Evidence of meeting #2 for Subcommittee of the Standing Committee on Finance on Bill C-38 in the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was environmental.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

  • Jayson Myers  President and CEO, Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters - Ontario Division
  • Christopher Smillie  Senior Advisor, Government Relations and Public Affairs, Building and Construction Trades Department, AFL-CIO, Canadian Office
  • David Collyer  President, Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers
  • Denise Carpenter  President and Chief Executive Officer, Canadian Nuclear Association
  • Terry Rees  Executive Director, Federation of Ontario Cottagers' Associations
  • Peter Meisenheimer  Executive Director, Ontario Commercial Fisheries' Association
  • Ward Prystay  Principal, Environmental Services, Stantec Consulting Ltd., Canadian Construction Association
  • Pierre Gratton  President and Chief Executive Officer, Mining Association of Canada
  • Ray Orb  Vice-President, Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities

10 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.

Thanks to our witnesses for coming out tonight, particularly at such a late hour.

You know we're studying a very controversial bill. I've participated, and many of my colleagues have, in standing-room-only public meetings across the country on this. You've all seen the poll that came out this morning that showed that in part due to the reaction to Bill C-38, the Conservatives would lose 50 seats and would be returned to opposition if an election were held today. A Conservative member of Parliament, David Wilks from Kootenay—Columbia, said he'd be voting against the bill because of everything being thrown together and exactly because of that lack of clarity and that lack of predictability.

10 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Blaine Calkins

Mr. Julian, I have a point of order from Mr. Storseth.

10 p.m.

Conservative

Brian Storseth Westlock—St. Paul, AB

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

I don't mean to interrupt my honourable colleague's—my esteemed colleague's—diatribe, but he knows what he's saying is not 100% correct, and I'd ask him to correct the record.

10 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Blaine Calkins

Mr. Julian, it is typical in most of the committees I've been at—while I think this is a matter specifically for debate—that impugning the motives or suggesting the motives that motivate another member of Parliament are usually considered out of order.

I don't want to tie the hands of members with their free time, but if you're going to continue down this path, I'm going to continue to get points of order. I guess at some point we'll have to decide whether or not this is going to be able to continue.

May 28th, 2012 / 10 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

I'm certainly not impugning, Mr. Chair. I'm praising the individual concerned.

But I'm getting to my question, which is exactly the point that both Mr. Prystay and Mr. Gratton mentioned, and that is clarity and predictability around a process. We had the ministers before us a week and a half ago. When we asked them about this very controversial measure around excluding people who are not directly affected by a proposed development, when we asked the minister to clarify how people would be excluded—is it on the basis of living one kilometre from a development or five kilometres?—the minister wasn't able to say.

He did say that the scope would include issues that in his mind were not directly impacted. He was talking about Northern Gateway hearings, saying the issue of global warming and greenhouse gas emissions would be something that he would feel he should exclude somebody from presenting. So the public reaction I've just mentioned, and that is all factually based, is something that I think your associations need to be concerned about: the fact that there is not that clarity or predictability around the process at all. Ministers can override the process, regardless of what recommendations are brought forward.

I want to put to you both—particularly you, Mr. Gratton, because I know in the mining association you're concerned about social licence. Do you not feel that this upheaval within our environmental assessment process and in the approval of energy projects as well undermines that social licence when the public very clearly sees the process is profoundly unfair?

10:05 p.m.

President and Chief Executive Officer, Mining Association of Canada

Pierre Gratton

I think there are many measures in this proposed legislation with respect to CEAA that will improve the environmental assessment process. For example, it's going to be much clearer than it used to be. They're eliminating dead time and confusion at the front end of projects and throughout the process. Rather than having projects consulted on repeatedly, they'll be more streamlined. For example, I'll take the Mount Milligan project in north central B.C.—

10:05 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

I'm sorry. I do have more questions for you.

I'll move on to the next question, which is—

10:05 p.m.

President and Chief Executive Officer, Mining Association of Canada

Pierre Gratton

But I haven't finished answering.

10:05 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Yes, I realize that. I'm limited in my time, and unfortunately I keep being interrupted by the other side.

I'd like to go on to the concern you raised around—

10:05 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Blaine Calkins

A point of order, Mr. Anderson.

10:05 p.m.

Conservative

David Anderson Cypress Hills—Grasslands, SK

Mr. Chair, if you won't step in here, I think we need to. Just because Mr. Julian doesn't like the direction the answer is going in...I think he should give the witness the opportunity and the courtesy and allow him to respond.

10:05 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

I—

10:05 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Blaine Calkins

I'll rule, Mr. Julian, thank you very much.

Mr. Julian, you may not like the answer you're getting, but we should be affording the witnesses, wherever possible.... However, I do like to respect the member's time, and this is your time.

10:05 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Yes.

10:05 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Blaine Calkins

I'll let this one slide, but if you could be more succinct in your questions, you might get the answers you want. It's not my job to reprimand you, but in the future, if a witness is going to be making a point to a bona fide question that you've asked, I think it's only fair that all members of the committee hear the answer to that question. In this particular case, if you want to change the channel, you've got about four minutes left.