An Act to amend the Aeronautics Act, the Fishing and Recreational Harbours Act and other Acts (application of provincial law)

Sponsor

Monique Pauzé  Bloc

Introduced as a private member’s bill. (These don’t often become law.)

Status

Defeated, as of Dec. 5, 2018

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Summary

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

This enactment amends certain acts to subordinate the exercise of certain powers to the applicable provincial laws concerning land use and development and environmental protection.

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

Dec. 5, 2018 Failed 2nd reading of Bill C-392, An Act to amend the Aeronautics Act, the Fishing and Recreational Harbours Act and other Acts (application of provincial law)

Aeronautics ActPrivate Members' Business

December 4th, 2018 / 5:25 p.m.
See context

NDP

Anne Minh-Thu Quach NDP Salaberry—Suroît, QC

Madam Speaker, I am a little taken aback by what I have just heard from my Conservative colleague, but I will focus on the bill that my Bloc Québécois colleague from Repentigny introduced. In the almost 14 years that I have known her, she has always been a defender of the environment and, of course, of Quebec.

Bill C-392 amends eight acts in order to bring the federal government to observe certain rules concerning land use and development, and environmental protection in particular. I will support the bill. My colleague from Repentigny introduced a very interesting bill that could force the government to take into account the assessments of the Bureau d'audiences publiques sur l'environnement, known as BAPE in Quebec.

I agree with the amendments, but I have a few questions about their application and their implications. That is why I will vote in favour of the bill so that we can study it in committee and question expert witnesses to determine the potential negative and positive impacts of the bill.

Since I arrived in the House, I have seen too many bills imposed by the federal government without any real environmental assessment. Under Stephen Harper, the Conservatives eliminated the legal safeguards and the federal administration's ability to monitor enforcement of the few environmental rules they left on the books. The environment and the protection of our forests and waterways have become priority issues, however.

Last Sunday, my office organized a town hall on climate change and the need for a solid federal framework and tools at every level to keep our commitments in the fight against global warming. One hundred twenty Canadians came to hear people such as Lorraine Simard of Comité 21, Julia Posca of IRIS and Patrick Bonin of Greenpeace.

Bonin was clear: there can be no energy development without environmental assessment or estimation of upstream and downstream greenhouse gas emissions. The federal government needs a short-term plan, a medium-term plan and a long-term plan to reduce GHG emissions. The advantage of this bill is that it recognizes that some provinces have effective assessment tools and allows them to use them, for example, BAPE in Quebec.

Consider the energy east pipeline. I do not disagree with the arguments put forward by my Conservative colleague. Conservatives in Quebec and across Canada would like to see the project resurrected. The Liberal Minister of Natural Resources says his government is open to a project like energy east, and yet, under the Conservatives, BAPE published a mini-study, and TransCanada refused to allow its project to be subject to Quebec's environmental legislation. Public opinion prevailed, and the vast majority of municipalities that could proffer an opinion on energy east opposed it for a number of reasons, in particular because there was no environmental assessment. Either the environmental assessments were inadequate, or there was a lack of information about the job creation potential, economic impact and greenhouse gas emissions associated with the project. There was a serious lack of information, and people could see little potential for job creation.

How much GHG will be emitted because of the pipeline? Nobody knows. Will TransCanada pay for the clean-up if there is a spill? Maybe. What we know for sure, though, is that our wetlands, such as those around Sainte-Justine-de-Newton, have to be protected and that a spill in the Ottawa River could contaminate all of metropolitan Montreal's drinking water sources. No big deal, that is only about half of Quebec.

The company never told us how long it would take to contain a spill. What we do know is that it takes an hour and a half to respond to an emergency. That is how long it would take to get to the manual shut-off valve in Sainte-Justine-de-Newton. A lot of people are worried about this. The 23 municipalities in the RCM of Vaudreuil-Soulanges repeatedly asked TransCanada questions about energy east, but they never got any answers.

The region of Vaudreuil-Soulanges has the most pipelines and we need protections. The bill sponsored by my colleague from Repentigny could ensure that a BAPE study be considered if the Conservatives or Liberals decide to do further harm to our planet by approving another pipeline.

The notion of co-operative federalism is important to the NDP. It calls for mutual respect by the different levels of government, promotes co-operation on social and economic policies and guarantees the universality of social programs. To ensure that we have a healthy democracy, it is vital that we respect the jurisdictions of each level of government.

We can all cite examples of the federal government meddling in files in our riding where it has no jurisdiction or disregarding the opinion of the provincial or municipal government. A very telling example in the riding next to mine is a communications tower in Montérégie.

In 2008, Rogers informed Châteauguay that it intended to build its radiocommunication antenna system on municipal land that the company had leased since December 2007. The problem was that the people were dead set against the location. The municipal team proposed another location for the tower. Different problems arose along the way.

In 2016, in a case involving Rogers Communications Inc. and the City of Châteauguay, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that the municipality had interfered in an area of federal jurisdiction when it tried to ban the construction of a Rogers telecommunications tower. The municipality had issued a notice of establishment of a reserve to prevent the construction of a radiocommunication antenna system.

The Supreme Court ultimately found that since radiocommunication comes under federal jurisdiction, the City of Châteauguay had interfered in an area of federal jurisdiction. However, the city's campaign sent a clear message about the importance of land use and forced a debate on the issue of procedings specifically, and the city ultimately won in the Quebec Court of Appeal.

How much money could have been saved if we had a real federal-municipal agreement on land use and the environment? The two levels of government probably could have saved millions of dollars in legal fees.

The NDP therefore believes it is important to respect the concept of co-operative federalism, which aims to counter unilateral actions by the federal government and ensure that multilateral decisions and negotiations take place with a long-term perspective. Bill C-392 is a positive step toward that objective.

I see nothing in this bill that would prevent the federal government from taking action. On the contrary, it promotes the need for agreements among all levels of government and strengthens necessary collaboration. We need strong institutions to deal with the coming climate storm. My constituents, and constituents in all ridings, need to be able to have faith in an environmental assessment process. This is not currently the case. A good federal process would help prevent some of the disputes addressed in Bill C-392.

I was shocked to learn that an RCM in my riding could receive what amounted to an insulting letter from the National Energy Board demanding that the RCM stop causing problems and asking questions. I think it is a problem when the federal government buys a pipeline with our money without consulting indigenous peoples and with no concern for giving $4.5 billion to a Texan company without our consent.

The government needs to step up. We all need to work together to combat climate change and support Canadians. In an open letter, my colleague from Longueuil spoke about creating a non-partisan department of war against climate change. We may disagree on the terminology, but we agree that we need to act quickly and decisively to protect our planet. We need to ensure that our planet will be soundly managed by future generations and also by us, since urgent action involves the next 12 years. Bills like these are therefore welcome.

Aeronautics ActPrivate Members' Business

December 4th, 2018 / 5:35 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Scott Simms Liberal Coast of Bays—Central—Notre Dame, NL

Madam Speaker, once again, it is an honour to rise in the House.

I will start by following up on the speech we just heard by the NDP member. I will start by illustrating an old saying. I come from a large hunting area where we use the term “on target”. The way the member described co-operative federalism and the need to avoid the inefficiencies that happen in jurisdictions such as this was “on target”, but unfortunately also “wide of the mark”, the “mark” of course being our Constitution. What will happen with this legislation is that it would achieve the opposite of what it originally set out to do, and create even more inefficiencies in our federal system.

We are looking at an act to amend the Aeronautics Act, the Fishing and Recreational Harbours Act and other Acts (application of provincial law), as brought forward by the member for Repentigny. Bill C-392 proposes to amend the Aeronautics Act, the Canada Marine Act, the Fishing and Recreational Harbours Act, the National Capital Act, the Radiocommunication Act, the Federal Real Property and Federal Immovables Act, and the Canada Infrastructure Bank Act. These areas and assets are clearly within the jurisdiction of the Government of Canada, but the bill would make them subject to compliance with provincial laws concerning land use and development and environmental protection.

As articulated during the first hour of debate at second reading some time ago, the government is firmly opposed to this idea. What the bill seeks to do is, by way of federal legislation, upset the established division of powers and decades of co-operation between all levels of government on matters of mutual interest.

This proposition is both untenable and unnecessary. We do believe in co-operative federalism, and it can be achieved without going through these measures.

This proposition is untenable because it is not a small change. One cannot simply cherry-pick certain elements of federal jurisdiction and place them under provincial control without adversely affecting the capacity of the government to carry out its constitutional obligations. It is tantamount to putting a stick in the spokes of federal jurisdiction, and it threatens to upend decades of intergovernmental relations.

I have been here for quite some time and have seen a lot of these issues come and go. There have been spats, some disagreements and some harsh words, but nevertheless we have also seen some great efficiencies created in areas of dual jurisdiction.

The Constitution Act of 1867 clearly sets out the division of powers between the federal Parliament and the provincial legislatures, which includes powers that the provinces have delegated to municipalities. Section 91 of the Constitution Act lists the matters over which the federal Parliament has power, and section 92 sets out the powers of the provincial legislatures. Some degree of overlap is inevitable in some laws, as we have pointed out.

However, this overlap is managed. In Canadian constitutional law, a number of legal doctrines such as the double aspect doctrine, the paramountcy doctrine and the interjurisdictional immunity doctrine help manage these situations and have been calibrated in recent years by the Supreme Court of Canada to encourage co-operative federalism. That is the goal the member talked about in her speech. However, as others have said, this bill would be an even more inefficient way to bring about more co-operative federalism.

It is unnecessary because each piece of legislation the proposal seeks to amend already has consultation and environmental protection provisions built into it, which those operating or managing federal assets and activities must follow in order to enable.

It has, and always will be, incumbent on anyone acting under the authority of federal legislation to abide by applicable provincial and municipal laws, or bylaws in their case, just as those acting under the authority of provincial legislation must abide by applicable municipal and federal laws.

This dynamic has lasted for over 150 years, some of it highly publicized and some not. All jurisdictions must work together on certain issues to promote and protect the interests of all Canadians. Even when we agree to work together, we must still respect our jurisdictional boundaries.

It is important to illustrate the scale of the impact Bill C-392 would have on federally regulated operations and how the subsequent uncertainty in the regulatory framework could impact the business and investment environment of these operators as well as their participation in the Canadian supply chain and in the Canadian economy in general.

Small craft harbours are very popular where I come from in northeastern Newfoundland. They are assets that are of incredible value to fish harvesters throughout the entire province as well as on the east coast, the west coast and the northern coast. The program operates and maintains a national system of harbours to provide commercial fish harvesters and other harbour users with safe and accessible facilities. More than 5,000 volunteers across this country participate in the running of our small craft harbours program and all the harbours from coast to coast to coast. Therefore, the program is crucial to the fishing industry, and by extension, to Canada's culture and economy.

As of May 2018, the program is responsible for 1,013 harbours, including 883 fishing harbours and 130 recreational harbours. Together, these harbours represent over 10,000 structures across this large country, valued at approximately $6.03 billion.

When it comes to aviation, Transport Canada works with its partners and stakeholders, including the general public, the aviation industry, of course, other federal government departments, provinces, territories, municipalities, indigenous groups and international organizations to prevent and/or reduce the adverse environmental impacts of air transportation operations.

I have some experience with that myself, having a famous little airport known as Gander, or YQX. Over the years, we have practised co-operation among the three levels of government, the Town of Gander, the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador, and of course, the Government of Canada and the board of the Gander airport authority.

In January 2017, in direct response to the community's concerns about aerodrome development, the government introduced a new regulatory requirement for anyone seeking to construct a new aerodrome to consult with affected stakeholders, including, but not limited to, the surrounding neighbours and the local land use authority. All stakeholders, including provincial governments, incidentally, can submit their comments and concerns during the consultation process. The proponent of the project must take these concerns into consideration and make reasonable efforts to mitigate them.

My friend from the NDP earlier talked about a lot of situations where one felt rammed by the other one and that there was an area of disrespect between two levels of government. However, this is a symptom of the people involved in that situation. The system we have helps to facilitate a better conversation. Sometimes these things happen, but it is not the fault of the system itself. Sometimes the players involved get a bit heated. I can apply the same sort of reasoning to small craft harbours as well.

Airports and aerodromes are the backbone of the aviation industry in Canada, an industry that employs 140,000 Canadians and contributes over $35 billion in GDP. In both examples, anyone managing an asset or building a new one must already comply with all federal and provincial laws pertaining to environmental protection, land use and development. If there is a conflict between the two jurisdictions, industry stakeholders know that the federal law will prevail.

With hundreds of thousands of jobs and tens of billions of dollars at stake in the aviation sector and small craft harbour sectors alone, it is in the national interest to maintain a stable and consistent regulatory framework. The point is that sometimes federal and provincial interests and laws collide. We agree that it happens on occasion. When they do collide, there needs to be a way to determine which laws and interests should prevail. Hence, the paramountcy doctrine. Hence, the interjurisdictional immunity doctrine.

To be clear, the provinces benefit from this clear division too. They have no qualms about making the same argument when facing off against municipalities, which I have witnessed on many occasions, that seek to make changes that fall outside the jurisdiction established for them by provincial statute. Municipal bylaws, particularly those related to zoning, are routinely contested in the courts on the grounds that they are beyond the statutory authority of the municipality. Provinces do not tolerate laws that are ultra vires any more than the Government of Canada does. Of course, we are responsible for protecting those authorities.

In conclusion, what is being proposed in Bill C-392 is unworkable, because it would hamstring the federal authority rather than advance the spirit of co-operative federalism.

Aeronautics ActPrivate Members' Business

December 4th, 2018 / 5:45 p.m.
See context

Bloc

Gabriel Ste-Marie Bloc Joliette, QC

Madam Speaker, I am very pleased to rise in the House today to support Bill C-392, which was introduced by my colleague from Repentigny. She worked long and hard before presenting it to people across Quebec. She worked tirelessly to get the support of Quebeckers, which I believe was necessary. I congratulate her from the bottom of my heart.

I am proud to be in the House to support this bill. I believe it is the kind of work that should be done here in the House. It is a job well done. I therefore want to commend my colleague for that.

Is Quebec a colony of Canada? That is a legitimate question. If we are to believe what the Liberals and Conservatives are saying, then, unfortunately, we cannot help but conclude that the answer is yes.

The situation we are dealing with here mirrors the infamous Home Rule that Great Britain introduced in the Victorian era. That is what the Liberal and Conservative members' opposition to this bill tells us.

According to the Constitution, Quebec belongs to Quebeckers. This is part of the Constitution, but are we actually masters in our own house? In most areas, we are. However, when it comes to areas that the federal government controls, we are not. Is this Home Rule? Under Home Rule, the precious little colonies are told to draft their laws as they wish, but when Queen Victoria or the federal government sets foot in their colony, Quebec, they are not subject to our laws and regulations or to the values we espouse. This is unacceptable.

We often hear the Prime Minister and his cabinet members say that it is 2018, after all.

Why, in 2018, are Quebeckers not allowed to make their own laws and regulations? They are still subject to a higher power, a neighbour that does as it sees fit.

We, the 10 Bloc Québécois members, have had many cases where we were confronted with this frustration. The case that comes up the most is the one involving the installation of cell towers. Earlier, my colleague from Salaberry—Suroît was talking about the case in Châteauguay, a highly publicized case that perfectly illustrates this deeply unacceptable situation.

A private company comes into a municipality and dictates where it wants to install its tower. As everyone knows, there are urban planning and land use rules, Quebec laws and municipal bylaws. This is not the wild west. We cannot approach development willy-nilly like this is the wild west. There are standards for implementation and harmonization. The public has to be consulted, and the infrastructure has to be built in a smart way. That is not what happens when it comes to areas of federal jurisdiction. Cell towers are considered a matter of federal jurisdiction, but the private company can disregard the law and claim that municipal regulations do not apply to it and if people do not like it, too bad.

There is a cell tower in my riding, and a rival company wants to build another one right next to it. The municipality refused and suggested that the company build its tower in a different location for a certain sector. The municipality also said that this would cost a little more but that it was willing to help the company out. In these kinds of situations, the company sometimes says yes, but it often says no. It can do whatever it wants because it is not subject to Quebec laws or municipal regulations. That is unacceptable. We are not masters in our own house, and this dates back to Victorian-era colonialism. We cannot accept that.

The member for Coast of Bays—Central—Notre Dame implied that the bill was unconstitutional. Come on. If that were true, it could not be debated in the House. The bill is completely constitutional. This bill asks the House, the government, to ensure that when federal infrastructure is built in the municipalities of Quebec, it is done in accordance with the laws and regulations. This is not about prohibiting all development. We need cell towers, but we need to make sure that companies abide by the laws and regulations.

On another note, my colleague from Montcalm could go on at length about the small airports issue. In Quebec, that happened under agriculture minister Jean Garon, whom our interim leader often quotes. He was the one who set up protection for agricultural land. It is an aggressive law, a tough but fair law, to preserve Quebec's best land for farming and protect it from being used for speculative real estate development or whatever else. We made rules. Our system is working well, and we are proud of it. Again, the purpose of the bill is not to say that there shall be no more small airports, it is just to make sure they are built according to municipal regulations and Quebec laws.

As things stand, if a developer comes along and the municipality says it cannot do whatever it wants there, the developer says it could not care less because it is a matter of federal jurisdiction and the Minister of Transport does not seem all that concerned about taking the community's wishes into account when building that kind of infrastructure. My question was, is Quebec a colony of Canada? Judging from what the Liberals and Conservatives have been saying, the answer is yes.

Earlier, my colleague from Louis-Saint-Laurent rose to present the Conservative Party's position. He implied that we must defend what is good for the whole country, even if it is contrary to the will of the people of Quebec. Quite frankly, I was expecting a little more support from a member who represents Quebec. What he implied was that they are going to push through energy east because their leader made that commitment. They will ram it through even if people oppose it. He said that the Conservatives would not vote for such a bill because it would limit their authority.

What is that argument but a colonial attitude towards Quebec on Canada's part? The people do not want it. We know that there are no economic benefits and that not one litre of this dirty oil will be consumed or refined in Quebec. It will just be transported to the Irving refinery and then exported. We do not need it. We are assuming all the risks. We are entitled to say that we do not want it. He said that even if we do not want it, the Conservatives will impose it and they will not support Bill C-392 because they want to retain colonial control so they can continue to control Quebec. That is unacceptable.

I was very disappointed to hear him say earlier that he was sad that energy east had been abandoned. He said it had nothing to do with the outcry in Quebec. Today, Éric Girard, the finance minister for Coalition Avenir Québec, which is currently in government in Quebec, was asked by a journalist whether his provincial counterparts were pressuring him about energy east. He said no, there was no social acceptability for the project, so he did not see why they would pressure him.

I found it rather odd to see the member for Louis-Saint-Laurent go to war against the party he used to lead so that he could defend oil companies in the west. We often see him stand up in the House to stand up for the interests of the west. Is he ever able to rise in the House to stand up for the interests of Quebec? The party he once led, which is currently in power in Quebec, is saying that there is no social acceptability and that there never will be. The member said that the Conservatives want to retain colonial control so that they can continue to impose it anyway. This is unacceptable.

Obviously, the bill affects all federal infrastructure that might be installed in Quebec. We are therefore talking about the Aeronautics Act for airports, the Fishing and Recreational Harbours Act, which covers wharves and small craft harbours, and the National Capital Act, which governs the activities of National Capital Commission in Ottawa and the Outaouais region. The bill also affects the Radiocommunication Act for communications infrastructure, as mentioned, including cell antennas, the Federal Real Property and Federal Immovables Act, which governs all federal properties, the Canada Marine Act for ports, and also the Canada Infrastructure Bank Act. To our understanding, it is not clear whether a project funded by the infrastructure bank would automatically be exempt from municipal regulations and Quebec laws. We would therefore no longer be masters in our own house. It is unacceptable.

Is Quebec a colony of Canada? Given what the Liberals and the Conservatives have been saying, unfortunately, we can only conclude that it is.

Aeronautics ActPrivate Members' Business

December 4th, 2018 / 5:55 p.m.
See context

Bloc

Monique Pauzé Bloc Repentigny, QC

Mr. Speaker, after everything I heard, if I had to sum up my bill in one word, I would simply use the word “respect”.

No project located in part or as a whole on the territory of one province should avoid compliance with the environmental legislation adopted by the parliament of that province. Developing an aerodrome, expanding a port area, or building a pipeline are examples of projects that concern both the provincial and federal governments. Such projects must secure both provincial and federal approvals, so as to enhance their social acceptability.

Those few sentences are not even mine. They come from a letter from Jean-Marc Fournier, who was the Liberal minister of intergovernmental affairs when it was published in La Presse in April. It presented the Quebec government's position, but even more importantly, it represented the very strong consensus in Quebec and clearly described the impact that Bill C-392 will have.

Right now, projects under federal jurisdiction are above our laws. Proponents are above our environmental laws, above the laws that protect agricultural land, and above municipal bylaws that ensure harmonious land use. These laws and bylaws are not pulled out of thin air. They have been passed by duly elected officials who represent the people. This also reflects social acceptability.

I spent nearly a year consulting with hundreds of stakeholders from all walks of life. I attended the convention of the Union des municipalités last spring to talk to municipal representatives. I travelled across Quebec to talk to regional federations of the Union des producteurs agricoles or UPA, environmental groups and citizen groups dealing with federal projects that had been implemented without any regard for the wishes of the local communities. I also spoke with experts in environmental and constitutional law, unions and student associations.

Guess what? I did not meet anyone at all who was opposed to Bill C-392. In fact, many of them, including the UPA's regional federations, unions, municipalities, experts, elected officials from the Quebec National Assembly and environmental groups, even went to the trouble of writing to me to express their support. Everyone thinks that it is perfectly normal that all developers should have to abide by Quebec's laws.

However, during the two hours of debate on Bill C-392 and the time we have just spent together, it has become clear that the federal government, whether Liberal or Conservative, just wants to have the last word, even if it goes against the will of the public, indigenous peoples, Quebec or even the provinces. Both the Liberals and the Conservatives used their speaking time to oppose Bill C-392. They are on the same side. It is really sad.

Bill C-392 simply proposes that Ottawa respect the will of the provinces in matters of land use and environmental protection. It is important to understand that if Ottawa imposed stricter regulations than the provinces, then Ottawa would have the last word. In other words, the strictest environmental protection rules would apply to projects under federal jurisdiction. In the end, environmental protection would come out the winner.

Now, what is more important to this government and the Conservative opposition? Is it the common good, the future of the planet, sustainable development, environmental protection and social licence, or is it having the power to decide and have the last word? That is what we will find out tomorrow.

Currently, the federal government is allowing forests and protected agricultural lands to be destroyed to make way for the construction of an airport. It is allowing companies to pollute Quebec's air with red dust. It is forcing cell towers on the municipalities wherever the cell provider wants without any regard for the public. There is no respect. When it comes to protecting the land, there needs to be better public relations. There needs to be action. No one is in a better position to take action than the local populations. That is the essence of my bill.

That is why I am urging all members of the House, regardless of affiliation, to stand up for the people they are supposed to represent here in the House of Commons. That is why we are here after all, is it not?

Aeronautics ActGovernment Orders

June 19th, 2018 / 5:30 p.m.
See context

Québec debout

Monique Pauzé Québec debout Repentigny, QC

moved that Bill C-392, An Act to amend the Aeronautics Act, the Fishing and Recreational Harbours Act and other Acts (application of provincial law), be read the second time and referred to the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities.

Mr. Speaker, I am very proud to rise in the House today. Being able to introduce a bill and debate it is a significant moment for a legislator. Bill C-392 will give me a sense of accomplishment, and members will soon see why.

This bill will ensure that no one will be above our laws. It will help ensure better protection for our environment and farmlands, and it will allow for much more harmonious land use and development. Bill C-392 amends eight federal acts to impose constraints on the ministers responsible for enforcing these acts. This bill deals with legislation regulating pipelines, harbours, docks, airports, telecommunications infrastructure, and all property that enjoys federal immunity, including land managed by the National Capital Commission.

Once this bill is passed, the federal government will no longer be able to authorize an activity or infrastructure project that would violate provincial laws or municipal bylaws on environmental protection and land development. In theory, Quebec belongs to Quebeckers. For the most part, the protection of our territory and environment is governed by Quebec law.

Moreover, Quebec is a pioneer in this area. It has had environmental legislation on the books for almost half a century. It may not be perfect, but it is the best in North America. The same applies to land development. There is a series of laws and regulations to ensure that it is as harmonious as possible at both the provincial and municipal levels.

To ensure Quebeckers’ needs are taken into account, there is a series of consultation mechanisms, for example the Bureau d’audiences publiques sur l’environnement, and municipal referendums. In short, we have adopted a series of laws and mechanisms to protect our environment, ensure harmonious land development and guarantee that projects have social licence. The same is true of every province.

However, when it comes to projects under federal jurisdiction, none of this applies. For all intents and purposes, the federal government is above provincial law. Quebec laws and municipal by-laws continue to apply, but only insofar as they do not affect activities under federal jurisdiction.

Consider a hypothetical pipeline project. We might demand that the pipe be painted green, blue, black or yellow. That does not cost much or bother anyone. However, we could not impose major constraints or demand costly detours, much less refuse to give our consent for the project. Only the federal government can make these decisions, despite our laws and regardless of the will of my people.

Since I was elected about two years ago, there have been too many federal projects that have caused discontent because we have no say in their implementation. It is as if we were no longer at home at home.

Here are some examples: consider the Act Respecting the Preservation of Agricultural Land and Agricultural Activities, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. We tend to forget, because Quebec has a huge territory, but our farmland is extremely valuable. Only 2% of Quebec’s total land mass is made up of good farmland. When it is contaminated and paved over, it is lost forever. It is lost to posterity.

For 40 years now, developers in Quebec have been prevented from destroying our farmland. They must appear before the Commission de protection du territoire agricole and obtain authorization before building anything in a green zone.

However, in 2010, the Supreme Court ruled that the act did not apply to the construction of aerodromes on protected farmland. Since aeronautics is under federal jurisdiction, these contractors are above provincial law. As a result, since the last election, an airport was built in an agricultural area in Saint-Cuthbert, in the riding of Berthier—Maskinongé. There is another one in Neuville, an aerodrome built smack dab in the middle of a cornfield in the riding of Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier. In both cases, the construction violated provincial law, the Union des producteurs agricoles protested, the municipalities protested, and the Quebec government and the National Assembly protested. No one wanted them, but the federal government gave the go-ahead anyway.

The same thing happened in Mascouche, in my esteemed colleague’s riding of Montcalm. In the case of Mascouche, the bill breaches three laws; not one or two laws, but three laws. It breaches agricultural zoning provisions, municipal zoning provisions and the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, because it is in a protected wooded area. My colleague from Montcalm spoke many times in the House on the issue, but that did not matter to the government. It blindly authorized the construction, and the whole thing is now before the courts.

Let us look at other examples. In the case of land development, municipalities are on the front lines. Developing a territory home to thousands of people and sharing it harmoniously in order to avoid conflict is a delicate affair. That is what city planning and zoning regulations are for. Land use planning can only be done at the local level by people who live in the territory in question. After all, it is their territory, their home. Of course, the federal government does not care. It grants businesses under its jurisdiction the same immunity it enjoys from our laws.

I am convinced that every member in the House could tell stories about problems with cell towers being built wherever telecommunications companies please. These companies are above provincial law, above the will of the people, and they certainly are not afraid to take advantage of it. Some cities have tried to pass by-laws to try to straighten things out, but the courts have struck them down one after the other. That is what happened in Terrebonne, Châteauguay and Gatineau. Montreal withdrew its own by-law because, during public consultations, the companies even threatened to sue the city. Industry Canada sent a brief to tell the city to back down.

I could mention the Port of Quebec. IMTT set up shop there, polluting the Limoilou and Saint-Roch neighbourhoods, in the ridings of Beauport—Limoilou and Québec. Residents began mobilizing because of the red dust that settled on their balconies, window sills and outdoor play areas. Among other things, the dust contained nickel, iron, copper and zinc. Did the federal government listen to them? Not at all, because Ottawa is far removed from the real world. At the end of the day, the Quebec government intervened, but it was met with arrogance from the federal government and the businesses it protects under the mantle of its power.

When inspectors from the Quebec ministry for sustainable development, the environment, and the fight against climate change wanted to visit the facilities, the port authorities told them that they had no business there, because the port is under federal jurisdiction. When the Quebec government served a statement of offence under its Environment Quality Act, the company sent it packing. The worst part is that the Quebec Superior Court ruled in favour of the company. The company can flout our laws and poison our urban neighbourhoods as much as it wants. It is above the law.

I have not even mentioned the energy east pipeline, that would have crossed 800 waterways in Quebec without our being able to do a thing about it. These 800 waterways are a source of drinking water for five million Quebeckers. TransCanada consistently refused to apply for a Quebec certificate of authorization, submit to BAPE hearings or comply with Quebec law. If the project had not been abandoned by the company, we would have seen monster protests, and I guarantee that I would have been among the protestors. There would also have been an endless legal battle between the Government of Quebec and the federal government, which systematically sides with companies against Canadians. The government should not be imposing projects on Canadians without their consent.

That is what is happening now in British Columbia, a taste of what will happen if the government tries to revive the energy east pipeline project. We need to settle this now, before it leads to a social and political crisis, which is precisely what will happen if the energy east pipeline project is revived.

I could talk about the federal government’s properties. Cities develop plans, rule on the maximum height of buildings and make an effort to preserve green areas so that the city can breathe. That is what land development is all about.

However, Ottawa can barge in and build anything anywhere, with no regard for local residents or the bylaws adopted by local elected officials. For example, the City of Gatineau has often ended up at daggers drawn with the National Capital Commission. Recently, someone was telling me about the fact that the government constantly nibbles away at Ottawa's Greenbelt whenever it builds new federal offices. That is how things go with projects under federal jurisdiction. There is no shortage of problems, from disregard for locals and legal uncertainty to court battles and unenforceable municipal bylaws.

This bill will fix all of that by introducing legal certainty into areas under perpetual litigation. Since there will be an act of Parliament to explain why proponents' projects were turned down, they will no longer be able to challenge the applicability of our laws. True, the bill will take discretionary powers away from the government, but only to give them back to the people. Furthermore, this would fulfill one of the Liberals' campaign promises that they seem to have forgotten once they got a taste of power. I would just like to remind them that they said the following:

While governments grant permits for resource development, only communities can grant permission.

Indeed, before the election, the Liberals promised that they would not issue permits for projects that were not approved by the province or municipality. That is precisely what the bill will force them to do. Given that projects will have to concurrently comply with federal laws, provincial laws, and municipal by-laws, the highest standard will apply. It is important to have fairly high standards for the environment.

We live in a democracy. Our laws, our regulations, and our consultation mechanisms reflect a certain social consensus. In principle, Quebec agrees with this bill. The Government of Quebec believes that its environmental and land use planning laws must apply at all times. The National Assembly has stated this unanimously several times.

Municipalities are very unhappy that Ottawa constantly circumvents them. The Union des producteurs agricoles wants Ottawa to comply with the law that protects Quebec land. Environmental groups want the highest standards to apply.

While the government insists on exercising its authority on all matters, we want to return control of the land to those who live there. That way we could to a greater extent be masters in our own house, as Jean Lesage used to say. That is Bill C-392 in a nutshell, and that is why I am very proud to introduce it today.

In closing, I would be remiss if I did not thank legislative counsel of the House, especially Nathalie Caron and Isabelle D'Souza, because preparing an omnibus bill that amends several laws and has almost constitutional impacts on a very tight deadline was quite the challenge and they rose to the occasion brilliantly. Hats off to them.

Aeronautics ActGovernment Orders

June 19th, 2018 / 5:45 p.m.
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Kanata—Carleton Ontario

Liberal

Karen McCrimmon LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak today about Bill C-392.

Bill C-392 touches upon several subjects, including intergovernmental relations, federalism, and the paramountcy principle, matters that have been debated in both houses of Parliament in relation to a wide range of subjects. In essence, this bill seeks to allow provincial governments to impose restrictions on environmental protection activities and land use for projects which the federal government undertakes across the country.

I applaud the member for Repentigny's initiative to give more prominent consideration to the environment and land use when projects and activities that fall under federal jurisdiction are being considered.

The government also believes that the environment is worth protecting. Canadians should know that their governments, at all levels, are working together to achieve economic and environmental objectives and are acting in the interests of their safety and security.

Every day millions of Canadians can go about their lives in an orderly and predictable way. They get into their cars that start and stop as they should; drive on roads where people follow the rules; buy groceries that are free from contaminants; land in airplanes at airports that are safe; drink water that is clean; and sleep well at night, knowing that our police, fire departments, paramedics, and military personnel are on guard for our security.

Our society depends on laws and rules to function, and each level of government is responsible for those things that fall into its jurisdiction. Education, building codes and highways, for example, are primarily provincial responsibilities. Matters such as defence, aeronautics, and radio communications, for example, extend beyond provincial borders and impact the country as a whole. In these areas, it falls to the federal government to implement a nationally consistent approach that serves Canada and its people.

As we all know, the division of powers in Canada has been defined in the Constitution Act, but we also know that this division is not black and white. There are many areas and many issues where interests will cross jurisdictional lines, where two or even three levels of government have a stake in an issue, like the environment, like health, like safety, like employment.

The Government of Canada works with the provinces on matters such as education, health, and employment. Likewise, the provinces work with the Government of Canada on matters that fall under federal jurisdiction.

This division of power is essential to maintaining order and predictability in our society. It ensures that we avoid the scenario of too many leaders in one situation or a leadership void when no one else wants to take responsibility in another. In Canada, all jurisdictions must work together on certain issues to promote and protect the interests of all Canadians. Even when we agree to work together, we must still respect jurisdictional boundaries.

Recent Supreme Court decisions on the doctrine of interjurisdictional immunity have stated that provincial and municipal legislation cannot impair core matters of federal jurisdiction over aeronautics or radio communication infrastructure.

While these decisions quite clearly establish federal authority on matters such as aerodromes and cell phone towers, the government does not hide behind interjurisdictional immunity to run roughshod over communities.

In fact, to ensure that local concerns are taken into consideration for activities and projects that fall under federal jurisdiction, the government puts processes in place for consultation and the consideration of environmental laws and land use.

I would like to illustrate this point with a few examples.

First, in January 2017, following a regulatory consultation process, Transport Canada implemented a new regulation called Canadian aviation regulation 307–aerodromes–consultations. The regulation was specifically established to require proponents of certain aerodrome projects to consult with affected stakeholders before starting work so local concerns could be identified and mitigated.

As another example, under the Canada Marine Act, Canada port authorities are charged with the management of federal real property and marine assets as well as navigable waters within the ports. In addition to abiding by all federal legislation and regulations, the Canada Marine Act provides for the incorporation of provincial legislation by reference to address specific issues when the need arises. As a result, British Columbia's liquefied natural gas regulation is being applied to the federal lands being managed by the Prince Rupert Port Authority.

My third and final example is the Canada Infrastructure Bank funding program. The Canada Infrastructure Bank acts as a minority partner in delivering federal support to infrastructure projects, alongside co-investment by private sector and institutional investors and sponsoring governments. Projects supported by the bank must respect all applicable laws in the relevant jurisdiction, including any applicable environmental or labour laws. Project sponsors are required to provide assurance to the bank and other investors that all applicable laws in a province have been respected.

The reason these specific examples were chosen is because these initiatives, all of which require consultation and consideration of local issues related to land use and the environment, are taken from the very acts that the private member's bill seeks to amend. There are countless other examples in the same acts and elsewhere that demonstrate the government's commitment to hearing the concerns of Canadians.

Because the government is not above listening and improving, it is constantly looking for ways to demonstrate this commitment.

Recently, it introduced 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. Bill C-69 exceeds the amendments proposed in Bill C-392 and would explicitly reflect the consideration of environmental, social, safety, health, socio-economic issues, including gender-based impacts, economics, and impacts on indigenous peoples.

Bill C-69 will also provide the public an opportunity to express their views during review processes.

As we all know, there are many issues that transcend municipal and provincial boundaries, and many others where the federal government may be unaware of local concerns. For this reason, taking a co-operative approach achieves the best possible outcome for all Canadians. With a country as large and diverse as Canada, we must all act in good faith and work together to achieve the best possible results for our economy and the environment and for our citizens.

Co-operation is a fine balance. There have been, and will continue to be, times when differences arise despite our best efforts to work together. Even the strongest relationships will experience disagreements.

Bill C-392 would represent a major shift in federal-provincial dynamics in Canada and would undermine the co-operative relationship that we have worked so hard to establish.

Aeronautics ActGovernment Orders

June 19th, 2018 / 5:55 p.m.
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Conservative

Luc Berthold Conservative Mégantic—L'Érable, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is my turn to rise to talk about the bill introduced by my colleague, the member for Repentigny.

I would first like to congratulate my colleague who, as she mentioned herself in her speech, has done a lot of work and research on this. She worked with the legislative counsel of the House to draft a bill that, based on the information she has given us, complies with all constitutional rules and is in order. I doubt that it will really meet all of the court's expectations, but at least some work has been done.

Like me, my colleague very much likes Quebec and defending issues that matter to Quebec. When I was mayor I was involved in a number of jurisdictional disputes. Indeed, mayors are shocked when other levels of government decide for us what we must do or not do in our community. That being said, when I was the mayor of Thetford Mines, we had to manage a creek with a number of other municipalities and if each one of them had decided to manage the creek differently without guidelines, unfortunately, I would not have been able to guarantee the quality of the water at the end of the creek.

That is why I find it commendable that the hon. member wants to return decision-making communities to streamline their decisions, but sometimes streamlining can go too far and gloss over the general interest. That is when mistakes are made. Those decisions might have to be framed better because there are files that have to be managed by other levels of government.

Bill C-392 amends a number of acts, including the Aeronautics Act, the Fishing and Recreational Harbours Act, and also other acts, which I will have the chance to talk about later. The summary reads as follows:

This enactment amends certain acts to subordinate the exercise of certain powers to the applicable provincial laws concerning land use and development and environmental protection.

We need to understand that the very nature of the Québec Debout party involves seeking to opt out of all federal legislation. Basically, all that its members want is for Quebec to leave Canada. Without discounting my colleague's excellent work, we should not be surprised that they introduced a bill, as excellent as it may be, whose objective is to allow Quebec to opt out of federal laws. That is their political agenda. They want to leave Canada and they are taking small steps in that direction in the hopes that, one day, one more small step will mean that they no longer need Canada.

That is what is happening here. Unfortunately for them, we saw through their game and we are going to oppose Bill C-392 as it now stands, even though it was well done and my colleague worked very hard. She is a woman of conviction, which is a great thing in Parliament. We can believe different things and express our views.

I could make some recommendations to my Québec Debout colleagues, but I will refrain from doing so because I do not necessarily think that those recommendations would be appreciated.

The Conservative Party of Canada does not like to cause federal-provincial squabbles. We are not here for that. The main reason we are here is to stand up for the interests of Quebeckers and the Quebec nation within Canada. That is what we are working for. The Conservative Party of Canada welcomed the results of yesterday's byelection in Chicoutimi—Le Fjord, where 52% of people voted for a party that will defend Quebec's interests within the Canadian federation.

This bill obviously aims to invert the hierarchical relationship in federal areas of jurisdiction. It could give the provinces a strong power to interfere at the federal level, by simply amending provincial legislation. This would also have an impact on key economic projects. This would have an impact on the economy. If this bill were applied to the legislation of a single province, it would be enough to delay or even kill a project in the national interest, even if this project does not fall under provincial jurisdiction. I believe that the existing rules and regulations already give enough authority—

Aeronautics ActGovernment Orders

June 19th, 2018 / 6:05 p.m.
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NDP

Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House to outline my position and the position of the NDP on the bill put forward by my colleague from Repentigny.

I think her bill has many interesting elements with regard to respecting the jurisdictions of Quebec and the other provinces, municipal officials, and certain acts and regulations Quebec or other provinces have passed to protect ecosystems, public health, or local residents. Legal and constitutional matters are being raised. There is also the matter of respecting the Quebec nation, as well as respecting the concept known as social licence. Today, no government of any kind can just barge in like in the old days and try to impose its projects in spite of misgivings or fierce opposition from local, regional, or indigenous communities.

I found it hilarious, but at the same time kind of tragic, to hear the Liberal member say earlier that this bill would undermine her party's efforts to promote co-operative federalism.

That takes some nerve. I do not know whether Kinder Morgan, health transfers, or marijuana mean anything to them in terms of co-operative federalism. That is the type of approach they promised to take during the election, but since they took office, the Liberals have been all about unilateralism, federal imperialism, bulldozing, and charging ahead. I think that is absolutely shameful.

In fact, I would like to point something out to the member for Winnipeg North, the parliamentary secretary. He asked a question earlier and I remembered it. I would simply like to tell him that Quebec is not a region. It is a nation. It was not the National Assembly that said that. That was recognized here in the House of Commons and by the Parliament of Canada. I think the member should do his homework and find out exactly what motions have already been adopted here.

The bill introduced by the member for Repentigny has to do with Quebec, of course, but it also has to do with all of the provinces. It seeks to establish a balanced approach that respects the different jurisdictions of the provinces, the federal government, the municipalities, and first nations.

I would like to remind members of the NPD's approach. A few years ago, we had a leader named Jack Layton. He believed that the recognition of the Quebec nation should have implications and consequences, and he took that very seriously. That resulted in a very interesting document entitled the Sherbrooke declaration, drawn up by Pierre Ducasse. The Sherbrooke declaration, which was historically adopted by the NDP, recognizes the Quebec nation and asymmetrical federalism. For years, we have been accused of being a centralist party, but all of the Canada-wide programs that the NDP has proposed have had a Quebec clause that would allow the province to opt out with financial compensation if it was not interested in the program or if it already had an equivalent program. That is what I mean by asymmetrical federalism.

In terms of co-operative federalism, the bill is a step in the right direction. That is why the NDP will proudly support this bill so that it may be studied in committee. We have questions about the mechanics of the bill and how the courts will interpret the fact that we are restoring balance between various jurisdictions and, if possible, those with the best environmental assessments and the strongest social licence. However, I think that this is worth studying. We agree in principle. Second reading is a vote on the principle. We want to refer the bill to committee to be studied. We have some questions, but we think that the spirit of the bill is consistent with our vision. It is also a step in the right direction toward better understanding, to better protect our communities and the people who want to protect their lakes, rivers, farmland, and simply their peace and quiet. They can protect their creek from one end to the other as well. I am sure that if we can sit down and talk about this we will come to an agreement at some point.

The member for Repentigny introduced a bill that will amend eight federal acts, forcing Ottawa to respect applicable provincial laws and municipal regulations governing land use and development.

That is very important because land development is key here and the government has to do a better job of respecting that. This bill will affect wharves, ports, airports, telecommunications infrastructure, federal properties, interprovincial pipelines, and more.

This bill does not explicitly state how it changes the status quo, and that is what we have questions about. The bill simply says that the exercise of the powers in question must comply with provincial laws.

I believe my colleague from Repentigny mentioned an example to do with the Canada National Parks Act, which already takes certain provincial jurisdictions and regulations into consideration. In many cases, the exercise of powers under federal law is already subordinate to provincial laws, including those that govern land development and environmental protection. We do not see this as an inapplicable precedent or something unprecedented. This is the natural extension of a principle we agree with. Remains to be seen how it will apply in real life.

The bill's purpose is to give the governments of Quebec and the other provinces more power over land development within their borders. The bill would require the federal government to recognize agricultural zoning regulations, for example, and to respect more exacting environmental assessments, such as those carried out by the BAPE, Quebec's environmental assessment agency. We can talk more about that.

As the Green Party leader said, the Liberal government's Bill C-69 does not inspire confidence in the seriousness of the government's new environmental assessment processes. In some ways, this bill is full of holes. We do not even know if it will be enforced or if the Minister of Environment and Climate Change will abide by these recommendations. After all, her discretionary power is absolute.

In accordance with the division of powers under the Constitution, the laws affected by this bill are a matter of federal jurisdiction. According to the Library of Parliament analysis that we requested, it is impossible to determine the legislation's exact scope from its current wording. It is possible that the courts will interpret the provisions of Bill C-392 as an incorporation by reference of provincial laws, meaning that it incorporates, for the purposes of the eight laws amended, the rules set out by the provinces. If it turns out that the courts consider that the provisions of Bill C-392 incorporate by reference the provincial laws related to the eight laws amended, these provincial laws, for the purposes of these eight laws, will be considered to be federal laws. This is a common legislative technique that has a great deal of precedent. However, the real effects remain unknown for the time being. It will be important to examine these points and questions when the bill is studied in committee.

We also consulted David Robitaille, tenured professor in the Faculty of Law at the University of Ottawa. He thinks this bill is interesting and could result in a better division of the responsibilities and decision-making powers between the federal government and provincial governments, or the Government of Quebec in this particular instance.

There are a number of examples in which this could have made a difference if the bill introduced by the member for Repentigny had already been applied. For example, there is the private developer operating near Shawinigan that had the right to operate a small airport on private land or to fly a float plane on a lake, even though it was prohibited by a municipal zoning bylaw or provincial law, such as the Act Respecting the Preservation of Agricultural Land and Agricultural Activities. This is the kind of situation we must stop from happening.

I think it is important to be open, show common sense, and send this bill to committee, so that we can respect Quebec laws, provincial laws, and municipalities.

The current Liberal government violated the rights of indigenous peoples and of British Columbia. It barged in and bought a 65-year-old pipeline for $4.5 billion. It completely disregarded all of the orders from the Government of British Columbia. As a Quebecker, I would be particularly concerned that it might manage to revive a pipeline project like energy east, which had massive opposition throughout Quebec, in Montreal, in the metropolitan area, in towns, and in the regions. Energy east would have crossed 800 rivers in Quebec, including the St. Lawrence. The government needs to understand that it must sit down with Quebec, the provinces, and municipalities to talk things over, like a respectful partner.

Aeronautics ActRoutine Proceedings

February 1st, 2018 / 10:05 a.m.
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Bloc

Monique Pauzé Bloc Repentigny, QC

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-392, An Act to amend the Aeronautics Act, the Fishing and Recreational Harbours Act and other Acts (application of provincial law).

Mr. Speaker, we in Quebec have passed a host of laws and consultation mechanisms, both at the government and municipal levels, to protect our environment and ensure harmonious land development and social licence. The same goes for all provinces. However, none of this holds up when it comes to federal projects. From legal uncertainties and court battles to unenforceable municipal bylaws, there is no shortage of problems.

Today, I have the honour to introduce a bill that will fix all of that. This bill amends eight federal acts to impose constraints on the minister responsible for enforcing them. Once this bill is passed, the federal government will no longer be able to authorize an activity or infrastructure project that would violate provincial laws or municipal bylaws on environmental protection and land development. I am referring to pipelines, harbours, docks, airports, telecommunications infrastructure, and all property that enjoys federal immunity.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)