November 20, 1987

GOVERNMENT ORDERS

BUSINESS OF SUPPLY

LIB

George Roland Henderson

Liberal

Mr. George Henderson (Egmont) moved:

That this House condemn the Government for its inept management of Canada's fisheries in Atlantic Canada and its lack of political will to assert Canada's rights in the Canada-France dispute and for its willingness to allow Americans to exploit its weaknesses in order to gain control over processing in the fishing industry.

He said: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased today to present this motion to the House pursuant to Standing Order 82(12).

This Government has been a major disappointment to our fishermen, especially, of course, inshore fishermen. Since 1984, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans has ignored the needs of our fishermen. Time and time again this Government has tried to pinch every last dollar from our fisheries programs.

Let us review this Government's record. The budget estimates give us the big picture. In 1984-85 the Department's budget was about $690 million. In the first full year under this Government, 1985-86 the budget was slashed to $620 million. In 1986-87 it was cut even further to $550 million. This, of course, is roughly the budget for the current year.

Using the 1984-85 budget as a yard stick, this Government has accumulated nearly $350 million worth of cut-backs in this Department alone. Obviously, the Minister of Finance (Mr. Wilson) does not have any fishermen in his riding. In his November 1984 Economic Statement, the Minister of Finance announced that the Government would, among other things, privatize the Fishing Vessel Insurance Plan. Had this been carried out, many fishermen in our outlying communities would not have been able to insure their boats. Little wonder our fishermen were outraged and the Government had to change its mind. Indeed, the plan was kept, but the Government has now increased the premiums so high that fishermen can get cheaper rates from private companies. The Fishing Vessel Insurance Plan is now of little benefit to our fishermen.

In February 1986 the current Minister slashed the Fishing Vessel Assistance Program which was introduced in 1942. This program helped fishermen to purchase new vessels or upgrade the quality of those they already had. The program recognized that fishermen sometimes had problems setting aside enough savings for a large investment. The Minister, of course, may argue that the provincial loan boards already provide enough assistance for fishermen, but it should not be forgotten that provincial approvals often hinge on federal assistance.

By cancelling this program, the federal Government also caved in to the United States International Trade Commission. In its tariff ruling against our fish exports, the commission ruled that the Fishing Vessel Assistance Program provided a subsidy to our fishermen and was therefore countervailable. The Minister even admitted that the American ruling was an important factor in his decision to cut this program. We know that the American commission was under heavy pressure by a New England fish lobby to kick our fishing industry out of their market. But to have our own Fisheries Minister swallow this American argument hook, line and sinker is absolutely ridiculous.

The real reason for the American protectionism is the fact that our fish stocks are in better shape than theirs. The American belief in a free-for-all fishery has led to the depletion of their stocks.

The Government seems to have two ways to deal with programs for our fishermen, either eliminate them altogether, such as was done with the Fishing Vessel Assistance Program, or weaken them enough to make them practically worthless, such as was done with the Fishing Vessel Insurance Program.

Yesterday, we discussed the Government's record on the Small Craft Harbours Program. We can hardly mention the subject of fisheries without noting the tuna incident of 1985 and Dr. Art May, the former Deputy Minister of Fisheries, who became the fall guy for that controversy. Dr. May, a great Newfoundlander, was one of the key players in establishing Canada's fisheries management system, generally recognized now as the best in the world. He is a world class scientist who was able to talk to our fishermen. It is little wonder the morale of the Department has sunk so low.

Then there was the bail-out of Bayshore Tuna when the Minister rejected the advice of his own Atlantic Bluefin Tuna Advisory Committee and gave a quota of 401 tuna to Bayshore Tuna which then sold it to Japanese vessels. Bayshore Tuna received middleman profits for doing absolutely nothing. We

November 20, 1987

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learned later that the lawyer for Bayshore Tuna was Mr. John Grant, a director of the Progressive Conservative Party's national executive and a Tory appointee on the Canadian Development Investment Corporation.

Then, to make matters worse, in January of this year we had the Canada-France agreement on quotas and boundaries. In order to get France to sit down to discuss the possibility of sending the St. Pierre and Miquelon boundary dispute to international arbitration, Canada agreed to give France future considerations for quotas of northern cod. The deal was hatched in the Office of the Prime Minister (Mr. Mulroney). Even the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans (Mr. Siddon) may not have been consulted before the deal was signed. Of course, the Province of Newfoundland was completely ignored in the final negotiation. The Minister of Transport (Mr. Crosbie), the regional Minister for Newfoundland was ignored. But the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans rose in the House to try to defend the indefensible. He could not.

The Minister of Transport, after forcing the Prime Minister to sign his letter of ultimatum, then became the federal Minister of Fisheries for Newfoundland and Labrador. Then the first thing the Minister of Transport did was make a video featuring himself, including a cameo appearance by the other Minister of Fisheries. The Province of Newfoundland was covered with pamphlets.

On March 5 the Minister of Transport told CBC Radio that his propaganda project would only cost $40,000. However, the newspaper reported that the video and pamphlets cost the Canadian taxpayers about $200,000. We know the Minister of Transport does not like his present job and that he would rather be in Finance, but he has ruined his chances with his splurge on these videos. He came in five times over budget. This is typical of Tory hyprocrisy. It cuts back on fishermen and spends freely on videos. To add insult to injury, the other Minister of Fisheries had to pick up half the cost of the Minister of Transport's publicity campaign.

It is hard to know who in the Conservative Government is standing up for the interests of our fishermen. Is it the Prime Minister's Office, External Affairs, the Minister of Fisheries or the Minister of Transport? Who in Cabinet is standing up for the interests of the fishermen? I do not believe we do not have anyone standing up for them.

I now want to turn to free trade in the fishery. The Prime Minister has hailed this trade deal as a cure for regional disparity. I would ask Hon. Members to remember that this is the same Prime Minister who, in 1984, said that he was not afraid to inflict prosperity on Newfoundland. The people of Atlantic Canada know differently. This Government has a poor record in keeping its promises.

The people of Prince Edward Island were very concerned about the federal Government's intention to sign a free trade deal with the United States. Their fears are now well justified. The Minister for International Trade (Miss Carney) went to Prince Edward Island several weeks ago where she had a disastrous road trip. She insulted the United Church of Canada and the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops. On a radio show she declared, "It is not an appropriate thing for

the church to do. There is a lot of danger in a church group lining up with the Opposition Parties on economic issues". Just because some groups make independent appraisals of free trade that may coincide with that of the Opposition Parties against free trade, it does not say that they are lining up. They have the right to make their decisions on their own and should not be criticized for that. There is a great deal of danger, of course, as the Minister said, in these church groups lining up with Opposition Parties on economic issues. The Minister for International Trade does not like the message so she tries to shoot the messenger. I can tell her that it will not work in Prince Edward Island.

The Prime Minister and his Ministers have said that a free trade deal will guarantee secure access for our fish in the American market. The U.S. market is our most important market, especially for our producers in Atlantic Canada. They have been extremely worried with the growing protectionism among American industries. The threat of countervail action is a very real concern, especially for our fishing industry which has fought two countervail actions in the past three years.

In January of 1985, the American Department of Commerce slapped a 24 per cent duty on our export of dried salt codfish. The then Acting Minister of Fisheries, the Hon. Member for St. John's West, was asked if the Government was going to protect our access to that market. As reported at page 1823 of Hansard for January 30, 1985, in response to a question asked by myself, the Minister said:

At the appropriate time, if and when it becomes necessary for influence to

be exerted, the Prime Minister, because of his relationship with the President

of the United States, will be able to be very effective.

Not only did this duty remain in place but, as my colleagues have pointed out, many times since then there have been many more American countervail actions. The list even includes our fresh groundfish exports and a duty of 5.8 per cent was laid on them in March of 1986. There is no doubt that the Americans consider the seasonal UI benefits for fishermen as an unfair subsidy. Under current American trade law, which was also in place for the groundfish case, the UI benefits were not defined as an unfair subsidy to our fishermen because they were available to the general public, subject to certain criteria.

Against this experience it is hardly surprising that our fishing industry wanted protection from those countervail actions. They are very expensive, time consuming and disruptive.

Has the free trade deal kept the Prime Minister's promise of secured access? Will our fishing industry be protected from future harassment? The answer is no. Even Simon Reisman has now admitted that the free trade deal does not protect us from American countervail actions.

To make matters worse, the free trade deal does not protect our fishing industry from the provisions of the omnibus trade Bill presently before the U.S. Congress. We know that the Prime Minister calls the binational review panel a great achievement. But the panel can only decide if trade laws have been fairly applied. But what if the trade law is unfair to begin with?

November 20, 1987

Let us look at one provision of the U.S. trade bill which defines an unfair subsidy. It defines it as "any advantage that would not exist but for government action". Under this definition our UI program could be interpreted as an unfair subsidy. The American fishing lobby could even launch more actions against our export. This legislation could be approved before the trade agreement takes effect on January 1, 1989.

The Minister for International Trade must have forgotten comments she made about this Bill during the free trade debate on March 16 of this year when she said, as reported at page 4178 of Hansard:

There are hundreds of protectionist Bills awaiting action in the Congress. That mood should convince even the most skeptical Canadians that our trading relationship with the Americans is under attack. The new trade Bill would resume that attack if we are unsuccessful in our trade negotiations.

The Minister for International Trade obviously knew about all those protectionist bills that were in the U.S. Congress. I, like most Canadian fishermen and most Canadians, would have thought that this would have been one of the most important items to be addressed in the free trade negotiations. Those should have been negotiated before any trade deal was signed. When we know that something is taking effect in the United States that will harm our industry, whether it is fishing, agriculture, or anything else, and we are dealing with that country, obviously that would have been one of the things that should have been negotiated and covered under a trade deal. The Minister has flunked her own test.

Other Ministers should also swallow their words. On July 2 the Minister of Transport told the St. John's Board of Trade, as reported in the Evening Telegram of July 2, 1987:

Unless we get out from under the threat of countervail and other U.S. trade remedy laws and unless there is an effective dispute resolution mechanism to bind the Americans to their commitments, a free trade agreement with the United States would not be a good deal for Canada.

That was stated by the Minister of Transport.

As mentioned earlier, Simon Reisman has admitted that the threat of countervail and other American trade remedies is still around. What has the fishing industry said about this so-called dispute settlement mechanism?

When he was commenting on the free trade, Ron Bulmer, the President of the Fisheries Council of Canada stated on the CBC radio fishermen's broadcast program:

Our disappointment of course, is in the binding dispute mechanism. We had hoped that there would be some real progress in that area ... we're not going to save a dime, we're not going to prevent being hassled so we didn't get what we wanted in the binding dispute mechanism?

The Minister of Transport should now realize that this is a bad deal. Of course, the Minister will argue that the removal of tariffs on higher processed fish products will create thousands of jobs in the fishing industry. I wonder if the Minister seriously thinks that Fisheries Products International will close its plants in Massachusetts to expand its plants in Newfoundland. That, Mr. Speaker, seems very unlikely. The Prime

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Minister is trying to pull the wool over the eyes of Canadians, and I believe that he will not succeed.

Inshore fishermen, particularly those in northeastern Newfoundland have had four poor seasons in a row. In some communities, catches have dropped by as much as 75 per cent. The fishery is the only source of income.

While the large companies with the large offshore trawlers have done extremely well, the inshore fishery has been a dismal failure. The Minister of Transport says that the price of fish has increased; the value of landings are up. He ignores the problems of the inshore fishery. Since 1984, in zone 2J3KL, the inshore catches have dropped from 96,000 tonnes to 71,000 tonnes. In 1987, the Government even cut the total allowable catch by 10,000 tonnes. But things have only become worse. The Government has set up a task force, but it must show a real commitment to the inshore fishery.

Another issue is foreign overfishing off Canada's East Coast. Since the imposition of the 200-mile limit in 1977, the foreign fishing effort in Canada's waters has been gradually replaced by our domestic vessels. For instance, the total allocations to foreigners of Canadian managed stocks have declined from approximately 600,000 tonnes in 1977 to

280,000 tonnes in 1985.

Those allocations are intended to prevent overfishing of transboundary stocks which straddle the 200-mile limit. The Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO), composed of 12 countries including Canada, allocates those stocks to its member countries. However, the quotas set by NAFO depend entirely on voluntarily compliance of its member nations. Given the increasing value of fish products, those countries have been severely overfishing.

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans estimate that NAFO members, excluding Canada, have caught twice the allowable catch, 68,690 tonnes, set by NAFO. I wish to point out that, for every 1,000 tonnes of groundfish overfishing by foreign vessels, it is estimated that more than $1 million worth of landings is lost to Canadian fishermen. Once processed, that amount of fish equates to full-time, year-round employment for approximately 100 plant workers on shore.

This problem is compounded by the fact that several countries, for example, the United States, Mexico, and South Korea, are fishing those transboundary stocks, but they are not members of NAFO. Of particular concern is transboundary stocks in the area known as the nose and tail of the Grand Banks, located just outside the 200-mile limit. This is very serious, because those stocks cross those boundaries, and while they are sometimes outside the 200-mile zone, they also come into the Canadian waters. Any overfishing outside the 200-mile zone is very serious, especially in the nose and tail of the Grand Banks. The Minister knows this, and I know that he understands this fully and well.

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In this case, 1 think that we have all tried to get those countries to manage the stocks outside the 200-mile zone within the FO.l. This has also fallen on deaf ears, and I think that action must be taken either through negotiation or by unilaterally declaring that the nose and tail of the Grand Banks should fall within Canada's management jurisdiction. This measure would have the unanimous support of the entire fishing industry.

I know that you are signalling to me, Mr. Speaker, that 1 only have a minute left. I have many things that I would like to cover. One of the issues that is very important is the sealing problem in Atlantic Canada. 1 brought this up myself not too long ago with several members of the Canada-European Parliamentary Conference in Banff. France wants more fish, and the European Economic Community wants more fish. They are very ones that bowed to the pressures and curtailed the seal hunt. I know that the Minister and most of us on this side of the House agree that something must be done, but today 1 would have to call upon the Government to do something constructive, certainly with a grey seal cull.

The proliferation of grey seals has become one of the major problems in our Atlantic fishery. The increasing population has been confirmed by scientific surveys. The grey seals are consuming more fish and damaging more gear. They also cause widespread seatworm infestation in certain groundfish species. For fish processors, this entails substantial costs because of lower valued products and the additional outlays for more personnel and equipment. The entire fishing industry has called for control measures. For instance, an annual cull conducted during the breeding season in the major breeding sites, such as Sable Island.

We heard this when the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans went to Atlantic Canada. Many people came before us and expressed their total dismay at what was taking place. Yet, we are still waiting. I know that we have had the Malouf report, but there has been no great action on that. Given the international aspect, this issue must be handled carefully. A cull of the grey seals has unanimous support of the entire fishing industry.

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Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
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PC

Marcel Danis (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Deputy Speaker:

I notice that the Member has not completed. Since it is the Hon. Member's motion, would the House be agreeable to giving him two more minutes to complete?

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?

Some Hon. Members:

Agreed.

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LIB

George Roland Henderson

Liberal

Mr. Henderson:

Of course, action on the East Coast would create an expectation to deal with the problem of harbour seals on the Pacific coast. With respect to the latter, the Minister has delayed any decision pending further research. He has decided that wider public support would be necessary before any action is taken.

1 know that my time has expired, Mr. Speaker. I did not get an opportunity to discuss some of the issues that are very inflammatory today and a great problem to our fishing

industry, certainly on the protectionist side and the Canada-France agreement. I know that other Members will be commenting on that later today.

In closing, I believe that more action and thought has to go into our fishery. It is one of the most important industries to Atlantic Canada and to British Columbia. We certainly need all the support that we can receive. We need clear direction from the Minister and from the Government. I find that this direction is not taking place.

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PC

Gerald J. Comeau

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Comeau:

Mr. Speaker, in his concluding comments the Hon. Member for Egmont (Mr. Henderson) was asking for direction. During the course of his speech he heaped quite a bit of praise on the former Deputy Minister, Dr. Art May.

I recall hearing Dr. Art May some months ago noting on national television that the Government could no longer treat the inshore fishery as a social fishery, that the future of the traditional inshore fishery was gone, and that there was simply no way that we could continue supporting it. Obviously his solution might have been what was brought forth in 1983, that is, going the way of large offshore companies.

Does the Hon. Member support Dr. Art May's opinion of the future of the inshore fishery and, if so, would it also be the opinion of the Liberal Party of Canada?

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LIB

George Roland Henderson

Liberal

Mr. Henderson:

Mr. Speaker, 1 am pleased to comment on the Hon. Member's question. 1 did not hear the remarks of Dr. May as quoted by the Hon. Member for South West Nova (Mr. Comeau). However, Dr. May has certainly been one of the leading scientists when it comes to putting fisheries management tools in place. As I said in my speech, Canada is recognized as having one of the best managed fisheries probably in the world.

Having said that, I would be pleased to outline the position of the Liberal Party on the inshore fishery. The inshore fishery, with proper management, is certainly a very profitable fishery. If it is maintained, and if management principles are maintained, we all know that it is cheaper cost-wise to allow fish to swim close to shore to be caught near shore than it is to go long distances in vessels to catch them.

It is a matter of allowing the stocks to rebuild. This was one area of fisheries management in which the former Government, under Dr. May's advice, had been very strict. 1 am sure there are certain areas that we have to support in the inshore fishery.

I mentioned the northwestern coast of Newfoundland and fishing zone 2J3KL where stocks have not recovered to the point where they are economically feasible to catch and fishermen are not getting their fair share of the inshore fishcatches. I personally believe that these stocks should be allowed to rebuild and that there should not be any future allocations to the offshore until the inshore is fully protected.

November 20, 1987

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PC

Dave Nickerson

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Nickerson:

Mr. Speaker, I listened very carefully to the Hon. Member because I know that he is one of the greatest experts we have in the House on at least saltwater fishing matters. When it comes to freshwater fishing, he is a little off base, but I will stay away from that today.

Looking not at immediate fishing problems but 50 years ahead, what does the Hon. Member foresee as the make-up of our fishing industry then? Does he think that the inshore fishery will have disappeared by that time one way or another, or does he think it will still be with us? Will we still be hunting fish at all? Will not fish farming and aquaculture have taken over by then as a much more efficient and effective way of acquiring fish?

What policies should we be pursuing as Canadians, not necessarily for today, tomorrow, or five years down the road, but for 50 years down the road?

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LIB

George Roland Henderson

Liberal

Mr. Henderson:

Mr. Speaker, 1 thank the Hon. Member for Western Arctic (Mr. Nickerson) for posing his question because it is very important.

I do not have a crystal ball; I guess none of us in the House have a crystal ball to project 50 years down the road. However, I maintain that we will still have an inshore fishery provided that we manage it properly. We cannot allow larger and larger vessel allocations to the offshore at the expense of the inshore.

It is interesting that the Hon. Member raised aquaculture, a very important subject. Our committee travelled to Norway and to Scotland, and I think the whole committee would agree that there have been some tremendous advancements in fish farming in Norway and in Scotland, on the Shetland Islands. This is not only in salmon and trout, the salmonid species, but also in cod fish and halibut. Those advances are taking place; there is no question about that.

I believe that we should certainly look at aquaculture in a positive way. I think we can benefit because the consumption of fish for the last number of years has been on the increase. People have been looking more to fish as a better source of protein than they used to do. I believe that aquaculture and the commercial fishery can work hand in hand. I still believe that in the long term, nature will provide a cheaper resource, if properly managed, than fish farming. However, the caveat is always there, that we have strict management controls and strict enforcement. We cannot allow the rape of our fish stocks that has gone on for many years by foreigners. We cannot catch fish twice; any fisherman will tell us that. If we can instill in the minds of our fish managers and of the general public, including fishermen themselves, that it is very important to manage our fish stocks, we will always have an inshore fishery-I certainly believe that we will always have an offshore fishery. That can work in conjunction and in harmony with fish farming as well.

It is a little different in Norway. The Atlantic salmon stocks, the wild stocks in Norway, have been seriously depleted out

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and virtually wiped out. It just does not have a wild Atlantic salmon fishery any more, so it does not have any problem with its technology affecting the natural stocks. This must be a concern when we pursue aquaculture, especially on the West Coast where we have a very lucrative natural fishery. When we start to farm fish in enclosed areas, we must be very careful that we do not develop some disease which would affect the natural stocks. However, I still believe that with proper management both in wild stocks and in aquaculture we can work in harmony and develop a tremendous fishing industry in the country. We must make up our minds to do it and to do it ourselves.

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PC

Marcel Danis (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Deputy Speaker:

On a very short question, the Hon. Member for Westmorland-Kent (Mr. Robichaud).

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LIB

Fernand Robichaud

Liberal

Mr. Robichaud:

Mr. Speaker, in the course of his speech the Hon. Member for Egmont (Mr. Henderson) spoke briefly about the free trade deal. He also talked about the fish resources or the stocks we have. We know that in Atlantic Canada some stocks are controlled by companies in that they have quotas.

What provisions are there in the trade deal to prevent foreign interests or American interests from acquiring Canadian companies and thereby acquiring a certain control of our fish stocks? Is there any protection against that?

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PC

Marcel Danis (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Deputy Speaker:

The Hon. Member for Egmont (Mr. Henderson) on a short answer.

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LIB

George Roland Henderson

Liberal

Mr. Henderson:

Mr. Speaker, as I see the free trade agreement, we can have foreign investment of up to $50 million which will be really uncontrolled or unregulated. There is no question that under the free trade deal at least 48 per cent or 49 per cent of the shares of National Sea Products or Fisheries Products International could be purchased by foreign investors. Probably all the shares could be purchased.

If the Minister is to speak to my motion today, hopefully he will address the subject of whether or not enterprise allocations-because it is actually government policy or it has been in the past as there is no legislation of which I am aware- must remain majority controlled in Canadian hands. I believe that is correct. That would mean that at least 51 per cent would have to remain under that allocation. I can see other problems created with free trade as far as our processing industry is concerned in the buying of and losing control over our Canadian processing industry.

As far as protection through free trade as far as the omnibus trade bills now before Congress is concerned, we have no protection. The dispute settlement mechanism, as I mentioned, can only apply to existing or future Canadian or American laws. Obviously under the free trade deal we are bound by GATT decisions, as I understand it.

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In closing, let me quote from an article quoting what Mr. Bruce Buchanan said.

According to B.C. fisheries council chairman, Bruce Buchanan, the free

trade deal limits Canada's options to fight the lifting of restrictions by GATT.

He said the agreement forbids Canada from refusing to follow a GATT

ruling.

He is looking at that on page 4 of the free trade agreement document which says that all existing quantitative restrictions will be eliminated immediately or by an agreed timetable. Both parties have agreed they will not maintain or introduce import or export restrictions except in accordance with GATT or as modified by the agreement.

Under that, we have no protection against any American trade law. We are not exempt from anything. We have the same problems now as we had before the trade deal, but with further restrictions.

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PC

Marcel Danis (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Deputy Speaker:

Resuming debate with the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans (Mr. Siddon).

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PC

Thomas Edward Siddon (Minister of Fisheries and Oceans)

Progressive Conservative

Hon. Thomas Siddon (Minister of Fisheries and Oceans):

Mr. Speaker, I am especially pleased to have an opportunity to respond to this motion today. This week is the second anniversary of my appointment, which I consider to be a great privilege, as Minister of Fisheries and Oceans for Canada.

I am extremely proud of my record in the two years as Minister of Fisheries and the record of the Government since the Speaker of the House in his former capacity first became Minister of Fisheries and Oceans in September 1984. We are proud of the leadership which the Prime Minister (Mr. Mulroney) and the focus and importance he has attached to many issues relating to the fishery which have brought untold and unequalled prosperity, at any time in Canada's history, to all sectors of our Canadian fishery-Atlantic, Pacific, in the north and in the freshwater areas as well.

This is why I find it somewhat peculiar that the Hon. Member for Egmont (Mr. Henderson) would sponsor such a motion as the one before us, which is totally offbase and totally exaggerated in its implication. In fact, it is totally contrary to the record.

The record will show that in the past three year period the wealth of the fishery and the benefit to each and every fisherman and his family inshore, offshore has virtually doubled. While the Member has engaged in some nitpicking criticism, he has not focused on the central reality that Canadian fishermen in his province in Atlantic Canada and in all parts of Canada are far better off today, far more likely to be employed throughout the year. There will virtually be no fishermen on welfare in the winter of 1987 because of the policies of our Government, which the Member condemned.

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?

Some Hon. Members:

Hear, hear!

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PC

Thomas Edward Siddon (Minister of Fisheries and Oceans)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Siddon:

I intend to deal with the four elements of the motion briefly, but my colleagues will elaborate on each of

these questions relating to our management of the fisheries generally, relating to the inshore fishery, relating to the question of our negotiations with France and the great benefit they will bring to the fishermen of Atlantic Canada, and relating to the question of free trade and all of the importance it represents for the future of our industry.

The landed value of our fishery has virtually doubled with the result that we will process in excess of $3 billion worth of fish products in 1987, which will bring, on a per capita basis, some $25,000 nominal value to every person engaged in the fishery, inshore, offshore, and plant workers alike. This is $25,000 of average income to all of those fishermen as a result of the new prosperity the Government has brought to the fishing industry.

I want to point out that of that $25,000 value per capita, a full 80 per cent of it depends on exports to the United States market, exports which have the potential to be enlarged and enhanced in Canada, all of which will lead to a stronger fishing industry in Canada's future.

I want to compliment my colleagues in the caucus because if we have succeeded in improving the management of the fishery in all of its sectors, it is because of the weekly input and guidance that I receive, which no previous Minister of Fisheries has ever received, from Members of Parliament elected from the fishing regions of Canada.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY, S. O. 82-FISHERIES-ALLEGED GOVERNMENT MISMANAGEMENT
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?

Some Hon. Members:

Hear, hear!

[ Translation]

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY, S. O. 82-FISHERIES-ALLEGED GOVERNMENT MISMANAGEMENT
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PC

Thomas Edward Siddon (Minister of Fisheries and Oceans)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Siddon:

Mr. Speaker, everybody knows that on a national scale again this year Canada is the world's leader in terms of the export value of fish and fish products: commercial fishing amounts to almost 1.5 million metric tonnes worth $1.5 billion. Roughly 60 per cent of landings took place on the Atlantic coast.

We have a great story to tell. I would like to tell the Members of this House that I place a very high priority on the future of the inshore fishery. I have seen the myriad of coastal communities. I have had the privilege to fly and visit them by sea. I have stood on the wharfs touring the fish plants in all of our coastal regions of Canada. This is a social reality. It is the people of Canada engaged in fishing enterprises as they have been for centuries, and a sector of the industry, the inshore fishery, which we have made a significant commitment toward protecting, enhancing and ensuring year round stability in this sector.

I have seen first hand the problems faced by inshore fishermen. This year inshore fishermen will have higher overall incomes than ever before. This is the result of new resourcefulness, a spirit of enterprise and enthusiasm and the fact that we have relieved some of the burdens of bureaucratic overregulation and waste and put a new focus on good science, enhanced science and better enforcement. We have pared the fat out of the department which had grown far too inefficient

November 20, 1987

and unwieldy. I am proud of that because the benefits are being realized by the fishermen who should be the beneficiaries of good government.

I have taken a special interest in the problems of our inshore fishery, particularly the problem of decline in landings in the coastal areas of Newfoundland and Labrador, especially on the Avalon Peninsula. That is why a year ago I mounted a scientific assessment on an emergency basis of this problem. In the first three months of 1987 we placed observers on all offshore vessels and held the line on the quota increase. We increased our scientific knowledge and brought in regulations to eliminate the wasteful discarding of undersized fish by the offshore fleets.

When I learned earlier this summer that that was not enough, I established a special task force on the future of the Newfoundland inshore fishery, a task force headed up by Dr. Alverson and a group of eminent international scientists who just reported to me yesterday and produced information which I will be sharing shortly with the House and the country to help us better manage and enhance the inshore fishery for the benefit of Canadians.

We have taken numerous initiatives to help the inshore fishery. We have secured the transfer of uncaught fish from offshore to inshore. Over 12,500 tonnes in my first year as Minister in southwestern Nova Scotia were transferred to the inshore sector because that fish would otherwise have remained uncaught. Again this year with the co-operation of the offshore companies, 11 tonnes of fish are being transferred. We have taken steps to spread the fishery out by introducing trip limits and we are looking at future innovations to create some means of more effectively administering the larger inshore vessels, particularly in the Scotia-Fundy region, to ensure more equity. The smaller, true inshore fishermen, who do not have mobility and cannot afford a multimillion dollar enterprise, can have their fair share of this resource.

We have established a scallop plan for the Scotia-Fundy region which has brought untold prosperity to the scallop fishermen in that area and the Georges Bank as well. We have allowed the inshore fishermen to participate in an experimental offshore tuna fishery. We have increased licences and enhanced opportunities in the northern shrimp fishery. I have created an offshore clam fishery which will create unparalleled employment in the Cape Breton region of Nova Scotia. We have encouraged the domestic utilization of a bountiful resource known as silver hake, and are encouraging a number of ventures to turn that resource into new jobs and new economic opportunity for our fishermen.

We have done many things to improve the inshore fishery. We have stabilized the management of the gulf herring roe resource. We have eliminated the lawlessness and confrontation between our officials and fishermen which prevailed in that fishery for many years. We have taken many initiatives in

Supply

the riding of the Hon. Member who moved this motion. For example, we provided for the first time in history 30 inshore crab licences. That initiative was started by my predecessor, now the Speaker of the House. Those licences are bringing new landings and new prosperity to the people of the Hon. Member's province.

For the first time we have created an Atlantic policy advisory group, and an Atlantic licence appeal board to which fishermen can turn to have their legitimate licensing grievances addressed. This is something the Liberals never did and never would have done.

As to managing the fishery, we have increased surveillance and enforcement. Last December in this House we increased fines as much as fivefold, in some cases to an amount in excess of $500,000 for a single offence, for foreign vessels that fish illegally in our waters. We are providing full observer coverage, at the expense of the foreign country concerned, when fishing for surplus stocks within our zones. We are eliminating all foreign fishing efforts on non-surplus stocks in those zones. That is an initiative the Liberals would never have taken. It allows us to turn those resources to the benefit of our fishermen.

This year we terminated a 15-year arrangement with France wherein they were able to harvest 17,000 tonnes of groundfish, largely cod, in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. That arrangement was entered into by the Liberal Government and we are getting out of it in order to make that resource available to Canadian fishermen.

This year we are ending the long-term agreement with the European Economic Community, also arranged by the Liberals, which gave that community in the last year 9,500 tonnes of quota. For the last 10 years, 15 since the extension of jurisdiction, the Government of which the Hon. Member was a part gave fish away to foreigners when it was really needed by our own fishermen. We have ended that.

We have taken many initiatives to work co-operatively with the provinces in light of their role in the fishery. I have had 12 federal-provincial conferences since I was appointed Minister two years ago this week. We produced a report which was requested by the Prime Minister and the First Ministers two years ago this week which dealt with challenges and opportunities facing the fishery. That report was submitted in Vancouver one year ago. It had the unanimous support of all provincial fisheries Ministers, and included their support for a free trade arrangement with the U.S. That report received accolades and glowing commendation from the provinces and fishermen, indeed everyone who has taken the time to read it. It deals not merely with maintaining the status quo, not merely in continuing to over-regulate our fishery and give away whatever could be given away to foreigners. It deals with the future into the next century. It deals with the question raised by the Hon. Member for Western Arctic (Mr. Nickerson) about what is to be the future of our fishermen in the year 2050.

November 20, 1987

The report deals with aquaculture opportunities, enhancing the recreational fishery, and deals with habitat questions, adding value, income stability, and the effective patrol and management of our offshore fishery. All of those things are reflected in the policies of this Government and the benefits already flowing to the fishermen in all regions where the fishery is important.

In the last 12 months we released a new habitat policy for Canada, a new oceans policy for Canada, a new recreational fisheries policy for Canada, a new aquaculture policy for Canada, none of which were ever even contemplated, let alone developed, by previous Governments.

With respect to services to fishermen, one year ago this past October, in the Throne Speech initiating this session, we announced we would take major initiatives to improve the support and services available to our fishermen through our small craft harbours. We have brought forward those initiatives. They were debated in this House only yesterday and commended by all sides as a major step forward in recognizing the fact that fishermen need good ports and services onshore as much as most Canadians need good highways. We are committed to ensuring that that is the case. That is why this year, in tough economic times, we raised the maintenance and operating budget for our harbours from $48 million to $70 million. That was done in one year and that is significant.

Over and above that, we created a new small craft harbour revitalization program, an additional $85 million available for development and upgrading of our harbours.

1 have had the privilege of travelling from one end of this country to the other, from Prince Rupert to Black Tickle in Labrador, from Saulnierville, Nova Scotia, to Lameque, New Brunswick, to announce new harbour ventures which are long overdue; to communities like Flat Rock, Newfoundland, and Bauline, where fishermen have hauled their fish out of water with buckets and cables because the Liberal Government never took the time to give them the services to which they were entitled.

We have over 180 new small craft harbour projects under way totalling $98 million of commitment. More than 200 projects are yet to come. Over the next few weeks we will see contracts for 50 new harbour locations and more than $50 million of additional expenditure.

In conclusion, I want to remind the Hon. Member that I have announced already four harbour projects in his own riding: Alberton, $400,000; West Point, $850,000; Fishing Cove, $500,000; Milligan's Shore, $164,000. I will also be announcing Miminegash, $350,000, all in his riding. What has he got to complain about-over $2 million in new harbour improvements in his riding alone.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY, S. O. 82-FISHERIES-ALLEGED GOVERNMENT MISMANAGEMENT
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November 20, 1987