June 15, 1993

PC

Bernard Valcourt (Minister of Employment and Immigration)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Valcourt:

Yes, so they can live with their families and watch their children grow up with dignity.

That is exactly what this will help do for the economic problems we have in the Atlantic region. The other day, they were the first to be offended and make a big scene when a government member said that there was terrible poverty in the Atlantic region. I think that poverty is no worse there than in many other regions of the country, although we do have problems.

When we want to stimulate economic growth for the social benefits it provides, those people are opposed for what I would call partisan motives. We must not hide it, everyone knows that that party sees what is going on in Queen's Park with their provincial cousins in Ontario and that bothers them quite a bit. It is better, in their view, to object to a major investment project that will create thousands of jobs, directly and indirectly, in the maritimes and seem to be defending the ferry workers. We are not doing this because we want to make trouble for workers who earn their living on the ferries. That is not the purpose. Those people will be helped and assisted.

We must look at the whole picture and all the maritime provinces will benefit from this. Every day throughout the country, speeches are made on the importance of the free movement of goods, capital and people. Here we want to encourage the free movement of goods and people with a fixed link between Prince Edward Island and the rest of Canada, but some people oppose it.

Fortunately, there are economic, social and even cultural arguments, and I think that the fixed link in itself will enable many Canadians and foreigners who come to visit us to discover much more easily this gem, Prince Edward Island. Not only Islanders will benefit from this fixed link but many mainlanders will now be able to discover our relatives on the island and see for themselves what makes the Islanders a special people.

Mr. Ghiz, the former premier of Prince Edward Island who is now retired, nevertheless attended the committee meetings to reiterate the importance of this project for the island's economy. I have a lot of respect for Mr. Ghiz; I believe that during his term on Prince Edward Island, he did a lot for his people. He said: "It is for the good of Prince Edward Island, for the good of the region and for the good of Canada". Despite what some would have us believe or what we would tend to think from what they say, the people of Prince Edward Island are Canadians first; they are people from the Atlantic region who want to be proud participants in our country's success.

With reference to the issue of cost, just the cost of doing business will be lower. The P.E.I. trucking industry alone will have annual savings of about $10 million once the bridge opens. There will be no more hours wasted in a line-up waiting for the ferry. The truckers will simply take a 15-minute drive across the bridge.

I am sure the long wait for the ferry has discouraged many tourists from even visiting P.E.I. With the bridge, tourism on the island will surely increase. Even the bridge itself, which will be one of the longest in the world, will be a tourist attraction.

Clearly the economic arguments in favour of this project are convincing. This project will bring direct and indirect, long and short-term benefits to a region of our country that is reaching out for opportunities to revive its economy. Future generations of Atlantic Canadians will be thankful to those who had the foresight to pave the way for such a great undertaking.

I am glad to see our colleagues on the other side of the House in the Liberal Party are supporting this initiative. Notwithstanding their commitment to sustainable development they know we can have economic development

June 15, 1993

in a sustainable way. I think this bridge will be proof it is possible.

For all of these reasons I will be pleased later today to stand up proudly as an Atlantic Canadian, as a New Brunswicker, as the member of Parliament for Madawas-ka-Victoria, to vote in favour of the bill.

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

Ronald MacDonald

Liberal

Mr. Ron MacDonald (Dartmouth):

Mr. Speaker, it is a real pleasure for me to rise today to debate this particular issue at third reading. I would like to do something very unusual and commend my colleague opposite, the Minister of Employment and Immigration, who just spoke in support of the legislation. As a fellow Atlantic Canadian he certainly understands the importance of transportation infrastructure for our economic development.

I also want to give some praise to the Minister of Public Works from Central Nova. He and I have crossed swords many times in the House and in the riding. I cannot in all honesty at the end of this particular session indicate that at least on this occasion he has not had the best interest of Atlantic Canada at heart. He has pursued this project vigorously. He has worked against a lot of odds, I am sure both in his caucus and within the region, to allow this project to go through and have assessments done. It is indeed one of the few projects that may lead to real economic advancement and opportunity in the long term in Atlantic Canada.

I also want to give some credit to a former colleague of ours in this place, the now premier of Prince Edward Island. I remember when the debate first started about a fixed link to Prince Edward Island. Coming from Cape Breton Island I certainly had a lot of interest in the debate that was raging because this project would certainly lead to a significant amount of economic development and infusion of revenue into Atlantic Canada, most particularly Prince Edward Island and I guess New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, as well as many jobs.

I thought Ms. Callbeck, the premier of Prince Edward Island and then member for Malpeque, would have been on her feet quickly to support this proposal but she was not. The minister opposite knows that. Indeed the members from Prince Edward Island decided that before they voiced their opinions there were certain things they wanted to see done, as did the government. Those things by and large have been looked at.

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The member from British Columbia would have the Canadian public believe that everybody in Atlantic Canada has been co-opted by the project because it is going to provide a substantial number of jobs during the construction period. It is quite the contrary. With this proposal there was an absolute requirement put forward by both governments, federally and provincially, members of the P.E.I. legislature and members of Parliament from Prince Edward Island, that a number of factors be examined vigorously before they would give their stamp of approval. Early on there was even a plebiscite put forward in Prince Edward Island by then Premier Ghiz to ensure this project would take the province in the direction the people wanted.

I commend all four of my colleagues from Prince Edward Island, one of whom is now premier, for doing the right thing and not doing the expedient thing which was to jump on the band wagon early and try to pass this right away. They understood this proposal would fundamentally change the economy of their part of Atlantic Canada and that the citizens of Prince Edward Island who would be affected the most had to have a say. A lot of process had to be gone through before they would finally put their stamp of approval on this particular project.

We have heard a lot from other people about the processes going back to the time of Confederation. The Charlottetown Conference in 1864 was about maritime union. It evolved into Canadian Confederation. One of the items on the agenda for discussion at that point was transportation and communication: a link from that island, the garden province, to the mainland. They understood there was more to be gained than lost by ending transportation isolation and improving links to the mainland.

In 1864 the leaders and people of Prince Edward Island understood that it was a delicate balance but they had to have modem, convenient and efficient transportation links. When they entered into Confederation in 1873 that was the condition of their joining the union.

We have heard through the debates that it was pretty tough at least in the early days. They had to use ice boats to go across. They would ferry goods, mail and individuals. It was a dangerous crossing even at the best of times

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Government Orders

during the winter months. I am sure in the fall gales it must have been pretty precarious as well.

There was talk of a fixed link to Prince Edward Island as early as the 1880s. There was considerable study and a lot of talk done on it. They knew, even over 100 years ago, that the economic well-being of the island would depend on its transportation links to the markets off-island. With the advent of modem hulled ice-breakers it became less of a problem to cross in the winter months and so the idea died for a long period of time.

In the 1960s the Government of Prince Edward Island recognized that if the island's economy was to develop in a planned fashion it had to have better transportation links to the mainland. About 1966 the Government of Prince Edward Island started to develop some approach roads and things like that. They were subsequently stopped after there was a comprehensive development agreement between the Government of Canada and the province of Prince Edward Island.

The idea of a fixed link has gained new currency for a variety of reasons. One reason is that with increasing trade and more people wanting to go to P.E.I. the ferry service has become an impediment to planned growth in Prince Edward Island.

The member for Skeena spoke before and carried on like a raging bull about this project. Somehow he knows better and more than everybody else about the project: those poor illiterates down in P.E.I. do not know what is good for them so the New Democratic Party is going to have to go down there and tell them.

The reason this type of proposal gained currency and had to be examined along with all options around the table was that people like my family and I who now live in Dartmouth would love to be able to go to P.E.I. more often. However, Mr. Speaker, if you have not done it, sometimes in the summertime with all of us off-Islanders trying to get on that beautiful island you can wait in line for hours and hours.

The member for Skeena was playing with words and statistics. He said the members from the Atlantic coast were trying to say the ferry service was unreliable while it has only been late four times in the last x number of crossings. We never said the ferry was late. We just said it was hellish hard to get on the ferry. I had to wait for

three ferries the last time I went down there. Yes, I would wait again because it is a beautiful island and the people are wonderful. It is a great place to go for a holiday to relax and enjoy the beauty of the island.

The people of Prince Edward Island had a plebiscite and 60 per cent of them said yes to a fixed link. My colleague from Hillsborough indicated in his speech- and I do not know if a poll was done-that closer to 70 per cent of all individuals on Prince Edward Island support a fixed link. That is a lot.

I am pretty offended at the approach the New Democratic Party has taken on this project, particularly the member for Skeena. He sounds more like the member for Jurassic Park. He is a dinosaur when it comes to economic development and the type of debate he has engaged in with the slurs he has thrown at members, particularly Atlantic Canadian members, about why we are going forward with this project. It may be his last speech. Perhaps he was prone to an excessive amount of hyperbole but the facts are the facts.

This is not a proposal where we have jumped all over ourselves blindly and said that we should run for it because it is going to give us some badly needed jobs in Atlantic Canada. We did not say that. I do not need somebody from his coast telling somebody from my coast anything about the environment. I do not need anybody from anywhere in Canada telling a member of Parliament, particularly from Prince Edward Island, about the importance of the fishery. I found his comments to be condescending and I found them to be a bit infuriating. Perhaps it was because it may be his last chance to speak in this place.

Let us put it on record. The member for Skeena clearly said that it should never go ahead because there are going to be many problems. There have been more then 90 studies done on the link. There have been 24 studies on the marine aspect of the fisheries impact. There have been 17 studies with regard to the ice problem that might be created. The NDP wants to dismiss every one of the studies that comes forward to debunk what the New Democratic Party says; somehow everybody in the world has been co-opted to get this link

June 15, 1993

to Prince Edward Island. I did not know the members from P.E.I. were that powerful but surely they are.

There have been nine socio-economic studies. There were four studies with regard to wind. We might want to have another study with regard to wind for the member for Skeena. There have been 10 terrestrial studies and 23 miscellaneous studies by no less than the Atlantic Provinces Economic Council, the Atlantic Geoscience Centre, Coles Associates Ltd., Environment Canada, Geo Consulting Engineers and on and on.

The former premier of Prince Edward Island is no fool. He is no slouch. The former premier understood that his first and foremost responsibility was as a caretaker of the people's interest in Prince Edward Island when he served as its premier. He clearly set out what he called the 10 commandments, which were the 10 concerns he had even after the plebiscite and before he would go forward with the fixed link.

Premier McKenna of New Brunswick certainly has an interest. Northumberland Strait washes on his shores as well. All these studies have been done. The former premier of Prince Edward Island, the current premier of Prince Edward Island, the premier of New Brunswick, the Minister of Public Works, the Minister of Employment and Immigration, the government opposite, everybody has agreed at this time they should proceed with the proposal for a fixed link or bridge from the mainland to Prince Edward Island.

The New Democratic Party keeps telling us that study is not good study. They just want to study it, study it and study it. They sound like the Friends of the Island. The Friends of the Island have come forward on many occasions. They have bellyached, griped and said that the project was going to destroy the fisheries. They said it was going to be an ecological disaster and that we needed studies.

The study was done and it showed they were wrong. They jump on to another one and say the ice is going to be the big problem. Ice studies have been done which indicate that it is not a problem. They jump on to another one and say they had better go to the Federal Court to stop the project. If they were opposing the project based on a solid environmental set of principles I would have more respect for them. I respect their right to disagree.

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I will quote from a speech one of my colleagues gave. The Friends of the Island jumped over to the ice issue after finding out about the 10 conditions, the so-called 10 commandments put forward by the premier of P.E.I. before he would put his stamp of approval on the project. The ice report came in and indicated that ice was not a problem. Somebody asked about a panel of internationally acclaimed ice experts debunking the theory that ice was going to be a problem because of the bridge structures. That particular objection by the Friends of the Island was dropped and a new argument took its place.

The Friends of the Island were asked if they would cease to oppose it if a second plebiscite was held and the result supported the bridge. If the people of P.E.I. had to go through the unusual expense of another plebiscite on whether or not they wanted a fixed link and came out again saying that they wanted the fixed link and to get on with business, the spokesperson for Friends of the Island, Cathy Edwards, said they would never go away.

Perhaps the New Democratic Party is in the same boat. It does not want to hear the facts. It does not want to have any fundamental understanding of equalization in the country. Let us get down to the crux of the matter. The New Democratic Party has no federal members in Atlantic Canada and for good reason. The New Democratic Party by the type of activity it has undertaken in opposition to the bill has probably alienated more of its potential supporters than anything we on this side of the House could have done to facilitate that conclusion.

It dismisses the fact that transportation infrastructure is an absolute requirement. It is a prerequisite for economic development. Why should we in Atlantic Canada and in particular the people of Prince Edward Island be denied modem, efficient and environmentally safe transportation links to that island? Why should we? We have gone far too long without the things we need for economic development. We are tired of being on our knees kissing up to a federal government to get welfare payments. We want to become taxpayers, not tax takers. In order to do so projects like the fixed link must go forward. They must go forward after the proper studies have been done. With 90 studies done, what in the name of God do the New Democrats want?

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I understand the NDP knows a bit about unemployment. The leader of the New Democratic Party in Prince Edward Island is now on the public payroll, I guess through the unemployment insurance system. He is unemployed. He draws pogey for a living. I would have thought maybe members opposite would have contacted him for one of those thousands of jobs that will be created. Maybe he could shovel some dirt or something and get off pogey. There will be a bit of economic development even for New Democrats on the island and maybe even their leader.

We have engaged in opposition to the bill. Some of the nonsense put forward by the New Democratic Party has to be debunked. In Atlantic Canada we need transportation infrastructure. In Atlantic Canada we have seen our rail lines abandoned. We have an application now to the Minister of Public Works concerning the rail line that goes through his important part of Nova Scotia down to Sydney. There is an application to sell that line to a private short line operator. We are worried about that. It is not because we do not think the short line operator might be able to operate it. We are worried about what will happen if the operator decides not to operate it.

Without modern, efficient, multi-modal transportation we have no economic development in Atlantic Canada. Without a highway system that is efficient and safe we have no economic development. Without an airport system that operates on the basis of equalization of opportunity instead of cost recovery we have no economic development in Atlantic Canada.

We all know that. The Minister of Public Works who is a former economic development minister would know more than most people in the House how important transportation links are to economic growth and development in our part of the country.

This is not a giveaway. The member for Skeena says it is a billion dollar boondoggle. Will he come down and tell that to the people of Prince Edward Island who are suffering from 17 per cent or 18 per cent unemployment, the people in northeastern Nova Scotia where it is 22 per cent or those in southern New Brunswick where it is probably in between those two percentages? Let him tell it to the truckers who have to sit for hours and hours to get a ferry to move their goods to the island. Let him tell it to tourist operators who say that if there were a better

way for people to get on the island they could employ five, six, seven or fifteen more people during the summer season.

All those things lead to economic development and wealth and make taxpayers from tax takers. The NDP would have us abandon that. It would have us drop it like a stone. I do not question for an instant that before any project like this one goes ahead there has to be a vigorous and thorough examination of its environmental impact, but that has been done. The NDP is used to being negative and against everything unless it is in its own backyard and in its own electoral interest. It cannot see this is not just another project. This is finally the fulfilment of the requirement and the deal that Prince Edward Island sought when it joined Confederation in 1873.

In 1873 P.E.I. said it would join. Canada gave it a guarantee of efficient transportation and communication links to the mainland. For over a century islanders have suffered from what I think is an inadequate link to the mainland. Some 70 per cent of people on Prince Edward Island who looked at this project said yes to a fixed link after all the environmental assessments were done and after the fishery was looked after. On all those things they have said yes. They said to proceed cautiously but to please proceed.

We are concerned about the fishery. Do not let the New Democratic Party say that the Liberals in Atlantic Canada are not concerned. We have forgotten more about fish than they will ever know in that comer of the House. We are damned concerned about the fishery. That is why the former premier of Prince Edward Island and the new premier of Prince Edward Island demanded those types of studies take place before even one centime of approval was given.

I would ask the New Democrats for once to look after the interests of Canadians and not the narrow, partisan interest of their own party. This is probably the last or the second to last bill that will go through this Parliament before an election is called. This is a bill that will give hope to the entrepreneurs in eastern Canada. This is a bill that will give hope to those who have lost hope because they do not have job creation opportunities. This is a bill that in the long term will allow places like Prince

June 15, 1993

Edward Island to have what everybody else has, and that is an efficient means of access to markets.

I would conclude by saying I commend members from Prince Edward Island and the minister opposite from Central Nova for their tenacity over the last number of years in moving this agenda item forward carefully, in ensuring all the studies that had to be done have been done and in ensuring all the people who had to be heard were heard. Most of all, in the dying days of this Parliament they ensured this much needed bill for Atlantic Canada was put through.

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

Lynn Hunter

New Democratic Party

Ms. Lynn Hunter (Saanich-Gulf Islands):

Mr. Speaker, I noted the member indicated in his speech that he invited opposition and debate. Then he went into a 20-minute diatribe against those very things. It is sad that in the last few days of the House the Liberals feel so insecure on this project they cannot take the very valid criticisms put forward by the New Democratic Party.

I have a question for the member. The Federal Environmental Assessment Review Office put forward a recommendation not to proceed after the environmental assessment was done. It recommended not to proceed. The Department of Public Works rejected that recommendation. I would like his comments on that. I would also like his comments on the Federal Court's decision that this would be in contempt of the environmental assessment process.

These are valid concerns. It has nothing to do with electability. It is talking about an environmental assessment review, respect for that process and respect for the judicial process that has been assessed here. I ask him to tone down the rhetoric and get to the points we have been addressing in our comments before the House.

Mr. MacDonald (Dartmouth) Mr. Speaker, it is a bit

much to have the member opposite talk about rhetoric after what we have had to listen to from her people on this bill. It is absolutely incredible.

She asked about the concerns of the court. I do not think that by the Parliament of Canada supporting the bill we are in contempt of anything other than the behaviour of the New Democratic Party in not participating in a positive way in its development. That is what I am in contempt of.

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I will say that the concerns addressed by the Federal Court in its decision in my view have been adequately addressed both by the Department of Public Works and by the province of Prince Edward Island. We can have debate on this project until the cows come home whether or not the member who asked the question thinks it has been addressed.

I want to say something about the kind of comments that have been made. I do not say this with a great deal of hyperbole. I find the approach of the New Democratic Party on this issue to be condescending and insulting to the 70 per cent of people in Prince Edward Island who are in favour and the hundreds of individuals who have appeared at committees, participated in the studies that have been done, and have provided input over the years.

I find the attitude of the New Democratic Party highly insulting. It is basically saying that we, the poor bumpkins down east, just do not know what is good for us. What malarkey. What lies. If there is anybody who is going to be looking after the interests of Atlantic Canadians it is members of this place from Atlantic Canada.

I understand the New Democratic Party and the member opposite have a real interest in the environment, but they have a greater interest at this point in this Parliament in opposing anything that comes forward so they can get more free press. That is all they are interested in.

I am not interested in free press. I am interested in the bill proceeding at this point at the end of the session after a great deal of study through this place so that we in Atlantic Canada, particularly in Prince Edward Island and parts of northeastern Nova Scotia and southern New Brunswick, can finally be on an even playing-field, an even footing, with other regions of the country in terms of the ability to have modem transportation systems and connections between our producers and the Canadian and world marketplaces.

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

Beryl Gaffney

Liberal

Mrs. Beryl Gaffney (Nepean):

Mr. Speaker, I have both a comment and a question. I compliment my colleague from Dartmouth for his impassioned plea to move ahead with Bill C-110 on the Northumberland Strait crossing. I would suppose most people in the House would wonder why I, an Ontario member, would want to bother speaking on the Northumberland Strait crossing.

When P.E.I. joined Confederation my forefathers had landed on P.E.I. in Charlottetown in 1789, long before Prince Edward Island was named Prince Edward Island. It was called the tie St-Jean. I have a long history in

June 15, 1993

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P.E.I. and am well aware of the problems of growing up in that province. I grew up in a little country rural village called North Bedeque, P.E.I. In fact, the current premier of Prince Edward Island, Catherine Callbeck, and I grew up within four miles of each other. She grew up in Central Bedeque and I in North Bedeque.

I can remember the feeling of isolation on P.E.I. and those long winter months. I remember the great joy we felt when the first ice-breaker, the Abegweit, was built and ploughed through the ice floes of Northumberland Strait between Cape Tormentine and Borden, P.E.I.

I remember the importance of the railway on the island, and the railway is no longer there. I remember the importance of the rural postmen delivering the mail, and they have largely disappeared. It no longer has the same air links it had in previous years. There has been a tremendous transportation cutback on Prince Edward Island.

Prince Edward Island is the cradle of Confederation and its population is small. It will never be anything but small. With the link it will probably increase.

Something is being missed in the debate this morning, and this is leading up to my question. The studies have been done, as the hon. member for Dartmouth has stated, but if we stop to look at the transfer payments from the federal government to the province of Prince Edward Island we would see that out of every dollar it spends at least 65 cents is coming from the federal coffers.

If the bridge is put through there has to be a tremendous pay-back to the Islanders in terms of a booming economy. The economy will certainly pick up. I am wondering, and the member for Dartmouth might know, whether there have been any studies done to show what increased revenue would be realized for the economy of P.E.I. when the link is completed. We know this link is going to cost slightly under a billion dollars over many years. How much will P.E.I. revenue be increased? There should actually be a drop in the cost to the federal government because of the improved economy which will result in increased revenue. Have any studies been done in that regard?

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

Ronald MacDonald

Liberal

Mr. MacDonald (Dartmouth):

Mr. Speaker, I am not sure if there has or has not been. However logic would tell me that when we take a subsidy which certainly will be in existence as long as the ferry service runs and give it to the developer of the fixed link over the period of 35 years then no more money, at least in subsidy, will have to be spent by the federal government than would have been required under the terms of Confederation.

One thing is very clear: Prince Edward Island has some natural advantages. Prince Edward Island produces some of the finest agricultural products, its potatoes, in the world. There is a problem with competitiveness in terms of getting that product to market because when a truck sits at a ferry dock for a number of hours there is a cost factor.

Conversely the other large industry in Prince Edward Island is tourism. In Japan, where I was just recently, everybody knows where Prince Edward Island is. They do not know where anything else is east of Niagara Falls but they do know where P.E.I. is. They know Anne of Green Gables.

In the long term this will lead to increased economic development opportunities which will lead to decreased transfer payments from the federal government. As I mentioned earlier it will allow more to become taxpayers instead of tax takers.

One thing I want to say and which I did not get to say is that I come from Cape Breton Island. Cape Breton Island has had a fixed link since about 1955 or 1953. Somebody will probably call me and say I missed it by a year or so. Cape Breton Island is a fiercely independent place, as are Islanders, and we have a culture and a heritage which we are proud of and which we export for the enjoyment of people all around Canada, perhaps around the world.

Some opponents of the fixed link say that P.E.I. will become less of an island, that it somehow will lose something culturally by the link. We were forcibly annexed to the province of Nova Scotia in 1844 and we were connected to the province of Nova Scotia in the mid-fifties. The spirit, culture and heritage of Cape Breton Island have never been stronger. I am sure that will be the case with Prince Edward Island as well.

June 15, 1993

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

George Albert Proud

Liberal

Mr. George Proud (Hillsborough):

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise once again to speak in support of the legislation which will allow the government to enter into an agreement to build a fixed link between Prince Edward Island and the rest of Canada.

As I said a few days ago the time for rhetoric is over. We have said it all and the studies have all been done. Some people think there have not been enough done. We have all heard the numbers. There are probably over a hundred of them. I believe, as do the people of my province, it is time to set this all aside and get on with the job.

I firmly believe that Canadians must always be prepared to move forward and be willing to face the necessary changes if we are going to secure our future. Hon. members will know that the poor economic performance evident across Canada at the present time has been a condition that we have known for many years in Atlantic Canada.

There was a time when Atlantic Canada was at the forefront of world trade and at the very centre of world transportation. Our sailing ships and the crews that manned them were among the greatest in the world. However their time passed. We were prosperous, innovative and at the forefront of the latest technology of the day. We must remember that the path to success in our region can only be reattained if we once again move to the forefront in transportation and technological development.

We are all nostalgic for the slower paced times of years gone by. Many of us continue to attempt to cling to the old ways and the old methods. However in terms of transportation there is no substitute for efficiency and speed. If we are to somehow return to our former prosperity we must have an efficient and reliable transportation system.

I believe that by passing this legislation we will be able to achieve that goal. We will be taking the first step on the road to the economic recovery of our province and our region.

There are tremendous implications to the project both in the short term and in the long term. In the short term thousands and thousands of construction jobs will be created along with the other economic spin-offs that will filter throughout the whole economy during the con-

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struction period. There will be opportunities for training and for meaningful and rewarding employment.

When this project is completed it will be, to use a much overused word, world class. It will elicit interest and wonder from around the world. Being built in the particular region of the world that it is and under the conditions which exist, by the time it is completed it will be admired as the standard by which future projects of this nature will be judged.

The people who work on and assemble the bridge will be the ranking experts in their field. I am sure they will have many opportunities to use their expertise and their skills around the world. In the longer term, as I alluded to earlier, the feed link will remove a bottleneck of transportation to our province, which adds unnecessary expense to the cost of goods coming to P.E.I. and adds great cost to the products we ship to market.

We all realize that tolls will always be with us, but the time the tractor trailer is sitting idle on the wharf in Borden and Cape Tormentine waiting for the ferry will be eliminated. This will cut several hours in transportation time and allow our producers, especially those who are transporting perishable goods, to better schedule their transportation to the marketplace.

This will no doubt have a twofold effect. It will lower the cost of living in Prince Edward Island and will make our products more competitive in the marketplace.

Other factors I briefly mentioned earlier were the whole state of our economy and the feeling of despair which has come into being in much of Atlantic Canada, especially during the last number of years. Perhaps a project of this magnitude when completed will give our people not only an economic shot in the arm but also a shot of confidence which is needed much more. When we have completed this world class megaproject we will be able to face the world with confidence and say that we can create and build as well as anyone.

One of the examples, from a personal perspective, of the extra benefits which will flow from this project is in my own riding of Hillsborough. There will be the building of a bridge across the river in Charlottetown which will connect Charlottetown with the southeastern part of the province. It will go across to Southport,

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Bunbury, Keppoch-Kinlock, and that immediate area across the river.

This second bridge has been needed for many years but has been beyond the financial capabilities of the province to build. The construction of the second bridge is part of the conditional agreement to build the link and can be done for about one-half of what it would normally cost because of the expertise and the facilities that will be available as a result of work on the fixed link.

The badly needed addition will be greatly appreciated by the people in my riding and also will be possible as Atlantic Canada and Prince Edward Island become the centre of bridge building technology. The second bridge I talk about is one in an area in which a lot of traffic comes through two or three times a day. It is the main route into the southeastern part of the province.

When special events have taken place in Charlottetown over the years getting traffic moving across this bridge has been people's biggest concern. Some repairs have been recently made to the approach roads and it has made it much easier. Now with the building of this second bridge it will certainly make the travel time much less and reduce the complications when the city of Charlottetown synchronizes its lighting system to make the traffic flow much more efficient.

We have talked about all the studies that were done and studies that needed to be done. I said before that if every project in the country was studied, talked about, looked at and had the public input this one has had over the last number of years, we would not have the many problems with projects in other parts of Canada which we hear about in this House every day. I sincerely believe this.

I have my own concerns about the environment and I have my own concerns about the ferry workers at Marine Atlantic.

These things were all taken into consideration. As I understand it, as far as the ferry workers are concerned negotiations are to take place with the union representing Marine Atlantic. An arrangement has to be reached within the period of time this construction is taking place.

I believe this will be done. I cannot understand why anyone would want to see this happen and not have these people looked after. It was certainly one of my main concerns because these are good and well paying jobs, as has been said here before. They are great employees. A lot of them are long-time employees. Young people growing up knew if they could get a job at the railway-it used to be part of CNR-they could spend the rest of their days there. This has to be done. I know the province is sincerely aware of it and is helping to ensure that arrangements are made with these people.

We talked about the environment. The fishery is probably the only fishery in Canada that is not in trouble in one way or another. No one from that part of the country or any other part of the country would want to go ahead with a project that was going to damage it. We have a great lobster and scallop fishery. All shellfish are taken out of that particular area. It is one of the great lobster fisheries in the province. No one would ever do anything to harm it.

The built-in protection is there. The fishermen and the people involved in the fishery are going to be part of a trust that administers this $10 million fund that has been set up. These things have been taken care of.

We have all had our concerns over the last number of years since this came on the scene and until the plebiscite was held. I remember concerns were voiced when I was going door to door in the last election campaign. We did not hear very many but there were some people who had concerns. There are people who are never going to change their minds about it for their own reasons, and that is fair.

I firmly believe we have to move ourselves down that road in the transportation area to have a more efficient mode to get our goods to market and bring products into Prince Edward Island. I believe this and I am firmly convinced.

Premier Callbeck has been around the country talking with companies in the hope that they are going to move their operations into Prince Edward Island. This link will help them make the decision whether or not to set up there. They have to have some assurance they can leave with their products 24 hours a day.

This is also needed at the present time to spur on the economy that has been in the doldrums for the last number of years. This will be a big project for Atlantic

June 15, 1993

Canada. It is a billion dollar project. It is going to create an awful lot of work for labourers and trades people.

We say it will change the way of life in Prince Edward Island. I assume our parents and grandparents in their own ways tried to make our province and our country a bit better for the generations that came behind them. I am convinced. I know there is the feeling now that it may take away our status as an island but I do not believe it. We will continue to be the independent people we have always been.

My colleague from Dartmouth spoke about connecting Cape Breton to mainland Nova Scotia by a causeway some years ago. It certainly has not changed the nature of the people in that province regarding whether or not they are Islanders. I do not have the fear some people seem to have that it is going to drastically change our way of life. If it changes our way of life I am convinced it is going to change it for the better.

My colleague from Nepean spoke about the small population. Yes, we have a small population. One of the efforts we have to put forward is to have more people maintain permanent residence on Prince Edward Island. We could easily maintain three times the population we have now. That is something this will also help to accomplish.

I know people from the other maritime provinces say they would like to go over to Prince Edward Island on the weekends in the summertime but they are apprehensive about driving to Pictou or Cape Tormentine because of the line-ups.

I think we have done what is necessary. Quite likely there is always more that can be done. However I am sure as this project goes forward the monitoring systems will be in place to make sure all the environmental issues and the fishery problems are met and will be monitored daily.

The economic impact this is going to have in Prince Edward Island as well as in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia is going to be phenomenal. It is going to be one of the major items to take place since Prince Edward Island came into Confederation.

We have talked about this project and studied it. We have had committee meetings and public meetings in

Government Orders

Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. If there is anything that has not been done I do not know what it is. There will be those who will argue that the court's demands have not been totally met, but according to the decisions we have seen and the information we have been given these demands have been met.

The next logical step is to pass this bill. Then Public Works Canada can get everything rolling and SCI can begin building its marshalling yard. This in itself is a $65 million project which is certainly going to spur things on for the short term.

We have come to the end of the day on this matter. Let us vote on it and move it further down the road.

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, I would like to thank my colleague from Hillsborough for his very good speech and his excellent comments.

I would like to ask him, as a past minister of labour in the province of Prince Edward Island, about his views on the support in Prince Edward Island from the labour sector. Some comments have been made in the House that labour really does not support the project. As he has indicated, there are going to be some job losses in the ferry system.

My colleague and I have been quite active with various groups in Prince Edward Island over the past number of months and years. I would like the member to give us his comments on how labour views this project.

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

George Albert Proud

Liberal

Mr. Proud:

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Egmont for his questions. Labour in Prince Edward Island is a divided house. There are those on the side of the Ferry Workers Union who are opposed to this going ahead, but not all of the Federation of Labour is divided in its support.

I believe, as I said a few moments ago, that no stone can be left unturned in the negotiations with these people to have a package, whether they will go to new jobs, are retrained for other jobs, are transferred or go to early retirement. That has to take place.

The other part of the trade union movement, the trades people, the crafts people, the Canadian Federation of Labour group, is fully in support of this project because it knows it is the key that will spur on the economy in Atlantic Canada. It will make a lot of work for its employees because it represents all the trades.

June 15, 1993

There are also groups within the Federation of Labour that are in support of the project.

With all the things taken into consideration the labour movement will support this project because it is where the jobs are going to come from for the next number of years. As I understand it those in the Federation of Labour opposed to it are concerned it is going to take away these jobs from the marine Atlantic workers. That is a very legitimate fear.

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):

I guess the House is not ready for the question as yet.

It being one o'clock p.m. I do now leave the chair until two o'clock p.m. pursuant to Standing Order 24(2).

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

AFTER RECESS The House resumed at 2 p.m.


STATEMENTS PURSUANT TO S. O. 31

PC

Wilton (Willie) Littlechild

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Willie Littlechild (Wetaskiwin):

Madam Speaker, this is probably my last opportunity to address Parliament. I would like to express my gratitude for the great honour and blessing I have had to serve Canada and the constituency of Wetaskiwin. I wish to thank my wife Helen and my children, Teddi, Neil and Megan, who have supported my decision and have helped me throughout the past five years.

To all the constituents of Wetaskiwin, the Four Nations of Hobbema, who sent me here to represent them I can truly say that I did my best. I give thanks for the privilege of working with all members and staff of this Parliament. They are all winners. Whether it was here, in caucus or in committees I learned from all of them.

To Emily Lank, Doug McLeod, Michele Larose and all others who worked with me I give my sincere thanks. On behalf of all my people, I would like to thank the outgoing Prime Minister and all my Alberta and national caucus colleagues.

Last, I give my sincere congratulations to our new Prime Minister, Kim Campbell. May the great spirit bless and guide her.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   STATEMENTS PURSUANT TO S. O. 31
Sub-subtopic:   WETASKIWIN
Permalink

GASOLINE REGULATIONS

?

Hon. Chas. L. Caccia@Davenport

Madam Speaker, the Minister of the Environment must have been busy elsewhere when government regulations to ban leaded gasoline were reversed and leaded gasoline was allowed for racing cars in Canada.

The decision sets a dangerous precedent and is wrong. First of all, lead endangers human health. Second, the decision weakens the Canadian Environmental Protection Act. Third, it deals a serious blow to the Canadian unleaded fuel industry, which creates environmentally friendly jobs in Canada.

This decision should be reversed because it is a step backwards. We urge the Minister of the Environment to reverse his decision and protect the health of Canadians.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   GASOLINE REGULATIONS
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CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS

NDP

William Alexander (Bill) Blaikie (N.D.P. Deputy House Leader)

New Democratic Party

Mr. Bill Blaikie (Winnipeg TVanscona):

Madam Speaker, I am greatly disturbed by a couple of things going on at CN right now. As an MP from Winnipeg I have raised the issue of job losses at CN many times in the past, particularly with respect to the erosion of Winnipeg as a regional centre for CN.

This erosion unfortunately continues. CN now seems to be shutting down its medical and first aid departments in Winnipeg, moving files to Edmonton and contracting out what remains to be done in Winnipeg in these departments.

Long-term dedicated employees are being forced to take so-called voluntary retirement and also being forced to signed waivers releasing CN from any further obligations of any kind arising out of their employment with CN.

This is unfair to Winnipeg and unfair to the employees involved. I call on the Minister of Transport to look into the matter and do something about it.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS
Permalink

POVERTY

PC

Barbara Greene

Progressive Conservative

Ms. Barbara Greene (Don Valley North):

Madam Speaker, I have some questions for the opposition. Liberals want to institutionalize and fund food banks,

June 15, 1993

national school lunch programs and other demeaning ways of helping the poor.

Do they think welfare mothers will not feed their children when they have an adequate income? Do they think Canadian mothers want the government to take over their role in nurturing their children? Are our children not to have the special treats we make them and our care and attention in ensuring they have food they like and that will help them to grow healthy and feel loved?

Why do they want a poverty line that does not count income people receive or deduct income people do not have? Why do they want to mislead the Canadian public?

Why does the member for York West want the same numbers for Toronto as Winnipeg? Does he not know that it costs more to live in Toronto?

Do they think Canadian taxpayers have money to give away to people whether they need it or not? Why do they want to help the greedy and let poor children suffer?

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   POVERTY
Permalink

JUSTICE

LIB

Maurizio Bevilacqua

Liberal

Mr. Maurizio Bevilacqua (York North):

Madam Speaker, it is an unfortunate reality that Canadians no longer feel safe. They feel threatened at school, on the street and even in their homes.

Since 1984 Canada has seen a 40 per cent increase in violent crime, multiple murders in Montreal, gangs waging war in Toronto and knives and guns in schools across the nation. These are all symptoms of a society in decline. Canadians want to halt that decline and they want it halted now.

The Liberal Party has proposed a bold and comprehensive package of proposals for combating Canada's growing crime problem. The Liberal plan includes, among other measures, developing the category of dangerous young offender for some repeat youth offenders, which would involve stiffer sentencing in adult courts; the transfer of certain sex offenders to secure mental facilities after they have served their sentences and measures to facilitate the removal of a man from the home in cases of violence against women and children.

For the millions of Canadians who fear for their safety the Liberal crime and justice proposal-

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   JUSTICE
Permalink

June 15, 1993