An Act to amend the International Boundary Waters Treaty Act

This bill was last introduced in the 37th Parliament, 1st Session, which ended in September 2002.

Sponsor

John Manley  Liberal

Status

This bill has received Royal Assent and is now law.

Elsewhere

All sorts of information on this bill is available at LEGISinfo, provided by the Library of Parliament. You can also read the full text of the bill.

International Boundary Waters Treaty ActGovernment Orders

September 24th, 2001 / 5:35 p.m.
See context

Vancouver Quadra B.C.

Liberal

Stephen Owen LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to address the House on third reading of Bill C-6, an act to amend the International Boundary Waters Treaty Act. I would like to thank the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade for the careful consideration given to Bill C-6.

Over the past four decades every Canadian government, whatever its political stripe, has declared opposition to bulk water removal projects. This has responded to concerns expressed by Canadians that all levels of government should take action to assure the long term security and integrity of Canada's freshwater resources. However, there has never been any legislation to back up that policy. Today we have an opportunity to correct that situation.

I would like to describe briefly the main features of Bill C-6 and then address a few broad questions which have been raised during committee stage of the bill. The amendments have three elements: a prohibition provision; a licensing regime; and sanctions and penalties.

The prohibition provision imposes a prohibition on the bulk removal of boundary waters out of their water basins. While the scope is narrow because Canada's jurisdiction in this field is also narrow, the impact is significant. The prohibition covers the Great Lakes, the largest system of fresh surface water in the world. Many of the bulk water removal projects over the past few decades, up to and including the Nova project of May 1998, have included Great Lakes water.

During committee hearings, one witness urged members to reject completely Bill C-6 because it would prohibit a project still on the drawing board for redirecting freshwater in Northern Ontario to Lake Superior and from there to other parts of Canada and the United States. Stopping this type of project in boundary waters is exactly the objective of Bill C-6.

By adopting this bill, the House will send a clear and unequivocal signal to anyone thinking of developing these schemes; it is prohibited under federal law. It will also send a strong and welcome signal to Canadians that our water is not for sale.

A licensing regime will cover projects in Canada, such as dams or other obstructions, in boundary and transboundary waters. Under existing provisions of the treaty, these types of projects must have the approval of the Government of Canada and the international joint commission, the IJC.

Over the past 92 years there have been about 60 such projects approved without any problems. In essence, this process is not changing except that for the Government of Canada's approval it will be formalized in a licence. I would also like to stress that the licensing regime is entirely separate from the prohibition.

The question has been raised whether the licensing regime permits the approval of bulk water removal projects outside of water basins, in effect going around the prohibition. The answer is no.

The language of Bill C-6 is absolutely clear on this matter. Any proposal for diversion of boundary waters outside of the basin would be captured by the prohibition provision, not covered by the licensing regime. The prohibition in Bill C-6 excludes bulk removals out of water basins from the licensing regime expressly and imposes a prohibition on such projects binding on the government.

Finally, Bill C-6 provides for clear and strong sanctions and penalties. This will give teeth to the prohibition and ensure Canada is in a position to enforce it.

I would like to address three broad issues that have been raised regarding Bill C-6 and Canada's strategy on bulk water removal.

First, is the scope of Bill C-6. Second, is why not an export ban on water? Third, is working with the U.S. to protect the Great Lakes.

With regard to the scope of Bill C-6, we have never claimed that it is the single answer to cover all of Canada's waters. At the outset, we recognized that to completely protect our freshwater resources from bulk removals, all levels of government had to act within their jurisdictions. This recognizes the important role that provinces must play as the owners of natural resources.

In 1999 the Minister of the Environment proposed action by all levels of government in Canada to prohibit bulk water removal out of major Canadian water basins. We have made significant progress. In May 1998 only two of fourteen federal, provincial and territorial jurisdictions in Canada had legislation to prohibit bulk water removal. Today all fourteen have put into place or are developing legislation and policies to prohibit bulk water removal.

I believe that the action of the provinces, complemented by our action today, will set up a strong legislative framework to protect Canada's freshwater resources. That is the goal we must all work toward.

Some people have advocated federal unilateral action through an export ban on water. Such an approach is wrong. It is unrealistic, especially in the federal-provincial context. It would be ineffective. Worse, it would actually undermine the goal we all share.

Unlike Canada's approach, which is focused on comprehensive environmental objectives in a manner that is trade consistent, an export ban does not address the environmental dimension. It also has possible constitutional limitations, and may be vulnerable to trade challenge. An export ban would only regulate the cross-border movement of water once it has become a good and would therefore be subject to international trade agreements. It would likely be contrary to Canada's international trade obligations.

Under Canada's environmental approach, water is protected and regulated in its natural state, before the issue of exporting arises and before it becomes a commercial good or a saleable commodity. This approach is consistent with Canada's international trade obligations.

Canadian governments have full sovereignty over the management of water in its natural state, and in exercising this sovereignty are not constrained by trade agreements, including the NAFTA.

Finally, it is self-evident that we must work closely with U.S. jurisdictions, both federal and state, to ensure that the regimes on both sides of the border are as consistent and restrictive as possible.

Canada and the U.S. agreed on a reference to the International Joint Commission to investigate and make recommendations on consumptive uses, diversions and removals in the Great Lakes. The IJC in its February 2000 final report made recommendations which provide the basis for developing a consistent approach to protecting the Great Lakes on both sides of the border.

The eight Great Lake states are opposed to large scale removals out of the water basin. Also, each governor of the Great Lakes states has a congressionally affirmed power to veto any new diversions.

Also, in the years ahead the boundary waters treaty will remain a critical instrument in protecting Canada's rights, as it has for more than 90 years.

By adopting Bill C-6, parliament will set down in law an unambiguous prohibition on bulk water removal in waters under federal jurisdiction, especially in the Great Lakes. This is a forward looking action which places the highest priority on ensuring the security of Canada's freshwater resources. It demonstrates leadership at the federal level. It affirms an approach which is comprehensive, environmentally sound, respectful of constitutional responsibilities and consistent with Canada's international trade obligations.

I urge all members to support Bill C-6.

International Boundary Waters Treaty ActGovernment Orders

September 24th, 2001 / 5:35 p.m.
See context

Western Arctic Northwest Territories

Liberal

Ethel Blondin-Andrew Liberalfor the Minister of Foreign Affairs

moved that Bill C-6, an act to amend the International Boundary Waters Treaty Act, be read the third time and passed.

Business of the HouseOral Question Period

September 20th, 2001 / 3 p.m.
See context

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, this afternoon we will continue debate on Bill C-15, the criminal code amendments. Time permitting, I would like to start with Bill C-6, the water export bill. If there is agreement, which I intend to seek very shortly, a take note debate would follow after 8.30 p.m., pursuant to requests made in the House by some hon. members, on the Prime Minister's forthcoming visit to the United States of America to meet the president.

On Friday, we will commence second reading of Bill S-23, the Customs Act, and if necessary, Bill C-6, the water bill.

On Monday, we will deal with Bill C-30, the courts administration bill, followed by second reading of Bill C-27, regarding nuclear waste.

Next Tuesday shall be an allotted day, in the name of the Bloc Quebecois.

Next Wednesday we will deal with the Nunavut water and surface rights bills which was introduced earlier this day.

As I mentioned earlier, I draw to the attention of House that there were some consultations earlier today. Given these consultations, I will propose a motion now to the House. However, for the benefit of House leaders, it will be slightly amended because I will have to remove some words in order to seek what I believe is the common ground. If the House leaders have the text of the motion, I will start in the second sentence, not the first. I move:

That, at 8.30 p.m. this day, the House shall continue to sit and shall resolve itself into a committee of the whole to consider a motion “That the committee take note of the planned meeting between the Prime Minister and the President of the United States” provided that, during consideration thereof: (1) the Speaker may from time to time act as Chair of the committee; (2) the Chair of the committee shall not receive any quorum call or any motion except the motion “That the committee do now rise”; (3) when no Member rises to speak, or at 12 a.m., whichever is earlier, the committee shall rise; and (4) when the committee rises the House shall immediately adjourn to the next sitting day.

Points Of OrderGovernment Orders

June 12th, 2001 / 7:15 p.m.
See context

NDP

Bill Blaikie NDP Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough for raising this matter.

I would ask you, Mr. Speaker, to consider the argument that he made, particularly with respect to whether or not there is something in the nature of the way this standing order was used today that separates it out from the way it has been used in the past, the argument that the hon. member made for instance with respect to the use of this motion in respect of supply.

The government House leader argued that because it is only amendments to supply, it is not supply. However I think that was a very weak argument in itself. If it is amendments to supply, it has to do with supply, and therefore, Mr. Speaker, it merits your judgment as to whether or not the use of this standing order with respect to supply is in fact a new use of this particular standing order and one that is not in keeping either with practice or with your own understanding of that particular standing order.

Having said that, I would certainly want to indicate that I do not consider it consultation that somebody gets up to do something by unanimous consent, fails to do so and then some time later seeks to do it through this particular standing order. It may constitute some kind of notice but it does not constitute consultation.

I think it is clear that again we are meeting a Liberal deadline. There is some kind of cabinet retreat or something on Thursday and Friday, so we are faced with the use of this particular standing order.

The government has been willing to make its own sacrifices. It dropped Bill C-6. It does not want that any more. It also dropped Bill C-27. This has been one of the more unproductive sessions. Not only did we lose all the things that the government said it was going to do when it called the election, but it did not even get around to the things that were dropped, because now we are dropping them for some other Liberal deadline.

I know you want me to get to the point of order, Mr. Speaker, and I will. It seems to me that what is at stake here is the nature of this particular standing order itself. I remember when it was brought in, I believe in 1991. At that time I remember speaking to this particular change in the standing orders. If I remember correctly, I think I referred to it as a sort of parliamentary uber-menschen clause, and the way in which the government saw itself, as Raskolnikov in Crime and Punishment , rising above the ordinary moral limits, as Raskolnikov did in Crime and Punishment , by killing the old lady just to show that he was not bound by ordinary morality.

Here we have the Liberals doing the same thing as the Tories did in 1991, showing that they are not bound by any kind of ordinary parliamentary morality or notion of what would be proper due process or procedure. They are quite prepared to just use whatever kind of authority they have at their disposal, which is what they did this morning.

You may say that 25 members could have stopped it. Certainly the parties that have 25 members will have to ask themselves why they did not. However this particular standing order was designed in a parliament where all parties had 25 members or more. Here again we see a kind of carryover from a previous parliament, that is to say, the parliament before 1993. I am sure when this was set up it was understood that all parties had at their disposal at least 25 members. The smallest party in the House was the NDP and we had 44 members. To say 25 members at that time was at least leaving open the possibility that if any one party objected, this would not happen.

Today we have a situation that is quite different, and certainly that standing order should have been changed by now. However, there are a number of other things in our standing orders that are still out of kilter because we have standing orders that were written to serve an entirely different parliament and entirely different political circumstances, that is to say, the political circumstances that existed prior to 1993.

I would ask you, to reflect on whether or not there is an opportunity here for you to rule, given the different nature of this parliament and of the previous parliament, that there is not something about this standing order that you might find unacceptable. Clearly it now has an effect on the rights of smaller parties which it did not have at its inception.

You, who are charged with the protection of the rights of minorities in this parliament and the rights of smaller parties, may want to consider whether you could make some ruling or give some advice to the House as to whether this particular standing order should be amended.

In doing so, Mr. Speaker, if your recommendation were to be followed, providing you make such a recommendation, we could remove from the standing orders something which is kind of a blight on our parliamentary life here: The fact that the government has this kind of power which it can use and has used on a number of occasions and which really makes a mockery of a lot of the so-called power that the opposition has.

Imagine a parliament in which no one party had 25 members except the government. Would it then be okay for the government to just deem everything to have been passed on division? I know this is a bit of a reductio ad absurdum argument but nevertheless that exists. That is a possibility within the standing orders if the Canadian public were to elect a parliament in which only the government had more than 25 members.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

June 11th, 2001 / 6:30 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Don Boudria Liberal Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order. Given the fact, I believe, that all parties support the bill, I would like to try again to move the motion I sought to move earlier. I understand there was one member who had asked for a slight wording change.

I would move that any divisions deferred to the conclusion of government orders today be taken at 6.30 p.m., and that after the said division the House would continue to sit to consider the third reading stages of Bill C-24 and Bill C-6, that divisions be deemed requested thereon and deferred to the conclusion of government orders on June 12, 2001, and that when Bill C-6 is disposed of the House shall adjourn to the next sitting day—and I have added the next few words—that during such extension of debate this evening the House shall not recognize any motions or requests for unanimous consent.

Points Of OrderGovernment Orders

June 11th, 2001 / 5:40 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Don Boudria Liberal Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. There have been consultations among House leaders to extend the hours this evening to complete consideration of two bills.

I would like to seek consent to propose a motion to the House which was negotiated with House leaders, that any divisions deferred to the conclusion of government orders today be taken at 6.30 p.m., that after the said divisions the House continue to sit to consider if necessary third reading stage of Bill C-24, as well as Bill C-6, that divisions be deemed requested thereon and deferred to the conclusion of government orders on June 12, and that when Bill C-6 is disposed of the House shall adjourn until the next sitting day.

I am asking to extend the hours to complete Bill C-24 and Bill C-6. There is a third bill but negotiations are not complete on it yet. I believe we now have consent regarding Bill C-24 and Bill C-6.

Business Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

June 8th, 2001 / 12:05 p.m.
See context

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I have been asked by some members to clarify the business statement, given the time of year, and perhaps I could take a moment to give an updated business statement, particularly for the benefit of all House leaders.

Assuming that the debate on Bill C-25 is completed at third reading and Bill C-24 is completed at report stage later today, the business for Monday would be as follows: Bill S-11, respecting business corporations; Bill S-3, respecting motor vehicles; Bill S-16, respecting money laundering. I understand those three bills are perhaps briefer than others. We would follow this with the third reading stage of Bill C-24, regarding organized crime, which I know is of considerable interest to many members. If any time is left it would be taken up on Bill C-11, respecting immigration, and Bill C-6, respecting bulk water.

On Tuesday, of course, it will be a supply day. It is my intention at the present time to call any unfinished business for Wednesday and the debate on the modernization committee report.

Business Of The HouseOral Question Period

June 7th, 2001 / 3:05 p.m.
See context

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, this afternoon, pursuant to an order made earlier, the House will conclude third reading of Bill C-28, the Parliament of Canada Act amendments. Tomorrow we will deal with third reading of Bill C-25, the Farm Credit Corporation amendments, as well as report stage of Bill C-24 with respect to organized crime. Those are the only bills I expect to deal with tomorrow.

On Monday we will then consider third reading of Bill C-24 regarding organized crime, then Bill S-16, the money laundering bill, followed by Bill C-11, the Immigration Act amendments, Bill S-11 respecting business corporations, Bill S-3 respecting motor vehicles and Bill C-6 respecting bulk water.

On Tuesday we shall deal with an allotted day for the consideration of main estimates at the end of the day. There has been consultations among political parties, and I would hope to take a few minutes on Tuesday to debate and hopefully receive the consent of everyone for a motion regarding Mr. Mandela.

Later next week, we will deal with any bills listed that are not yet complete, as well as the report of the modernization committee. I will consult my colleagues, the House leaders of official parties regarding business for Wednesday and the days beyond, should there be such dates. This ends my report.

Water ExportsOral Question Period

June 7th, 2001 / 2:45 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Dennis Mills Liberal Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of the Environment. Could the minister clarify why an official of his department put out a tender asking for bulk water export valuation?

The valuation of water studies that includes bulk water studies contradicts House of Commons Bill C-6. Does this not create confusion as to what the government's real intention is on bulk water sales?

Water ResourcesOral Question Period

June 1st, 2001 / 11:45 a.m.
See context

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Bloc Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, in connection with Bill C-6, those who appeared before the committee expressed general concern. The government has just sent a completely contradictory message with this invitation to tender.

Is the government aware that, by asking that a price be put on water, it is giving in to the arguments of those wishing to buy our water, the Americans in particular, and is opening the door to all manner of abuses?

Water ResourcesOral Question Period

June 1st, 2001 / 11:45 a.m.
See context

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, there has been no change in our policy. We are about to enact Bill C-6, which opposes bulk water sales. There has been no change, and that is perfectly clear.

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

May 30th, 2001 / 3:05 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Bill Graham Liberal Toronto Centre—Rosedale, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the second report of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade.

Pursuant to the order of reference of Monday May 8, your committee has considered Bill C-6, an act to amend the International Boundary Waters Treaty Act, and has agreed to report this important legislation protecting one of our greatest natural resources with one amendment.

I also have the honour to present, in both official languages, the third report of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade.

Pursuant to Standing Order 108(2), and on a motion from the member for Calgary East, the committee considered the situation in Afghanistan. It condemns the recent actions of religious intolerance in that country and recommends that the government work through the United Nations to promote and protect religious freedom in Afghanistan.

Bulk Water ExportsOral Question Period

May 15th, 2001 / 2:45 p.m.
See context

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I do not want to confuse the hon. member, but let me see if I can explain.

Bill C-6 creates a legal regime that will prevent the removal of bulk water from the drainage systems in Canada, thereby prohibiting the exportation of water in bulk, which we view is not a good that can be subject to exportation. It is not permitted under Bill C-6.

Bulk Water ExportsOral Question Period

May 15th, 2001 / 2:45 p.m.
See context

Canadian Alliance

Cheryl Gallant Canadian Alliance Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

Mr. Speaker, Bill C-6 provides that the minister can license federally the sale of bulk water exports.

Canadians are concerned about bulk water sales. Why is the government intent on ignoring our abundant water heritage and sponsoring legislation that will allow bulk water exports?

Bulk Water ExportsOral Question Period

May 15th, 2001 / 2:45 p.m.
See context

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, there is a bill before parliament now, in committee, Bill C-6, dealing specifically with the issue of bulk water removal from boundary waters in Canada.

The position of the federal government is, has been and continues to be clear. We are opposed to bulk water removal from the country.

We have jurisdiction over boundary waters. We have acted on that. The Minister of the Environment is developing a Canada accord with provincial governments so that they too can take the legislative action necessary to make it clear to every Canadian and to the world that we do not support bulk water removal from this country.