Elizabeth May: Mr. Speaker, my hon. colleague, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans has put forward that his goal is to renew and strengthen fisheries protection.
If that is his goal, he should join me in trying to stop this legislation. It does nothing of the kind. The four former fisheries ministers, whom I referenced earlier, have concluded in their letter that unless there are changes in this legislation, we are in very serious trouble.
I will quote again. They are commenting on these claims that the current legislation is so woefully inadequate. What they say is:
…we can only judge from our own experience, which suggests that the shortcomings of the existing legislation have been greatly overstated and that the remedial action proposed—
In other words, this horrible legislation.
—is vastly out of proportion to the issues they have referred to, but only vaguely. In short, we have the impression that the ministers are using a sledgehammer to swat a fly.
This legislation is deeply flawed, and I urge the parliamentary secretary, and all ministers, to reconsider.
Randy Kamp: Mr. Speaker, we have given this very careful consideration. In fact, two of the ministers to whom she referred issued policies. For example, it was the hon. Tom Siddon’s habitat policy written in 1986 that clearly says that our focus needs to be on the protection of those habitats that support recreational, commercial and aboriginal fisheries.
Then, in 1998, during the time of the hon. David Anderson, the government issued another policy document that expanded on the habitat policy that allowed the decision makers to know how to apply section 35 of the act. That again states very clearly that the focus must be on commercial, recreational and aboriginal fisheries, and that is what we are doing with this legislation.