December 3, 1992

PC

Godfrey Stanley (Stan) Wilbee

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Stan Wilbee (Delta):

Mr. Speaker, I rise today on this private members' motion which calls for the government to urgently take steps to ratify the 1982 United Nations Law of the Sea Convention, and urge other countries to do likewise so the 60 ratifications required for the convention's entry into force can be achieved. The reason given by the hon. member is this would benefit Canadian fisheries.

The fisheries provisions of the Law of the Sea Convention are among its most important provisions. Canada played a key role along with a number of other coastal states in developing the principles that underlie the 200-mile economic zone.

Through state practice all the coastal states now enjoy the benefits of their sovereign rights over all the fish stocks located 200 miles from their coasts. We have these benefits now even though Canada has not yet ratified the convention and it is not yet in force.

I would like to explain why Canadian ratification at this time would not provide an immediate benefit for our Canadian fisheries' interests, while continued active international action can. The 1982 United Nations Law of the Sea Convention was negotiated to be the definitive international legal instrument governing all uses of ocean space. It deals in a comprehensive way with all aspects of maritime jurisdiction, navigation rights, boundary delineation, exploration, exploitation of re-

December 3, 1992

Private Members' Business

sources, environmental protection and conflict resolution.

With the longest coastline in the world and important ocean interests, Canada regards the convention as a major contribution to world security and the sustainable exploitation of ocean space. Canada was one of the most active participants in the negotiations of the convention, and benefits directly from many of its provisions in addition to those related to fishery.

Those benefits include the 12-mile territorial sea; the 200-mile exclusive economic zone including pollution prevention and control over scientific research; protection of Canadian salmon; sovereign rights over resources over the greater part of the continental shelf including sedentary living resources; enhanced jurisdiction for the protection of marine pollution, and especially special measures for Arctic waters. As many of these are widely considered to be demonstrative of customary international law, Canada already enjoys their provisions.

With all these benefits you can well ask why Canada and indeed the rest of the international community has not brought the Law of the Sea Convention into force.

Of the 159 signatories including Canada, why have only 52 of the required 60 countries ratified the convention? Of these 52 countries, why is Iceland the only industrialized country to have done so?

The answer lies in the problems industrialized states have with the convention's deep sea mining regime. It provides that the resources of the deep sea bed outside national jurisdiction under the high seas are the common heritage of mankind. Part of the proceeds from the mining of these resources are to be shared among all countries, especially developing states. This is one of the key elements of the package deal that comprised the Law of the Sea Convention and continues to be supported by Canada and most industrialized countries.

The basic objection, however, is since the 1970s we have come to realize seabed mining will not provide the economic benefits we once thought it would. Changed economic circumstances mean parts of the regime run up against market-oriented, commercial principles and the costs to be borne by the parties to the convention are unclear and potentially onerous. Like other industrialized countries and especially as a potential seabed mining state, Canada recognizes only an economically viable seabed mining regime can benefit the international community.

Furthermore, there are a number of costs related to the implementation of the convention seabed mining provisions, which would be quite onerous and at this stage unnecessary for state parties.

Should Canada ratify without the other industrialized countries we would end up shouldering the majority of these yet to be determined costs. It is a further possible financial consideration that in exchange for coastal state jurisdiction over the continental shelf outside 200 miles, the convention specifies a royalty be paid on mineral or hydrocarbon exploitation in that area. It has not yet been determined whether there are such resources on Canada's continental shelf outside the 200 miles.

You also ask what have we done to overcome these obstacles to the coming into force of a convention with so many obvious benefits to Canada. Canada has been playing a key role in consultations held under the auspices of the UN Secretary General, who is trying at the present time to solve the problems of the seabed mining regime that are preventing the universal acceptability of the convention.

We consider that both the future of the convention and Canadian interests are best served through a universally acceptable convention, rather than by pressuring a convention into force with outdated, unacceptable provisions.

The only thing that will give Canada more than it now has is a universally accepted convention. That is what we are after.

I not think we will have to wait very long for the results of our hard work. The Secretary-General's consultations have now entered their second phase and are showing great promise. There is a possible solution in sight in the next 12 months through proposed modifications to the seabed mining provisions.

The prudent course for Canada is to see the UN Secretary General's initiative through, before making a final decision on ratification.

December 3, 1992

In addition to the above reasons, as this House is aware, Canada has pursued an initiative at the United Nations Conference on the Environment and Development to help resolve the problems caused by overfishing of straddling stocks off our east coast. The Rio summit has issued a call for a UN conference to put in place agreed rules for the management and conservation of these stocks. While these rules will build on the existing provisions of the convention, this exercise is independent of its entry into force.

Canada already enjoys a good part of the benefits that could be accorded through ratification. Many of the elements of the convention are generally considered to be demonstrative of customary international law by much of the international community. This is particularly true of the parts of the convention dealing with fisheries.

In short, given all these reasons it is better for the present to continue to pursue the resolution of high-seas fisheries problems through the multilateral conference we have succeeded in placing on the international agenda. Through our continued active bilateral and international efforts that are beginning to pay off, consideration of ratification of the Law of the Sea Convention should await the results of the Secretary-General's consultation.

Therefore, this private member's motion is not in the best interest of either Canadian fisheries or Canada's over-all objectives in the Law of the Sea Convention.

Topic:   PRIVATE MEMBERS' BUSINESS
Subtopic:   INTERNATIONAL LAW OF THE SEA
Sub-subtopic:   RATIFICATION OF CONVENTION
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LIB

Marlene Catterall

Liberal

Mrs. Marlene Catterall (Ottawa West):

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise in support of the motion of my colleague from Davenport that Canada should ratify the Law of the Sea. This convention, approved in late 1982, may be more important to Canada than to any other nation. We are a nation that defines itself by its relationship to the oceans. How often have we said over and over in this House "a nation from sea to sea to sea"? Yet, 10 years after the adoption of the convention on the Law of the Sea, Canada, as one of the countries that signed the convention, has still not ratified it. We have benefited from its provisions because other countries in the world are living by it, yet we have failed to take the step to commit ourselves to abide by it.

Private Members' Business

How we treat this convention becomes an even more important matter of principle now that we have signed two additional environmental conventions arising from the earth summit in Rio in June. We have signed two conventions on biodiversity and on climate change. Regrettably, to some extent, the public attention on those two issues, urgent and important as they are, has taken attention away from the state of our oceans and how important they are to the survival of life on this planet.

We agreed with Agenda 21 adopted at the UN earth summit in June. We have agreed with everything in there about protecting water bodies and the life in those bodies. We have agreed with their importance to humanity.

These issues and others are being increasingly recognized as areas where developed countries and developing countries have substantially different interests.

I have just returned from another follow-up conference of parliamentarians last week. We were looking very concretely at implementing the results of the earth summit in Rio. One strong issue is that the developing countries with so little and so much poverty feel we, the developed countries, the richest countries in the world are trying to put the burden of solving the environmental problems for the world on them when we have created the damage with our industrialization and consumerism.

It is ironic to look at the Law of the Sea Convention which Canada signed but has not yet ratified and note that, except for Iceland, the 53 countries that have ratified the Law of the Sea Convention and committed themselves to live by it are not the wealthy nations who are contaminating the soils, the air and the waters of the planet.

The seas of the world are vitally important to the survival of human life. This is not a matter we can put off for another decade. We know the dangers of contamination of coastal areas of the world and what that is doing to the oceans. We know its impact on food supplies for the developing countries particularly. Canadians have benefited from this. It has allowed us to extend our territorial zone. It has allowed us to claim 1.3 million additional square miles. It has allowed us to have more

December 3, 1992

Private Members' Business

control over our straddling stocks and control foreign fishing on a greater area of Canada's coastline.

We are missing other benefits of the Law of the Sea that we should be enjoying. We are particularly missing the opportunity for Canada to be an important partner in protecting our ocean resources and everything they mean to our health and survival.

The prevention of marine pollution is a crucial issue. It is one that has not been dealt with yet. The disposal of radioactive waste at sea is one that has not been dealt with nor has the transportation of hazardous goods on our oceans.

All those are important reasons that Canada should sign this convention and should urge the additional six nations that are needed to do so to make sure that this convention comes into force and effect.

It would allow us to go further in the sustainable development of fishing stocks. I do not need to tell anybody in this Elouse about the perilous condition of our northern cod and the terrible impact this first environmental crisis that this nation has had to deal with is having on hundreds of thousands of people's lives and what it is doing to poverty and unemployment among our fellow Canadians.

We need to be concerned about protecting other marine resources. We need to be concerned about ecologically sound fishing practices if we truly want to preserve the resources of the world, not only for this fishing season or the next fishing season, but also for the next generation and the generations to come.

At the preparatory conferences for the earth summit back in April, Canada with 40 other countries put forward wonderful words on the importance of preserving the oceans of the world. I have to ask myself why are we not ratifying a convention that was approved nearly a decade ago. Is it that we are better at rhetoric than we are at action? Certainly that is part of it.

We know that sustainable development means integrating our decisions about the economy, the environment and humanity. We often forget the third one but it is also part of the concept of sustainable development.

However, the main reason for not ratifying this seems to be economic sea mining interests that may or may not materialize 20 years from now. Meanwhile, we continue withholding our consent to a convention that is vital not only to us, but also to all nations of the world.

I look at the NAFTA and we have had more than one minister in the House talk about the protection that the NAFTA provides. The NAFTA provides environmental protection in areas where conventions have been ratified internationally and are in effect and therefore are binding on Mexico, Canada and the United States.

Here is one convention that could be covered under the NAFTA to protect the seas of the world and we are still refusing to sign it. The fact that conventions are covered in the NAFTA does not mean anything until we have ratified conventions.

Looking at the economic statement from yesterday, I note that we have cut grants and subsidies to environmental technology firms which receive grants for the development and demonstration of commercially viable environmental technologies. That does not make any sense when we have just had a report from the steering committee on prosperity that tells us our environmental technology is one of the major growth opportunities for Canada in the world.

We seem to have contradictory things here. We have statements in the House. We have statements on international platforms. We have statements in Brazil. However, we do not have the ratification of a convention.

The Minister of the Environment has indicated his intention to ratify by Order in Council before the end of this year the Rio conventions on biodiversity and climate change.

I ask him to give the world a good New Year's present and add the Law of the Sea convention to that parcel of conventions which are to be ratified.

Topic:   PRIVATE MEMBERS' BUSINESS
Subtopic:   INTERNATIONAL LAW OF THE SEA
Sub-subtopic:   RATIFICATION OF CONVENTION
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PC

Fernand Jourdenais

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fernand Jourdenais (La Prairie):

Mr. Speaker, I would like to outline for members of this House some of the other steps this government has taken to promote sustainable development of the ocean resources, including our activities within the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization, or to use its acronym, NAFO.

December 3, 1992

Since declaring its 200-mile limit in 1977, Canada has controlled the management of fish stocks within that limit. Fisheries outside the Canadian 200-mile limit are managed by NAFO.

NAFO was successful in maintaining and rebuilding stocks until 1986 when Spain and Portugal joined the European Community and the European Community began overfishing.

Using a provision in the NAFO convention the EC began adopting its own quota for NAFO stocks. Between 1986 and 1991, the EC reported catches of straddling stocks were 420,000 tonnes above NAFO quotas. Moreover, vessels from several countries that are members of NAFO began to fish routinely in the NAFO areas despite having no quotas.

In 1990, however, the EC accepted eight of its ten NAFO quotas for 1991 but did not respect the NAFO moratorium on northern cod in division 3L. In 1991 the EC caught an estimated 49,000 tonnes of northern cod. In 1992 the EC again accepted eight of eleven NAFO decisions but maintained its objections to the EC moratorium on 3L cod.

The EC has taken important steps to control its fishery in 1992. However, an EC patrol vessel spent 10 months in the NAFO area. The EC passed regulations to close most of its fisheries in the NAFO regulatory area as the quotas were taken including, in the case of division 3L, cod.

At this year's meeting of NAFO in September all NAFO members, including the EC, unanimously adopted a ban on fishing of northern cod outside the 200-mile zone. The EC also took a major positive step by agreeing to all its NAFO quotas.

The EC ministers responsible for fisheries will decide this fall on revisions of the EC common fisheries policy which, if they are adopted as proposed by Commissioner Marin and effectively implemented, will constitute a major step toward effective control of EC fishing vessels in the northwest Atlantic.

Since 1989, we have pursued diplomatic, legal, environmental and public information activities working in every possible international forum to put an end to foreign overfishing. Our efforts are bearing fruit.

Private Members' Business

At the beginning of this year, for example, the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans announced a stepped up Canadian campaign to save the northwest Atlantic fish stocks.

On January 10, the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans spoke at a conference in London sponsored by the Royal Institute on International Affairs. He warned that time was running out for fishing communities that depend on fisheries resources on the high seas. He stated that tangible progress must be made in 1992. One week later, he delivered a similar message to industry and government representatives in Tokyo.

In April, the minister visited Panama and secured the agreement of the Panamanian government to take enforcement action against vessels under its registry, reflagged Spanish, Portuguese and Korean vessels, that fish contrary to NAFO conservation decisions.

The Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for External Affairs have asked their counterparts in the Government of Korea for their co-operation to end fishing by their vessels in the northwest Atlantic.

The issue of overfishing was the leading item on the agenda when the Prime Minister met on April 23 with the President of the European Commission, Jacques Delors, and Prime Minister Silva of Portugal. President Delors made a number of commitments that helped set the tone for the positive developments that followed.

At Cancun in May an international fisheries conference adopted a resolution supporting many of the conservation principles Canada has been promoting.

Later that month the Organization of American States also adopted a resolution at Canada's instigation calling on the earth summit to convene an international conference on high seas fishing. As the members of this House know the 188 countries at the earth summit agreed to convene such a conference.

At Canada's request a special meeting of the NAFO Fisheries Commission was held in May on the need for more effective international control in the NAFO area through such measures as an observer program and minimum mesh size.

At its annual meeting in September NAFO did approve several new surveillance and control measures. A pilot project will begin in January 1993 to place observers

December 3, 1992

Private Members' Business

on vessels from each contracting party for 10 per cent of fishing days.

NAFO also adopted measures to control harvesting of small fish including new minimum sizes for cod and flounder as well as a new minimum mesh size.

Other measures will improve the effectiveness of inspections at sea by patrol vessels from Canada and other NAFO contracting parties.

The public information campaign has also been in high gear. Teams of journalists from EC member states, notably Spain and Portugal, and from other NAFO member countries were invited to Newfoundland for briefing on the state of the stocks and on surveillance and control measures in place in the Canadian zone. They were able to see for themselves the impact of stock declines on Newfoundland communities.

In May, teams of union representatives and colleagues in this House travelled to Europe to register Canadian concerns and to seek co-operation. Support from Portuguese fishermen was particularly striking. Efforts of other non-governmental organizations and churches were also supportive.

These are some of the ways we are working to end foreign overfishing on the high seas. We are using every available avenue open to us within international law and diplomacy to bring about an effective solution.

The best news is that we are making progress and I hope we will keep on.

Topic:   PRIVATE MEMBERS' BUSINESS
Subtopic:   INTERNATIONAL LAW OF THE SEA
Sub-subtopic:   RATIFICATION OF CONVENTION
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NDP

David Stupich (N.D.P. Caucus Chair)

New Democratic Party

Mr. David D. Stupich (Nanaimo-Cowichan):

Mr. Speaker, as a student of agriculture at the University of British Columbia between 1946 and 1949, I was told by one professor after another of the importance of saving agricultural land in the province of British Columbia.

I was told that 3.5 per cent of the province was arable and we were rapidly losing the best of that land to other uses. It was being paved for parking lots, for roads. It was being built on for shopping centres, houses, all kinds of buildings. Anybody who wanted a piece of land looked first to the agricultural land because it was the easiest to develop.

I became Minister of Agriculture in September 1972 and within six months I introduced legislation to save agricultural land.

That legislation attracted so much attention that the Tories in the legislature at that time-and there were some-went so far as to move a want of confidence against the Minister of Agriculture for daring to bring in that kind of legislation. The Liberals opposed it just as loudly and just as forcefully. The Socreds opposed it. None of them proposed anything but they all said we were moving too quickly.

I did not think we were moving quickly enough. I had waited 24 years, from 1949 until 1973, to introduce that legislation and in the meantime some half a million acres of the best land for food production in the province, some of it the best land in the world, had been lost to agriculture. We had not moved quickly enough.

I was reminded of that this evening when the hon. member for Delta on behalf of the government said: "We are making progress so let us not ratify right now. Let us continue the progress we have been making all this time and some day we will get to ratification".

The Law of the Sea Convention was approved 10 years ago and all we can talk about is making progress. Ten years. Fifty-two nations have signed as ratifying it. We need eight more. We do not have any of the major sea-faring nations. We do not have Canada. We do not have the U.S. We do not have Great Britain. We do not have Germany. But we do have 52 and we need eight more.

If one nation, one among the ones I have named, had the intestinal fortitude to ratify that treaty, then perhaps others would come on board and we would be getting somewhere other than simply making progress.

At the rate we are making progress what is going to happen? We have already, dare I say, lost the North Atlantic cod fishery. Some will say: "No, we have a two-year moratorium". It takes six years for a cod to become mature enough to start reproducing. It is a two-year moratorium, but it is two years because it is saleable right now. If that moratorium is to achieve any useful purpose, and we do not know that it will, we do not know that there is still time for the species to survive, it is not going to last two years. It is going to be more like 10 years before we can start fishing cod again.

December 3, 1992

The Minister of Fisheries and Oceans has said that the salmon are in good shape on the west coast, that there is no problem there. We know that the salmon on the west coast are being pirated. We know that the steelhead are being pirated and we do not have control. We do not have the control that was offered to us in the Law of the Sea Convention. One of the reasons we do not have it is that the convention has yet to be ratified. It is in our hands. We are responsible as is every other nation.

The previous speaker said that we like to talk about our three seas, about being bounded by oceans on the east, on the west and on the north. We have more oceanic coastline than any other nation in the world. It is more important to us than to any other nation. Certainly, there are problems. There are discussions that have yet to take place, agreements that have to be reached. We know that mining the seabed is one of them.

There is no reason on earth that we could not go on talking about things like that after we have ratified the treaty. That need not be the end of it. There can be changes. There can be new looks at it to improve it in many ways. That can still go on. There is some pressure on people to come to agreements earlier once we have ratified the treaty.

The Secretary-General, as another government spokesman has said, has been making progress. We know that and we appreciate the progress that has been made. For example, the United States which had been opposing the ratification, voting against it, finally abstained at the UN meeting last year. That is progress. It is sort of half way. All they have to do is make one more step and the U.S. will be ratifying the treaty. For it to ratify the treaty ahead of us would put us to shame. We have more at stake, more to lose, and more need of it, yet we are not prepared to lead the nations that need to be led to sign this treaty.

It is not just the cod on the east coast. It is not just the straddling stocks. One speaker said we had made progress with respect to the straddling stocks. The only progress we have made is that we have persuaded other nations that they too must refrain from fishing cod for a period until we can tell what will happen, until we know whether the stocks will recover in a reasonable length of time. We do not know that yet. We are still hoping. At least we are going to give the remaining survivors, to the

Private Members' Business

extent that there are survivors, an opportunity to try to recover the species. That is happening.

On the west coast the problem is not as obvious or serious yet. However, only two years ago we did not know how serious the situation was with respect to the Atlantic cod. I can recall the then Minister for International Trade, now the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, saying that he was not going to agree to a drastic reduction in quota, a reduction recommended by the experts, by Professor Harris. He was not prepared to agree to a quota of 120,000 tonnes a year because it would be hard on the people working in the industry- the fishing people, the processing people, the companies. It would be hard on all of them.

I argued at the time that we should accept short-term pain for long-term gain but his position was firm. He was not going to agree to the quota being set where the experts said it should be set. He would rather gamble on the future.

As a result of his gambling there is now a two-year moratorium on fishing cod in extensive areas and a further moratorium being considered. Now the same person, which gives me very little confidence, tells us that the west coast salmon are not in trouble.

We are going to hear more about that on Monday. The Minister of Fisheries and Oceans said that he would have a press conference on the west coast on Monday.

He will be talking about an inquiry that was made about the alleged disappearance of 1.2 million sockeye that came into the river but did not arrive at the spawning grounds. Nobody was supposed to be fishing them in between except by permit and a fixed number but the fish did not get to the spawning ground. We have been trying to rebuild the Stuart Lake run for 16 years and have made real progress. Those fish came into the mouth of the Fraser River but they did not get up to Stuart Lake. This is the minister who reassures us and says that everything is okay.

It is the same with the Law of the Sea Convention. We need not hurry. We can take our time. Let us keep trying to get agreement on mining the seabed.

We all know there are substantial resources there. Whether they are economic or not we do not know. We do not know how to share the proceeds or the costs. These are all issues with which we can deal after we have ratified the treaty. There is nothing so binding in it that it cannot be changed. There is nothing that cannot be

December 3, 1992

Private Members' Business

negotiated further and nothing that cannot be improved if we are confident that we are going to make improvements.

Let us get on with Canadian ratification of the Law of the Sea Convention because that will lead others to do it. I believe that with a Canadian lead we will get the 60 we need and then we will start saving some of the species we are in danger of losing on both the west and east coasts and the Arctic coast as well. Let us move forward.

Topic:   PRIVATE MEMBERS' BUSINESS
Subtopic:   INTERNATIONAL LAW OF THE SEA
Sub-subtopic:   RATIFICATION OF CONVENTION
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PC

Bruce Halliday

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Bruce Halliday (Oxford):

Mr. Speaker, I too would like to join this debate on the Law of the Sea and address it from the problem of overfishing on the high seas and the Canadian legal initiative that responds to this crisis.

This is a global problem that has a severe impact on fisheries subject to the jurisdiction of coastal states through the harvesting of both straddling and highly migratory stocks on the high seas.

Although the overfishing of straddling stocks on the high seas has caused particular concern to Canada, this cannot be dismissed as merely a local problem. It is world-wide. It affects groundfish stocks like hake in the southwest Atlantic on Argentina's Patagonian Shelf, the orange roughy stocks on the Challenger Plateau off New Zealand, the blue whiting and jack mackerel in the east central and southeast Pacific off Chile and Peru, and the pollock in the so-called donut hole in the central Bering Sea between Russia and the United States and the pollock in the so-called peanut hole in the centre of the Sea of Okhotsk off Russia's Pacific coast.

The problem of overfishing on the high seas is increasingly being recognized by the international community as an important environmental issue that threatens ecological disaster, both on the high seas and in waters subject to national jurisdiction.

For example, the 1987 report of the World Commission on Environment and Development warned of the threat to living marine resources posed by over-exploitation, pollution and land-based development.

More recently, in 1991, the heads of government of the United States, Great Britain, France, Germany, Japan, Italy and Canada met in London as the G-7, and at

Canada's insistence issued a declaration urging compliance with the regimes established by regional fisheries organizations through effective monitoring and enforcement measures.

In a report that was released in 1991 the Secretary-General of the United Nations underlined in eloquent terms the dimension of the problem of overfishing by distant water fishing fleets. I quote from that report:

The elaboration of the Law of the Sea regime for the rational management and conservation of high seas living resources is now firmly inscribed in the international agenda. While this may be in large part attributable to the large-scale drift-net fishing issue, it is to be emphasized that this issue is but one symptom of the larger problems confronting world fisheries, within national jurisdiction and beyond. Another symptom is the report of problems of overfishing by distant water fishing fleets in the proximity of EEZs.

Again, in a report issued last May, entitled World Fisheries Situation, the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization said:

Legal aspects of high seas fishing are not addressed comprehensively in the Law of the Sea Convention and where high seas fishing issues are concerned there is a general lack of clarity with respect to important matters such as enforcement of conservation and management measures. There is a pressing need for these issues to be considered further and conceptually developed so that a framework for international management of high seas fisheries might be agreed.

The United Nations General Assembly took up this issue for the first time in 1989 when, in response to the problem of overfishing in the northwest Atlantic outside Canada's 200-mile limit, it expressed concern regarding the use of fishing methods and practices on the high seas that could have an adverse impact on the conservation and management of the living resources of the marine environment.

The concern was elaborated on by the General Assembly in a resolution adopted in 1990.

Canada and like-minded countries built on these resolutions at the 1991 session of the General Assembly. As a result of these efforts the General Assembly adopted a resolution that:

(1) criticized fishing methods and practices, such as vessel reflagging and inadequate surveillance, control and enforcement, aimed at evading the regulation and control of high seas fishing;

December 3, 1992

(2) recognized that the measures now in place to conserve and manage the living resources of the high seas are not effective and that they do not adequately implement the provisions of the Law of the Sea Convention;

(3) called on states to prohibit fishing methods and practices which can have an adverse impact on the conservation and management of the living resources of the high seas, and to take the measures required to give full effect to the applicable provisions of the 1982 Law of the Sea Convention; and

(4) called on states to comply with the regimes established by regional fisheries organizations through effective monitoring and enforcement measures.

It is against this background of developing international concern with respect to problems caused by overfishing by distant water fleets that Canada launched its legal initiative to resolve the problem of overfishing on the high seas.

The Canadian initiative sought to develop specific principles and measures consistent with the Law of the Sea Convention with a view to giving full implementation to the provisions of that convention, strengthening regional organizations and ensuring the recognition of the special interest of coastal states with respect to straddling stocks.

This would provide an effective legal regime governing activities on the high seas.

The first steps in the elaboration of the principles and measures were taken at a conference held in St. John's, Newfoundland in September 1990. The conference recognized the need for such measures and agreed on a set of conclusions reflecting an increasingly shared view on how the rules of international law should be interpreted and applied.

This document was further developed at a meeting of Latin American states, New Zealand and Canada in May in Santiago, Chile. The document, dubbed "the Santiago paper", set the guidelines for participation by Canada and like-minded states at three major international conferences in the first half of 1992. The first was the International Conference on Responsible Fishing, held in Cancun, Mexico in May. The Minister of Fisheries and Oceans led that Canadian delegation.

Private Members' Business

At the urging of Canada and like-minded countries, the 66 participants at Cancun declared that:

(1) states should co-operate on bilateral, regional and multilateral levels to establish, reinforce and implement effective means and mechanisms to ensure responsible fishing on the high seas, in accordance with relevant provisions of the Law of the Sea Convention;

(2) the freedom of states to fish on the high seas must be balanced with the obligation to co-operate with other states to ensure conservation and rational management of living resources, in accordance with relevant provisions of the Law of the Sea Convention; and

(3) states should take effective action, consistent with international law, to deter reflagging of vessels as a means of avoiding compliance with applicable conservation and management rules for fishing activities on the high seas.

Also in May, the Organization of American States met and unanimously adopted a strong resolution on the protection of fisheries. The Secretary of State for External Affairs led that Canadian delegation. The resolution expressed alarm at the environmental degradation caused by overfishing on the high seas, particularly in the waters adjacent to the areas subject to the national jurisdiction of American states.

It also for the first time supported the convening, on an urgent basis, of an inter-governmental conference, under the auspices of the United Nations, following the Rio summit to deal with high seas fishing problems through the effective conservation and management of high seas fish stocks. The most important conference that took place in this period was the UN Conference on the Environment and Development convened in Rio de Janeiro at the head of government level at the beginning of June. The Prime Minister led the Canadian delegation and made the management of straddling stocks on the high seas a priority.

The conference adopted a number of measures of great importance to Canada. One could go on and list several of these but my time is running out. I should conclude by saying that Canada intends to work closely with like-minded states to ensure that the conference adopts rules to protect straddling and highly migratory stocks from being harmed by overfishing on the high seas.

December 3, 1992

Private Members' Business

The Minister of Fisheries and Oceans has already announced that representatives of like-minded states will be invited to meet in St. John's in January to review developments and co-ordinate strategy. We are determined to bring overfishing of straddling stocks off Canada's 200-mile zone to an end and to do so quickly.

Topic:   PRIVATE MEMBERS' BUSINESS
Subtopic:   INTERNATIONAL LAW OF THE SEA
Sub-subtopic:   RATIFICATION OF CONVENTION
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LIB

Beryl Gaffney

Liberal

Mrs. Beryl Gaffney (Nepean):

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to speak to the most important motion put forward by my colleague from Davenport. He has for a long time demonstrated his total commitment to the environment. I am sure he would join with me in expressing our disappointment upon hearing the news yesterday that the government in its economic statement had cut $172 million from its much touted green plan. That is the third cut for a total of 10 per cent in cuts since the plan was unveiled two years ago, further noting that less than one-third of the money the government promised for the green plan will probably not even get spent before the next election anyway.

I am here to speak to my colleague's motion which simply states:

That, in the opinion of this House, the government should, for the benefit of Canadian fisheries, urgently take the necessary steps to ratify the International Law of the Sea, and urge other nations to do so in order to reach the 60 signatories required for the Law of the Sea to come into force.

In 1982, after 15 years of global negotiations, Canada signed the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. This is quite a unique document of immense scope. It has been described as the constitution of the oceans which encompass over 70 per cent of our planet.

One expert has written that the convention goes further than most national constitutions or even the UN charter in the elaboration of rules, the development of regimes and the creation of institutions, guidelines and procedures. In short, the convention represents the indispensable legal framework for almost all future activities at sea.

The convention principles are the foundation of essentially every international coastal boundary dispute. Canada has greatly benefited both directly and indirectly in many ways from this convention. For example there is now a 12-mile territorial zone around our coast. The 200-mile limit gives Canada the right to declare sovereignty over 1.3 million square nautical miles off our coast.

Canada now has the right to regulate fisheries in the exclusive economic zone by deciding the total catch permitted. Article 66 of the convention protects Canada's salmon stocks. Articles 63 and 64 of the Law of the Sea convention address the issues of management and conservation of straddling stocks and migratory species.

The convention strengthens Canadian jurisdiction for the prevention of marine pollution and also special provisions for Arctic waters. The convention sets a precedent for international conventions by seeking to protect our environment and by promoting sustainable development of fisheries, fishery stocks and other marine resources. The convention also gives Canada control over fishing, oil and mineral exploration as a result of the convention.

Ratifying the convention would further enhance Canada's right to protect and conserve fish species. The Halifax Chronicle Herald has written that the convention has served the Atlantic provinces well. It would serve it even better if this government finally ratified the convention.

I think the most frustrating thing about this whole issue is that Canada signed the convention but has refused to take the second step and ratify it. Instead the government has chosen not to do so and in avoiding its responsibility is compromising Canada's international credibility.

The question that obviously arises is: why is the Conservative government afraid to ratify the Law of the Sea? The answer is hard for me to find. Ratification of this convention would certainly help Canada. It would ensure the high seas fisheries would follow ecologically sound practices, including the use of drift-net catching practices. We know what this has done off the coast of Newfoundland.

It would certainly strengthen the maintenance of ecological marine systems in the oceans. It would complete the protection of fish stocks within the 200-mile exclusive economic zone. It would furnish the signatories with a relevant mechanism to implement these laws at the earliest possible opportunity.

December 3, 1992

It would also provide impetus for the implementation of the recommendations of the Harris report which include: "The management of all fish stocks indigenous to the Canadian Continental Shelf and that extend beyond the 200-mile limit and the right of Canada to deny authorization for foreign fishing fleets to fish within its exclusive economic zone".

The benefits are numerous, yet this government continues to avoid ratifying the accord for reasons that are very difficult for me to understand. I understand that a number of international and Canadian mining corporate interests have lobbied this government not to ratify the convention until revisions are made to the seabed mining provisions. As my colleague from Davenport has said in this House: "There is a public interest at stake that is much broader and much deeper and much more consequential in the long term than that of the mining industry and that of the private sector. There is a public interest at stake here".

It is unfortunate that this government has been more concerned with addressing these remote concerns than with the concerns of the fishermen, the environment and the long-term viability of the communities affected.

The Convention on the Law of the Sea must be ratified; 53 countries have thus far ratified it. A total of 60 are needed in order for the convention to be put into effect. Canada should become one of those seven countries. This is a vital convention and we cannot afford to wait around for it any longer. We have been waiting long enough. This government should do the right thing and ratify the Law of the Sea.

Topic:   PRIVATE MEMBERS' BUSINESS
Subtopic:   INTERNATIONAL LAW OF THE SEA
Sub-subtopic:   RATIFICATION OF CONVENTION
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LIB

Christine Susan Stewart

Liberal

Mrs. Christine Stewart (Northumberland):

Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to have an opportunity to speak to my colleague's private member's motion which is asking the Canadian government to ratify the international Law of the Sea immediately. There has been an urgent need for ratification of this important international instrument for 10 years now. It is very worrisome to hear this government constantly speak the words, have the rhetoric, but not follow through with the action that is required.

I would like to take a few quotes from our Prime Minister's speech at the earth summit in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil in June of this year. He reterred to Canada and said:

Private Members' Business

We are the custodians of 20 per cent of the world's fresh water. And we are the guardians of the longest coastline in the world.

The international Law of the Sea would protect not only this longest coastline in the world. It would be in the interest of not only Canada to ratify this convention. There are many many other maritime nations in the world, third world nations I am thinking of in particular, that would derive great benefit from the ratification of the Law of the Sea.

As my colleague said just before me, we are pausing, wondering why it is that this government will not carry forward with immediate ratification. In my estimation there is no excuse for waiting to see if something better might come along that we might sign. It really does appear that our government has been far too influenced once again by national and international corporate interests that at the expense of the common good of all of us-and I think particularly of our thousands of unemployed fishermen in this country at the moment-would have their own interests in the mining of the seabed put first.

Our Prime Minister in Rio went on to say:

For Canada, sustainable development is not a slogan; it is a prerequisite of our prosperity and a safeguard of our identity. It is also the standard of our responsibility to humanity.

The fishermen on the east coast of this great country of Canada, the best country in the world, would wonder by this government not ratifying this convention now what its responsibility is to them as humanity. I once again remind the House that it is very important for a lot of other humanity in this world for which we should take some responsibility.

The Prime Minister went on to say:

Canada also supports the strengthening of international environmental law to prevent overfishing on the high seas. In Atlantic Canada overfishing beyond our 200-mile zone has created an ecological crisis. This is why for Canada a global agreement to prevent overfishing is quite simply crucial.

Those are the words of our Prime Minister. The Prime Minister has the power and the responsibility to ratify this international Law of the Sea and yet does not do so.

Just yesterday this government's Economic and Fiscal Statement opened with comments from our Minister of Finance to the effect that he wanted members of the opposition to have a full discussion of his statement. He wanted any suggestions possible to come from the

December 3, 1992

Adjournment Debate

opposition as to what we might do. We have just very recently suggested that the government take measures to close the loopholes whereby enormous amounts of revenue are slipping out of the Canadian government coffers, according to the Auditor General's report.

We on this side have been pressing for months for municipal infrastructure development projects to create jobs. It would not cost the government anything to ratify the convention on the Law of the Sea. It would be good for our fish stocks and our maritime communities that derive their living from the oceans. Because we have not had the international legal instrument to protect our fish stocks and our fishing industry in this country, thousands of direct jobs have been lost in the Atlantic provinces due to the deletion of the cod stocks, to say nothing of the thousands more of indirect job losses which are crippling our maritime regions.

I believe many other species are endangered that could be protected by ratification of the Law of the Sea. Important initiatives can be carried through.

Why is ratification important? I believe ratification is important because it puts into the hands of the global community an instrument which authorizes international monitoring and a reaction to illegal measures that are pursued by national or private interests.

The Secretary-General of the United Nations has put forward what is called an agenda for peace in which he talks about ways that we can bring about a better world with more peace and security for all. He suggests that one of the measures that must be looked at in that context is an improvement of our international court. We must have an international court that has increased international legitimacy and a mandate that must be strengthened.

Although at this moment we do not have an international court that has the full support we would want, I do not believe that is any excuse not to go forward with the ratification of this convention at this time. This convention would bring about many advantages to Canada, none the least would be that the Law of the Sea convention maintains Canada's right to complete sovereignty over our northwest passage, something that is very important to all Canadians.

Finally, the convention represents a precedent setting international convention which seeks to protect our environment and which promotes sustainable development of fisheries, fisheries stocks and other marine resources not only for Canada but for maritime nations around the world.

Topic:   PRIVATE MEMBERS' BUSINESS
Subtopic:   INTERNATIONAL LAW OF THE SEA
Sub-subtopic:   RATIFICATION OF CONVENTION
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PC

Steve Eugene Paproski (Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Progressive Conservative

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paproski):

The time provided for Private Members' Business has now expired. Pursuant to Standing Order 93, the order is dropped to the bottom of the list of the order of precedence on the Order Paper.

Topic:   PRIVATE MEMBERS' BUSINESS
Subtopic:   INTERNATIONAL LAW OF THE SEA
Sub-subtopic:   RATIFICATION OF CONVENTION
Permalink

PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION


A motion to adjourn the House under Standing Order 38 deemed to have been moved.


KEMANO PROJECT

NDP

Brian L. Gardiner

New Democratic Party

Mr. Brian L. Gardiner (Prince George -Bulkley Valley):

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to enter into a very brief debate tonight.

On November 27 I asked the Minister of the Environment a very important question on the controversial Alcan Kemano project in northern British Columbia in my riding. It related directly to a number of documents that have seen the light of day related to this project. They indicated that at the time this whole project was being reviewed by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, there was considerable controversy within the department. The department's own scientists then were questioning the senior staff within the department and indeed the political direction of the department to allow the project to proceed without a full environmental review.

Included in those documents, among other things, was one particular memorandum from a public employee that suggested he had been asked by his superiors to change his expert witness testimony at a time when this particular case was proceeding to court.

It has been very clear over the number of years that this issue has been discussed in public that there is a clear mood in northern British Columbia and, indeed, throughout the province to have a full public environmental review of this project, not to speak of all the excellent work of community groups in my riding in

December 3, 1992

communities like Fort Fraser, Fraser Lake, Vanderhoof, Prince George and other areas. I think there is an obligation on the part of the government to have a full review. The point in my question to the minister that day is that we have learned from the department's own freedom of information officer that there are some

83,000 pages of information on this project which the department refuses to release.

We have been advised by officials in the department in Ottawa that where the proponent, the Alcan Aluminum Company, has provided information to the government that the company has instructed the government not to release any of the documentation.

I say to the Government of Canada, why not release these documents. If the project is so good, why can it not stand on its own feet and have the public information available to people.

I also pursued the question with the minister at the same time, knowing that in British Columbia the new government there thankfully has taken a different approach on this issue. The Minister of the Environment of B.C. will be releasing all of the documents that the B.C. government has produced on this over time and we will get a chance to see the involvement of the Social Credit government of the day. The settlement agreement, as it is called, that governs the flow in this river was signed in secret in 1987. I called on the Minister of the Environment to approach the minister in British Columbia to have a full joint review of this project. Tonight I hope that the person responding from the government side will encourage the minister to do just that. Let us have a full public review of the Kemano project.

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   KEMANO PROJECT
Permalink
PC

Barry D. Moore (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Revenue)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Barry Moore (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of National Revenue):

Mr. Speaker, the government has acted responsibly in this review of the Kemano Completion Project. The 1987 settlement agreement reached between the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, British Columbia and Alcan provided fisheries protection through mitigation requirements for the Nechako River system, and furthermore removed the pristine Nanika River from further development by Alcan.

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans conducted considerable analysis of the potential impacts of the proposed Kemano Completion Project to determine

Adjournment Debate

protection requirements for fish and fish habitat and also undertook public consultation in 1984.

An out of court settlement agreement was reached with British Columbia and Alcan in 1987 after an independent review panel chaired by Dr. David Strangway, the then president of the University of British Columbia, advised that fisheries experts agreed that the potentially negative impacts on fisheries from the Kemano Completion Project could be mitigated.

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans applied the principles of its policy for the management of fish habitat, providing for no net loss of fish habitat and responsible resource management. The agreement formalized the release of flows to protect fisheries, and required Alcan to provide measures to mitigate the potential impacts on fish and fish habitat, thus securing longer term protection for the fish stocks.

In summary, the settlement agreement was entered into with extensive consideration for potential impacts on fisheries and the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans took the appropriate steps to ensure the necessary protection for fish and fish habitat.

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   KEMANO PROJECT
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SMALL BUSINESS

PC

Alan Redway

Progressive Conservative

Hon. Alan Redway (Don Valley East):

Mr. Speaker, tonight I want to introduce you to four small business people from Toronto. There is Jim Frangos, who is a fur coat manufacturer, Nick Piras who is a restaurateur, Will Molson and Susan Bellan, who are retailers.

What do they all have in common? They are all being forced out of business because they cannot get a bank loan. Jim Frangos, the fur coat manufacturer, has been in business for many years. He built up a good business. He has borrowed money from the banks over the years numerous times, and always paid his bills. Right now the banks will not lend him any money. He is in peril of losing his home and in peril of losing his business.

Fur coats, however, are actually selling again. It is interesting to note that right now Canadian furs are being shipped to Greece. They are manufacturing fur coats in Greece and shipping them back to Canada to sell here and elsewhere around the world. There are all sorts of fur coats being sold, but the banks will not lend a fur coat manufacturer in Canada any money to stay in business.

December 3, 1992

Adjournment Debate

Nick Piras, a restaurateur, has a fine high-class restaurant in Toronto. He has been in business for many years. He has built up a good business. He has borrowed money from the banks. Again, he has never missed a payment, but the banks will not lend him any money. I have a letter from his banker right here which states: "Dear Nick: This is to confirm that the bank is not prepared to provide additional financing for your business".

Will Molson and Susan Bellan, who are retailers, have been in business for 12 years now. They borrowed money in the past. They have never missed a payment and they cannot get a bank loan.

A few years ago it was an entirely different story. One could go into a bank and ask for a loan and they would say: "How much?" In fact, if one asked for a certain amount of money they would say: "Won't you take some more?" Not any more.

Mr. Speaker, as you know and I know, the story is entirely different. A small business person cannot get a bank loan. In fact, I have been told that the banks, all of them, want to clear off their books about 25 per cent of bank loans that are outstanding.

We know that the Minister of State for Small Businesses and the Minister of Finance are most sympathetic with this situation. They have been trying to help. In fact, in the February budget there were some things for small business in it. In the economic and fiscal statement yesterday there were some things for small business. The legislation to implement those things that were in the budget last February still has not been passed. In fact, we had a debate on second reading of a bill a few days ago. Still we do not have this legislation through.

The banks themselves are not being outstanding either. We know the Minister of State for Small Businesses has met with them numerous times and pleaded with them to do something. Yesterday the Minister of Finance in his statement stated: "I am serving notice to Canada's banks that I expect them to make a special effort to play a constructive role in ensuring the success ot this program". Those are great words, but there still is not any action.

Jim Frangos just cannot wait. Nick Piras cannot wait. Will Molson and Susan Bellan cannot wait and thousands of other small business people cannot wait.

I want to ask the minister tonight just what am I going to tell them.

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   SMALL BUSINESS
Permalink
PC

Barry D. Moore (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Revenue)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Barry Moore (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of National Revenue):

Mr. Speaker, I hope you will give me the chance to respond because there is much good news in the highlights of the Minister of Finance's economic statement given yesterday in the House.

A significant part of the statement by the Minister of Finance was devoted to small business and to new and improved ways of helping this very important sector of our Canadian economy. I would like to highlight a few of them.

The Small Businesses Foans Act program which assists small business in obtaining access to financing will be made even more effective by the increase in maximum loan size to $250,000. This higher limit will permit larger program loans for all eligible businesses, including firms investing in technology, to improve their competitiveness. A number of other improvements are being made to the program and these will be made public tomorrow when the Minister of State for Small Businesses and Tourism tables a bill to amend the act.

As indicated in the economic statement, the government is also working to broaden the implication of the program to include some forms of working capital loans. The Small Business Financing Program, aimed at helping financially troubled businesses lower their cost of debt, is being extended to December 31, 1994.

The revitalization of our manufacturing industry is of a high priority and this process will be helped by the introduction of an investment tax credit on the purchase of machinery and equipment. This two-year program will lower cost and promote investment in modernization and technology. Farge amounts of capital from Canadians in all walks of life are presently held in RRSPs and RRIFs. In order to direct some of these funds to investment in small businesses the rules for self-directed RRSPs and RRIFs are being simplified together with the reporting requirements of trustees of these types of plans. The simplified regulations should result in an increased flow of capital to small businesses which is what the hon. member is looking for.

December 3, 1992

The statement gives recognition to the importance of technology today by improving and simplifying R and D rules for small businesses. These will eliminate confusion and uncertainty among business persons and allow them to proceed with projects knowing that their expenditures do indeed qualify for tax credits and other benefits.

We will be mentioning in passing other initiatives in the economic statement designed to help small business continue in its vital role, improvements to the industrial research program, a reduction of the regulatory burden and a holiday from unemployment insurance premiums for new employees of small businesses.

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   SMALL BUSINESS
Permalink

WESTRAY COAL MINE

LIB

Russell Gregoire MacLellan

Liberal

Mr. Russell MacLellan (Cape Breton-The Sydneys):

Mr. Speaker, I am here concerning my question of May 22 of this year regarding the Westray mine.

I asked the Minister of State for Small Businesses and Tourism about the safety of this mine and all we got were vague generalities. I want to know, and the people of Nova Scotia and Canada want to know, about the role of the government, particularly his and that of the Prime Minister regarding the safety of this mine.

In his response to my supplementary: "What the Prime Minister was talking about is that this is over all an economic or business decision for the Government of Canada and not a safety decision; in fact, the Devco report of 1987 emphasized almost entirely nothing but business questions. That is what he was talking about".

The Devco report did relate to safety decisions. The government supposedly, with the statements of the Minister of State for Small Businesses and Tourism, had independent inquiries coming from experts on the safety of the Westray mine. The fact is that the Department of Energy, Mines and Resources was concerned with safety.

The problem is that nothing was acted upon regarding safety. In fact the minister of energy would not even answer a question in this House that was put to him on the question of safety.

Adjournment Debate

The fact of the matter is that we in Atlantic Canada are in a desperate economic situation but not desperate enough to forego the safety factors on job opportunities. The people of Pictou county are no exception. The people want to work. It is not a question, as my colleague from Cape Breton-East Richmond and I have stated, of Cape Bretoners feeling that Pictou county coal was going to be a competition. The question is the safety of people.

In fact in Cape Breton right now we have had a very serious problem with regard to flooding of the Lingan mine, to the extent that the Lingan mine has now been closed four months ahead of schedule. It has also put at risk the Lingan-Phalen mine which employs another 700 people and is the sole source right now of metallurgical coal that is blended with the higher sulphur coal that gives the Cape Breton Development Corporation coal its readily accessible markets.

The problem, of course, is if we lose the Lingan-Phalen mine, then Devco and industrial Cape Breton is in even more of a difficult situation.

The fact of the matter is management at Devco closed Lingan-Phalen until they could be absolutely sure there was not going to be any flooding. That will be closed for months and it will mean severe economic hardship. The fact is the safety of the people came first.

We want to know what safety factors were not considered by this government. We want to know what fell down, who fell down, in this regard. It is not a big question. We want some answers and the fact is we are not getting them. The most incredible thing relating to the inquiry set up by the province of Nova Scotia into this terrible disaster was that the wording of the inquiry was found to contravene the rights of the officers of the Curragh Resources to be able to get a fair hearing in a criminal action.

It is almost impossible to believe that the province of Nova Scotia, the Attorney General, the whole Department of the Attorney General, would not know how to word an inquiry so it would not run foul of that concern, particularly when it had the precedent from Ontario just a few years before. There is a lot of skulduggery here. We were not allowed to have this heard in the standing committee on industry. The families are agonizing over

December 3, 1992

Adjournment Debate

unanswered questions and I feel it is only fair that the government do more to provide those answers.

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   WESTRAY COAL MINE
Permalink
PC

Barry D. Moore (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Revenue)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Barry Moore (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of National Revenue):

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have the opportunity today to clear up the hon. member's confusion surrounding the reports of the independent mining consultants regarding the development of the Westray mine.

As the responsible minister said in this House on many occasions, reputable independent mining consultants were engaged by the lender to ensure that the mine was in compliance with provincial regulations. As guarantor of the loan to Westray, we reviewed these reports in order to ensure that the interests of the Canadian taxpayer were safeguarded.

According to the report submitted by Associated Mining Consultants Incorporated, at no time was the Westray mine not in full compliance with the regulations governing mining operations in the province of Nova Scotia.

The government has released thousands of pages of documentation relating to this file and has answered fully literally dozens of questions in the House in this regard. Given this fact, it is understandable that the hon. member might have misunderstood various responses to certain questions, but I can assure him that at no time did the government offer conflicting information as indicated by the hon. member in his question of May 22,

1992.

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   WESTRAY COAL MINE
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EMPLOYMENT EQUITY

December 3, 1992