June 14, 1993

?

Some hon. members:

No.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   NORTHUMBERLAND STRAIT CROSSING ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO ENACT
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PC

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

Progressive Conservative

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paproski):

All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.

June 14, 1993

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   NORTHUMBERLAND STRAIT CROSSING ACT
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?

Some hon. members:

Yea.

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PC

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

Progressive Conservative

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paproski):

All those opposed will please say nay.

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?

Some hon. members:

Nay.

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PC

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

Progressive Conservative

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paproski):

In my opinion the nays have it.

Motion No. 1 negatived.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
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PC

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

Progressive Conservative

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paproski):

Accordingly, Motions Nos. 4, 7, 18, 21, 57, 60 and 63 are also negatived on division.

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Subtopic:   NORTHUMBERLAND STRAIT CROSSING ACT
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LIB

Marlene Catterall

Liberal

Mrs. Marlene Catterall (Ottawa West) moved:

Motion No. 11

That Bill C-110 be amended in clause 4 by striking out line 15 at

page 2 and substituting the following therefor:

"Minister considers desirable, including terms and conditions to avoid or limit adverse environmental effects that may result from the implementation of the agreements".

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NDP

Steve Butland

New Democratic Party

Mr. Steve Butland (Sault Ste. Marie) moved:

Motion No. 12

That Bill C-110 be amended by deleting clause 4.

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LIB

Marlene Catterall

Liberal

Mrs. Catterall:

Mr. Speaker, in speaking only on Motion No. Ill want to make it clear that this motion comes forward at this time because stronger motions with respect to environmental protection moved by my colleagues in committee were ruled out of order.

The position of the Liberal Party on this fixed link has been quite clear for some time now. From the beginning we have said that we are in favour of the fixed link if it can be demonstrated that it can be accomplished without damage to the environment and the fisheries.

On this matter we have on record the statements of the Leader of the Opposition, who happens to be the member of Parliament for the riding in New Brunswick in which the bridge will end. This has also been the consistent position of the premier of New Brunswick and two premiers of Prince Edward Island.

We felt in committee that requiring amendments to the agreement to ensure the protection of the environment, which we have sought, was the appropriate way to go. However those amendments were ruled out of order. Therefore we put forward amendments to ensure that the minister does have the authority, if he chooses to use it, to include environmental conditions in all agreements

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signed with respect to the Prince Edward Island fixed link.

While this is only permissive legislation that only allows the minister, but does not compel the minister, to include environmental conditions in the agreement we trust that it will ensure that the issue of protection of the environment and protection of our resources will be something that the minister must take into consideration in signing these agreements, now that he has the authority to specifically include conditions.

I want to comment a bit on the process of this project. The federal government, as the courts have now told us, has done as it has on so many other projects and jeopardized this project by its lack of commitment to conduct a full and thorough environmental assessment prior to proceeding with the project. We had this whole issue back before the courts several months ago. The courts, as they have with numerous other projects such as the Oldman River dam and Rafferty-Alameda, told the government that it is disobeying the legislation of this Parliament by not carrying out a full and thorough environmental assessment process.

In this case, the court went the extra step and told the government that it was acting contrary to the Constitution. That failure is being corrected, hopefully in the next 48 hours, by the legislature in Prince Edward Island. However because of the way the government has handled this project from the beginning it is once again before the courts.

We know that the proper way to plan a project and build environmental protection into the project is to do it right at the beginning, not to try to get away with it and try not to do it and then have the courts say that we have to.

The government by its failure to obey the legislation of this Parliament to protect the environment has caused delays and extra costs. It is not going to get away with it. The courts have told the government that when it is not done right the first time it has got to go back and do it all over again.

The government may very well have left a mess for a Liberal government to clean up because this is back in court again. An injunction is being sought to stop the project from proceeding any further pending further environmental studies. We do not know whether or not that court process is going to succeed but we do know

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NDP

James Ross Fulton

New Democratic Party

Mr. Jim Fulton (Skeena):

Mr. Speaker, anyone who has followed this issue at all knows the position being taken by the Liberals on this issue is contemptuous of the intelligence of everyone in this country. They pretend that giving a minister powers to attach some conditions to a project is in some way a replacement for a full environmental assessment and review of a specific project.

The Liberals might think that everyone in Canada is stupid, but they are not. Some day soon the voters in Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick will reflect upon the fact the Liberals and Conservatives have joined forces to try to obfuscate and sleazily drag this project into being, without it ever meeting the basic constitutional, legal or environmental requirements of this country.

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?

An hon. member:

Sleazily. What a great adverb.

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NDP

James Ross Fulton

New Democratic Party

Mr. Fulton:

It is a good adverb. The Tories and Liberals often operate sleazily.

On Monday, February 8, 1993 this House heard from the member for Moncton speaking for the Liberals. I asked him a question. I quote from pages 15582 to 15591 of Hansard. I said: "Mr. Speaker, I would like to hear from the Liberal member from the area just exactly what the Liberal position is on environmental assessment. The member is aware that there has been no environmental assessment and review done on the bridge proposal contained in Bill C-110,"-the bill that is before us-"that the generic bridge proposal was turned down by the FEARO panel".

The hon. member answered as follows: "I stated the position of the Liberal Party very clearly and straightforwardly. We support this project. We want this project to go forward. We have supported this project over the years that it has been discussed-but we also want a full environmental assessment of this particular project and this particular bridge".

He did not say that was his personal position, or his leader's position, or Catherine Callbeck's position. He said it was the position of the Liberal Party.

This bill came back before the House last week on June 10, 1993. Beginning on page 20654 of Hansard there is a speech by the member for Hillsborough. He ends his remarks with the statement: "Let us proceed with this project. We feel that all of the necessary commitments have been met and it is time to go on and see it through to fruition".

There is no mention whatsoever of a full environmental assessment and review of the project. Let us deal again for a moment with what Madam Justice Barbara Reed ordered.

At some point Canadian taxpayers would like to know that at least the 295 members who occupy seats in this Chamber have some intention of following the law. What we are talking about and what we are doing today is a violation of Canada's Constitution and law. I for one stand in my place and say that means something.

The Liberals want to squeeze and sleaze their way and get a few extra votes out of a few seats in the maritimes. The Tories want to use the fixed link as a banner to wave around the maritimes saying they are going to do something big for all the voters out there. They are going to spend $1.47 billion building a bridge that has never been assessed.

They do not want to talk about that. They want to pretend that everything is above board. It is not. This Chamber is well on the road to acting in contempt of court. It bothers me and I think it should bother the Canadian public that this place has become so entirely out of touch that the law does not seem to matter.

It is like the person who has just become Canada's Prime Minister, the hon. member for Vancouver Centre. She said before her campaign began that she had smoked marijuana. When asked during the leadership campaign she said she had smoked marijuana but she did not break any law by doing it. Every dean of law in the country said

June 14, 1993

that was not true. If one smoked marijuana, one broke the law.

Five hundred and thirty thousand Canadians have a criminal record for smoking marijuana. They are all supposed to keep their criminal records. They cannot get bonded jobs. They cannot do anything but it is okay. A person can be the Prime Minister of Canada and break the law. Also, you can say that because you are who you are you did not break the law.

Canadians are getting really sick of this stuff. I am getting really sick of it. There is one law for the grand elevated elite who sit on the government side as prime minister or whatever. The law applies only to the great unwashed. It applies to those Canadians who have to pay the taxes and the piper.

Here is a chance for Parliament itself to do it right. This project from New Brunswick to Prince Edward Island has never been assessed. It is the law in Canada. The Liberals say they will attach some conditions. This is the same bunch of environmental thugs, SCI, who were involved from start to finish in the Oldman River dam in Alberta.

Twenty-four conditions were attached following the order of the highest court in Canada that there be an assessment. Has the SCI, the Minister of Transport or the Minister of the Environment ever lived up to one of those requirements? The number one recommendation was to tear down the dam. That is what the panel found.

It was neither environmentally nor economically sound. However the government said we have to go ahead. SCI, a foreign-owned corporation, is our friend. What about the other 23 recommendations? Will the Minister of Transport at least live up to one of them? He has had more than a year to live up to the other 23 and has not lived up to a single one. That is contempt of court and contempt of Parliament.

Does Parliament do anything? No. When are these people going to be put behind bars? Are we just going to carry on and become like the United States? The level of trust among American citizens for their own institutions is borne out by the number who vote. Less than one in two adults in the United States even bothers to turn out to vote because there is so much corruption in the

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legislatures in that country. It is fast dropping in this country. Canadians out there are sick to death of this kind of blatant obfuscation and contempt of Parliament, the laws of this country and the environment.

People ask why the cod stocks in Atlantic Canada have collapsed. I will tell you why. I have been here for 15 years. I have listened to Liberal and Conservative ministers of fisheries saying that the fisheries scientists do not know diddley squat. We are going to double and triple the catch. We are going to give more to Cuba, Spain and the Russians.

Now there is no more cod. We are giving hundreds of millions of dollars in welfare to Newfoundlanders who do not want welfare. They were proud and for centuries they went out and fished. However in order to be kind to National Sea and their friends in the corporate sector the Liberal and Conservative ministers of fisheries encouraged, legislated and regulated overfishing.

[DOT] (U35)

What about the lobster and the fishery in Northumberland Strait? Professional scientists have said this project is crazy. Young lobster fry float on the surface in Northumberland Strait. If the ice is late moving out because it is blocked by the piers of the bridge, the lobster fry will die or fewer numbers will survive. There will be ice scour on the ocean floor as a result of the piers on the bridge. Why were these four ice scientist experts brought in by the Minister of Public Works not put on to muddy up the refusal?

The environmental assessment and review panel said no to this bridge and yet Parliament is about to vote $1.47 billion, plus a right to tollgate. No one in the Maritimes has been told how much these tolls are going to be. Will it be $10 per person, $50 per person, $100 per car or $500 per truck? This is a right to blood suck for 35 years on the economy of the Maritimes of this country and I will not stand for it. At least I can tell the truth in here. It might not mean a damn but I am telling the people of Canada that what is being done here today is a contempt of Parliament and the laws of this country. It may well be found to be both illegal and unconstitutional in the days to come. That is what a committee of this House found about Alcan's Kemano project in my riding.

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The only project in the history of Canada to be exempted from environmental assessment is Alcan's Kemano II project. It was found illegal and unconstitutional by this Parliament. Has this government withdrawn its licence? No, and there is corruption at the very highest levels as well as pay offs and kickbacks but it does not seem to mean anything. There will not be a jot or a tittle on the radio or TV tonight about what is going on. This place hides behind a veil of secrecy as these kinds of deals are cut. The odour arising from this fixed link legislation is worse than methane, a greenhouse gas that I know we fear.

Let us take a look at what the Liberals are proposing here. The Liberals said they stood for a full environmental assessment review in February in this House and they have thrown that to the wind. We heard from the Liberals this morning that one of the principal reasons is that this bridge joins their leader's constituency with Prince Edward Island. How sweet and dear, while I am chastised in this House by Liberal members from the Maritimes who say I am from far away and only come to the Maritimes once in a while so I have no right to speak out against the project.

That is not how this place works. We are supposed to work collectively to try to do the best for the country and make sure that what is done is in the constitutional and legal framework that is best for the country. My Liberal friend's amendment is too little too late. It does not mean a damn and should be voted down for those reasons.

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PC

Robert Alfred Corbett

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Bob Corbett (Fundy-Royal):

Mr. Speaker, I have listened with a great deal of interest to what the member for Skeena has had to say in this House as well as the previous speaker.

I concur that the member has every right to speak out against any issue he chooses to. But I think it is terribly important that the member accept his responsibilities to fairly and accurately put before this House and the people of the nation what has gone on with reference to the proposals that are leading up to the development of this link. For a long time it has been shoved aside by this Parliament which has been dominated by others from other regions for whatever reasons but very few reasons have been environment concerns.

A tremendous amount of work has gone into the environmental review process with reference to the

project. The developers were called upon at the very beginning to submit an environmental impact study and this was done. That report was made public by the Department of Public Works and the public was asked for input into the entire issue. This document was finally scrutinized by a lot of people, including an independent committee of ice experts.

I think it is important that the people in this House as well as those who are concerned about this issue are aware that expert advice was received from numerous government agencies and departments, including the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and the Department of the Environment.

When it comes to environmental issues I want to remind the hon. member that this government has done more with reference to environmental protection of those sensitive areas of our country than any previous government in the history of the nation.

Witness the green plan, for example. What sorts of proposals have we heard from the NDP except scrap this, scrap that and do nothing? When we talk about putting the country back to work it says we have to do an environmental assessment review and hang the jobs, even when it comes down clearly on the side of the environment. Forget all about it and let the region drift off into the ocean.

It is time to get on with this project. This is a good solid project. Fishermen themselves who have every right to be concerned will be invited to sit on the board which will manage a $10 million trust fund that will be set up by the developer of the project.

We have studied this project from the beginning and now it is time to end it and get on with it. All the conclusions that have been developed and supported by the provincial governments of New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island say to move ahead and get on with it. If we want to stand up and fairly criticize the project, that is good enough. Let us live up to our responsibilities as members of Parliament and do that but make sure we deal with all the facts.

There are concerns about this project and rightly so. Those concerns have been fairly scrutinized and now it is time to get on with it. I say this government's record speaks for itself when it comes to environmental issues. It would not allow a project to move ahead if it felt there

June 14, 1993

was not good cause for concerns about environmental sensitivity to be set aside.

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NDP

Raymond John Skelly

New Democratic Party

Mr. Raymond Skelly (North Island -Powell River):

Mr. Speaker, I could not resist getting up on the heels of the statement by the previous member for Fundy-Royal in New Brunswick.

It is an amazing distortion of reality, whether we are dealing with the Oldman dam project, the Rafferty-Ala-meda or Kemano II. I would like to speak to Kemano II in British Columbia as a comparison when he says this government has done incredible works with the environmental issues and it would not consider creating damage in an area of environmental sensitivity. I wish he was going to stay here because his information is so incorrect.

The Kemano II completion project has lowered the flow of the Nechako River to 14 per cent of its original level and damaged the salmon stocks in that river; salmon stocks that would go on forever. This was not done through an environmental assessment or review process. This was done by the hon. member from Richmond when he was Minister of Fisheries and Oceans. He simply went behind closed doors with a proponent and signed off approval for this disgusting project that has cut the level of the Fraser River by three feet at Hell's Gate. This has created enormous damage to one of the strongest producers of salmon in the world.

It is one of the most destructive things that has been done environmentally by any government and it happens to have been done by the Conservative government. There should be no more of this absolute rubbish of standing up and saying the green plan and our environmental record stand for anything over there.

The Conservative government has probably the worst record in Canada in terms of environmental abuse and that is really saying something when we consider what has been done in the past by the Liberal Party.

The hon. member who has put the present amendment forward, as my colleague from Skeena characterizes it, supports too little, too late. It is kind of interesting. She justifies this project. One of its main reasons to recommend it is that the tail of the bridge is in the riding of her leader, the member for Beausejour. He is the former member from Quebec who did not have the guts to run in his own home province. He had to run in

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one of the strongest Liberal ridings in New Brunswick to guarantee that he might get back into this House of Commons. This is her rationale for why this bridge should be built.

She did go into many of the problems that brought this project before the courts such as the improper process that was used to assess it and review it environmentally. Again my colleague from Fundy-Royal says that there has been an enormous and tremendous evaluation. Certainly the courts have not adjudicated that way. Again my friend from Skeena characterizes this kind of behaviour where the House of Commons is now considering a government bill to approve it even though it has not gone through a process that is acceptable to the court in following the laws of Canada and following the Constitution.

It is ironic the rubbish that has been placed before this House by the Liberal speaker who has proposed this amendment. She says that the reason we should vote for this as members of the House is because the bridge goes into her leader's riding in Beausejour. This is absolute rubbish.

There are a couple of other points that are important. The previous speaker from Fundy-Royal says this will be a tremendous boost for the economy of Prince Edward Island. There is absolutely no evidence of that. The clear evidence is that if they remove the ferry then 600 jobs are going to be lost. They talk about 1,000 mythological jobs that may or may not arise on the Island but on the other side of the coin there have been as many good arguments that in fact business will go off the Island and there will be a job loss associated with it. The economic studies are inconclusive at best and certainly point to some concrete job losses as certainties. Those are the 600 jobs associated with the ferries.

My colleague from Skeena brought forward the issue of the toll provisions in the bill. We know what user-pay means to a Conservative. It is gouge and gouge again. There is the constitutional provision of providing a ferry and of assisting the province of Prince Edward Island because of the Island location and the terms of union. Certainly the user-pay approach is going to cost that province dearly. If the example pertains to where they

June 14, 1993

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have used the approach of fee for service in other areas of the economy, it is going to be very harmful.

It is interesting when one goes through Prince Edward Island to see the GST impact on the economy of that province. It has really devastated it. Tourism is way down. Unemployment is way up and the economy basically because of the Tory GST is way down. Wait until every single thing that is brought to Prince Edward Island to be sold or every tourist going there has an additional $10 or $20 toll across a toll bridge. This is going to have another negative, regressive and harmful effect on Prince Edward Island.

All things considered I think that my colleague from Skeena has done an admirable job in summarizing the real complaints that we have with the amendment before the House and indeed the bill that has been proposed by the government. He points out that in his opinion and in the opinion of many others, that bill is illegal.

We should not be dealing with this legislation until the concerns of the courts are met, until the environmental review and assessment process has been completed to the satisfaction and requirements of the law of this country so that we do not wind up back in the courts again.

The hon. member for Skeena points out that the Constitution and laws of Canada have been violated. I do not think this House can countenance that kind of thing and certainly we will be voting against this bill.

They speak of this as being an environmental disaster with the complicated environment around a 13-kilometre bridge. There will be enormous winds in the winter and scouring ice. There are definitely going to be major engineering problems with it.

There is the environmental problem of the effect on the fishery in the Northumberland Strait area. This is again something that is wide open and could easily be damaged. He talks about a $10 million environmental trust fund. My colleague from Skeena was speaking the other day on the oil pollution funds that were put forward by governments to protect against oil spills. It has been completely pillaged by the government in its scouring of funds put there for the purpose of protecting Canadians against oil spills and providing them with some financial assistance for the clean up. The government has stolen those moneys from that fund. It will

undoubtedly steal moneys from this pittance that is put into the environmental fund in Prince Edward Island.

We are looking at guaranteed job losses. Some 600 jobs associated with the ferry service are gone. There is the promise of a mythical 1,000 jobs that may be created. Believe me, if it is like any other Conservative promise then there are not going to be 1,000 jobs for those people in P.E.I. who are looking for this.

Again we have the other problem of the harsh government policies that the Conservative government has already inflicted on Newfoundland, not the least of which is the GST. They complain bitterly in that province that it has harmed tourism; that GST at 7 per cent cleans out the entire economy and is going to be coupled with who knows what. Will it be a $10 toll or a $20 toll to drive a car across or to drive freight across, so that anything going in or out of that province is going to be taxed again?

The economic benefits that are preached by this government are certainly serious problems.

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Subtopic:   NORTHUMBERLAND STRAIT CROSSING ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO ENACT
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?

An hon. member:

Time, time.

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Subtopic:   NORTHUMBERLAND STRAIT CROSSING ACT
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NDP

Raymond John Skelly

New Democratic Party

Mr. Skelly (North Island -Powell River)):

Time? We have just started. There is just a minute left, Mr. Speaker? Okay, we will get to the salient points.

My colleagues and I have heard many, many arguments made in this House that were cogent and intelligent. However, there is the argument by the proponent of this particular motion to vote for this bill because its origin starts in the riding of her leader, the member for Beausejour, who does not have enough guts to go back and run in his own native province because he will not be re-elected.

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LIB

David Charles Dingwall

Liberal

Mr. David Dingwall (Cape Breton -East Richmond):

Mr. Speaker, I want to begin my remarks by saying to my friends in the New Democratic Party that unfortunately I will not be here tomorrow to participate in third reading debate as there has been a death in my family. In the few minutes that I have I want to put some statements on the record.

I know of the disdain that the New Democratic Party has for those of us who live in Atlantic Canada.

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NDP

James Ross Fulton

New Democratic Party

Mr. Jim Fulton (Skeena):

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I want to say that the point the member just made is absolutely and totally false.

June 14. 1993

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PC

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

Progressive Conservative

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paproski):

That is not a point of order.

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June 14, 1993