Canada Steamship Lines
Mr. Jeff Watson (Essex, CPC): Mr. Speaker, former Canada Steamship Lines’ chief engineers recently pulled back the veil of secrecy on CSL operations. CSL ships, they report, have been dumping tonnes of ore pellets into the Great Lakes when no one was looking. Sierra Club director, Elizabeth May, said that it was illegal. The present Prime Minister agreed in 1990 when he said, “Poisoning the water is a crime and persistent and wilful polluters must be treated as criminals and criminals must go to jail”.
When will the Prime Minister commit his government to pursue legal action against CSL for polluting our Great Lakes?
Hon. Geoff Regan (Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, this government takes the quality of our lakes and the environment very seriously and acts assiduously. The Coast Guard of course does this, as well as Transport Canada.
My hon. colleague should support the measures this government has taken in this regard.
Mr. Jeff Watson (Essex, CPC): Mr. Speaker, he missed the point. Canada Steamship Lines broke the law. It illegally dumped tonnes of ore pellets into the Great Lakes when no one was looking, and apparently not even the Prime Minister when he held active management of CSL.
Mark Mattson, water quality watchdog, said, “You can’t put anything on the bottom of the lake…. There is no way around the laws…, unless perhaps one becomes a cabinet minister or a prime minister.
Canada Steamship Lines repeatedly broke the law. Why will the Prime Minister not commit his government to legal action against CSL? Is the family business entitled to pollute?
Hon. Stephane Dion (Minister of the Environment, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, nobody is above the law. Everybody must respect the law. If anything happens in this country that is outside the law we act because we have regulations. It is because we have an environmental policy, something that the Conservative Party is unable to imagine.
Mr. Jason Kenney (Calgary Southeast, CPC): Mr. Speaker, back in 1990 when the Prime Minister was the environment critic for his party, he said that criminal polluters would go to jail. Now we have learned, according to people who used to work at his shipping empire, Canada Steamship Lines, that when he uttered those words, tonnes of ore pellets were being dumped by the Prime Minister’s shipping empire into the Great Lakes, poisoning the water.
Canadians are used to two standards, one for normal Canadians and another one for Liberals who seem to be above the law. I would like to give the government an opportunity to say that it will investigate and prosecute the Prime Minister’s family empire for poisoning the Great Lakes.
Hon. Geoff Regan (Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, this government treats every Canadian the same. I find it remarkable and hypocritical to hear that party that opposes every environmental measure this government brings forward talk about the environment.
Mr. Jason Kenney (Calgary Southeast, CPC): Mr. Speaker, lectures on hypocrisy from the Liberals.
The Prime Minister said, “poisoning the water is a crime and persistent and wilful polluters must be treated as criminals”. He said the same thing about the ad scam Liberals but none of them have gone to jail. Why is it that whenever a Liberal breaks the law it is okay, but ordinary Canadians have to pay the price?
It is a very simple question. Will the government in its dying days show that it has learned something from ad scam, that there is one rule of law in this country, and prosecute the Prime Minister’s shipping empire for poisoning our water?
Hon. Geoff Regan (Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, that is no more than empty rhetoric. No one is above the law and due process will follow. For that party that opposes every environmental measure to raise an issue like this is sheer hypocrisy.