Evidence of meeting #58 for Finance in the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was budget.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

  • Ted Cook  Senior Legislative Chief, Tax Legislation Division, Tax Policy Branch, Department of Finance
  • Sean Keenan  Director, Personal Income Tax Division, Tax Policy Branch, Department of Finance
  • Brian McCauley  Assistant Commissioner, Legislative Policy and Regulatory Affairs Branch, Canada Revenue Agency

4:20 p.m.

Conservative

Mike Allen Tobique—Mactaquac, NB

Thank you.

I want to follow up on what Mr. Jean asked here a minute ago. Considering we have a lot of forestry operations, now we're starting to see a lot of development of the natural resources industry. Even in New Brunswick we're starting to see a lot of implementation of potential mining operations, and that type of thing.

It was noted that some metal fabrication operations in my riding have done a lot of modular work for companies out west because of the expense of some of the tradespeople out there. They've been able to build modular components and send them out west.

I find it quite interesting how the opposition can say about this budget that the resource development reform has nothing to do with the finances of the country, when $500 billion in potential projects could be developed over the next 10 years.

Can you comment a little on that positive impact on government royalties and government tax revenue?

4:20 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair James Rajotte

You have one minute.

4:20 p.m.

Conservative

Jim Flaherty Whitby—Oshawa, ON

Sure.

If I understand your question correctly, some of the major projects that have been proposed have taken years and years to move through the various permitting and processing. Sometimes the projects are abandoned because the economic fundamentals change over time, and so on.

This is to provide some certainty to proponents of projects all across the country—always doing adequate environmental assessments, but making sure there's one review for each project, no duplication, and time limits for the projects to help provide certainty to the proponents.

4:20 p.m.

Conservative

Mike Allen Tobique—Mactaquac, NB

Thank you.

4:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair James Rajotte

Thank you, Mr. Allen.

Monsieur Mai, s'il vous plaît.

4:25 p.m.

NDP

Hoang Mai Brossard—La Prairie, QC

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Thank you, Minister.

Changes to the Environmental Assessment Act do not include aboriginal title in the definition of federal lands. How will the government ensure that a regulatory gap does not appear in court, if courts recognize aboriginal title?

4:25 p.m.

Conservative

Jim Flaherty Whitby—Oshawa, ON

I think the member is making an assumption by saying “if” the courts find something. Obviously we have respect for the rule of law, and we follow court decisions subject to appeals, of course.

4:25 p.m.

NDP

Hoang Mai Brossard—La Prairie, QC

There is no definition, in other words.

4:25 p.m.

Conservative

Jim Flaherty Whitby—Oshawa, ON

I'm sorry?

4:25 p.m.

NDP

Hoang Mai Brossard—La Prairie, QC

There is no definition regarding “aboriginal title” in federal law for federal lands.

4:25 p.m.

Conservative

Jim Flaherty Whitby—Oshawa, ON

I'll check that and get back to the committee about that.

4:25 p.m.

NDP

Hoang Mai Brossard—La Prairie, QC

How will disclosure provisions in the new CEAA interact with access to information, privacy, solicitor-client privilege, and first nations ownership of information? Basically how will they protect aboriginal traditional knowledge?

4:25 p.m.

Conservative

Jim Flaherty Whitby—Oshawa, ON

Again, I have not addressed that. I will look at that and get back to you with an answer.

May 15th, 2012 / 4:25 p.m.

NDP

Hoang Mai Brossard—La Prairie, QC

One-third of the budget implementation act, your bill, is regarding environmental assessment, so we're looking at it here.

I'll try another one. Maybe you'll have an answer for this one.

It appears in the new legislation that reports undertaken for proponents will stop the clock on the timelines that will be set out to undertake environmental reviews, but it is less than clear whether first nations will ever interact with decision-makers under the act. This is because many decisions made under the budget implementation act are made by cabinet.

Do reports under proposed subsection 23(2) that are eligible for stopping the clock under proposed subsection 27(6) include studies undertaken for the purpose of consultation?

4:25 p.m.

Conservative

Jim Flaherty Whitby—Oshawa, ON

I'm looking for technical advice on this, and I don't think it's forthcoming, so it will come in the future. We'll get it for you.