creation of a new act toward this end?
Collapse
Ellen Bertrand
View Ellen Bertrand Profile
Ellen Bertrand
2018-03-19 15:44
Expand
We see the regulations as being sufficient to offer the protection of heritage wrecks in Canada. Maybe I could go over some of the core elements of what's contemplated in the regulations.
There would obviously be a definition of “heritage wreck” or “designated heritage wreck”. The UNESCO Convention on the Protection of Underwater Cultural Heritage has a time limit of 100 years. Anything that is older than 100 years would automatically be considered a heritage wreck under that convention. In Canada, in the work that we've done, we've proposed 50 years, so anything older than 50 years would be a designated heritage wreck.
The regulations, importantly, would exclude heritage wrecks from salvage provision, so as I referenced in my opening statement, it would exclude a salvor from getting an award. It would take away the incentive to go after a wreck and bring up artifacts or bring up parts of the hull, for example.
The regulations would also exclude heritage wrecks from disposition and destruction provisions, so it takes those parts of the legislation and sets them aside.
We would also define a number of activities that would require a permit. If somebody wanted to search for a ship, like they do, for example, in the territory of Nunavut, they would need an archeology permit to go look for underwater archeological sites.
We would also provide for interim protection zones, so if something has been discovered, and we wanted to protect the area around a ship where there might be a debris field, we could define that under regulation. We can also create prohibitions to restrict access and restrict activities directed at that heritage wreck.
There would be mandatory reporting of a found wreck to appropriate authorities, and we would have this inventory—a database of wrecks.
This is a fairly robust set of regulations that we think would cover and offer protection for heritage wrecks, including those that have human remains on them.
Collapse
View Kelly Block Profile
CPC (SK)
Just to follow up on that, can you advise the committee how this recommendation aligns with what other countries or jurisdictions have done in legislation?
Collapse
Ellen Bertrand
View Ellen Bertrand Profile
Ellen Bertrand
2018-03-19 15:47
Expand
In Canada, provinces and territories all have legislation to protect heritage writ large. I can give you two examples. B.C., for example, has very strong protection for underwater cultural heritage. Any wreck that's been abandoned or wrecked is automatically subject to the law after two years, so you need a permit to do any research on those wrecks. It's a two-year limit.
Collapse
View Kelly Block Profile
CPC (SK)
If I could, I am more interested in what other countries are doing and whether or not they have legislation in place, or whether they have gone down the same path you are recommending.
Collapse
Ellen Bertrand
View Ellen Bertrand Profile
Ellen Bertrand
2018-03-19 15:47
Expand
There are examples in other countries, and I'll let my colleague Marc-André answer that question.
Collapse
Marc-André Bernier
View Marc-André Bernier Profile
Marc-André Bernier
2018-03-19 15:48
Expand
Bonjour. Yes, there are multiple examples and multiple ways of doing it. Some countries have archeological laws that protect at large, as these regulations would. France is one example. Australia is another. In Europe, 45 countries signed the Valletta Convention, which basically covers archeological sites on land and underwater.
Other countries have taken a different route and have specifically targeted military wrecks in addition to heritage wrecks. The U.K. is probably the prime example, and the United States also has specific regulations for military wrecks. In those cases, they cover not only shipwrecks that sank at a time of war, but also anything that can conserve and cover wrecks and human remains. It's not specifically war graves, but military wrecks. The U.S. covers not only American wrecks, but also protects other countries' wrecks in their waters. You have a vast array of possibilities.
The regulations under this one act, I think, would help us with the fact that we have to deal most of the time with the jurisdiction of the provinces, who have archeological legislation for the seabed. The Canada Shipping Act, for example, is more addressed at wrecks in the water column. The regulations would allow us to have a common approach, and one-to-one agreements with the provinces to manage the permits, for example.
Collapse
View Sean Fraser Profile
Lib. (NS)
View Sean Fraser Profile
2018-03-19 15:50
Expand
Thank you very much to our witnesses for being here. I'll more or less pick up where my colleague left off.
I'm most interested in getting these wrecks protected. One of the things that stuck with me from the testimony of Mr. White, who was here previously, was that one of the purposes of their coming before the committee was to communicate that although they felt that our soldiers and airmen were treated with a certain respect when it came to military graves, the same was not necessarily true for those who were lost at sea. I've played that scenario over in my mind a number of times since I heard that testimony.
If we went down the route that we're talking about with respect to proposed regulations, would it be possible to specifically distinguish in the regulations war graves from other heritage wrecks? Part B to that question is, would there be a need to wait 50 years, or would the interim measures you were chatting about suffice to protect a ship from the day it goes down?
Collapse
Ellen Bertrand
View Ellen Bertrand Profile
Ellen Bertrand
2018-03-19 15:51
Expand
I'll take the first kick at that one.
The regulations, as we've envisioned them, could allow for that first definition, which is about a time limitation, but they would also offer an opportunity for the minister to identify any other wreck that he or she would deem to have heritage value. That would be set apart in a schedule. It is possible to have something immediately identified. It would probably have to meet a number of criteria, but that would be possible.
Did you want to add anything, Marc-André?
Collapse
Marc-André Bernier
View Marc-André Bernier Profile
Marc-André Bernier
2018-03-19 15:51
Expand
The blanket coverage is a beginning, and then after that the regulations would also allow a specific case that does not meet that criteria, but is found to be of high significance, to be included in the regulations.
Collapse
View Sean Fraser Profile
Lib. (NS)
View Sean Fraser Profile
2018-03-19 15:52
Expand
The regulations, for example, could identify war graves as a class of heritage wrecks, and then the schedule could designate specific vessels that are sunken war graves, which for the purpose of the definition would also be a heritage wreck.
Collapse
Marc-André Bernier
View Marc-André Bernier Profile
Marc-André Bernier
2018-03-19 15:52
Expand
That's something we could define in the regulations, for sure.
Collapse
View Sean Fraser Profile
Lib. (NS)
View Sean Fraser Profile
2018-03-19 15:52
Expand
Mr. Harris, you might be best positioned to answer this question. We heard that there are at least 50 known vessels in Canada, maybe 100 more than that. I'm curious. With your historical background, do you know the number of sunken potential war graves, I guess I'll call them, that might exist outside of Canadian waters?
Collapse
Steve Harris
View Steve Harris Profile
Steve Harris
2018-03-19 15:52
Expand
I don't. It sounds as if I'm running away from the issue, but for us at DHH, the issue is really the identification of human remains when there is a report of a finding and when those human remains can't remain where they are. We know where ships have been lost; I could come back to you with the total number.
Our interest has been what happens when a wreck becomes so easily accessible that the kind of sacrosanct nature of a wreck, even declared as a war grave, begins to get doubtful. In the Nomad case, it had lain in Lake Muskoka for about 50 years. Then the zebra mussels did their work and cleared the waters, and it was seen. Had it been declared a war grave at some point in the past when it wasn't seen, I don't think we would have faced the problem that we did once the zebra mussels did their work and the waters cleared.
Collapse
View Sean Fraser Profile
Lib. (NS)
View Sean Fraser Profile
2018-03-19 15:53
Expand
Shifting back to the potential regulatory framework we were discussing, I think I have a handle on a solution that might pertain to vessels within Canadian waters. Of course, we're going to depend on partners who are signatories to the convention, who potentially get their own legislative fix, when we're dealing with Canadian vessels outside of Canadian waters. Would there be an opportunity in a regulatory scheme to place a duty or, at the very least, an option for the minister to specifically request, pursuant to a law, counterparts in other countries that may play host to Canadian vessels that have sunk?
Collapse
Ellen Bertrand
View Ellen Bertrand Profile
Ellen Bertrand
2018-03-19 15:54
Expand
I might turn it over to Marc-André. It is possible to have bilateral agreements with other countries for the protection of other vessels.
Perhaps you can give the example of the Titanic.
Collapse
Marc-André Bernier
View Marc-André Bernier Profile
Marc-André Bernier
2018-03-19 15:54
Expand
Yes, there's the Titanic, but also our Royal Canadian Navy vessels in international waters. Most of them are in either U.K. waters or French waters. The French, basically, will stop any activities on the foreign military vessels and contact the government.
We do have one vessel that's protected under the French regime.
Collapse
View Sean Fraser Profile
Lib. (NS)
View Sean Fraser Profile
2018-03-19 15:55
Expand
Does that require that we request them to protect it, or does it happen automatically under French law?
Collapse
Marc-André Bernier
View Marc-André Bernier Profile
Marc-André Bernier
2018-03-19 15:55
Expand
The French will do it automatically and contact the country, and then we can say yes or no. With the British, you do have to be proactive. We do have three corvettes, as was mentioned in the previous committee hearings; and 95 men lost their lives on these three vessels.
Collapse
View Sean Fraser Profile
Lib. (NS)
View Sean Fraser Profile
2018-03-19 15:55
Expand
Could the regulations require the minister, in the example of the U.K., to make a request where that's required?
Collapse
Marc-André Bernier
View Marc-André Bernier Profile
Marc-André Bernier
2018-03-19 15:55
Expand
It wouldn't necessarily be part of the regulations, but it could be part of a global strategy on wrecks and heritage wrecks that we're hoping to develop.
Collapse
View Sean Fraser Profile
Lib. (NS)
View Sean Fraser Profile
2018-03-19 15:55
Expand
So that's a policy rather than a legislative fix.
Collapse
Marc-André Bernier
View Marc-André Bernier Profile
Marc-André Bernier
2018-03-19 15:55
Expand
In this case here, yes, because we have no legislative authority in international waters.
Collapse
View Brigitte Sansoucy Profile
NDP (QC)
Thank you, Madam Chair.
Ms. Bertrand, you spoke about the importance of the 2001 UNESCO Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage and the importance of this international treaty designed to address the growing problem of pillaging and destruction of heritage.
You also indicated that Canada did not take part in the convention because, unlike the 58 other signatory countries, Canada did not take the necessary action. What are the justifications for this refusal to take measures to join the convention?
Collapse
Ellen Bertrand
View Ellen Bertrand Profile
Ellen Bertrand
2018-03-19 15:56
Expand
I wouldn't say it was a refusal. It's a pretty complex subject, actually. The convention doesn't cover just shipwrecks of heritage value, but all underwater cultural heritage. For instance, it could include the remnants of an ancient indigenous village.
Canada currently has no legislation that truly protects cultural heritage at the federal level. So that is the first obstacle to ratifying such a convention. It's up to the country to determine for itself whether it has taken sufficient measures to protect all underwater cultural heritage, such as shipwrecks, villages and other remains that could end up in its waters.
I wouldn't say it was a refusal. The current legislative framework is lacking. In fact, another parliamentary committee, the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development, discussed the legislative shortcomings. This committee recently made some recommendations for Canada to consider implementing such legislation.
Collapse
View Brigitte Sansoucy Profile
NDP (QC)
Could you tell us—now or through documents that will be sent later to the clerk—which internal assessments by your respective departments justify the fact that, since 2001, the necessary steps haven't been taken to be part of this convention?
Collapse
Ellen Bertrand
View Ellen Bertrand Profile
Ellen Bertrand
2018-03-19 15:58
Expand
Yes, we could provide you with more details.
Essentially, the powers to create regulations have been in the act since 2007. The act came into force in 2001, and it took a few years to establish the powers to make regulations. At this point, we began to determine how these regulations could protect the marine environment.
We also have to work with the provinces and territories, each of which has its own laws and regulations. We do not want to double the bureaucracy or the number of licences needed to administer the protection. It is quite complex, given the questions that arise in the areas of federal and provincial jurisdiction. We want to make sure we do things right, with the agreement and participation of other authorities.
Collapse
View Brigitte Sansoucy Profile
NDP (QC)
Various figures have been put forward during your presentations.
Has an estimate been given of the value of Canada's underwater heritage that has been damaged since 2001, since the adoption of this convention?
Collapse
Marc-André Bernier
View Marc-André Bernier Profile
Marc-André Bernier
2018-03-19 15:59
Expand
Are you talking about the number of wrecks that have been damaged?
Collapse
View Brigitte Sansoucy Profile
NDP (QC)
It might be interesting, in the context of our committee's work, to have the breakdown of the annual data on heritage that has been damaged, such as the number of wrecks and their value.
Collapse
Marc-André Bernier
View Marc-André Bernier Profile
Marc-André Bernier
2018-03-19 15:59
Expand
We don't have an estimate like that at the moment.
Collapse
View Brigitte Sansoucy Profile
NDP (QC)
Okay.
Library of Parliament briefing notes we received indicate that, pursuant to subsection 163(2) of the Canada Shipping Act, 2001, cabinet may, on the joint recommendation of the Minister of Transport and the Minister responsible for the Parks Canada Agency, make regulations governing shipwrecks or classes of wreck that have heritage value.
Could you tell us how many times this power has been used so that cabinet provides legal protection for ocean war graves?
Collapse
Ellen Bertrand
View Ellen Bertrand Profile
Ellen Bertrand
2018-03-19 16:00
Expand
To our knowledge, this has never been used at the federal level, given that the regulations are not in place.
Collapse
View Brigitte Sansoucy Profile
NDP (QC)
In other words, cabinet can do it through regulations but never put them in place.
Collapse
Results: 1 - 60 of 222 | Page: 1 of 4

1
2
3
4
>
>|
Show both languages
Refine Your Search
Export As: XML CSV RSS

For more data options, please see Open Data