GARDINER, Brian L., B.A.

Personal Data

New Democratic Party
Prince George--Bulkley Valley (British Columbia)
Birth Date
August 18, 1955
administrator, manager, publisher

Parliamentary Career

November 21, 1988 - September 8, 1993
  Prince George--Bulkley Valley (British Columbia)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 96 of 96)

April 10, 1989

Mr. Brian L. Gardiner (Prince George -Bulkley Valley):

Mr. Speaker, if the Throne Speech is any indication, Canadian forests are in trouble because there was not one word about forests in the Throne Speech.

My supplementary question is directed to the Right Hon. Prime Minister. On or about April 17, the Minister of State for Forests will be releasing a major 900-page study on the future of forestry in Canada. It points out

Oral Questions

the need for major structural changes and new market developments in this area.

In light of the importance of forestry to Canada, I would ask the Right Hon. Prime Minister if he would consider putting forestry at the top of the agenda at the next First Minister's Conference yet to be scheduled.

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April 4, 1989

Mr. Brian L. Gardiner (Prince George-Bulkley Valley):

Mr. Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to participate in this most important debate, this emergency resolution on the Alaskan oil spill. To me, the discussion tonight points out clearly the contrast between how Members on this side of the House would deal with an issue like this and how Members opposite would suggest they would handle the issue.

We have on the one hand the attitude of Members opposite and the pious and patronizing attitudes of the Ministers and their comments. On this side of the House, I am proud that it is the New Democrats who have raised this issue, and particularly the Hon. Member for Skeena (Mr. Fulton) who has spoken so eloquently on this issue and who I think has the admiration of all Hon. Members for speaking so clearly and for explaining to all of us how important this issue is. We appreciate his attendance here tonight.

I think the Minister should have provided leadership on this issue and should not be running to try to catch up. In fact, government Members have been running in the last two days since this session began. Yesterday, they fumbled with the Throne Speech, and tonight, they have fallen on their face in their participation in this debate.

I want to respond just briefly to some of the comments raised by the Hon. Member for Surrey-White Rock (Mr. Friesen) about the Government led by the now Hon. Member for Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca (Mr. Barrett), a Government that introduced milestones in environmental protection. I am talking about the environment and land use committee and about the agricultural land reserve, policies that took a leadership role in that time, in that province and in this country today.

There was talk from Hon. Members opposite about how wonderful this Throne Speech was in its comments about the environment. I cannot let this opportunity go by without saying that there was not a single mention in it of our greatest environmental heritage, our forests. I challenge Hon. Members opposite to read that Throne Speech and to see if forestry is mentioned once. There is not a single mention of it.

Despite promises after promises, and after two elections now, for a commitment to legislate a full Department of Forests, there was no mention in this Throne Speech about that most important goal for British Columbia and the Government. Six forestry agreements expired across Canada on April Fool's Day, and that makes some sense for the Government across the way. There is nothing for forestry and there is nothing for the environment.

I remember the debate 22 years ago about the oil tanker traffic and oil moving down the coast in the tankers and the threat to the environment and the comments made by people to those who were concerned

April 4, 1989

about the environment. Of course, it is trendy now to talk about the environment, but there were people then and there are people now, perhaps on both sides of the Elouse, who are concerned about this issue.

We raised those issues then because we suggested and the evidence pointed out that a spill such as that which has happened in Valdez would happen either there or off Vancouver Island or in the Strait of Juan de Fuca, and it has happened. We are dealing with a tanker that was supposed to be of the latest technology. There were people on the bridge who, as far as we know and from all of the news reports, were not supposed to be there. Oil companies have given commitments that they have not lived up to. This has pointed out to Canadians and certainly to Members of the House that this Government, in its failure to respond adequately to the oil spill off the west coast of Vancouver Island, and certainly in speeches and comments from Ministers tonight, is not prepared now to deal with a massive oil spill if it should happen off the west coast of British Columbia again or in the future.

Our debate tonight is to point out the need for the Government to plan. We have not blamed the Government for the oil spill as some Hon. Members and in fact some Ministers have suggested. What we are calling for is an inquiry to look into the issues that have been raised tonight, and the very fact that the Minister has failed to respond to the letter of Januaiy 31 from my colleague, the Hon. Member for Saanich-Gulf Islands (Ms. Hunter), about an inquiry, gives us an indication of the concern that this Government has over the threat to our coast from oil spills. Our call is a responsible one and one that can benefit all sides of the House, the Government and the Opposition and particularly the people of the Province of British Columbia and the people of Canada.

I want to sum up with the comments of the Hon. Member for Burnaby-Kingsway (Mr. Robinson) about the Hon. Members from B.C. who who have raised this issue and made it an issue in the House. We appreciate the support from Hon. Members across Canada who have spoken on this debate tonight. We look forward to that debate continuing and to their ongoing support as we continue to press this Government, and we trust that it will hear our pleas and will act urgently on this matter.

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December 19, 1988

Mr. Brian L. Gardiner (Prince George-Bulkley Valley):

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak at second reading of this trade legislation. I want to use the opportunity to make a few comments about my riding. Prince George-Bulkley Valley is an exciting and diverse riding, stretching from the border in the west with the Hon. Member for Skeena (Mr. Fulton) and in the east against the Alberta border where the present Member is the Secretary of State for External Affairs (Mr. Clark).

Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement

It is a riding dominated by the forestry, mining and resource industries. Unfortunately, it is a riding that was ignored so long by the Tories.

Now it is a riding threatened by the trade deal. My concern over this trade legislation is primarily over what we may end up with during the period when the definition of a subsidy is determined. The Government has already sold out the forest industry in this country, especially in my Province of British Columbia. It caved in to American interests by signing the Memorandum of Understanding that was met with joy by the Premier of British Columbia, Mr. Vander Zalm, but condemned by the forest industry.

Adam Zimmerman, not a member of the New Democratic Party, was quoted as saying on December 31, in the Vancouver Sun: "It is bizarre. It is sickening. It is every nasty adjective for an industry person". Zimmerman, also chairman of the Forest Industries Council, said in an interview: "In one step it creates an industrial paraplegic out of a lumber industry".

We have heard reports that some forest companies are operating at a loss due to the provincial and federal Governments caving in to U.S. interests. It is important to note that nothing has changed due to the Free Trade Agreement we are being asked to approve here today. A similar action can be taken again. In fact, when the Prime Minister (Mr. Mulroney) visited Prince George during the election campaign, he made no commitment to our area let alone any promise that he would deal with the Memorandum of Understanding.

I am concerned about this Government and its attitude toward the forest industry. The Auditor General has criticized the Government for its sloppy administration of the various forestry agreements between the federal Government and the provinces. British Columbia was singled out in this area and it is no doubt considering the inadequacy of the Vander Zalm Government.

I am concerned that if we do not have written assurances from the Government and the Minister, we will not have a federal-provincial forestry agreement. My part of British Columbia has the highest NSR in the province. Will federal and provincial spending in forestry be allowed under the trade deal, depending on what is defined?

This afternoon there might be a ray of light. The Government is like a chocolate bar, it is thick. We must get our point across a couple of times before it understands. In today's Question Period I was pleased to note that the Minister for International Trade (Mr. Crosbie)

December 19, 1988

Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement

has invited representatives from the forest industry to meet with him to discuss the Memorandum of Understanding. This afternoon I was in touch with some representatives of the forest industry in our province and I urged them to take the Minister up on his offer for a meeting, a meeting that we hope will happen as soon as possible. Perhaps, with some luck, we will get some sense out of the Government.

What we need is nothing less than an opportunity as parliamentarians to review how these negotiations are undertaken. We need a full and complete committee reporting independently to the Elouse. We need a trade monitor similar to the Auditor General who can report independently the activities of the negotiations that are taking place. The committee should have the power to travel, to hear witnesses and to take evidence under oath. In the true sense of democracy, give us the opportunity to review the negotiations openly, not behind the closed doors of government.

I do not see why Hon. Members opposite cannot give us a chance to see what is going on. They will have a chance to have their witnesses appear as well. If we do not have this committee, I am afraid that we will see another backroom deal. The Tories will cut out the programs that will cut the guts out of Canada. That is what I and other Hon. Members of my Party fear will happen if we leave the negotiations to Hon. Members opposite and to them alone.

There are many other areas of concern about the trade deal, the environment, social programs and water policy to mention a few. I call on the Government to support the motion put on the Order Paper by my colleague, the Hon. Member for Essex-Windsor (Mr. Langdon). If the Government has the courage of its convictions, I know it will support our efforts to represent the interests of our constituents.

In closing, I would like to thank the voters of Prince George-Bulkley Valley for the trust they have put in me as their Member of Parliament. I will continue to work, and I started to do so some time ago. I look forward to the next few years as being an exciting and productive time for my riding and for my constituents.

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December 16, 1988

Mr. Brian L. Gardiner (Prince George-Bulkley Valley):

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to participate in this debate today on the hijacking of Parliament by the Conservative Government. It is regrettable that we have to participate in this debate today, but I look forward to further discussions as we talk about the trade legislation that this Government has brought forward.

At the outset, I would like to congratulate the Speaker on his election to the chair.

However, it is regrettable that in our enthusiasm last week over his election we are now dealing with the situation of a ham-fisted Government. I also want to pay credit to my leader who spoke last night about the concerns we have over this current trade legislation. He raised our concerns over the softwood lumber tariff, shakes and shingles, which are critical to my riding of Prince George-Bulkley Valley in my Province of British Columbia. He also spoke of the concerns we have over the environment and social programs and, frankly, our view of this country.

We are talking today about a procedural motion. We are talking about the abandonment of the Standing Orders of this House. These are the rules that govern this House and give us our guidance in our proceedings when we consider legislation, motions and other issues.

Now the Tory Government has hijacked the rules of Parliament. We are used to that under the Tories. In fact, I took the opportunity before our debate today to do a little research. Let us see just where the Tories stand in history. The Collins Dictionary states that Conservatives were outlaws who preyed upon English settlers. The Encyclopaedia of Parliament says about the Conservatives: "The word originally applied to Irish bandits". The Conservatives are preying upon Parliament and the Members opposite are bandits who have stolen the rules of Parliament.

What will they do next? The Members opposite are certainly repeat offenders and should be placed on probation, like the notion we are giving them now.

December 16, 1988

I campaigned in my riding of Prince George-Bulkley Valley on fairness, fairness for the people of Prince George-Bulkley Valley, because we did not have that under the Conservative administration. We had 23 years of combined representation in the City of Prince George and we have seen nothing under the Conservatives.

We want to change that. We do not ask for everything. Most definitely we ask for an opportunity to have our say and our input. Many Members who represent rural ridings like I do had to deal with some of the programs that the Government brought forward and its bungling on issues like the northern tax allowance that affected my constituents in communities like McBride, Burns Lake and Houston. The only thing we asked for was an opportunity to have our say. We did not have that under the Conservatives and now, because with their hijacking of the rules, they are limiting that even further.

Through us, Canadians and the people of my riding have an opportunity to have that say in legislation and on motions before the House. However, as the Government rams this legislation through the House, we are not having that say. If we do not have that say, neither do our constituents.

As we begin to discuss this legislation next week, it is critical that we are given the opportunity to present our amendments and debate fully the legislation. January 1 is not engraved in stone. It is not a date by which we have to pass any legislation. As my colleague, the Member from Victoria stated earlier, it was the Prime Minister (Mr. Mulroney) who set the date for this election, in full knowledge of what kind of timetable he would have.

It is our responsibility as Members from all Parties and all sides of the House to express the concerns that we have over this legislation. I call upon Members opposite to abandon their ways and return the House to its normal practice of reasonable and thoughtful debate.

As an outside observer of this House and its rules for some time, I think it is a pity that it is now rare that we have an opportunity to see full debate. It is an honour that Stanley Knowles is with us in the House from time to time to give guidance about what we must debate. The most important reason why we are here, regardless of where we are from and what we stand for, is to provide input to this House and represent the views of our constituents.

I look forward to next week when we debate the substance of the trade legislation, when we show Members opposite and the Government that we are

Extension of Sittings

serious about representing the concerns of our constituents, the people of British Columbia and, in my case, the people of Prince George-Bulkley Valley.

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December 15, 1988

Mr. Brian L. Gardiner (Prince George-Bulkley Valley):

Mr. Speaker, the Report of the Auditor General points out serious problems in the Canadian Forestry Service. Five provinces were studied, including Vander Zalm's British Columbia.

In its first value-for-money audit of the Service, the Auditor General's Office found that guidelines are not being followed and that the NSR is continuing to grow.

The report points out the clear mismanagement of the Forestry Service by the Progressive Conservative Government.

I call upon the Government to create a full-fledged Ministry of Forests and to provide that Department with some legislative reality.

December 15, 1988

We cannot wait until another election for a FRDA 2 agreement to be signed. We need action now to help solve the forestry problems in British Columbia and in my riding of Prince George-Bulkley Valley.

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