May 30, 1983

GOVERNMENT ORDERS

BUSINESS OF SUPPLY

PC

Frank Oberle

Progressive Conservative

Mr. F. Oberle (Prince George-Peace River) moved:

That this House condemns the Government for its neglect of Canada's forests and its indifference to the threat posed to Canada's forests and forest industries by pests, fire, pollution and foreign competition, and calls upon the Government to stimulate the research needed to promote superior growth and diversify export products, and acknowledge its responsibility to protect the Canadian environment and the millions of Canadians whose livelihood depends upon Canada's forest resources.

[DOT] (H10)

He said: Mr. Speaker, let me first express my appreciation to my colleagues on this side of the House and thank them for their foresight, their interest and their concern for our forests, which of course is reflected in our decision to set aside this parliamentary day to talk about forests, in competition with many other weighty issues that are occupying our attention now.

The motion I have introduced may appear unreasonably harsh to those people who have listened to the Minister whose responsibility it is to speak for the Government on matters relating to our forests. At the outset I wish to say that I appreciate the sincerity and the genuine commitment to this important component of the dual responsibility of the Minister. I know he believes as I do that in a country depending to such a great extent for its economic and social well-being on its forest resources, it is imperative the management and care of this resource be given the undivided attention of a Minister. This view is shared and strongly advocated by all sectors of the forest community.

1 know the Minister is trying his very best, but considering the limits of his mandate and the competition he faces in Cabinet from his colleagues for power and scarce financial resources, his best efforts fall far short of any expectations his pronouncements have generated. We intend today to remind the Minister and the Government of its neglected responsibility regarding our forests and the multifaceted, important economic and social issues associated with this most precious of our natural resource heritage.

In 1871 Sir John A. Macdonald said:

The sight of immense masses of timber passing my windows every morning constantly suggests to my mind the absolute necessity for looking into the future of this great trade. We are recklessly destroying the timber of Canada and there is scarcely a possibility of replacing it.

Also he said:

It occurs to me that the subject should be looked in the face, and some efforts made for the preservation of our timber.

Of course, I have no idea from which particular vantage point Sir John A. made his observation, but I can assure the House that whatever it was he would no longer have to be troubled by such sights here in Ottawa Valley. The timber is long gone. The great trade of which our first Prime Minister spoke has rapidly expanded over the years, but it has moved on to other parts of Canada as the forests became depleted and until a decade ago no one heeded the warning of how recklessly we were destroying our forests. The crisis which was foreseen 100 years ago for the Ottawa Valley now affects the whole country. One might say that the Ottawa Valley really has not suffered all that much. As we always do, we simply adjust to a different economy, one less dependent on natural resources.

We might be able to renew our industrial structure with robots and computers. I have every confidence that we as Canadians can compete with the best in the new information-based world economies. But our real strength as an industrial nation will always flow particularly from those of our natural resources which are renewable as is the case of our forests.

There are four major biological systems on which the world will depend for its survival. Trees are one of them. Canada owns 10 per cent of the world's total forest inventory. Our wood-converting industry produces 22 per cent of world market requirements in manufactured forest products and 30 per cent of its pulp and paper products are traded internationally. This trade generates $12 billion annually in net foreign exchange earnings, which exceeds the earnings of all other major resource sectors such as fish, grain and hydrocarbons combined. According to forecasts by the United Nations, Food and Agriculture Organization, the world's demand of industrial softwood will increase by 2.1 per cent every year over the next 20 years.

Merely to maintain our market share would require an increased output of 50 per cent of wood products by the year 2000. Everyone except the federal Government knows now that such a goal cannot be realized with present policies. We would have to produce 210 million cubic metres of wood by the end of this century, and to sustain such massive harvests it

May 30, 1983

Supply

would require equally massive efforts toward advanced scientific research and new management practices, with the emphasis on forest protection, the enhancement of productivity of existing stands through thinning and fertilization and, of course, the replanting of harvested areas.

The cost of such efforts after so many years of neglect are high, but they are not high in comparison to the economic benefits which we derive from our forest harvest. Governments receive approximately $2 billion annually from taxation and other direct and indirect benefits. That is roughly shared fifty-fifty between the federal and provincial Governments. That, if nothing else, should be sufficient reason for our Government to commit itself to a greater share of the cost connected with maintaining a healthy resource base. We in fact believe it to be a fundamental principle that the responsibility for funding the maintenance of the resource should be relative to the benefits received.

With that in mind, let us see what commitment the federal Government is prepared to make. Last year the Minister published a policy statement entitled "A framework for forest renewal". It recognized the most basic requirement identified by the committee of provincial resource ministers to increase public spending in areas of government responsibility by 10 per cent annually. Estimated expenditures for forest renewal in 1982 were about $300 million. The federal Government contributed $100 million, or 37 per cent. To meet even the most minimum targets, $650 million in 1982 dollars will have to be spent by the year 1987. The federal contribution to this amount would be $130 million or 20 per cent of the total, hardly a substantial increase over a five-year period. Fully 80 per cent of the cost will be passed on to the Provinces. Again this can hardly be seen as being relative to the benefits received.

I have spoken earlier of the Minister's limited mandate in forestry matters and the competition he faces in Cabinet. An example of that is the most recent announcement by the Minister of Industry, Trade and Commerce (Mr. Lumley) regarding the establishment of a task force to advise him of the forest industry's needs in terms of assistance to help the industry maintain its competitive position in the world market and expand its productivity.

I give the Minister of Industry, Trade and Commerce full marks for recognizing the forest sector's potential for growth and the creation of new jobs and for realizing the forest Minister's limited authority and resources to respond to the industry's requirements. However, it is because we have in the past segregated the industrial side of forestry from the management side that our forests are in such a state of neglect.

All that was to change with the announcement in 1981 by the Minister of a new forest sector strategy committee. The tripartite approach involving industry, the Provinces and the Federal Government in an all out effort will try to remedy some of the past sins. Already that appears to be forgotten. Incredibly, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Commerce testified before the committee last week that his star-studded

task force and the resources he plans to put at their disposal will be concentrating only on the expansion of our industries and the development of new markets. Anything to do with management of the forest will be left to his colleague, the Minister of the Environment (Mr. Roberts). Is it not that type of divided jurisdiction which got us into all this trouble in the first place?

For a while we thought that some of the new people we had brought into the Canadian Forestry Service, together with some fine professionals already there who understood the problems and knew the solutions, were getting their message across. When the Department of Regional Economic Expansion was reorganized, the Canadian Forestry Service was to get that share which was earmarked for the forest sector, or so we thought. The new federal-provincial agreements of the type which had been signed with Nova Scotia were to include longterm forestry plans of at least 20 years' duration. The federal money was to be used to help industry and the Provinces to improve timber stands and plant new forests on lands for which there were no competing uses.

However, Industry, Trade and Commerce now appears to be taking charge again with its own set of priorities. What I find exceedingly difficult to understand is the apparent new frame of mind of our present generation of industrial leaders. As you know, Mr. Speaker, I was in a very modest way involved in the business before I came here. In my day, all you wanted from the Government was a tax and royalty regime which compared favourably with that of our offshore competitors. The only help asked for from the Government was toward transportation, communication and community infrastructures which were required to develop new areas and get our products to market as cheaply and efficiently as possible. We kept arguing with government for a set of rules and standards in terms of environmental and other considerations which were firm and fairly applied without a whole lot of overlapping jurisdictions exercised by federal over provincial regulators, or rules that were overruled by conflicting mandates of different departments of government.

The new generation of corporate managers appears to have additional requirements from government. The Minister of Industry, Trade and Commerce testified before the committee that he is receiving literally hundreds of applications daily from major and minor forest companies, applications which have been filed with his Department for grants and subsidies to rebuild and expand their plants and to construct new ones. They are looking to government and the taxpayer to take most of the risk out of their enterprises. As we know, the Government has been most accommodating to this new approach which provides it with the necessary justification to intrude even further into the private sector. That is a worrisome trend indeed.

Sir, in my humble opinion the forest industry needs a stable supply of feedstock that is commercially viable and accessible. As we know, 95 per cent of all our wood supply is publicly owned and therefore it is obviously in the public interest and is

May 30, 1983

a collective responsibility to keep our forests healthy and ensure an adequate supply.

Insects, disease and fire destroy two-thirds as much timber as is being harvested commercially every year. Much greater efforts must therefore be made to protect our forests from these predators. We must learn to manage our forests much more intensively. Our Scandinavian and American competitors spend many times what we commit in terms of money and human resources in the management area. For instance, we in Canada have a professional forester for every 380,000 hectares of forest land. In Sweden, the ratio is one for every 15,000 hectares.

In terms of research and development, the record is not much better. One major U.S. company spends more on forest products research every year than the total combined efforts of all of the governments and industry in this country. To produce the wood required by industry to keep its world market share, it is estimated that our scientific research efforts will have at least to double over the next ten years. This would require an additional 150 forestry post-gratudates per year for the next ten years. Our schools have produced 55 masters and a mere 11 doctoral degrees per year since 1978. Of those, nearly half were foreign students who have left for their home countries. Our forestry schools require massively increased block funding to permit them to respond to the challenge.

The federal Government must play a leading role in basic research in biotechnology, genetic engineering, soil chemistry and so on. Together with industry, we must invest much more in forest products research to develop new harvesting techniques, new products for a changing world market and techniques for reforestation and intensive stand management. The privatization in 1978 of our forest products labs did not bring about the results which had been predicted, even though this is clearly one area where industry can and should participate.

We suggest that a charge be levied on industry, either on stumpage or on the basis of the grade stamp, to provide a fair share of an expanded effort toward forest products research and development. We also recommend that federal funding for research and development, forest renewal and forest protection should be based on a fixed percentage of annual gross forest products sold averaged over a five-year period. As can easily be seen, this would provide greater stability and facilitate longterm planning of research projects and indeed ensure that they are carried through to conclusion.

In addition to that, there is nothing wrong with programs which the Government might initiate from time to time to reduce periodic manpower surpluses. I applaud the recent initiatives of the Minister of Employment and Immigration (Mr. Axworthy) designed to entice unemployed workers to work in our forests; but again, such special efforts can only reap maximum benefits if they are properly planned, managed and co-ordinated with existing silviculture programs by people who know what they are doing. Any moneys therefore committed by the Government for such special needs must be channelled through the Canadian Forestry Service.

Supply

There is even a role for the Minister of Industry, Trade and Commerce, the superministry, particularly now that it has been integrated with External Affairs. Our industry needs help in finding new markets and developing them to suit our products. But again, it will be of little benefit to Canada to have the world's most modern harvesting plants without a stable and sufficient supply of raw materials or the markets to sell the products.

The Science Council of Canada recently published a statement which is worth considering. It points out the potential benefits of improvement in forest management policies. If the goals we have set ourselves are achieved, we would increase our sales by $22 billion, $12 billion of which would come from exports. We would create between 75,000 to 100,000 new jobs and generate in excess of $3 billion in additional tax revenues. Such is the magnitude of this important sector of our economy.

The report also points out the cost of failure to act. We would experience mill closures, increased unemployment and the economic destabilization of whole regions of our country whose livelihood depends on logging and wood preserving industries. A decline in our forest industry would have a pervasive effect, the report states, on our whole economy and our balance of trade. A thriving forest industry is essential to the prosperity of Canada.

Let us, as John A. Macdonald urged, look the subject in the face. The industry can no longer move on to exploit new areas of virgin timber. Even this great land has limits to the rich bounty of her forests.

We must do now with what we have and must care for it responsibly. The great philosopher Goltz said a century ago: "Of all nature's scenes, it is the woods in which all her secrets and all her favours are found together". Our forest are truly our most precious resource and our greatest riches. Let us realize this fact and begin to act accordingly.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY, S.O. 62-FOREST INDUSTRY
Permalink
LIB

Cyril Lloyd Francis (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. Deputy Speaker:

Are any Hon. Members rising to ask question of the Hon. Member who has just spoken? If not, the Chair recognizes the Minister of the Environment (Mr. Roberts).

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY, S.O. 62-FOREST INDUSTRY
Permalink
LIB

John (Moody) Roberts (Minister of the Environment)

Liberal

Hon. John Roberts (Minister of the Environment):

Mr. Speaker, I was glad that the mover of the motion had some kind words about my sincerity and my efforts in relation to the forest problems in Canada as well as kind words for the efforts of my colleague, the Minister of Regional Economic Expansion (Mr. Lumley). In turn, I want to say to the Hon. Member that I recognize his strong commitment to this extraordinarily important industry in Canada, and recognize the work that he has put into it on the Opposition side. I welcome the very constructive approach that he has usually taken in the House and almost always in committee when we are dealing with these issues.

The language of the motion, with its absurd charges of neglect, is clearly erroneous. I do not think that even the Hon. Member who moved the motion believes there has been that

May 30, 1983

Supply

neglect. I can understand, of course, that he can hardly stand up on an Opposition day and move a motion which praised, recommended and supported the efforts we have made. I think what underlies his motion is a desire to discuss before the House and before the people of Canada our major most important industry, the challenges that face it now and that will face it in the future. I share his general expressions on the importance of the industry and the need for industry, provincial Governments and the federal Government to co-operate and tackle the problems it faces.

When 1 gave my first speech as Minister of the Environment in March, 1980, I dealt with the forestry problems which face Canada. I will not read the whole speech to Hon. Members, although I recommend it to them because it lays out what our hopes and aspirations were for forestry. It concluded as follows:

It is my firm intention to strengthen federal involvement in forestry. I am determined that, working with the Provinces, we shall create a climate that will permit and encourage the Canadian forest industry to stay on top in our increasingly competitive world.

I welcome the chance provided by the Hon. Member's motion to give a progress report on what we have been able to accomplish over the last three years and how we have been able to respond to that challenge which I described three years ago when I was given responsibility for this portfolio.

I think the most important thing to recognize, as I indicated I wanted to do, is that we have strengthened the Canadian Forestry Service. To head the service we brought in as Assistant Deputy Minister Mr. Les Reed from the private sector. His appointment was welcomed by all Members of the House who believed that a man of his experience and capacity would give effective direction to the Canadian Forestry Service. Two years later, we can see that the promise of his performance, the hopes and expectations, have indeed been fulfilled.

We have had the transfer from the Department of Regional Economic Expansion of the management of the forestry subagreements, which were previously the responsibility of the Minister of Regional Economic Expansion. We have had in that time a remarkable strengthening both of the funding and of the man-years in the Canadian Forestry Service. The number of person-years of the Canadian Forestry Service has increased from 10,029 in 1980-81 to 11,047 in 1983-84. So that the need which we recognized for strengthening the personnel resources of the Canadian Forestry Service has been met. Its budget has increased from just over $48 million in 1980-81 to just over $60 million in 1983-84 an increase of almost $12 million in its budgetary expenditure. Therefore, there has been a strengthening in human resource and financial resources.

We have established the Canadian Forestry Strategy Committee, led by the Canadian Forestry Service. It is a coordinating Committee which directs the efforts of the federal Government on the forestry side. It seems to me that the Hon. Member who moved the motion does not really understand the role of the Committee, nor the role of the Minister of Regional Economic Expansion and the role of the Minister of the

Environment within that context. He may be genuinely confused about that and I would like to take a few moments, later to describe how that works.

The foundation of the forestry policy which we described as the one we wished to pursue three years ago, and the one which we in fact are pursuing, is one which is based on cooperation with the provincial Governments. We recognize their ownership of the resource and we realize that there must be not a pulling apart or a moving at cross-purposes between the provincial and federal Governments in this area, but that we must work together and we must both work with industry. As a result, the foundation of the policy which the federal Government is pursuing is one which rests in the co-operative work which we have done in the Canadian Council of Resource and Environment Ministers with provincial Governments.

It was as a result of our discussions with the provincial Governments, as well as discussions with industry, that we came forward with the forest strategy paper in October, 1981. This is the paper to which the Hon. Member who moved the motion referred. It outlines our analysis of the problems in the Canadian forestry sector. This analysis was arrived at jointly with the Provinces and indicated the major focal points which we should deal with in an attempt to resolve the challenges with which the Canadian forestry sector is faced.

That forest strategy, Mr. Speaker, outlines several problem areas. The major ones it touched upon were the need to improve forestry statistics in Canada, the need to develop a stronger market strategy for the exploitation abroad of Canadian forest products, and the need to focus in on problems of human resource development, so that the industry would have the kind of specialists and skilled woodworkers available to it who will be needed in the future. There was also a concern for the insufficiency of research and development, and a concern to meet the problems of forest protection and forest renewal. Those were the major areas of concern which were crystalized in the forest strategy paper which we had brought forward, as a Government, in the Autumn of 1981, after our consultations with the Provinces.

I would like to touch upon how we have responded to those challenges which were presented in that paper. I believe almost a mere listing of the actions which the Government has taken would be an effective and substantive refutation of the charges of neglect which, in a formal and, I believe somewhat artificial manner, were brought forward by my colleague from across the Chamber. The first problem was that of the insufficiency of a forestry statistics base in the country.

In October, 1981, at the same time as the strategy paper was introduced, the Cabinet approved the increase of the resources flowing into that forestry statistics base by $500,000. The base at that time was just under $1 million of expenditure for the establishment of forestry statistics. This kept on increasing so that the level of increase over the original base of $1 million is up over $1.5 million by 1983-84, with an increase of 15 person-years in the Canadian Forestry Service devoted to

May 30, 1983

that work. Given the need to strengthen our support for forestry statistics research, that response has taken place.

The second area of concern was that of a market strategy. Quite clearly, the Hon. Member seems not quite to understand that the responsibilities in relation to marketing are largely in the hands of the Minister responsible for DRIE, my colleague from the Cornwall area. This is not, as the Hon. Member seems to believe, an example of some kind of "conflict"-I believe was the word he used-within Cabinet over forest responsibility. There is no such conflict; 1 can frankly tell him that. If he believes there is some sort of inner contention or tension or disruption, that there is some sort of battle over responsibilities going on between my colleagues and myself, I must say to him quite honestly that that is a figment of his imagination. There is no such tension or battle going on.

It is clear that my colleague the Minister does have responsibility in the areas of commercial development. He has appointed a committee of private sector people to advise him on how we might improve the marketing of Canadian forestry resources. He has not done that contrary to my wishes; he has done that with my strong support. I believe it is an extremely important and valuable move which he has taken, one entirely within his responsibilities.

I also have an advisory council which advises me on matters in relation to forestry. There is some overlap between the committee my colleague has established and mine. However, there is no confusion or conflict of purpose. In a Cabinet, necessarily, a variety of Ministers have responsibilities and they manage to co-ordinate the way in which those responsibilities are exercised, one with the other. The way we do that in relation to forestry matters is through the federal Forestry Strategy Committee which brings together in consultation on a regular basis the Departments which are concerned. That Committee is chaired by the head of the Canadian Forestry Service. It is a relatively simple and rational structure ascribing responsibilities to those Ministers who are best placed to fulfil them and to ensure that proper co-operation and coordination takes place at the federal level. There is no great mystery about that, no great complication and no great battle. It is a most effective way of trying to ensure that the responsibilities of the federal Government are co-ordinated. If, as the Hon. Member seems to suggest, those responsibilities were given entirely in to my hands, he would be the first one to suggest we were not adequately ensuring that the activities of other governmental departments which touch upon forestry were being considered and integrated in our over-all forest strategy. What we have done is establish an effective working mechanism which ensures that that co-operation and research take place.

As I have said, my colleague has brought forward these new structures to help develop and improve market strategy for Canadian forest products. I should say in passing, however, that he and my colleague, the Minister responsible for international trade, have been remarkably successful in assisting the private sector and industry over the past few months in order to protect the Canadian forest products markets in the United

Supply

States which, as you know, Mr. Speaker, were under threat of countervailing action. The industry, quite properly, organized itself to make representations in Washington, bringing a fair explanation of their case to the American authorities, an explanation which was successful in protecting legitimate Canadian interests. In that effort the federal Government, through myself and my colleagues, was effective, I believe, in providing support to the private sector representatives concerned.

The forest strategy in 1981 outlined the need for a concern for the improved development of human resources in the forestry field. We have acted. We have brought forward an increase which was announced in the Spring of 1982 of over SI5 million in support of human resources development.

We increased the support going to forestry schools throughout the country from just under $300,000, by adding another $1 million for the year 1982-83-in support of the forestry faculties across the country, at the University of New Brun-wick, the University of Laval, the University of Toronto, Lakehead University, the University of Edmonton and at the University of British Columbia. We have added S3.5 million in support for forestry schools in contract research and development, and for the employment of 300 summer students in 1983-84. Support in the development of human resources will increase to $6 million in expenditure in 1985-86. As I mentioned earlier, there is an increase in funding in that period of over $15 million in support of human resource development.

In order to improve our research capability, which was another aspect we focused on in the discussion of the forest sector strategy, we brought forward funding proposals for strengthening our efforts. We have signed research agreements with over half the Provinces to ensure there are neither overlaps nor gaps in our mutual research activities. By the end of this year we expect to have signed research agreements with all ten of the Provinces. We have increased our expenditures on research and development in the Canadian Forestry Service by $5.5 million for the year 1983-84. This will increase and improve the research into the production and increased utilization of our forest products in Canada. Again, in that area which was described as one of key concern in 1981, we have indeed responded.

One of the major ways in which we have responded to the forest challenge was our commitment in September, 1982 to enter into arrangements with each of the Provinces in support programs to meet the reforestation needs of the Canadian industry. Over the next two or three years we intend to sign with a forest renewal agreement with each Province, as we have already with the Province of Nova Scotia. An agreement with Prince Edward Island is ready to be signed. We will assist and encourage the Provinces and the private sector to cooperate in the needed objective of reforestation.

It is true, as the Hon. Member said, that one of the most desirable features of the forest renewal strategy is that in

May 30. 1983

Supply

signing these agreements with each of the Provinces we require as a basic condition that there be a long-term renewal plan in each Province with goals related to timber production, forest renewal and protection, and better utilization and increased productivity in the mills. That is and should be an essential precondition of the signing of our agreements. In this way we will ensure there is a better focusing on reforestation needs than there has been in the past.

In discussing what we were doing in this area, the Hon. Member, I think inadvertently, did not describe to the House exactly what our commitment is and why it constitutes such a novel commitment for us, as it relates to past practice. He quite correctly spoke of the quite strong need for forest renewal in Canada. We need by mid-decade to be spending something between S600 million and $650 million in Canada on forest renewal. That will virtually double the amount being spent at the present time by the industry, Provinces and the federal Government. Up to this point the federal Government has not been substantially involved in reforestation activity. It has always been considered that since the ownership and management of the resource was essentially in provincial hands, the federal Government did not have a major responsibility for participating in financial support for this area.

That position was changed by this Government. We have earmarked as a minimum, and it may turn out to be much more, federal expenditure of $130 million a year by 1985-86 for this purpose. I cannot say exactly what the figure will be because it will depend upon the negotiations with the Provinces. Of course, I cannot predict exactly what proposals they will make to us and how we will respond to them.

Now, the hon. gentlemen opposite seem to me to be arguing that is not a very significant increase over what we are doing at the present time, but in fact it is an increase to $130 million from virtually zero. It is true we have been spending something like $50 million a year under the DREE subagreements related to forestry matters, but those agreements were not specifically oriented to reforestation. It is also true we have been spending, under the Unemployment Insurance job creation program, money directed to short-term job employment opportunities in the forest sector, but that is and was always intended to be a one-shot program in relation to forest employment. So you would really be comparing apples and oranges to look at the $130 million a year to which we are committed for 1985-86 and compare it to the present level of expenditure on rather different Government programs.

The fact of the matter is that for the first time the federal Government is entering in a very substantial way into the support of reforestation in this country. What we believe will happen, and I certainly hope will happen, is that as a result of this initiative we will have an indication that we are prepared to support reforestation rather extensively, and we will get an equivalent response from the private sector and the Provinces, so that the $650 million figure which badly needs to be met will be met. It is an extraordinarily important step we have taken.

A few moments ago I touched upon job creation. That is another example of Government efforts in this area. Under the Unemployment Insurance job creation program we have added something like $35 million for 1982-83 alone in the forest sector of capital expenditures to assist with employment in the forest industry. It is short-term employment but it will have consequences for the longer term by improving Canada's wood supply. Obviously that $35 million is in addition to the $170 million which comes from Unemployment Insurance funds administered by the Unemployment Insurance Commission. To date, if memory serves me well, something like 11,000 to

12,000 positions have been created in the forest industry as a result of that program.

I see that you are ready to rise, Mr. Speaker. I regret that because it does not give me a chance to describe the most recent initiatives we have taken. If you could just spare me another 30 seconds.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY, S.O. 62-FOREST INDUSTRY
Permalink
LIB

Cyril Lloyd Francis (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. Deputy Speaker:

Is there unanimous consent for the Minister to extend his remarks?

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY, S.O. 62-FOREST INDUSTRY
Permalink
?

Some Hon. Members:

Agreed.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY, S.O. 62-FOREST INDUSTRY
Permalink
LIB

John (Moody) Roberts (Minister of the Environment)

Liberal

Mr. Roberts:

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I thank the Hon. Members of the House. I will not trespass on their patience for very much longer.

I would simply touch upon the announcements over the last few weeks, some of which may have escaped the attention of some Members of the House. The first concerns the support of the research facilities and the pulp and paper research institute's efforts, both in Montreal and Vancouver. We recently announced that we are increasing federal funding of those efforts by something like $17 million.

I hope it has not escaped the attention of Members of the House that we recently announced a very considerable expansion of our funding of capita! development of our research institutions all across the country. We made the commitment to go ahead with the Maritime Forest Research Centre in the Maritime forest complex in New Brunswick. We are committed to considerably expanding our research facilities in Ste. Foy, in Sault Ste. Marie, and in Victoria the home territory of the seatmate of the Hon. Member who made the motion. We have announced a very considerable strengthening of our research facilities.

Of course, it is not satisfactory to do research and undertake reforestation without taking into account the need to protect the forest resource. I could speak at much greater length about the activities of the fire control centre in Winnipeg which we established in conjunction with the Provinces. I certainly would have liked to have more time to describe the importance of the federal Government's commitment to support the acquisition of supplementary water bomber fleets across the country to provide a much more effective response to forest protection needs in Canada. This is an initiative we took as a response to the requests flowing to us from provincial Governments that we take the kind of action we have taken.

May 30, 1983

All of those things which have been done have been done very recently. I suggest that if any fair minded Member of the House were simply to review the list of what has been done in these major problem areas that we identified three years ago, he would have to say that there has been a vigorous effort and considerable success in responding to the challenges before us. Undoubtedly we still have more to do. There are still paths to be followed to the successful conclusion in the forest industry while it goes through the current transition period. We are moving from treating the resource as one to be mined to one which is a sustainable and renewable resource.

The record of the last three years is extraordinarily impressive as an example of Government commitment and our ability to work with the Provinces and the industry in order to respond to the needs of the Canadian forest industry.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY, S.O. 62-FOREST INDUSTRY
Permalink
PC

Frank Oberle

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Oberle:

Mr. Speaker, I know that the Minister relies heavily on the advice of the forest sector strategy committee and the Council of Resource Ministers. I have no quarrel with all the documents and the strategy paper which have been published. I have no quarrel with the speeches he has made after he assumed his portfolio, since they were really a carbon copy of the speeches made by my colleague from Vancouver South (Mr. Fraser) when he was Minister.

Could the Minister tell us what kind of advice he expects to receive from this new panel that his colleague, the Minister of DRIE, has established? First, does he know that this panel has organized itself into sub-committees, not to study export potential or other industrial needs proper, but to study management techniques of the resource? They are techniques which would lead to the renewal of our forests and related manpower requirements which are essentially a duplication of the advice he is receiving.

Have his officials been invited to participate in this new panel and does he know what kind of information this new panel is giving? While there may not be any quarrel in Cabinet, I can tell the Minister that the bureaucrats are quarrelling. The Department of Industry, Trade and Commerce is digging in again and usurping the role that we had hoped the Canadian Forestry Service would once again play.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY, S.O. 62-FOREST INDUSTRY
Permalink
LIB

John (Moody) Roberts (Minister of the Environment)

Liberal

Mr. Roberts:

Mr. Speaker, the Hon. Member has asked quite a few questions; 1 will try to answer them in a general way. I am familiar with the work of this committee. I am aware that it has broken down into a variety of subcommittees. I have met with them along with my colleague, and have had two short but general discussions with them.

I am not concerned that they are looking at a variety of problems. I suppose there are times when one can receive too much advice on problems, but I do not believe that is a risk with respect to the forest sector. Ultimately they will report to my colleague, in a continuing manner, who will reflect upon their recommendations and come forward with suggestions which will be discussed with the Forestry Strategy Committee chaired by my Department. If we decide to make proposals to Cabinet as a result of their deliberations and recommendations

Supply

and after an assessment by the Forestry Strategy Committee, this will occur through that mechanism.

I am certainly not aware of any concern and my officials have not expressed any great concern to me about the establishment of this committee or its operations. Indeed, for some considerable time we were pressing my colleague's Department to focus in on the marketing, commercial and industrial management questions. We were happy to see them doing that. We endorse their efforts.

I am not aware of any concerns expressed along this line by anyone other than the Hon. Member. It may be that he feels there is some threat here, but it is not clear to me what he thinks that threat is or why it is so wrong. I can honestly say that this is not my sense of the situation. I welcome what is taking place and do not see how it can do any harm. It may provide some helpful counsel and I have undoubted and strong confidence in the ability of my colleague and myself to work together in a co-ordinated and co-operative way.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY, S.O. 62-FOREST INDUSTRY
Permalink
LIB

Cyril Lloyd Francis (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. Deputy Speaker:

Bearing in mind that Hon. Members are seeking to ask questions, the Chair is trying to distribute the opportunity in the limited time.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY, S.O. 62-FOREST INDUSTRY
Permalink
PC

Frank Oberle

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Oberle:

Mr. Speaker, I have a brief question. I paid as much tribute as I will to both Ministers. His colleague did not know of the existence of these subcommittees dealing with matters that are normally those of concern to the Canadian Forestry Service. I suppose he will pass the advice on to the Minister.

The Minister is aware that his Department's manpower strength has declined by 50 per cent over the last 12 to 15 years. Since he no longer has that 50 per cent of manpower strength, who is doing the work that needs to be done in terms of the serious neglect of our forests? While the Minister said the strength is increasing, it is not nearly increasing to the level at which it was 12 years ago. Who is doing the work that those people did 12 years ago?

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY, S.O. 62-FOREST INDUSTRY
Permalink
LIB

John (Moody) Roberts (Minister of the Environment)

Liberal

Mr. Roberts:

Mr. Speaker, I would simply have to reiterate some of the points the Hon. Member has already made in his question. In some ways he has answered the question himself.

There was a great decline in person-years at the end of the 1970s and we both would agree that that was regrettable and unfortunate. I am sorry that that happened. We have turned that around over the past three years and have had an increase in the Canadian Forestry Service by something over 10 per cent.

Some of the work that was done previously is now being done outside Government. For instance, the Hon. Member knows that some of the operations which were previously undertaken in the practical application of the research side have been transferred to Forintek, which is outside federal Government service. The essential work done in bringing together the elements of the Canadian forest strategy in negotiation with the Province is undertaken by the Canadian Forestry Service. That does not mean that there are not civil

May 30, 1983

Supply

servants working in DRIE on forestry matters, particularly on the commercial side, and doing so in a useful and helpful manner. But the lead responsibility for the research, reforestation, human resources and forestry policies generally rests in the hands of the Canadian Forestry Service and the Minister of the Environment in Canada who is responsible for it. That is where the work will be done.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY, S.O. 62-FOREST INDUSTRY
Permalink
PC

William Herbert Jarvis

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Jarvis:

Mr. Speaker, is the Minister concerned about the partial or total overlapping or duplication of services between the two levels of Government? If so, what mechanisms and strategies are in place for the resolution of that overlapping and duplication in order that the services offered by both levels of Government can be most effective to the recipients of that service?

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY, S.O. 62-FOREST INDUSTRY
Permalink
LIB

John (Moody) Roberts (Minister of the Environment)

Liberal

Mr. Roberts:

Yes, Mr. Speaker, I am not only concerned about overlaps but also about gaps in the services provided by both federal and provincial Governments.

I believe the short answer is two-fold. On the research side we have negotiated research agreements with the Provinces. We have signed agreements with five or six Provinces at the present time and expect to sign with all of them by the end of the year. Those research agreements are focused exactly on the question posed by the Hon. Member. They are an attempt to ensure that we are not duplicating research that is done at the provincial and federal level. The purpose of those agreements is also to try and ensure that there is not a failure to do some research that is required.

On the reforestation side, the mechanism for co-ordinating our efforts is the reforestation agreements which we are signing with each Province. Those agreements outline the kind of efforts that are taken at the federal level and those expenditures which are required at the federal level to meet reforestation needs, and describe at the same time the programs which the provincial governments will undertake with their expenditures. As well, they will describe some occasional joint programs which are funded and operated together.

In terms of reforestation, we are trying to ensure that there is not an overlap or a gap in services in the process of negotiating these agreements and the allocation of responsibilities as determined by the negotiated final agreement.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY, S.O. 62-FOREST INDUSTRY
Permalink
NDP

James Ross Fulton

New Democratic Party

Mr. Fulton:

Mr. Speaker, my question to the Minister is quite brief. I think all Hon. Members of the House are aware that the amount which the Government takes in and puts back out in terms of taxation is very small. It amounts to about five cents return for every dollar taken. For example, in 1980, of $3 billion taken in tax and resource revenues, 43 per cent went to the federal Government and 57 per cent to the provincial Government. The federal Government only put in 5 per cent of every dollar which it took in.

I notice that the Minister referred to his policy statement, "A Framework for Forest Renewal". On page 5 the Minister

notes that this year, between DREE, UI Section 38 and DOE support, about 37 per cent-

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY, S.O. 62-FOREST INDUSTRY
Permalink
LIB

Cyril Lloyd Francis (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. Deputy Speaker:

With all due respect, the time limit is very brief, if the Minister is to reply. The Hon. Member will have an opportunity to speak, but would he make his comments briefly.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY, S.O. 62-FOREST INDUSTRY
Permalink
NDP

James Ross Fulton

New Democratic Party

Mr. Fulton:

By 1987 the Minister projected that would drop to 20 per cent. Could the Minister comment on what he expects UIC Section 38 and DOE support to be by 1987?

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY, S.O. 62-FOREST INDUSTRY
Permalink
LIB

John (Moody) Roberts (Minister of the Environment)

Liberal

Mr. Roberts:

Mr. Speaker, perhaps the hon. gentleman was not in the House when I discussed that point earlier in response to some remarks which had been made by the mover of the motion. One must make a distinction between two things: short-term, one-shot programs oriented to employment creation as part of our general effort to create employment in Canada; and other expenditures which are continuing, which become incorporated in the A-base of government expenditures which go on from year to year.

I cannot forecast what Unemployment Insurance expenditures will be two, three or four years from now in the context of this program. What I can say is that on the base level of virtually zero, we have indicated that we will be spending at least $130 million on forest renewal by 1985-86. That is a very different kind of expenditure because the forest renewal expenditure which we are discussing is permanent, ongoing, built into the A-base.

The two items which the Hon. Member has compared in his question to me are items which are of an entirely different nature, chalk to cheese. I did touch upon the point in my remarks in response to what had been said by the mover of the motion. Perhaps he would like to consider those, if he did not hear them clearly, when he reads Hansard tomorrow.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY, S.O. 62-FOREST INDUSTRY
Permalink
NDP

Lyle Stuart Kristiansen

New Democratic Party

Mr. Kristiansen:

Debate, Mr. Speaker?

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY, S.O. 62-FOREST INDUSTRY
Permalink

May 30, 1983