Mr. Bob Corbett (Fundy-Royal):
Mr. Speaker, I have listened with a great deal of interest to what the member for Skeena has had to say in this House as well as the previous speaker.
I concur that the member has every right to speak out against any issue he chooses to. But I think it is terribly important that the member accept his responsibilities to fairly and accurately put before this House and the people of the nation what has gone on with reference to the proposals that are leading up to the development of this link. For a long time it has been shoved aside by this Parliament which has been dominated by others from other regions for whatever reasons but very few reasons have been environment concerns.
A tremendous amount of work has gone into the environmental review process with reference to the
project. The developers were called upon at the very beginning to submit an environmental impact study and this was done. That report was made public by the Department of Public Works and the public was asked for input into the entire issue. This document was finally scrutinized by a lot of people, including an independent committee of ice experts.
I think it is important that the people in this House as well as those who are concerned about this issue are aware that expert advice was received from numerous government agencies and departments, including the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and the Department of the Environment.
When it comes to environmental issues I want to remind the hon. member that this government has done more with reference to environmental protection of those sensitive areas of our country than any previous government in the history of the nation.
Witness the green plan, for example. What sorts of proposals have we heard from the NDP except scrap this, scrap that and do nothing? When we talk about putting the country back to work it says we have to do an environmental assessment review and hang the jobs, even when it comes down clearly on the side of the environment. Forget all about it and let the region drift off into the ocean.
It is time to get on with this project. This is a good solid project. Fishermen themselves who have every right to be concerned will be invited to sit on the board which will manage a $10 million trust fund that will be set up by the developer of the project.
We have studied this project from the beginning and now it is time to end it and get on with it. All the conclusions that have been developed and supported by the provincial governments of New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island say to move ahead and get on with it. If we want to stand up and fairly criticize the project, that is good enough. Let us live up to our responsibilities as members of Parliament and do that but make sure we deal with all the facts.
There are concerns about this project and rightly so. Those concerns have been fairly scrutinized and now it is time to get on with it. I say this government's record speaks for itself when it comes to environmental issues. It would not allow a project to move ahead if it felt there
June 14, 1993
was not good cause for concerns about environmental sensitivity to be set aside.
Topic: GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic: NORTHUMBERLAND STRAIT CROSSING ACT