Expansion and Conservation of Canada’s National Parks Act (Bill S-15)

Elizabeth May: Mr. Speaker, it certainly must be unusual in the House to have the hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment twice attack the member for Saanich—Gulf Islands, myself, by name. I wonder if my hon. colleagues are as surprised as I am.

I have said very clearly that I want to see the creation of Sable Island’s national park, but that we must not allow the integrity of the national park system to be sacrificed. It is very clear that this legislation would allow the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board the rights to regulate activities inside a national park. It would be obligated to only consult Parks Canada about the decisions it makes. It would not even need to get a sign-off from Parks Canada before it undertakes activities.

This is a significant threat to the integrity of the entire national parks system. I ask my friend to expand on her comments regarding her concern that this sets a dangerous precedent.

Élaine Michaud: Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for her question.

What she describes is strangely reminiscent for me of the situation currently prevailing with regard to aviation. Developers can in fact set up anywhere, without having to ask permission from Transport Canada to do anything. They merely have to notify it of what they are doing. Here we have a similar scheme. I find this deplorable and rather disturbing.

I said just now that people seemed to be saying there would be no exploration or drilling on Sable Island. However, the subsoil of Sable Island is not part of the national park. It would be excluded.

I do not entirely understand the reasoning of this government, which asserts that it will not allow any exploration on Sable Island, even though the subsoil nevertheless remains accessible to some companies. Are we going to find similar measures in future laws establishing national parks? I hope not.

I hope that the necessary provisions to avoid such a situation will be included in Bill S-15.