An Act to amend the Oceans Act and the Canada Petroleum Resources Act

This bill was last introduced in the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session, which ended in September 2019.


Dominic LeBlanc  Liberal


This bill has received Royal Assent and is now law.


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

This enactment amends the Oceans Act to, among other things,

(a) clarify the responsibility of the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans to establish a national network of marine protected areas;

(b) empower the Minister to designate marine protected areas by order and prohibit certain activities in those areas;

(c) provide that, within five years after the day on which the order of the Minister designating a marine protected area comes into force, the Minister is to make a recommendation to the Governor in Council to make regulations to replace that order or is to repeal it;

(d) provide that the Governor in Council and Minister cannot use the lack of scientific certainty regarding the risks posed by any activity as a reason to postpone or refrain from exercising their powers or performing their duties and functions under subsection 35(3) or 35.‍1(2);

(e) update and strengthen the powers of enforcement officers;

(f) update the Act’s offence provisions, in particular to increase the amount of fines and to provide that ships may be subject to the offence provisions; and

(g) create new offences for a person or ship that engages in prohibited activities within a marine protected area designated by an order or that contravenes certain orders.

This enactment also makes amendments to the Canada Petroleum Resources Act to, among other things,

(a) expand the Governor in Council’s authority to prohibit an interest owner from commencing or continuing a work or activity in a marine protected area that is designated under the Oceans Act;

(b) empower the competent Minister under the Canada Petroleum Resources Act to cancel an interest that is located in a marine protected area that is designated under the Oceans Act or in an area of the sea that may be so designated; and

(c) provide for compensation to the interest owner for the cancellation or surrender of such an interest.


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.


May 13, 2019 Passed Motion respecting Senate amendments to Bill C-55, An Act to amend the Oceans Act and the Canada Petroleum Resources Act
May 13, 2019 Passed Time allocation for Bill C-55, An Act to amend the Oceans Act and the Canada Petroleum Resources Act
April 25, 2018 Passed 3rd reading and adoption of Bill C-55, An Act to amend the Oceans Act and the Canada Petroleum Resources Act
April 25, 2018 Failed Bill C-55, An Act to amend the Oceans Act and the Canada Petroleum Resources Act (recommittal to a committee)
April 25, 2018 Passed Time allocation for Bill C-55, An Act to amend the Oceans Act and the Canada Petroleum Resources Act
Oct. 17, 2017 Passed 2nd reading of Bill C-55, An Act to amend the Oceans Act and the Canada Petroleum Resources Act

Bill C-55—Time Allocation MotionOceans ActGovernment Orders

May 13th, 2019 / 12:05 p.m.
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North Vancouver B.C.


Jonathan Wilkinson LiberalMinister of Fisheries

Mr. Speaker, let me start by outlining the facts.

Bill C-55 was introduced June 15, 2017. Five days in total were spent debating this bill at second reading and three days in total spent at third reading. In total, there were nine House committee meetings and eight Senate committee meetings. In the House fisheries committee, five amendments were proposed to the bill by Conservative, Green and independent members, which were adopted by the House on April 25, 2018. The House committee heard from 36 witnesses, representing a range of different stakeholders. The bill spent over a year in the Senate. It was first read May 26, 2018, and was sent back to us just two weeks ago.

Therefore, I think the record shows that a significant amount of time and discussion have gone into this bill.

Bill C-55—Time Allocation MotionOceans ActGovernment Orders

May 13th, 2019 / 12:05 p.m.
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Todd Doherty Conservative Cariboo—Prince George, BC

Mr. Speaker, this is coming from a minister who now has protests outside his office and has to be escorted. It is because of a lack of consultation and a lack of engagement.

Closure of debate has been levied on this House 59 times. This represents the 59th time. There is a number for my hon. colleague across the way. It was the 10th day of the 2015 campaign when the member for Papineau, now our Prime Minister, said that he would let debate reign. He promised Canadians, and that was one of the promises that he broke.

On a piece of legislation as important as Bill C-55, I will grant that our hon. colleague, the minister across the way, was not involved in the debate at that time; it was the former fisheries minister, who has been quietly shuffled out because of a corruption issue over surf clam harvesting. It was the former fisheries minister who also said that he would truly consult and engage Canadians, but we have seen time and time again from this government and this minister that consultation and engagement were not there.

I would like to ask our hon. colleague a question. Debate has not reigned free or supreme, but has been closed 59 times. On such an important piece of legislation, on which reasoned amendments have come back from the Senate, why do the Liberals feel the need not to engage the 338 members of Parliament who have been elected to be the voices of those who put them here in this House? Why? Why is that the case with the government, time and time again? Why does it continue to invoke closure?

Bill C-55—Time Allocation MotionOceans ActGovernment Orders

May 13th, 2019 / 12:10 p.m.
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Jonathan Wilkinson Liberal North Vancouver, BC

Mr. Speaker, there has been significant and sustained discussion of this bill in this chamber, at committee and in the other House. Bill C-55 was introduced two years ago.

As I said, there were five total days at second reading debating this bill, three total days at third reading, nine total House committee meetings, and eight Senate committee meetings in total. The House committee introduced amendments that were accepted in this House. The House committee heard from over 36 different witnesses, representing stakeholders across the piece. The bill was in the Senate for over a year, in part because of stalling on the part of the Conservative Party, and it was sent back to us two weeks ago.

There has been comprehensive debate and discussion of this bill, and now it is time to move forward.

Bill C-55—Time Allocation MotionOceans ActGovernment Orders

May 13th, 2019 / 12:15 p.m.
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Jonathan Wilkinson Liberal North Vancouver, BC

Mr. Speaker, the bill is about interim protection. It will enable us to move forward with respect to the protection of our marine environment.

With respect to my hon. colleague's comments regarding standards, about two weeks ago, I announced Canada's approach to marine protected areas and other effective area-based measures at a conference in Montreal. They are world-leading in the context of how we go about ensuring that standards exist. I am more than happy to review those with the hon. member if he has not yet seen them.

Bill C-55 was sent to the Senate last May. A year later, it has finally been sent back to the House. Many senators in the other place have noted that we need to pass the bill now. We have put in an amendment to their message that captures the intent of their message. It is time for us to finish debate so that we can start protecting our marine environment more effectively.

Bill C-55—Time Allocation MotionOceans ActGovernment Orders

May 13th, 2019 / 12:20 p.m.
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Jonathan Wilkinson Liberal North Vancouver, BC

Mr. Speaker, I certainly agree with my hon. colleague. There are a number of pieces of legislation before this House that it is very important to Canadians across the country, from coast to coast to coast, we move forward with and ensure are implemented effectively. Certainly Bill C-55 falls into that category.

The ability to ensure that we are able, on an interim basis, to protect areas of great ecological and biological significance is very important in a world where biodiversity is in decline and the impacts of climate change are increasingly prevalent. We need to move forward in a way that allows us to ensure that the future of the environment is a clean one for our children and our grandchildren.

Bill C-55—Time Allocation MotionOceans ActGovernment Orders

May 13th, 2019 / 12:20 p.m.
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Jonathan Wilkinson Liberal North Vancouver, BC

Mr. Speaker, I would invite my hon. colleague to review the record. This government has achieved far more, from a legislative perspective, in three and a half years than successive Harper governments were able to achieve over the course of a decade.

Let me again return to the facts, something I know my hon. colleague sometimes likes to avoid. Bill C-55 was introduced on June 15, 2017. There were five total days spent at second reading and three total days at third reading. There were nine House committee meetings. There were eight Senate committee meetings. In the fisheries committee, five amendments to the bill, proposed by Conservative, Green and independent members, were adopted by the House in April 2018. In the House committee, the members heard from 36 different witnesses. The bill spent over a year in the Senate, in part because of delay tactics by the Conservative Party. It was first read on May 26, 2018, and was sent back to us two weeks ago.

This is a very important bill for us to ensure that we are moving forward with an agenda that allows for the protection of areas of ecological significance on a go-forward basis to ensure that we will have a strong environment and a strong economy in the future.

Bill C-55—Time Allocation MotionOceans ActGovernment Orders

May 13th, 2019 / 12:20 p.m.
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Todd Doherty Conservative Cariboo—Prince George, BC

Mr. Speaker, for Canadians listening in, and indeed those in the gallery, Bill C-55 is about interim marine protected areas. The Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard as well as the Minister of Environment would have the ability, in the absence of science, to immediately designate a marine coastal area a marine protected area. The concern is that in the absence of consultation, it could do this.

Today we are talking about closure. We have had it 71 times, as my friend from Courtenay—Alberni corrected me. Perhaps I was being too light on our Liberal friends across the way.

The concern all along has been that those who matter the most in our coastal communities, those who would be most impacted by marine protected areas, whether they are first nations or non-first nations, those who depend on those coastal areas for their livelihoods and way of life, are not being consulted or engaged adequately. We heard this time and time again.

Our Conservative senators put forth two amendments.

The first amendment would ensure that prior to the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard designating an interim marine protected area by ministerial order, the proposed order would be posted on the minister's website, and a 60-day comment period would be provided for. Written notice given to jurisdictions whose lands or interests may be affected by the proposed order would also be provided for in this amendment. This sounds reasonable. The rationale for this amendment came out of the Bill C-55 consultations, which did not include Nunavut. The senator from Nunavut said that consultation on Bill C-55 was not happening. He said:

The lack of a requirement of express permission for the adjacent proceed with an establishment of an MPA has been interpreted by the Government in Nunavut as an act of bad faith, given the ongoing nature of the current devolution negotiations.

The second amendment, put forth by another Conservative senator, proposed to ensure that a certain level of detail, such as what we would be protecting, would be available to the public prior to the minister designating an interim protected area by ministerial order.

These are all things that came up in testimony. It is common sense.

Will the member be voting in favour of these common sense amendments from Conservative senators, or is it just because Conservative senators put them forth that the Liberals would vote them down?

Bill C-55—Time Allocation MotionOceans ActGovernment Orders

May 13th, 2019 / 12:35 p.m.
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Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the Minister of Fisheries for commenting on other actions.

I support Bill C-55, but I cannot support the continual use of time allocation. We have seen a steady increase in its use in this place. It was shocking when it happened under the previous government. I have bemoaned this over and over again.

The reality is that a government with a majority of seats can treat Parliament as if it is basically a nuisance. The debate in this place is not about improving legislation or actually about doing our work as members of Parliament, but rather just somehow wasting time. That does a disservice to this place.

It was probably not the hon. member's decision to place time allocation on this legislation. I beg the Liberal majority to stop using time allocation over and over again. It has now become the normal procedure instead of the rare exception.

Oceans ActGovernment Orders

May 13th, 2019 / 1:20 p.m.
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North Vancouver B.C.


Jonathan Wilkinson LiberalMinister of Fisheries

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to be here today to talk about the message to the Senate on Bill C-55, a bill that will amend the Oceans Act and the Canada Petroleum Resources Act.

First, I want to thank the parliamentary secretary, the member for Charlottetown, for starting the debate off last Friday and for his work on this file. I would also like to thank the member for Saanich—Gulf Islands for supporting this bill and for echoing the need to have this type of legislation so that we can move forward with protecting our marine spaces.

I would like to begin with an overview of the bill we are debating today, then an overview of the motion itself.

Bill C-55 seeks a new ministerial order instrument to establish interim protection marine protected areas to protect ecologically sensitive and important marine areas in cases where initial science and consultations tell us it is urgently needed.

The process to establish interim protection will not be a shortcut to any science and consultation processes that are integral to how we establish marine protected areas today.

The fundamental principle underlying interim protection is the application of the precautionary principle. This principle is not new under Bill C-55. It is already found in many pieces of modern environmental legislation. It is also consistent with the Privy Council Office's framework on precaution, elaborated in 2013. This framework outlines guiding principles for the application of precaution to science-based decision-making in areas of federal regulatory activity for the protection of health and safety, the environment and the conservation of natural resources.

Indeed, we have received the bill with an amendment. While we respectfully reject the amendment, we are adding an amendment that we feel respects the intent of the amendment from the other place. As indicated by government officials during Senate committee deliberation, as well as expressed by members in the the other place during third reading, the amendment proposed is duplicative and would also make the interim protection of a marine protected area process more complex than the designation of a permanent marine protected area. Therefore, the amendment would go against the very objective of the bill to provide faster protection and to freeze the footprint of activities in areas where we are proposing a permanent designation, all while ensuring that we continue our high standard of consultations.

Let me explain.

The first part of the amendment from the other place requires that the approximate geographical location and a preliminary assessment of any habitat or species in the area be published prior to an order for interim protection being made. This is already covered under the cabinet directive on regulations, which requires all regulatory process to be open and transparent. This is the reason why, today, one can go online to look at an area of interest, which is the first step in the current process of developing a permanent MPA, and see a description of the area, a map of the area and all other relevant information, such as the key objectives.

The second part of the amendment, which was added by Senator Patterson, would require an additional consultation period to take place outside what is already required under the Oceans Act and the Gazette process. This amendment would add another consultation period that is, at minimum, 60 days, and would require the government to respond to all comments within 30 days. That brings the added consultation period to a possible 90 days before an order can be made. Indeed, this only applies to the interim process and would therefore make the interim designation process more complex than the process for a permanent designation.

As I have mentioned, these amendments were also duplicative. The current Oceans Act already explicitly outlines consultation requirements under sections 29 through 33. As mentioned on Friday by the parliamentary secretary, section 33 states under the oceans management strategy:

(1) In exercising the powers and performing the duties and functions assigned to the Minister by this Act, the Minister

(a) shall cooperate with other ministers, boards and agencies of the Government of Canada, with provincial and territorial governments and with affected aboriginal organizations, coastal communities and other persons and bodies, including those bodies established under land claims agreements;

(b) may enter into agreements with any person or body or with another minister, board or agency of the Government of Canada;

(c) shall gather, compile, analyse, coordinate and disseminate information;...

For these reasons, our government is rejecting these changes and proposing an amendment that we believe captures the intent of the message from the other place. This amendment will require the geographical location and all other relevant information to be published, along with the consultations that were undertaken when an order is made. This will ensure that the information that communities need will be provided, and that the process for interim protection is streamlined to ensure that protection is provided in a manner consistent with the objective of this bill. That is, to provide faster protection on an interim basis to marine areas until a decision, after comprehensive consultations are undertaken, is made on whether to designate the interim area as a permanent MPA.

This bill was first introduced in the House of Commons on June 15, 2017. Since then it has had the benefit of many hours of debate, discussion and review. The House of Commons Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans spent a great deal of time carefully reviewing its proposals. From October to December 2017, that committee heard views and opinions from many orders of government, partners, stakeholders and experts on the bill. Following this in-depth review, the committee made five amendments to the bill that were proposed by Conservative, Green and independent members, which were adopted by the House on April 25, 2018.

The House of Commons committee's amendments add new and important elements to the bill without undermining its spirit and intent. This bill is truly one of those rare bills that has had co-operation and agreement at the committee stage by all parties, and I urge all members to put their partisanship aside to support a non-partisan issue of protecting our oceans.

Since February 2019, the committee in the other place has further reviewed Bill C-55, hearing from more witnesses and experts. I am grateful for the effort and attention paid by the other place to this important legislative proposal. However, their additional amendments do not align with the spirit of Bill C-55 to apply interim protection in a timely manner.

Consultation is the cornerstone of effective oceans protection in Canada. The transparency we will exercise for interim protection will be no less than for establishing more permanent marine protected areas.

What is our current practice? We consult and collaborate with provinces, territories and indigenous groups. We include marine resource users, such as fisheries groups, aquaculture groups, the oil and gas sector, mining, shipping, tourism and other stakeholders. We reach out to other experts, such as environmental groups, academics and various community members. Finally, we also, of course, consult with the public.

All of this collaboration is extensive and conducted at various stages of the process. Advisory committees with partners, indigenous groups and interested and affected partners are established to provide input to this work.

We consult at the outset, to identify and select an area needing protection; to gather information about the ecological importance of a sensitive marine area, the socio-economic considerations related to the area and any current or planned activities that may be of concern; to identify initial boundaries and conservation objectives for an area based on the best available science, including indigenous and local knowledge and a risk analysis; to develop a proposed regulatory approach and study the benefits and costs of such an approach, including a 30-day public comment period when the regulations are pre-published in the Canada Gazette, part I; and on an ongoing basis to provide input to the development of the management plan for the area.

Over and above this extensive consultation, marine protected areas are collaboratively managed with local partners through an adaptive management approach wherein ongoing science and socio-economic and cultural information are all considered.

This government is committed to both the precautionary principle and the need for ongoing scientific analysis and consultation. Our commitment to science and consultation does not end once interim protection is in place. These activities would continue for up to five years, with an aim to establishing a permanent marine protected area. We continue to consult and improve our scientific understanding of the area following its establishment, as part of ongoing management efforts.

Bill C-55 reflects the government's commitment to indigenous rights and the requirement to respect the duty to consult and accommodate. This requirement is already provided for within common law. Moreover, the Oceans Act and the cabinet directive on regulation recognize the importance of working with and consulting indigenous organizations.

In addition, the House of Commons Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans added an amendment to Bill C-55 to reiterate that marine protected areas establishment cannot be conducted in a manner that is inconsistent with any land claims agreement.

Bill C-55 will go a long way toward ensuring that as Canadians we protect our marine ecosystems. Supporting the health of our oceans is essential so that we can benefit from the unique and precious marine ecosystems and resources that we will rely on for generations to come. Canadians are counting on us to protect our oceans.

Our marine protection work seeks to preserve ecosystems and species to ensure that Canada's marine resources can continue to support sustainable industries, local economies and coastal communities. As we progress, Canada's marine protected areas will become part of a global network that will contribute to healthier and more sustainable oceans for generations.

Many senators supported passing this bill as quickly as possible. However, here in the House, two years after the bill was introduced, despite the amendments agreed to by all parties in committee, the Conservatives continue to oppose this bill. That is disappointing but not surprising because, unlike our government and our Prime Minister, who have a plan for the environment, the Conservatives have no plan to protect the environment or to address climate change.

I believe that Bill C-55 is a very significant step in the right direction, and I am confident that all members will agree. Bill C-55 has been subject to thorough parliamentary review, as well as public debate and discussion, for nearly two years. The time to act is now. With interim protection, we will be able to act now to protect our oceans from coast to coast to coast.

Oceans ActGovernment Orders

May 13th, 2019 / 1:45 p.m.
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Todd Doherty Conservative Cariboo—Prince George, BC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague, the member for North Okanagan—Shuswap, who spoke on this topic for over an hour on Friday. It was fish Friday. Fish was even served in the lobby, and he spoke eloquently for over an hour on Bill C-55 and Bill S-203, which is on ending the captivity of whales.

I was back in the riding talking about species at risk, in particularly the issue we have with the southern mountain caribou. Members might wonder why I am bringing up this issue. It is because my colleague across the way wants to talk about consultation and how it has been thorough.

He would probably stand up and say that the consultation on the southern mountain caribou issue in the province of British Columbia was been thorough as well. I can tell members that what has been very thorough and robust is the attendance at these town halls done by the Province of British Columbia, and the reason attendance has been robust is that there has been no consultation. Here is an issue that is going to have detrimental impacts on our province in terms of industry and our way of life.

I also want to say at the very beginning that nobody wants to see a species such as the southern mountain caribou become extinct, or our chinook or our Atlantic salmon or our northern cod. One of the challenges we have with the current government is that its members stand up and say that they have consulted Canadians thoroughly, from coast to coast to coast, but indeed they have not. Why would the minister be getting protests outside his door by angry fishermen, angry groups, and have to be spirited away under the protection of security?

When we stand up on this side to talk about consultation, even the NDP members are in agreement with us that consultation is not there.

I will bring members back to earlier today, and for those in the gallery and for Canadians just tuning in to the debate, it has been 71 times that we have voted on time allocation. This is closure of debate. It has happened 71 times to this point under the current government.

I will bring members back to day 15 of the member for Papineau's campaign to be our Prime Minister. It was day 15 in the 2015 election when he stood up and said that under his government, we would be the most open and transparent government in the history of our country. Well, we have seen where that has gone.

He also said that he would run small deficits and then all of a sudden balance the budget in 2019. Well, where are we now? We have huge debt.

One of the other things he said was that under his government, they would not resort to parliamentary tricks and tactics such as omnibus bills, invoking closure or using time allocation. He would let the debate reign, because after all it was not about us as parliamentarians, but about the people who voted us in and got us here.

With that, I have to bring members back to today. I will remind those in the House who are checking their iPads and checking their messages and not really paying attention to the debate that this is not about them and it is not about the Prime Minister; this is about the electors who voted for 338 members of Parliament here to be their voice. When the government invokes time allocation and closure on debate, it is saying that the voices of those who elected members of the opposition and many others do not really matter.

We have seen that time and time again, and it is usually when Liberals do not like what they are hearing. It is usually when valid points are being brought up. We now see it again. We are sitting at 71 time allocation motions. I said 59 earlier, but my great colleague from Courtenay—Alberni reminded us that it is 71 times. I do not think that is letting the debate reign.

I also want to talk about consultation.

Liberals stand and talk about consultation. Throughout the southern mountain caribou exercise, a slide was brought out and then taken down very quickly. The slide said “consultation versus engagement”. That prompted me to think about this a little more. Liberals in government—and perhaps we on this side too, as elected officials—throw the terms “engagement” and “consultation” around as though they are interchangeable. The reality is that they are not. They are vastly different. Depending on the underlying motivation and the process, they come at different solutions.

In consultation, I would tell you, Mr. Speaker, that I have a great idea and ask you what you think about it. You may say that the hon. colleague from Cariboo—Prince George has a great idea, but there are some ways it could be tweaked to make it better. I would respond by saying that these are great ideas and I would think about them. However, with engagement, I would go to you, Mr. Speaker, and say that we have a problem and I would really like your help to try to figure it out. You and I would go back and forth in a transactional kind of dialogue, and I would take your thoughts, ideas and concepts, say that I think we have come up with a solution, and tell you what it was and away we would go.

I am probably going to elicit some boos from that side of the House, because in terms of what I just said about consultation versus engagement, it is engagement that Canadians truly want, especially those in fishing and coastal communities and first nations that depend on the fisheries for their sustenance. When we levy a policy such as what is found in Bill C-55, we are not consulting Canadians on what we should be doing but engaging Canadians from the grassroots on the issue. However, the problem with that is that at times, they cannot tell us what they want to protect.

Mr. Speaker, you just gave me a three-minute warning, but I think I have 11 minutes. It is three minutes until question period. That is going to ruin the video. Let the record show that I am splitting my time with question period, with 338 members of Parliament, unlike our colleagues across the way, who would not allow that.

Whether it is Bill C-55, the Fisheries Act, the northern cod study, the Atlantic salmon study or the aquatic invasive species study—which we will never get to, because our friends on the fisheries committee continue to delay it—Canadians are looking for engagement on policy that is going to impact them.

I have tried to change my vocabulary, my use of “consultation”, since that southern mountain caribou fiasco we dealt with in the province of British Columbia, and I now use “engagement”.

It is not an engagement. It is really just a check in a box to say that my colleagues across the way have talked about it. I wonder if it is because they do not believe Canadians are smart enough to come up with an idea. After all, we live in coastal areas and depend on the water, so maybe we are not smart enough to come up with a solution to the problem. Maybe they are worried the problem is that Canadians are too smart and will figure it out.

I have listened to a number of fishers, fishing organizations and first nations. They are concerned about the lack of consultation on Bill C-55. Our hon. colleague across the way is saying that the amendment that came back from the Senate is redundant and is way too much. After all, it would listen to Canadians, who time and again said that they were not consulted enough. They said that they were not being engaged enough.

We should always strive to be better. Bill C-55 is core legislation under the Liberal government. Now the Liberals say that time has dithered away, and I think my hon. colleague mentioned that there were only 25 sitting days left, and that is why there is an urgency to push it through. However, there are serious concerns with Bill C-55, which is why that amendment came forward. What they are essentially saying, which is no different than time allocation, is that because it is a Conservative amendment, it does not really matter. That is wrong.

With that, I will cede the floor and pick it up after question period.

Oceans ActGovernment Orders

May 13th, 2019 / 3:20 p.m.
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Todd Doherty Conservative Cariboo—Prince George, BC

Madam Speaker, I will provide a refresher on this important debate for our colleagues and Canadians from coast to coast to coast who are tuning in, as I had to share my time with question period.

Prior to going into my debate, I shared with Canadians and those in this House that this is the 71st time closure and time allocation have been levied by a government led by a Prime Minister who, when he was campaigning, on day 15, the then member for Papineau said that under his government he would let the debate reign and would not resort to such parliamentary tricks as time allocation. However, that is where we are today. We have time allocation and closure forced on this important debate.

I also said that as parliamentarians and leaders in our country, when we are talking about consultation, perhaps what Canadians are looking for on an important piece of legislation such as Bill C-55 is engagement. I talked about the use of “consultation” and “engagement“ as if they were interchangeable. They are not. Consultation would be me telling someone I have an idea and asking what that person thought. That person would tell me whether that idea was good or bad. I would thank that person and be on my way. There would be no onus on me to come back to that person or for that person to take my suggestion. Engagement would be me saying that there is a problem, asking to sit down with a someone to fix the problem and asking that person what ideas he or she has.

When we are talking about bills such as Bill C-55, the feedback we heard from fishers, first nations, scientists and even environmental groups on Bill C-55 and the marine protected area process was that there was no consultation. They were not asked what they thought about the idea. There was no engagement. It is the lack of engagement we have seen time and again from the current government, so much so that there are protests at the minister's office. Therefore, when the Liberals talk about how this is good for Canadians and that they have consulted broadly, they really have not.

I will offer this. Bill C-55 is more about a vehicle that would afford the current government the ability to reach its international Aichi targets, which state that 5% of marine coastal areas would be protected by 2017 and 10% of marine coastal areas would be protected by 2020. As a matter of fact, the biodiversity goals and targets for Canada for 2020 state:

17 percent of terrestrial areas and inland water, and 10 percent of coastal and marine areas, are conserved through networks of protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures.

I will now go to a comment from a gentleman from Simon Fraser University. He said:

Looking at some of the previous testimony, there was a claim that there was overwhelming scientific proof that MPAs are beneficial and widely successful. I think that was misrepresentation of the actual science.

He also stated that some of the studies cited found that they are not broadly successful. He continued:

Just enforcing MPAs would be hugely expensive. Again, if you're looking at it from a fisheries management point of view, it's far more cost effective to do other things that don't cost that much.

I bring this up because Bill C-55 evokes a lot of questions, one being that under proposed subsection 35(2), certain activities, such as fisheries and fishing, may be prohibited, yet activities by foreign entities and other companies and countries will not be.

The groups that came before us at committee said that they all want to be part of the process. They asked that the minister and the department meet with those stakeholder communities and engage to develop a plan in concert with those communities that would be impacted.

The Senate amendments were fairly thorough. They did not tie the government or any future government to doing anything but thorough engagement with communities that could be impacted by the interim marine protected areas.

I will offer again that Bill C-55 is about creating an order in council that the Minister of Environment and the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans could immediately designate an area an interim marine protected area for up to five years while the study was going on.

Using the precautionary principle was also mentioned. In the absence of science, that cannot be used as an excuse for not designating that area.

Our biggest concern was addressed by the Senate amendments, which are very thorough. I also looked at the government's response to the Senate amendments. I would have to say that those were fairly watered down.

I will go back to my comment about consultation versus engagement. When the government or parliamentarians consider policy that is so impactful on communities, first nations, coastal communities and industry, we should be engaging, not consulting, and bringing them to the table to develop thorough solutions.

Oceans ActGovernment Orders

May 13th, 2019 / 3:30 p.m.
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Todd Doherty Conservative Cariboo—Prince George, BC

Madam Speaker, we heard testimony, from organizations and groups, that under the Liberal government, the people who have the seat at the table are not the stakeholders in the communities. Indeed, it is environmental groups that have the stakeholders. They even said at one point that at least with the Conservatives, they knew they could get in to actually have a conversation with the minister, and here they actually have to go through different groups to get to a minister or a parliamentary secretary.

They even said that the marine protected areas and the process Bill C-55 followed has shaken the fishing industry, has shaken coastal communities and has shaken confidence in the Liberal government.

Oceans ActGovernment Orders

May 13th, 2019 / 3:35 p.m.
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Winnipeg North Manitoba


Kevin Lamoureux LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Madam Speaker, it is interesting that in a good part of the member's comments, he talked about why we are in this process of time allocation.

I want to just remind the member that Bill C-55 was introduced back in June 2017. There were five days total spent at second reading, three days total spent at third reading, nine total House committee meetings, and eight total Senate committee meetings. In the fisheries committee, five amendments to the bill were proposed by Conservative, Green and independent members. They were adopted by the House on April 25, 2018. The House committee heard from a total of 36 witnesses representing a variety of groups, including industry, indigenous groups and academics.

I am sure my colleague would recognize that for the Conservative Party agenda, it seems that Conservatives do whatever they can to stop legislation, whether it is good legislation or bad. It does not really matter. All the Conservatives want to do is play an obstructive role by not allowing legislation. As the government House leadersaid, it is because the Conservatives really do not have a plan. That is demonstrated by the so-called phantom plan on the environment. We have been waiting for it for well over a year. It is nowhere to be seen.

I am wondering if my friend would agree that the opposition party's role is more than to just criticize. It should also be bringing forward ideas, thoughts and plans.

Oceans ActGovernment Orders

May 13th, 2019 / 3:35 p.m.
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Todd Doherty Conservative Cariboo—Prince George, BC

Mr. Speaker, that is a little rich coming from a group that unveiled its plan two weeks into the 2015 election.

Canadians do not need to believe me. Let us put it in the voice of fishers. Fishers and first nations in those coastal communities are really the ones that matter. Here is a quote:

Canada should be a leader in listening to its people and taking the time to listen and spend the money to do the proper science before coming to a huge decision, such as establishing SBAs and MPAs supposedly based on science. These decisions will take time, but they should be Canadian decisions based on Canadian timelines, not offhand commitments made to international arenas void of any voices of those who will be impacted most and who are most informed on the decision.

That was from Jordan Nickerson, a fish harvester.

I said this earlier in my comments, that Bill C-55 is really a vehicle or mechanism for the Liberals to be able to make their international targets, which they announced on the world stage. Canada has the largest geographical coastline, and to reach these targets, it is the west coast and the northern coast that are going to suffer the most, or be most impacted by what the government doing. Without proper engagement, it will be to the detriment of those coastal communities and those fishing groups that depend so critically on those waterways, those areas.

Oceans ActGovernment Orders

May 13th, 2019 / 3:35 p.m.
See context


Todd Doherty Conservative Cariboo—Prince George, BC

Madam Speaker, it is all the pomp and circumstance. It is to put one's hand on one's heart and pledge all this and that. However, the reality is that there is no delivery. Nobody will be able to ask how all that pomp and circumstance worked out.

Again, members do not have to believe me. I will go to another comment in committee by Sean Cox, professor at Simon Fraser University. He said:

MPAs aren't likely to be effective scientific tools, either. They're not easily replicated. When you put in an MPA, it's subject to a high degree of what we call “location and time” effects. You can't just create a nice experiment where you have three of the same type of MPA in one place and then three control areas in another place. You just can't do that. They're wide open to outside perturbations, environmental changes that are not within our control.

Another witness said, “If you want to build on a process of trust and goodwill, you don't then ignore what your stakeholders say and consult on only a minority of the protected areas that were being recommended.”

Fish do not follow boundaries; they are fluid and so are the conditions on what impact fish.

Even the academics are coming out against what the federal government and the minister is doing with Bill C-55.

All we are asking is to put in protections for thorough consultation. Regardless of what the mandate is, it needs to be added to clause 5. We are asking that clause 5 to be amended to include thorough consultations, including what the proposed legislation would protect, where it would be designated and all the areas of consultation that led up to that interim marine protected area being levied.