CUZNER, Rodger, B.A.

Personal Data

Cape Breton--Canso (Nova Scotia)
Birth Date
November 4, 1955
Email Address
organizer of events

Parliamentary Career

November 27, 2000 - May 23, 2004
  Bras d'Or--Cape Breton (Nova Scotia)
  • Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister (January 13, 2003 - December 11, 2003)
June 28, 2004 - November 29, 2005
  Cape Breton--Canso (Nova Scotia)
January 23, 2006 - September 7, 2008
  Cape Breton--Canso (Nova Scotia)
October 14, 2008 - March 26, 2011
  Cape Breton--Canso (Nova Scotia)
  • Whip of the Liberal Party (November 3, 2008 - September 6, 2010)
  • Chief Opposition Whip (November 3, 2008 - September 6, 2010)
May 2, 2011 - August 2, 2015
  Cape Breton--Canso (Nova Scotia)
October 19, 2015 -
  Cape Breton--Canso (Nova Scotia)
  • Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Employment , Workforce Development and Labour (December 2, 2015 - )

Most Recent Speeches (Page 285 of 288)

November 8, 2001

Mr. Rodger Cuzner

Mr. Speaker, I think in fairness to the committee, the member for Skeena discussed at length submissions that were put in by various people who had expressed concern. There were upward of 15 groups that made presentations on behalf of the people in those areas.

It is clearly stated in clause 10 that consultation is key to the legislation.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Canada National Marine Conservation Areas Act
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November 8, 2001

Mr. Rodger Cuzner

Mr. Speaker, I am sure my colleague recognizes that this particular legislation is framework or enabling legislation.

Before there is the establishment of a marine park, a national marine area, further consultations must take place among all levels of government, among community stakeholders, environmental groups, the corporate sector and all those affected. Before final legislation can go forward, these consultations will be embarked on and brought forward to the House once consensus is established and once there is support for the development of the area.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Canada National Marine Conservation Areas Act
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November 8, 2001

Mr. Rodger Cuzner (Bras d'Or--Cape Breton, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, in addressing Bill C-10, an act respecting the national marine conservation areas of Canada, it is important to focus some attention on the process leading up to the establishment of a national marine conservation area, the final step of which would be the entrenchment of the land description under the proposed legislation.

How national marine conservation areas are established has after all been the subject of a number of hon. members who have expressed concern in this area. The creation of national marine conservation areas is a time-consuming and complex undertaking. It cannot simply be established by the federal government acting alone. It requires the support of provincial or territorial governments and the support of local communities.

It may take several years before an establishment agreement is signed. It takes time to conduct meaningful public consultations, to secure the support of all levels of government and to negotiate the agreements setting out the terms and conditions for a new national marine conservation area.

How will these areas be created and managed? The answer can be found in the bill, in Parks Canada's policies and in the co-operative consultation process currently underway in several regions. Five major steps are involved.

National marine conservation areas are meant to be representative of a region in which they are located. This is not a random process. The first step in establishing a marine conservation area is to identify potential sites. This involves a number of studies to determine the physical, biological and cultural characteristics of a marine region. The geology, oceanography and habitats of the regions are examined in detail,as well as the occurrence and distribution of its species from plankton to whales.

The known maritime history, both pre-colonial and post-colonial, is also incorporated into the studies to gain as complete a picture of the region as possible.

There are some 24 representative marine areas. Areas that encompass the majority of these features are identified within the region. These areas are then rated and based on how well they represent the region in their natural state. Once these representative marine areas have been confirmed, further studies and consultations are undertaken to select one of these sites as a potential marine conservation area. This is the second step.

A wide range of factors are considered when comparing representative marine areas, including the quality of regional representation, the importance of the area in maintaining biodiversity, essential processes and critical habitats, the occurrence of exceptional, natural and cultural features, the value of the area for ecological research in monitoring, minimizing conflict with existing or probable marine uses, and the implications of land claims or treaties. Consultations with concerned provincial and territorial governments and implicated federal departments are also undertaken.

The third step is assessing the feasibility of the potential national marine conservation area. This is the most complex and time-consuming part of the entire establishment of the procedure. One of its main purposes is to determine if there is sufficient support for a marine conservation area. The provincial or territorial government and any affected aboriginal organizations must agree to proceed to this step. They will also be directly involved in any study.

A feasibility study involves extensive consultation with local communities, stakeholders, aboriginal people and the general public, usually by means of local regional committees set up to participate directly in the study and make recommendations to the minister.

In order to allow the public to make an informed choice, detailed studies of the physical, biological and cultural features of the area are done. Social economic impact studies are also undertaken as required.

Federal policy dictates that mineral and energy resource assessments must be done on federal lands to determine if significant non-renewable resource potential would be foreclosed by the establishment of a national marine conservation area.

If the resource potential is high, this information would be considered when boundary options are being developed. Discussions are also undertaken with the appropriate departments, in consultation with the public, with respect to the management of fisheries, navigation and shipping. Possible boundaries for the proposed marine conservation area are drawn at this stage taking all these considerations into account.

As the feasibility study is concluded, a report is produced. It will provide an indication of the level of public support. It will include recommendations on conservation and management objectives. It will speak to boundaries, draft management and zoning plans. Finally, it will identify any specific issues of concern to local communities and affected user groups.

If the study demonstrates that the proposed national marine conservation area is feasible and there is public support for it, the governments could then proceed with the next step. If it is not a feasible option, other representative marine areas within that region could be considered.

If the governments have decided to proceed, a federal-provincial or federal-territorial agreement is formally negotiated, which sets out the terms and conditions under which the national marine conservation area will be established and managed. These agreements cover many topics, including final boundaries; management of fisheries and marine transportation; land transfer; and co-operation in marine conservation area planning and management.

Where lands are subject to a claim by aboriginal peoples in respect to aboriginal rights, the national marine conservation area can be provided for as part of a negotiated claim settlement. Alternatively a national marine conservation area or reserve can be established pending resolution of the claim. Reserves are managed as if they were national marine conservation areas but without prejudice to the settlement of the claim.

All of the studies and negotiations would occur before any national marine conservation area is brought to parliament for formal establishment under the act. At this stage, Bill C-10 requires that the minister table a report and that the report include information on the consultations undertaken, including a list of names of organizations and persons consulted; the dates of the consultations and a summary of their comments; any agreements reached respecting the establishment of the area; results of any assessments of mineral or energy resources undertaken; and the interim management plan that sets out management objectives and a zoning plan.

Parliament will thus have the opportunity to see the results of the time and effort put into the proposal to establish one of these sites. It will also be able to satisfy itself that there is community support and that all aspects have been taken into consideration.

A national marine conservation area is formally established when its land description is added to the schedule of the act. This brings those lands under the formal protection of the legislation.

Bill C-10 sets out an order in council process for the establishment in law of national marine conservation areas and reserves. It requires that proposed additions to the schedules must be tabled in both houses and referred to the appropriate standing committees for their consideration. Should either house reject the establishment of the new area, the order in council would not proceed.

In going through the process, I believe I have demonstrated that the decision to establish a national marine conservation area lies in the hands of Canadians and their elected representatives. Let us now quickly pass Bill C-10.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Canada National Marine Conservation Areas Act
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November 7, 2001

Mr. Rodger Cuzner (Bras d'Or--Cape Breton, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, the Atlantic innovation fund that was launched by the government in June of this year, and is aimed at increasing the research and development capacity of Atlantic Canada, has attracted a great deal of attention from research institutions and the business community in the Atlantic region.

Could the minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency inform the House as to the extent of the interest generated so far for funding under this $300 million initiative?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Acoa
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November 6, 2001

Mr. Rodger Cuzner (Bras d'Or--Cape Breton, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, Canadians and their government have built a world renowned system of national parks for over 100 years. This parliament has the opportunity to set the stage for building a system of national marine conservation areas. Future generations of Canadians will be able to enjoy and appreciate the diversity of our magnificent marine environments as they now enjoy the outstanding natural areas in our parks.

The long term goal is to represent each of Canada's 29 marine regions in a national system of marine conservation areas, much as we would establish a national park in each of the 39 terrestrial natural regions of Canada. Each national marine conservation area like each national park should be an outstanding sample of the region it represents.

There is an assumption that national marine conservation areas will simply be national parks on water. This is not so. Maintenance of ecological integrity is the first priority when considering park zoning and visitor use in national parks. National parks are managed to remain essentially unaltered by human activity.

National marine conservation areas are designed to be models of sustainable use and the approach to management is one which balances protection and use. As a result we need legislation tailored to national marine conservation areas.

I will give a quick overview of the legislation indicating how it is designed to manage protected areas in the complex world that is our marine environment.

The bill establishes the legal and regulatory framework for creating and managing national marine conservation areas. It does not by itself create any specific areas. It provides a mechanism for formally establishing national marine conservation areas under the act.

Bill C-10 sets out an order in council process for the establishment in law of national marine conservation areas that is similar to the recently proclaimed Canada National Parks Act. The order in council process would speed up the scheduling of new areas. I assure the House that the supremacy of parliament remains.

The bill would require proposals to establish each new national marine conservation area to be tabled in both houses and referred to the appropriate standing committee for consideration. The order in council would not proceed should either house reject the establishment of the new area.

Bill C-10 requires federal ownership of all lands to be included in a national marine conservation area both above and below the water as is the case for our national parks. This ensures that the Minister of Canadian Heritage would have administration and control of these areas.

If a province owns all or part of the seabed in an area where Parks Canada proposes to establish a national marine conservation area, the province would have to agree to use those lands for an MCA. In marine areas where there is contested federal-provincial jurisdiction there would always be consultations with the province concerned. The federal government has no intention of acting unilaterally.

There is a clear requirement for public consultation with the establishment of any national marine conservation area with particular emphasis given to affected coastal communities. I emphasize that if there is no public support for the creation of a national marine conservation area in any given location, the proposal would not be brought forward to parliament. Parks Canada would look to another area with which to represent the marine region.

When the government decides to take the final step and formally establish a national marine conservation area parliament would have an opportunity to examine the proposal in detail and satisfy itself that there is broad community support.

Bill C-10 calls for active stakeholder participation in the formulation, review and implementation of management plans. The legislation provides for accountability to parliament through the tabling of management plans for each marine conservation area.

Coastal communities need certainty before an area is established. Therefore when a new proposal comes to parliament along with a report on consultations held and any agreements reached with provinces and other departments, there will also be an interim management plan. Management advisory committees will be created for each marine conservation area to ensure that consultation with local stakeholders is on an ongoing basis.

I would now like to address how Bill C-10 reflects the government's commitment to working with aboriginal peoples. The legislation includes provisions to establish reserves for national marine conservation areas. These are established when an area, or a portion of an area, is subject to a land claim by aboriginal people that has been accepted for negotiation by the Government of Canada. Reserves are managed as if they were national marine conservation areas but without prejudice to the settlement of the claim.

A non-derogation clause has been added regarding aboriginal and treaty rights. There is also a specific requirement in the legislation to consult with aboriginal governments and organizations and bodies established under land claim agreements.

Finally, the legislation explicitly recognizes traditional aboriginal ecological knowledge in carrying out research and monitoring studies in national marine conservation areas.

Certain activities are prohibited throughout all national marine conservation areas. The most important of these prohibitions concerns non-renewable resources, specifically minerals and oil and gas. Marine conservation areas are managed for sustainable use and by definition, extraction of non-renewable resources is not sustainable.

Other activities would be regulated through zoning. In each national marine conservation area there would be multiple use zones where ecologically sustainable uses are encouraged, including fishing. There will also be zones where protection is afforded to special features and sensitive elements of ecosystems. These would be protection zones where resource use is not permitted. These zones would be identified in full consultation with local stakeholders.

I would like to reiterate that Bill C-10 is framework legislation. It provides the tools needed to create national marine conservation areas and to manage each one in a way that is appropriate to its unique characteristics. I believe we have struck an appropriate balance between protection and sustainable use. Very few activities are completely prohibited but tools are available to regulate activities to ensure that the structure and function of each area's ecosystems are not compromised.

We have an obligation to consult affected communities during feasibility studies in the planning process and in preparing the applicable regulations. Each area will be unique. It will be unique in its characteristics and uniquely managed. A national marine conservation area in Georgian Bay will be distinct from one in the Beaufort Sea or one in the Strait of Georgia or one in the Bay of Fundy.

Canada needs this legislation so that outstanding examples of our country's natural and cultural marine heritage can be provided with long term protection and so that Canadians can learn more about and experience this shared heritage.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Canada National Marine Conservation Areas Act
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