An Act to amend the Fisheries Act and other Acts in consequence

Sponsor

Dominic LeBlanc  Liberal

Status

Second reading (Senate), as of Oct. 18, 2018

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Summary

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

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

(a) require that, when making a decision under that Act, the Minister shall consider any adverse effects that the decision may have on the rights of the Indigenous peoples of Canada recognized and affirmed by section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982, include provisions respecting the consideration and protection of Indigenous knowledge of the Indigenous peoples of Canada, and authorize the making of agreements with Indigenous governing bodies to further the purpose of the Fisheries Act;

(b) add a purpose clause and considerations for decision-making under that Act;

(c) empower the Minister to establish advisory panels and to set fees, including for the provision of regulatory processes;

(d) provide measures for the protection of fish and fish habitat with respect to works, undertakings or activities that may result in the death of fish or the harmful alteration, disruption or destruction of fish habitat, including in ecologically significant areas, as well as measures relating to the modernization of the regulatory framework such as authorization of projects, establishment of standards and codes of practice, creation of fish habitat banks by a proponent of a project and establishment of a public registry;

(e) empower the Governor in Council to make new regulations, including regulations respecting the rebuilding of fish stocks and importation of fish;

(f) empower the Minister to make regulations for the purposes of the conservation and protection of marine biodiversity;

(g) empower the Minister to make fisheries management orders prohibiting or limiting fishing for a period of 45 days to address a threat to the proper management and control of fisheries and the conservation and protection of fish;

(h) prohibit the fishing of a cetacean with the intent to take it into captivity, unless authorized by the Minister, including when the cetacean is injured, in distress or in need of care; and

(i) update and strengthen enforcement powers, as well as establish an alternative measures agreements regime; and

(j) provide for the implementation of various measures relating to the maintenance or rebuilding of fish stocks.

The enactment also makes consequential amendments to other Acts.

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

June 13, 2018 Passed Concurrence at report stage of Bill C-68, An Act to amend the Fisheries Act and other Acts in consequence
June 13, 2018 Failed Bill C-68, An Act to amend the Fisheries Act and other Acts in consequence (report stage amendment)
June 11, 2018 Passed Time allocation for Bill C-68, An Act to amend the Fisheries Act and other Acts in consequence
April 16, 2018 Passed 2nd reading of Bill C-68, An Act to amend the Fisheries Act and other Acts in consequence
March 26, 2018 Passed Time allocation for Bill C-68, An Act to amend the Fisheries Act and other Acts in consequence

October 4th, 2018 / 9 a.m.
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President, Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities

Ray Orb

Of course, we have opposed the amendments, the changes to the legislation. Actually, both Bill C-68 and Bill C-69 affect fisheries and navigable waters. We feel that the changes are actually going to impede what municipalities need to do as far as work is concerned. The projects will be delayed. We have a lot of examples that we showed to the committee of how that would add costs and time delays. We've relayed those concerns. We understand that now the Senate will be looking at that bill. We're actually hoping there will be some amendments to that to make it easier for municipalities, not only in Saskatchewan but across the country, to do their work while still protecting the environment.

Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with DisabilitiesPrivate Members' Business

October 3rd, 2018 / 6:50 p.m.
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Conservative

John Barlow Conservative Foothills, AB

Madam Speaker, I welcome this opportunity to speak to Motion No. 190, the private member's motion brought forward by my colleague from Mississauga East—Cooksville. I agree with some of his comments but have to disagree with others.

One of the aspects of his speech which I agree with is the fact that we are undervaluing a lot of these careers, whether they are in construction, agriculture, tourism or hospitality. We have to do a much better job of speaking with students when they are in high school, or even elementary school, and talk about the incredible opportunities available to them in these types of careers. Absolutely, one may be starting on the front lines as a dishwasher or a labourer, but there are opportunities to work up the ladder, be successful in that career and earn a very strong income. In concert with industry, as parliamentarians and parents, we need to do a much better job of ensuring that industry gets the word out to the schools and guidance counsellors. It needs to be part of the curriculum in order to ensure these careers are understood as the incredible opportunities that they are.

I grew up in a rural area, and the misperception when I was younger was that anyone who wanted to go into skilled trades was making a bad decision and it meant they could not make it in university or college. If they only knew the wages available in some of those skilled trades, the guidance counsellors may have given us different advice.

I want to talk about the scope of this study. It concerns me that it is so focused on Toronto and Hamilton. It highlights an issue with the Liberal government. It has become so urban-centric, so GTA-centric. I have spent the last several years travelling across the country focused mainly on agriculture, but I have spoken with many other industries and they are concerned with the inaccessibility of labour. It is a crisis out there. Some businesses have closed. I met with a greenhouse operator in B.C. just last week, who closed her vegetable greenhouse because she could not get the labour. Many of the other businesses we have spoken with are at risk of closing because they cannot access the labour.

The Liberal government has set a very high target. It wants $75 billion in additional agriculture exports by 2025. It is an aspirational goal but it can be done. Agriculture is ready. However, every tool that it has in order to reach that goal is being taken away. One of those critical pillars is access to labour. I would like to see this motion expanded to include other industries, sectors and certainly other parts of the country.

I appreciate my colleague's comments about why he focused this on the GTA, but to compare what is going on in the GTA to what is going on in rural Saskatchewan, Canada's north or the labour shortage in Quebec City is really difficult. There are so many different factors involved. I would like to see the scope of this motion expanded.

My colleague also spoke about some of the great accomplishments the Liberal government has had. I find it ironic that he is concerned about the labour shortage. He talks about the $180-billion infrastructure promise that the Liberal government made in 2015, yet only 6% of those funds have actually been committed to real projects. We cannot get any of these major infrastructure projects built because the money is not rolling out the door. The Trans Mountain pipeline is an infrastructure project which is on very shaky legs. It makes it hard to get Canadians back to work and get them encouraged about going into the skilled trades when they see none of these projects are going to happen. It is disconcerting.

We have to ensure there is a bright future. If we want to ensure young people understand the value of these jobs, they also have to see there is a career opportunity in these jobs, and that some of these opportunities will be there. Right now, I can sense their frustration. Why should they go into some of these skilled trades, such as pipefitting, welding or steel work, if we cannot get any of these infrastructure projects built? That is a critical piece of this. The government needs to start showing that it can get these projects done, get the money out the door and make this a priority. That is highlighted for rural communities, and is certainly what I have heard in my trips across rural Canada. Canadians are extremely frustrated that they see everything with the Liberal government is urban focused.

The map that came out last week in the Huffington Post or iPolitics showed where the vast majority of infrastructure dollars have been committed. The vast majority are in urban centres. I understand that this are where the mass part of the population is, but they cannot do that and neglect some of our rural areas at the same time. That is why I think it is important that we expand the scope of this motion and this study at the HUMA committee, of which I am a very proud member.

We have to look at some of the other issues that are part of this: higher taxes, punitive regulations, surrendering our sovereignty as part of the United States-Mexico-Canada agreement, not being able to remove steel and aluminum tariffs and not being able to get a softwood lumber agreement. All of these have an impact on attracting Canadians to these types of careers. They need to understand that are there is opportunity and a future there. Right now, with the pace this is going, Canadians see the writing on the wall. There is not a future in some of these careers, because the jobs simply will not be there long term. That is extremely disconcerting.

Let us take a look at Bill C-68 and Bill C-69. Regardless of what happens with Trans Mountain, it is very clear that if these pieces of legislation go through, we will never have another major infrastructure project built in this country, whether it is a pipeline, a mining operation or another resource extraction initiative. It is going to be very difficult to get these projects built.

When I speak to some of our stakeholders in agriculture, construction and hospitality and tourism, there is no question that their inability to access labour is much beyond a motion at a committee. It is a crisis. They need action on this quickly.

I am going to support this study, because I think we can get some really good recommendations out of it. It is still worthwhile going through that process. I hope we get some tangible recommendations from the study.

Again, we have had businesses close, and others are at risk of closing. We heard it at the agriculture committee yesterday. Some of the farmers and ranchers were talking about the mental stress they are under. One of the reasons they cited for that mental stress was the inability to access labour for their businesses. They are taking on much too much. They are working hard, long hours. It is difficult navigating the temporary foreign worker and seasonal ag worker programs. They said, almost unanimously, that over the last three years, under the Liberal government, being able to navigate these programs has become almost unattainable.

My hon. colleague talked a little bit about the temporary foreign worker program. We have to find a permanent solution to what is a permanent problem. Just tweaking the temporary foreign worker program or making some adjustments to that program is not good enough. We have to have bold changes when it comes to accessing labour.

Exhausting what resources we have right now to deal with illegal border crossers is not the way to do it. We need to put our focus on processing the applications of legitimate immigrants who are going to be coming to Canada and having a significant, positive impact on our economic development. These are people who are going to be filling job vacancies in skilled labour areas where we desperately need those jobs filled. That has to be another part of this discussion. Where do we put our focus in immigration? How do they access that system? How do our stakeholders access that system? How do they get through that process?

We have to build a pathway to Canada. I hope this is going to be part of that. Again, we need bold changes. I really look forward to working with our stakeholders across Canada as part of this study to come up with a permanent solution to a permanent problem to address the labour crisis that is happening right now across Canada.

September 25th, 2018 / 10:10 a.m.
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President and Chief Executive Officer, Canadian Electricity Association

Sergio Marchi

Yes, I was going to say, lighten the load.

To an earlier question, I didn't say that we advocated deletion. First of all, we're amalgamating all the regulatory initiatives impacting our industry from among 14 governments, and it's proving to be quite the job.

Second, Tim was right in mentioning a number of bills and instruments to which we have offered amendments. We're not saying, don't do Bill C-68. What we're saying on the fisheries bill, for example, is, don't impose the killing of one fish rather than an entire school of fish to be the new threshold.

Regulatory lightening is certainly one. Second is increasing our productivity in measure to the gap that's always been there with the United States, as a way to manage and bridge that gap.

Accessible Canada ActGovernment Orders

September 24th, 2018 / 5:10 p.m.
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Conservative

Kelly McCauley Conservative Edmonton West, AB

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to speak to Bill C-81, or as I call it, another Liberal feel good bill that is short on details, does not note how it will actually help the disabled, and yet somehow manages to detail how it will grow the bureaucracy, but that is just a working title.

This situation with the delay in getting to this bill kind of reminds me of an old Seinfeld episode where Newman and Elaine steal someone's dog. It takes the police a while to catch them. When Newman is confronted by the police, he asks, “What took you so long?” That is what I would like to ask the government.

We will support this bill in order to get it to committee, where hopefully we will get the Liberals to actually work on concrete measures to help improve the lives of the disabled. I have heard that the bill may go to the government operations committee, on which I sit. We would welcome that if it does come to us. We are going to suggest and support amendments to ensure that it actually helps the disabled, and is not just a make-work project for bureaucrats.

The establishment of this bill was in the first minister's mandate letter in 2015. Ironically, the current Minister of Public Services was the original Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities, tasked with this legislation three years ago. Back then, her mandate read:

Lead an engagement process with provinces, territories, municipalities, and stakeholders that will lead to the passage of a Canadians with Disabilities Act. In this work, you will be supported by the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development.

Work with the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities to deliver on our commitment to support the construction of recreational infrastructure that allows more children access to sport and recreation.

It is a bit ironic that the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities at the time was the MP for Edmonton Mill Woods. In West Edmonton, my riding, we have been looking to build a new recreation centre specifically as outlined in the mandate letter. Unfortunately, our minister, the senior minister for the Liberals in Edmonton, Alberta, has been completely absent on this issue. We have not received a single penny.

Recently, Huffington Post put out this big article and a map showing how the Liberals, in the summer, plastered most of eastern Canada with cheques: $43 billion. They showed how much was actually delivered to Edmonton: not one penny. Some $43 billion went to various Liberal ridings and not one penny was delivered by the Liberals to Edmonton. We will get to more on that issue later.

It has taken three years to get to introducing the bill that actually just punts the work down the road over the next six years. From the mandate letter to maybe actually achieving goals is going to be nine years.

The famed Liberal mandate tracker says on this issue that it is under way and on track. Regarding the development of a national disabilities act, it says the result anticipated is for federal accessibility legislation that promotes equality and opportunity, increases inclusion and participation of Canadians who have disabilities, with the outcome being that building on extensive nine-month in-person and online consultation with Canadians, the government has tabled the bill.

In three years since the mandate letter, the Liberals managed to consult for nine months. That makes me ask what they have done for the other two years and three months. It is funny that the current minister probably thought she could just transfer to another department and escape the mandate, yet here it is back with her at public services to fulfill.

Now, as for being under way and on track, it has taken three years to get to it being under way and on track. It has a bit of funding over six more years, and they say that it is on track.

I want to look at a few other things from the Liberal mandate tracker that are also under way and on track.

There is the review of Canada's environmental assessment project: under way and on track. Another refers to environmental assessment processes that are fair to all parties, rely on scientific evidence, respect the rights of indigenous people and protect the environment for generations to come. Here we have the Liberals failing on Trans Mountain. Their Bill C-68 is also known as the bill to ensure that a pipeline will never be built in Canada again. It says “rely on scientific evidence”, but this bill actually puts the final word and the political decision-making with the minister, not basing it on science. However, it is under way and on track.

Another is to establish new performance standards for government services, and measure and report on performance: under way and on track. The result is to be government services that better meet the needs of Canadians.

Every single government has to put out a departmental plan. In that plan, it lists all of its goals and expected results. Fully one-third of the entire departmental plan from every Liberal ministry does not actually have goals set. They all say what they are spending and what they hope to achieve in a roundabout way, but there are no actual goals set. Here we have that it is on track, but fully one-third of their programs do not have any results showing as a goal.

Here is another one that is under way and on track. Sure, committees can introduce effective opioid treatments and programs, but we have an opioid crisis across the country. The much reviled by the Liberals President Trump has actually declared it a national emergency in the United States, but the government cannot do that here, yet it is on track.

Another one under way and on track is to eliminate all long-term drinking water advisories in public systems on reserves. It is a great goal. The result anticipated is to continue progress in eliminating long-term drinking water advisories. Since this mandate came out, we have had 35 new communities that have been put on the boil water advisory. The Liberals sit there and say that they have done this, this and this, but they have actually added 35 new communities. However, it is under way and on track.

Another one is to help veterans by establishing lifelong pensions ensuring they will have access to financial advice and support. We have seen the current government fail miserably on that, but it is under way and on track.

It says that promoting economic development and creating jobs for indigenous people is under way and on track. The result anticipated is higher employment rates for indigenous people. In the government operations committee we recently studied small business procurement and how we have set-asides for indigenous businesses. We are required to set aside a certain amount of business through the government for indigenous-led businesses. The government had someone come up and say that they are fulfilling every role and succeeding massively. However, every single witness we have had from the indigenous community, Métis, Cree, it does not matter, from Alberta and Quebec, every single witness said that the government is not even following its own laws, yet here it says it is under way and on track.

It says that to implement an infrastructure strategy that improves public transport is under way and on track. The result anticipated is that Canadians spend less time in traffic. We have heard the Parliamentary Budget Officer say that he cannot even find the infrastructure money that has been established in the budget. He has begged the government to produce an infrastructure strategy, which the government has not done, yet somehow the Liberals say it is under way and on track. I will note that the member for Edmonton Mill Woods, when he was the infrastructure minister, managed to get some work done on public transport in Alberta. He got ashtrays for the bus stops in Edmonton and so I thank him.

It says that modernizing the National Energy Board is under way and on track. We have seen the government belittle, bad-mouth and discredit the NEB, yet it says it is on track to modernize it. Bad-mouthing and discrediting it is not modernizing it.

My favourite from the Liberal mandate checker has to be the budget: to balance the budget by 2019-20 is under way with challenges. Now, it is not going to be balanced, and the most recent update we heard from finance was 2050. Here is the funny thing: Every single finance minister from the provinces across Canada has set a date when they will balance their budget. In Alberta, where we have the financially challenged and mathematically challenged NDP spending us into bankruptcy, it has actually set a date for when it will balance the budget. Even with Kathleen Wynne's Liberals, the finance minister had set a date when they would balance the budget. Of course, it turns out it was all incorrect information, but they set a date to balance the budget. Who has not set a date to balance the budget? Well, it is the finance minister from this government. Every single other one but the finance minister has, but I digress.

Ensuring Canadians who are living with disabilities are allowed to live with equal opportunities by eliminating systematic barriers is a great cause. We all support it. My office works with a great many in Edmonton West on this issue. I want to read a letter from one of them. His name is Timothy Parnett. He is a gentleman who was hurt in a car accident years ago and is confined to a wheelchair with limited movement in his arms and legs.

He writes, “I run the advocacy group called Mightywheels.ca. This organization was created to address accessibility within the community. Our mission is simple: Mightywheels.ca wants to bring attention to poor infrastructure and problem areas in the community that you live in. Mightywheels is located in Edmonton, Alberta. Edmonton has grown at a rapid pace within the past few decades, so much so that the city struggles to keep up with the demand of reconstruction of aider communities, where the accessibility conditions are severely lacking, even deplorable to a certain extent. 1 am hoping to raise awareness for the struggles that people with wheels or mobility issues face every day.”

He goes on to say that he has a website that is “geared to help people who face social inequality, the main issue we currently address is accessibility for all people: we focus on the barriers that cause inaccessibility: these would be things like parents pushing baby strollers, people with mobility issues or impairments, or people who use walking aids or wheelchairs like myself.” He writes:

Here is one gentleman confined to a wheelchair with no resources who has put in a simple email better outcomes than what are in Bill C-81. He finished by saying, “My Mightywheels website is to give hope to everyone who has an issue with accessibility. l am very passionate with my website and l am hoping that people will be enlightened and educate. Most of all, l am hoping people will see and hear my advocacy. This is not just for me, but for all the people who have issues with mobility. l am a firm believer that together we can do it one step at time.”

I had a coffee with Tim at West Edmonton Mall. We chatted about his accident and his difficulties in life and what he wanted to achieve. He wants to inspire people to succeed. I am going to consider it a failure if the next time I see him I have to say it is a great idea but to hold on for the next six years because this legislation is going to take that long.

It reminds me of an interview when the Prime Minister told a desperate unemployed oil sands worker in Alberta to just hang in there. That was over two years ago. Since then the Liberals have killed energy east and northern gateway, and have botched Trans Mountain. I guess we are going to have to tell those workers to just hang in there a bit more.

It also reminds me of the injured veteran at the Edmonton town hall who had lost a leg. Pleading for help, he was told by the Prime Minister that veterans are asking for more than the government could give. Ten million dollars for an ice rink on Parliament Hill is not too much to ask for and $10 million for Omar Khadr is not too much to ask for, but it is for a veteran.

I want to go back to the mandate letters. The next minister for disabilities was the member for Calgary Centre. His mandate letter stated, “Develop and introduce new federal accessibility legislation. You will build on the significant consultations that have already taken place involving provinces, territories”, etc. By then, the consultations were going to have to be done.

Did the minister get it done? Of course he did not. Part of his mandate letter also read that he was expected to live up to the highest ethical standards. Instead, he is under investigation by the Ethics Commissioner for using House of Commons resources for a family member's election.

We are now over to our third minister for the file. She too will build on the significant consultations that have already taken place. Hers too should be an ambitious legislation. Six years is not ambitious unless it is the Minister of Finance balancing the budget when 20 years would be ambitious, but in his case apparently it is going to be 30.

What I am getting at is that we do not need six years of added bureaucracy. We need a truly ambitious plan to help the disabled. Provinces have plans. Ontario has the Ontarians With Disabilities Act. This is not new ground that we are breaking here. It has been done before.

The previous Conservative government took the disabilities file seriously. We did not pass off the issues from minister to minister. We actually got stuff done, like introducing the landmark registered disability savings plan, which helps parents and grandparents with children with severe disabilities to contribute to the children's financial security. From mandate letter to actually getting it done, it was three months, not three years to get to a program where six years down the road we might have something done, three years from mandate letter to actually getting to legislation and getting the program done.

We invested $30 million into the opportunities fund to help persons with disabilities gain employment. We supported caregivers and recognized their enormous contribution through tax incentives. There was over $200 million for labour market agreements for persons with disabilities to assist provinces in approving the employment situation of Canadians with disabilities, and millions of dollars for the ready, willing and able initiative of the Canadian Association for Community Living to connect persons with developmental disabilities with jobs, and millions to support the expansion of vocational training programs for persons with autism spectrum disorder, and on and on.

I want to swing back to the registered disability savings plan. Since we introduced the plan, it has helped 105,000 Canadians save for the future. This is the outcomes-based work that we need from the current government. Conservatives are not in power anymore, but the members on this side are continuing to work for the disabled.

My seatmate, the member for Calgary Shepard, has introduced Bill C-399, the fairness for persons with disabilities act. It aims to reduce the threshold for the number of hours needed for an activity to be eligible for a tax credit. Medical food and medical formula would also qualify under the disability tax credit.

Our member for Carleton has introduced Bill C-395, the opportunity for workers with disabilities act, which is an act to amend the Federal-Provincial Fiscal Arrangements Act.

His legislation would amend the Federal-Provincial Fiscal Arrangements Act to ensure that persons with disabilities do not lose more through taxation and the reduction in benefits than they would gain as a result of working. His bill would enforce Ottawa to measure the impact of every thousand dollars a disabled person earns in wages against the value of their lost benefits. It would force the federal government to adjust its tax and benefits program so a disabled person would always be financially better off working than not working.

What has the Liberal government done besides passing this file from minister to minister to minister? It sicced the CRA on disabled people. It targeted people living with type 1 diabetes. As a diabetes sufferer stated, “It's not like I can snap a finger and this disease turns off.” The government was quick to go after people who suffered from diabetes, but slow to work on its mandate.

Who else did the Liberals target in their tax grab? They targeted people suffering from autism and severe mental health disorders. Autism Canada says it is hearing too many stories of people who have had the disability tax credit, sometimes for decades, for their children with autism taken away.

It is funny to note that I did not see in any of the Liberal mandate letters ministers being told to harass people with disabilities and to do a tax grab on them. They seem to have acted quickly on it, though. It is too bad they did not have it in their mandate letters, because this would be one issue they could actually mark as completed instead of marking it as “under way with challenges”.

We have a lot of questions on this legislation. We do support it like our colleagues in the NDP and other parties. We want it to get to committee so that we can get some teeth into the measures currently in it and help disabled people.

We do have some questions for the minister, though. When will the new regulations come into effect? The six-year time frame would suggest that the entire process is going to take six years to get done between now and the time help will be given to the disabled. How much is it going to cost federal workplaces and private businesses? What will the new standard be? Why will we be voting on legislation when we do not know the regulations that will come out of it? Is it going to be properly defined to avoid a flood of human rights complaints?

I want to go back to the comment about voting on legislation when we do not even know what the regulations will be. We saw the government do this recently with the estimates, in what we called vote 40, the slush fund. The government asked us to give it $7.4 billion and that it would tell us later what it would be spent on. When we asked further, we were told that it was presumptuous to expect opposition members to understand what the money would be used for until it was given to it.

We have another situation here. What is the $290 million going to be used for? Can the Liberals give us a breakdown of how it is going to be spent? Is it going to be spent on changing our buildings and updating them, or is it all going to be spent on bureaucracy? Have estimates been done on the cost to the private sector across the country? If the bill were passed today, what would the changes be, asides from spending lots of money on bureaucrats? Is it going toward hiring more public servants to examine which regulations we should have?

I note that in the 10-page slide deck or briefing document the government sent out, it provided more information on the bureaucracy going after people and penalizing them, etc., than it did on how the bill would help the average disabled person. We are worried about that.

Is the government going to build a bureaucracy that will create paperwork and go after people? It has not put anything in the bill specifying how it is going to physically and pragmatically help the disabled. What will the outcome be? We do not know. We do know that there will be a lot more bureaucrats going after people.

The $290 million will not even scratch the surface of what it is going to cost the federal government and the federally regulated private sectors to catch up to the new standards.

We have a lot of issues with this legislation, but we do support it. We support the work that we have done in the past toward helping disabled individuals. We continue to do so with our private members' bills, such as the one put forward by the member for Calgary Shepard and the member for Carleton. Both have produced bills that would show tangible results for the disabled without the resources the government has, whether it be easier access to the disability credit for those who are suffering from autism, diabetes, or mental health disorders, or as my friend from Carleton has put in his bill, that would encourage the disabled to get back to work. His bill would not punish someone by taking away benefits because they had a job. Nothing is better for the dignity of Canadians than having a job.

We support getting the bill to committee. We want to improve the lives of those living with disabilities, but we are worried about the lack of government ambition toward getting it done.

Business of the HouseGovernment Orders

June 19th, 2018 / 9 p.m.
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Waterloo Ontario

Liberal

Bardish Chagger LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister of Small Business and Tourism

Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, there have been discussions among the parties and I believe if you seek it you will find unanimous consent for the following motion.

I move:

That notwithstanding any Standing Order or usual practice of the House, following routine proceedings on Wednesday, June 20, 2018:

(a) Bill C-21, An Act to amend the Customs Act, be deemed read a third time and passed on division;

(b) Bill C-62, An Act to amend the Federal Public Sector Labour Relations Act and other Acts, be deemed concurred in at the report stage on division and deemed read a third time and passed on division;

(c) Bill C-64, An Act respecting wrecks, abandoned, dilapidated or hazardous vessels and salvage operations, be deemed read a third time and passed;

(d) Bill C-68, An Act to amend the Fisheries Act and other Acts in consequence, be deemed read a third time and passed on division;

(e) Ways and Means No. 24 be deemed adopted on division, and that the Bill standing on the Order Paper in the name of the Minister of Finance entitled, An Act to implement a multilateral convention to implement tax treaty related measures to prevent base erosion and profit shifting, be deemed read a first time;

(f) the motion respecting Senate Amendments to Bill C-46, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (offences relating to conveyances) and to make consequential amendments to other Acts, standing on the Notice Paper in the name of the Minister of Justice, be deemed adopted on division;

(g) the motion respecting Senate Amendments to Bill C-50, An Act to amend the Canada Elections Act (political financing), standing on the Notice Paper in the name of the Minister of Democratic Institutions, be deemed adopted on division;

(h) the 64th Report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs entitled, Code of Conduct for Members of the House of Commons: Sexual Harassment between Members, presented to the House on Monday June 4, 2018, be concurred in;

(i) the following motion be deemed adopted on division: “That, pursuant to Standing Order 111.1(2) and in accordance with subsection 79.1(1) of the Parliament of Canada Act, R.S.C., 1985, c. P-1, the House approve the appointment of Yves Giroux as Parliamentary Budget Officer for a term of seven years”; and

(j) the House shall stand adjourned until Monday, September 17, 2018, provided that, for the purposes of any Standing Order, it shall be deemed to have been adjourned pursuant to Standing Order 28 and be deemed to have sat on Thursday, June 21 and Friday, June 22, 2018.

Impact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

June 18th, 2018 / 4:35 p.m.
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Conservative

Todd Doherty Conservative Cariboo—Prince George, BC

Mr. Speaker, my hon. colleague from North Okanagan—Shuswap brings up a great point. I meant to bring it up, but I got so excited about all the other topics.

Bill C-69 and Bill C-68 are fluff pieces that kind of weighed into the 2015 campaign promises to the environmental groups. Fishermen groups have come to my office to tell me that when the Conservatives were in power, they could get in to see a minister, and now they need to go through an environmental group to see a minister. I have also heard that sitting around the table to develop this policy are more environmental groups than the actual stakeholders whom this is going to affect the most. We also know who is calling the shots at the highest level of government. It is Gerald Butts, who was the president and CEO of the World Wildlife Fund prior to coming to his current office and calling the shots.

Bill C-69 represents another fluff piece of legislation that both sides have said does not go far enough. I have said it before: Canadians and industry deserve a champion, and they are going to get one in 2019.

Impact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

June 18th, 2018 / 4:25 p.m.
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Conservative

Todd Doherty Conservative Cariboo—Prince George, BC

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank our colleague from Calgary Midnapore for a very heartfelt intervention. I think I have just scrapped my entire speech because of what our colleague has mentioned.

It brought me back to growing up in the Cariboo and what our thoughts and dreams were as kids. I was one of the those kids who wanted to be a hockey player and to move on. However, the reality was, we were probably going to become a logger or a farmer, because that is what we did, and that is what we do very well in the Cariboo.

Bill C-69 bring us back to yet another failed election promise of the Liberals and to some of what we have mentioned throughout this House over recent days, weeks, and months. When the member for Papineau was campaigning in 2015, he talked about letting debate reign, yet here we sit.

This is the 44th time allocation that has been imposed on this House, meaning that the members of Parliament on the opposition side, and the Canadians who elected them, have not had the full opportunity to present their feelings about what the government is doing, whether it is on Bill C-69, Bill C-59, Bill C-71, or Bill C-68.

Thank goodness that the Standing Orders dictate that private members' bills cannot be time allocated, and our late colleague, Senator Enverga's private member's bill, Bill S-218, has had the full breadth of comments and support.

Bill C-69 seeks to reverse the 2012 changes to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act. I will bring us back again to the promise from the member for Papineau, or one of the Liberals, who said that the government would undertake a full review of laws, policies, and operational practices when it comes to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act.

There are a number of people, groups, and organizations that have serious concerns over what Bill C-69 proposes. Our hon. colleague has mentioned, and it has been mentioned before, that most notably the legislation says it intends to decrease the timelines for both major and minor projects. Unfortunately, there are a myriad of ministerial and Governor in Council exemptions that can be exercised to slow down approvals.

What Bill C-69 represents is not a further clarification of the rules and regulations so that project proponents and those who are trying to enforce the act know where they stand, but rather it muddies the waters. What we have heard time and again, what the committee heard time and again, was that it was a wait and see. There was a lot of concern, and indeed those very groups, the environmental groups, that the Liberals campaigned to and got their vote are now saying that it does not meet the standards.

We have seen this over and over again with the government. It likes to say it has consulted with Canadians, and its Liberal members stand with their hand on their heart and talk about how important consultation is. Yet we know, time and again, as it is with the cannabis legislation, the Liberals are rushing legislation through without fully looking at some of the concerns that have been brought forward by the groups, the organizations, and the stakeholders who are going to be most impacted.

Let us talk about the Arctic surf clam in my file. I cannot stand up and do a speech nowadays without bringing up this injustice. The minister was given the authority and the discretion to go in and implement policy, without anybody checking how this would impact the stakeholders, and without the minister consulting about how that policy would impact those on the ground, the stakeholders, whose livelihoods truly depend on the Arctic surf clam fishery. These are some of the concerns that we have.

When the member for Papineau was campaigning, he said that omnibus bills were done for, and yet here we are again debating another 400-page piece of legislation.

He also talked about maybe having a small deficit of $10 billion. We now know that it will not be our children but our grandchildren who will see a balanced budget, because of the Liberal government's spending.

Bill C-69 represents more broken promises, and it does nothing to give confidence to industry. We know at this time that foreign investment is fleeing our nation at record levels. The CEO from Suncor recently spoke to Bill C-69 and said that it had absolutely put a nail in the coffin of Canadian investment in industry.

The government would like everyone to believe that it knows best and that the Ottawa-developed policies have the best intentions for Canadians, yet the Liberals are not listening when Canadians are speaking. They are not allowing members of Parliament to stand and bring the voices of Canadians to Parliament.

It would not be one of my speeches if I did not remind the House and Canadians that the House does not belong to me, and it sure as heck does not belong to those on the government side. It belongs to Canadians. All 338 members of Parliament and the Canadians who elected them deserve to have a say and to have their voices heard. When the government is forcing time allocation on pieces of legislation that fundamentally are going to have an impact on Canadians' lives, Canadians deserve to have a say.

Industry is shaken at the government's lack of consultation and lack of understanding on how we are moving forward. A good friend of mine, the hon. member for North Okanagan—Shuswap, asked our colleague from Calgary Midnapore about the industry's lack of confidence. Is it the carbon tax and the fact that the government refuses to tell Canadians how much it is going to be? Is it Bill C-69, the regulatory environment, that is shaking the confidence of the industry? Is it other legislation that is shaking the confidence of industry, or is it all of the above?

I would offer one more. The Prime Minister, in one of his earliest speeches to the world, spoke about how Canada was going to be known more for its resourcefulness than for its natural resources. The Liberals have waged war against our energy sector from day one. He said he wished the government could phase out the energy sector sooner and apologized for it.

Canadians and the energy sector, our natural resource industry, deserve a champion. The Minister of Natural Resources has said that it is about time our forestry producers and our energy producers got in line with what the world is doing in terms of technology and sustainable harvesting.

Whether it is our softwood lumber producers, our oil and gas producers, our fishermen on the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, or our farmers, Canada has some of the best, if not the best, in terms of technology and harvesting. They are leading the way. They just need a champion. Guess what? They will have that in 2019, when the Conservatives regain the right side of the House.

Impact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

June 18th, 2018 / 4:20 p.m.
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Conservative

Larry Maguire Conservative Brandon—Souris, MB

Mr. Speaker, my colleagues have asked my colleague from Calgary Midnapore questions on a number of the packages that are contained in this bill. It also is relevant to Bill C-68 and the Fisheries Act. We noted that in our speeches last week as well. My colleague has talked about the number of businesses that have left Canada because of some of these regulations that are too onerous for them to be here and continue to work in the oil industry. One number we have heard is that $88 billion has left, and 110,000 jobs out of Alberta. I wonder if the member could expand on that.

Business of the HouseOral Questions

June 14th, 2018 / 3:10 p.m.
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Waterloo Ontario

Liberal

Bardish Chagger LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister of Small Business and Tourism

Mr. Speaker, this afternoon, we will finish debating the last opposition day motion in this supply cycle. Then, we will debate the main estimates.

Tomorrow morning, we will begin third reading of Bill C-68 on fisheries.

Next week will be a a busy one. Priority will be given to the following bills: Bill C-45 on cannabis, Bill C-59 on national security, Bill C-64 on abandoned vessels, Bill C-69 on environmental assessments, and Bill C-71 on firearms.

Fisheries ActGovernment Orders

June 13th, 2018 / 3:50 p.m.
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Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

Pursuant to an order made on Tuesday, May 29, 2018, the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the motion at report stage of Bill C-68.

The question is on Motion No. 1. A vote on this motion also applies to Motions Nos. 2 to 59.

The House resumed from June 12 consideration of Bill C-68, An Act to amend the Fisheries Act and other Acts in consequence, as reported (with amendment) from the committee, and of the motions in Group No. 1.

Impact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

June 12th, 2018 / 10:20 p.m.
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Conservative

Larry Maguire Conservative Brandon—Souris, MB

Mr. Speaker, it is my privilege to stand this evening to debate Bill C-69. I would like to say a number of things at the outset. The most obvious one is that the Liberals broke their promise with the bill. It has nothing to do with the wording of the bill and everything to do with the size of it.

First, the government said it would not have omnibus legislation and, as my colleagues mentioned earlier this evening, this is a 370-page bill. It cannot be put in any other context than it is an omnibus bill.

The second broken promise is that the bill is not very environmentally supportive by its very voluminous weight. It could have helped, in spite of its size, if it really would improve our environment, but this bill fails to do that.

A number of things have been said about the bill this evening and I will come back to those. However, a whole host of events has taken place around the rhetoric the government has put in this bill. The Liberals talk about trying to improve the environment, to create more jobs, and to improve those jobs, but they have ended up killing two pipelines already. One was the northern gateway pipeline across northern British Columbia to get oil in Alberta over to the west coast. The other one was the eastern access line to move oil to the New Brunswick area for refining purposes in that part of Canada.

Before I elaborate on that, I should inform the House that I will be sharing my time with my colleague from Edmonton West. I know he will have much to say about the situation taking place in Alberta.

My perspective comes from the small amount of oil in southwest Manitoba, which happens to all be in my constituency. This is a very important issue to the communities, maybe not to Winnipeg as much, though it is impacted because a lot of income comes out of that area from this oil, and to the people who live in those communities and on the farms in that region as well. A great deal of work is being done by the oil industry in the southwest region, from trucking to the building of lines to the building of batteries to the moving oil from the wells to the batteries to the tracks to the loading facilities. We also have a major pipeline running right through the middle of my constituency, which moves the oil east and down through the United States.

There are thousands of jobs in my little southwest corner of Manitoba because of this industry. That is why it is so important to have certainty in this industry. It impacts the lives of individuals on farms as well. I went through the downturn in the farm economy, particularly BSE in 2003, droughts in 2003, and flooding in 2005, 2011, and 2014. Therefore, off-farm jobs in the oil industry have been a stabilizing factor in many of the family operations in southwest Manitoba.

It is pretty important to ensure there are sound rules so investors in the economy, not just in my area but more particularly in Alberta, Saskatchewan and, to a certain extent in Newfoundland, have the assurance they can make investments and know they will get returns from those investments.

I will refer to my colleague from Carleton when this debate started. He had a good economics lesson, I thought it was Economics 101, about whether the government learned anything from the lesson he was trying to teach about how important it was to have a sound investment process. We know that comes with great difficulty in Canada right now, and there is a lot of concern about it. As he pointed out, and as we all know, the country's debt is three times higher than it was supposed to be this year.

One thing I did not know, and it is worth repeating, is there are overpayments in Ontario's hydro of $176 billion over the last 30 years. That is a tremendous amount of money, when we consider that is a quarter of Canada's debt. The other number we need to bear in mind is that we have already lost $88 billion worth of investment in our oil industry. It has moved out of the country. It has gone south, as my colleague from Calgary Shepard just indicated. Thousands of jobs have gone south, 101,000 jobs in Alberta alone.

There is a little more drilling going on right now in our area of southwest Manitoba, but the bill would not help that economy survive. Bill C-69, this omnibus legislation, and the amount of regulations in it would not make it easier to grow our economy, which puts people to work.

I was the environment critic for seven of the 14 years I was in the Manitoba legislature. I want to put a few things into perspective. When we look at a situation where infrastructure and investment is required, the government always talks about how we can have both, the economy and the environment. That is not new. It is certainly not foreign to anybody in the House or to any Canadian for that matter.

This is about ensuring that Canadians know that the environment and the economy have gone hand in hand probably since oil was found in Canada in the late 1940s, early 1950s. Anyone who does not abide by those rules of trying to ensure the environment is kept as pristine as we possibly can is not paying attention. My colleagues have already stated tonight that we have the cleanest rules for dealing with environmental packages of anywhere in the world, particularly in our oil industry.

Rules have been brought, and not just in Bill C-69 or Bill C-68, the Fisheries Act. We know full that the efforts in Bill C-69 will not help the economy in any way. They certainly will not make jobs.

As I said, I was asked to become the environment shadow minister in Manitoba when I was first elected in 1999. It was either conservation or the environment. As the representative for Arthur-Virden, the constituency receives water from all of eastern Saskatchewan, southeastern Saskatchewan as well as northeastern Saskatchewan, and all of it comes into the Souris River, coming down the Assiniboine, and even through the Qu'Appelle in central Saskatchewan.

We know the impacts of what the environment can do to our province. The current provincial government is spending its infrastructure dollars rather responsibly. It is using them to protect cities like Brandon and Winnipeg particularly, Portage la Prairie, and the shorelines of Lake Manitoba and Lake Winnipeg. This is responsible management. Why? It is because the provincial government is spending the money on infrastructure to prevent flooding, instead of paying billions out after the fact in flood damages and devastation.

The Liberals need to heed that example and respect investments, instead of killing investment opportunities like the eastern access and northern gateway. These are important issues.

I could go on about a lot of other shortfalls in the bill. Changes to the National Energy Board is just one of them. It may have needed tweaking, but the government decided it knew best and threw out the baby with the bathwater.

My colleague, the member for Dauphin—Swan River—Neepawa, certainly has more experience, having a master's in biology, and he has certainly hit the nail on the head with respect to the Fisheries Act and Bill C-68. I have spoken to him about this bill as well.

I just want to wrap up by saying that I will not be supporting Bill C-69 for a number of reasons outlined, particularly by my colleague from Abbotsford today, as well—

Impact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

June 12th, 2018 / 7:30 p.m.
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Ottawa Centre Ontario

Liberal

Catherine McKenna LiberalMinister of Environment and Climate Change

moved that Bill C-69, An Act to enact the Impact Assessment Act and the Canadian Energy Regulator Act, to amend the Navigation Protection Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts, be read the third time and passed.

Madam Speaker, before I begin, I wish to acknowledge that we are on the traditional territory of the Algonquin and Anishinabe peoples.

I am very pleased to once again address the House in support of Bill C-69. This is a key priority of our government. With the bill, we are keeping our promise to put in place better rules to protect our environment and build a stronger economy. It reflects our view that the economy and the environment must go hand in hand and that Canada works best when Canadians work together.

I am going to speak about why our government introduced the bill, and why there is a clear need for better rules to protect our environment and govern how decisions about resource development are made. I will talk about how the bill's balanced approach addresses the priorities of indigenous peoples, stakeholders, and Canadians from coast to coast to coast, and how it delivers what Canadians expect.

I will also describe how our better rules will benefit all Canadians, how they will lead to a cleaner environment for our children, more investment as good projects go ahead, and more jobs and economic opportunities for the middle class and those working hard to join it.

We made a commitment when we formed government to regain public trust and help get Canada's resources to market. We committed to put in place new, fair processes that would ensure major project approvals are based on science and indigenous knowledge, that serve the public interest, and that allow good projects to proceed.

Why is this so important? Madam Speaker, $500 billion in major resource projects are being planned across Canada over the next decade. We need rules and processes in place that will allow these projects to move forward. Under the previous system, people lost confidence in Canada's environmental assessment processes.

Since participation in the review of major projects was limited, some Canadians were not able to contribute their knowledge and expertise.

The decision-making process was opaque, and Canadians began to fear that decisions on projects were being made based on political considerations, not on science and evidence.

Furthermore, after amendments were made to the Fisheries Act and Navigable Waters Protection Act, Canadians discovered that major protections had been lost, leaving Canada's fish, waterways, and communities at risk.

The changes made by the previous government eroded public trust and without public trust, it became very difficult for good projects to move forward. Weaker rules hurt both our environment and our economy.

All these changes eroded public trust, and without public trust, it became very difficult for good projects to move forward. Weaker rules hurt both our environment and our economy. If Canada wants to capitalize on the next wave of resource development, we need better rules that reflect Canadians' priorities and concerns, provide certainty, and foster the competitiveness of proponents operating in Canada, while respecting our responsibility to protect the environment.

Knowing this, we introduced interim principles in 2016 to guide our government in reviewing major projects until we could put the better rules in place.

To rebuild trust in the environmental assessment process, our government launched a 14-month review involving two expert panels and two parliamentary committees. Input from provinces and territories, indigenous peoples, companies, environmental groups, and Canadians from across the country informed a discussion paper released in June 2017 and, ultimately, helped shape the approach set out in this bill. What we heard through those panels and committees is that Canadians want a modern environmental assessment and regulatory system that protects the environment, supports reconciliation with indigenous peoples, attracts investment, and ensures that good projects go ahead in a timely way to create new jobs and economic opportunities for the middle class. We have also heard from industry about the importance of a clear and predictable process.

Bill C-69 would put in place the better rules that Canadians and companies expect. Thanks to indigenous peoples, stakeholders, and Canadians who contributed their knowledge and perspectives, this bill would help rebuild public trust through key improvements that include decisions that are transparent and guided by robust science and indigenous knowledge; project reviews that consider a wide range of positive and negative impacts on the economy, health, indigenous rights, and communities, in addition to the environment; more timely and predictable review processes; measures to advance reconciliation and partnership with indigenous peoples; reduced duplication and red tape through a one project-one review approach; and through amendments to the current Navigation Protection Act, restored protection for every navigable waterway in Canada. It also complements Bill C-68, which proposes changes to the Fisheries Act to ensure it provides strong and meaningful protection for our fish and waters.

As I said, we made a commitment to restore public trust in Canada's environmental assessment system, to restore the protections that were lost, and to make sure that Canadians can trust the review process and its results.

It is essential that we ensure that all decisions are transparent and serve the public interest in order to restore trust. That is exactly what Bill C-69 would accomplish.

Under the previous system, Canadians had no idea how decisions were made. Under our new rules, Canadians can rest assured that all major project reviews are done fairly and based on evidence, that all decisions serve the public interest, and that good projects will go ahead.

Bill C-69 would clarify that project approval would be based on the impact assessment report. Decisions would also have to fully consider the factors that informed the review, as well as key public interest factors, including the project's contribution to sustainability and impacts on indigenous rights. That means all final decisions would need to have a clear basis in facts and evidence.

That alone is a major advance over the previous system, but even this important step is not enough to restore trust if Canadians are not informed about how final decisions have been made. To build that trust whenever a final decision is made on a project, a public statement of the rationale for that decision would be issued. That statement would clearly demonstrate to Canadians how the assessment report formed the basis for the decision and how factors like sustainability were taken into account.

To make good decisions, we need good processes that take into account a broad range of considerations. Bill C-69 provides clarity on the factors that would guide project reviews. We know that the impacts of major projects go beyond the environment alone. Projects also affect Canada's economy, our health, and our communities. They can also affect indigenous peoples and their rights.

Our government also recognizes that not all effects of major projects are negative. They also have positive impacts, like creating well-paying jobs for local communities. That is why under our new rules, both positive and negative consequences, economic, environmental, social, and health, would be taken into account. At the same time, tailored guidelines for project reviews would ensure they focus on factors relevant to the specific project.

These improvements will help improve the decision-making process and enhance public trust. Indigenous people, businesses, and the general public will know ahead of time what factors will guide project reviews. These reviews and the resulting assessment reports will the provide the basis for the final decisions.

Public decision statements will provide Canadians with the assurance that key factors were properly taken into consideration and that all decisions serve the public interest.

Without the support and partnership of indigenous peoples, there is no way to move forward with major resource projects. This is not optional. It is integral to ensuring that indigenous peoples, and all Canadians, can benefit from increased jobs and investment.

That is why Bill C-69 fully reflects our government's commitment to a renewed relationship with indigenous peoples based on recognition of rights, respect, co-operation, and partnership. This has been a focus of our government from the very beginning. We have taken important steps to put that commitment into action.

For example, we announced our full support for the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People, we are working in partnership with indigenous peoples to develop a new recognition and implementation of rights framework, and we are making major new investments in education, health, infrastructure, and indigenous communities.

This bill puts our commitment to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People at the forefront, in the preambles of impact assessment act and the Canadian energy regulator act.

It also states that, when exercising their powers under the impact assessment act, the government, the minister, the agency, and federal authorities must respect the government’s commitments with regard to the rights of the indigenous peoples of Canada.

The new Canadian energy regulator's mandate will specify that it is to exercise its powers and perform its duties in the same manner.

Indigenous peoples, as well as stakeholders and the public, would have meaningful opportunities to participate in project reviews from the start and throughout the process. Recognizing the important contributions that indigenous knowledge makes to project reviews, our bill would make it mandatory to consider this knowledge alongside science and other evidence in every assessment, and would require transparency about how it was taken into account and used. At the same time, it would provide strong protection for the confidentiality of indigenous knowledge across all parts of the bill.

I have said that our better rules are designed to help good projects move forward to get Canada's resources to market. Companies have told us what they need to make sure that happens: clear, timely, and predictable processes that provide certainty at every stage.

Under our proposed legislation, one agency, the proposed impact assessment agency of Canada, would be the federal lead for all major project reviews. This would mean more consistent, more predictable reviews for all projects. At the same time, the agency would work closely with regulatory bodies so that their valuable expertise could continue to inform assessments.

A revised project list would provide clarity for companies, indigenous communities, environmental groups, municipalities, and all citizens on how our new rules would apply. We have consulted with Canadians on the criteria that would guide that revised list, and we will be consulting again in the fall on the proposed list itself.

Our bill would require a new early planning and engagement phase before an impact assessment could begin. This new phase would help companies identify and address issues early on. It would result in a clear set of products to guide the impact assessment. These would include tailored impact statement guidelines that are scoped to reflect the scale and complexity of the project, a co-operation plan, an indigenous engagement and partnership plan, a public participation plan, and a permitting plan.

While a broad set of factors would be considered in early planning, the tailored guidelines would reflect only those that are relevant to the specific project. Following early planning, proponents would be notified if a project is likely to have unacceptable impacts. This would not stop the process. Instead, it would allow the company to make an informed decision about whether, or how, to go forward with the project in the impact assessment process.

As I have said, companies would have a clear understanding of what would be taken into account in the review itself, including positive and negative effects on the environment, the economy, health, and communities. Companies could also be certain about how final decisions are made. They would be based on the assessment report, and on consideration of key public interest factors, including the project's contribution to sustainability. This would be clearly demonstrated through public decision statements.

To provide the timely decisions and reviews companies expect, Bill C-69 sets out clear time limits for each stage of the process, including the new early planning phase. That includes 300 days for reviews carried out by a review panel with input from a life cycle regulator. When justified, more complex projects may take up to 600 days. This is a major improvement over the 2012 Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, the CEAA, which allowed up to 120 days for all reviews carried out by review panels.

This bill will also reduce red tape and prevent duplication through opportunities to collaborate with the provinces. It provides for joint assessments in which a single assessment process can meet the requirements of several levels of government. The bill also provides for substitution should a process carried out by another level of government satisfy the federal government's requirements.

Bill C-69 will facilitate a smooth transition toward the new impact assessment system. The bill would set objective criteria to determine which projects will continue to be reviewed under the 2012 CEAA, give companies the option to go through the new process, and confirm that nobody will ever be sent back to square one.

This bill would also provide certainty and help restore public trust by providing opportunities for public participation at every stage of the review process.

When it comes to resource development, public trust and support are essential for projects to move forward. That will not happen if Canadians are not able to take part in project reviews. Bill C-69 would remove the “standing test” imposed by CEAA 2012, so that a broader range of Canadians could contribute their knowledge and perspectives.

With the new early planning and engagement phase, Canadians would be able to make their voices heard from the beginning.

Bill C-69 would provide for the public and for indigenous peoples to participate in a meaningful manner, and would ensure that they have the information and tools they need and the ability to share their thoughts and expertise.

The bill would strike a balance between allowing for meaningful participation and the need for assessments to be completed in a timely manner.

Canadians want projects to be approved based on scientific facts and indigenous knowledge. Our government is committed to adopting policies based on evidence, and Bill C-69 is proof of that.

This bill includes a clear commitment to implementing the act in a way that respects the principles of scientific integrity, honesty, objectivity, rigour, and accuracy. This is perfectly in line with our strong commitment to science and shows that we intend to implement this act.

Bill C-69 also provides for regional and strategic assessments. These studies would inform project reviews by looking at crosscutting issues and cumulative impacts, those that go beyond any one project. To ensure they can play an important role in our impact assessment system, these reviews would benefit from the best available advice and fully take into account indigenous knowledge. We are committed to moving forward with these assessments, beginning with a strategic assessment on climate change.

As we transition to the new system, we will invest up to just over $1 billion over five years to support the proposed new impact assessment regime and Canadian energy regulator; increased scientific capacity in federal departments and agencies; changes required to protect water, fish and navigation; and increased indigenous and public participation.

I am extremely proud of our government's work on this bill. It is the result of extensive public engagement and fulfills the commitment we made when we formed government: to rebuild public trust and get Canada's resources to market sustainably.

I want to acknowledge that many people have contributed to the development of this bill. Of course, I want to recognize the indigenous peoples, stakeholders, and Canadians who participated in our 14-month review process, as well as those who have continued to engage after we introduced the bill.

I also want to recognize the members of this House who have contributed to debate on Bill C-69 and its further development. In particular I want to express my appreciation for the members of the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development. Their efforts in hearing from witnesses and amending the bill have resulted in important changes that have strengthened the legislation.

Throughout this process, the government and the standing committee worked on adopting a balanced approach that addresses the priorities of indigenous peoples, the industry, environmental groups, and other stakeholders. I think that, together, we succeeded.

Through this balanced approach, our better rules will protect Canada's environment, help good projects move forward, and recognize and uphold the rights of indigenous peoples. I think all of us in the House can support that.

Fisheries ActGovernment Orders

June 12th, 2018 / 6:40 p.m.
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Conservative

Tony Clement Conservative Parry Sound—Muskoka, ON

Madam Speaker, it is an honour to be speaking in the House of Commons this evening as we continue debate on Bill C-68. I am sure there will be more commentary as the night proceeds into the middle of the night and then late night, perhaps even early morning. Who knows in this place. It is an honour to serve the constituents of Parry Sound—Muskoka, regardless of the hour of the day. I am sure all colleagues feel the same about their ridings.

We are debating Bill C-68, which aspires to protect our oceans and fisheries. I believe all members of the chamber would want to do this. The issue is whether it does something meaningful in that regard. The answer is a resounding no.

As my colleague from Calgary just mentioned, there were extensive changes to the Fisheries Act under the previous government to ensure our fisheries were protected, and yet at the same time, it was much more user friendly for Canadians. It was important for economic development and it was also ridding the previous legislation of a nuisance factor, where every ditch all of a sudden became a protected area for fish that were too numerous to count.

Clearly, it was overreach in the pre-existing legislation, which the legislation of the previous Conservative government sought to remedy. Now we find ourselves again, with the Liberal government now in its third year, regurgitating legislation simply because there were changes made under the previous Conservative government. I am sure there is no ill will on the opposite side, but I tend to wonder whether the Liberals are simply trying to reinvent the wheel and put their own stamp on legislative priorities.

What happens with legislation like this is that it makes the situation worse for economic development. It makes it worse in trying to balance protecting fish habitat and at the same time moving forward in our communities. That is what we have with Bill C-68.

There are a number of things here. The bill seems to undermine transparency and due process by allowing the minister to withhold critical information from interested proponents. It goes against the Prime Minister's oft stated commitment in national and international fora to openness and transparency.

Let us talk about that for a few minutes. This is a constant theme of the government, that it is more open, more transparent, that the Liberals are the ones who cornered the market on openness and transparency. However, when we look at the record of the government, it is far from that.

In its 2015 platform, the Liberals said that they would fix the Access to Information Act. There was delay upon delay, and finally the President of the Treasury Board stood in his place and said that the government would have a two-pronged approach, that it would pick the fruit that it could pick first, and then it would leave the more difficult issues until later. That was denounced by the Information Commissioner, who had been waiting all these years for changes to the Access to Information Act. It was basically a big disaster for the government because it was not following through on its promises.

There has been a lack of transparency to the Parliamentary Budget Officer, and that is important. The Parliamentary Budget Officer is the person who works for the House, for Parliament, in analyzing the budgetary priorities of the government of the day. I will admit, when we were in government, and I was president of the Treasury Board, it was not exactly pleasant in this place for the Parliamentary Budget Officer to examine and be a pair of eyes over our shoulders.

It is not the most pleasant thing for politicians or bureaucrats, but at the same time, it is necessary. It is necessary for the proper functioning of this place to have that oversight. Because the executive has so much power under our parliamentary system, it is good to have that pair of eyes reporting to Parliament and reporting to the public on issues about budgetary priorities and the true cost of things.

The Parliamentary Budget Officer has been complaining about the lack of information given by the Liberal government. I know that governing is hard. I was there. What I find offensive, perhaps, disconcerting certainly, is when the government and Liberal politicians promise openness and transparency and deliver precisely the opposite, to the detriment of Canadians, and certainly the opposite of what they promised while campaigning in 2015.

In Bill C-68, there is a provision for advisory panels, but no guidance, no limitation, on how they would be used. What are the rights of citizens when we have these advisory panels? What are the property rights of citizens when we have these advisory panels? How do we balance these advisory panels with local interests and local knowledge? The bill is silent. I wish I knew the answer to that before I voted on this bill, but the answer is not forthcoming from the government of the day.

As I mentioned and the previous speaker from Calgary mentioned, there were amendments on these issues back in 2012 that received royal assent and came into force in November 2013. There was a proper balance between protecting fish and fish habitat and measuring the economic and social value so that fish and fish habitat that were at risk would get the protection they needed. However, this was not the case in every case. Not every fish in our environment needs protection. I hope this is not a politically incorrect thing to say.

In some places in our country, I would say to the audience watching television, there are a multitude of fish, and there are protections for them, but we do not need the uber-protections of the federal government deciding that it knows better than local people how to protect the fish in their environment. That is why it was important to have that balance.

Now that balance is gone, and alas, we are in a situation of debating this lamentable bill, which is just another way for the Liberal government to show the world how wonderful it is and how it understands fish habitat and the environment. However, what we are going to get is the national government deciding on fish in a ditch. This is ludicrous. This is the old, oft-used Shakespearean phrase, “The law is an ass.”

On this side of the House, we want to stand for common sense. We want to protect the fish environments that need to be protected, but we are not here just to create laws for the sake of creating laws. I know that the Canadian Electricity Association has said that this bill is two steps back. It is concerned that we are back to the pre-2012 provisions. In practical terms, this makes life tougher for its members.

On this side of the House, we will continue, as Conservatives, to represent and work with the fishers, the farmers, and the industry groups to make sure that their concerns are heard and to make sure that fish are protected but that our economy can move forward. That is why I am a Conservative, and that is why I oppose this bill.

Fisheries ActGovernment Orders

June 12th, 2018 / 6:40 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Stephanie Kusie Conservative Calgary Midnapore, AB

Madam Speaker, it is no secret that foreign investment has been fleeing and will continue to flee Canada at an alarming rate. I have seen this first-hand in my dear hometown of Calgary, Alberta, where we have seen the exit of organizations and of corporations such as Murphy Oil, ConocoPhillips, Royal Dutch Shell, and I can go on and on with respect to the foreign investment that has fled. That is even prior to the installation and royal assent of such damaging legislation such as Bill C-68, which we are discussing today, and Bill C-69. The government has to take responsibility for the investment that is fleeing Canada and ruining the lives of Canadians.