June 15, 1993

?

Some hon. members:

Agreed.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Permalink

Motion agreed to.


PC

Charles A. Langlois (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence; Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Langlois:

I also move:

Government Orders

That, with regard to Bill C-128, an act to amend the Criminal Code

and the Customs Tariff (child pornography and corrupting morals)

and notwithstanding any Standing Order; immediately following the

disposal of Bill C-110,

1. Bill C-128 shall be deemed to have been concurred in at the report stage and ordered for consideration at the third reading stage immediately;

2. The House shall not adjourn this day until the third reading stage of the said bill has been disposed of.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Permalink
PC

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

Progressive Conservative

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paproski):

Members have heard the terms of the motion. Is it agreed?

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Permalink
?

Some hon. members:

Agreed.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Permalink

Motion agreed to.


MESSAGE FROM THE SENATE

PC

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

Progressive Conservative

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paproski):

I have the honour

to inform the House that a message has been received from the Senate informing this House that the Senate has passed the following bill: Bill S-20, an act to change the name of the Canadian Medical Association, to which the concurrence of this House is desired.

Pursuant to Standing Order 135(2), the bill is deemed to have been read the first time and ordered for second reading at the next sitting of the House.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   MESSAGE FROM THE SENATE
Permalink

NORTHUMBERLAND STRAIT CROSSING ACT


The House resumed consideration of the motion of Mr. MacKay that Bill C-110, an act respecting the Northumberland Strait Crossing, be read the third time and passed.


LIB

George Saunders Rideout

Liberal

Mr. George S. Rideout (Moncton):

Mr. Speaker, I have waited all day for this. It is a pleasure to be part of the concluding speakers on this debate. We have heard a lot of discussion, a lot of very interesting comments and a lot of theories about things. Maybe in the moments I have available to me we can deal with some of the facts.

There is a constitutional requirement to connect Prince Edward Island to the rest of Canada. It is only the methodology that is at issue. What we are talking about is whether we want to maintain the ferry service or build the bridge.

What everybody forgets in that whole process is that if we say we are going to keep the ferry service going then

we are going to continue to pay a subsidy for that ferry service of $42 million a year in today's dollars and we are going to spend $500 million or more on new ferries over the next 35 years. So we are talking equivalent dollars with respect to the subsidy every year and the capital costs range anywhere from $800 million to $850 million for the bridge, or $500 million to $600 million for the ferries. We are talking about comparable expenses.

We are not talking about comparable convenience for the people who want to get to the island to see Anne of Green Gables; visit all the tourist attractions that exist on the Island or leave for very short periods of time before returning to the island. They will not have to face the inconvenience of staying in line for three or four hours waiting for the ferry to take them across. They will be able to go across on the bridge and do what they wish to do on the Island.

I have read some of the books talking about island history. I have read all the rest of the plays and Anne of Green Gables but they never mention the ferry. They talk about the island, what is there and what is being offered. That is not going to be altered by the bridge. It is a bridge to the island. It is fulfilling the constitutional linkage which all have agreed to. It is just trying to take the transportation network up to modem standards.

I have listened to some of the talk indicating we have not fulfilled the environmental concerns. We have heard about the judgment that says everything is wrong. It goes on and on and on. But again let us look at the facts. The court said there had to be a generic environmental study. While it may have solved all the problems it was necessary to take the specific bridge, have it analysed to a degree and get public input. That process was done. The list of public hearings over the last number of days and weeks extends to a great length. The hearings were done.

The judge said the government had to take a look at the different constitutional requirements as well as sections 12 and 13 of the legislation which deal with the environment. Section 12 requires that every initiating department shall screen or access each proposal for which it has the decision-making authority to determine if the potentially adverse environmental effects that may be caused by the proposal are insignificant or mitigable, and that has been done.

June 15, 1993

The minister, under the legislation which the NDP says prohibits this project, specifically provides a methodology to have the project approved and that was done. The approval has been given. Environmentally the government has met the test.

I can remember the debate we had when it was going to committee. We wanted to satisfy ourselves about three things: (1) Environmentally does it stand the test? (2) Will the fishermen be looked after during the construction? (3) Will the workers who worked for Marine Atlantic be looked after? (4) From my vantage point, I want a commitment that the government would ensure that Marine Atlantic headquarters would stay in Moncton. All four concerns have been met.

There are conditions in the agreement to preserve Marine Atlantic in Moncton. The environmental assessment on the generic bridge has been done. Section 12 assessments have been done. The public hearings have been done. There is a pot of money to look after the fishermen while the construction is ongoing. There is a pot of money to look after the workers who are displaced by this project. Everything has been done. But any time we want to pursue a project that will have some benefit to Atlantic Canada, somebody from the west coast or somewhere else says we should not go ahead with it.

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

Ronald MacDonald

Liberal

Mr. MacDonald (Dartmouth):

They are usually New Democrats.

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

George Saunders Rideout

Liberal

Mr. Rideout:

The member for Dartmouth reminds me they are usually New Democrats. Exactly.

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

Joseph Blair (Joe) McGuire

Liberal

Mr. McGuire:

Hibernia.

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

George Saunders Rideout

Liberal

Mr. Rideout:

Hibernia is another example. When they hear about these projects that are going to be beneficial to Atlantic Canada they say if Prince Edward Island gets a bridge they want one in their riding too. They should get their constitutional facts correct.

We want to see a project that is going to benefit Prince Edward Island, establish a modem transportation link with Prince Edward Island and benefit the Islanders as well as other Atlantic Canadians who will be working on this particular project. The benefits will flow to the island. I think it is about time we did a project in Atlantic Canada rather than have all the negative talk all the

Government Orders

time. I say this in all candour. I am not trying to throw any large stones at my friends in the NDP because some of them have been very reasonable on this project, but some have not. I think they do a disservice to the environmental movement because they should not use the environment to block every project. There are projects that can be done and environmentally sound projects can be done.

Very simply put, all that we are looking at here is a bridge. We have been building bridges for thousands of years. There is nothing unique about this particular project. We have had scientists tell us about the ice in the straits. We have had environmentalists tell us about all of the impacts that are going to take place. From an environmental standard, the bridge is probably the safest method of construction.

I should confess that when I first looked at this project I thought the tunnel would be the thing to do. I thought environmentally that would be the best way to proceed. There were two opposing reasons. One was that environmentally it was not the best way to proceed, contrary to popular opinion. The other was that the cost would escalate to almost twice the amount because a tunnel requires that everything be done doubly.

The simple fact of the matter is that we have to get over this idea of a megaproject. Granted it is a megaproject in dollars, but it is nothing unique. It is a bridge. We build them all the time. The people in Hull would like to have a couple more so they could get over to Ottawa more quickly every morning rather than being tied up in traffic. We have to get over the ideas that it is something unique or a megaproject.

All we are doing is equating the cost of a ferry service to the cost of a bridge and doing something that is going to benefit people. Let us get on with it. Atlantic Canadians have been hearing this story for a long time. It is time to get to work rather than to talk.

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

Joseph Blair (Joe) McGuire

Liberal

Mr. Joe McGuire (Egmont):

Mr. Speaker, on February 8 of this year-I remember it was February 8 because it was my wife's birthday and I forgot all about it-I led off the second reading debate for my party on Bill C-110. This bill will enable the government to sign a contract

Government Orders

with a private company to build a fixed link to Prince Edward Island.

Today, June 15, I will be the concluding speaker on third reading for the same bill. I am very happy with the way the whole debate has turned out. For a while I did not think this bill would ever come into the House of Commons. We had second reading on February 8 and today, in the last days of this Parliament, this bill is back in the House of Commons for its final reading.

I would like to compliment the people in my party from Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, I should say from all the Atlantic provinces and from Ontario, both francophone and anglophone, who represent various ridings across this great country of ours.

Those members took a lot of time not only to come to the House and speak on behalf of this project between Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick, but also to do a lot of research. It was evident from the content that their speeches were not taken lightly. They did much research and worked hard to put together their remarks to represent their constituents' feelings toward this particular project between Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick. I thank them all for that.

I would also like to compliment the member for Sault Ste. Marie who has led the debate for the New Democratic Party. His remarks have been exemplary not only here in the House but also in committee. He has been fair. He is doing what he is charged to do as an opposition member.

His party obviously took the position that this bill was not a good bill. However, that does not detract from his ability and his right to stand up in this House and criticize this particular bill or to try to improve it in committee and at third reading. That is what his party has attempted to do. I know some members of his party went a little overboard in their remarks and there was reaction to that which happens quite often in this House. This is not a gentle debating society most days.

The hon. member has said that he has never been to Prince Edward Island. I would like to invite him down to P.E.I. to show him our beautiful province.

He also represents a riding with a fixed link between the two Sault Ste. Maries. He said that when he was a young man he used to ride the ferries back and forth. Maybe that is why he feels so strongly about Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick losing their ferry system.

I would like to ask a question. Where are the ferries today? Why are they not there? The answer is obvious. It was an inadequate transportation system between his part of Ontario and the United States for the free movement of goods and services and people across the border. That is why the ferries are not there. It no longer made any sense to keep them running.

That is the same position we are in today. It no longer makes economic sense. As England has found out, today it no longer makes any sense to be apart from the rest of the world or even the rest of the country. We have links and bridges between Canada and the United States yet some people think it is wrong that we should have a link between the provinces in our own country.

I would ask the member to think about that and to come down before too long and pay us a visit. We will have some good lobsters. We might go for a ferry ride and jig some cod, if there is any left down there.

I also commend the Minister of Public Works who has done a lot of work on this particular project. Over the years he has been a good representative for the mari-times. Prince Edward Islanders relied on him quite a bit because we do not have a member on the government side, especially during the time of the closure of CFB. Over the years we relied on the hon. member for Central Nova to go to bat for us. He has been good for Prince Edward Island. He has been good for his own province and good for the maritimes.

A week ago last Monday he had to visit Prince Edward Island to unjam or break a deadlock between some of our civil servants and bureaucrats who basically were asking the province to pay a very high price in order for the government to continue with this link.

It was a visit from the minister, taking his prerogative as an elected member, as a cabinet minister and as a decision maker in this country. It shows that politicians and ministers can still make decisions. He visited our province and within a short number of hours we had the

June 15, 1993

agreement between Canada and P.E.I. about the constitutional amendment which the province of Prince Edward Island will be passing today.

I assure all members that the constitutional amendment will be passed because we have 31 Liberal members in that legislature. Even the Leader of the Opposition is in favour of this bridge, so I do not think that the judge who may be ruling today need worry that the constitutional amendment is not going to pass.

Let us go back to why members on this side and members of the government are supporting this bridge. We live in a democracy and the people have spoken not once but three times on this particular project. First there was a referendum. Many members mentioned today how the referendum was won on the yes side and how support for the link was increasing in P.E.I. if we go by the polls which effectively are snapshots.

Also, we had a provincial election in 1989, after the referendum was taken. The government, the party that was supporting the fixed link in Prince Edward Island, was returned with 30 seats out of 32. There was another election this year. The provincial party that was supporting the fixed link and supporting this particular project was returned with a majority of 31 to 1.

If we are listening to the people at all, in neither of these elections was this a particularly big issue. If it was a big issue or concern we would have heard about it during the campaigns and there would have been a major fight against it. That did not materialize at all.

It is my view and I think the view of the majority of the members in this House that the people of Prince Edward Island have overwhelmingly supported this particular initiative on three occasions. What we are doing today really follows the dictates of the majority of the people of Prince Edward Island.

I would like to compliment the member for Cariboo- Chilcotin who was the government leader at the committee stage of this bill. He made sure all parties co-operated as far as witnesses were concerned at committee stage.

Government Orders

Whether they were for or against the link, anyone who wanted to come to the committee was allowed to. Whether they were the Friends of the Island or the Island for a Better Tomorrow, whether it was the fishermen's association, the fishermen's union in New Brunswick, the ferry workers' union, whether they were representatives of business or labour in P.E.I., all were welcome. Even people who were looking for a free ferry service were allowed to come in, say their piece and submit their position to questions. Some of them did not. Some of them used up all their time with presentations but that was their choice. They were allowed to come in and all parties were heard in the Parliament of Canada at committee stage.

I would like to compliment the hon. member for his open-mindedness and his co-operation in that particular part of this legislation.

I do not think there is anything new to say about this bill. We have gone through all the necessary debate on this. After the vote today it will go to the Senate. I encourage the senators to expedite this legislation so work can begin this summer. This is not a guarantee the project is going to go. It is just another step, but a most important one. We still have a way to go after today before the contract is signed and the project begins.

I make the prediction that what will be happening in Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick is not just a fulfilment of a constitutional commitment made 120 years ago, but this project will become a wonder of the modern world. People will come from all over the world to view this particular project. As the member for Labrador says, the concept will be used many times in the future on major projects. The financing part of it is a unique contribution to a project which will be built in a unique way.

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

Steve Butland

New Democratic Party

Mr. Steve Butland (Sault Ste. Marie):

Mr. Speaker, just when you think everything has been said I thought of one more thing. However, the member for Egmont will still get the last word which is only appropriate.

I have a very brief comment. I think it was John Donne who said that no man is an island. I have to make that politically correct and say that no person is an island. However, it has just dawned on me: When is no island an island? When a bridge is built, it is no longer an island.

June 15, 1993

Government Orders

The member equated the international bridge between Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario and Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan to this particular link. He knows that is totally erroneous. My neighbouring colleague from Algoma asked how the member for Sault Ste. Marie could be against this link when he wants a little link in his own constituency rebuilt. It is a lock. It is a $12 million to $13 million project. He asked how it was possible to vote against this link and at the same time look for funds from the government to repair that lock. Both analogies are absolutely erroneous and I know the member will agree with me when he stands.

Various polls have been taken. We probably have to accept the fact that the plebiscite or whatever it was called several years ago was 65-35. I understand that another poll has been taken and it is still predominantly in favour. I wonder whether the members from P.E.I. have asked the young people because they have most at stake in this.

I just came across a letter written by liana Kunclius, president of Students for Environmental Action in Bluefield High School. She is talking about the analysis being rushed. "We feel that for Public Works Canada to continue this megaproject without the suggested and crucial environmental studies is irresponsible". This comes from a young person and I am just wondering in all sincerity, what is the feeling of the young people of P.E.I. about this project?

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

Joseph Blair (Joe) McGuire

Liberal

Mr. McGuire:

Mr. Speaker, I do not think anybody has asked the young people directly how they feel about the project but many of the parents of these young people have certainly been asked.

I have a letter addressed to many people on Parliament Hill from the P.E.I. Council of Labour. I would think they are the parents of many of the young people of P.E.I. There are 2,000 letters in my office which I am going to give to the minister. They are business people and supporters but who are also parents of the children of P.E.I.

I would like to quote from a letter: "The Prince Edward Island Council of the Canadian Federation of Labour was the first provincial organization to officially endorse this project through convention resolution back in 1986". That was two years before anything concrete

happened. "Since that time we have reconfirmed our position at each subsequent convention. Today we are closer to the reality of this project proceeding than ever before. However there are still a few hurdles". That was in reference to the court case.

Major labour organizations, the major business community in Prince Edward Island and ordinary citizens have flooded us with letters for the past month and a half, ever since the court case came down. They urge not just opposition members but government members to hold firm, to continue to work closely to address the concerns of Madam Justice Reed. That has been done. Yet no matter what happens, we address all the legalities of it and the environmental concerns and what does the NDP come up with? Have we asked the kids in P.E.I. how they feel.

The time has come to stop asking who is for or against it and to proceed with the building of this project.

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

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

Progressive Conservative

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paproski):

It is my duty, pursuant to Standing Order 38, to inform the House that the questions to be raised tonight at the time of adjournment are as follows: the hon. member for Moncton- Christine Lamont and David Spencer; the hon. member for Saanich-Gulf Islands-The Environment; the hon. member for Bonavista-Trinity-Conception-National Defence; the hon. member for Notre-Dame-de-Grace-Immigration; the hon. member for Prince Albert-Churchill River-Indian Affairs.

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

An hon. member:

A short question.

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

June 15, 1993