I'm happy to speak on any of the bills or motions if anyone has any questions.
The one I noted that I thought the committee might want to discuss is Bill C-385, an act to amend the Navigation Protection Act.
The criterion this year around votability is whether it concerns a question that is currently on the Order Paper or the Notice Paper as an item of government business. The item of government business is Bill C-69, An Act to enact the Impact Assessment Act and the Canadian Energy Regulator Act, to amend the Navigation Protection Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts.
The question at issue is the Navigation Protection Act. The NPA is an act that regulates, among other things, the development or maintenance of works or obstructions that might affect the navigation of navigable waters across Canada. Under the current version of the NPA, protections are provided only to navigable waters that are on the schedule.
Bill C-385, the item before the committee, amends the NPA to add a number of lakes and rivers to that schedule, so it extends those protections to those lakes and rivers specifically. The government bill, Bill C-69, was introduced earlier this month, on February 8, and makes significant amendments to the NPA. It renames it the Canadian Navigable Waters Act and, under the CNWA, the regime around protecting navigable waters from obstructions and works changes considerably. In particular, it expands the protections that were previously granted in the schedule to any lake, river, or body of water that meets the definition of “navigable water”.
There is a distinction between the types of protections offered, based on the type of work, and there remains a schedule on the act. There remains something of a difference between lakes and rivers on this schedule and navigable waters generally.
I can get into that if you would like, but suffice it to say that both Bill C-385 and Bill C-69 extend protections currently provided by the NPA to the lakes and rivers named in the private member's bill. They do so in different ways and would ultimately provide slightly different levels of protection. The issue that arises is whether they concern the same question. I'm happy to provide my assessment on that question.