An Act to amend the Federal Sustainable Development Act



Second reading (Senate), as of June 14, 2018

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


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.


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.


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

Opposition Motion—Global Climate Change and Clean Energy LeadershipBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

June 12th, 2018 / 11:55 a.m.
See context

North Vancouver B.C.


Jonathan Wilkinson LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change

Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for Edmonton Mill Woods.

I am very pleased to stand in the House today to discuss the motion of my colleague, the hon. member for Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie.

I appreciate the call for Canada to be a global climate change leader. I agree, and Canada is. However, this motion fails in a number of areas, including its failure to recognize the actions the government has taken in ensuring that the environment and the economy go together as we build a clean energy economy. Our government has been steadfast in its belief that a strong economy and a clean environment go hand in hand. The NDP motion completely ignores the historic investments that the government has made through successive federal budgets that specifically address Canada's environment, coastlines, waterways, and wildlife, as well as the introduction of government legislation such as Bill C-69, Bill C-68, Bill C-57, and Bill C-74, which would further strengthen our ability to protect the environment and grow the economy in sustainable ways.

Today, I will highlight the global market for clean technologies and the enormous opportunity Canadians are already taking advantage of that is estimated to be in the trillions of dollars, with demand only increasing, and at an incredibly rapid pace.

This is an area I personally know very well, having spent the past almost 20 years as a chief executive officer and senior executive in the clean technology and renewable sector. The clean technology industry presents significant opportunities for Canadian businesses from all sectors of the economy. That is why investing in clean technology is a key component of our government's approach to promoting sustainable growth and to addressing key environmental challenges.

Our government also recognizes that clean technology is a source of good, well-paying jobs for Canadians. Therefore, when it comes to clean technology, Canada has the opportunity to be a true global leader, creating good, well-paying jobs for Canadians, while helping to meet our climate change and other important environmental goals.

Clean technologies are central to Canada’s low-carbon, globally competitive economy that provides high-quality jobs and opportunities for our middle class and those working hard to join it.

Clean technologies are by definition innovative technologies. Our government understands that innovation is a key driver of economic success. That is why we developed an innovation skills plan that will assist in making Canada a world-leading centre for innovation.

Today, clean technology already employs over 170,000 Canadians, and we sell about $26 billion annually in goods and services. Of that $26 billion, about $8 billion is exported.

Clearly, there is a strong appetite for Canadian innovation, but we have only just scratched the surface and there is so much more room to grow. That is why our government set aside more than $2.3 billion for clean technology in budget 2017. For the record, that is Canada's largest-ever public investment in this field. Prior to making this historic investment, we worked closely with industry to develop a comprehensive strategy that will successfully accelerate the development of the sector.

This $2.3 billion will support clean technology research, development, demonstration, and adoption and the scaling up of our businesses.

We know that access to financing fuels the growth of companies and provides the capital needed to hire new staff, develop products, and support sales at home and abroad, which is why we have set aside $1.4 billion in new financing for clean-tech providers. This is in addition to the $21.9 billion investment in green infrastructure, which will create jobs and position Canada for the low-carbon economy of the future.

We have also allocated $400 million to recapitalize Sustainable Development Technology Canada. This fund is helping our Canadian businesses develop world-class expertise in clean technology engineering, design, marketing, and management. To date, the fund has invested $989 million in 381 Canadian companies, supporting projects across the entire country. The funding has helped these companies develop and demonstrate new clean technologies that promote sustainable development, including those that address environmental issues, such as climate change, air quality, clean water, and clean soil.

There is also the Business Development Bank of Canada with its $700 million commitment to help clean technology producers scale up and expand globally. Since mid-January, I am pleased to say that four investments worth $40 million have been made. Through our participation in mission innovation, the Government of Canada will work with the international community to double federal investment in clean energy research and development over five years.

These are very significant and substantive investments, and we will drive for strong results. The government will carefully monitor the results of its investments both in terms of economic growth and jobs, as well as the environment.

Through a new clean-tech growth hub within Innovation Canada, the government will streamline client services, improve federal program coordination, enable tracking and reporting of clean technology results across government, and connect stakeholders to international markets. The clean growth hub is the government's focal point for all federal government supporting clean technology. Since launching in mid-January, the hub has served over 450 companies. This one-stop shop is a major innovative win for government that industry is already recognizing as a key step forward.

The 2017 Global Cleantech Innovation Index, which investigates where entrepreneurial companies are most likely to emerge over the next 10 years, ranked Canada fourth, up from seventh in 2014. Further, in January of this year, the Cleantech Group released a Global Cleantech 100 list. The list recognizes the clean-tech companies that are most likely to have significant market impact over the next five to 10 years.

Under the Harper government, Canada's share of the global clean-tech market shrunk by half. In partnership with the clean-tech industry, we have successfully turned this around. This year, a record 13 Canadian clean technology firms comprised the top 100. All the winning companies are clients of the Canadian trade commissioner service, and seven of the 13 companies are Export Development Canada customers.

We know that is only a small sampling of the innovative clean technology companies that are doing amazing work every day across the country to create economic growth, and solve our most pressing environmental challenges.

For example, in Montreal, GHGSat has developed the technology to monitor industrial greenhouse gas emissions using satellite technology. They launched their first satellite in 2016. In my own province of British Columbia, Carbon Engineering is developing a process to turn carbon dioxide in the air into a clean fuel. I could go on and on, speaking about all of the fantastic and innovative clean technology companies working across the country in so many industries and sectors of the Canadian economy.

In order to ensure their continued success, we will continue to collaborate with all stakeholders and jurisdictions across Canada to meet our climate change commitments and bring innovative and competitive clean technologies to market.

We have developed strong international linkages that promote Canadian technology as solutions to global challenges and attract private sector investment. This government is focused on scaling our great Canadian clean technology success stories, and in the process, helping to solve the world's most pressing environmental challenges.

As we move forward, the Government of Canada will continue to be a strong partner for clean technology producers. Our government is incredibly proud and impressed by the innovative work being done by the entrepreneurial women and men working in this sphere and we will continue to support them and their work, and with their success, generate future wealth for Canadians, while safeguarding the environment for future generations.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

June 5th, 2018 / 7:50 p.m.
See context


David McGuinty Liberal Ottawa South, ON

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for his plea, which is a plea that comes from business, where the mantra is usually “You can't manage what you don't measure.” I would like to give an example of managing what one measures. At the Treasury Board, we are making progress when it comes to the government's own greenhouse gas emissions and efficiencies. The Treasury Board is now moving, under Bill C-57, which is linked to this budget bill, to measuring the GHG emissions from its fleet and buildings, and very actively reporting to Canadians. Canadians will be able to see the progress that is being made. They will understand the expenditures that are being made to retrofit buildings and to lease better buildings in order to reduce the overall emissions. Canadians can get a much better sense of value for money.

I think the member would agree with me that this is one example where the government deserves a bit of credit for moving the yardstick forward to be judicious and wise with Canadian taxpayer dollars, to be able to show that in fact we are making progress, and if we are not, Canadians can hold us to account accordingly.

Motions in AmendmentImpact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

June 5th, 2018 / 1:55 p.m.
See context


Luc Berthold Conservative Mégantic—L'Érable, QC

Mr. Speaker, I doubt I will have a better answer for my colleague, but I can talk about another of this government's inconsistencies.

Bill C-57 is another bill that was kind of rammed down parliamentarians' throats. It includes a definition of sustainability that reads as follows:

Sustainability is defined as “the ability to protect the environment, contribute to the social and economic well-being of the people of Canada and preserve their health in a manner that benefits present and future generations.”

That was in C-57.

Sadly, in Bill C-69, direct economic consideration is now missing from the extensive list of factors to consider.

That is therefore not the first inconsistency we see from the Liberals, and I somehow doubt it will be the last.

June 5th, 2018 / 11:05 a.m.
See context

Ottawa Centre Ontario


Catherine McKenna LiberalMinister of Environment and Climate Change

Thank you, Madam Chair.

Committee members, dear colleagues, I am happy to be with you this morning to talk about the 2018-2019 Main Estimates for Environment and Climate Change Canada, for the Parks Canada Agency, and for the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency.

I believe that this is my sixth appearance before this committee since I became minister, and my third appearance in the last 11 weeks. It's a pleasure to be back.

Today, as we have heard from the chair, I am joined by Jonathan Wilkinson, my amazing Parliamentary Secretary; Dr. Stephen Lucas, Deputy Minister of Environment and Climate Change Canada; Daniel Watson, Chief Executive Officer of Parks Canada Agency; and Ron Hallman, President of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency.

I want to start by recognizing that we're on the traditional territory of the Algonquin and Anishinabe peoples.

As you all know, we're celebrating World Environment Day today.

Happy World Environment Day.

It's also Canadian Environment Week. So this really is the ideal day to be here. I'm glad I am, despite some scheduling conflicts.

This year, the theme of World Environment Day and Canadian Environment Week is the fight against plastic pollution. This year's events and activities are inspired by the issues that will be discussed during the G7 summit, on June 8 and 9, in the Charlevoix region, in Quebec.

I would also note that I was very pleased to see Bill C-57 pass third reading with the unanimous vote in the House of Commons yesterday, despite the Conservative attempt to delay the passage of the bill by deleting a clause at report stage that Mr. Fast had already convinced the committee to amend. That said, I am glad to see it moving forward, as it was based on the unanimous recommendations of this committee.

I would also like to congratulate the committee on its in-depth study of Bill C-69 and on the many thoughtful amendments passed by the members of this committee. You heard from 80 witnesses and reviewed more than 150 submissions over a period of two months. The quality and scope of your amendments demonstrate the rigour of your study of the bill, and I am happy to be able to say that our government will support these amendments.

We are now beginning report stage debate, and unsurprisingly, the Conservatives are once again engaging in delay tactics by moving to delete every clause of the act, with not one substantive amendment.

Despite these actions, our government will continue to ensure that we restore public trust, protect the environment, introduce modern safeguards, advance reconciliation with indigenous peoples, and ensure that good projects go ahead and resources get to market, because that's what Canadians expect.

On April 16, the president of the Treasury Board tabled the 2018-2019 estimates and departmental plans. The tabling of these documents is an important step taken by our government in the reform of the estimates.

The estimates include 100% of the measures announced in the budget, and provide parliamentarians with key information to ensure better government accountability.

Speaking of accountability, I trust that the Conservative members at this table will take some time to explain to Canadians why only 11 short weeks ago they attempted to gut the funding of this portfolio in estimates votes for this fiscal year by reducing the budget by over $625 million—in fact, $627,365,749. This included a cut of over $320 million to Environment and Climate Change Canada, a cut of over $15 million to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, and a cut of close to $320 million to Parks Canada. This would have meant layoffs for public servants and the closure of our national parks. It was the height of irresponsibility, and I want to note it for the record at this meeting on the estimates today. Budget votes are not a game and Conservative members should know better. Decisions made in this place have real impacts on people's lives, our country, and our environment.

With that, for Environment and Climate Change Canada, the main estimates include $1.5 billion in planned spending. That's an increase of $528.6 million, or a 54% increase over last year's main estimates. They also include a new central vote under the Treasury Board Secretariat for budget implementation. For Environment and Climate Change Canada, that central vote totals $71.4 million.

With respect to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, for 2018-19, the main estimates provide total funding of $33.6 million.

With respect to Parks Canada, funding of over $1.4 billion is expected through the 2018-19 main estimates, an increase of $83 million, or 6%, over last year's main estimates. For the Parks Canada Agency, the central vote includes two items: $23.6 million for protecting Canada's nature, parks, and wild spaces; and $1.25 million for supporting indigenous history and heritage.

As minister, my key priority continues to be ensuring that our government provides leadership to take action on climate change. We're 100% committed to reaching our 2030 climate target and we're taking action, including accelerating the phase-out of coal, historic investments in cleaner infrastructure, and putting in place a price on pollution to grow the economy in cleaner ways.

Canadians know that pollution incurs costs, related to droughts, floods and extreme weather events, as well as effects on our health.

We're expecting that climate change will cost our economy $5 billion per year by 2020. Doing nothing is not an option.

We have a plan that will reduce pollution and allow us to meet our objectives, all while growing our economy and creating good jobs for the middle class.

The Conservatives don't have a climate plan. They don't seem to believe that climate change is a problem—or real, in some cases—and they're missing the boat on the trillions of dollars of economic opportunity in green growth around the world. According to the World Bank, the Paris Agreement will help open up nearly $23 trillion in new opportunities—let me repeat, $23 trillion in new opportunities—for climate-smart investments in emerging markets between now and 2030. Our climate plan is positioning Canada among the leaders in seizing those opportunities.

Canada's clean-tech sector is now ranked fourth in the world, and first in the G20. That's testimony to Canadian ingenuity, but it also reflects choices our government has made, such as putting a price on pollution and making smart support for clean innovation. The Conservatives, sadly, have no plan to support this essential part of our economy.

This December, we'll seize the opportunity to advance the implementation of the Paris Agreement at the Conference of the Parties, COP24. COP24 will be pivotal for sustaining momentum on climate action created by Paris. Why? If this year's COP can, and should, land the Paris rule book, rules about reporting, transparency, markets, and more that help translate ambition into action, it will guard parties' efforts to implement the Paris Agreement and will support enhanced ambition in years and decades ahead.

We will continue to protect Canadians and the environment from harmful substances by carrying out environmental assessments on the latter, by developing and implementing control measures, such as regulations, and by carrying out continual assessments on the reform of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, including the recommendations made by this committee.

We'll be tabling our recommendation-by-recommendation response to this committee's report on CEPA later this month. We'll also be implementing the regulations to ban asbestos in Canada, limit toxic emissions for refineries and petrochemical plants, and reduce contaminants in effluent from mining. Our government is also committed to protecting and conserving nature and wildlife. After a decade of Conservative inaction, we're making real progress by listening to scientists and moving quickly to help species recover. We're showing leadership by investing a historic $1.3 billion in budget 2018 for nature and conservation.

Canada is committed to conserving at least 17% of its land and inland waters by 2020, and we're making real progress. At this time, about 10.5% of Canada's land and fresh water, and almost 8% of marine and coastal areas, are under some form of protection in all 10 provinces, three territories, and three oceans. In support of this commitment, we're continuing to advance work on creating new national parks and national marine conservation areas, including the proposed Thaidene Nëné national park reserve in the Northwest Territories, the proposed national park reserve in the South Okanagan-Similkameen in British Columbia, and Tallurutiup Imanga national marine conservation area in Lancaster Sound, Nunavut.

To ensure that this progress continues, the budget implementation vote includes $52.9 million to protect Canada's wildlife, parks and spaces. This funding will support us as the federal government moves forward with the protection and recovery of species at risk. We are focusing on the priority areas, species and sectors to obtain lasting results for a number of species.

I am delighted that the nature fund will supplement the funding given to the partners, businesses, provincial and territorial non-profit organizations, as well as to other entities to protect more private lands, and to support the provincial and territorial efforts that aim to protect species and enhance indigenous peoples' ability to conserve the lands and the species.

Together, the main estimates and new spending in budget 2018 will help create the clean-growth economy necessary for the collective health, prosperity, and security of this generation of Canadians and the next.

Thank you for your time today on World Environment Day. I look forward to your questions.

Federal Sustainable Development ActGovernment Orders

June 4th, 2018 / 7 p.m.
See context


The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

Pursuant to order made on Tuesday, May 29, 2018, the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the motion at third reading stage of Bill C-57, an act to amend the Federal Sustainable Development Act.

The House resumed from June 1 consideration of the motion that Bill C-57, an act to amend the Federal Sustainable Development Act, be read the third time and passed.

Opposition Motion — United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous PeoplesBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

June 4th, 2018 / 12:10 p.m.
See context


Linda Duncan NDP Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Madam Speaker, my colleague brought forward Bill C-262, which was passed by the majority in this place. My colleague's bill would now require that the government reflect the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in all federal government legislation. I would welcome my colleague's comments on this.

On two occasions, I have brought forward amendments for the government to include in new legislation coming forward, including Bill C-57, which would amend the Sustainable Development Act; and Bill C-69, which would transform our entire major project review process. The Liberal government turned down more than a dozen proposals to include the UNDRIP in that legislation. I wonder if the member could also speak to this.

The government seems to want to give the illusion that it supports all the TRC calls to action. It is giving the illusion that it now supports the UNDRIP, but in its actions, it does not seem to be delivering on that promise, also as pointed out recently by the Auditor General of Canada.

Federal Sustainable Development ActGovernment Orders

June 1st, 2018 / 1 p.m.
See context


William Amos Liberal Pontiac, QC

Madam Speaker, I would like to split my time with my colleague, the member for Ottawa South.

I am proud today to speak to Bill C-57, an act to amend the Federal Sustainable Development Act, which is a really important step toward realizing this government's vision that Canada become one of the greenest countries in the world and that the quality of life of Canadians across the country continue to improve.

In our second report, the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development worked really hard across the aisle, all parties together, to produce a report entitled “Federal Sustainability for Future Generations”. It was made clear in the report that reforms needed to be made to this law, and that is what Bill C-57 is all about.

As I am going to explain, the amendments in the bill, in particular to the purpose of the act, clearly show that sustainable development and environment are at the forefront of our thinking and our government's decision-making as we move forward.

First, I would like to acknowledge the considerable efforts of my colleagues on that committee, Liberal, Conservative, and NDP. The efforts were really collegial. It was my first experience working on a committee project and it was a very positive one.

I would also like to thank the witnesses who came before the committee, many of whom had deep expertise in this area and had committed their lives to the issue of sustainable development, both domestically and internationally. Ultimately what they helped us achieve was a unanimous report that provided insight and recommendations that were instrumental in helping shape the amendments that we now see in Bill C-57.

I want to acknowledge in particular the contributions of the hon. John Godfrey, who is now special advisor to the Ontario government on climate change. It was John Godfrey who brought forward the original private member's bill that became the Federal Sustainable Development Act during a minority government and established the foundation for federal sustainable development strategies that are brought together by each department.

I want to start by saying that this is about shifting toward a government culture that is reflective of the transparency and accountability that Canadians have come to expect of their governments.

In terms of the strategy that has been developed for 2016-19, there have been improvements every single time a strategy has been brought forward; but with this one in particular, it has become a lot better. It has set the government on a path that it will follow for the next three years with a vision for sustainability, not just across Canada, one that is more ambitious and more aspirational than past strategies, but also with more specific targets. It incorporates more social and economic dimensions and includes a wider range of departments and agencies.

That is one of the reasons we have had so much more public engagement for the 2016-19 strategy, which we consulted about for several months. There were over 540 comments delivered to the government on it.

Bill C-57 sets the stage for the future strategies that will be brought forward by different departments and agencies and crown corporations. It is going to focus on advancing not just environmental matters, but also broader sustainable development reporting. It is going to strengthen accountability by requiring that federal organizations report annually to parliamentary committees on their sustainable development progress, which means they are going to be scrutinized publicly. That is a very good thing. It is going to let people know what their government is doing, what departments are doing to implement sustainable development, by building on a whole-of-government approach, department by department, and will enable the measurement of government's performance with specific metrics.

Bill C-57 contains a number of new provisions that will support accountability and transparency. One of those is the principle of results and delivery, something that departments and agencies will have to take into account as they develop their own strategies, not just what they are aspiring to do, but also what are they actually going to be able to deliver. The targets they are setting will have to be measurable. They will have to be time balanced.

We are seeing a tightening of the screws around federal sustainable development strategies, and that is only a good thing.

When an explicit role is identified in Bill C-57 for Treasury Board in establishing policies and issuing directives in relation to the impact of government operations on sustainable development, that is a positive development. I say this because many of my constituents in the Pontiac will know that every department has its own specific challenges. Every department has its own specific operations and policy issues that they need to address.

The civil servants in my riding tell me regularly that they would like to have the opportunity to render their own departments' actions more sustainable. They know pathways, but they need the mechanisms to help get them there. They need a tougher, stronger law to make that happen. Bill C-57 would provide that. I am very confident that the hard-working civil servants in the Outaouais, in the national capital region, will be very pleased to see they will also be able to track the performance of their department, their crown corporation, the agency for which they work, as they work toward more sustainable operations.

I said that different departments and agencies would be added to the ambit of this legislation. Right now 26 departments are participating and are named in the act. That will be increased to include contributions from 90 departments and agencies, including organizations with significant environmental footprints, such as the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Canada Post, etc.

We are talking about legislation that will bring about a whole-of-government approach to achieving sustainability. That is a significant piece of our puzzle as a country. The federal government represents hundreds of thousands of employees. It represents so many dollars spent in products bought and in real estate. It is important for the entities that constitute the Government of Canada to be driving economic progress toward sustainability.

I also want to speak about the provisions and the purpose of the act around Canada's domestic and international obligations related to sustainable development. It has been raised in the House that the 2030 agenda from the UN, the sustainable development goals and our Paris agreement, are not included in the Federal Sustainable Development Act.

International obligations are acknowledged in the revised purpose set out in Bill C-57. This purpose reflects the government's commitment to consider current and future international sustainability obligations in the strategies that are developed. Future federal sustainable development strategies will reflect international obligations.

I would like to speak to concrete examples of activities that the government has undertaken to demonstrate how we take our international and domestic priorities seriously, in particular the voluntary national review on the 2030 agenda and our report to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity.

Last year I had the privilege of going to New York and delivering Canada's statement before the United Nations at the high-level political conference on sustainable development goals. That was truly a special moment and an honour for me. This year our government will be back there. I expect it will be one of our ministers who delivers Canada's very first voluntary national review, reporting back on our sustainable development goals and our achievements to date, our accomplishments, but also recognizing areas where more work is needed, whether in relation to health, gender, or consultation with indigenous peoples.

We can always do better, and better is definitely always possible in our country. We know that.

Bill C-57 would amend the Federal Sustainable Development Act in a very positive way. I am looking forward to discussing it with my colleagues on the other side.

Federal Sustainable Development ActGovernment Orders

June 1st, 2018 / 12:55 p.m.
See context


Anne Minh-Thu Quach NDP Salaberry—Suroît, QC

Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague from Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, who always conjures up images to illustrate the contradictions and absurdity of the Liberals' decisions on climate change.

The Minister of Environment rose today to say that Bill C-57 would establish measurable plans, improved accountability, ambitious targets, and annual progress reports. However, reports prepared by the Commissioner of the Environment clearly indicate that five departments, including the Department of the Environment, have no plan and no system for monitoring progress.

How can the minister look herself in the mirror and rise in the House to speak about climate change and sustainable development when her own department has no plan and no reporting system? That is an insult to future generations, which will have to live with the consequences of this pollution and the lack of a plan. It has already been said that inaction on climate change costs millions of dollars.

Could my colleague perhaps explain what we should do, as a G7 country, to elevate the debate on climate change?

Federal Sustainable Development ActGovernment Orders

June 1st, 2018 / 12:30 p.m.
See context


Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Madam Speaker, I am very pleased to rise in the House to speak to Bill C-57, which amends the Federal Sustainability Act. This is a very important issue, which I will get to in a little bit.

I want to start by saying that it is unfortunate and disgusting that we are once again under a gag order as we debate issues that are so very important not only to us as a society, but also to the future of our planet. Once again, the government is limiting the amount of time we have for debate. It is preventing parliamentarians from debating and improving this bill, to ensure that we have a strong plan for sustainable development. the Liberals are once again breaking a clear promise they made during the election campaign. They are limiting debate times, imposing a gag order on members of Parliament, and not giving us enough time to have a serious debate. Today is Friday, and this is the fifth time this week alone that the Liberals have moved a time allocation motion. For those who are not familiar with the jargon, a time allocation motion means that the government is imposing a gag order a limiting the amount of time for debate.

I think that topics like sustainable development, the United Nations goals, and global warming should be taken seriously by the Liberal government. It should give us enough time to have a thorough, honest debate on this bill, so that we can address all of the details.

It is so important that I am personally convinced, and many of my colleagues here share my opinion, that the environmental issues, the protection of biodiversity, and the fight against climate change are truly the challenge of our generation.

Our children and grandchildren will judge us on our ability to deal with these challenges, our ability to ensure that we maintain a healthy environment, and our ability to prevent global temperatures from increasing by more than 2%, since that could have catastrophic consequences. I do not say that lightly. It has been scientifically proven that the earth's temperature is rising. It has also been proven that the actions of human societies, including our production and consumption activities, are mainly responsible for global warming. Our actions and our decisions are causing global warming and there are many consequences to that, including what is known as extreme weather. In some places, it is much hotter than it used to be, while in others it is much colder. On average, it is much hotter, and there has been an increase in the number and intensity of so-called natural disasters. That means there have been more floods, droughts, forest fires, and hurricanes, and those hurricanes are stronger and cause more damage. We have already seen this sort of thing in Canada. It has been documented and there are reports on the subject. Extreme weather and natural disasters are costing us more and more.

We often hear about cost, about putting a price on pollution and the cost of making greener, more environmentally responsible choices. However, I want to make it clear that there is also a cost to doing nothing and sitting on our hands while disasters break out all around us. This is not just a financial or economic issue, it is a human issue.

I would remind everyone here that former U.S. vice-president Al Gore won a Nobel Peace Prize for his environmental advocacy and actions. Why did the Nobel committee decide to award a Nobel Peace Peace to someone who works on environmental and sustainable development issues? There does not seem to be a link, but in fact, there is one. In addition to extreme weather, we are now going to start seeing climate migrants. Mr. Gore was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize because it is a well-known fact that drastically higher temperatures in certain regions, deforestation, and lack of access to water will cause population displacement around the globe and turn millions of people into climate migrants.

Environmental migration can lead to conflict, even armed conflict. That is why the folks at the Nobel committee decided to recognize Al Gore on his work a number of years ago and issued a statement saying that preventing global warming might get us just a bit closer to world peace.

Global warming also has an impact on our ecosystems here. One of our colleagues from northern Canada, the author of Bill C-262, noted that Quebec's far north now has species of birds and insects that it did not have before and that can trigger dangerous changes in the balance of certain ecosystems. Even in Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, where there are not that many ecosystems, we were forced to cut down dozens of trees because of the ash borer, an insect that did not previously exist back home. Climate change has caused the ash borer to migrate north and now it is attacking the trees.

I was talking to a winemaker in the riding of Berthier—Maskinongé recently. He says climate change could affect wine production in Quebec because of a vine-destroying insect called phylloxera native to France and Europe. Phylloxera cannot survive our winters, but that could change as our winters warm and we get periods of milder weather. It may begin to attack our vines. Periods of milder weather have other significant impacts, too. For example, if there is a major thaw in January, the vines think spring has come and start to bud, then they freeze and die for the rest of the season.

I wanted to share those details with the House, but I will now turn to a situation happening a long way from home. This morning on Radio-Canada, I had a chance to listen to an interview with documentary filmmaker Matthieu Rytz, who directed a documentary called Anote's Ark. Anote is the leader of a small nation, a unique population living on Kiribati, an atoll in the middle of the Pacific.

Like many other Pacific atolls, their island is only about a metre above sea level, and sea level is already rising. If we do not meet our Paris Agreement targets and slow down global warming, the glaciers at the North and South poles will melt, causing the sea level to rise everywhere. For the people of Kiribati, it is almost too late already.

There are other countries where we hope to avert disasters. I am thinking in particular of Bangladesh, which is already below sea level, but which may have more resources to protect its coastline. The Netherlands and Holland already have an entire infrastructure for that, but the people of Kiribati do not. It is most unfortunate.

The documentary is called Anote's Ark because all these people plan on leaving. They are looking for somewhere else to live. They may move to Fiji, for example. They are already in negotiations to relocate to other countries. It is so tragic. Their entire way of life will disappear. It could also lead to complications and tension.

The climate migrants I mentioned earlier are a clear and typical example of the fact that this phenomenon will grow. If they are moved to another country, will a state be created within the host country, or will they simply be assimilated into the existing population? These are serious issues. What can we do to prevent this cultural diversity from disappearing? Biological diversity is important, but so is cultural diversity. We see the type of problems that this will cause.

Before I go into the specifics of the bill, I want to point out that the Liberal government promised to put an end to oil subsidies. After two and a half years in power, it has done absolutely nothing about this. On the contrary, I believe it has just handed out the largest oil subsidy in Canada's history by writing a $4.5-billion cheque to a U.S. company to purchase a 65-year-old pipeline that is leaking, by the way.

However, Canada pledged to participate in an accountability process adopted by the G7 and G20 to track each country's progress in reducing and gradually phasing out oil subsidies. We have received an invitation. We have already been invited to pair up with Argentina to examine each other's actions and decisions to see if we are serious and making progress. What is absolutely incomprehensible is quite simply that the Liberal government did not even respond to Argentina's invitation. Argentina is still waiting for Canada to say that it wants to partner up. As they say in Argentina, it takes two to tango, but Canada is refusing to get on the dance floor.

More specifically, we have a government that, once again, is saying one thing but doing the opposite. The oil subsidies are a blatant example. It is sad. I would like to quote a report from the environment commissioner that clearly states that this government is not going in the right direction and that it will likely fall well short of meeting the weak targets it has set, where it even set any, that is. That is another problem. It is unfortunate that, despite the Liberals' campaign promises, they set exactly the same greenhouse gas reduction targets as the previous government and kept the very same game plan, and yet it seems Canada will not even meet those targets.

I would like to quote the environment commissioner's report directly. It reads:

On the basis of current federal [and] provincial...policies and actions, Canada is not expected to meet its 2020 target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Meeting Canada’s 2030 target will require substantial effort and actions beyond those currently planned or in place.

It seems pretty clear to me that we are going to miss the boat. We are going to miss the boat on what is probably the greatest challenge of this Parliament, this government, at a time when it should be leading the way and making tough decisions. It is not only the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development who is saying so. The United Nations and the OECD share the same concerns and have said that Canada will not reach its targets for 2020 or 2030. There is nothing to be proud of or to brag about here. Giving great speeches in Germany, in New York, and at the UN is all well and good, but if the government is not willing to walk the talk, there is no point. It is nothing but hot air, nothing but words, as Dalida would have said.

As for the Federal Sustainable Development Act specifically and the fact that Canada has officially committed to achieving the United Nations' 17 sustainable development goals, once again, a report released in April by the Commissioner on Environment and Sustainable Development sounded the alarm that we are not on track to achieve them. One of the federal government's major commitments to the UN is likely to remain mere empty rhetoric if Ottawa does not take meaningful action to honour those commitments.

At a news conference in April, Julie Gelfand said that it is always worrisome when a government says that it will do something and does not do it. In one of her three annual reports, she noted that Canada is not on track to meet the 17 sustainable development goals it has promised to implement on two separate occasions since 2015. The Prime Minister himself reiterated this promise when he appeared before the UN General Assembly in September 2017.

However, five departments responsible for implementing these goals by 2030 still have no targets and no system for monitoring progress. This is absolutely ridiculous. Ms. Gelfand also noted that there is no framework for coordinating these efforts at Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada, Global Affairs Canada, Status of Women Canada, Employment and Social Development Canada, and Environment and Climate Change Canada. It is unreal.

We are not on track to meet the goals and will not fulfill our international commitments, and the departments are so inept that they cannot establish targets or tracking systems themselves. Furthermore, one of these departments is the Department of the Environment. What a terrible message. What a joke. This is why the government's credibility on the environment leaves a lot to be desired, in spite of all their fine words.

Bill C-57 makes a few small changes, but it is still not enough. We are missing the boat. I will come back to this if I have any time left, but this bill is basically a copy of Bill C-474, which was introduced by Liberal Party member John Godfrey and passed in 2008. The overall framework of the bill before us is extremely weak. What I am about to say may seem a bit technical, but rather than give the government an incentive to achieve a series of sustainable development targets based on certain principles, Bill C-57 merely sets out a legal framework for developing a strategy.

That means that, once again, a framework will be created, consultations will be held, and everyone will talk about big ideas for this strategy. In the meantime, however, the concept of setting targets and figuring out how to meet them has fallen by the wayside even though those steps are key if we want to take this seriously and make things happen. Instead, they are building castles in the air, ignoring the targets, and pretending what they are doing will be good enough. We think this is a missed opportunity that could have been used to achieve so much more.

Initially, the bill introduced and passed in 2008 proposed establishing an independent commissioner position to act as an environmental auditor general, which we currently do not have. There is no one who is entirely independent to oversee, as an auditor general does, what the government is doing on the environment. Regrettably, instead of creating that position, the bill aims simply to create a sustainable development office at Environment and Climate Change Canada, but without any real plan. Thus, the person responsible for monitoring progress on achieving the objectives will be part of the same organization that should already be tracking it anyway. I would not put a fox in charge of the henhouse. This is laughable.

Basically, we see a few steps in the right direction, but we think it is unfortunate that the Liberals did not act on all the recommendations of the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development, despite what the minister said earlier today.

Federal Sustainable Development ActGovernment Orders

June 1st, 2018 / 12:20 p.m.
See context


Lloyd Longfield Liberal Guelph, ON

Madam Speaker, the constituents in Guelph are really excited about the developments in Sarnia. The Ontario Federation of Agriculture has been telling us about Suncor's St. Clair ethanol plant and the opportunities it brings farmers for carbon credits under the Government of Ontario's carbon credit program. The member mentioned Bio-Industrial Park Sarnia. Guelph has a net-zero water treatment plant and is using some of the technologies Sarnia is using.

I am excited to see the clean-tech opportunities and other opportunities we can share through Bill C-57 in terms of greening our government operations. It might help us achieve the climate change goals we have together. The benefit for our communities, for our province, and for our country is something we can share between Guelph and Sarnia.

Could the hon. member talk about the great clean-tech developments in Sarnia and how Bill C-57 might enhance the development of these types of solutions?

Federal Sustainable Development ActGovernment Orders

June 1st, 2018 / 12:20 p.m.
See context


Marilyn Gladu Conservative Sarnia—Lambton, ON

Madam Speaker, it is a pleasure to resume my speech on C-57, an act to amend the Federal Sustainable Development Act.

To give a brief recap, for those who may have missed my beginning remarks, the bill is about putting a framework in place for the government to ensure that all government activities keep sustainable development in mind. In fact, it will be extended to 90 departments of the government, with reporting back to Parliament.

To make sure everyone understands what sustainable development is, I reviewed the definition. The important parts of sustainable development are having goals and making sure that development “meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations”.

I then went into a review of what the government's goals are. We have heard repeatedly that the environment and the economy go hand in hand and that the government has an agenda to address climate change. We were able to review the Auditor General's comments on how that is going. The Auditor General, unfortunately, did not have very good things to say about progress on climate change under the current government. The Auditor General concluded that Environment and Climate Change Canada's measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions contained in the framework had yet to be implemented. Here we are two-thirds of the way through their mandate, and the Liberals have not even implemented that.

The Auditor General's report also said that there has been no progress. It concluded that Environment and Climate Change Canada “did not provide adequate leadership to advance the federal government's adaptation to climate change impacts.”

That is on top of the fact that we cannot get a straight answer from the minister with respect to the greenhouse gas emissions reductions her plan, which we have not seen, and it does not look like the Auditor General has either, will make. Therefore, that is not going very well.

In terms of the economy, $80 billion has left the energy sector, and about 100,000 energy sector jobs have been sacrificed. We also see the forestry industry impacted by the government's lack of action on softwood lumber. Of course, now we have the steel and aluminum tariffs, the elimination of the private investment of Kinder Morgan, and the cancelling of multiple projects. There is concern, as well, about the economy.

I then went on to briefly detail the debt the government is racking up with its out-of-control spending. I really think that goes against the principle of sustainable development, which says that we are going to meet “the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations”. This debt is definitely going to be paid for by future generations, and I think the government needs to get that under control.

That said, I have many helpful suggestions on what the government ought to be doing with respect to climate change in the world. Canada, of course, has less than 2% of the world's carbon footprint. In terms of what we can do, we actually have a lot of technology to reduce our carbon footprint, such as carbon sequestration and some of the other green technology we have. We really should be leveraging these technologies to other countries in the world, such as China, India, Europe, and the United States, which make up about 60% of the carbon footprint.

I then went on to talk about some things we had better prepare for, because we have seen a lot of flooding, definite changes in the permafrost, and forest fires that are larger than ever. The government needs to have a contingency plan on how it is going to address that.

Comparing the record of the current government to the previous Conservative government, we reduced emissions, reduced taxes, and grew the economy at the same time. I think we have shown that we can do it successfully. Therefore, I would encourage the government to move along on that.

On water, which is where I was when we paused, the Great Lakes are being remediated and need some of the $80 million that has been allocated to pay attention to that.

That said, I am pleased that the committee's report was unanimous. I am pleased that the amendments that were brought were thoughtful, and we will be supporting Bill C-57.

The House resumed consideration of the motion that Bill C-57, An Act to amend the Federal Sustainable Development Act, be read the third time and passed.

Indigenous AffairsOral Questions

June 1st, 2018 / 11:40 a.m.
See context


Linda Duncan NDP Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Madam Speaker, the Auditor General has chastised the government for failing to address matters of significance to first nations, in particular those living on reserves. In assessing well-being, he reports that the government failed to consider health, environment, language, and culture, coupled with failed meaningful engagement. These are basic rights accorded under the UNDRIP and the UN sustainable development goals that the government professes to endorse.

Why then did the Liberals oppose our amendments to Bill C-57 and Bill C-69 intended to extend those very rights and duties?

Federal Sustainable Development ActGovernment Orders

June 1st, 2018 / 10:40 a.m.
See context


Marilyn Gladu Conservative Sarnia—Lambton, ON

Madam Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise today in the House to speak to C-57, An Act to amend the Federal Sustainable Development Act.

For those who are not familiar with this piece of proposed legislation and what it is trying to do, it would provide a legal framework for developing and implementing a federal sustainable development strategy that would make government's environmental, economic, and social decision-making more accountable to Parliament.

The bill proposes to expand the Federal Sustainable Development Act by enabling a whole-of-government approach, with mandatory and expanded reporting requirements and new enforcement measures. These amendments partly stem from the unanimous 2016 report of the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development entitled “Federal Sustainability for Future Generations”. That report recommended a whole-of-government approach to sustainable development projects. As the minister has previously indicated, it was a unanimous report by the committee, with recommendations to try to move us forward on this topic of sustainable development.

However, it is important when we are trying to move forward on something that we understand what it is. Therefore, I will read the definition of sustainable development:

Sustainable development is the organizing principle for meeting human development goals while at the same time sustaining the ability of natural systems to provide the natural resources and ecosystem services upon which the economy and society depend. The desired result is a state of society where living conditions and resource use continue to meet human needs without undermining the integrity and stability of the natural system. Sustainable development can be classified as development that meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations.

There are a few important things in this definition. I want to highlight the first part that talks about having goals. It is important to have goals when we are trying to achieve sustainable development. The second part that is really important to me is where it says that we should meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations. I will highlight a few areas that could be of concern in this regard.

If, as I said, we need goals for sustainable development, what are the goals of the Liberal government here?

We have all heard countless times that the environment and economy go hand in hand. It is obviously a goal of the government to see this become a reality in the country. We also know that the government is keen to address climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions. If those are the goals, it is important to look at them.

First, let us talk about the Auditor General's report, because the Auditor General looked look at what the government is doing and has commented on its progress. Here we are about 65% through this current parliamentary session, but, unfortunately, the Auditor General's report is not very flattering about what is happening with the environment minister. The report talks about the progress that should have been made in reducing greenhouse gases. Members will remember that the Liberal government boasted in the last election that it was the only party that could address Canada's climate change challenges. However, after two years, the Auditor General gave it an F, a failing grade. His report reads:

We concluded that Environment and Climate Change Canada...the measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions contained in this plan had yet to be implemented.

Therefore, two-thirds of the way through the government's mandate, these recommendations have yet to be implemented.

The Auditor General's report went on to say:

We concluded that Environment and Climate Change Canada...did not make progress toward meeting Canada’s commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The report says that no progress has been made. It does not say that there was insufficient progress.

In the meantime, the one thing the minister and her government did was impose a massive carbon tax on Canadians, resulting in impacts that we will see for generations. Even so, the Auditor General still concluded that Environment and Climate Change Canada had not provided adequate leadership to advance the federal government's adaptation to climate change impacts.

The progress made is nothing, and the Liberals have not implemented a plan. Therefore, that is not going very well.

Let us take a look at how he economy going. During the two-thirds of the mandate in which the Liberals have been in charge, $80 billion of investment have left Canada in the energy sector, 100,000 energy workers have lost their jobs, 400,000 forestry workers have been impacted by the government's inaction on the softwood lumber file, and who knows what the impacts will be from the most recently announced tariffs on steel and aluminium, which are huge industries in Canada.

In addition, there is the whole Kinder Morgan pipeline fiasco. The government has stepped in and spent $4.5 billion of taxpayer money to buy 65-year-old assets that will not build one inch of new pipeline. Instead of encouraging private investment in the country, which Kinder Morgan planned to do by spending billions of dollars and creating thousands of Canadian jobs, the government has given Kinder Morgan money to take to the U.S. and create jobs there. We are not creating those jobs here in Canada. There is no evidence that the government has addressed any of the conditions required to keep the NDP from protesting against the pipelines, the B.C. government from opposing this, and getting the licence from the indigenous people to move forward on this.

That is one part of the economy.

The other part of the economy is the deficit. Starting with a $10 billion deficit, the promise the Liberals ran on in the 2015 election, all of a sudden the deficit in the first year was twice that. The second year was twice that. Now in this third year, it is three times that, with no end in sight. The Liberals will not be returning to a balanced budget within its mandate. Projections are that they will not be returning to balance until 2045. The Liberals have added $1.5 trillion to the deficit. This is ridiculous.

The principles of sustainable development say that we want to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations. However, future generations will have to pay for the debt that the government has racked up. I did simple math yesterday to try to figure out what that would look like. It looks like every taxpayer in Canada will pay $5,000 right off the top, just for the interest on the debt being accumulated by the government.

This spending pattern is definitely not sustainable development, and it is not helping the economy. People are losing confidence in the Canadian economy, not the other way around.

Worse, environmental regulations have been put in place that lengthen the approval process, that create uncertainty in the approval process and drive investments out of Canada. Under the Liberal government, the energy east project was withdrawn by the private investor. The Petronas LNG project went the same route. The government arbitrarily decided that the northern gateway project was not to be built. Investors in other countries looking at Canada are not going to be inspired to think that development is sustainable or even achievable here. The government needs to do something to change that climate.

As members knows, I am not one to just criticize without making helpful suggestions. I do have some helpful suggestions at which the government should look.

First, let us talk about the climate change plan. Canada makes up about 2% of the carbon footprint of the world. We could eliminate the whole thing and it really would not make a big difference in addressing climate change. However, we do have some things that we can do.

If we could help other countries, such as China, India, Europe, and the U.S., reduce their footprints, and those four areas are 60% of the carbon footprint of the world, we would actually do something to help climate change. How could we do that?

We have technology and resources that we could bring to bear. If we can get the oil to the coasts and sell it to China, India, Korea, and places like that in the world that want to purchase our oil, they could get off coal. That is a huge advance in reducing the carbon footprint in the world. In addition, Canada is very well known for our renewable technology. My riding of Sarnia—Lambton has one of the largest solar farms in North America. We have wind power. We have a whole bio-innovation centre devoted to coming up with new innovations to cleverly create power in the world.

There are a couple of ideas. One of them is a vortex machine that could be used in places that have warm sea water, using the warm sea water to create power and energy. This is excellent technology. If members are not familiar with it, they should look up Lambton College and Bio-Innovation Centre in Sarnia—Lambton and take a look at that technology.

However, there is other technology such as carbon sequestration. Canadians are known around the globe for this. Leveraging that technology would also do a lot to help the world reduce its carbon footprint, which is important. Some things are in our control and others are outside of our control.

The volcano in Hawaii within a few short days will put out more carbon footprint than almost all of the entire planet. Those types of things we cannot control. Forest fires are the same. The number of forest fires in North America every year totally undoes all the work we try to do in carbon footprint reduction, so we need to have a plan for that.

The other thing the government needs to consider with respect to climate change is having a plan to address the impacts of climate change. Canada has seen an increase in flooding, for example. We had severe flooding in Calgary, in Winnipeg, in Toronto, and in the Atlantic provinces. We have seen forest fires in B.C. unlike anything we have seen before.

Disaster relief for these things takes money. There are issues that can be predicted. The permafrost, for example, as it is melting in the north, impacts on the infrastructure like roads and highways. Where is the government's plan to address this and where are the contingencies for these types of things? The government needs to do something on that.

With respect to the economy and ensuring that the environment and the economy go hand in hand, the Liberals need to look at how they are creating a climate for business investment in Canada. I would suggest they look to our neighbours to the south. They are lowering corporate taxes. They do not have a carbon tax everywhere but California. They are reducing the regulatory burden instead of putting in additional processes that add time, bureaucracy, costs, and uncertainty to the project. They should look at those situations and try to create a competitive environment in Canada.

Canada can compete. We have great talent and great resources. However, if we do not create a climate where investors want to come here to do business and feel certain they can, then we will lose out.

We cannot put all of our eggs in one basket, so the government needs to think more broadly about sustainable development than just climate change. We need to pay attention to a number of issues in Canada, but I do not feel they are receiving adequate attention today.

In the west the pine beetles are eating our forests. That is one of our great natural resources. It drives industry and jobs in Canada as well, not to mention the fact that it absorbs carbon dioxide. We need to address that crisis.

The algae bloom issue in Lake Erie needs to be addressed. I know plans are in place and people are working with the agriculture industry and others to try to reduce phosphorus loading, but more needs to be done.

Our agriculture industry is another area. It is very important not just to sustain the industry so all of us can eat, but also so we can grow things that will help us with a carbon sink. The agriculture industry is under attack in Canada. The government is putting regulations on this industry to ban pesticides, without replacement, but it is allowing people to ship food grown with those same pesticides into the country. This is another area where Canada is not competitive.

With respect to raising livestock, the government is currently introducing something to eliminate the selling of feed with antibiotics premixed in it. That is given to animals that are sick; it is not given wholeheartedly to all animals. It is another example of people in other countries being able to raise their animals in a way that is more competitive and ship those products here.

I could go on about the water issue in Canada, another one of our great natural resources. I am terribly disappointed in the government's progress on eliminating boil water advisories across the country.