Northern Jobs and Growth Act

An Act to enact the Nunavut Planning and Project Assessment Act and the Northwest Territories Surface Rights Board Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts

This bill was last introduced in the 41st Parliament, 1st Session, which ended in September 2013.

Sponsor

John Duncan  Conservative

Status

This bill has received Royal Assent and is now law.

Summary

This is from the published bill. The Library of Parliament often publishes better independent summaries.

Part 1 enacts the Nunavut Planning and Project Assessment Act, which implements certain provisions of Articles 10 to 12 of the land claims agreement between the Inuit of the Nunavut Settlement Area and Her Majesty the Queen in right of Canada that was ratified, given effect and declared valid by the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement Act, which came into force on July 9, 1993.

Part 2 enacts the Northwest Territories Surface Rights Board Act, which implements provisions of certain land claim agreements. In particular, that Act establishes the Northwest Territories Surface Rights Board, whose purpose is to resolve matters in dispute relating to terms and conditions of access to lands and waters in the Northwest Territories and the compensation to be paid in respect of that access.

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.

Northern Jobs and Growth ActGovernment Orders

March 4th, 2013 / 12:50 p.m.
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NDP

Dennis Bevington NDP Western Arctic, NT

Mr. Speaker, there are two different situations. In Nunavut, the five-year review is an essential element that should have been included in this bill. My own personal experience with federal legislation on land use and environmental assessment says that there are going to be problems with the bill that will come up very quickly. The thought that the Conservatives would not support the review says to me that they are really not open to change. They are really not interested in anything other than their blinkered view of how legislation should work.

My hope lies with the Government of the Northwest Territories, if what the premier said was correct. The legislative assembly in the Northwest Territories is going to be the place where combinations can be made properly. That is where this power should reside in the end and, hopefully, will.

Northern Jobs and Growth ActGovernment Orders

March 4th, 2013 / 12:50 p.m.
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Conservative

David Wilks Conservative Kootenay—Columbia, BC

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for Western Arctic for his commitment on the Standing Committee on Aboriginal and Northern Affairs.

I continue to refer back to the five-year agreement of which we keep speaking. In Nunavut, in particular, it may well be within the first five years of the act that only one or two projects move forward. This would seem to be a very limited sample from which to try to draw any meaningful discussions with regard to the five-year act. In addition, such reviews often consume more resources, both financial and human, than are saved by marginal improvement results from what can turn out to be a very lengthy process.

I wonder if the member could comment on that.

Northern Jobs and Growth ActGovernment Orders

March 4th, 2013 / 12:55 p.m.
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NDP

Dennis Bevington NDP Western Arctic, NT

Mr. Speaker, getting things wrong in legislation that deals with projects and environmental assessments is opening oneself up to going to court. Court would eat up a lot more costs and time than a review of legislation. The argument brought forward in committee not by Conservative members but, to a great extent, by government officials who seem to be running interference for the government, which is fair enough, just does not stand up.

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March 4th, 2013 / 12:55 p.m.
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Liberal

Carolyn Bennett Liberal St. Paul's, ON

Mr. Speaker, Liberals will be supporting this bill but, yet again, want to express our concern that the government seems to not understand what a parliamentary process is supposed to look like. When the committee travels to the north, the thoughtful people who have been dealing with these issues for a long time deserve to be heard in a real and meaningful way, which is two-way accountability between knowledgeable citizens and Parliament.

Yet again, the government has refused to accept one, not one, amendment to this bill. The government seems to think that amendments wreck bills. We on this side think that amendments improve bills and resolve weaknesses that have been identified by witnesses. Amendments reflect what members heard. As the member for Western Arctic said, the thoughtful people who went to committee had actually crafted the amendments themselves and yet the government refused to listen.

As I have said in the House before, the Liberal Party understands and supports the goal of bringing further clarity to the regulation of land use in the north and, in particular, the dispute resolution process for surface and subsurface rights. The 2008 McCrank report made it clear that the north is struggling with gaps in surface rights legislation to resolve disputes with landowners who did not want to grant access to their lands for development projects.

With an estimated $8 billion worth of mining investments ready to pour into Canada's north over the next decade, the Liberal Party supports closing these legislative gaps. However, as the member for Western Arctic said, we are not sure why this was not done in two dedicated bills for the two jurisdictions being folded into this one piece of legislation.

This government needs to take a much more comprehensive approach to the issue of northern development.

With regard to the land claims agreement, the first part of the bill enacts the Nunavut Planning and Project Assessment Act, which implements certain provisions of articles 10 to 12 of the 1993 Nunavut Land Claims Agreement.

Since 2002, Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada, Nunavut Tunngavik Inc., or NTI, and the government of Nunavut have been working on developing the legislation through the Nunavut legislative working group. This work has been supported by the Nunavut Planning Commission and the Nunavut Impact Review Board.

We are troubled about the concerns raised by NTI that portions of the bill regarding Nunavut do not mirror the language in the land claims agreement and the government's refusal to address these concerns with the amendments that they proposed.

We also heard from the Nunavut Planning Commission that, based upon current information, an initial $2,918,284 is necessary to effectively prepare for and implement the new legal requirements that accompany the legislation. In addition to this needed funding, $1,878,284 of indexed core funding would also be required for ongoing implementation responsibilities.

We heard testimony from Sharon Ehaloak of the commission who made it clear when she said, “We will not be able to enact this legislation without additional funding. There's just no question about it”.

It is not just the planning commission that is raising concerns. Mr. Rick Meyers, vice-president for the Mining Association of Canada, told us:

...most of the boards across the north have been marginally funded, if you like, if not underfunded. They do get the work done and deliver good product, but they do it at some challenge....

I think it's very important that the co-management boards be funded properly.

We are concerned that if those responsible to implement the legislation do not have the resources to do it, we are setting them up to fail, and northerners will not see the benefits that are expected from this legislation. When the minister, the member for Nunavut, was speaking this morning, it was disappointing to hear that she was not able to give any assurance that there would be funding to accompany this legislation.

The government's response to this concern is that necessary money will be provided through the implementation phase of the process. Essentially, the government has said simply, “Trust us; we will handle it; don't worry about the needed funding”, but Ms. Ehaloak testified that

The government has told us that it's moving forward as cost neutral. That's been unacceptable. We will not be able to fulfill the obligations if the legislation moves forward without the funding.

In fact, the Nunavut Planning Commission has been trying without success to negotiate an implementation contract for years, so how can we trust the government when it says it will now resolve this crucial issue of adequate funding?

The goal of part 1 of Bill C-47 is to ensure that any project proposed in the Nunavut settlement area will be carefully examined for its potential impact and benefits. The Nunavut Planning Commission and the Nunavut Impact Review Board will examine, consult and respond to specific project proposals, determine whether they conform to the land use plan and assess how these projects will affect the Nunavut settlement area. This determination will require appropriate consultations, but affected parties and relevant organizations may not have the financial resources to participate effectively or at all.

That is why Liberals have called for a participant fund to be established to ensure that proper consultation will take place. This is at the suggestion of many witnesses and many northerners who felt that a participant fund was not without precedent. When the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act was enacted, sections 57 and 58 recognized this challenge and provided there for participant funding.

All other parties to the working group advocated for such a fund, but the government alone refused to agree with the negotiations. It was disappointing to hear the official make it sound as though it was approved, when indeed it was quite clear that there was only one party at the negotiations that refused to agree to a participant fund, and that was Canada. When the Liberals later proposed that the responsible minister should establish a participant funding program to promote public participation in the review of the projects, the government again refused to consider it.

Bill C-47 is an incredibly complex legislation, and the portions pertaining to Nunavut are the product of more than a decade of negotiations. We have heard concerns from the land claims organization, NTI, about some of the language in the legislation not mirroring that in the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement and we have heard concerns from the Nunavut Planning Commission about a lack of funding to properly implement this legislation. The Nunavut Chamber of Mines and the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada testified that given the complexity of this legislation, “further refinements and adjustments will be necessary”.

Given this complexity and these concerns, a mandatory five-year review of how this legislation performs, once implemented, would have been prudent, but the Conservatives refused our amendment to insert such a review out of hand. The Conservative government's refusal to accept any amendments, regardless of how sensible or minor or bottom-up, is truly troubling.

As for the broader question of northern development, the Liberals believe that a lot more needs to be done besides simply streamlining regulations related to surface rights and dispute resolution mechanisms in order to develop the enormous economic potential of the north.

For example, the federal government still has no plan or capacity to clean up a major spill in icefield waters. Canada must develop the capacity to respond to environmental threats, such as an oil or gas spill resulting from resource extraction in the arctic. These emergency response capacities must be part and parcel of any streamlining of the regulatory process for land use in the north.

Northern economic development will also require investments in basic needs such as education, housing and health, as well as the infrastructure required to support a growing population and economy.

The Prime Minister does not actually seem to understand northern development. It has to be more than military deployments and extracting natural resources. Northern development must also deal with the societal, social and economic welfare of the people who live there.

For instance, Canada has a serious food insecurity problem. In northern communities some estimates put it as high as 79%, or 8 out of 10 people, without sufficient food. The Food Banks Canada report “HungerCount 2012” brings that struggle into disturbing focus. The report notes that one of the few long-standing food banks in the territories has seen an alarming 18% increase in use over the past year and that residents of Iqaluit spend 25% of their total expenditures on food, compared to the Canadian average of 11%, yet the Conservative government has stubbornly refused to admit that the nutrition north program that was supposed to deal with the situation has failed to bring down the costs of weekly food budgets.

The stark reality of Inuit education today is that roughly 75% of children are not completing high school, and many who do find that their skills and knowledge do not compare with those of non-aboriginal graduates. Low education outcomes are associated with adverse social implications, including greater unemployment, greater numbers of youth entering the criminal justice system and greater incidence of illness and poverty.

Without equal access to education and training, northern Canadians will not benefit from the employment opportunities that resource development will create. Instead of developing appropriate programs to address this need, the Conservative government is actually cutting existing support.

For example, the Conservative government has ended the successful aboriginal skills and employment partnership. Canada's resource sector companies were some of the most active participants in this program and have criticized its cancellation.

Critical gaps also remain in terms of transportation, such as the planned development of a deepwater port at Nanisivik that has been scrapped in favour of a part-time summer-only fuelling station.

Iqaluit still does not have a deepwater port and Nunavut Premier Aariak recently indicated that the lack of ports and roads connecting northern communities to each other and to the south is constraining economic and social development.

In short, unlocking the tremendous potential of the north is much broader than streamlining the regulatory process for land use and development. The government needs to have a much more holisitic approach to economic development in the north. However, as I said earlier, despite the fact that this bill is by no means perfect, we do believe that there are significant positive aspects to the legislation.

In closing, one of the great privileges of being a member of Parliament is getting to see all over this wonderful country. It was in the summer of 1998 that I was first able to visit Nunavut, a year before it became a territory. We had an arctic caucus with former Nunavut MP Nancy Karetak-Lindell. We were then visiting Baffin, Grise Fiord and Resolute. I was just captivated by the majesty of the land and the dignity of the people who live in Canada's north.

I think I have been back at least once a year ever since, and that is why the Prime Minister's annual trip to Canada's north is always tough for me: because it never deals with the real problems facing northerners. Northerners deserve more from a Prime Minister than an annual photo op focused on military exercises, ignoring the real challenges of the people of the north and refusing to listen to the solutions that must come from northerners.

The standard of living and quality of life for northerners must meet both Canadian and international norms and minimums. The Arctic millennium development goals are way behind. The federal government must invest not only in basic needs such as education, housing and health but also in the infrastructure, like the ports that will be required to support the growing population and the economy as well as natural resources extraction.

The Prime Minister does not seem to understand northern sovereignty. It has to be more than military deployments and extracting natural resources. Northern sovereignty must also deal with the social and economic welfare of the people who live there. Our northern sovereignty depends on northern peoples. It is time he listened to them and worked with them on their priorities.

Northern Jobs and Growth ActGovernment Orders

March 4th, 2013 / 1:10 p.m.
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Blackstrap Saskatchewan

Conservative

Lynne Yelich ConservativeMinister of State (Western Economic Diversification)

Mr. Speaker, I would mention to the member that it was our government that increased the living allowance for the north. I believe that when we increased it in one of our first budgets, it was the first time the increase had been given to northern persons for decades and decades.

The other point I would mention is mining and how important it is. This weekend we were in Toronto. There were mining companies there from around the world and across Canada. They were very excited about the potential for mining in Canada. Not just the mining companies were excited, but aboriginal leaders were there as well among the groups learning how they can work together to develop the industry responsibly.

I would encourage the member to visit or to have dialogue with some of the industry and the leaders who were visiting this past weekend, because they do have some concerns about a bill that the Liberals will be putting forward on mining.

That is just a comment and not a question. Thank you.

Northern Jobs and Growth ActGovernment Orders

March 4th, 2013 / 1:10 p.m.
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Liberal

Carolyn Bennett Liberal St. Paul's, ON

Mr. Speaker, increasing a living allowance by a tiny amount and then watching the food prices go through the roof is exactly what the government keeps trying to defend. It is defending the indefensible.

The fact on the ground is, before people could feed their families, and now they are hungry. This is serious. There is no housing up there. There are 12 people living in one house. It is the reason northerners wanted the long form census. They want people to know the dire straits in terms of housing needs that exist up there.

Frankly, for the government to have cancelled the very successful aboriginal skills and employment partnership, means that what we have described from the chambers of commerce out there, even Whitehorse, where first nations are there, the mining companies are there, it is a situation of jobs without people and people without jobs.

We actually need a federal government that is prepared to invest in the people so that they can be equipped to realize the potential of the north, but also be able to direct the priorities themselves by both education and training.

Northern Jobs and Growth ActGovernment Orders

March 4th, 2013 / 1:15 p.m.
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NDP

Dennis Bevington NDP Western Arctic, NT

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for her speech on this issue and for the work she did in committee, along with the official opposition. We presented many amendments that should have been listened to in a better fashion.

I would like the hon. member's understanding of why the Conservative members refuse to really even talk about these amendments. We would think, after the amendments were presented by witnesses before the committee, friendly witnesses, not hostile witnesses, that there would have been a more fruitful dialogue on committee.

Does my hon. colleague have any explanation for the silence that came from the government side?

Northern Jobs and Growth ActGovernment Orders

March 4th, 2013 / 1:15 p.m.
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Liberal

Carolyn Bennett Liberal St. Paul's, ON

Mr. Speaker, the member will be surprised at my answer. I remember as a backbench Liberal member of Parliament occasionally being confronted with a situation where a government would bring a bill to committee thinking it was perfect, thinking it had already consulted enough and wanted to ram it through. Its ears were closed. It did not seem to be able to listen to thoughtful, constructive amendments. It is like a baked cake that comes to committee and anything else is just a nuisance.

We once overheard Parliament referred to as a minor process obstacle. That is unfortunately what the Conservative members opposite have been persuaded is their job, to just not be an obstacle and let the government do whatever it wants and to not listen to witnesses because that will get in the way of this masterpiece government bill.

Northern Jobs and Growth ActGovernment Orders

March 4th, 2013 / 1:15 p.m.
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Conservative

Mike Wallace Conservative Burlington, ON

Mr. Speaker, my experience around here is that when a government bill is put forward and the opposition brings forward amendments, often not legal amendments in that they would change the scope of the bill once it has passed second reading, if the amendment is accepted, the opposition uses it as an opportunity to bash the government, to say that the government did not know what it was doing. It becomes a negative instead of a positive.

Would the member agree that is really what happens with politics and that it is not necessarily a good use of our time and proper legislation overview?

Northern Jobs and Growth ActGovernment Orders

March 4th, 2013 / 1:15 p.m.
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Liberal

Carolyn Bennett Liberal St. Paul's, ON

I feel sorry for the member, Mr. Speaker. That cynical view is really not why I came to this place. I came here to make better bills and better policy.

We see the shenanigans of the Conservative government at in camera meetings of committees. We go in camera to try to write a committee report and find great hunks of testimony hacked out. The Conservatives do not even understand that people who read Hansard know what we heard.

In a situation like this we are thoughtful people. The NTI came with many amendments that it had written itself. This is not us staying up all night trying to write things that will wreck a bill. This is us listening to northerners on what is going forward.

Going forward, I hope the member will understand that we are not here to play politics. We are here to make good laws for the people of Canada.

Northern Jobs and Growth ActGovernment Orders

March 4th, 2013 / 1:15 p.m.
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NDP

Carol Hughes NDP Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is obvious that the questioner before me has no idea what this legislation is all about, because he chose to ask a question that had nothing to do with the bill.

I want to raise some awareness about what we heard at committee. Sharon Ehaloak, executive director of the Nunavut Planning Commission, said:

This legislation brings new obligations that are outside of the NLCA, the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement. First and foremost is the public registry; the commission will be obligated to do that. We proposed to government back in 2010, and all our partners, a proposal for an online public registry—not a Cadillac model, but something that would work and provide the commission with adequate systems to be able to respond to the additional applications that will be coming to us. We will require language obligations with that registry, and with this bill, that will be significant. For us to provide one word in English, it's a $2 cost to the commission as the cost of translation.

She goes on to say, “In our organizational capacity, currently we have left positions vacant simply to meet our current needs. We will not be able to enact this legislation without additional funding”.

Maybe my colleague would like to raise the issue about funding again since the colleague across did not know what he was talking about.

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March 4th, 2013 / 1:20 p.m.
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Liberal

Carolyn Bennett Liberal St. Paul's, ON

Mr. Speaker, we were quite concerned in hearing the testimony from the commission that it would be unable to implement the law when it was passed because it did not have the money to even do what it was being asked to do now, such as a program that would meet the language tests in the three languages of the territory. This is a very serious issue with regard to funding

As we know, both the opposition parties were very worried that without participant funding none of these organizations could do their work if people could not afford to come to talk to the commission about their needs. I thank the member for reminding us about the need for an online registry. That would make things so much easier, but it would cost money.

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March 4th, 2013 / 1:20 p.m.
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NDP

Carol Hughes NDP Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing, ON

Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the hon. member for Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier.

I rise to speak to Bill C-47, An Act to enact the Nunavut Planning and Project Assessment Act and the Northwest Territories Surface Rights Board Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts. The New Democrats will be supporting this bill despite the reluctance on the part of the government to adopt any of our amendments, which is surprising since it is such a lengthy piece of technical legislation. Even Conservative committee members acknowledged that it was not all of what anyone wanted, but refused to accept improvements to the bill as requested through witness testimony. The witnesses are the people who will have to implement or abide by the legislation.

Certainly the NDP supports consultation and consensus-based decision making that respect the autonomy of the government of Nunavut and the Northwest Territories. Yet it can easily be argued that this should have been two separate pieces of legislation. While that would have made sense, it is also important to move these two items forward.

Part of this legislation is related to mining in the Northwest Territories. My colleague, the member for Western Arctic, has given an articulate account of our thoughts on that matter. His insight reflects the history of mining in that area and frames the way forward through the challenges that have been dealt with, some of which, it must be said, not dealt with particularly well.

My colleague showed how mining was critical to the northern economy, but he also showed how there was a significant public cost associated with projects that went wrong. He explained how the government was on the hook for the environmental fallout associated with the Giant Mine. In that case, we are left with 270,000 tonnes of arsenic perpetually frozen underground and will have to be dealt with by future generations. This is the kind of outcome the New Democrats have been reminding the government about on all manners of projects and its reluctance to admit there are environmental costs that relate to natural resource projects is mind-boggling and speaks to a kind of wilful ignorance that creates a climate of mistrust on all manners of initiatives as a result.

Suffice it to say, the New Democrats feel that more consultation should have been allowed on the Northwest Territories Surface Rights Board Act part of this bill. However, that part of the bill does not sit in isolation and we are glad to see that the Nunavut land claims agreement is moving ahead, considering that it has been in preparation for almost two decades. Yes, that was even under the Liberals.

Certainly, that element of this bill is less contentious. This part of the legislation has been around this place for a number of years. It was originally introduced in 2010 as Bill C-25, the Nunavut planning and project assessment act. Given the length of time it has been in the works, we can understand that there may be some frustrations from the people who live in Nunavut. They have been waiting for their legislation to pass so they can move on and begin understanding how it will work.

When we look back at the legislative summary of the former Bill C-25, which still applies to Bill C-47, it reads:

In a landmark ruling in 1973 the Supreme Court of Canada confirmed that Aboriginal peoples’ historic occupation of the land gave rise to legal rights in the land that had survived European settlement. In 1982, the Constitution was amended to “recognize and affirm” the “existing aboriginal and treaty rights of the aboriginal peoples of Canada.” “Treaty rights” include rights under land claims agreements.

Those developments lead to the Nunavut land claims agreement of 1993, which lays out some key objectives that are related to the legislation before us. They are: to provide for certainty and clarity of rights to ownership and use of lands and resources and of rights for Inuit to participate in decision-making concerning the use, management and conservation of land, water and resources, including the offshore; to provide Inuit with wildlife harvesting rights and rights to participate in decision-making concerning wildlife harvesting; to provide Inuit with financial compensation and means of participating in economic opportunities; and to encourage self-reliance and the cultural and social well-being of Inuit.

The provisions of the Nunavut land claims agreement provide for the federal government and the Inuit to establish a joint regime for land and resource management in articles 10 to 12.

Article 10 sets out the criteria for the land and resource institutions to be created, while article 11 sets out the parameters for land use planning within the Nunavut settlement area. Article 12 details how development impact is to be evaluated.

Under article 10, the federal government undertakes to establish the following government institutions to administer the regime: a surface rights tribunal, Nunavut Planning Commission, Nunavut Impact Review Board and Nunavut Water Board. Part of this was dealt with when Parliament enacted the Nunavut Waters and Nunavut Surface Rights Tribunal Act, in 2002. The current bill meets the government's obligations as they relate to the other two institutions, the Nunavut Planning Commission and the Nunavut Impact Review Board. That said, we are well aware that both of these institutions already exist; they have existed since 1997, under the Nunavut settlement agreement. Bill C-25, and now Bill C-47, formalize their establishment in legislation and set out how they will continue to operate.

We can look to the legislative summary, which tells us that work on the Nunavut planning and project assessment act began in 2002. To fulfill its obligation for close consultation with Inuit, the Government of Canada established a Nunavut legislative working group, consisting of the Government of Canada, represented by Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, Nunavut Tunngavik Inc., and the Government of Nunavut, supported by the participation of the NPC and the NIRB. The working group met regularly through 2007 to discuss and resolve policy issues, gaps that the bill should address, and resolve questions and legal interpretation of the agreement and how these solutions should be reflected in the bill. When these issues were satisfactorily advanced, in 2007, drafting of the bill began, with oversight and direction from the working group.

The government's backgrounder allows us to summarize the parts of the bill that are relevant to the Nunavut planning and project assessment act. It states that the proposed legislation would continue the functioning of the commission and board and clearly define and describe their powers, duties and functions, including how their members are appointed. It would also clearly define the roles and authorities of Inuit, federal and territorial governments. It would establish timelines for decision-making in the land use planning and environmental assessment processes, to create a more efficient and predictable regulatory regime. It would define how and why, and by whom, land use plans would be prepared, amended, reviewed and implemented in Nunavut.

It would also describe the process by which the commission and the board would examine development proposals and harmonize the assessment process for transboundary projects, by providing for a review by joint panels and an opportunity for the board to review and assess projects outside the area that may have an adverse impact on the Nunavut settlement area.

It would provide for the development of general and specific monitoring plans that would enable both governments to track the environmental, social and economic impacts of projects and establish effective enforcement tools to ensure terms and conditions from the plans and impact assessment processes are followed. It would also streamline the impact assessment process, especially for smaller projects, and provide industry with clear, consistent and transparent guidelines, making investment in Nunavut more attractive and profitable.

Given the fact that I do not have much time to finish my speech, I will end with this. It is clear that there is a fair amount of support for the Nunavut part of the bill. New Democrats will be supporting the bill, but we feel it should have been improved at committee. Unfortunately, government members refused to do this.

New Democrats will continue to fight for the rights of northerners and for the long-term prosperity of northern communities. In as much as the bill largely supports that idea, we will give it our support. Hopefully, through the questions, someone will ask me to finish my speech.

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March 4th, 2013 / 1:30 p.m.
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NDP

Carol Hughes NDP Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am glad that someone has asked me to continue with my speech because we have so much still to share on this issue.

My colleague from Nanaimo—Cowichan indicated this goes back to 2010, when the Nunavut Water Board appeared before the aboriginal affairs committee to support the bill, along with other organizations and some of the mining companies. However, that support was not unanimous and there were still some concerns around parts of the legislation. Among the bigger concerns that the committee heard in 2010 were questions related to funding, and we heard a lot about funding.

I will leave it there to see whether anyone wants to know something else.

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March 4th, 2013 / 1:30 p.m.
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Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, there was an attempt to bring forward several amendments at the committee stage, and it was somewhat of a disappointment that the government did not respond to them.

Could the member indicate what she believes are the three most important amendments that the government could accept and that would make the most significant difference from her perspective?