May 28, 1993

GOVERNMENT ORDERS


the members for Kamloops, Okanagan-Shuswap, and Okanagan-Similkameen-Merritt. Our group of members recently concluded a series of public meetings on water issues throughout the interior of our province. We will be holding a meeting in Penticton shortly. There will be another opportunity for our constituents and the people of our province to come and express their views and concerns about water related issues.


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NDP

Brian L. Gardiner

New Democratic Party

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

That this House condemns the government for its failure to protect Canadian interests regarding the interbasin transfer of water as exemplified by the Kemano project, the North Thompson River, and both the Columbia River Tteaty and the North American free trade agreement.

He said: Madam Speaker, I am pleased and honoured to present this motion on a very important issue to the people of northern British Columbia and the entire country. It concerns what many would perhaps say is our life-blood. That is our water and in particular our rivers in northern British Columbia, in my constituency, the Nechako River, the North Thompson River and other river systems.

Before putting some comments on the record I would like to first thank my colleagues for their support in bringing this very important motion forward.

I want to comment today on the ongoing Kemano controversy in northern British Columbia. The arguments I intend to make today are of the complicity of this government in hiding information on this matter.

I want to thank my colleagues from what we call the caucus for interior British Columbia. They are members from the interior of B.C. who have concerns about issues outside the island and lower mainland of B.C. They are

There are two water diversion issues in my constituency that I would like to speak on today. One is in the western end of my riding and is known to this House as the Kemano controversy. The other is at the eastern end and is a developing project called the North Thompson diversion, which is currently being promoted by a gentleman named Mr. Clancy from the lower mainland of British Columbia.

I want to speak primarily on the concerns that I and the vast majority of my constituents and others in British Columbia have over the Kemano issue and its potential impact on the Nechako River.

I would like to give a brief history of the situation we have got into, to outline some of the concerns that people have in northern B.C. and to review what has been done to date but particularly to review what has not been done by this government.

The Kemano controversy is a megaproject in northern B.C. I will not go into all of the history on this. Much has been written and much more will be written about this particular project.

In short, a project in the late 1950s developed the community of Kitimat. The massive Nechako reservoir was created around Ootsa Lake for electrical power at Kemano which was transmitted to Kitimat for the production of aluminum. That project continued for some time as part of the arrangement that was signed between the then provincial government with the acquiescence of the then federal government.

There was always the prospect that the company would proceed with another part of its project, Kemano II. It is

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that debate and the current history on that project that I would like to focus my comments on today.

It is remarkable and revealing in this issue of just how we mismanage our water resources. If there is a list of projects that we should learn from as to how not to manage our resources, the Kemano project would be one, the W.A.C. Bennett dam would be another, and there have been a host of other projects across this country. If there is any lesson that we can learn at all, that is not the way to proceed when it comes to these kinds of projects.

In the current history there was the struggle by the federal government at the time to have the right to manage the Nechako River. In fact, the government of the day won that particular fight against the Alcan company. The company wanted to reduce the flows in that river so that it would have more water in its reservoir to pipe through to its hydroelectric generating plant.

It was revealing that after the federal government won an injunction it had the right on behalf of all Canadians to manage the affairs of that river and the company, a multinational corporation, decided to challenge that injunction. That set in motion a string of events we in northern B.C. are now paying the price for.

What we have learned from the few documents that have seen the light of day on this project is that as the federal government was preparing to defend the right to control and manage that river, a backroom deal was signed. This government arranged to settle out of court and in 1987 the Nechako settlement agreement was reached. It is that settlement agreement upon which much of the debate currently revolves.

Some of the concerns that existed prior to the settlement agreement and that exist to this day about the Nechako River are summed up well by a headline in the Prince George Citizen on June 1, 1990. An article about Kemano called "Inside a megaproject" said: "You will wonder where the water went".

That is what the people of northern British Columbia will be asking. They will be asking about the flows in the Nechako River. They will be asking about its impact on

migrating salmon. They will be asking about water intakes and outlets for some of the communities along that river. They will be asking about its impact on wildlife and they will be asking about its impact on agriculture and irrigation.

In other words, there are a host of concerns on this particular river alone. The people of northern B.C. have been calling for a full public review for a chance to present their views in an official forum and to hear and see the information that both governments and in particular the proponent, the Alcan aluminium company, have on this project.

What we have learned from documents that have been released is that this Government of Canada has already said through its access to information officers that it has some 83,000 pages of information on this project. Now it says it is only prepared to release a limited number of those documents to the public so that it can see what is happening on this project.

If this project can stand on its own two feet and if this government says that everything is okay then why does it refuse to release those documents?

From the evidence that has seen the light of day so far on this project we have learned why this government refuses to release information on this project. The memos and documents that I have obtained and have released to the public indicate on the one hand that at one point there was an effort to try to develop a federal-provincial review. However for some reason this did not happen, and I suggest that reason is in the filing cabinet of the current Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, the previous Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and the current Minister of Forestry. The reasons for hiding this information exist in their filing cabinets.

We have gathered further information from documents released from within the department. This one in particular is dated December 11, 1987 and is by a consultant who reviewed the information on this particular project. It is directed to the deputy minister for fisheries and oceans. It says: "I am worried about these words. They create the impression that the agreement has numerous negative implications". He would like to see that corrected. It continues: "It looks like an inquiry, the exact thing that this government has refused to conduct and refuses to participate in".

May 28, 1993

People in northern B.C. have called for the federal government and the former provincial government to conduct a full review of this project. It was an issue, and I have some scars from it.

In the 1984 election, which was the election prior to the Nechako settlement agreement of 1987, the government of the day, now the Official Opposition, could have told Canadians where it stood on this issue. Where does it stand? The Conservative Party was opposed to a public review. It was opposed to releasing information. It was opposed to providing funds to chambers of commerce, community groups and environmental groups to get to the bottom of this project before it went ahead.

Who supported the Conservatives? The Official Opposition, the Liberal Party, was opposed to a full public review and opposed to the release of information. The Liberals and Conservatives worked together at those all-candidate forums to deny the people of northern B.C. an opportunity to have the truth come out about this project. They are tied together in this. The complicity of the Liberals, the Conservatives and the Social Credit government of the day has denied the people of northern B.C. an opportunity to have a full say and full information on this particular project.

It has only been through the election of a new government in British Columbia that we are finally being given an opportunity to have some say in this project. That is being done by the announcement by the premier of British Columbia and the minister of the environment, the Hon. John Cashore, of a public review under the utilities commission to look into this project and its impact on the Nechako River. If the terms of reference are refined as I hope they are we will learn its possible impact on the Fraser River as well.

Some people were disappointed that the government did not feel it was able to use its legislative power to block the project entirely. Some of my constituents wished that the government had done that. I will tell you, Madam Speaker, about the kind of corporate blackmail we are dealing with on this project. Headlines from the Alcan aluminum company at limited shareholder meetings: "Alcan threatens to sue government" "Al-

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can threatens to sue if they don't get then way", a way paid for them by Socreds and Conservatives.

We now have a review. We are urging all people in northern B.C. to participate and present their views about this project. I presented my submission to the commission and outlined what I thought concerning its procedural matters and the issues it should take a look at.

I suggested full public meetings throughout northern B.C. and the communities of Bums Lake, Fraser Lake, Fort Fraser, Vanderhoof, Fort St. James, Prince George, as well as communities outside that area that are affected by this project.

I suggested that the utilities commission use its authority and its powers of subpoena if the federal government in particular was not willing voluntarily to provide all of the information on this project. The commission should use its subpoena powers and compel evidence and compel witnesses to attend those hearings.

We have only just learned from a letter dated April 30, 1993 from the Department of Justice to the utilities commission of the federal government's official view of its participation in this inquiry. It is the one that we expected, the limited release of information. This is revealing because it goes to the heart of this government's attempts to avoid dealing with the truth of this matter.

A paragraph in the letter suggests-and this is where it may all end up-that the government will not participate in even the limited release of information as a waiver by the federal government of its right to object to the authority of the commission to obtain disclosure of information or to subpoena past or present federal government employees in order to elicit information obtained by them in the course of their duties.

We know what that means. This government will use its clout to stop the ongoing attempts to get to the truth of this matter. It is all said here and as my colleague says it is a gag order. That is exactly what it is and that is what we face from this government.

We could go on for days talking about the concerns that the people of northern B.C. have about this project. We have enumerated them in election campaigns. We have enumerated them in committee meetings, in public

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meetings and in this Chamber as well. Still this government refuses to listen to the people of northern B.C.

I use this platform and this opportunity to encourage my constituents, the people of British Columbia to participate in that public inquiry.

I urge Alcan to participate in the inquiry. The day the provincial government announced this review Alcan condemned it. Shame on Alcan for that. But it did leave the door open for possible participation in the future.

Alcan owes it to the people of northern British Columbia for the millions and millions of dollars it has made from the people of British Columbia so far to date and the millions and millions of dollars it might make. It owes it to the people of northern B.C. to appear before that commission and to present its side of the argument.

Shame on it for not participating to date. It has the rights and the responsibilities of any other intervener to participate in that inquiry. I ask Alcan to tell the people of northern B.C. why it refuses to participate. I ask the Government of Canada to tell the people of northern B.C. why it refuses to release information and to become a full partner in the review of this project.

The evidence continues to mount about the concerns that people have all across this country now, the concerns of the Cheslatta, the concerns of the people of Fort Fraser who I think have earned the credit of northern B.C. for the work they have done on this project, for the people in Vanderhoof who have been struggling on this issue, for the Allied Rivers Commission in Prince George, and all the people who are taking petitions around and attending public meetings.

Even in these hallowed chambers we have headlines coming in now: "Parliamentary committee reports Ke-mano decision termed illegal." I know that we will hear more about this particular matter in the weeks to come.

It is because we take our concerns about our water, and in particular our rivers, seriously whether it is a goofy proposal by somebody in Vancouver to divert the North Thompson River into Kinbasket Lake and to sell

the water to the United States, or it is a cover-up by the federal government of an issue concerning the Nechako and the Kemano controversy. It is no wonder people are concerned. Water is our life-blood and it has been mismanaged and mistreated by this government and governments preceding it. The people of British Columbia ask. What is going on?

I will leave the last words to the people of Prince George-Bulkley Valley as to how they feel about this issue. I want to quote from a letter that the president of the Allied Rivers Commission sent to two of the leadership contenders in the Conservative Party's leadership race. It concerns the news this week of the illegality of the government's position on this matter. I quote:

As members of cabinet, I hold you both accountable for

deliberately undermining the integrity of our parliamentary

democracy.

Who was in the cabinet room when they made every effort to avoid sending this project to a full environmental review? We want to know. The people of northern B.C. want to know which cabinet ministers were there who are willing to allow a river to disappear.

Let me just read a couple of comments in the short time I have left from replies to the surveys I have conducted. From Fort Fraser, B.C.: "I would like Alcan to explain to the people of this province where the 30,000 to 40,000 jobs are that they promised to create after completion of the Kemano I project. Don't sell our river. Its value is much greater than we can imagine".

This from Fort Fraser again: "Alcan failed to build the 40,000 to 50,000 job industrial complex. They are not living up to the agreement". There is a rude comment about the president of Alcan.

I have hundreds and hundreds of these kinds of comments that the people of my constituency of northern B.C. and all of British Columbia are saying about our rivers, in particular the Nechako and the North Thompson Rivers.

I implore the government to join now with the province of B.C. to conduct a full joint review of this project. Release all of the information that is available and give our rivers a chance.

May 28, 1993

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NDP

Lyle Dean MacWilliam

New Democratic Party

Mr. Lyle Dean MacWilliam (Okanagan -Shuswap):

Madam Speaker, I congratulate my colleague and friend, the hon. member for Prince George-Bulkley Valley, in presenting a case that is a concern not only to his constituents but to all of British Columbia.

I would like to direct a question to my colleague. Some time back in this Chamber when I was speaking on water exports, one of the members on the government side said, as close as I can recall the phrase, that the Americans are not interested in Canadian water, there is no interest by the Americans to import Canadian waters either into California or other parts of the United States or down into Mexico. I said at the time that the member either had simply lost track 5f reality or was completely unaware of developments over the past couple of decades.

There is a proposal that is in the riding of my colleague, the hon. member for Prince George-Bulkley Valley, that is on the books now, a serious proposal with big money backing. That is a proposal to divert a portion of the flow of the North Thompson River at Valemount, British Columbia, to tunnel right through a mountain side and actually divert that water, one-third of the flow of the North Thompson River, into a large reservoir that is part of the Columbia River system at this point and then to divert that one million acre feet a year through the Columbia system, down into the California market.

I would like to ask the member what kind of impact the diversion of one-third of the flow of the North Thompson River would have on the salmon migration, the effect upon the entire flow of the Fraser River system and the imbalance of the whole watershed in the Thompson-Fraser system, what will be the environmental impact and whether or not this proposal is truly a serious proposal because there is some question whether these kinds of proposals can fly.

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NDP

Brian L. Gardiner

New Democratic Party

Mr. Gardiner:

Madam Speaker, I appreciate the member's question. He is very correct that there is a project currently being promoted in British Columbia to divert part of the North Thompson River into what is called Kinbasket Lake just south of the community of Vale-mount. Kinbasket Lake forms the top end, the northern end of the entire Columbia River Treaty system and the impact is shared not just in my constituency but also that of our colleague, the member for Kamloops. We have

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held a number of public meetings on this matter both in Valemount and recently in Kamloops.

For the seriousness of the proposal I suppose we can read some of the comments from the promoter. The promoter's name is Mr. Clancy who hails from the lower mainland of British Columbia where he has clearly obtained some funding from somebody to finance this proposal.

I will read a quote from the August 24, 1992 issue of Maclean's magazine. This kind of sums up the approach that Mr. Clancy and his company is taking. I am quoting Mr. Clancy: "If it does not happen the United States will come and take it", he said, "They've got to have water and it will be more valuable than oil".

I think that probably says it all. Mr. Clancy is currently writing construction unions across the province asking them to endorse his proposal. We thank the building trades union representative who got up at the interior MPs' meeting in Kamloops to say: "Just hold it a minute". The construction unions are not going to rush to Mr. Clancy's support in order to get the few shortterm jobs that would come from this project. We congratulate the trade union movement for their support of our cause on this matter.

The point the member is making about the cumulative effect of the impact of this project, of the Kemano controversy and its impact on the Nechako River, the cumulative effect on the Fraser River, which on the other hand we are trying to protect and bring back to good health, is a very good one.

On the one hand the federal government prides itself on its Fraser River action plan and, on the other hand, what is it doing with the Nechako and with the North Thompson? It is going to destroy the Fraser River as well.

The point was well made by a former fisheries and oceans scientist who is volunteering with the Cheslatta Indian band, saying it dramatically affected the rivers when the Alcan proposal went ahead. He talked about the cumulative effect on river systems that we might not always see. It is a project here, a project there. With the Tories it is a cover-up here and another cover-up over there. This will affect the flows in the Fraser River and it will obviously affect migrating salmon. That will happen

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on the Fraser, up the North Thompson and throughout the entire watershed.

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NDP

Daniel James Macdonnell Heap

New Democratic Party

Mr. Dan Heap (IVinity-Spadina):

Madam Speaker, the hon. member has given a very wide-ranging account of the damage that would be done by the Kemano project and of the unwillingness of the federal government to co-operate in the most elementary way by providing information. He has referred also to the situation of some of the bands of Canada's native people there.

I wonder if he could enlarge a little bit on what is likely to be the effect generally on the bands of native people and what has been their response in the matter.

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NDP

Brian L. Gardiner

New Democratic Party

Mr. Gardiner:

Madam Speaker, I appreciate the member's question.

A lot of information could be provided on this matter. Briefly, the people that I feel for the most, and I hope others do who have seen some of the videos and information on this, are the Cheslatta people whose graveyards were flooded and whose village was burned to the ground by Alcan and by the Department of Indian Affairs. It is a tragic black mark on the history of native people in northern B.C. They have been diligent in attempting to get the information out about this project, using every opportunity that they have.

The invention of the fax machine has been a great aid in telling the world about their concerns. The Cheslatta people have presented to the utilities commission review their interest in what that review should do. They have compiled vast amounts of information on this project, as have a number of the other bands throughout the area. The Carrier-Sekani Tribal Council was part of some of the legal action, which I did not have time to go into today in my speech, against this government in attempting to get a full environmental review.

The Carrier people and in particular the Cheslatta and the people in Stony Creek, Nautley, all throughout that area have been following this issue. It directly affects their lives. For the government of the day to not listen and to turn a blind eye to those people is reason enough to open up the books and files so we can get to the truth of this matter. This will go a long way to rectify what has turned out to be a very black day in the history of northern B.C.

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LIB

Marlene Catterall

Liberal

Mrs. Marlene Catterall (Ottawa West):

Madam Speaker, first let me express my appreciation to the Minister of State for the Environment for allowing me to speak ahead of her when it would normally be the government's prerogative to respond first. I do appreciate the courtesy, since it makes my life a little easier today.

I want to be a little less courteous to the member who has just spoken, however, and I do reserve the right to review the "blues" with respect to his comments earlier this week about the Liberal members of this Parliament, particularly in light of the specific statement of his colleague, the member for Skeena, on a matter that was not true. He said the Liberals were going to vote for NAFTA this week when he was in a position to know that was not the case.

Having had it proved to him this week I would like to have seen him pay the House the courtesy of withdrawing a wrong statement. However he has not done that.

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NDP

Brian L. Gardiner

New Democratic Party

Mr. Gardiner:

Madam Speaker, on a point of order I do not want to drag this point out but I made no such reference one way or the other about how the Liberals were voting on the North American free trade agreement.

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?

An hon. member:

Nobody knows their position. How could you guess it?

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NDP

Brian L. Gardiner

New Democratic Party

Mr. Gardiner:

My colleagues rightfully say they do not know their position.

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PC

Andrée Champagne (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Progressive Conservative

Madam Deputy Speaker:

Shall we all wait for the "blues" and see what was or was not said. If something needs to be brought back to the House we will do it then. Is that agreed?

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Some hon. members:

Agreed.

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LIB

Marlene Catterall

Liberal

Mrs. Catterall:

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to speak in support of this motion and to condemn this government's negligence, abuse and failure to preserve and protect our most precious resource, water.

Water is essential to life. Ninety-eight per cent of the human body is water. Without it we and every living species on earth die. Without water, crops do not grow, forests do not flourish, soils become arid, sick and useless.

May 28, 1993

Our economic as well as our physical health depend on water. Water is essential to processing goods, keeping manufacturing equipment operating and transporting the commerce of the nation, the continent and the world. However water is more than an economic good. Water is the life-blood of the planet and of all ecological systems.

An eminent scientist said:

A river is more than a stream flowing through a valley to the ocean. It is part of one integral unit which begins at the heights of the land surrounding it and often continues far out to sea. Water unifies everything in the watershed falling as rain or snow, carving the land, circulating through the soil, the vegetation and every living thing including man.

The cycle is completed by rivers of water funnelled back into the atmosphere through trees and other vegetation and by water flowing to the sea from which currents of air carry moisture back to the highlands to fall again as rain and snow. The cycle continues eternally.

As the last century of industrial misuse, abuse and waste of water begins to reveal the toll it has taken on this most precious of resources, the quest for water threatens the security of nations and the globe.

I want to refer to the words of a former minister of the environment for the province of Quebec. When briefing a group of parliamentarians, he said:

As oil, diamonds, minerals were the precious resources of this century and the last century, the precious resource of the next century will be water.

In that context I want to examine the government's stewardship of this most precious of resources. I want to start with the free trade agreement and concentrate on that and the Kemano project. I want to leave other elements of the motion to speakers who will follow me.

I want to take us all back to the summer of 1988 which was certainly in my lifetime and the lifetime of most of us in this Parliament the hottest, driest summer we had ever experienced.

The debate about the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement was also hot as the government tried to delay an election until it could force the deal through Parliament. Only the clear message from the Liberal majority in the Senate that it would not pass the free trade agreement without an election sent this government to the polls. It

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sent back a clear message that over 50 per cent of the Canadian voters did not support its position.

Water was the key element, perhaps because of the hot dry summer. Perhaps it was the rising concern of Canadians and people around the world for the devastation we were doing to our world that made them focus on what the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement states about water, and to conclude in large numbers that the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement endangered Canada's natural water systems and endangered, if it did not destroy completely, our ability to protect that which Canadians find so precious.

The diversion of water is not a simple little tinkering with a bit of the geography of the world. This country has gone further than any other country in the world in rearranging the aquatic landscape. We have more diversions than any other country in the world. We have more than the United States with its 260 million people, more than China and more than the former U.S.S.R.

It is no wonder Canadians were worried about what the free trade agreement would do to our ability to decide whether we would or would not continue to rearrange the map of the planet to suit our own needs and the economic demands of others.

The government has continued to maintain that water is not covered in the free trade agreement so I want to just put on the record a few arguments that say it is. These arguments were made about the free trade agreement in 1988 and they still hold with respect to the NAFTA in 1993.

I do not think Canadians need to be reminded of the disgraceful travesty of Parliament that has taken place this week with the ramming through of the North American free trade agreement with barely three days of debate. The government forced the opposition to defend the public interest by debating around the clock. Even then we only barely touched on the essential and crucial elements in that agreement in public debate.

I want to go straight to the NAFTA because the government was asked during the free trade agreement to try to protect our waters and it did not do that. It was

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asked again when it was negotiating NAFTA to try to protect our waters and it did not do that.

I want to go to tariff heading 2201 of the NAFTA which defines water and includes natural or artificial and mineral waters and aerated waters not containing added sugar or other sweetening matter nor flavoured; in other words natural water, ice and snow.

We can go to other sections but I will quote an opinion given to Mr. Don Gamble, the former executive director of the Rawson Academy by a lawyer who had advised the federal government in the water trade debate in 1988. He stated: "In conclusion it is my opinion that any water, other than sea water, would be classifiable under tariff item 2201 regardless of the quantity of water imported and regardless of its use".

The government has consistently argued that is not the case. It has attempted to put a proviso in the legislation as it did in 1988 with the free trade agreement saying that for greater certainty nothing in this act or the agreement except article 302 of the agreement applies to water.

However, one party to an agreement cannot unilaterally decide what the terms of that agreement mean. The government knows that perfectly well and so do the United States and Mexican governments.

We can quibble about one legal interpretation of the free trade agreement and NAFTA or another. The fact is that if the government was serious about exempting water from the free trade agreement it had the opportunity when it negotiated NAFTA to have its trading partners agree to include that in the agreement. If it believes that to be the case there would have been no problem having it included in the agreement. One has to be suspicious as to why it was not done.

One has to be even more suspicious as we now renegotiate around environmental issues with the new administration in the United States. Why is our government so anxious not to have a strong agreement on the environment, given the assurances it has given Canadians and the position it has tried to defend? Why with the negotiations reopened is it not including this issue which is of such great concern to Canadians in those negotiations and insisting on it in the agreement or in a parallel agreement?

Only a specific exclusion in NAFTA can truly give Canadians the assurance that they will not be forced and coerced under other terms of the agreement to divert water outside of this country to serve continental needs.

Lest anybody question whether water in rivers and lakes can be considered a good, let me draw the attention of Parliament and Canadians to Canada's participation at the international conference on water and the environment held in 1992. The conference noted that only by accepting that water is a tradable commodity like coal, oil and timber will sensible decisions be possible.

Canada, along with 99 other countries, adopted a statement from this international conference on water and the environment that has as its basic principle that water has an economic value in all its competing uses and should be recognized as an economic good. It is clearly subject to the terms and conditions of NAFTA including providing water to other countries even in times of shortage in Canada.

Our government in this case has perhaps most seriously jeopardized not only our control in this generation but the ability of future generations to determine how Canada's water will be used and whether we will continue the mass re-engineering of the continent that we have started with so many projects.

In the pitifully short debate that took place in the House this week, these issues could not be explored fully nor could they be in the couple of weeks allowed by the government for committee work. This is one of many serious issues that was irresponsibly not resolved. The government and the government alone is responsible for that.

I want to speak briefly about the Kemano project. My colleague from the NDP has spoken about the details of this project and its serious effects on aboriginal peoples, the salmon fishery, major rivers and a whole major river system. We simply cannot keep destroying ecological systems without knowing the impact on climate, soils, forests and the transmission of species that are harmful to the environment and yet this government has.

I want to briefly review a couple of points about the Kemano completion project. Plans to do the second phase of the Kemano project came forward in 1979. Alcan planned to totally and completely divert an entire

May 28, 1993

river. What was the response of the government of the day?

The Minister of Fisheries and Oceans in a Liberal government issued a ministerial order under the Fisheries Act requiring Alcan to increase water flows into the Nechako River to protect the fishery. Alcan refused to comply. The minister went to court and got an injunction and that injunction continued until October 1984.

In August 1984 before the 1984 general election the Liberal minister of fisheries, Romeo LeBlanc, responded to Alcan going to court against the injunction that had protected our fisheries and that river and said he would support a full public hearing into the Kemano completion project. What follows that is disgraceful.

Following the election of the Conservative government, in 1985 Alcan went to court to get rid of the injunction that the minister of fisheries had kept in place for over half a decade protecting the river.

This federal Tory government reached an agreement with Alcan to pave the way for the Kemano completion project. It was then challenged in court by environmental groups. Rather than responding to the environmental concerns by ordering an environmental assessment as it then had the authority to do, the federal government, knowing the environmental impacts of this project, specifically exempted Alcan from the Environmental Assessment Act and the requirement for a public environmental hearing.

It did more than that. It suppressed reports out of its own department. I was challenged by members on the other side when I said that in 1988 the government had suppressed information about the impacts of the free trade agreement and that it had reports from its own officials changed.

There is no doubt in this case that there are 83,000 pages of Department of Fisheries and Oceans documents relating to this project which have not been made publicly available so the public can see how this government is exercising its stewardship on behalf of our water.

I do not have a lot of time left but if we look at the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, there has been

very little process in protecting our Great Lakes which contain 20 per cent of the world's freshwater supply.

The same minister of fisheries who came to this tragic agreement with Alcan on the Kemano project is also the same later Minister of the Environment who exempted the Rafferty-Alameda Dam from the environmental assessment review process.

This government has consistently ignored decisions of the Supreme Court of Canada with regard to its environmental assessment responsibilities on the Oldman River Dam and the Rafferty-Alameda Dam. It has not yet responded to the report of its own environmental assessment review panel on the Oldman River Dam.

This country is fortunate enough to possess and control a disproportionate share of the world's geography and much of it is still in very good shape. That gives us an obligation, not only to our citizens and future generations of Canadians but to the world to protect that precious resource of which we have been given custody.

When it comes to water and the impacts of our preservation of water on all other natural systems this government has failed to do its duty. That is why we rise in support of this motion today.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY, S. O. 81-WATER
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PC

Andrée Champagne (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Progressive Conservative

Madam Deputy Speaker:

The hon. member's time has expired. It being eleven o'clock, we will now proceed to statements by members pursuant to Standing Order 31.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY, S. O. 81-WATER
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STATEMENTS PURSUANT TO S. O. 31

PC

Dorothy I. Dobbie (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of State (Indian Affairs and Northern Development); Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Consumer and Corporate Affairs; Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of State (Agriculture))

Progressive Conservative

Mrs. Dorothy Dobbie (Winnipeg South):

Madam Speaker, some of Canada's most productive citizens have emigrated from India. They occupy positions of honour and respect in Canada and many are leaders in our communities. They are doctors, scientists, merchants, stockbrokers, small business owners and university professors. They are law abiding citizens. They are home owners and taxpayers. They make a real contribution to our society.

Many of these exemplary citizens have friends and relatives who are among the 200 million citizens of India's middle class and some are among India's 17 million millionaires. Not surprisingly, from time to time these friends and relatives plan visits to Canada. Since tourism is now the world's number one industry and Canada likes to get its fair share of tourism dollars it is hard to understand the consistency with which our immigration officials refuse visitors' visas to citizens from India.

It is even harder to understand why these officials will not accept a Canadian citizen's-

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   STATEMENTS PURSUANT TO S. O. 31
Sub-subtopic:   IMMIGRATION
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PC

Andrée Champagne (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Progressive Conservative

Madam Deputy Speaker:

I am sorry, the member's time has expired.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   STATEMENTS PURSUANT TO S. O. 31
Sub-subtopic:   IMMIGRATION
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HEALTH CARE

May 28, 1993