Municipalities have weighed in and they want protection of fish habitat

Elizabeth May

Mr. Speaker, we have heard referenced a number of times in this place that municipalities across Canada were upset with the Fisheries Act, and that is why the Harper government acted to change it.

I just want to reference this again. I mentioned it earlier in debate. The Federation of Canadian Municipalities dealt with this issue in 2012. They brought before the Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ annual general meeting a motion to urge former prime minister Harper to protect habitat and to take those sections out of Bill C-38 that weakened habitat protections. The motion was brought forward by a British Columbian, and former Conservative minister of fisheries, the hon. Tom Siddon, who happened to be an elected official within his own area of British Columbia. It was brought to the floor of the FCM, where it passed.

Where municipalities have weighed in on this issue, they have called for the protection of fish habitat. There is no question that there can be times when there are conflicts for some rural municipalities, but those issues have been largely dealt with in Bill C-68. It certainly has the support of municipalities across the country.

Earl Dreeshen – Member for Red Deer- Mountain View

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for her comment, her discussion about the FCM, and some of the statements that were presented by individuals at the time.

Sometimes people get it wrong. I used to listen to David Suzuki as well, but I do not anymore. Sometimes we have to find out what the motivation is between individuals and the statements they are making. Certainly we have to make sure that we are protecting the environment, but we also have to make sure that we are able to expand our economy in such a way that we will be able to have resource money to do the kinds of things Canadians need to have done, such as build their hospitals, build their schools, and make sure that we have a safety net. That is the critical part.

We cannot just say that we should shut the country and let other countries do it. We know that they are going to, and we are going to be the Boy Scouts. That is not necessary.