I am sorry, Mr. Speaker, but these seats in the front row are a little confusing. I congratulate the hon. member for bringing forward this matter. A great many experts and people knowledgeable in the field of the environment warn us that not much time is left unless we come to very serious grips with this problem.
I want to speak about two particular areas. I feel that an environmental council such as is proposed could have done much good last year when the government brought before this House the clean water bill. At that time we asked the government to retain the formula that had been included in the Navigable Waters Protection Act whereby dams and projects involving conservation areas were dealt with in a certain manner. The cost was split three ways.
The hon. member for Kamloops-Cariboo (Mr. Mar-chand) earlier today asked the Minister of the Environment (Mr. Davis) if his department could assist in the building of further dams and dykes in order to prevent more flooding of rivers in the hon. member's constituency. If the former piece of legislation had been in force, the formula would have been available and could have been used. If an independent environmental council had been in existence last year when this House was considering the clean water bill, it could have given advice on matters such as that raised by the hon. member and it would not be necessary for every problem involving water to give rise to negotiations. We ought to have retained in the clean water legislation the formula included in the Navigable Waters Protection Act.
Let me refer to the Grand River conservation program which is now in effect and has been for the past few years. A new program is coming forward which involves the Speed River that flows to Guelph. It is absolutely necessary for the program to be undertaken; however, the province and local municipalities must pay the total cost. Because the Grand River eventually flows to the St. Lawrence Seaway, I maintain that the federal government ought to pay 37.5 per cent of the cost of the new conservation program which is absolutely necessary on the Grand River.
I wish to raise another important point. I refer to the government's decision with regard to the second international airport at Toronto. If an environmental council of Canada had been established when the airport was first being considered, it could have advised the government. Being an independent body, it could have told the government that there is good farmland in the area of the proposed airport. It could have said that the airport would create only an asphalt desert, and there are too many such deserts particularly in southern Ontario.
An independent environmental council which both the province and the federal government could consult on problems of this kind might give rise to better decisions. Instead of suggesting that the airport be at Pickering, it might have suggested that it be built in Amaranth township, near Orangeville, where the farmland perhaps is not as good as in Pickering township. We talk about pollution and preach about anti-pollution measures yet, we do not
do as we say; we make decisions such as this which will affect the Toronto area.
Topic: PRIVATE MEMBERS' PUBLIC BILLS
Subtopic: ENVIRONMENTAL COUNCIL OF CANADA