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

Elizabeth May: Mr. Speaker, I hate to disappoint the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment, but I could not support the bill as written. It would undercut the fundamental principles of the integrity of the national parks system.

When we created Cape Breton Highlands National Park in 1936, the forest licences did not remain. When we created Gwaii Haanas National Park in 1987, the forest licences did not remain.

The idea that the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board would still have the ability to approve petroleum activities in and around a national park is deeply disturbing.

Gerald Keddy: Mr. Speaker, with respect, the hon. member is incorrect. It is not in and around; it is around. That is the first thing.

There are already several wellheads on Sable Island. They are monitored on a regular basis. They need to be continually monitored on a regular basis to make sure that the cement plugs that have been set in those wells continue to maintain their integrity and that there is no gas or oil leakage that affects the island in any way.

Having worked in the oil industry off Sable Island, I can say there were a few wellheads in that nautical mile range from Sable Island, which we removed when we were out there. Even though the rig I was on did not drill those wells, we went down, cut those wells off and finished them off under the water, to maintain the integrity of the land around Sable Island.