June 14, 1993 (34th Parliament, 3rd Session)


James Ross Fulton

New Democratic Party

Mr. Fulton:

It is a good adverb. The Tories and Liberals often operate sleazily.
On Monday, February 8, 1993 this House heard from the member for Moncton speaking for the Liberals. I asked him a question. I quote from pages 15582 to 15591 of Hansard. I said: "Mr. Speaker, I would like to hear from the Liberal member from the area just exactly what the Liberal position is on environmental assessment. The member is aware that there has been no environmental assessment and review done on the bridge proposal contained in Bill C-110,"-the bill that is before us-"that the generic bridge proposal was turned down by the FEARO panel".
The hon. member answered as follows: "I stated the position of the Liberal Party very clearly and straightforwardly. We support this project. We want this project to go forward. We have supported this project over the years that it has been discussed-but we also want a full environmental assessment of this particular project and this particular bridge".
He did not say that was his personal position, or his leader's position, or Catherine Callbeck's position. He said it was the position of the Liberal Party.
This bill came back before the House last week on June 10, 1993. Beginning on page 20654 of Hansard there is a speech by the member for Hillsborough. He ends his remarks with the statement: "Let us proceed with this project. We feel that all of the necessary commitments have been met and it is time to go on and see it through to fruition".
There is no mention whatsoever of a full environmental assessment and review of the project. Let us deal again for a moment with what Madam Justice Barbara Reed ordered.
At some point Canadian taxpayers would like to know that at least the 295 members who occupy seats in this Chamber have some intention of following the law. What we are talking about and what we are doing today is a violation of Canada's Constitution and law. I for one stand in my place and say that means something.
The Liberals want to squeeze and sleaze their way and get a few extra votes out of a few seats in the maritimes. The Tories want to use the fixed link as a banner to wave around the maritimes saying they are going to do something big for all the voters out there. They are going to spend $1.47 billion building a bridge that has never been assessed.
They do not want to talk about that. They want to pretend that everything is above board. It is not. This Chamber is well on the road to acting in contempt of court. It bothers me and I think it should bother the Canadian public that this place has become so entirely out of touch that the law does not seem to matter.
It is like the person who has just become Canada's Prime Minister, the hon. member for Vancouver Centre. She said before her campaign began that she had smoked marijuana. When asked during the leadership campaign she said she had smoked marijuana but she did not break any law by doing it. Every dean of law in the country said
June 14, 1993

that was not true. If one smoked marijuana, one broke the law.
Five hundred and thirty thousand Canadians have a criminal record for smoking marijuana. They are all supposed to keep their criminal records. They cannot get bonded jobs. They cannot do anything but it is okay. A person can be the Prime Minister of Canada and break the law. Also, you can say that because you are who you are you did not break the law.
Canadians are getting really sick of this stuff. I am getting really sick of it. There is one law for the grand elevated elite who sit on the government side as prime minister or whatever. The law applies only to the great unwashed. It applies to those Canadians who have to pay the taxes and the piper.
Here is a chance for Parliament itself to do it right. This project from New Brunswick to Prince Edward Island has never been assessed. It is the law in Canada. The Liberals say they will attach some conditions. This is the same bunch of environmental thugs, SCI, who were involved from start to finish in the Oldman River dam in Alberta.
Twenty-four conditions were attached following the order of the highest court in Canada that there be an assessment. Has the SCI, the Minister of Transport or the Minister of the Environment ever lived up to one of those requirements? The number one recommendation was to tear down the dam. That is what the panel found.
It was neither environmentally nor economically sound. However the government said we have to go ahead. SCI, a foreign-owned corporation, is our friend. What about the other 23 recommendations? Will the Minister of Transport at least live up to one of them? He has had more than a year to live up to the other 23 and has not lived up to a single one. That is contempt of court and contempt of Parliament.
Does Parliament do anything? No. When are these people going to be put behind bars? Are we just going to carry on and become like the United States? The level of trust among American citizens for their own institutions is borne out by the number who vote. Less than one in two adults in the United States even bothers to turn out to vote because there is so much corruption in the
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legislatures in that country. It is fast dropping in this country. Canadians out there are sick to death of this kind of blatant obfuscation and contempt of Parliament, the laws of this country and the environment.
People ask why the cod stocks in Atlantic Canada have collapsed. I will tell you why. I have been here for 15 years. I have listened to Liberal and Conservative ministers of fisheries saying that the fisheries scientists do not know diddley squat. We are going to double and triple the catch. We are going to give more to Cuba, Spain and the Russians.
Now there is no more cod. We are giving hundreds of millions of dollars in welfare to Newfoundlanders who do not want welfare. They were proud and for centuries they went out and fished. However in order to be kind to National Sea and their friends in the corporate sector the Liberal and Conservative ministers of fisheries encouraged, legislated and regulated overfishing.
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What about the lobster and the fishery in Northumberland Strait? Professional scientists have said this project is crazy. Young lobster fry float on the surface in Northumberland Strait. If the ice is late moving out because it is blocked by the piers of the bridge, the lobster fry will die or fewer numbers will survive. There will be ice scour on the ocean floor as a result of the piers on the bridge. Why were these four ice scientist experts brought in by the Minister of Public Works not put on to muddy up the refusal?
The environmental assessment and review panel said no to this bridge and yet Parliament is about to vote $1.47 billion, plus a right to tollgate. No one in the Maritimes has been told how much these tolls are going to be. Will it be $10 per person, $50 per person, $100 per car or $500 per truck? This is a right to blood suck for 35 years on the economy of the Maritimes of this country and I will not stand for it. At least I can tell the truth in here. It might not mean a damn but I am telling the people of Canada that what is being done here today is a contempt of Parliament and the laws of this country. It may well be found to be both illegal and unconstitutional in the days to come. That is what a committee of this House found about Alcan's Kemano project in my riding.

June 14, 1993
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The only project in the history of Canada to be exempted from environmental assessment is Alcan's Kemano II project. It was found illegal and unconstitutional by this Parliament. Has this government withdrawn its licence? No, and there is corruption at the very highest levels as well as pay offs and kickbacks but it does not seem to mean anything. There will not be a jot or a tittle on the radio or TV tonight about what is going on. This place hides behind a veil of secrecy as these kinds of deals are cut. The odour arising from this fixed link legislation is worse than methane, a greenhouse gas that I know we fear.
Let us take a look at what the Liberals are proposing here. The Liberals said they stood for a full environmental assessment review in February in this House and they have thrown that to the wind. We heard from the Liberals this morning that one of the principal reasons is that this bridge joins their leader's constituency with Prince Edward Island. How sweet and dear, while I am chastised in this House by Liberal members from the Maritimes who say I am from far away and only come to the Maritimes once in a while so I have no right to speak out against the project.
That is not how this place works. We are supposed to work collectively to try to do the best for the country and make sure that what is done is in the constitutional and legal framework that is best for the country. My Liberal friend's amendment is too little too late. It does not mean a damn and should be voted down for those reasons.

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