Hon. Roger C. Simmons (Burin -St. George's):
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in support of a motion of my friend and colleague from Newfoundland, from Bonavista-Trinity-Conception. Let us remind ourselves what the motion says.
That, in the opinion of this House, the government should take immediate action to extend custodial jurisdiction for northern cod over the nose and tail of the Grand Banks.
This is not a new idea but it is a timely one. That is why my colleague said in the motion that immediate action should be taken. The time for delaying any further on this one is gone. It is not justified. We ought to move.
I was looking back over the transcript of the earlier interventions in this debate. A couple of things immediately leaped out at me. One was the remarks of my good friend, the parliamentary secretary for fisheries and oceans. He said in part that the Prime Minister has played a key role. Indeed, the Prime Minister has played a key role in this. I will come back to that in a moment.
First, I want to make reference to some words by my good friend from Nanaimo-Cowichan who I see in the Chamber. He said in part: "This is not a new problem. It
has existed for a decade and a half at least." As so often with the members in the NDP, they are half right. He said two things. "This is not a new problem" and he is right. Then he went on to say: "The problem has existed for a decade and a half".
I say to him, not quite, but I understand where he was going. Listen to the next sentence and you will see what is always and forever the NDP agenda. The next sentence says: "We have had Liberal governments and we have had Conservative governments and both have given assurances that the problem is being worked on". I say to him that is a good line. It is a great line and part of their continuing strategy to lump us all together. The facts have never really stood in the way of members of the NDP when they wanted to do that. Let us look at the facts. He says: "The problem has existed for a decade and a half". In other words 15 years, and that would take us back to about 1978.
He will want to check the facts on this but we did not have overfishing on the nose and tail of the Grand Banks in 1978. The reason we did not have overfishing at that time was because of the Liberal government of the day led by Mr. Trudeau and the efforts spearheaded by the late Don Jamieson whom I succeeded in this particular seat of Burin-St. George's. These men and others in the cabinet of that day succeeded in getting the jurisdiction extended to 200 miles. With it and with NAFO, the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization, there came a very orderly pursuit of the fishery by all the countries involved, including the countries of the European Community, particularly Spain and Portugal.
The gentleman from Nanaimo-Cowichan has access to this information, he reads well and he knows this information. He skated on it here but he knows the information. The information is clear. It is not in dispute. It is information from the statistics of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. For the year 1978-79, which he was talking about, there was no foreign overfishing. The Spanish stayed within their quotas. The French stayed
June 14, 1993
Private Members' Business
within their quotas. The Portuguese stayed within their quotas. Everybody without exception stayed within their quotas from 1978 to 1984.
The quota for the cod stock we are talking about in this resolution in 1984, for example, for the European Community was 23,200 metric tons and that is what the Europeans took. They stayed within quota.
What did they do the next year, 1985? There is the rub. In 1985 the quota for the European Community was also 23,200 metric tons and they took 172,000 metric tons. They took eight times their quota. In 1986, they took 12 times their quota.
Has the problem existed for a decade and a half? No, I say with respect to my friend from Nanaimo-Cowichan. It was a good point to try to lump the Tories and Liberals together again. It is a good try and a good NDP tactic, but as most NDP tactics it is fairly hollow and not based on a lot of facts. I say to the hon. member, the problem did not begin a decade and a half ago.
The problem began nine years ago and that is where I now come back to the earlier original quote by my friend the parliamentary secretary who said: "The Prime Minister has played a key role". Indeed he has played a key role in this one. The new prime minister to be, the now minister of defence, did play a key role as did others.
I come from an evangelical tradition in which we talk not only about the sins of commission but also the sins of omission. It is one thing to do the things you should not have done but it is equally wrong to omit to do the things you should do, the sins of omission.
The gentleman from Baie Comeau, the Prime Minister; the lady from Vancouver, the prime minister-designate; the runner-up in the weekend leadership, the Minister of the Environment; the minister of fisheries from Newfoundland, and I could name others, by their sin of omission, by failing to do something about this problem, allowed the problem to come to the impasse it is at today.
We have to be particularly critical of the people who have been here since 1984.1 recognize that the lady from Vancouver did not make it here until 1988. She became somewhat of an accomplice after the fact. She continued to aid and abet the sin of omission. However the
gentleman from Baie Comeau, the Prime Minister, and the gentleman from St. John's West, the minister of fisheries, are the people who, as my friend the parliamentary secretary unwittingly said, played the key role by standing idly by and allowing the European Community, the Spanish and the Portuguese to take eight times their quota in 1985 and 12 times their quota in 1986. That is the key role they played and that is the key role we will not allow them to forget.
Why present this motion now? This is not the first time we have presented such a motion. I moved a similar motion in March 1992. We have been trying for some time. The reason I moved it in March 1992 was that I took some encouragement from the words of my friend, the minister of fisheries. While he did not say it in the House, he did say outside the House that he foresaw that the taking of custodial management would be the only alternative. That was what he was telling his friends in Newfoundland in small groups. We never could get him to say it here but he said it in fairly public ways back in Newfoundland.
It is only a 10-minute speech and I have received the signal that already, although I was just warming to the subject and getting comfortable with it, my time is just about up. Good morning. We are here every Monday morning this time. Thank you for dropping in. Good to see you.
The point of this resolution is that the time has come to act. The time has come for us to do what has to be done. We have tried every other route, and we are not advocating that we abandon any other routes. Let us keep talking if that helps. If more diplomacy does something then let us do it. In the meantime, let us now give notice that we are tired of waiting, we can no longer have our fishery pillaged and we can no longer stand idly by while thousands of our fish plant workers and fishermen are walking around jobless, not because they are lazy but because there are no fish out there.
Why are there no fish out there? It is because the Spanish, the Portuguese and the French have taken them. Why have they taken them? They have taken them because of the key role played by the Prime Minister in standing idly by for years and years and allowing it to happen. We are saying in this resolution that the time for that kind of key role is over and the time for standing idly by is over.
The time has come now for people of good will, for people of all parties to get behind the fishermen on the south coast of Newfoundland and throughout Atlantic Canada, to get behind those plant workers, to stand up for our sovereignty, to protect our fish stocks and do what has to be done to now assume custodial management over those stocks. They are really our stocks. I know they spend some time on the nose and tail of the Grand Banks but they are our stocks. This is the vehicle by which we can move.
I invite members of all parties to join with us in this important resolution.