Appropriation Act No. 2, 2014-15

An Act for granting to Her Majesty certain sums of money for the federal public administration for the financial year ending March 31, 2015

This bill was last introduced in the 41st Parliament, 2nd Session, which ended in August 2015.

Sponsor

Tony Clement  Conservative

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.

Votes

June 10, 2014 Passed That the Bill be now read a third time and do pass.
June 10, 2014 Passed That Bill C-38, An Act for granting to Her Majesty certain sums of money for the federal public administration for the financial year ending March 31, 2015, {as amended}, be concurred in at report stage [with a further amendment/with further amendments] .
June 10, 2014 Passed That the Bill be now read a second time and referred to the Committee of the Whole.

Changes to the Standing OrdersGovernment Orders

June 19th, 2017 / 1:30 p.m.
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NDP

Murray Rankin NDP Victoria, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am not sure they do, because they seem to drip of cynicism and hypocrisy. To simply talk about prorogation but do nothing about it suggests that they really do not understand the abuses the Harper government brought to that process. Regarding omnibus bills, the big one was Bill C-38, the famous Harper budget implementation bill that included everything under the sun. This motion would not touch those budget measures; it would, rather, touch other measures.

Again, one wonders if they are cynical or are simply trying to check a box on some campaign program and say that they delivered. Meanwhile, the Liberals talk about things today that are not even there, such as the Prime Minister's question period, yet we are still supposed to take it on faith that they really mean it. I find it confusing.

Bill C-44—Time AllocationBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 9th, 2017 / 10:25 a.m.
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Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Madam Speaker, with respect to these debates about time allocation, I would have wished we could ask questions of the Government House Leader, because decisions about the way the government is proceeding and the increased use of time allocation is the House leader's area. The breakdown in relations between the House leaders of the largest three parties in this place is leading to an increased use of what I would call Harper tactics.

Although this is not an omnibus budget bill with the weight of the egregious misuse of power we saw in Bill C-38 and Bill C-45 in 2012, this is nonetheless an omnibus budget bill, and unfortunately so. While there is a connection to the parliamentary budget officer, because “budget” is in the title, the creation of a stand-alone parliamentary budget officer as an independent officer of Parliament, as promised in the Liberal platform, is a subject of such importance that it would have been preferable to have that discussion separate from the passage of budgetary measures.

Time allocation at this point has the effect of disadvantaging those members of Parliament who belong to parties with fewer than 12 members. Our constituents are equal. Our rights, in theory, are equal. It is disproportionately disadvantageous to members of smaller parties or independents when time allocation is used. In my view, it should be used extremely rarely. To say, as the Liberals now do, that they are using it less than Harper did is no excuse for adopting bad tactics and majority rule in a way that hurts the healthy functioning of this place.

I would urge the government to reconsider and not apply time allocation. The Minister of Finance will tell us that it must be done, but it must not be done.

Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment ActGovernment Orders

April 10th, 2017 / 4:25 p.m.
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Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, I want to start by accepting the gracious apology from my friend from Dauphin—Swan River—Neepawa and move to some of the topics that were a focus of his speech.

The member suggested that Bill C-38, the omnibus budget bill of spring 2012, merely amended the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act. It actually repealed the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act as crafted and passed under the previous administration of former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and replaced it with an entirely new act, and that act did include timelines.

I am wondering if the member has read the recent expert assessment of the new act, which found that it completely failed to meet the objectives. The review committee was chaired by the former commissioner of the environment, Johanne Gélinas. The report was released last week, and tellingly, it said that Enbridge found that under the new act, the Harper-era environmental assessment act with timelines, the timelines worked against it and the process took longer.

November 23rd, 2016 / 4:15 p.m.
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Staff Counsel, West Coast Environmental Law

Linda Nowlan

Yes, I'd be happy to. Thank you.

The only case I could find that did interpret that section was a Federal Court case, where the Mikisew Cree First Nation objected to Bill C-38, the omnibus budget bill, which weakened habitat protection, on the basis that they weren't consulted. They were successful, but as the bill had already become law, there was no remedy for them, unfortunately. In that case, commenting on the impact on their aboriginal rights to fish, and the duty not to cause serious harm to fish, the new provision in the act, the Federal Court said that the amendments to the Fisheries Act removed the protection to fish habitat from subsection 35(1) of the act. In that, they also said that the amendment “clearly increases the risk of harm to fish”.

November 21st, 2016 / 3:50 p.m.
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Chief Robert Chamberlin Vice-President, Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs

[Witness speaks in Kwakwala]

I want to also acknowledge that I'm on Algonquin territory, the unceded territories, and I do not take this acknowledgement lightly. It is something that's very serious and dear to us as first nations people.

My traditional name is Owadi. I'm the elected chief councillor from the Kwikwasut'inuxw Haxwa'mis First Nation. Many of you may know our territories as the Broughton Archipelago, or ground zero of the fish farm fight in British Columbia. I've served as the elected chief councillor for 12 years, six consecutive terms. I am finishing my second three-year term as the vice-president of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs. I am also the chair of the first nation wild salmon alliance, and I have a deep background in fisheries, especially as it relates to aquaculture, fish farms, and the Cohen commission. I'm really happy that I made some very brief summary notes of the presentation that I was planning on making, so I'll just go through this and touch on some of the other aspects.

The Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs has been in existence since 1969. We take a very strong view, perspective, and stance on aboriginal title and rights. We seek every opportunity to advance the recognition of the inherent right and authority that first nations have in Canada. We advocate at every level possible. That's why you find me sitting here at this table with all of you this afternoon.

In terms of the topic at hand, I want you to understand the background of my people. Wherever I travel, I'm always very proud to say that we are clam diggers and fish eaters, and very proud of both. When you consider that statement, clams are found below the ocean floor and the salmon are found in the watersheds of our territories, so we have environmental concerns that extend below the surface of the ocean to the very tops of the trees at the height of land in our traditional territories and everything in between. When the government takes steps to make changes that are going to affect various industries and activities found within our territories, we are going to demand that we have a great say in what is going to occur.

Of course, now, with the new Liberal government, first nations across Canada, including myself, have taken great hope in the statements of this new government wanting to redevelop a relationship with first nations people, and most importantly, to revisit any legislation, regulation, management practice, or policy that was not properly and adequately consulted with first nations to satisfy the honour of the crown. As first nations people, we live in a world of the Constitution and Supreme Court of Canada rulings, and we are forever pushing the government and reminding them as gently or as strongly as necessary of their very own laws that they choose to abrogate, disregard, or take on with the most minimal of views.

Certainly, this is very much true and what we're here to talk about today with those omnibus bills that changed no less than 70 different pieces of legislation and law within one bill. Certainly, I've read in the newspaper many times over about this being construed as a miscarriage of democracy within the Canadian government. I certainly heard that loud and clear from the opposition parties.

Here we are today looking to what Prime Minister Trudeau included in the DFO minister's letter, where he spoke very much about reinstating all of the things that were less than gloriously ripped out of the oceans act, such as the HADD permitting, making sure that there is habitat ready provide for the sustenance and abundance of wild fisheries across Canada. The omission at the minister's whim to remove tracts of water from this very protection is just unfathomable, when you think of it, from a country such as Canada that has enjoyed a great foundation built upon marine resources. The traditions of our people in British Columbia, coast-wide and well up into the very headwaters of the Fraser, the Skeena, and the Nass rivers, have provided fish for our people's sustenance.

As all of you are probably more aware than most Canadians, I've been privy to various reports on the state of first nations economy and the poverty that many of our communities live in. When this is true, and I know that it is true, then we rely our upon our traditional foods for the very survival of our people through the cold winters. It is not that we happen to enjoy barbequing a salmon or having clams in the winter; it is what we require to make it through life on a daily basis. This is heightened as you go into the most remote communities and as you learn the challenges that they face in terms of economy and of accessing foods to live.

I think about what's happened here with Bill C-38. It went through the phased approach, where it gets royal assent in the first go-round and then we leave the second phase up to the Governor General. Theoretically, the second phase would open up a door for some measure of consultation with first nations, but the problem is that the whole ball of wax has already gotten royal assent, so it's a meaningless consultation. This is not what I see as the crown's duty to uphold its honour.

When I think of this Canadian government now unequivocally embracing the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, there are very significant portions of that which relate to the topic at hand today with regard to the environment, our traditions, our cultures, our values, and our traditional food sources. Canada, on one hand, is now embracing the UN declaration, and we are faced with the changes that came through the omnibus bill. All of the safeguards that were taken out of this act need to be reinstated, at minimum, right now. We need to turn our attention to the developing leading-edge science, which is becoming available through the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and other sources, to further inform and guide the management practices of the DFO.

In British Columbia, my focus has always been on wild salmon, and I've learned that the outward migrating salmon are probably the least understood. That component of this sacred resource is not understood. How can we adequately develop management plans when this one very significant piece has no science to validate management decisions?

Of course, when I start to think about the changes in the definitions of aboriginal fisheries and commercial fisheries, it's really offensive to me that the Supreme Court of Canada has defined aboriginal rights and access to fish, yet this bill—taking in all the many components—attempts to limit that to a fishery, rather than a right to fish. The problem that I see with that is.... I think of my dear friend Grand Chief Ed John of the Carrier Sekani people and the early Stuart sockeye run of the Fraser River. They have not touched that run in decades. The reason is that it is so depleted, they can't fathom taking fish out of there for worry about the annihilation of the run. That portion of the Fraser River, conceivably, could be forgotten under this existing Bill C-38.

We have to really take a look at what is an aboriginal fish. We have to reinstate the HADD permitting. When I think about the portions that talk about the agreements with the province to take on pieces of this work in conjunction with DFO, I am appalled that there is no mention of the same arrangement with first nations people.

When it talks about the province being well suited to engage on the management of fisheries, there is nobody in this country who is better suited to participate in the active management of fisheries—certainly in British Columbia and, I would say, across Canada—than first nations people. We are born into this. It is part of our genetic makeup. We understand our lands. We know what's going wrong. What we have is a government that has turned a deaf ear to the things that we express and to what we see as a meaningful path forward to safeguard the resources that we rely upon. The government must pursue a co-management agreement with first nations.

In my experience as elected chief of the Kwikwasut'inuxw Haxwa'mis, I've learned about the HADD permitting in relationship to fish farms. What I found was appalling. There's this one company—I won't name the name—that was able to develop a marine bank, an area where they restored so many hundred thousand cubic metres of underwater environment. That was their bank, so they could destroy that same amount in our first nations territory. It made no sense. It would be like tearing down the arena here in Kenora and rebuilding a new one in Toronto as some sort of way to compensate. It does not make sense.

When I say that I want to see the reinstatement of the HADD permits, I want to know—and I want to advance to each of you—that when mitigation measures are going to be developed and there is going to be a permit, then they will be developed with the first nations who hold the title for the lands where the destruction is going to occur. Anything less is not going to be very successful to first nations.

We must really understand that this bill contemplates looking after fisheries rather than fish. If we're not going to take our greatest minds and learned execution of understanding into the protection of habitat, we are not going to have fish. If we don't have healthy and abundant ecosystems that will lay the groundwork for the fish to be able to produce and survive, then we will have nothing.

I want to impress upon you the catastrophe that I know has happened with the cod stocks in Newfoundland and on the east coast of Canada. We must embrace the principles of the Cohen commission in British Columbia. We must understand that there are a lot of holes in the science that guides management of fisheries in British Columbia, and we must expand on things such as the genome work that Dr. Kristi Miller is doing with DFO.

We must expand on the closed containment initiative of Kuterra, of the 'Namgis First Nation on the north end of Vancouver Island, and we must take the fish farms out of the ocean and put them on the land. If you think about it, we will then be able to provide a greater opportunity for economic development to a broader range of first nations that don't necessarily have to be coastal. It will meet many of the goals that the government has stated to close the socio-economic gap that first nations are faced with.

As we go down the road, it must be done hand in glove with first nations people. We must take a look at all the various sections from section 35, 37, and 38, and understand that we must revisit these with first nations, and I say re-engage, not consult and accommodate. We must re-engage with first nations, consistent with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, so we will accomplish what the Supreme Court of Canada has given direction to Canada to do, to uphold the crown's honour and to move toward true reconciliation of presumed crown title, with the underlying aboriginal title of first nations people in Canada.

I want to ensure that we move forward collectively with first nations and that we reinstate HADD, at a minimum, and build on that with current and emerging science, such as the Pacific Salmon Foundation and their Salish Sea marine survival project. These are wonderful examples of new tools that are consistent with the Liberal government's commitment to do so.

Thank you, Scott.

Budget Implementation Act, 2016, No. 2Government Orders

November 1st, 2016 / 12:10 p.m.
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Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise in the House today to speak to Bill C-29. I have been listening to all the debate that has been taking place, and I note that we as members of Parliament seem to be debating lots of different things all at once, and not necessarily always Bill C-29, especially on a day such as today when we are eagerly awaiting the Minister of Finance's update.

Obviously today we are anticipating the fall update on the economy and the state of public finances. I look forward to that. Although I have the opportunity to deliver a speech now, I plan to take part in the lockup on the economic update.

We know that any minute now we will be getting additional financial information from the Minister of Finance, and some of the media reports that foreshadowed what we may see in that report have become part of this debate as if they were in Bill C-29. They are not, so we do not know much about what will be proposed. There are concerns, as many colleagues have raised, about what might be proposed around infrastructure, what might be proposed around specifics of an infrastructure bank. It is not in Bill C-29. We are also talking today about the budget document itself, and much of what is in the budget document is not in Bill C-29.

Let me just clarify for parliamentarians and those who may be watching us today across the country what Bill C-29 is.

I try to be as fair as possible in all circumstances, and I railed against the omnibus budget bills of the previous government such as the spring omnibus budget bill of 2012, Bill C-38, which changed more than 70 different laws and regulations and abolished important institutions of public policy such as the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy. It did many things that were never referenced in the budget. It extended itself well beyond what a budget should usually do. This was the spring omnibus bill of 2012. The fall omnibus bill was Bill C-45, and it completely gutted the Navigable Waters Protection Act, while the spring omnibus bill gutted the Fisheries Act and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act.

I reflect on that just to say that there are different kinds of omnibus bills. There are illegitimate omnibus bills and there are bills that take into account many different measures but all flow from the budget. This is in the category of legitimate omnibus bills. There is nothing in here that is not required by what was in the budget document that we received last spring. Last spring's budget set out changes, particularly to the Canada child benefit. It set out changes to various aspects of the Income Tax Act. If Canadians were to pick up Bill C-29 and read it, I do not think I am making too much of a stretch to say that they would find nothing that would be alarming.

There are provisions to begin to understand how we measure carbon emissions in terms of emissions allowances, how taxpayers would account for that, and how Revenue Canada and the Department of Finance would account for that. There are certainly new rules for charities and extensions for what kinds of donations could be considered charitable donations. There are provisions that are purely to do with the tax code, as one would hope when one is looking at a budget bill.

It is not an illegitimate budget bill, but it does of course allow us to turn our attention to the budget and to reflect on what was there and what was not there in relation to the promises made in last year's campaign.

We are just about at the one-year mark for this new administration and it is fair to reflect at the one-year mark on policies related to budget matters today, so I will stay within the frame of budgetary matters in my presentation. However, I have to say, in providing commentary on Bill C-29, and I want to be honest with Canadians, there is nothing here that gets me worried or upset except for what is missing. I want to be clear about that.

What is missing is that the Liberal platform last year committed to getting rid of subsidies to fossil fuels. There were really only three bullet points under the Liberal platform commitment to climate action.

One bullet point was that they would attend at Paris and negotiate. The Liberals did that and they did it superbly. The second was that they would put in place a national carbon price, and that is a work in progress. I bemoan the fact that the starting price is $10 a tonne but the architecture of it is fair and will only top up those provinces that have failed to define how they want to price their emissions.

This missing piece really deserves much more attention.

The commitment was clear that subsidies for fossil fuels would come to an end. The 2016 budget on page 221 commits until the end of the period in which the previous government had already committed subsidies for a new class of subsidies for liquefied natural gas in 2015. Some may say that LNG, liquefied natural gas, is a fairly clean burning fossil fuel but when it comes from fracked gas, which the LNG industry in British Columbia is projected to come from, it has the same carbon footprint as coal. Seeing a provision in the legislation that would continue this well into the future is a concern. That should come to an end much sooner.

We also were promised a lot of spending on infrastructure but when we look at the actual budget figures, only one-tenth of what is promised on infrastructure will occur before the next election. I really am keen to hear what our finance minister is about to announce later today. If we are trying to stimulate the economy through investments in infrastructure, then we really have to make those investments in infrastructure and we have to do it sooner rather than later. We have only one chance of the money flowing to things like public transit, which we urgently need.

There is reference in the budget to a small amount of money over a two-year period for examining what we need to improve Canada's east-west electricity grid. We need that urgently. Canada is a big country and we tend to have far too many interprovincial barriers. We are familiar with talking about interprovincial barriers to trade but we do not think so much about the interprovincial barriers to electricity. Why is it that provinces struggling to go off coal are having trouble buying renewable energy from the province next door? We really do need to invest in what is a real nation building project. It would create jobs and the fastest root to de-carbonizing our electricity grid is to improve access across provincial boundaries.

We can look at the absurdity right now of what is going on in Newfoundland with respect to Muskrat Falls. Nalcor is building Muskrat Falls, and CEO Stan Marshall has already referred to Muskrat Falls as a boondoggle that should never have been built. Newfoundland will be coming cap in hand to the federal treasury to look for money to bail out that project but it will find that it is throwing good money after bad. Nova Scotia says it cannot shut down coal until it gets an underwater cable all the way from Muskrat Falls.

Hydro-Québec sits right next to the Atlantic provinces. Hydro-Québec's electricity could get exactly as far as Moncton, turn a switch, open up the electricity grid, and work out the financing. Part of the problem may be that Manitoba Hydro and Hydro-Québec prefer to sell south to the United States because sales to the U.S. do not affect their equalization payments. If we start thinking like a country, we might figure out how to maximize the benefit from electricity generated in one province and ease access in another.

Going off fossil fuels as quickly as possible should be a national goal, while at the same time ensuring that the fossil fuels we use in Canada are the ones manufactured and refined in Canada. We have the beginning of a made-in-Canada solution for our energy, for our workers, for the Alberta economy, if we are willing to invest in refineries instead of pipelines and take away the subsidies to fossil fuels as was promised.

September 20th, 2016 / 8:15 p.m.
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Alon D. Weinberg As an Individual

Thank you for having me speak here.

If you consider that the largest block controls the whole territory in every riding in Canada, what else works that way? Gangs work that way, where the largest block controls the whole territory. You can see the behaviour in question period over the last two decades. You can see the gangs are at play. Most Canadians are turned off by that, and I say it's the logic of the system that we currently have.

First past the post is a blank cheque for governments to dominate the other parties and Canadians through fake majoritarian rule. One need only look at the countless constructive amendments to the previous government's budget bill, Bill C-38, that were roundly voted down, one demoralizing whipped no vote after the other. You can watch the video of them sitting there all night. I know a few of you were there.

It's important to recall that less than a decade earlier the then leader of the opposition, Stephen Harper, also railed against such omnibus bills, which were then introduced under the Chrétien government and its own series of false majorities.

This bipolarity of decade-long swings between one party and another through our country's history is the direct result of an electoral system designed for two parties back in England a few centuries ago, and it's been toxic to the development of our democracy. This swing between one government with total control over Parliament and another breeds alienation, disempowerment, and disenfranchisement. It's an affront to the most noble visions that Canadians have for this country, the second-largest land mass on earth. We have a responsibility that is not being met by our democracy. It resembles instead the long heavyweight boxing match, with each trading decade-long blows, at one moment champ another moment vanquished. Heavyweight boxing often leaves the combatants bloodied, bruised, and brain damaged. That, I submit, is the state of Canadian democracy today.

What is the answer? The two dominant systems are majoritarian, represented by the alternative vote and various systems of proportional representation. I encourage everybody here to read carefully Fair Vote Canada's submission to the committee, which models three different models for a new electoral system, including a very innovative and new one that is rural-urban proportional. This is similar to what we had in Manitoba about 70 to 100 years ago, except with a proportional system in the rural area, which still would have a single member riding.

This is not a new process for Canada. In 2004, this was published by the Law Commission of Canada in Voting Counts: Electoral Reform for Canada, presided over by Irwin Cotler. I could go through all the meetings that were held in 2002, in Toronto, Ottawa, Vancouver, Charlottetown, Montreal, London, Calgary, and on and on. This has already happened, and that commission recommended a mixed member proportional system.

I'll quickly read what it had to say about the alternative vote, and then I will finish.

Budget Implementation Act, 2016, No. 1Government Orders

June 7th, 2016 / 3:45 p.m.
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Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Longueuil—Saint-Hubert for his question.

I think that this budget implementation bill really is an omnibus bill. However, it is not at all like the omnibus budget bills introduced by the previous government. At least this bill does not contain changes to laws that have nothing to do with the budget, as was the case with omnibus Bill C-38 in the spring of 2012. It was really terrible and gutted certain laws meant to protect the environment.

I think the bill before us would be better if the government would examine certain projects, particularly the one that pertains to the Canadian Wheat Board. I would agree that it is an omnibus bill, but it is not all that terrible.

Budget Implementation Act, 2016, No. 1Government Orders

June 7th, 2016 / 3:45 p.m.
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Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, I feel as though this budget suffered from the fact that, when input went into Finance Canada to draft this, ministers were just beginning to establish their staff, just getting briefed up.

I am hoping that this is like a budget with training wheels, and the Minister of Finance will get it better next year.

This does not meet the expectations of proper funding for infrastructure. For instance, having announced $100 million for infrastructure in the first 10 years, only 10% of that funding is in the first five years.

We are talking about the need for economic stimulus. The Liberal government got elected on a pledge to use deficit spending to stimulate our economy and specifically to help infrastructure. It does not adequately help infrastructure. It is too little.

Let us hope that 2017 really addresses the infrastructure crisis and removes fossil fuel subsidies and commits to a revised environmental assessment act, one similar to what we had up until Bill C-38 in the spring of 2012.

Budget Implementation Act, 2016, No. 1Government Orders

June 7th, 2016 / 3:40 p.m.
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Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, resuming more or less where I left off, I am speaking to Bill C-15 at report stage.

I had earlier canvassed a couple of key points. One is that this is not an improper use of an omnibus bill, but it certainly is an omnibus bill. It does stay and pertain to one central theme, which is implementing budget 2016. I do remain concerned, however, that we should have spent more time on it.

I mentioned one item in particular where I think the current Liberal government may be flirting with the accusation of it being improper. We did spend some time on this one item in finance committee, but not enough, and that is clause 38, which adds section 135.2 in relation to tax-deferred treatment for transactions under the continuation of the Canadian Wheat Board.

It would have been good to have had this in a separate piece of legislation. The chair of our finance committee pursued the matter of what happened to the assets of the Canadian Wheat Board with some departmental officials. There were billions of dollars there. Where did that money go? How do we find out where it it went?

We know that, in respect of the tax consequences of the trust created in connection with the continuation of the Canadian Wheat Board, the debt of the Wheat Board acquired by the trust is not included in the trust income, but we do not know what happened to the assets of the Canadian Wheat Board, which is a rather substantial question, and whether they were transferred to prairie farmers, as was expected. It appears that they were not.

That is an item that would have been better handled had this part of the budget bill been separated out so it could be properly studied.

There are other aspects that I did not have enough time to address before we stopped for members' statements and question period. I want to revisit one of them in particular that I described as egregious moments ago. Let me explain why.

That is found in the budget, and also, of course, the funds are provided in Bill C-15. On the face of it, if we did not know this issue well, we would think that it was great that the government is providing funding for the improved process under the National Energy Board for looking at environmental assessments.

I found it egregious, and I will read from the budget, at page 166. It says:

Budget 2016 proposes to provide $14.2 million over four years...to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency to support the Agency in fulfilling its responsibilities under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012.

Further up on the same page, there is a similar suggestion that money will be provided:

...$16.5 million over three years...to [support] the National Energy Board...to implement the interim approach.

That was announced earlier this year by the Minister of Environment and Climate Change and the Minister of Natural Resources.

What must not be lost in this discussion of environmental assessment is that the current state of Canadian environmental assessment law is unacceptable, full stop. It is a failure. It is a process that does not work. It does not examine all parts of the environment, nor does it allow the right agency to do the reviews.

Having the National Energy Board do environmental assessments at all is a departure from Canadian environmental law, it is a departure from the National Energy Board's area of expertise, and it is completely unworkable.

We need to go back and revisit the changes that were made in Bill C-38 and repair the Environmental Assessment Act for good, not based on interim measures being spread out for a further three to four years with funding to operate under interim measures to fix a broken process.

It would be far better for all concerned, including industry stakeholders. I was speaking the other day with the Mining Association of Canada leadership. They said they had never wanted the changes that happened in Bill C-38. They do not find the process better.

We need to fix the process, not fund a kind of Rube Goldberg device to try to make something unfixable slightly better.

Those are main concerns with the budget. I find that, although I like this budget a lot more than anything I have read in the last 10 years, I cannot vote for it, because of the continuation of fossil fuel subsidies and the continuation of funding a broken EA process.

Budget Implementation Act, 2016, No. 1Government Orders

June 7th, 2016 / 1:50 p.m.
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Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise at report stage to speak to Bill C-15. In the seven minutes I have, I will try to be very economical and focus on a few points that have been mentioned by other members.

I have a very strong view about the improper use of omnibus budget bills, and I want to reflect briefly on the history of omnibus budget bills.

The mandate letter to the hon. government House leader makes it clear that he is directed to “end the improper use of omnibus bills”. Therefore, having fought very hard in the spring of 2012 against Bill C-38, the omnibus budget bill, I want to canvass this because I think it is important for me to say out loud that this is not an improper use of an omnibus bill but it comes dangerously close.

Omnibus budget bills between 1993 and the 2000 were generally around 12 pages long. The biggest omnibus bill that I had seen was in the spring of 2005 under the previous Liberal government of Paul Martin, which topped 120 pages. People actually protested that the Martin government's 2005 budget bill, at 120 pages, was too long, including the leader of the official opposition at that time, who went on to become prime minister and became the champ of all inappropriate and improper uses of budget bills.

This budget bill, at 179 pages, is clearly the longest omnibus budget bill from a Liberal government. However, it is a piker compared to the abuse of democracy that we saw under the previous Conservative regime.

In the year 2010, we saw an omnibus budget bill that was 883 pages long. In the spring of 2012, we saw the first part of an omnibus budget bill that was 440 pages long, with a second part in the fall, which was another 400 pages long.

What makes an omnibus bill appropriate or inappropriate? If in one piece of legislation we are working toward a single purpose and all pieces of the legislation stem from that single purpose, it is an omnibus bill all right, but it is not improper. What happened in the spring of 2012 is that Bill C-38 destroyed our Environmental Assessment Act, which was not mentioned in the budget, destroyed the Fisheries Act, repealed the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy, repealed the Kyoto Protocol Implementation Act, and changed the National Energy Board Act. No fewer than 70 laws were changed at that time.

Therefore, let us not muddy the waters. The warning to my friends in the Liberal government is that they should not tread too far. This one should have split out the commercialization of the Wheat Board. We needed to study that separately. However, overall, this one is not an improper use of omnibus bills; rather, it just flirts with the word “improper”.

What is good and what is not good about this? Obviously, there is much in this budget to like. I was disappointed because I thought there would be more to like, and there are two specific elements I must mention, before we move to Standing Order 31s, that are really unfortunate and, in fact, egregious.

In terms of the good things, there are changes to the employment insurance program that I welcome. However, as many groups have said, including those who testified before the finance committee, we need to go further and fix EI to get it back to the systems we had before the changes of the Conservative regime. Therefore, while it is certainly better to have the changes we just made, I tried in committee to make amendments to deal with the long-tenured worker, the idea that one has to work for seven years to qualify for those pieces. We have not yet seen the reversal of the changes to seasonal workers. We need to see that.

In the case of the child benefit program, I agree with the Canadian Teachers' Federation, which described it as a good first step to alleviate childhood poverty. However, I found this evidence from the Canadian Teachers' Federation really telling, and we should all take it on board as parliamentarians. It stated:

Each day in our classrooms, Canadian teachers engage with children and youth who are hungry, tired, and struggling due to poverty.

I talk to teachers all the time. We need to do much more for our children. This is just a very small first step.

With respect to veterans, I would say that the Liberals kept their promise to open the veterans offices across Canada that were wrongfully closed. They have done some things that will change the permanent impairment allowance and the grade determination. This is an improvement. However, we still need much more to be done for our veterans, just as we do for pensioners.

The National Pensioners Federation made the same point. The increase in GIS for pensioners is very welcome, but it is $2.60 a day. The maximum improvement for poor seniors in this budget is $2.60 a day. That is not enough.

There is more that I liked in the budget, such as cultural industries and better deals for students, although the money needs to be improved. However, there are two pieces that are completely egregious. One is found on page 221, where the fossil fuel subsidy to liquefied natural gas is left in place until 2024. This is a violation of the Liberal election promise to end subsidies to fossil fuels.

Also, at pages 166 and 167, we see a commitment to keep environment assessment in place under the Bill C-38 version, which as I just mentioned, destroyed our environmental assessment regime. Specific reference to continue to fund CEAA under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012, is offensive to all of us who understand environmental law.

May 2nd, 2016 / 3:35 p.m.
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Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

May I attempt to answer Don's question?

I've lived with this, and believe me, after several points of order and arguments with the Speaker in the 41st Parliament, there's a distinction at report stage between a substantive amendment and a deletion.

Any member of Parliament, including a member of a non-recognized party, after the so-called opportunity created by this oppressive motion, will still have the right to present deletions at report stage. With this motion in place, no member of Parliament would have the right to present substantive amendments at report stage, whether they had been tabled before committee or not. That's the distinction.

The ability that was supported by the Liberal and New Democratic Party, for instance, with regard to the spring omnibus budget bill of 2012.... This motion is the direct result of an attempt to punish me by the previous Conservative majority for fighting effectively against Bill C-38 in legion with Liberal and New Democratic Party MPs who did not want to see the damage that would happen due to Bill C-38. I put forward 423 amendments to Bill C-38, the omnibus budget bill. The Speaker grouped them and we voted. Voting took 24 hours straight, and that's why they brought forward these motions.

First they—in this case Peter Van Loan—tried to get the Speaker to rule that members such as me would have one amendment pulled out of the pack. If that one amendment failed after being put to a test vote, none of the rest would be heard. The Speaker said that it violated the principle of this being a parliamentary democracy, and so that was rejected.

However, the Speaker opened the door by saying, well, if there's some opportunity created.... We've now tried this so-called opportunity and the Speaker said it would have to be satisfactory to members. It's certainly not satisfactory to me. I've lived with it since the Fall of 2013 and it's really very difficult running from committee to committee.

I hope that answers Don's question. Yes, anyone can put forward amendments as deletions at report stage, but nobody can put forward substantive amendments if this motion passes.

Indigenous AffairsAdjournment Proceedings

April 13th, 2016 / 6:45 p.m.
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Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, with no offence to my friend and colleague, the hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, I do believe that the wrong department has responded. My question is specifically in relation to indigenous issues, and it is very clear that the ongoing construction is an ongoing daily violation of treaty rights, which the new Liberal government has sworn to uphold, as the hon member says, on a nation-to-nation basis.

This project underwent a robust evidence-based environmental review because it was reviewed under the legislation that pre-existed the omnibus budget bill, Bill C-38, which wrecked our environmental assessment process and within which the current government finds itself trying to jerry-rig bad processes. This was a fair process. It was a fair federal-provincial review which said that this would cause irrevocable damage, and cabinet overturned that good advice. The current cabinet can overturn that bad decision, stop the project, and respect the rights of first nations.

The BudgetGovernment Orders

April 12th, 2016 / 3:50 p.m.
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Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, I also want to begin by telling my hon. colleague, the leader of the New Democratic Party, how much I respect his dignity, his perseverance, and his being in the House today to present a very important speech on this budget.

I find the budget deeply disappointing and perplexing. I know the hon. leader dedicated much of his speech to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the important priorities and promises that were made to first nations. It is too easy to condemn what is in the budget. There are $8.4 billion for first nations, but there is, undoubtedly, a failure to meet the requirements for the care and protection of first nations children. That part is still a gap.

I want to ask a question for the member. There is a gap on environmental protection. In this place, all opposition parties in 2012 fought hard against the omnibus budget bill, Bill C-38, which destroyed habitat protection under the Fisheries Act and destroyed the Environmental Assessment Act. Those devastating changes are not being reversed.

Will the hon. leader of the New Democratic Party agree with me and join in a call that the current Liberal government reverse immediately the destruction of habitat protection for our fisheries?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

March 24th, 2016 / 12:10 p.m.
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Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, the 2012 omnibus budget bill, the infamous Bill C-38, repealed environmental assessment and put in place a bogus, weak Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012, so-called, which has allowed the National Energy Board to make a mockery of real EA. I was shocked to find in this budget, at page 166, four years of funding specifically referenced to keeping the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 alive.

Does the Minister of Environment and Climate Change intend to entrench Bill C-38, or do the right thing and get rid of it?