Would the Minister consider adding elements of Bill C-68 to the whale captivity bill?

Elizabeth May

Mr. Speaker, I want to say on the record parenthetically that I find the use of time allocation, as happening almost on a daily basis these days, to be quite shocking. I know that when in opposition, the Liberal Party promised not to use time allocation.

It seems things were so bad under the previous government that being less bad is good enough for the Liberals. I do not think that is good enough really. However, I cannot resist the opportunity to ask the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard a question about his quite excellent legislation.

I am glad Bill C-68 is before us. We need it desperately. However, is he open to an amendment on a particular section that I was pleased and surprised to see, which is the barring of taking cetaceans into captivity? Would the minister be open perhaps to adding language so the bill that is now stuck in the Senate, Bill S-203, could have key elements incorporated into Bill C-68, in other words not just capturing but keeping or importing?

Dominic LeBlanc – Minister of Fisheries & Oceans

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Saanich—Gulf Islands for her support of the legislation. As I have said many times, we would be open to working with her and with all members of the House with respect to specific suggestions that would improve the legislation.

I agree with the member that the inclusion of the provisions around taking of cetaceans for captivity was inspired by the work done by the Senate, by Bill S-203, and former senator Wilfred Moore from the province of Nova Scotia. My colleague from Saanich—Gulf Islands, having studied law at Dalhousie University as did Senator Moore, would understand the importance of getting the right balance in legislation that keeps up with what we think is the widely held sentiment of Canadians.

With respect to the member’s specific suggestion of those amendments, I would be happy to work with her to see how the intent of Bill S-203 and the substantive elements of that bill could be incorporated into amendments in the Fisheries Act. I look forward to having that conversation with her and with any other colleague.