June 8, 1972

OFFICIAL REPORT

FOURTH SESSION-TWENTY-EIGHTH PARLIAMENT


21 Elizabeth II


VOLUME IV, 1972


COMPRISING THE PERIOD FROM THE EIGHTH DAY OF JUNE, 1972, TO THE 1st DAY OF SEPTEMBER, 1972, INCLUSIVE


INDEX ISSUED IN A SEPARATE VOLUME


Published under the authority of the Speaker of the House of Commons by the Queen's Printer for Canada Available from Information Canada, Ottawa, Canada



Thursday. June 8, 1972


ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS

PUBLIC ACCOUNTS


Second report of Standing Committee on Public Accounts-Mr. Hales. [Editor's Note: For text of above report, see today's Votes and Proceedings.]


POLLUTION

STATEMENT ON CHERRY POINT OIL SPILL AND REPRESENTATIONS TO UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT ARISING THEREFROM

LIB

Mitchell William Sharp (Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Liberal

Hon. Mitchell Sharp (Secretary of State for External Affairs):

Mr. Speaker, on Sunday, June 4, the tanker World Bond discharged approximately 12,000 gallons of crude oil into the sea while engaged in unloading operations at the Atlantic Richfield Refinery at Cherry Point, which is just south of the Canada-United States boundary in the State of Washington. Some of this oil quickly spread into Canadian waters.

The incident at Cherry Point is a stark reminder of what we have stated on many occasions: that far more serious spills will inevitably take place on other occasions if oil is moved by tanker through the Strait of Juan de Fuca. It demonstrates that in the event of a spill on the United States side, damage will almost certainly be suffered in Canada, and this damage could be severe. Even the small quantity of oil which escaped on this occasion moved rapidly northward across the boundary and collected on some five miles of one of the finest beaches of the area.

We have, of course, registered with the United States Canada's grave concern about this ominous incident. On instructions, our embassy yesterday emphasized to the State Department that the incident confirmed our anxieties over the threat to the ecology and resources of this inland marine area from oil tankers. The embassy made clear that the Canadian government expects full and prompt compensation for all damages suffered in Canada, as well as full clean-up costs, to be paid by those responsible. The embassy restated our broader concerns about the hazards which will arise from the movement by tanker of large quantities of oil into the Cherry Point refineries. We have made repeated representations to the United States government about the proposed increase in oil tanker traffic into this area, and indeed we raised this

matter with President Nixon when he visited Canada in mid-April.

We proposed to President Nixon that the International Joint Commission should be requested by the two governments to conduct a thorough investigation of the hazards of marine transport of oil into this area. We have since made specific proposals for this investigation, and in the light of this recent incident our ambassador in Washington is pressing for an early and positive response from the United States government.

We appreciate that this particular spill was small in comparison with the magnitude of predicted spills, and that the refinery and authorities concerned on both sides took prompt action to contain the spill and minimize the damage. Consequently, the damage to Canadian waters and shoreline was less than might have otherwise resulted. We appreciate also that Atlantic Richfield Corporation has apparently recognized its obligation to meet the cost of the clean-up operations. However, the government wishes to obtain firm assurances that full compensation for all damages, as well as the cost of clean-up operations, will be paid by those legally responsible. The government is reserving all its rights in this matter and is examining all the legal options which may be available to protect Canadian interests.

We are especially concerned to ensure observance of the principle established in the 1938 Trail smelter arbitration between Canada and the United States. This has established that one country may not permit the use of its territory in such a manner as to cause injury to the territory of another and shall be responsible to pay compensation for any injury so suffered. Canada accepted this responsibility in the Trail smelter case and we would expect that the same principle would be implemented in the present situation. Indeed, this principle has already received acceptance by a considerable number of states and hopefully it will be adopted at the Stockholm conference as a fundamental rule of international environmental law.

However, even the best compensation arrangements cannot be a substitute for effective preventive measures. We shall, therefore, continue to press vigorously for measures in respect of the Juan de Fuca Strait and Puget Sound areas which will avoid the danger of spills of oil that would cause damage to Canada's waters and shoreline.

Topic:   POLLUTION
Subtopic:   STATEMENT ON CHERRY POINT OIL SPILL AND REPRESENTATIONS TO UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT ARISING THEREFROM
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PC

Robert Lorne Stanfield (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Hon. Robert L. Stanfield (Leader of the Opposition):

Mr. Speaker, it is somewhat reassuring, I suppose, to find that the Secretary of State for External Affairs has awoke several days after the incident at Cherry Point and has at least made the government of the United States aware of the views and concern of the government of Canada in

June 8, 1972

Oil Pollution

connection with this spill. I assume that his statement was not ready in time for him to follow the usual courtesy of making copies available to the opposition. I do not know just what provoked this statement at this time.

As the minister has indicated, while compensation is important it is not the most important question. What the country really wants to know is how the government of Canada intends to achieve joint control over what may happen in the waters off that part of Canada and the adjoining waters of the United States.

I do not wish to be partisan in replying to a statement on motions or to provoke any kind of controversy, but I do say to the Secretary of State for External Affairs and to the Prime Minister, first of all, that the government took an interest in this problem very late in the day and that the planning of the Alyeska route was very far advanced before the government showed any interest or concern. It is only within recent times that the government of Canada has taken any direct position. Second, the government of Canada has been tardy in pursuing its investigation of any route that would be an alternative to the coastal route for transporting Alaska oil. It moved very late in the day and even now it is not in a position to know what it might do in that connection.

I simply say that, while it is all very well for the Secretary of State for External Affairs to make a statement in the House, while it is all very well for him to tell us that our ambassador in Washington is pressing this matter, it seems to me, in view of the importance of the subject and the dangers to which the minister himself has referred, that this matter should be pursued at the highest level between the government of Canada and the government of the United States. The people of Canada will be satisfied with nothing less.

Topic:   POLLUTION
Subtopic:   STATEMENT ON CHERRY POINT OIL SPILL AND REPRESENTATIONS TO UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT ARISING THEREFROM
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NDP

Barry Mather

New Democratic Party

Mr. Barry Mather (Surrey-White Rock):

Mr. Speaker, as the member for the area affected by what has happened at Cherry Point I have a particular interest in speaking on this matter. First of all, I want to thank the minister for his statement. It is true that it outlines what the government has done rather than what it has not done. In my view the government could have and should have done a good deal more than it did to stop what has happened.

I think we should understand that as long as ships carry Alaska oil along the British Columbia coast to the refinery at Cherry Point, which is about 15 or 16 miles from my riding, as long as that plan continues and as long as that refinery exists for the purpose of refining that oil, we have in effect an ecological time bomb within a few miles of our shores. It is true that we should take protective measures against what has happened, and in my view the protective measures taken by the Canadian government were insufficient. After the spill took place, during the night there were 200 people with bales of hay trying to keep the oil off the beaches at Cherry Point and White Rock. With what was already known as to the likely effects if such a spill should take place, surely the government could have been in a better position to protect our people. In my opinion the contingency measures were not effective and were not properly prepared. What the government has said is all right as far as it goes, but the measures which the government is taking do not go far enough.

I think we have to realize that what the Americans are planning to do with regard to shipping oil along the British Columbia coast constitutes in effect an unfriendly act by one nation against another. We have to take that position on our own behalf and also on behalf of the Americans in the adjacent Pacific coast area. We are in fact faced with a most basic and serious situation involving pollution of the ecology in which tragedies and disasters far greater than this small spill will inevitably occur. The government's own research has established that over a period of every three or four years there is bound to be a major oil spill if these giant tankers are allowed to sail down the coast.

I draw the attention of the government to a report issued today through the office of the Minister of Transport on a study prepared by Queen's University in regard to the feasibility of transporting Alaska oil by railway from the north to the south. According to the study, it is feasible to build a railway from the north and ship over that line at least 200 million barrels of oil in a comparable period as opposed to shipment by water.

I cannot emphasize too much that we in this party, and the people of British Columbia, I am sure, regardless of their party affiliation, look to the government to take stronger and tougher measures than they have taken and to point out to the Americans, many of whom will agree with us, that the planned route for the shipment of Alaska oil will result in the degradation of our coast.

Topic:   POLLUTION
Subtopic:   STATEMENT ON CHERRY POINT OIL SPILL AND REPRESENTATIONS TO UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT ARISING THEREFROM
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SC

André-Gilles Fortin

Social Credit

Mr. Andre Fortin (Lotbiniere):

Mr. Speaker, first we deeply regret-and we will never say it too often-that when the minister makes statements in the House, he informs hon. members only a few minutes ahead of time.

As to the content of his statement, it is nothing more than a stuttering which could not in any way solve the problem of pollution and protection of the environment in Canada.

The minister announced that a certain compensation would be paid, but that is a matter of very little importance as compared with the whole problem. It is again a kind of band aid treatment which will definitely not ease the pain. All that question can boil down to the nature of our relationship with our neighbour, the United States. The Canadian government has always had a shy and hesitant stand by always placing itself at the mercy of the United States as far as the protection of the environment and the fight against pollution in Canada are concerned.

The subject of particular concern to the House today, specifically the shipping of oil along our seacoast, is part of this problem.

We are led to believe that our ambassador in Washington is exerting pressures, but the problem still exists in Canada, and the minister is stuttering something or other about this problem instead of speaking up.

We urge the government to speak loud and clear to the Americans and suggest to them that, while they want to protect their own environment, their country and resources in order to develop them, we too, as Canadians, are proud of our country, and we shall take the necessary

June 8, 1972

steps to protect our environment and improve our living conditions.

Topic:   POLLUTION
Subtopic:   STATEMENT ON CHERRY POINT OIL SPILL AND REPRESENTATIONS TO UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT ARISING THEREFROM
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AGRICULTURE

ANNOUNCEMENT OF PROGRAM TO REDUCE EGG SURPLUS

LIB

Horace Andrew (Bud) Olson (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Hon. H. A. Olson (Minister of Agriculture):

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to be able to announce that negotiations and discussions have been successfully concluded with the provinces and producer groups and that a program designed to adjust egg production to market requirements for Canada has been developed.

As hon. members are aware, the government has been concerned that any assistance it might put into position should be of such a nature and should be coupled with such provincial programs as would bring continuing stability to the industry. I might say that we are particularly concerned that we avoid doing those things that might be counter-productive over a long period of time.

A program has been designed that will provide assistance on a sliding scale to encourage maximum removal of surplus birds within the shortest possible time. Under this formula, if the target is reached within six weeks farmers will receive approximately 90 cents per bird marketed. If the target takes eight weeks to reach, the payment would be about 75 cents per bird.

If the program falls short of the one million bird target the assistance will be less. For example, if only 500,000 extra birds are taken out of the flocks during the eight-week period, the subsidy will be about 45 cents per bird.

The program will be effective from June 5.

This program is designed to stimulate rapid adjustment in fowl numbers thus providing indirect and immediate benefits through price increases to those producers and areas that do not need to adjust fowl holdings while at the same time providing direct assistance to those that need to make adjustments. To receive assistance under the program producers will require proof of sale to a registered poultry processing plant or a recognized certificate of disposal.

Full details of the program, including the method of claiming, will be sent to the industry immediately. In the meantime I would advise that producers should retain all receipts showing the disposition of fowl removed in the period.

Topic:   AGRICULTURE
Subtopic:   ANNOUNCEMENT OF PROGRAM TO REDUCE EGG SURPLUS
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June 8, 1972