Robert Alfred CORBETT

CORBETT, Robert Alfred

Personal Data

Progressive Conservative
Fundy--Royal (New Brunswick)
Birth Date
December 14, 1938

Parliamentary Career

October 16, 1978 - March 26, 1979
  Fundy--Royal (New Brunswick)
May 22, 1979 - December 14, 1979
  Fundy--Royal (New Brunswick)
February 18, 1980 - July 9, 1984
  Fundy--Royal (New Brunswick)
September 4, 1984 - October 1, 1988
  Fundy--Royal (New Brunswick)
November 21, 1988 - September 8, 1993
  Fundy--Royal (New Brunswick)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 3 of 121)

March 26, 1993

Mr. Bob Corbett (Fundy-Royal):

Madam Speaker, in 1988 the government approved an expenditure of up to $40 million of Canadian Jobs Strategy funds for youth strategy pilot projects in New Brunswick and Newfoundland, where youth unemployment is the highest.

This morning in Fredericton the Minister of Employment and Immigration and the New Brunswick minister of advanced education and labour jointly announced a one-year $25.45 million extension to the Canada-New Brunswick youth strategy. To date, this strategy has assisted over 17,700 young people in New Brunswick.

I was pleased to learn that this program has been extended for another year. The federal government will provide $16 million, with the province contributing $9.45 million.

The purpose of the strategy is to help at-risk youth integrate into the labour market. It is important that we give young people the opportunity to acquire the education, training and experience needed to find their own place in today's competitive work place.

This Tory government has again put its money where its mouth is.

Subtopic:   EMPLOYMENT
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March 23, 1993

Mr. Bob Corbett (Fundy-Royal):

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present the fifth report of the Standing Committee on Transport dealing with Bill S-8, the Motor Vehicle Safety Act.

[Editor's Note: See today's Votes and Proceedings.]

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March 17, 1993

Mr. Bob Corbett (Fundy-Royal):

Mr. Speaker, I certainly commend the attitude and the thinking of the hon. member from Nova Scotia who has expressed her concerns on what we might like to do as Canadians. But the fact is that what we are talking about doing here in this private member's bill is neither practical nor realistic under international law.

I would like to deal with a few of these points as we talk about extending our jurisdiction. In fact, international law does not allow us to do what we would like to do. For example, I am told that in Newfoundland today there are people who are subsisting on fishing through the ice and there are more cod fillets available as I speak than there were three or four months ago.

The problem is that we have difficulty dealing with an issue that becomes far more transparent from the perspective of what it is we should do as a responsible fishing community, whether it be Koreans, whether it be Japanese, whether it be Canadians and Americans, or whomever. We have a very distinct responsibility as an international community.

As Canadians we have extended our jurisdiction out to 200 miles. Unfortunately, that does not include the nose nor the tail of the bank of Newfoundland which significantly contributes to the welfare of our cod stocks. That is what this government has been attempting to address over the last number of months. The history of that fishery is well known to everybody who is familiar with it.

The Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and Minister for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency has risen in this House on more than one occasion to describe what would happen if Canada unilaterally extended custodial jurisdiction for cod or any other species beyond our 200-mile limit. Let us face it, we do not have that jurisdiction in international law. We are not permitted under international law, the Helsinki convention or any other convention, to establish ourselves beyond that. We have got to work with other communities.

March 17, 1993

Private Members' Business

It is inherently important that we recognize that South Korea, for example, recently agreed with us that indeed it will withdraw from that particular fishery. We must show an example through responsible fishing practices ourselves which we have undertaken at great political expense, no question about it, great political expense. The minister of fisheries would agree to that. There is no question about it, we have exerted a significant amount of responsibility regarding our fishery in this jurisdiction. We cannot unilaterally extend our borders beyond the 200-mile fishing limit, despite how much we might like to be able to be in a position to do that. I think that my colleagues from Newfoundland, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick would agree with that.

I am pleased to be able to inform the members of this House that the latest development in our efforts to obtain international co-operation and support has been officially confirmed by the Government of South Korea. That is important because the South Koreans are big players in the international fishing community all around the world. Whether it be in eels, cod or whatever, they are big fishers in our world-wide oceans. They have confirmed that they will cease all fishing activity in the NAFO area outside Canada's 200-mile limit as of the end of April this year. That is terribly important to us as a fishing nation.

This is of major importance because in 1992 there were seven Korean vessels: four were flagged in Korea and crewed by Koreans and three were crewed by Koreans but flagged in Panama and other countries. These particular people were fishing in our waters, from which they have already confirmed that they have taken substantial numbers of fish in the last few years.

I would simply conclude by saying that Canada is not alone. The 50 states of America are with us in delivering a powerful message against high seas overfishing. It has been a long and bitter fight against foreign overfishing. I have spoken in this House of Commons against it and have taken different opportunities to do so even when I was not on the fisheries committee, but before that, and even though my constituency does not have a big fishing

community. But there are people in my constituency who are interested in fishing and who are deeply dependent on it, through fish processing plants and other spin-off effects.

Mr. Speaker, you would understand that, even coming from the constituency that you come from, which I know is interested. I have seen you in the House of Commons and in the parliamentary restaurant. You eat tuna fish sandwiches. You enjoy all of these things that our oceans allow us to enjoy. Why would you not be interested in this sort of thing? Of course you are.

Mr. Speaker, I applaud you for your tolerance in this debate and for your interest in ensuring that we will have an opportunity to present the position of fishermen in our society and what is important to them.

I just want to end with this particular point. Mr. Speaker, I thank you for listening and I implore you to ensure that it is well understood by the public, by the Canadian electorate and by the fishermen of our community that we, as much as we would like to do, are not in the position to extend our borders beyond that 200-mile limit which we have already established. It has served our fishermen well over the years, particularly in the last weeks and months when we have taken definitive decisions in Newfoundland where fishermen are now the beneficiaries of great programs that have led their families to greater prosperity than some of them have ever known. That has been an initiative of a very caring and compassionate government.

I am sure that will continue to be the case in the days and months to come, particularly as we deal with bills of this nature for which I commend the hon. member but it is not a practical solution to our difficulties or problems.

Subtopic:   FISHERIES
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February 22, 1993

Mr. Corbett:

Mr. Speaker, the workers at Marine Atlantic will know, not only because of my fondness for maritime traditions and the sea but also because of the excellent service they and Marine Atlantic have given the residents of Prince Edward Island and the travelling public over the years, of the efforts that I have exerted on their behalf to ensure the continuity of those jobs.

I believe with substantial confidence that Marine Atlantic will work to ensure that a significant number of the 600 jobs the hon. member is referring to-although I am not certain that figure is not a little on the high side-will be assimilated into other phases and areas of the work place, either with Marine Atlantic or in the operation of the bridge after it is completed.

We are looking at the passing of an era. There is no question about that. What we are replacing it with is an opportunity for additional industry and additional infrastructure, whether it be in tourism or related areas either

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in Prince Edward Island or in New Brunswick. There will be the creation of an infrastructure to support the bridge. It is possible that an entirely new community may be developed just somewhat north of Cape Tormentine, which will also provide opportunities for additional jobs.

In the final analysis, if one did a model of the economic scale we would come to the conclusion that not only will the majority of the workers who the hon. member has expressed a concern for-and I know that concern to be genuine having served with him on the transport committee and know that he is very dedicated to the community that he represents-will not only be assimilated into new and exciting jobs and possibilities but that many more hundreds of jobs will become evident as we proceed with the project and the project becomes a reality.

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February 22, 1993

Mr. Bob Corbett (Fundy-Royal):

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to participate in this very important debate today, particularly in view of the fact that I am from New Brunswick, which is one of the provinces that will be directly involved in the construction of this very important structure.

Much has been said about the economic and other benefits that will accrue to Prince Edward Island. Much should be said about them because not only will there be economic benefits to Prince Edward Island but there will be a significant spin-off effect to the entire province of New Brunswick, the entire Atlantic region, and to Canada as a whole, as was mentioned by the hon.

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parliamentary secretary. I will attempt to deal with some of those matters.

I believe that the benefits are substantial and self-evident. However, we must look at the entire project on a much broader scale and come to terms with what it is going to mean to us as Canadians and to our reputation as a whole.

Canada has garnered an enviable reputation throughout the world for megaprojects on a grandiose scale. We only have to think of the SkyDome and the CN Tower in Toronto and now we will have this magnificent link between Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick.

From India to China to the Philippines Canadians have been involved in major projects such as dams, power generation installations, roads, telecommunication networks and so on. As a result we as Canadians have garnered a super reputation throughout the world for our capacity to be able to deal with projects of this nature and to complete them successfully.

It has brought about a significant amount of self-respect and international respect for Canadians for our ability to tackle large and challenging projects. Make no mistake, this link is big by any world standards.

What we are talking about in the Northumberland Strait bridge will be the largest bridge that will have ever been built in North America.

Let us take a look at some of the pieces of equipment to demonstrate the magnitude of what we are speaking about. The crane that will be used to put the pieces of this project together will be 325 feet in height. It will be one of the largest cranes that will ever have been built in the world.

The bridge will require 200,000 tonnes of cement,

53,000 tonnes of reinforcing steel and 130,000 tonnes of asphalt. It will be built in 183 separate parts. When it is completed this structure will be 10 times as long as San Francisco's famous Golden Gate Bridge. The project will be watched, it will be studied and it will be envied by engineering firms and governments around the world.

The Strait Crossing Incorporated is a Canadian firm which has already earned an international reputation in the design of bridges and other such structures. As it is being undertaken by a firm of such international reputa-

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tion this will only serve to strengthen Canada's reputation for engineering excellence.

I believe people will come from all over the world, just as they have for the other projects we have undertaken in this country. I have already mentioned the SkyDome and the CN Tower.

I believe that people will come from far and wide to see what it is that we are doing once again here in Canada, which has contributed so substantially to our reputation.

There is something about bridges that catches the public imagination. It is true that people rarely write songs or write poetically about sewers or pipelines but bridges are different. They do catch the imagination of people. It has happened in the past. They have caught the fancy of poets, writers and singers from time immemorial.

Perhaps that is because bridges speak to the human aspirations of each of us in reaching out for unattainable goals and objectives. They break down the barriers that separate us and bring people closer together. When this bridge is completed there is no question it will take its place as one of the greatest bridges in the entire world and that it will be one of the great engineering undertakings of the late 20th century.

There is no question that there are some lingering concerns on the part of some of the people of Prince Edward Island. It is perfectly understandable that some people are concerned about what sort of effect this project will have on their lives and on their culture. These are natural concerns but by no means unique.

As a case in point I mention the bridge that connects Oland Island in Sweden with the mainland. This bridge crosses the Baltic Sea. Some 25 years ago this same type of controversy occurred in that particular community in Sweden. That bridge was eventually built and is the largest bridge in Europe, although it will be less than half the size of the Northumberland Strait Crossing. Nonetheless, as with the P.E.I. crossing, that bridge was talked about and argued about for decades before construction actually took place. There was a lot of passionate dissension about the ramifications of the bridge from some quarters before construction began,

just as there has been in the case of the Northumberland Strait Crossing.

A Canadian government committee which studied the Oland bridge and a few other projects a few years ago found that it was virtually impossible to find anybody today on that island who is in disagreement with the fact that the project went ahead.

Any major commitment is to some extent a leap of faith. However this project has been carefully planned and carefully studied, and there has been a maximum of consultation with both the Government of Canada and the Government of Prince Edward Island. I know the Government of New Brunswick has also been consulted. Most important, there has been a maximum of consultation with the public involved. It is a sound and economically viable project. It is a sound and economically sensible project.

As I mentioned when I began my remarks, I look forward to the economic spin-offs for the province of Prince Edward Island and the adjacent province of New Brunswick. I ran through some of the figures about the amount of cement and steel and things of that nature which will be put into this bridge. I mentioned the size of the crane. In the short term, let alone the long term, this means jobs which are vitally important to all of our economies, particularly to Prince Edward Island at this crucial time and New Brunswick.

I can only say that besides the obvious advantages of having an important transportation link finally take place, which has been talked about for a good many years and which will take place after an extensive and exhaustive examination of the details of any problems that might occur, we have been assured that the concerns about the project can be put aside. I am happy to support this bill.

Although it is not a bill about whether we should go ahead with the construction of the link but rather a bill that will put in place the mechanics so that we can deal with the financing that will be required, I am delighted that this government has taken the initiative to ensure that this will become a reality.

I want to express appreciation on behalf of the people of New Brunswick, who will be extremely pleased when they have the opportunity to take part in the actual construction phase. I know that the people of Prince Edward Island will echo those words. It is a project of the

February 22, 1993

future and Canadians will benefit from it. It will happen in the very near future.

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