November 20, 1969 (28th Parliament, 2nd Session)


Randolph Harding

New Democratic Party

Mr. Harding:

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I will not abuse the privilege given by hon. members, but there are one or two points I wish to make. As I mentioned earlier, industry knew that a new bill was to be presented. Some people in industry felt that the idea of looking to industry is not the best arrangement of controlling pollution.
There are a number of other quotations I could present to the House this evening. I shall refrain from doing so, on the understanding that I will have an opportunity to read them later on. I should like to point out what I think is a very weak part of this measure. We are allowing effluent to flow into our rivers. Industry is to be given the opportunity to violate the law by paying a fee. The Ontario government has taken some action in pollution problems. Let me read from an article which appeared in the Toronto Star of August 28. It is not a direct quotation of the minister's words but I presume he

gave this information to the press. The article states in part:
Ontario companies convicted of pollution offenses should be forced to clean up instead of paying fines and staying dirty, Resources Minister George Kerr said yesterday.
He said his department is considering changes in legislation to force companies to clean up pollution instead of paying up. The changes should be ready for the mid-January session of the Legislature, he said.
I endorse that position. I think it is a very good idea, and that the firms polluting our waterways should be made to clean up rather than continuing to pollute them and merely paying a fee so to do.
[DOT] (9:00 p.m.)
Very briefly, I should like to say a word or two about the financial problems, which has probably worried me most. We are passing on to the provinces and municipalities a tremendous bill in respect of pollution. They do not have sufficient money to take adequate steps in respect of pollution problems. Just last summer a number of municipalities made requests for loans to Central Mortgage and Housing Corporation. In the province of Alberta 12 municipalities had their loan applications turned down because the supply of money had run out. The minister indicated today that more money will be made available. But here we have been set back because of the lack of available financing at reasonable interest rates for municipalities. If the action on the part of the government in the inflationary period this current year is to be the same as it has been in the past few months, we will see on the part of municipalities a slowdown in the establishment of facilities for the treatment, primarily, of sewage.
In closing there is one further point I should like to make. We have a committee on national resources. That committee drafted some recommendations which were presented to this House. They were unanimous recommendations. The committee was composed of members from all parties. I shall not read all the recommendations but I should like to refer to the pertinent ones. The committee recommended that the government draft a code of standards for the cleaning up and the future protection of all Canadian waters. These are not my words; they are the words contained in the recommendation of the committee. The committee further recommended that provincial approval of such a code be sought and that the federal government provide an enforcement procedure, if necessary
November 20, 1969

by means of an amendment to the Criminal Code.
I endorse the whole of the committee report. That particular recommendation, however, runs afoul of this bill. Here a multiplicity of regions are to be established, with each setting its own standards. There is to be no national standard, no national enforcement- nothing. This is what we protest and will continue to protest through organizations all over the country which are becoming interested in fighting pollution and are demanding, regardless of jurisdictional difficulties, that the problem be solved. We shall not let the government get out from under this problem by saying it is a constitutional one which it cannot tackle and which it will pass on to the provinces, thus avoiding giving proper leadership.

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