Safeguarding Canada’s Seas and Skies Act

Elizabeth May: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my hon. colleague for going through some of the history and the large liability issues. This bill, which is being referred to as “safeguarding Canada’s seas and skies act”, was referred to in the media as having a new tanker regime. It has none of those things. Part 4 is the only part that actually deals with anything operational. It merely brings into legal effect the International Convention on Liability and Compensation for Damage in Connection with the Carriage of Hazardous and Noxious Substances by Sea, 2010. In other words, the current administration signed a treaty, and it has waited until almost four years later to make the statutory changes that make the treaty work.

I agree with the member that there is much more that can be done, but this has to be one of the most overblown titles for any act. The “skies” part is not about pollution; it is about technical changes to the Aeronautics Act. I would ask my colleague for his comments.


Philip Toone: Mr. Speaker, I entirely agree with my colleague.

This government definitely has enormous trouble complying with international agreements. At least we can congratulate it for complying with the agreement it signed four years ago. It took way too long to put it into the form of a bill, but I congratulate it for having done so. That is a start.

However, it contains a lot of deficiencies, and I entirely agree with the member for Saanich—Gulf Islands on that. The bill can definitely be vastly improved. However, this government does not appear to be concerned about environmental protection.

Its concern seems to be how we can transport hydrocarbons as efficiently as possible without being troubled by environmental regulations. Bill C-38 reduces them to a very large degree.

We no longer protect more than 90% of Canada’s rivers and lakes. We no longer protect fish habitat. Now it appears we may be content merely to establish a compensation fund to provide protection in the event of an oil spill, but we do not yet have the capacity to clean it up. In short, there are a lot of deficiencies, and I thank the member for emphasizing that point.