April 10, 1973

ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS

ENVIRONMENTAL AFFAIRS

LIB

John (Jack) Davis (Minister of the Environment)

Liberal

Hon. Jack Davis (Minister of the Environment):

Mr. Speaker, I would like to inform the House about my discussions yesterday with the Hon. Russell Train, Chairman of the United States President's Council on Environmental Quality. Mr. Train is the cabinet level adviser to the president on environmental matters.

Among other things, I drew Mr. Train's attention to the impressive list of studies being carried out by the Canadian government and industry to ensure the protection of our northern environment, especially in respect of the Mackenzie Valley corridor.

We had an exchange of views on the protection of the boundary areas of our coasts, especially protection from oil spills. Mr. Train and I agreed that on the Pacific coast, in the Georgia Strait-Puget Sound-Juan de Fuca Straits area, a better understanding of the marine ecosystem is essential for the effective management and protection of these waters. We arranged to meet soon with United States scientists and other experts to start a comprehensive and detailed joint study which will provide the basis for programs and other measures to protect and enhance the environment of this area.

Since my meeting with Mr. Train last July a joint contingency plan has been prepared which will be effective in the boundary waters of the Pacific and Atlantic coasts as well as in the Great Lakes. The contingency plan for the Great Lakes has been in effect for over a year, and on several occasions it has proved highly successful in containing and cleaning up oil and other hazardous substances. Within a few weeks we shall have a Canada-U.S. agreement which will bring fully into effect similar joint plans on our two coasts.

Mr. Train and I reviewed at length the serious problems of high water levels in the Great Lakes. There are, of course, very severe limitations on what can be done to lower these levels. The fact is that the lakes are full as a result of record levels of precipitation, and the only means of affecting the levels is by controlling the outflows from Lake Superior and Lake Ontario. The International Joint Commission is at present considering a plan to increase storage in Lake Superior, and will hold public meetings on this plan in May.

Mr. Train asked me for my views on several proposals now before the U.S. Congress to increase the outflow of water from Lake Michigan at Chicago. I replied that Canadians would doubtless object to any proposals which would amount to an export of water from Canada.

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   ENVIRONMENTAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   STATEMENT BY MINISTER ON DISCUSSIONS WITH CHAIRMAN OF UNITED STATES PRESIDENT'S COUNCIL ON ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY
Permalink
?

Some hon. Members:

Hear, hear!

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   ENVIRONMENTAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   STATEMENT BY MINISTER ON DISCUSSIONS WITH CHAIRMAN OF UNITED STATES PRESIDENT'S COUNCIL ON ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY
Permalink
LIB

John (Jack) Davis (Minister of the Environment)

Liberal

Mr. Davis:

I asked Mr. Train about progress on the U.S. side in implementing our Agreement on Great Lakes Water Quality. Mr. Train was well aware of the concerns which have been expressed about the timing of the U.S. programs. He undertook to provide further details about the flow of U.S. federal government funds this year and next year for the construction of municipal sewage treatment projects in the Great Lakes basin. I reported that on our side, with the co-operation of Ontario, the municipal sewage treatment plant construction program is ahead of schedule. This is the result of our research efforts which have substantially reduced the capital cost of phosphorous removal facilities and speeded up construction. Mr. Train assured me of the determination of his government to meet its commitments and schedules under the agreement, although he suggested there might be some slippage in timetables.

We discussed the proposal to raise the Ross Dam in the state of Washington, which would result in the flooding of the Skagit valley upstream in British Columbia. I conveyed to Mr. Train our determination, and the determination of the British Columbia government, not to allow the Skagit Valley in Canada to be flooded. I also made clear our desire to seek a negotiated settlement which would take account of the legitimate rights and interests of the Seattle City Light and Power Company. Mr. Train said that his government's position was that a valid contract exists between Seattle City Light and Power Company and British Columbia, and that any solution must be arrived at within this context. We both agreed on the desirability of bringing the parties directly concerned to the negotiating table at the earliest possible moment.

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   ENVIRONMENTAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   STATEMENT BY MINISTER ON DISCUSSIONS WITH CHAIRMAN OF UNITED STATES PRESIDENT'S COUNCIL ON ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY
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PC

John Allen Fraser

Progressive Conservative

Mr. John A. Fraser (Vancouver South):

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of my party I want to thank the minister for his statement. I want to make it clear that we in this party are very cognizant of the importance of ongoing discussions such as have taken place over the past day with the President's adviser on environmental matters meeting our own Minister of the Environment (Mr. Davis). Having said that, however, I think that in part of the minister's statement questions are raised rather than answered.

I refer to the minister's remarks on the discussion that he had with Mr. Train on the Mackenzie Valley route. He did not say in his statement to the House just what the implications of those discussions were or what he really

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April 10, 1973

Environmental Affairs

said to Mr. Train. The minister is reported in the press as having said that the Mackenzie is our "trump card"; presumably this is in connection with using the Mackenzie corridor as an alternative to the tanker route.

The minister goes on to say, as reported in the press, that he personally does not think that these great oil tankers will be moving in the critical areas off the west coast, but there is no indication in the statement he made today why he believes that. I would remind all hon. members that it is very dangerous for ministers to make statements indicating that a danger that the public is aware of is not in fact a danger. I would remind the minister that statements along the same line have been made in connection with the Skagit River flooding problem. Now we have further similar statements made by the minister with respect to the threat to the west coast by tankers. Apparently the minister is of the opinion that this probably will not take place, but there is nothing in the statement to indicate that Mr. Train agreed with this.

When the minister talks about using the Mackenzie as our trump card, it must indicate, if that is government policy, that a decision has in fact been made by this country that we are going to have a transportation corridor down the Mackenzie. I remind all hon. members that this is not really consistent with the position taken by the Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources (Mr. Macdonald), that there is in fact no decision and that Canada awaits an application to the National Energy Board. Hon. members will recall that a motion was moved by this party to have this matter referred to a parliamentary committee of all parties in order that a cohesive policy could be worked out and presented to parliament rather than to leave us dependent on what are perhaps only the pious hopes of the minister whose aim is to placate those people on the west coast who are concerned about the potential pollution problems along that coast.

The minister referred to the Skagit Valley. Some months ago this was considered by the government to be a dead issue but it keeps recurring. It is quite clear from the minister's statement that the American position is that British Columbia and the city of Seattle have a binding agreement, but there is no suggestion that the Americans have agreed in principle with our position that the valley should not be flooded. In consequence, the negotiations that will take place are very much up in the air and we do not know for certain what the outcome will be. When the minister talks about the contract between British Columbia and the city of Seattle and the legitimate claims of compensation by Seattle, it should be remembered that there is some serious question about whether that contract, whether the agreement and whether the IJC order are in fact legal and binding. I would hope that this government is not, by the use of loose wording and sloppy comments, putting the country or the province of British Columbia into the position where it will be impossible, when dealing with the Americans on the subject, to raise as a defence to their exaggerated compensation claims the legal defence that in fact the IJC order is not valid and, as a consequence, the agreement subsequently signed is not valid either.

The minister also referred to the Great Lakes Water Quality Treaty and indicated that Mr. Train said there

might be some slippage with respect to the United States meeting the deadlines regarding the regulations that they must meet, as mentioned yesterday, by April 15. I hope that there will be some assurance from the government today that the Canadian position is that the regulations which were in fact supposed to have been ready are ready and that there is no delay so far as Canadian participation in the preparation of these regulations is concerned.

Lastly, I want again to emphasize the importance that my party puts on ongoing discussions. I thank the minister for his statement but I end with the warning that statements made in the House of Commons ought to be consistent with statements made outside the House of Commons. It ill behooves the government or any member of it to make statements that tend to lull the citizens into an acceptance of a position in which they do not have to continue to maintain vigilance in areas as important as the pollution threat to our west coast.

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   ENVIRONMENTAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   STATEMENT BY MINISTER ON DISCUSSIONS WITH CHAIRMAN OF UNITED STATES PRESIDENT'S COUNCIL ON ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY
Permalink
NDP

Randolph Harding

New Democratic Party

Mr. Randolph Harding (Kootenay West):

Mr. Speaker, the members of the New Democratic Party in the House welcome the interesting statement made by the Minister of the Environment regarding his meeting with Hon. R. B. Train, Chairman of the United States President's Council on Environmental Quality. I should like to tell the minister that such meetings in our opinion are very essential if we are to obtain a united approach to our joint international environmental problems. Some of the comments made by the minister were extremely interesting. He covered ten specific points. There is not enough time to go over them in any detail, but I must say he has given us just enough information to make hon. members start asking questions about the depth of the talks he had with Mr. Train.

To begin with, he mentioned the discussion and the turning over of information to Mr. Train in connection with the Mackenzie River Valley. I suggest that the minister ought to level with the House and turn over the same type of information to hon. members.

We have not received in detail the context of the studies that have been done on the Mackenzie, and we should like to know whether the minister indicated clearly to Mr. Train that this could be the alternative to a tanker route down the west coast of British Columbia. It is time that members of the opposition were taken into the minister's confidence. It is time that we had a full and open discussion on where Canada is going with respect to this problem.

I might mention another interesting point. I noted that there was talk about an exchange of information regarding the east and west coasts of Canada, what they are going to do to control oil spills and so on. This is good. I suggest to the minister there is one very important factor that must be taken into consideration if we are to prevent oil spills, and that is the setting up of some type of traffic control system on both the east and west coasts. It must be a very efficient control system that will go a long way toward eliminating the numbers of shipwrecks that take place resulting in disastrous oil spills which affect the ecology and marine life of both the east and west coasts of Canada.

April 10, 1973

Another point that certainly warrants comment is the fact that Mr. Train asked for the minister's views on several proposals now before the United States Congress to increase the outflow of water from Lake Michigan at Chicago. Our party views with apprehension any suggestion of increased Canadian flows to any river in the United States. It means a further export of Canadian water before any discussions are entered into. I was pleased to hear the minister say that the Canadian public would probably not look upon it with favour. I agree with him. Parliament and the people of Canada must jealously guard this great natural resource and ensure that we do not make any more mistakes such as we made with the Columbia River treaty when we gave away a tremendous power potential for peanuts.

There is another point in connection with the clean-up of the Great Lakes. The minister used the term, "slippage in the timetable." I suggest to the minister this is not the only timetable where some slippage has taken place. We have had some slippage in our timetables as far as environmental problems in Canada are concerned. I suggest to the minister that we very carefully examine not only the water pollution problems in the Great Lakes but the problems relating to air pollution. There is a vast amount of air pollution drifting into Canada and an exchange of pollution in the international boundary area. This must be taken into consideration and some satisfactory solution worked out at a very early date.

I wish to make some comment on the Skagit. I come from British Columbia and, as the minister indicated, we do not want the Skagit Valley flooded. I think it has been made clear to the American authorities that under no consideration will we go along with the raising of the Ross Dam and the flooding of the Skagit Valley. 1 urge the minister and the government to take a much firmer stand and to tell the American authorities that under no consideration are we going to allow the dam to be raised and a further chunk of Canadian territory flooded.

I welcome the minister's statement. I hope we will have further clarification of what he has said today.

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   ENVIRONMENTAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   STATEMENT BY MINISTER ON DISCUSSIONS WITH CHAIRMAN OF UNITED STATES PRESIDENT'S COUNCIL ON ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY
Permalink
SC

David Réal Caouette

Social Credit

Mr. Real Caouette (Temiscamingue):

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. minister for informing us of his conversations with Mr. Train, the American government representative, about the Canadian environment.

Mr. Speaker, before making any comments, I should like to point out to the minister that I was given the English version of his statement at 1:45, and that when I came to the House at two o'clock I was sent a polite note that reads as follows:

We regret to inform you that the French translation of this statement has not reached us in time for us to let you have a copy.

Please rest assured that we will take steps to prevent any reoccurrence of such a delay.

And I have just been given the French version at 2:15.

Mr. Speaker, an Official Languages Act has been passed in Canada by the federal parliament and I consider that the Prime Minister (Mr. Trudeau) should instruct all his ministers to issue their statements in both official

Family Allowances

languages. If a statement is in French, there should be an English translation to accompany the French text, and vice versa. In this way, there would be no problem about two official languages. Before we speak about the environment, we should deal with the matter of the two official languages. I therefore suggest that the right hon. Prime Minister instruct his ministers to that effect. I have nothing against either of the two languages, on the contrary, I should like to see them both respected, first of all in parliament, because it is we who passed the act.

Mr. Speaker, with regard to the environment on our east and west coasts and in the Great Lakes, and also to air pollution, I consider that it is in the interests of both the United States and Canada to come to fair, not "lion's-share" agreements by which the Americans would take their responsibilities, and Canadians would follow suit in order to protect the environment in our country and, incidentally, in the United States.

I feel that studies, discussions and talks which took place during these past few days specifically tend to halt pollution of Canadian territorial waters, of the Great Lakes as well as of the air. I urge the government to pursue the debate, not indefinitely and to no purpose, but in a manner likely to solve the problem and allow to depollute water and air and thus protect our population.

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   ENVIRONMENTAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   STATEMENT BY MINISTER ON DISCUSSIONS WITH CHAIRMAN OF UNITED STATES PRESIDENT'S COUNCIL ON ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY
Permalink
PC

Robert Lorne Stanfield (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Stanfield:

Mr. Speaker, I raise a question of privilege at this time because I have just been informed that members of the press gallery have been excluded from the government lobby. I just want to say I hope no attempt will be made by anybody to prevent members of our party from having the privilege of meeting members of the gallery in our lobby. We have found that the opportunity available to members of the gallery to meet members of our caucus in the lobby has not been abused, and we certainly do not intend to raise any objection to their continued access to our lobby.

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   ENVIRONMENTAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   STATEMENT BY MINISTER ON DISCUSSIONS WITH CHAIRMAN OF UNITED STATES PRESIDENT'S COUNCIL ON ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY
Permalink
?

Some hon. Members:

Hear, hear!

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   ENVIRONMENTAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   STATEMENT BY MINISTER ON DISCUSSIONS WITH CHAIRMAN OF UNITED STATES PRESIDENT'S COUNCIL ON ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY
Permalink

SOCIAL SECURITY

PC

Walter C. Carter

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Walter C. Carter (St. John's West):

Mr. Speaker, I rise pursuant to Standing Order 43 on a matter of urgent and pressing necessity to request the unanimous consent of the House to move a motion.

Since the inception of family allowance payments in 1945 the consumer price index has more than doubled to its present level of 145.7 per cent and as a result the mothers of this country have lost the race between population and inflation. As an interim measure to tide us over until a better system could be developed, family allowances have not only failed to close the gap between 1945 buying power and present buying power but have also failed to increase in step with the constant escalation in the cost of living. So it is obvious that motherhood has lost

April 10, 1973

Great Lakes Water Levels

its battle with inflation. I therefore move seconded by the hon. member for Hillsborough (Mr. Macquarrie):

That the government come to the aid of motherhood in its fight against inflation by reintroducing the family income security program into the House no later than the end of this week, and, further, that it restore the buying power of the family allowance for all Canadians to bring it in line with the 1973 consumer price index.

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   SOCIAL SECURITY
Sub-subtopic:   FAMILY ALLOWANCES-REQUEST FOR UNANIMOUS CONSENT TO MOVE MOTION
Permalink
NONE

Lucien Lamoureux (Speaker of the House of Commons)

No affiliation

Mr. Speaker:

Is there unanimous consent?

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   SOCIAL SECURITY
Sub-subtopic:   FAMILY ALLOWANCES-REQUEST FOR UNANIMOUS CONSENT TO MOVE MOTION
Permalink
?

Some hon. Members:

Agreed.

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   SOCIAL SECURITY
Sub-subtopic:   FAMILY ALLOWANCES-REQUEST FOR UNANIMOUS CONSENT TO MOVE MOTION
Permalink
?

Some hon. Members:

No.

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   SOCIAL SECURITY
Sub-subtopic:   FAMILY ALLOWANCES-REQUEST FOR UNANIMOUS CONSENT TO MOVE MOTION
Permalink
NONE

Lucien Lamoureux (Speaker of the House of Commons)

No affiliation

Mr. Speaker:

There is not unanimous consent. The motion cannot be put.

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   SOCIAL SECURITY
Sub-subtopic:   FAMILY ALLOWANCES-REQUEST FOR UNANIMOUS CONSENT TO MOVE MOTION
Permalink

HIGH WATER LEVELS OF GREAT LAKES-REQUEST FOR UNANIMOUS CONSENT TO MOVE MOTION

NDP

Terrence Wyly Grier

New Democratic Party

Mr. Terry Grier (Toronto-Lakeshore):

Mr. Speaker, I wish to move a motion under Standing Order 43 concerning an urgent matter which has already been touched upon in the statement made by the Minister of the Environment, that is, the growing damage being caused in the Great Lakes area by high water levels in that lake system. I hope the hon. member opposite whose job it is to shout "No" to every proposition under Standing Order 43-

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   HIGH WATER LEVELS OF GREAT LAKES-REQUEST FOR UNANIMOUS CONSENT TO MOVE MOTION
Permalink
NONE

Lucien Lamoureux (Speaker of the House of Commons)

No affiliation

Mr. Speaker:

Order, please. Will the hon. member kindly indicate the terms of the motion so that the Chair may inquire whether there is unanimous consent under the terms of Standing Order 43?

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   HIGH WATER LEVELS OF GREAT LAKES-REQUEST FOR UNANIMOUS CONSENT TO MOVE MOTION
Permalink
?

An hon. Member:

No!

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   HIGH WATER LEVELS OF GREAT LAKES-REQUEST FOR UNANIMOUS CONSENT TO MOVE MOTION
Permalink

April 10, 1973