Safeguarding Canada’s Seas and Skies Act (Bill C-3)

Elizabeth May: Mr. Speaker, I am happy to join my colleagues in welcoming my friend to her new portfolio.

I can inform her of the quite excellent world-class tanker safety system that has been in place in British Columbia since 1972 and has been responsible for preventing any major oil tanker spills. It has been the federal-provincial moratorium that has prevented any supertankers carrying oil to traverse the areas that are now anticipated and promoted by members of the current administration without waiting for the NEB panel review to be completed.

As the minister mentioned, the government has actually been spending money on lining out the routes for oil tanker traffic through a route that has been prevented since 1972 and is still not approved.

On looking at this overblown title of “safeguarding Canada’s seas and skies act”, we see that it is largely housekeeping measures.

I completely support that it does bring in the measures we need to implement the carriage of hazardous and noxious substances by sea convention, which we signed more than three years ago. There are good measures in here. However, my question to the hon. minister is this: how can we possibly talk about a world-class system when we have shut down all the regional offices for emergency preparedness for oil spills with Environment Canada? On both the west and east coasts, are we supposed to dial a 1-800 number that rings in Ottawa?

Lisa Raitt: Mr. Speaker, our government has acted decisively. We have put more money into a national aerial surveillance program to keep that eye on ships as they move along both of our coasts. We have also increased the number of inspections of foreign vessels.

To the point that the hon. member made, of course we always make sure that we are marking the lanes of shipping appropriately, and we have invested more money through the Coast Guard into that as well.