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Second Reading of Bill C-501 - National Hunting, Trapping and Fishing Heritage Day

Debates of the Senate (Hansard)

2nd Session, 41st Parliament,
Volume 149, Issue 55

Hon. Lynn Beyak moved second reading of Bill C-501, An Act respecting a National Hunting, Trapping and Fishing Heritage Day.

She said: Honourable senators, I am pleased to rise in the Senate this afternoon to address the second reading of Bill C-501, An Act respecting a National Hunting, Trapping and Fishing Heritage Day. This day will formally designate the third Saturday in September every year as Canada's national hunting, trapping and fishing heritage day.

Bill C-501 calls for a nationwide designation of a special date to commemorate the historical role of these traditional activities and celebrate the part hunting, trapping and fishing play in Canada's heritage, social fabric and economy.

Honourable senators, I am speaking to Bill C-501 in memory of my late husband, Tony, and our many happy years together as owners and operators with our two sons, Jason and Nick, of Windy Bay Lodge on Lake of the Woods in northwestern Ontario. Our resort was just north of Rainy River, Tony's hometown, on the border of Ontario, Manitoba and Minnesota — truly God's country, a sentiment I'm sure you all feel about your own regions. Rainy River has the distinction of sitting at the very end of Yonge Street, the longest street in the world, according to The Guinness Book of World Records, starting in Toronto on Lake Ontario and ending in Rainy River on Lake of the Woods, nearly 2,000 kilometres away.

In 2017 we will celebrate the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of Confederation. In the lead-up to that celebration, it is important that Canadians know about, appreciate and celebrate our history and the traditions that helped define who we are as Canadians today.

Hunting, trapping and fishing were an integral part of the life of Canada's Aboriginal peoples and first settlers, and the availability of fish determined where people settled. Hunting, trapping and fishing were the first forms of trade and formed the very backbone of Canada's financial structures. These activities helped set the tone as well as the direction of our economic and social development.

In Northern Canada, hunting, trapping and fishing are vital to the livelihood of our communities on both a cultural and an economic level. These activities fuel the economy of Northern communities by attracting more than 400,000 visitors each year.

Tony and I and our family were very privileged to host and meet guests from all over the world, including astronaut Buzz Aldrin, and for sport's fans, Kevin McHale from the Boston Celtics basketball team.

The value placed on hunting, fishing and trapping in this country is over $10 billion per year. More than 65,000 Canadians are employed in the different sectors of the fur trade, and the fur trade contributes $800 million to the Canadian economy, including more than $450 million in exports.

The world's top designers are using Canadian fur in their collections, and fur garments are sought-after status symbols for customers in China, Russia and South Korea. In fact, the Canada-Korea Free Trade Agreement removes border taxes from mink, which will provide Canadian exporters a new edge in this expanding market.

Fur provides important income in regions where alternative employment opportunities are scarce, such as mining. Trapping beaver, muskrat and other animals provides trappers with food and money for the new equipment and supplies needed to maintain a land-based life.

Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal trappers alike hunt beaver and other fur animals for food. Meat not eaten by the trappers and their families is returned to the forest to feed our wildlife through the long, cold winters.

The fur trade also maintains centuries-old artisan craft traditions. Fur garments are individually cut and sewn by skilled artisans. The men and women of the North American fur trade are proud of the skills and traditions they maintain to this day.

As a young woman born in downtown Toronto and raised in Agincourt, just northeast of the city, Rainy River was a whole new world to me and a completely different way of life, but one which I came to respect and love. I learned that hunting, trapping and fishing gave birth to our great nation, a nation so cold, harsh and unforgiving in winter that survival was often uncertain. We still have six-foot snow drifts at my home in Dryden. When I left last Friday, 15 centimetres more were falling. I think I will stay in Ottawa.

The love of their land and the commitment and persistence of our ancestors became dear to my heart, and Bill C-501 acknowledges and celebrates the courage, sacrifices, adventures and triumphs of our loved ones.

Honourable senators, if you close your eyes for a brief moment, I believe each of you will recall some of your own ancestors' stories passed down from generation to generation and of the loved ones who helped with their own courage and bravery to found this great nation.

[Translation]

Hunters, fishers and trappers are environmental stewards and recognize the need for ongoing conservation and restoration.

[English]

I would like to acknowledge and personally thank the following organizations and individuals for their continued support and efforts toward this bill. The list is long and encompasses all regions of our great nation: Canadian Outdoors Network, Alberta; Alberta Fish & Game Club Association; British Columbia Wildlife Federation; Delta Waterfowl Foundation; Friends of Fur; Ducks Unlimited Canada; Fur Institute of Canada; Hunting for Tomorrow Foundation; la Fédération québécoise des chasseurs et pêcheurs; Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters; Outdoor Caucus, our own; Conservative Hunting and Angling Caucus; Prince Edward Island Wildlife Federation; Newfoundland and Labrador Wildlife Federation; Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation; Wildlife Habitat Canada; Safari Club International; and the Canadian Sportsfishing Industry Association.

I echo the Speech from the Throne in stating that:

Since Canada's earliest days, our economy has been built on our abundant natural resources. Directly and indirectly, the natural resource sector employs 1.8 million Canadians, many in skilled, high-paying jobs. Resource development generates 30 billion dollars annually in revenue that supports health care, education and programs Canadians cherish.

Economic Action Plan 2014 proposes to provide an additional $15 million over two years to extend the Recreational Fisheries Conservation Partnerships Program. This program brings partners together to support the common goal of conserving and protecting Canada's recreational fisheries and is making it a whole new life for fathers, sons, daughters and moms to get together to go fishing.

In conclusion, honourable senators, I am pleased to state that Bill C-501 has all-party support in the other place and is co- sponsored here by my honourable colleague Senator George Baker, a friend and enthusiast outdoorsman himself. This bill also has the support of every provincial and regional outdoor federation across the country.

I believe it is crucial to honour the heritage of those who have gone before us and to bring special recognition to those who participate in hunting, trapping and fishing today. Bill C-501 addresses that.

Honourable senators, please join me in supporting Bill C-501, that every third Saturday of September be known as National Hunting, Trapping and Fishing Heritage Day.

Thank you. Merci.