Mr. Speaker, I would like to address some concerns shared by many Canadians of anticipated actions by this government regarding natural resources. In particular, there are the issues concerning forestry and the environment.
Forest products are not only British Columbia's main export but Canada's as well. Forestry is Canada's number one industry to which many members here will be able to attest. For example in British Columbia the forest sector provided 270,000 jobs, paid $2.4 billion in taxes and exported $11 billion of products in 1992.
However, the forest sector is facing losses both in jobs and in profits and will continue to do so until a balance is struck between forest conservation and forest preservation.
In the throne speech the government stated its commitment to jobs and to sustainable development. The government is to be commended for this initiative. However, I have some difficulty with statements made prior to and during the election campaign regarding these issues.
To give some background, on April 13, 1993 the government of British Columbia announced the long awaited land use decision for the Clayoquot Sound area on the west coast of Vancouver Island, an area within my riding.
The provincial government made a very difficult but well balanced decision that enhances environmental, economic and social values for the area. However, I find it disturbing that before and during the election campaign last fall the Liberal government on several occasions stated that if elected it may expand the boundaries of Pacific Rim National Park to include the Clayoquot.
I find this disturbing from a number of points of view. The first is the lengthy and involved process utilized to arrive at the Clayoquot decision itself.
During the 1980s it was recognized by many that the level of logging in and around the Clayoquot was too high and was not sustainable. In an attempt to balance all resource uses in the Clayoquot, a community based steering committee was established and charged with formulating a sustainable development plan for the area. The steering committee had a broad base. It included mayors of the three communities involved, native groups, environmentalists, logging companies, unions and several provincial ministries.
When the three-year Clayoquot Sound process ended there was general agreement on most aspects of the strategy. On the contentious issue of land allocation, namely the creation of new parks with a subsequent reduction in area available for logging, 10 of the 13 groups at the table reached a consensus.
This consensus allowed for a doubling of the area to be set aside or to be preserved. It is a reduction of the area available for logging from the previous 81 per cent to less than 45 per cent. This consensus now ensures that 55 per cent or more than half of the old growth forest in the sound will remain unlogged forever.
This is a made in B.C. decision. It is a decision made by British Columbians about resources that are clearly under the jurisdiction of British Columbia. I ask the Liberal government now to respect that decision.
This issue extends beyond regional concerns and as such I strongly encourage the hon. Minister of the Environment to familiarize herself with the process that was used to arrive at a decision because I firmly believe the same open and public process can be used in other contentious areas to arrive at a consensual decision.
I request that the government give credence and support toward such a balanced process when considering controversial land use for environmental issues.
Another point that I find disturbing concerns jobs. In the Clayoquot, as a result of the compromise decision, there has already been a loss of over 600 forest sector direct and indirect jobs. During the recent election the government ran a very successful campaign built around the issue of jobs and it is to be congratulated.
However, my concern now is whether this government should proceed on a path of including the Clayoquot within Pacific Rim National Park. The impact on the forest sector alone would amount to a loss of 4,200 direct and indirect forest sector jobs.
On October 25 the Canadian public made it abundantly clear what action it will take collectively toward governments that do not live up to their promises and in this case jobs. I would suggest that the Canadian public and in particular the constituents within my riding of Comox-Alberni would be more than upset with a government that campaigned on a platform of creation of jobs and then once elected immediately did a complete about face and put 4,200 people out of work. Frankly this would be a most unwise decision on the part of the government.
Another area requiring consideration should this government proceed with expanding Pacific Rim National Park is one of compensation to the province of British Columbia. I am sure we are aware that natural resources, in this case timber, belong not to the federal government but to the province.
Therefore should this government proceed with what would amount to expropriation of the timber resource within the Clayoquot, while at the same time bearing in mind that the provincial government would be most unlikely to enter into an agreement that would cost the government lost revenue, the federal government would then owe the provincial government compensation. Lost stumpage revenue in the Clayoquot will be substantial. It would be roughly $2 billion. That is not $2 million but $2 billion.
At a time when the federal government is deeply in debt I believe that Canadians would have great difficulty in understanding the wisdom and logic of a government that commits an additional $2 billion to expand an already existing and large national park.
Finally I would like to address the subject of forest practices within the Clayoquot. There is no question that the Clayoquot decision involves the nature and extent of logging. The way logging was carried out a decade ago is no longer acceptable to many people. As a result the province of British Columbia is currently in the process of implementing a new forest practices code which will change the way that logging is carried out in British Columbia.
This new code will substantially reduce the size and extent of clear cuts, allow for green up before adjacent areas can be logged, ensure reforestation is promptly carried out, monitor road building practices and ensure that streams are not-
Topic: Government Orders
Subtopic: Speech From The Throne