Miller's bill to be voted on

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A private member's bill that Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound MP Larry Miller has been working on since he was elected an MP in 2004 will be voted on to be passed through the House of Commons on Wednesday.

Bill C-383, the Transboundary Waters Protection Act, was debated at third reading in the House of Commons on Friday and is now awaiting a vote to pass through the house this week.

"I think it is pretty clear that everybody is going to support it," said Miller. "The vote will be on Wednesday unless something changes and I suspect everyone will support it. It has been unanimous so far."

Miller has voiced his concerns about the diversion and sale of water from the Great Lakes since he was elected MP in 2004 when there was a lot of talk about opening up the Great Lakes to allow water exports. The bill will make it impossible for foreign countries to take large quantities of water from the lakes. It would also stop large diversion projects such as canals from being constructed to move water.

"This would not allow it if a proposal came to load water and take it to Saudi Arabia or whatever or for a major diversion to take water out of the Great Lakes," said Miller.

"We can't stop what has already been done but we can stop it from being done again."

The bill proposes fines of up to $6 million for violations.

The bill does not affect companies that bottle water or remove water to make soft drinks or beer and stays out of provincial jurisdictions. Miller said on Friday some concerns about the bill emerged during debate, but he feels that is just politics at play.

"Some of the (opposition) members don't feel it goes far enough. They want us to basically intrude in provincial jurisdiction. I intentionally stayed out of that because you are looking for problems when you do that," said Miller.

"The way politics is nobody seems to want to come right out and praise a bill. But I know from talking to them that there is nobody voting against it that I am aware of."

Miller introduced Bill C-383 to the House of Commons in December 2011 and it has received unanimous support from the House on all recorded votes on the bill. The Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development reviewed the bill at the committee stage of the review and reported the bill back to the House with only minor amendments.

Miller said it is quite rare for a private member's bill to get to third reading and even rarer for one to receive unanimous consent.

"I think it is a bill, that living on the Great Lakes, with most of our riding on Georgian Bay and close to Lake Huron it is pretty important," said Miller. "It is one of those things that isn't just exclusive to my area. People want water protected and this does that."

Miller said he could have had the bill passed on division after third reading on Friday, but he said he would like a standing vote on the bill to occur.

"Sometimes a passed on division vote allows for somebody who basically they are opposed to something but they don't want to stand up," said Miller. "I want people to show their colours and either support it or vote against it."



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