June 2, 1972 (28th Parliament, 4th Session)

LIB

John (Jack) Davis (Minister of the Environment)

Liberal

Mr. Davis:

There are those who argue that international standards are undesirable. We do not agree. We say that nature's laws, themselves, are universal. They are allembracing. Man breaks them at his peril. He breaks them and succeeding generations are the poorer for his lack of foresight, his lack of sensitivity, his lack of discipline on the biological front.
Biology, as a science, is still in its infancy. But we already know enough about nature to lay down certain tests. These tests involve life itself. We must not kill fish, destroy vegetation or wipe out wildlife. The preservation of a healthy environment for wild living things, in other words, is a prior condition to a high quality of life for us all. These simple biological tests, these simple standards, should not be confined to any one country. They are valid everywhere. They should be applied the world over, not in Canada, or in Canada and the United States, alone.
There will be frequent reference at the Stockholm conference, I expect, to economic growth and the impact which it is likely to have on all living things. I believe we can have both economic growth and a clean environment too. But having both calls for economic statesmanship of the highest order. We have to look ahead-a long way ahead. We have to operate our forest industries and our fisheries on a sustained yield basis. We will have to plan our cities better, arrange for industry to recycle its wastes, use the right kinds of energy, and so on.
There are many facets to the question of environmental control. We will be touching on at least 30 of them at Stockholm. Here are a few commitments which we are prepared to make now: Construct three out of ten of the world's base line stations for determining the quality of the atmosphere; improve the quality of our rivers discharging into the sea; sponsor a world-wide conference on the conservation of the living resources of the sea in Vancouver in February of next year; oppose ocean dumping of pollutants; propose that big tankers be confined to routes which avoid ecologically sensitive areas not only along our own coasts but the world over; and step up our research in the field of marine science.
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Topic:   ENVIRONMENTAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   STATEMENT ON POSITION TO BE TAKEN BY CANADA AT UNITED NATIONS CONFERENCE ON HUMAN ENVIRONMENT
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