An Act to amend the Federal Sustainable Development Act

Sponsor

Status

Considering amendments (Senate), as of Feb. 21, 2019

Subscribe to a feed (what's a feed?) of speeches and votes in the House related to Bill C-57.

Summary

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

This enactment amends the Federal Sustainable Development Act to make decision making related to sustainable development more transparent and subject to accountability to Parliament.

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

Jan. 29, 2019 Passed Motion respecting Senate amendments to Bill C-57, An Act to amend the Federal Sustainable Development Act
June 4, 2018 Passed 3rd reading and adoption of Bill C-57, An Act to amend the Federal Sustainable Development Act
May 31, 2018 Passed Concurrence at report stage of Bill C-57, An Act to amend the Federal Sustainable Development Act
May 31, 2018 Failed Bill C-57, An Act to amend the Federal Sustainable Development Act (report stage amendment)
May 29, 2018 Passed Time allocation for Bill C-57, An Act to amend the Federal Sustainable Development Act
Oct. 19, 2017 Passed 2nd reading of Bill C-57, An Act to amend the Federal Sustainable Development Act

Bill C-57—Time Allocation MotionFederal Sustainable Development ActGovernment Orders

May 29th, 2018 / 10:45 a.m.
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Liberal

Catherine McKenna Liberal Ottawa Centre, ON

Madam Speaker, I would hardly say it is a childish approach to acknowledge that in the 21st century, the environment and the economy do go together. That is the reality.

We are here to talk about Bill C-57. We believe it is extraordinarily important. We are very pleased that this bill is the result of the unanimous recommendation of the Commons environment committee. Once again, I would like to thank the committee for their extremely hard work. This was supported in a vote of 244 to zero at second reading. It was passed at committee, and all parties have indicated their continued support for Bill C-57. I certainly hope the parties opposite will indicate their support today.

Bill C-57—Time Allocation MotionFederal Sustainable Development ActGovernment Orders

May 29th, 2018 / 10:45 a.m.
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Liberal

Catherine McKenna Liberal Ottawa Centre, ON

Madam Speaker, I am not entirely sure if that is an indication that the member opposite supports Bill C-57.

Once again, this bill was the result of unanimous recommendations of the Commons environment committee. I believe the member opposite was part of that. It was supported by a vote of 244 to nothing at second reading. It was passed at committee, and all parties have indicated their continued support for Bill C-57. I certainly hope they continue to support it, because it is a very important piece of legislation. It is very important to the international community to see that we are committed to the environment.

We are committed to sustainable development, to the Paris Agreement, and to our international obligations. Sustainable development is also very important to Canadians at home. They understand that sustainable development is the way forward, that we need to be incorporating it when we make decisions, and that we need to be recognizing that the environment and the economy go together.

Bill C-57—Time Allocation MotionFederal Sustainable Development ActGovernment Orders

May 29th, 2018 / 10:50 a.m.
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Liberal

Catherine McKenna Liberal Ottawa Centre, ON

Madam Speaker, maybe I was not clear. I actually did say “economy”. I said that the environment and economy go together, kind of like sustainable development goes together.

I do want to acknowledge that there are forest fires in Manitoba right now—certainly we are thinking of the people in Manitoba—and there have been floods. I also want to give a shout-out to the Premier of Manitoba, who stepped up and recognized that we need to be putting a price on pollution.

In terms of this bill, because of the comments related to it, I assume that the member supports Bill C-57, which is good. As I said, we had unanimous recommendations from the House of Commons environment committee, so I give a huge shout-out to the members of the committee. That is the way we need to be doing it. Action on the environment and sustainable development should not be a partisan issue. The bill was supported at second reading by a vote of 244 to zero and was passed at committee.

It is interesting today that I am speaking to this, because last night I hosted former ministers of the environment from the Conservative and Liberal sides. It was great to hear of their priorities in taking action on the environment and climate change. As I said, it is important that we come together in the House of Commons because, really, at the end of the day, we owe it to our kids: I owe it to my three kids; we owe it to our grandchildren and future generations.

Bill C-57—Time Allocation MotionFederal Sustainable Development ActGovernment Orders

May 29th, 2018 / 10:50 a.m.
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Liberal

Catherine McKenna Liberal Ottawa Centre, ON

Madam Speaker, I assume once again that the focus of our very important discussion today is Bill C-57. As I said, it was supported unanimously by the House of Commons environment committee in its report. It was supported by a vote of 244 to nothing at second reading. It was passed at committee. All parties have indicated their continued support for it. I appreciate that. It is important that we move forward to implement these changes. We need to focus on results. We need a better whole-of-government approach. We will now have more government departments covered and have included other changes that have come from the committee. This is a very important example of how we can come together to do important things that matter to Canadians. They care about sustainable development; Canadians have been clear about that. I am proud of this bill.

Report StageFederal Sustainable Development ActGovernment Orders

May 29th, 2018 / 11:40 a.m.
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Eglinton—Lawrence Ontario

Liberal

Marco Mendicino LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to speak in support of C-57, an act to amend the Federal Sustainable Development Act.

I will describe how our government is taking action to ensure that a clean environment and a strong economy go together, including our support for the global 2030 agenda for sustainable development, and our work with provinces, territories, indigenous people, and international partners to address climate change.

I will go on to discuss how Bill C-57 would support our strong commitment to sustainability and how the proposed changes, including clause 5, would contribute to more effective, inclusive, and accountable sustainable development strategies in the future.

Bill C-57 is about advancing sustainable development in Canada. This is a top priority for our government. We have always maintained that a clean environment and a strong economy can and must go hand in hand in the modern world. The well-being of Canada's future generations depend on it.

We face serious challenges, including the continued threat of global climate change. Canadians are already experiencing the effects of a warming planet, from wildfires that rage longer and harsher than ever before to thinning sea ice in the Arctic to rising sea levels that threaten communities from coast to coast to coast.

Our federal sustainable development strategy demonstrates our commitment to the 2030 agenda, with 13 aspirational goals that are a Canadian reflection of the global sustainable development goals. Its specific medium-term targets, short-term milestones, and actions show how we will implement the 2030 agenda's environmental dimensions over a three-year period.

The amendments to the act would support future strategies that would continue to align the goals and reporting of the federal sustainable development strategy with the 2030 agenda, ensuring that Canadians could see a comprehensive picture of our sustainable development priorities and complementing national action to advance the 2030 agenda. This includes, crucially, amendments to clause 5, which seek to ensure that the federal government strategy reflects the diversity of backgrounds and perspectives in Canada.

We are taking effective action to realize our vision of a clean environment, a strong economy, and a better quality of life for all Canadians. Much is being done, but more progress is needed to meet the challenge of sustainable development and to take advantage of its opportunities.

Bill C-57 would make important improvements to the sustainability approach established by the 2008 Federal Sustainable Development Act, which requires the government to prepare and report on sustainable development strategies. It would make these strategies more effective, inclusive, and accountable, accelerating our progress toward a more sustainable Canada.

I would like to take this opportunity now to share the specific amendments proposed in Bill C-57.

First, the bill proposes a new purpose which clarifies that the focus of the act and the federal sustainable development strategy is sustainable development, not only the environment. It would shift the act's focus to driving action in improving Canadians' quality of life, not just planning and reporting. It would specify that the federal sustainable development strategy must respect Canada's domestic and international obligations. Bill C-57 would also add a number of principles to the act and guide our whole-of-government strategy and the strategies of each federal department and agency, for example, the principle of intergenerational equity, which is clearly at the root of the concept of sustainable development.

Under the current act, all departments or agencies must develop strategies that are consistent with and contribute to the federal sustainable development strategy. Bill C-57 would continue this dynamic as more than 90 federal government organizations would work together and act in a coordinated manner to achieve common goals.

The bill would also support our government's commitment to an inclusive approach to sustainability by strengthening the advisory council on sustainable development. Under clause 5, the number of aboriginal peoples on the council would be increased from three to six, and the council would have a clear mandate to advise on the issue of sustainable development. It also seeks to reflect the diversity of Canadian society by taking into account demographic considerations, such as age and gender, when appointing representatives to the sustainable development advisory council. This would increase the degree to which the council would reflect the diversity of Canadian society and increase transparency.

Finally, and most critical, it would strengthen the government's accountability for achieving concrete, meaningful, sustainable development results.

For the government to be held accountable, we need strong targets, targets that are measurable and include a clear time frame for their achievement. Bill C-57 proposes to ensure that future strategies will continue to clearly set out what the government aims to achieve and when. This will enable Canadians to closely track whether the government has met its commitments.

Taking into account these improvements, how will Bill C-57 support greater progress toward our vision for sustainable development in Canada? Quite simply, through better sustainable development strategies that focus on results and reflect the priorities of Canadians.

What does this mean in practice? It means that future strategies will continue to include goals and targets that will take into account that our efforts today will affect the quality of life of Canadians tomorrow. It means that ministers and organizations across the federal government, more than ever before, will contribute to developing sustainable development strategies, and will work together with our partners to put them into action. It also means that future strategies will benefit from a clear shared understanding of the breadth of actions that will contribute to achieving sustainable development, not only protecting the environment but also protecting health, promoting equity, and conserving cultural heritage.

Future strategies will also continue to benefit from engagement with indigenous peoples, stakeholders, and Canadians. We saw the importance of this in the development of the current federal sustainable development strategy. Comments received through public consultations helped make our plan more aspirational, more measurable, and more inclusive.

Bill C-57 is important and significant legislation that supports our government's strong commitment to sustainable development. It would improve all aspects of the government's sustainable development approach, from developing and consulting on our sustainable development strategies to implementing them to achieving and reporting on results.

I would like to once again thank the members of the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development for their ideas, their commitment, and their collaboration. As I have described, their work has resulted in significant improvements to Bill C-57. With their contributions, the bill would provide a more effective and inclusive framework for advancing sustainable development in Canada.

Report StageFederal Sustainable Development ActGovernment Orders

May 29th, 2018 / 11:45 a.m.
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NDP

Alistair MacGregor NDP Cowichan—Malahat—Langford, BC

Madam Speaker, with respect to Bill C-57 and the provisions in it that require various federal departments to come up with their sustainable development plans and so forth and the fact that the Liberal government has now purchased the Kinder Morgan pipeline, I tried to get an answer to this from the Minister of Environment earlier. However, I would like to hear if the parliamentary secretary can help me out.

Under the provisions of Bill C-57, which federal department is now going to be responsible for the Kinder Morgan pipeline and how on earth is it going to provide a reasonable sustainable development strategy when this project's environmental concerns make a mockery of the government's climate change commitments?

Report StageFederal Sustainable Development ActGovernment Orders

May 29th, 2018 / 11:45 a.m.
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Liberal

Marco Mendicino Liberal Eglinton—Lawrence, ON

Madam Speaker, regrettably, I disagree with my hon. colleague's characterization of this government's support and investment in the Trans Mountain pipeline. As our government and the Prime Minister have stated on numerous occasions, this pipeline is in the national interest. The reason it is in the national interest is that it will support thousands of jobs in Alberta and British Columbia and knock-on positive employment in many other provinces right across the country.

With respect to the member's specific question as to how Bill C-57 will promote the coordination of this project, and many other projects which will encourage sustainable development, as I said in my remarks, the bill fosters a whole-of-government approach. It will extend the coverage of the federal sustainable development from 26 to more than 90 departments and agencies so there is a coordinated approach to ensure the economy and the environment go together.

Report StageFederal Sustainable Development ActGovernment Orders

May 29th, 2018 / 11:50 a.m.
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Liberal

Marco Mendicino Liberal Eglinton—Lawrence, ON

Madam Speaker, without question, this is a government that believes in creating economic prosperity by growing the middle class. Our record on that is second to none. We have created hundreds of thousands of jobs since taking office. We have seen record unemployment since taking office. We will continue to drive that kind of growth from the middle class out by supporting projects like the Trans Mountain pipeline.

Regrettably, on the other side of the aisle, what we see are two opposition parties that have been completely polarized by taking a singular approach, either by supporting the economy without giving consideration to the environment or vice versa.

This is a government that understands the importance of striking that balance. This project is in the national interest. It will drive jobs, tens of thousands of jobs, and it will ensure that we are protecting the environment by taking into consideration sustainability, which is at the core of what Bill C-57 would accomplish.

Report StageFederal Sustainable Development ActGovernment Orders

May 29th, 2018 / 11:50 a.m.
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Liberal

Marco Mendicino Liberal Eglinton—Lawrence, ON

Madam Speaker, that was more of a comment than a question, but I take the remark about the need to invest in renewable, green tech jobs as well as right across the sector.

It is thanks to the government's investments in green tech, in sustainable development, which Bill C-57 would attempt to accomplish, and will accomplish once passed into law, that we are seeing that job growth.

Let me specifically answer what I think was implied in this remarks. What Bill C-57 would do, among other things, is make decision-making more transparent. It would promote coordinated action across all of government. It would respect Canada's domestic and international obligations, including COP21.

That is how the government will ensure that the economy and the environment are balanced, will go together, and will be reconciled so that we can grow the economy for the middle class and continue to see our prosperity grow for future generations.

Report StageFederal Sustainable Development ActGovernment Orders

May 29th, 2018 / 11:50 a.m.
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Liberal

Greg Fergus Liberal Hull—Aylmer, QC

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to speak in support of Bill C-57, an act to amend the Federal Sustainable Development Act. I want to focus on what federal departments and agencies are doing to build a more sustainable Canada. First, I will talk about how departmental action is supporting the government's vision for sustainable development. I will then talk about the concrete measures that departments and agencies are adopting as part of their own mandates, to ensure that Canada becomes greener and more sustainable. Lastly, I will talk briefly about how departments and agencies are fulfilling the shared commitment to lead by example by lowering the federal government's greenhouse gas emissions.

I would first like to explain how departments' actions fit into our overall sustainable development plan. In October 2016, we introduced the 2016-19 federal sustainable development strategy, which contains ambitious long-term objectives, medium-term objectives, and short-term objectives to support our vision for sustainability. We want to make Canada one of the greenest countries in the world where quality of life is continuously improving.

The strategy also includes action plans, major priorities for sustainability, and specific ways in which the government contributes to sustainable development outcomes, from working with partners on climate change, to investing in clean technologies, to protecting Canada's lands and oceans.

It is the strongest strategy ever. Introducing it in October 2016 was the very first step. Now our focus is on implementing it to achieve real results for Canadians. That means individual departments and agencies must take action to achieve our goals. Under the Federal Sustainable Development Act, 26 departments and agencies must prepare sustainable development strategies that have their own specific objectives and plans and that comply with and contribute to our overarching federal strategy.

Last October, our government met that requirement, tabling strategies for the 26 departments and agencies named in the act. We also introduced strategies for a number of organizations that are not bound by the act but have an important role to play in sustainable development, such as Infrastructure Canada, the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

Departmental strategies complement the high-level action plans presented in the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy. They add substance and detail to our plan, setting out the concrete commitments that will help us realize our sustainable development vision.

Moving from an aspirational, high-level strategy to specific commitments is an important accomplishment, and I want to thank and congratulate all of my colleagues who are working to implement the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy. With their diverse mandates, each department and agency has its own unique role to play.

I want to stress that reducing the government’s own environmental footprint is just one part of our strategy, and most departments are going far beyond greening their operations.

Sustainable development is also broader than the environment alone, and our departmental strategies reflect this. Environmentally focused organizations like Environment and Climate Change Canada and Fisheries and Oceans Canada make important contributions to implementing our strategy.

The same goes for departments with strong social and economic mandates, such as Health Canada and Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada.

I would now like to talk specifically about a few of the actions these departments are taking to support our government's sustainable development goals. Several departments and federal organizations are contributing to our federal strategy goal of effective action on climate change, one of the most pressing challenges of our time.

Here are just a few of the actions they are taking. Environment and Climate Change Canada is working to phase out traditional coal-fired electricity units and advancing the use of carbon pricing. Global Affairs Canada is delivering on Canada's pledge to provide $2.65 billion in climate-financing to support developing countries' transition to low-carbon, climate-resilient economies. Also, Natural Resources Canada is leading Canada's climate change adaptation platform, a national forum that brings together key groups in Canada to collaborate on climate change adaptation priorities.

Protecting and enhancing Canada's ecosystems is also essential to meeting the goals and targets of the federal sustainable development strategy and realizing our vision of a greener Canada. Eight organizations contribute to our goal of lands and forests that support biodiversity and provide a variety of ecosystem services for generations to come. Six of those organizations contribute to ensuring that coasts and oceans support healthy, resilient, and productive ecosystems, while four ensure clean and healthy lakes and rivers that support economic prosperity and the well-being of Canadians.

I see that I do not have much time left, but I feel it is very important to emphasize that sustainable development is also about generating clean economic growth, harnessing innovation and investing in clean technology. That means Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada has an important role in implementing the federal sustainable development strategy. I want to highlight a priority that all departments and agencies share. When we tabled the 2016-2019 federal sustainable development strategy, we committed to leading by example by reducing greenhouse gas emissions from our own operations, to reducing federal emissions by 40% from 2005 levels by 2030 or earlier. We recently announced an ambitious new target to reduce emissions by 80% by 2050. All departments and agencies are taking action to increase the energy efficiency of their buildings, modernize their fleets, implement green procurement and sustainable travel practices, and increase their resilience to climate change.

In conclusion, as I have described, our government moved from intention to action by tabling departmental sustainable development strategies. These strategies demonstrate our government's whole-of-government approach. Bill C-57 will build our whole-of-government approach by applying the Federal Sustainable Development Act to more than 90 federal organizations, ensuring that they contribute to developing the strategy and its progress reports and requiring them to report annually on results. We look forward to reporting back to Canadians and parliamentarians on our sustainable development commitments. We also look forward to continuing to advance sustainability under the federal sustainable development strategy.

Report StageFederal Sustainable Development ActGovernment Orders

May 29th, 2018 / 12:25 p.m.
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Liberal

Vance Badawey Liberal Niagara Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to speak to Bill C-57, the clean growth strategy that the government is bringing forward to the House. I am also pleased to join my colleagues on this side of the House to give support to the bill and I look forward to its passage, after second reading being 244 to zero and after the unanimous decision at committee level.

Our government is committed to protecting the environment, as well as building a clean growth strategy that benefits the middle class and every part of the Canadian economy. Canadians want an ambitious action plan on climate change, at the same time as economic growth and ensuring a good future for our children and our grandchildren. This is a huge opportunity, and we are extremely excited about this nation's future.

If we look at countries around the world, including Canada, we see that many have come to the same conclusions as we have here today. In China, it is estimated that by 2040, the cost of generating electricity from new solar cells will be lower than the projected operating costs of existing coal-fired power plants. In 2017, Germany generated 36% of its electricity with clean energy. Last year, our southern neighbours saw solar and wind industries create jobs 12 times faster than the rest of the economy. In fact, they have twice as many solar jobs as coal jobs. Finally, here in our great nation, wind energy in Prince Edward Island reduces its need for energy from outside the province. P.E.I. has no sources of oil, natural gas, or other fuels for traditional forms of electricity.

As the world's economies are shifting toward cleaner and more sustainable growth, it is essential that Canada remain competitive on the world stage.

Sustainable development includes supporting people and the nation toward a cleaner economy, which will help position Canada to take advantage of opportunities in the new global economy by diversifying our economy and opening up access to new marks while reducing emissions and generating good jobs for all Canadians.

Sustainable development includes clean technologies, which are a key component of our government's approach to promoting sustainable economic growth. I want to emphasize the word “sustainable”. It is not just about economic growth, but economic growth that is done right and sustainably.

Among many things, sustainable development means tackling climate change. Canada was one of almost 200 countries that committed to the Paris Agreement. We agreed to take steps to support the transition to a low-carbon economy and limit the global temperature increase to less than 2° Celsius.

Together with our provincial and territorial partners, we developed a pan-Canadian framework on clean growth and climate change, which includes our approach to pricing carbon pollution and measures to achieve reductions across all sectors of our economy. We see carbon pricing as a key driver for technological innovation and helping Canada to transition to a low-carbon economy, because a carbon price creates a continuous incentive to develop innovative and inexpensive ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

A transition to a lower-carbon future will also require the involvement of the private sector to help increase the supply from alternative sources of energy, meet increasing demands while reducing greenhouse gas emissions, leverage investments in clean energy, improve energy interconnection, and ensure a smooth transition as Canada reduces its reliance on coal.

Our goal is to make Canada a world leader in green technology and clean innovation. That is where the future lies: the knowledge economy, where Canadians are applying their talents to solve collective challenges that face each and every one of us throughout this great nation.

Let me remind my hon. colleagues about some important steps this government has taken to encourage and support clean technology in Canada.

In 2016, more than $1 billion was announced for such things as support for research and development; the deployment of infrastructure for alternative transportation fuels, including charging infrastructure for electric vehicles and natural gas and hydrogen refuelling stations; tax incentives for the generation of clean energy; and, finally, new money for Canada research chairs at Canada's leading universities.

In 2016, environmental and clean technology activities accounted for 3.1% of Canada's gross domestic product, or $59.3 billion. In terms of employment, an estimated 274,000 jobs were attributed to environmental and clean technology activity in 2016 alone. These jobs represent 1.5% of jobs in the Canadian economy, which is 4.5% higher than in 2007.

The two largest components of the environmental and clean technology gross domestic product are clean electricity, at 43%, and waste management, at 12%. In 2017, we continued the support for clean technology by announcing almost $1.4 billion in new financing to be made available to help Canada's clean technology firms grow and expand. We also announced our plan to phase out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies, which are a barrier to investment in clean energy.

More recently, we announced historic investments, including the low-carbon economy fund and the investing in Canada plan, which support projects aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions and generating clean growth. Building on these commitments, budget 2018 focused on enhancing the role of federal science for the public good by proposing $2.8 billion to renew federal laboratories. These investments contribute, in part, to achieving Canada's pledge to double funding for clean energy deployment from $387 million in fiscal year 2014-15 to $775 million in 2020. In fiscal year 2015-16 alone, we increased clean energy research and development funding by 24% over the previous year.

I look forward to members of the House supporting this legislation. As I stated, 244 members of the House voted unanimously to move forward to third reading, and there was a unanimous decision to move forward to third reading from the committee. I am more than happy to take questions from the opposition, as well as from the third party.

Report StageFederal Sustainable Development ActGovernment Orders

May 29th, 2018 / 12:35 p.m.
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Conservative

Luc Berthold Conservative Mégantic—L'Érable, QC

Mr. Speaker, my colleague always speaks very passionately about infrastructure projects. I had the opportunity to work with him on the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, where we had some good discussions.

He said that he likes working with the municipalities and other levels of government, but I am wondering what he thinks about the government's decision not to work with all of the parties in the House on Bill C-57 and to move a motion to cut members' speaking time on a file where the input and opinions of everyone in the House are very important. It is true that the environment and the economy go hand in hand, but at the same time, we all have the right to speak.

Does he think that muzzling opposition members with regard to Bill C-57 is what co-operation is all about?

Report StageFederal Sustainable Development ActGovernment Orders

May 29th, 2018 / 12:35 p.m.
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NDP

Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure for me to rise in the House today to speak to Bill C-57. This bill is a mixed bag, in that does not go far enough and fails to consider several elements included in MP John Godfrey's original bill from 2007, which was subsequently watered down.

Once again, the work is only half done, as the bill did not consider the recommendations of the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development. It did not even consider the recommendations of the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development, which wanted to go much further on certain issues, especially creation. Back in 2007, it was Mr. Godfrey's idea to create a real environment commissioner position that would be independent of the Auditor General's office and Environment and Climate Change Canada.

Now, some kind of office of sustainable development is going to be created within Environment and Climate Change Canada. I doubt that office will be able to give good advice, because it is like making the inspector part of the company he or she is supposed to inspect. I do not quite see how that would work. Once again, we see another so-called solution that does not really get to the root of the problem. The government is not making the bravest and most useful decisions possible.

I will come back to Bill C-57 in a few minutes because it is basically a bill that refers to the environment, sustainable development, and the United Nations' 17 sustainable development goals, which we are far from meeting. I will come back to that when I speak about the report of the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development, which was tabled recently.

I will take this opportunity to point out what a mind-boggling day this has been. I do not understand this shocking and unexpected news: the Liberal government has decided to become the owner of a pipeline that will transport an extremely dangerous substance. If there is a spill on the Pacific coast, it will be extremely difficult to clean up because this substance sinks rather than floats like many other substances derived from fossil fuels.

During the 2015 election campaign, the Liberal Party of Canada said that by voting Liberal we would be voting for real change: Canada would be back on the international scene, the Liberals would champion the fight against climate change, and they would turn the page on the dark days of the Harper and Conservative regime. However, the Liberal Party is going further than Stephen Harper dared to go. The Conservatives never purchased a pipeline. That was not in the Liberal platform and the Liberals did not say one word about it in 2015. Unless I am mistaken, I did not hear the Prime Minister say, during the election campaign, that if we voted for him, he would take $4.5 billion of our money and buy a pipeline.

Report StageFederal Sustainable Development ActGovernment Orders

May 29th, 2018 / 12:45 p.m.
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NDP

Alistair MacGregor NDP Cowichan—Malahat—Langford, BC

Mr. Speaker, Bill C-57 would basically mandate that various federal departments come up with sustainability plans, and it would extend the reach. I have tried to ask the Liberal government on a couple of occasions which particular federal department is now going to be in charge of Kinder Morgan, and how on earth that federal department is going to be able to release a sustainable plan that will bear the scrutiny of scientific consensus.

Despite the way our planet is going and despite this being 2018, we are investing in expanding a diluted bitumen pipeline and not even getting the value out of the product, as my colleague mentioned in his speech. We are going after bottom-barrel, basement prices. We are not looking toward the future.

I would like my friend to comment on the Liberals' plan of action and how, with all of the evidence out there, this project flies in the face of sustainability and flies in the face of what Bill C-57 purports to do.

Report StageFederal Sustainable Development ActGovernment Orders

May 29th, 2018 / 12:50 p.m.
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Whitby Ontario

Liberal

Celina Caesar-Chavannes LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Development

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have an opportunity to address my hon. colleagues here in the House today. I would like to speak about the principles of sustainable development and Bill C-57 and how those will help advance the government's commitment to a clean environment and a strong economy.

Let me start with a bit of history. In 1993, the General Assembly of the United Nations established the World Commission on Environment and Development, which was chaired by then Norwegian prime minister Gro Harlem Brundtland. In 1987, the commission published Our Common Future, known as the Brundtland report. The report put sustainable development on the global agenda. It also coined and defined its meaning, as follows:

Humanity has the ability to make development sustainable to ensure that it meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

That is often referred to as the standard definition of “sustainable development”, and indeed, that is how sustainable development is defined in our current Federal Sustainable Development Act.

The Brundtland report paved the way for an unprecedented 1992 United Nations conference in Rio de Janeiro, better known as the Earth Summit. I want to make a special point of noting that it was the late Maurice Strong, a distinguished Canadian, who led the organization of that event.

The Earth Summit brought together more countries and heads of state than any previous event. It established enduring and lasting mechanisms for international co-operation, following through on Gro Harlem Brundtland's vision of a sustainable future.

Among these important agreements were the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, and the development of the Commission on Sustainable Development. Canada was there. We supported the 1992 Rio declaration, and we have championed sustainable development since that time.

In 1995, following Rio, Canada became one of the first countries in the world to create a commissioner for sustainable development. Since 1997, government departments have been required to produce sustainable development strategies, in compliance with the 1995 amendments to the Auditor General Act.

In 2008, under the leadership of the Hon. John Godfrey, his private member's bill, Bill C-474, passed and became law as the Federal Sustainable Development Act. The act provides a legal framework for developing and implementing a federal sustainable development strategy every three years. It also requires 26 departments and agencies to prepare their own sustainable development strategies that comply with and contribute to the federal strategy.

Let us move forward to 2015, which was a watershed year for sustainable development globally. In September, Canada was among 193 countries to adopt the 2030 agenda for sustainable development. The 2030 agenda set out a global framework of action for people, the planet, prosperity, peace, and partnership, with the ultimate goal of eradicating poverty and ensuring that no one is left behind. The 17 sustainable development goals and their 169 associated targets built on the previous millennium development goals. They were universally applicable and fully integrated social, economic, and environmental dimensions of sustainable development. Just a few months later, in December of 2015, Canada was among the parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which adopted the historic Paris agreement.

The Federal Sustainable Development Act is part of a legacy that began with the Brundtland report and the Earth Summit and that is still relevant today as we advance the government's commitment to a clean environment and a strong economy. It provides the framework to develop and implement the federal sustainable development strategy, a guide to the Government of Canada's environmental sustainability priorities.

The most recent strategy for the period from 2016 to 2019 was tabled in the House on October 6, 2016. It sets out 13 long-term aspirational goals. In response to a recommendation of the standing committee, the strategy's goals are Canada's reflection of the United Nations' sustainable development goals, with a focus on the environmental dimensions.

We are continuing to move forward to improve what we are already doing. Bill C-57, an act to amend the Federal Sustainable Development Act, seeks to strengthen our commitment to sustainable development, further building on the Brundtland Report and Rio as well as on the 2030 agenda for sustainable development goals and the Paris agreement.

As in the past, principles have been the foundation of all our sustainable development commitments, and today I would like to take a few minutes to tell my colleagues about the principles we are proposing in Bill C-57, principles our government believes will strengthen the Federal Sustainable Development Act. I also want to acknowledge the important work of our colleagues on the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development, who, in their June 2016 report on the Federal Sustainable Development Act, highlighted the importance of modernizing our sustainable development principles.

Bill C-57 proposes to include the principles of intergenerational equity, polluter pays, internalization of costs, openness and transparency, involving indigenous people, collaboration, and results and delivery.

The principle of intergenerational equity is the essence of sustainable development. It is the recognition that the decisions we make are not just about today and about us but about the future and those who will be here after us.

The principles of polluter pays and the internalization of costs reflect our understanding that we need to move beyond conventional ways of thinking. To be sustainable, economic growth must take into account the damages imposed on the environment. Polluter pays means that those who generate pollution must bear the cost. Internalization of costs means that goods and services should reflect all costs they generate for society, from their design to consumption to final disposal.

The principles of openness and transparency are intertwined with the purpose of the Federal Sustainable Development Act to make decision-making related to sustainable development more transparent and subject to accountability to Parliament.

From the very first day we took office, our government has been committed to a renewed relationship with indigenous people based on the recognition of rights, respect, co-operation, and partnership. We are working to correct the injustices that have persisted and have contributed to an unacceptable socio-economic gap. That is why we are involving indigenous people. We want to underscore that this commitment is supported by important provisions in the proposed act to increase the number of indigenous representatives on the Sustainable Development Advisory Council to better reflect the breadth of indigenous groups represented and the challenges they face here in Canada.

The principle of collaboration emphasizes the role parties must play to achieve sustainable development. We need to work together.

Last, the principle of results and delivery is about making sure that we get there. We need to ensure that we have the right objectives and strategies to meet all the goals, but we also need good indicators to measure progress and make sure that we report on the progress in a way people can understand and be proud of.

The principles set out in Bill C-57 reaffirm that we are up to the challenge before us. We are ready to seize the opportunities before us and to be bold. Sustainable development means growing a diversified, low-carbon economy while reducing emissions and generating good-quality jobs for Canadians.