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



In committee (House), as of March 19, 2018

Subscribe to a feed (what's a feed?) of speeches and votes in the House related to Bill C-69.


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

Part 1 enacts the Impact Assessment Act and repeals the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012. Among other things, the Impact Assessment Act

(a) names the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada as the authority responsible for impact assessments;

(b) provides for a process for assessing the environmental, health, social and economic effects of designated projects with a view to preventing certain adverse effects and fostering sustainability;

(c) prohibits proponents, subject to certain conditions, from carrying out a designated project if the designated project is likely to cause certain environmental, health, social or economic effects, unless the Minister of the Environment or Governor in Council determines that those effects are in the public interest, taking into account the impacts on the rights of the Indigenous peoples of Canada, all effects that may be caused by the carrying out of the project, the extent to which the project contributes to sustainability and other factors;

(d) establishes a planning phase for a possible impact assessment of a designated project, which includes requirements to cooperate with and consult certain persons and entities and requirements with respect to public participation;

(e) authorizes the Minister to refer an impact assessment of a designated project to a review panel if he or she considers it in the public interest to do so, and requires that an impact assessment be referred to a review panel if the designated project includes physical activities that are regulated under the Nuclear Safety and Control Act, the Canadian Energy Regulator Act, the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Resources Accord Implementation Act and the Canada–Newfoundland and Labrador Atlantic Accord Implementation Act;

(f) establishes time limits with respect to the planning phase, to impact assessments and to certain decisions, in order to ensure that impact assessments are conducted in a timely manner;

(g) provides for public participation and for funding to allow the public to participate in a meaningful manner;

(h) sets out the factors to be taken into account in conducting an impact assessment, including the impacts on the rights of the Indigenous peoples of Canada;

(i) provides for cooperation with certain jurisdictions, including Indigenous governing bodies, through the delegation of any part of an impact assessment, the joint establishment of a review panel or the substitution of another process for the impact assessment;

(j) provides for transparency in decision-making by requiring that the scientific and other information taken into account in an impact assessment, as well as the reasons for decisions, be made available to the public through a registry that is accessible via the Internet;

(k) provides that the Minister may set conditions, including with respect to mitigation measures, that must be implemented by the proponent of a designated project;

(l) provides for the assessment of cumulative effects of existing or future activities in a specific region through regional assessments and of federal policies, plans and programs, and of issues, that are relevant to the impact assessment of designated projects through strategic assessments; and

(m) sets out requirements for an assessment of environmental effects of non-designated projects that are on federal lands or that are to be carried out outside Canada.

Part 2 enacts the Canadian Energy Regulator Act, which establishes the Canadian Energy Regulator and sets out its composition, mandate and powers. The role of the Regulator is to regulate the exploitation, development and transportation of energy within Parliament’s jurisdiction.

The Canadian Energy Regulator Act, among other things,

(a) provides for the establishment of a Commission that is responsible for the adjudicative functions of the Regulator;

(b) ensures the safety and security of persons, energy facilities and abandoned facilities and the protection of property and the environment;

(c) provides for the regulation of pipelines, abandoned pipelines, and traffic, tolls and tariffs relating to the transmission of oil or gas through pipelines;

(d) provides for the regulation of international power lines and certain interprovincial power lines;

(e) provides for the regulation of renewable energy projects and power lines in Canada’s offshore;

(f) provides for the regulation of access to lands;

(g) provides for the regulation of the exportation of oil, gas and electricity and the interprovincial oil and gas trade; and

(h) sets out the process the Commission must follow before making, amending or revoking a declaration of a significant discovery or a commercial discovery under the Canada Oil and Gas Operations Act and the process for appealing a decision made by the Chief Conservation Officer or the Chief Safety Officer under that Act.

Part 2 also repeals the National Energy Board Act.

Part 3 amends the Navigation Protection Act to, among other things,

(a) rename it the Canadian Navigable Waters Act;

(b) provide a comprehensive definition of navigable water;

(c) require that, when making a decision under that Act, the Minister must consider any adverse effects that the decision may have on the rights of the Indigenous peoples of Canada;

(d) require that an owner apply for an approval for a major work in any navigable water;

(e)  set out the factors that the Minister must consider when deciding whether to issue an approval;

(f) provide a process for addressing navigation-related concerns when an owner proposes to carry out a work in navigable waters that are not listed in the schedule;

(g) provide the Minister with powers to address obstructions in any navigable water;

(h) amend the criteria and process for adding a reference to a navigable water to the schedule;

(i) require that the Minister establish a registry; and

(j) provide for new measures for the administration and enforcement of the Act.

Part 4 makes consequential amendments to Acts of Parliament and regulations.


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.


March 19, 2018 Passed 2nd reading of 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
March 19, 2018 Passed 2nd reading of 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
Feb. 27, 2018 Passed Time allocation for Bill C-69, An Act to enact the Impact Assessment Act and the Canadian Energy Regulator Act, to amend the Navigation Protection Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts

Bill C-69—Proposal to Apply Standing Order 69.1POINT OF ORDERGovernment Orders

February 27th, 2018 / 11:25 a.m.
See context


Ruth Ellen Brosseau NDP Berthier—Maskinongé, QC

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order regarding the omnibus nature of the most recent government bill, 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.

I do so somewhat reluctantly because the government has just finished passing a time allocation motion that will limit the debate on this enormous important and sensitive bill. There will be fewer than 10 hours of debate. The time is at such a premium here that I will do my best to be very brief.

I also note, Mr. Speaker, that in your ruling of November 7 of last year on a similar request, you said, “I would encourage them to raise their arguments as early as possible in the process, especially given that the length of debate at a particular stage can be unpredictable.”

I doubt even you could have foreseen the government would have shut the door on debate here after just two hours, but I trust that you will still have enough time to rule on this request before the debate wraps up this Friday.

Standing Order 69.1 states:

In the case where a government bill seeks to repeal, amend or enact more than one act, and where there is not a common element connecting the various provisions or where unrelated matters are linked, the Speaker shall have the power to divide the questions, for the purposes of voting, on the motion for second reading and reference to a committee and the motion for third reading and passage of the bill. The Speaker shall have the power to combine clauses of the bill thematically and to put the aforementioned questions on each of these groups of clauses separately, provided that there will be a single debate at each stage.

Mr. Speaker, as you can see, Bill C-69 repeals two laws, enacts three new laws, and amends 31 existing laws. In total, Bill C-69 will affect 36 statutes. Bill C-69 enacts the impact assessment act, which will replace the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act. As a result, the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, which were put in place by Mr. Harper in 2012, will be replaced by the new impact assessment act and the new impact assessment agency of Canada. This agency will now be responsible for any assessments requiring federal review—

Impact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

February 27th, 2018 / 11:35 a.m.
See context


Shannon Stubbs Conservative Lakeland, AB

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to continue my comments on part 2 of Bill C-69, the Canadian energy regulator act.

Last week I shared some concerns about the bill, especially in the context of the Liberals' constant denigration and undermining of confidence in the regulator and in Canada's reputation at home and internationally, especially since the 2015 election, with respect to responsible resource development.

The Liberals have imposed new hurdles, delays, rule changes, called for phasing out the oil sands, added costs and roadblocks to the oil and gas sector, which is already the most heavily-regulated industry in Canada by all levels of government. They have told the hundreds of thousands of unemployed energy workers in Canada to just hang in there.

Regulatory and fiscal policies are key factors in the economics and business decisions of multi-year, multi-billion dollar energy projects for private sector companies. Now the Liberals are adding more uncertainty with more processes and more details yet to be known. The risk is the acceleration of the already massive investment and job losses in Canada's natural resources development as a result of the Liberals' ideological and anti-energy-driven decisions.

I am concerned about the new preplanning phase in part 1 that would apply to major projects like pipelines. Put aside the fact that Canadian common best practice already is to undertake early pre-project engagement with stakeholders, indigenous communities, and scientific experts. According to Bill C-69, after the initial six-month process, the minister alone can deny projects before the assessment stage. So much for experts, transparency, objective evidence and clear measures.

The bill provides no assurances that clear and publicly-known rules will be applied consistently to all project applications or that the full rationale for a denial will be made public. This approach clearly allows for political and ideological decision-making behind closed doors. The only hope for energy developers is that if a project is politically risky, the minister might kill it at the outset, instead of forcing proponents to wade through years of expensive reviews, wasting time and billions of dollars of capital investment, risking jobs in the meantime.

I want to review the three key claims made by the Liberals.

First, the Liberals claim that public participation will increase in both volume and effectiveness because of the elimination of the standing test of the National Energy Board. That test set out the two-pronged consideration for those who can participate: first, anyone who was directly affected by the project; and, second, anyone who had sufficient expertise or relevant information may be heard. On the face of it, that is reasonable.

However, let us look at a concrete example, the Enbridge Line 9B reversal and Line 9 capacity expansion proposal, about how this test operated in practice.

After receiving 177 applications to participate, the NEB granted 158 applicants full participation rights, and asked 11 applicants to submit a letter of comment. The board only denied eight. One of them appealed, so the courts examined her application and the board's decision. Her application was aimed at the second prong of the standing test, to contribute based on her expertise.

The judicial decision stated:

She stated that she had a specified and detailed interest in the matter...based on her religious faith. In her view, a spill from a pipeline, even far away from her home, is “an insult to [her] sense of the holy.”

I think this case illustrates that the standing test worked reasonably, designed to keep the focus of the approval hearings on important issues and to weed out irrelevant information.

Now let us review the new standing provision. Section 183(3) states, “Any member of the public may, in a manner specified by the Commission, make representations with respect to an application for a certificate.”

I note this language excludes no one. Every person or organization, so long as they comply with the procedure, may submit comment and be heard. This means that a radical anti-resources activist organization from Europe or an American-funded group competing with Canadian companies for investment dollars has the same right to be heard at a hearing for a pipeline, mine, or an LNG project in Canada under Canadian regulations, in Canada's process, as local stakeholders, indigenous communities, industry representatives, experts, and concerned Canadian groups.

Therefore, the regulator will have two options. It might choose to allow everyone who asks to be heard to provide comment, which effectively eliminates any meaningful participation, because when everyone is heard in fact no one is heard. Or the regulator will establish a hierarchy where some participants have the right to give oral and written evidence, others will give written submissions, and the least helpful or relevant contributions will be relegated to some kind of participation prize category where they can contribute but no one will care.

This is fundamentally chaotic, unpredictable, and unclear. How can a proponent prepare for a hearing process where literally anyone can provide comments and questions? Why should decisions about Canadian projects in Canada be influenced by non-Canadians?

The second key claim the Liberals make is that Bill C-69 would create concrete timelines of 450 days for major projects and 300 days for minor projects, except it does not really.

First, the clock starts only when the commission says the applicant has submitted the complete application, but it is entirely discretionary. The bill gives no definition of what is “complete”. It does not prevent the regulator from continuously deciding that an application is incomplete for political reasons or otherwise.

The second problem is that the regulator may exclude any period of time from the time limit calculations, so long as reasons are provided. It is any amount of time and any number of times. Is a timeline that could have any part of it excluded from the calculation really a timeline at all?

The third problem is that the minister may extend the timeline indefinitely by issuing repeat orders granting new 300 or 450 day timeline resets. Stakeholders, like the Mining Association of Canada, are concerned that the proposed system for timelines could undermine the competitiveness and growth prospects of mining in Canada, a sector that is often the only or the major employer in northern, remote, and indigenous communities.

It is disingenuous of the Liberals to claim they have made timelines concrete when the bill clearly shows there is nothing concrete about them.

The Liberals third claim is that new factors for consideration will make the approval process more robust and produce better results for Canadians. Of course factors for consideration for a major pipeline project, for instance, are fundamental to its viability. For example, the Liberals interfered in the energy east hearings, and their appointed panel told the NEB that even though it was years and millions of dollars into the process, energy east should be reconsidered, based on upstream and, for the first time ever, downstream emissions. Making upstream and downstream emissions a condition for pipelines is a double standard to which no other major infrastructure, or any other sector or foreign oil, is held. It is already regulated provincially. The Liberals forced energy east to be abandoned.

On page 167, proposed subsection 183(1)(2), it states:

The Commission must make its recommendation taking into account...all considerations that appear to it to be relevant and directly related to the pipeline, including

(a) the environmental effects, including any cumulative environmental effects;

The term is not defined and may be designed to allow a project to be killed for political expediency.

Cumulative environmental impacts should be clearly defined here, not left broad and vague. Also, it is unfair to project proponents to account for impacts elsewhere in the value chain. For example, the approval of Trans Mountain should not hinge on Kinder Morgan accounting for emissions of planes flying out of Victoria and Vancouver. Imagine if that same standard applied to other vital infrastructure, like highways, airports, and rail.

On top of that, once a project gets through every single hurdle and even if approval is granted, the minister or the regulator can still issue a post-approval demand for further study and evaluation. This new measure almost guarantees delays after future approvals. Despite the Liberal rhetoric, that is exactly how the B.C. NDP is trying to kill Trans Mountain right now. Unfortunately, it is already clear that under the Liberals, federal approval of a national project in federal jurisdiction does not mean it still will not be stopped.

For every Liberal claim about the bill, the process is clearly designed for political influence and intervention. At any stage the minister can step in and kill the project. Even at the various stages where there is no formal ministerial approval required, the minister still could interfere, just as the Liberals did with energy east, and signal to the regulator that the project needs to be delayed or killed outright. It does not clarify or streamline an objective, evidence-based process where decisions will be made by experts.

What are the results? Suncor, the leading integrated oil and gas company in Canada, says that it will not invest in major projects in Canada in the future. Billions of investment dollars are leaving Canada for the U.S. and other energy-producing jurisdictions. The combined impact of additional regulations, higher taxes, and uncertainty makes Canada a more difficult place to invest capital.

There is another component of Bill C-69 that requires careful examination.

The government claims the bill would broadly enhance and expand consultations with indigenous communities, but the government should be more precise and accurate. Bill C-69 does not actually change the consultation rights for indigenous communities at all. Canada has developed, through laws, executive action, and court decisions, a framework within which meaningful indigenous consultation occurs. The crown has a duty, when it takes executive action, to examine if it would interfere with or infringe on a section 35-protected right of an indigenous community. If such a right is identified and the executive still intends on following that course of action, the indigenous community must be meaningfully consulted and compensated for any loss or infringement of the right.

Bill C-69 simply would not change this fundamental principle.

What I have heard from pro-energy and pro-natural resources indigenous groups is that the Liberals are interfering with their ability to responsibly manage their lands and to engage with industry in equity partnerships, which is a widespread practice. From the tanker and drilling bans to the northern gateway veto, the Liberals unilaterally destroyed immediate and future opportunities in responsible resource development for indigenous people, without consultation.

Canadian natural resource proponents have long worked with indigenous communities early to identify affected communities and establish relationships. In the case of Trans Mountain, literally any indigenous community that wanted to be involved was included in consultation. The project is supported by 40 aboriginal groups along the route and four of the six first nations in the area are equity partners.

The real question the House must consider about the legislation is this. What global oil market share should Canada own? As well, what will really be the future of natural resources development and all the jobs it provides across the country? The fact is that global demand for oil and gas is going to continue to increase. Countries that do not match Canada's environmental, human rights, labour and consultation standards, and transparency are ready to meet that demand.

If the Liberals continue to create more layers and uncertainty, it will only mean Canadian energy investment will continue to fall and energy resources will not be able to meet that increasing demand from Canada.

Energy is the number one private sector investor in the Canadian economy, and it is Canada's second biggest export. The importance of this sector cannot be understated. The responsible development and transportation of Canada's energy resources lifts that standard of living of every Canadian, reduces poverty, and funds important social programs in every community across the country.

Canada's economy needs a strong natural resources sector. It has sole ownership of 7% of GDP. It produces billions of dollars and a million jobs. It is Canada's opportunity to continue to be an environmental leader in the world.

Ramming this bill through is irresponsible. Industry is already pulling investment capital from Canada. It is warning about the impacts of this legislation. Hundreds of thousands of jobs have already been lost. If Bill C-69 passes, in one blow, the Liberals will have put at serious risk the immediate and long-term future of Canada's natural resources development.

I will oppose this bill and encourage my colleagues to do so. I hope, at the very least, the Liberals will allow us to represent the people who sent us here on their behalf to represent their interests and values, and to give this massive legislation the debate it deserves.

Impact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

February 27th, 2018 / 11:55 a.m.
See context

Winnipeg South Centre Manitoba


Jim Carr LiberalMinister of Natural Resources

Madam Speaker, I am proud to rise today to support the legislation before us.

Canada was built largely on investment and innovation in our abundant natural resources, from our oil and natural gas to our minerals, like gold, silver, copper, nickel, and zinc, to our vast and diverse forests. Canadians know that investment and innovation in all of our natural resource sectors must continue so that we can get our resources to global markets and use the revenues they generate to invest in a clean energy future, a healthier future, for those who will follow us.

Bill C-69 recognizes that the only way to achieve this success is by creating a modern environmental and regulatory review system that is truly open and inclusive and that can get good resource projects built. This proposed legislation would restore investor and public trust, invite the full participation of indigenous people, and be grounded in science, evidence, and traditional indigenous knowledge. It would also be an important piece of a larger picture and a broader plan, one that responds with the global transition to a clean energy future. Canadians know that we are in the midst of that transition.

Last April, we invited Canadians to imagine Canada's energy future and to be part of the largest and most important conversation of its kind ever held in our nation. We invited Canadians to be respondent, joining in the conversation online by the hundreds of thousands, with hundreds more descending on my home city of Winnipeg for the two-day Generation Energy Forum last fall.

People came to Winnipeg from across the country and around the globe, from Norway, France, Mexico, and the United States. They came from every sector of the energy industry, oil and gas, wind, solar, nuclear, electricity. Indigenous leaders, youth leaders, community leaders, academics were all there. Several members opposite joined us as well, from every party except the Conservative Party. That speaks volumes about how much the official opposition cares about the future of the energy industry in this country. There was not one individual in a group of 650 from every region in our country who represented the official opposition. Had any of the members opposite felt it worth their time to join us, they would have found people who may never have spoken to each other before, in the same room challenging each other and themselves.

Suddenly, the questions became ever more pressing: What happens now? What if our individual choices could add up to transformative changes? Generation Energy tapped into something unexpected and special. Years from now, Canadians may very well look back and say that Generation Energy was a turning point, that it marked our emergence as a global leader in the transition to a low-carbon economy.

Our government is building a Canadian energy strategy, working with the provinces and territories to expand on what they have already done, leveraging the fossil fuel resources we have today to deliver clean energy solutions for tomorrow, leaning on shared priorities such as energy efficiency, clean technologies, and green infrastructure, and linking those provinces who have an abundance of clean electricity with those who are trying to get it.

Until this proposed legislation was introduced, we had been missing an important piece of this vision. We were missing an environmental and regulatory system that commands the confidence of Canadians, a system that ensures we can mine the minerals and metals that will go into tomorrow's clean technology, that we can tap our abundant natural gas as a transitional fuel, and that we can get our resources to market. Those resources, by the way, include Canadian oil.

One of the clear messages from Generation Energy was that Canadians want a thriving low-carbon economy, but they also know that we are not there yet. They understand that while we need to prepare for the future, we must also deal with the present, by providing energy that they can count on when they flick on a light switch, or fill up their gas tanks, or plug in their electric cars. This means we must continue to support our oil and gas industry even as we develop alternatives, including solar, biomass, wind, and tidal.

We do not share the view of those who would simply pump as much oil as we can as fast as we can, nor do we agree with those who say we should leave all of the oil in the ground and never build another pipeline. Both miss the larger goal of balancing economic prosperity and environmental protection. How do we do both?

We do it by promoting resource development while putting a hard cap on greenhouse gas emissions, including Alberta's 100-megatonne limit on the oil sands. We do it by putting a price on carbon, implementing a $1.5 billion oceans protection plan, and enforcing new environmental safeguards, such as those in the Pipeline Safety Act. We do it by recognizing that a strong and sustainable oil and gas industry represents an enormous opportunity to fund the transition to a low-carbon economy.

Here are a few quick statistics. In 2016, the oil and gas industry directly employed 190,000 Canadians, producing $75 billion in exports and accounting for almost 5% of our GDP. It also generated billions of dollars in government revenues, revenues that pay for our hospitals and schools, for the social programs that make us who we are, and for the clean energy and new technologies that represent our future.

The Harper government took the approach of ignoring indigenous rights, climate change, and the environment in favour of economic development at all costs. This resulted in Canadians losing trust in the way major resource projects were being assessed.

That is why, when we formed government, we introduced a set of interim principles to get environmental assessments and regulatory reviews moving on those projects already in the queue, principles that reflected our priorities: maintaining certainty for investors, expanding public consultations, enhancing indigenous engagement, and including greenhouse gas emissions in our project assessments.

The benefits of these interim principles were felt right away. Major projects, such as the Trans Mountain expansion and the Line 3 replacement pipelines were approved, while the northern gateway project was not. Each one was the right decision based on good jobs, sound science, and the national interest.

Our goal has always been a permanent fix to Canada's environmental assessments. Just seven months into our mandate, we launched a comprehensive review that included modernizing the National Energy Board, protecting our fish, and preserving our waterways. We appointed expert panels, enlisted parliamentarians, released a discussion paper, and at every step of the way consulted Canadians, listening more than we spoke.

What emerged from these efforts were the same messages we heard through Generation Energy. Canadians are engaged. They are well-informed. They know the economy and the environment can and must go hand in hand. They agree that Canada works best when Canadians work together.

Those are the hallmarks of Bill C-69, a new and inclusive approach to protect the environment and build a stronger economy, creating good jobs and a sustainable future. It is an approach based on restoring public trust, renewing Canada's relationship with indigenous peoples, collaborating with the provinces and territories, protecting our environment, fish and waterways, and encouraging more investments in Canada's natural resource sector: better rules to build a better Canada.

It all starts with our proposal for an early engagement and planning phase that would help resource companies with new projects identify the priorities of local communities and indigenous peoples. This would create immediate benefits. First, the proponents and their investors would have a clear lay of the land before they spend a lot of money advancing their proposals. Second, by identifying the key issues early, the ensuing project reviews would be shorter and more focused. In other words, by engaging earlier, companies would be better able to plan and develop smarter, all of which would help them to attract investment, maintain competitiveness, and enhance bottom lines.

Bill C-69 also proposes to integrate project reviews within a single, consistent impact assessment, which Canadians have been calling for for years: one project, one assessment. Our legislation would do this by creating a new federal agency for impact assessments, the impact assessment agency of Canada, that would be responsible for coordinating indigenous consultations and collaborating with federal regulators who provide specialized expertise.

We are also proposing to establish a new federal energy regulator to replace the National Energy Board. Called the Canadian energy regulator, or CER, it would have the required independence and the proper accountability to oversee a strong, safe, and sustainable Canadian energy sector in the 21st century. Located in Calgary where much of the country's energy expertise is located, the CER would help restore investor confidence, renew Canada's relationship with indigenous peoples, and rebuild trust through open and inclusive public participation, all while ensuring good projects go ahead and our energy resources get to markets.

This new energy regulator would be specifically designed to deal with the shifting global energy markets of the 21st century, to respond to the evolving legal landscape for indigenous rights, and to adopt new technology that can support greater transparency and broader public engagement.

Let me outline how the new Canadian energy regulator would do this in five key ways.

First, it would have a more modern and effective governance. While the National Energy Board has served Canadians well, its structure, role, and mandate have remained relatively unchanged since the National Energy Board Act was first introduced in 1959. The Canadian energy regulator act clarifies the new regulator's responsibilities and operations, while strengthening its independence and its diversity. This includes separating the regulator's adjudicative function, which demands a high degree of independence, from its daily operations where a high degree of accountability is what we need. This would be achieved through a board of directors that would provide oversight, strategic direction, and advice on operations, while the chief executive officer, separate from the board, would be responsible for day-to-day operations.

The new regulator would also include a group of independent commissioners who would be responsible for timely, inclusive, and transparent project reviews and decision-making. The act would enhance the diversity of the new regulator's board of directors and commissioners, requiring the regulator's expert panels to include expertise in traditional indigenous knowledge, as well as municipal, engineering, and environmental issues, and ensuring that at least one member of the board of directors and one commissioner are indigenous.

Second, the act proposes to strengthen investment certainty and deliver timelier decisions. The energy sector's future success depends on a predictable process and timely regulatory decisions for major new projects, without compromising on public consultations, indigenous reconciliation, or environmental stewardship. The principle of “one project, one assessment” directly addresses those concerns.

Under the legislation, the Canadian energy regulator would work closely with the new impact assessment agency for new projects requiring a full impact assessment. With smaller projects, the new regulator would conduct the reviews and have final decision-making authority for minor administrative functions, such as certain certificate and licence variances, transfers, and the suspension of certificates or licences. Under our plan, project reviews would not exceed two years for major new projects and not more than 300 days for smaller ones. The Canadian energy regulator act would also restore the regulator's pre-2012 decision-making authority to issue a certificate for major projects, subject to cabinet approval. This change is important because it removes the federal cabinet's ability to overturn a negative decision from the CER, but maintains the cabinet's right to ask commissioners to reconsider a decision.

The third key change is an emphasis on more inclusive public engagement. Our new approach would create more opportunities for Canadians to have their say on resource development. This would include more avenues outside of the traditional hearing process so that Canadians could debate pressing issues that are beyond the scope of the regulator's project reviews. The new Canadian energy regulator would also be more open and transparent, making more information public in a language that is easier to understand.

Here are a few examples. The NEB's existing “test for standing” would be eliminated to ensure every Canadian has an opportunity to express his or her views during project reviews. The new regulator would also accept comments from the public on a draft list of issues and factors. These would include explicit consideration of environmental, social, safety, health, and socioeconomic issues, as well as gender-based impacts and effects on indigenous peoples. As well, the CER's participant funding program would be expanded to support new activities.

Fourth, the new Canadian energy regulator would help advance reconciliation through greater indigenous participation. No relationship is more important to Canada than the one with indigenous peoples. Our government is committed to renewing that relationship based on recognition of rights, respect, co-operation, and partnership. Our government's new rights and recognition framework represents a historic step in that direction, replacing confrontation with collaboration, but we know we cannot do this on our own.

Canada's energy sector has been playing a key role in building indigenous partnerships through benefit agreements, indigenous advisory and monitoring committees for new pipelines, and indigenous-led assessments. Our legislation would complement those efforts by recognizing indigenous rights up front and confirming the government's duty to consult, requiring consideration of traditional indigenous knowledge, building capacity and enhanced funding for indigenous participation, and aiming to secure free, prior, and informed consent.

Fifth and finally, the new federal energy regulator would oversee stronger safety and environmental protection. The Canadian energy regulator act would strengthen the federal energy regulator's powers to protect Canadians and the environment in a number of important ways, such as assigning new powers to federal inspection officers, clarifying the regulator's role in enforcing standards related to cybersecurity, and authorizing the CER to safely cease the operation of pipelines in cases where the owner is in receivership, insolvent, or bankrupt.

In all of these ways, through modern and effective governance, enhanced certainty and timelier decisions, wider public engagement and greater indigenous participation, and strengthened safety and environmental protections, the Canadian energy regulator would help create the new environmental and regulatory system we want, one that promotes common values and ensures shared benefits. Our legislation is for the Canada we have today and the Canada we want tomorrow, a Canada that uses the resources of its land and the resourcefulness of its people to lead in this clean-growth century, a Canada that not only imagines the future but creates it for generations to come.

Impact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

February 27th, 2018 / 12:25 p.m.
See context


Jim Carr Liberal Winnipeg South Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, the member is absolutely right. The three pillars of responsible energy infrastructure development are the ones he suggests, economic growth, job creation, and environmental stewardship, in partnership with indigenous communities, all of which are contained within Bill C-69.

One can certainly make an argument that it is because those three pillars were not in place for 10 years that the Conservative opposition can let us know about the pipelines that were approved during the Harper administration. However, the Conservatives cannot seem to name a single one that was built to tidewater, because those three elements were not in place.

Bill C-69—Proposed Application of Standing Order 69.1Points of OrderGovernment Orders

February 27th, 2018 / 12:25 p.m.
See context

Winnipeg North Manitoba


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

Mr. Speaker, I rise to address the points raised by the member for Berthier—Maskinongé in her point of order.

Standing Order 69.1(1) is clear in outlining the procedure as it relates to omnibus legislation.

As stated by my hon. colleague, Bill C-69 seeks to amend more than one act. Where my hon. colleague and I disagree is in the claim that there lacks a common element linking the various underlying elements of this comprehensive piece of legislation.

This legislation is the result of the government's comprehensive review of federal environmental and regulatory processes that were launched in June 2016. The tabling of Bill C-69 in its current form represents the continuation of this government's commitment to address this priority. The engagement process for the bill brought together a range of stakeholders to inform our approach on interconnected and interrelated environmental assessment processes, such as the review of major projects, so as to minimize and mitigate impacts on the country's land, air, and waterways.

Its content represents the outcome of this engagement. Through this bill we seek to strengthen the existing environmental assessment and regulatory processes in a global manner to regain public trust, protect the environment, introduce modern safeguards, advance reconciliation with indigenous peoples, and help get natural resources to market. Introducing these changes via separate legislative vehicles would introduce unnecessary uncertainty and imperil the overall strategy that results from consultations with a broad range of stakeholders.

Our government remains committed to end the inappropriate use of omnibus legislation. Consequently, I respectfully submit to you, Mr. Speaker, that Bill C-69 respects both the letter and the spirit of Standing Order 69.1 in its establishment of a new single Canadian approach to impact assessments.

Impact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

February 27th, 2018 / 12:45 p.m.
See context


David Anderson Conservative Cypress Hills—Grasslands, SK

Mr. Speaker, I am glad to rise today to discuss Bill C-69. I would like to hold up a copy of it. This bill is so thick that the super staplers could not drill a hole through it. It had to be put into two packages to make it presentable to us.

The government has decided, after two hours of debate, that it is going to bring time allocation on this bill, that it needs to limit debate on it.

As my colleague just pointed out, it is not a simple bill. It is 400 pages. The index alone is 27 pages. The summary takes up two of them. We need to spend a little more time discussing it than the government is prepared to let us spend. This bill is going to have more impact on Canada, particularly on western Canada, my area in particular, than the budget today will have. It will take a little longer for the effects to show, but it is going to be very damaging to a large part of this country. My colleague just talked about some of the impacts that this bill will have on small communities.

I believe that as we do in small things, so we will do in large things. Therefore, I want to tell a story about the current government and the way it has approached an environmental issue in my riding. We can probably extrapolate from that how it is going to use this bill across the rest of the country.

A few years ago, our government made a decision that we were going to turn the PFRA pastures in western Canada back to the provinces, which previously had ownership of the land. The land had been turned over to the federal government in the 1930s when the provinces could not manage it, and the federal government had managed it since then. We made a decision to turn it back to either the local communities that wanted to buy it or the provincial government, and that process carried itself out.

There is a small pasture in the southwest corner of Saskatchewan called Govenlock. It has been federal land for 100 years. There was a discussion about how to handle this piece of property that was federal land. The decision was made that it was going to be transferred from Agriculture Canada to Environment Canada, and hopefully would be managed in a responsible fashion over the coming decades.

Our government made a decision that we were going to try something a bit different. We went to the local community. The minister's chief of staff went there to listen to the local community, to talk to the ranchers, and said, “You folks have been basically managing this property for the last 80 or 100 years. What would you like to see from the federal government in terms of being able to manage this pasture over the next few decades?”

The invitation was there, and she went. She sat down at a meeting with the community and talked about what they would like to see. There was an agreement that whatever happened, the community should benefit from the project. There was an agreement made, but this was not formalized at the time, unfortunately. There was an agreement that the committee would have some control over management of the pasture and the research money that was going to be spent in that pasture. They could bring people in, perhaps university students in the summertime, and assign them to do research. The community and the people living in the community would benefit from taking some of that money that was going to be spent on the project.

It was a unique pilot project, and that is probably the best way to label it. It was based around co-operation between the government and the local community. It would provide a benefit to the local community. There was going to be good long-term management. The government had decided it was going to trust the people who had managed that environment for so long that they could continue to do it in an effective way.

It has been a very different situation in the two years since the current government was elected. Basically, all elements of community control have been thrown out. It is interesting. There have been top Environment Canada officials come out to the community to tour around in a cavalcade of vehicles, yet they have refused to stop and talk to the local people. They came out, drove around, and took a look at the pasture land, but they would not stop to talk to the locals about what they might want to see or provisions for the future management of the pasture. They have basically come back to the community and said, “Here are the provisions we are laying out for you over the next few decades if you want to have access to this pasture.” They have told them the way they think the ground will be managed.

In my part of the world, every time that either an environmental organization or the government has come in to take over land that ranchers have managed, it has usually taken about 30 years to learn how to manage it. Interestingly, they typically end up managing it in the way the ranchers did in order to be successful. They removed any funding control from the local community. Basically, there is no commitment at all in any fashion to that. Certainly, any research that has taken place has been removed from the local community and will come out somewhere, maybe out of some environmental group that the government favours or a university somewhere, but the local community is not going to benefit.

The Liberals basically have set up a management system where the ranchers are the servants or slaves of government.

The only interest from Environment Canada seems to be in completely controlling the situation rather than co-operating. There has been a big loss to one small community, the small community of Consul in my riding. If that is how one small community has been approached, can we extrapolate that into how the bill will approach and deal with small communities across the country? I think we can.

Bill C-69 is 400 pages. As I mentioned, it is not so much concerned about improving the environment as it is about basically controlling the economy, controlling the environment, and trying to have the government tell people across the rest of the country how it is going to manage their affairs and the resources in their part of the world.

Now we have time allocation. That is the biggest insult in some time. We have a 400-page bill and now we are told we have two hours to debate it. The Liberals are rushing the bill through. Clearly, if people read this and see what the provisions are, the Liberals know they will get concerns. They are getting concerns from both ends of the spectrum. We know that. No one sees this as being adequate and the government, in its usual commitment to mediocrity, probably thinks that is okay.

In the past, we have had the highest standards in the world on energy development. When I drive through my riding and I see the energy development going on there, the wells that are being drilled, the environmental standards are extremely high. I would invite anybody to come out, walk onto one of those well sites and try to find any place where there has been any kind of a spill or pollution. People would have difficulty finding that because of our high standards. They have been high in the past as well. We are environmentally responsible. In the world in which I live, there is more wildlife now than there has ever been and the air is cleaner than it has ever been. We believe we did a good job of managing environmental issues around resource development, and that needs to be continued.

I want to talk specifically about the approval process around Bill C-69. I am trying to run through this quickly and it is only one part of the stream. People may get confused. If they do, it would not be the least bit surprising because it has taken a lot of people a lot of time to even try to figure out what the approval process looks like.

There is a preplanning section to the projects of 180 days. The minister would have the discretion to designate how that would proceed. We do not know how limited the minister's discretion will be because it is not in the bill. The minister can extend that process by 90 days before it goes to cabinet. The cabinet can extend that process indefinitely. Then it goes to an impact assessment of 300 days and two different streams, a short one and a long one. With both of them, we do not have any clarity right now about how that will be determined. With the short ones, the agency will handle it.

All major projects will end up in this long stream of a 450-day commitment. All life cycle regulatory projects will go through that one. That 450 days starts when a panel is appointed, not from the beginning of the application, and it will stop when the minister gets the report.

The short or long process can be extended 90 days and the cabinet can extend those timelines indefinitely. The minister will have the authority to ask for any information along this whole cycle and then the minister can come back and say that he or she needs new information, and a whole new process needs to happen. That is just one small part of one stream of the bill and the approval process that the Liberal will put in place.

As the minister pointed out to us, all of these decisions are political decisions. These decisions should be made based on science, based on whether it will impact the environment in the area. The government is clearly saying that it wants every one of those decisions to be political and it is happy to manage them. We know what will happen, and that is the economy in my part of the world, the economy in western Canada, will be severely impacted, It will do nothing to protect the environment beyond what has already been done.

Impact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

February 27th, 2018 / 12:55 p.m.
See context


Karine Trudel NDP Jonquière, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his speech. I want to talk to him about Bill C-69. The government says it is putting this assessment process in place to rebuild public trust in environmental assessments. I would like to know what the member thinks about the consultation period being shortened. What impact will that have? He talked about small communities. The government says it wants to restore trust and transparency, but it is reducing the time spent on consultation. Reading the bill, we can plainly see that the goal is not establishing public trust.

I would like to hear the member's thoughts.

Impact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

February 27th, 2018 / 1 p.m.
See context


Jennifer O'Connell Liberal Pickering—Uxbridge, ON

Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for Winnipeg South.

It is my pleasure to rise in the House today to speak to 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.

Canadians understand that protecting our environment and growing our economy is not an either/or proposition. With hundreds of major resource projects worth over $500 billion in investment planned across Canada over the next 10 years, we need to ensure that better rules are in place so good projects that balance the need for economic growth and environmental protection can go forward.

Bill C-69 would fulfill that objective. It would also fulfill our goal of one project, one review. The review process would be streamlined and would make the process more predictable, timely, and clear, while ensuring stakeholders would be engaged effectively and potential issues with project proposals would be identified up front. These better rules would increase regulatory certainty and clarity, encouraging investment in Canada's natural resources sector.

After a decade that saw the erosion of public trust in our regulatory bodies, Canadians can be assured that we are putting in place better rules to protect our environment, fish, and waterways, with the goal of rebuilding that public trust. I am proud to say that decisions will be guided by science, evidence, and indigenous traditional knowledge. Impact assessment will also consider how projects are consistent with our environmental obligations and climate change commitments, including the Paris agreement on climate change.

A single agency, the impact assessment agency of Canada, would lead all impact assessments for major projects, with the goal of ensuring the approach would be consistent and efficient. Canadians can expect that under our new framework, projects will be held to a high standard and we will protect our environment and build healthy communities.

I am sure all members of the House would agree and recognize that building new and efficient infrastructure systems is necessary in a modern economy. We need bridges and other works to travel, to get goods to market, and to grow our economy. However, these projects need to be built in a way that allows Canadians to continue to travel and enjoy our waterways, and to be safe while doing it.

Canadians travel through our country's vast network of oceans, lakes, rivers and canals for commercial and recreational purposes.

It is important to note that navigable waters also play a critical role for indigenous peoples in the exercise of their rights. The free and unobstructed passage over navigable waters has long been recognized in law and has been one of the foundations of our country.

In 2014, the Navigation Protection Act introduced by the previous government drastically cut back navigation protections by establishing a short list of waters in a schedule to the legislation to focus protection on waterways that were heavily used near large population centres and which had a significant commercial use.

New works on waters not on the legislative schedule, including large dams, do not require any approval under the existing Navigation Protection Act, even though they may create a significant interference to navigation.

Obstructions on navigable waters outside the schedule do not receive protection under the existing legislation. The only recourse for Canadians who have navigation concerns about projects on navigable waters outside of this list is to take the matter to the courts. The Navigation Protection Act reduces transparency and makes it harder to know about proposals for works before they were constructed.

We have heard loud and clear from Canadians that this is not enough protection for their right to navigate our lakes, rivers, and canals. This is why we spent over a year consulting on changes to the Navigation Protection Act to better understand the kinds of navigation protections that Canadians and indigenous peoples were seeking.

During this comprehensive and informative consultation, we heard that Canadians wanted further navigation protections on more waterways, more information about projects that could affect navigation, more opportunities for their navigation concerns to be heard and resolved without going to court, and more clarity on the definition of “navigable water”.

We also heard from indigenous peoples that they want a greater role in protecting navigation in their territories. We heard from industry and provincial representatives, who said they want clear and predictable regulations.

We have listened to these concerns and we have acted. This is why the Canadian navigable waters act would deliver on all of this. First, it would restore navigation protection on all navigable waters in Canada by using modern safeguards. Major works, like dams, would require an approval on any navigable water. Minor works, like small cottage docks, would need to meet the requirements set out by an order in the act on any navigable water. All other work on unscheduled waters would be subject to mandatory notification and consultation requirements, and a new dispute resolution process that could require approvals where concerns remain unresolved. Canadians would no longer have to turn to the courts to resolve these types of issues.

All other works on scheduled waters would also be subject to notification and consultation requirements, but would always require an approval. Owners would not have the choice of using the dispute resolution process because they are proposing to build on waters identified as being vulnerable to impacts on navigation and of the utmost importance to Canadians.

The government is committed to open, accessible, and transparent processes. For the first time, a comprehensive definition of a navigable water would be included in the act. This new, broader definition does not return to the canoe test, which is unworkable in today's context, but actually creates a modern definition to identify the navigable waters that require the protection of the new act.

A strengthened crown-indigenous relationship is at the heart of the proposed approach. The Canadian navigable waters act would require the consideration of indigenous rights and knowledge, and create new opportunities for indigenous peoples to partner with Canada in the administration of navigation protections in their territories and jurisdictions.

Through the Canadian navigable waters act, the government is proposing modern protections for the right of Canadians to navigate on every navigable water in Canada. This protection would be stronger than ever before.

Before building any work on any navigable water, owners of works would have to satisfy the requirements of the navigation legislation. Under the new Canadian navigable waters act, these requirements would be tailored to take into account the many types of works and the many types of navigation that exist in Canada today.

The new Canadian navigable waters act and Bill C-69 is smart legislation, designed to deliver navigation protections where they are needed, to give indigenous peoples and communities a say in what is built in their territories, and to make expectations clear for owners of works. Bill C-69 and the new Canadian navigable waters act gets it right. That is why I am proud to support its passage through the House.

Impact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

February 27th, 2018 / 1:15 p.m.
See context

Winnipeg South Manitoba


Terry Duguid LiberalParliamentary Secretary for Status of Women

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak on 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. This important piece of legislation fulfills some of our earliest campaign promises from the 2015 election: restore credibility to environmental assessments, modernize and rebuild trust in the National Energy Board, conduct a wholesale review of the previous government's amendments to the Fisheries Act and the elimination of the Navigable Waters Protection Act with the intent to restore lost protections and incorporate more modern safeguards.

We made this commitment because we recognized that the economy and the environment go hand in hand. By putting in place better rules that protect our environment, fish, and waterways, by rebuilding public trust and respect for indigenous rights, and by strengthening our economy, these new rules will ensure good projects can go ahead and create new jobs and economic opportunities for the middle class. They provide clarity and consistency when it comes to impact assessments by creating a single agency, the impact assessment agency of Canada, which will lead all impact assessments for major projects. It will draw on the lessons learned through other agencies, such as the National Energy Board, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, and offshore boards.

The Minister of Environment and cabinet will have final say over decisions. Our government prioritizes accountability on issues of national interest, and this will allow Canadians to hold our government to account on decisions of importance. The manner in which these decisions are made will be vastly improved by this legislation. Decisions will be made based on science and evidence, not politics, like the previous government's process. We will create more publicly available data to allow Canadians to be informed and involved in these decisions. We are expanding the scope of these reviews to assess their impacts on health, society, and the economy. As the Parliamentary Secretary for Status of Women, I am pleased to see that we will be conducting gender-based analysis as part and parcel of these assessments as well.

We will advance Canada's commitment to reconciliation by recognizing indigenous rights and working in partnership from the start with indigenous communities across the country. We will integrate traditional knowledge into the process, and promote active participation from indigenous communities to ensure their voices are heard.

We will maintain a professional approach to these reviews by creating a predictable, streamlined process. Shorter legislated timelines for the project review phase will be rigorously managed to keep the process on track. Our goal, as the previous speaker mentioned, will be one project, one review.

The bill also seeks to amend the navigable waters act. Water is an issue of utmost importance to me. Lake Winnipeg is one of my home province's most important and treasured resources, and I am incredibly pleased to see this bill recognize and prioritize the importance of water. The Canadian navigable waters act would restore navigation protection for every navigable waterway in Canada. Changes to the Fisheries Act will add important new safeguards for our fisheries, including measures to rebuild damaged fish stocks and restore degraded habitat, ensuring that our fisheries and environment are protected for future generations.

This is not our first effort to protect water in this country. The historic investments we made with the oceans protection plan is a testament to our commitment to this essential natural resource. Canada has the longest coastline in the world. Our coasts support traditional indigenous and coastal community livelihoods, attract tourism, and enable the export and import of goods overseas. They are home to an abundance of Canadian fisheries, and play a key role in strengthening the economy and growing our middle class. That is why our government launched the oceans protection plan, the OPP. It is a historic $1.5 billion investment that will create a world-leading marine safety system, restore and protect Canada's marine ecosystems, and strengthen partnerships with indigenous communities.

Similarly, I am proud of the investment we are making in protecting and rehabilitating the water in the Great Lakes. The Government of Canada is committed to protecting fresh water through science, action, and collaboration with Canadian and American partners and, importantly, indigenous peoples. This includes the freshwater resources of the Lake Winnipeg basin. Budget 2017 allocated $70.5 million over five years to protect Canada's freshwater resources, including the Lake Winnipeg basin at $25.7 million and the Great Lakes at $44.8 million.

Through the $25.7 million allocated to protecting freshwater quality in Lake Winnipeg and its basin, Environment and Climate Change Canada will continue to support research, as well as provide financial support aimed at reducing nutrients, enhancing collaboration, and supporting enhanced engagement of indigenous peoples on freshwater issues in Lake Winnipeg and its basin.

I am extremely proud of the legislation we are debating before the House today. When we first came to office, we knew we had to act swiftly on this file, and did so by implementing the interim principles, offering a glimpse of our vision, and ensuring that projects could continue to be assessed. Now, after thorough consultation with the public and stakeholders, 14 months all told, and the parliamentary input of two committees, we are moving forward with the next steps.

Bill C-69 would ensure that the economy and the environment can both continue to thrive and that good middle-class jobs are created in our resource sector. We are providing clarity and certainty for development projects and ensuring that our natural treasures will be protected for generations to come.

Impact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

February 27th, 2018 / 1:25 p.m.
See context


Sheila Malcolmson NDP Nanaimo—Ladysmith, BC

Mr. Speaker, this is a hard debate for us on the B.C. coast because we have a government that is now indicating, by repairing the legislation two years into its term, that it concedes that the legislation was completely inadequate to review the Kinder Morgan pipeline, which has serious risks for jobs that already exist on the B.C. coast. The trade-off is 50 permanent jobs offered by the pipeline for British Columbia by Kinder Morgan.

Particularly in the area of oil spill response, the previous environmental review and National Energy Board review blocked evidence about whether bitumen spilled in the marine environment would sink or float. The National Energy Board found that hearing such evidence would be prejudicial to Kinder Morgan.

Is the government now willing to redo that part of the environmental review to make sure that Bill C-69 is applied to protecting marine environment in the likely event of a bitumen spill in the Salish Sea?

Impact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

February 27th, 2018 / 1:25 p.m.
See context


John Barlow Conservative Foothills, AB

Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with my colleague from Provencher.

I want to start by reading a couple of quotes about the response to the Liberals' new Bill C-69:

In reality, it’s unlikely that any major project would proceed under the new rules.... [It] contains a good deal of political posturing and seems to lean to the side of attempting to please the most extreme critics.... [It puts] the wants of a small number ahead of what is best for Canada’s economy as a whole.

That came from the research team at GMP FirstEnergy.

Here is a second quote:

By diminishing independent, quasi-judicial regulatory processes for expert tribunals, cabinet risks drifting further into the dangerous political shoals where science and economics are eclipsed by the darker forces of opportunism and favouritism.

This is by a former National Energy Board chair and Jack Mintz, who is president's fellow at the University of Calgary's school of public policy.

These are very esteemed people who have researched the energy sector, and they are telling us what Canada is facing when it comes to the changes the Liberals have brought forward. It strikes me how disingenuous the Liberals are about the impacts of this bill, or how much they really do not understand the impacts these changes would have on the energy sector.

There was a good example earlier today, when the Minister of Natural Resources said that the only reason energy east did not go forward was that TransCanada abandoned energy east when the price of oil dropped.

I am pretty sure that companies do not base multi-billion dollar projects on what the price of oil was on Thursday. They are going to be making a long-term, major investment into that piece of infrastructure. TransCanada walked away from energy east because of the changes and regulatory burdens the Liberals put on it, and the downstream emissions, unprecedented. No other industry in the country has to deal with those types of regulations. How can we expect a company to be putting those types of things into its decisions?

The same thing is happening with Trans Mountain. Our colleagues across the way kept talking about all the wonderful pipelines they have built that are going to tidewater. I would like to remind them that not one single inch of pipeline that they profess to have approved has been built. I suspect that Trans Mountain is a long way from getting a shovel in the ground.

I think the Liberals are waiting for Kinder Morgan to just walk away in pure frustration. Then, once again, they can say, just as they did with TransCanada and energy east, that it was not them but a business decision the company made. It was a decision based on Liberal ideology and regulations that make it literally impossible for a major piece of infrastructure to get built in this country.

That is certainly the case with Bill C-69, an omnibus bill, as many of my colleagues have shown, that has more than 400 pages. I would argue, as a Canadian, that this bill would have an incredibly profound impact on Canadians across the country.

We are no longer on the verge of being an energy superpower that develops its natural resources under the most stringent environmental stewardship in the world. We are now becoming a non-factor. Under these regulations, there is no capital investor in the world who looks at Canada as a place open to do business. In fact, investors look at Canada as a place where they are not welcome. There is no clear line to success for an infrastructure project.

What really bothers me is that Bill C-69 would open the door for non-Canadians to have an influence on Canada's natural resource sector and our future, whatever that may be under these new regulations. A portion of Bill C-69 allows non-Canadians to have an influence on Canadian infrastructure projects. Let us think about that for a minute.

Under the previous Conservative regime, we made sure that anybody who wanted to have intervenor status on a project had a very good reason to be there, and would be impacted in some way by this project. By eliminating those rules, we are now going to open wide the doors for anyone to influence these decisions.

This could include extreme anti-oil activists, who would now have a seat at the table. It could also include energy companies in the United States, which would benefit a great deal from crippling Canada's energy sector. They are also going to have a seat at the table.

Therefore, these people who are trying to negatively impact Canada's economy would have the same standing as those energy companies, pipeline companies, and first nations who want our energy sector to succeed. Who are the Liberals going to be listening to when they are making these decisions?

We have seen the impact of these activists across the country, and they have been doing this through subterfuge. However, now they could not only be blocking roads, highways, mining operations, and drilling operations, but they would be invited to the table to help the Liberals make these decisions. I find it extremely disconcerting that they would have an active role in defining who we are as Canadians when it comes to our natural resource sector.

How is it possibly going to make this process shorter or those timelines definitive, when the Minister of Environment and Climate Change could invite a countless number of witnesses to provide testimony? Also, as it is written in black and white in the bill, as much as the Liberals would like to deny it, throughout the process the minister would have the ability to stop this process multiple times at every single stage, and it stops the clock. Therefore, these comments about 45 days, 185 days, 300 days, 475 days, are a bunch of bunk. The minister could stop any process indefinitely and as many times as she wants.

Let us talk about another aspect of that. Time and again today our colleagues across the floor have said that this is going to be a science-based decision process. They would take it out of the hands of politics. How can the Liberals say that with a straight face when, again, in Bill C-69, it says, in black and white, that the Minister of Environment and Climate Change would have the sole responsibility of deciding if a project is in the public interest? She alone would decide if a project moves from the assessment stage on to the main study stage. How can the Liberals possibly say that this is science based? It is not. There is political influence at every single stage.

How can proponents or investors possibly make the decision to invest billions of dollars in a project when they know that one person would decide if their project is worthwhile? It would not matter how many studies were done. It would not matter how much support there was from communities, first nations, or businesses. It would not matter what kinds of environmental studies were done or what science was there. It would come down to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, who has been extremely vocal about her position on Canada's natural resource sector. She wants the gas and oil production, mining operations, and LNG projects to absolutely cease. She does not want those things. She wants to be a non-carbon-based economy, despite the demand for oil and gas increasing over the next 50 to 100 years. The oil would be coming from somewhere, but our Minister of Environment and Climate Change is saying as long as it does not come from us, and we are paying the price.

Let us talk about the price we are paying, even before the bill makes it through to legislation. More than $50 billion in capital has left Canada. Hundreds of thousands of energy jobs have been lost. I will put it into a perspective that I think every Canadian can understand. I talked about the price of oil a few minutes ago. It is at $60 a barrel, or maybe $57 a barrel, which is for West Texas Intermediate. Canadian crude is being sold at half that, at $30 a barrel. As a result, we sell our oil to the United States because we do not have international market access, because pipelines are not being built, and they will never be built under this proposed legislation. The United States buys our oil and sells it at a premium. That is a hospital being built every week and a school being built every day in the United States instead of Canada, and we are subsidizing it because of these decisions of the Liberal government.

It is absolutely wrong. We will fight it in every single way.

Impact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

February 27th, 2018 / 1:40 p.m.
See context


Linda Duncan NDP Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, the debate continues. All the Conservatives and Liberals care about is whose bill can fast-track pipelines faster.

It is my understanding that in Bill C-69 we are supposed to be reviewing processes that are going to address climate change, protect the environment, address transboundary rivers, and the interests, concerns, and rights of indigenous peoples. Somewhere along the way I guess we have the idea of where both those parties think this bill should go.

The member is complaining that the government is leaving the ultimate decision on approval of a project to a political level, the Minister of Environment. My recollection is that the law, as it is right now, was changed by the Conservatives so that it was no longer the review panel of the National Energy Board but was at a political level. Is the member's concern simply that it is assigned to the Minister of Environment and not the Minister of Natural Resources?

Impact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

February 27th, 2018 / 1:40 p.m.
See context


John Barlow Conservative Foothills, AB

Mr. Speaker, my colleague has to understand the difference in terms of what was in place before. There was never a political decision made on any pipeline approval that was there. It was based strictly on the National Energy Board, which is a non-partisan, arm's length decision process. That is how those decisions were made.

However, let us understand what would be in place now with Bill C-69. At every single step of the way, there would be an opportunity for political interference from the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, where she could step in and ask for a delay, stop the clock, or even ask for an entire new study to be done. That is significantly different from the quasi-judicial system we had under the National Energy Board that ensured we had the best record in the world when it came to environmental standards for natural resource development.

Impact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

February 27th, 2018 / 1:40 p.m.
See context


John Barlow Conservative Foothills, AB

Mr. Speaker, I completely agree, except in this case I do not think there is any room in Bill C-69 for any science-based decision-making. It is quite clear that there would be one person making the decision moving forward on any infrastructure project when it comes to our natural resources. That is mining, LNG, oil and gas, and 7% of our economy is based on these sectors. One person only would be making the decision, not based on any science, environmental stewardship, reports, or analysis. It would be the minister who decides if a project is in the public interest or not.

Impact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

February 27th, 2018 / 1:40 p.m.
See context


Ted Falk Conservative Provencher, MB

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague, the member for Foothills for his most inspiring, factual, and authentic speech.

Bill C-69, part 2, is the part I want to expand on a bit further. It is the part of the bill that replaces the National Energy Board and proposes a Canadian energy regulator. The entire process is supposed to increase clarity, predictability, and transparency. However, it fails on all three counts.

Of course this does not come as much of a surprise since the Liberal government has an outstanding record when it comes to breaking its campaign promises. We have seen numerous commitments, both big and small, meet untimely ends before ever achieving the goals set forth by the Liberals. Bill C-69 offers the same failing formula. The Liberal platform claims to “make environmental assessments credible again.” For one to make that promise, one has to start with the premise that the entire environmental assessment process had lost credibility somewhere along the way.

We recognize that there are always room for improvements to be made to existing processes, ways of doing things more simply and more effectively. However, when I look back over these last two years of so-called Liberal improvements, I wonder how much differently things would look if the Liberals were intentionally trying to sabotage the process. It's probably not much. I do not think it could get much worse.

Far from making the process more credible, the Liberals have mismanaged this file to such an extent that nothing can get built in this country. In particular, the Liberals have pushed the view that by building social licence, somehow all of the roadblocks to responsible resource development will disappear. In reality, attempts to improve social trust and build social licence have not increased resource or national infrastructure development.

Before I go any further, I want to turn back the clock to consider what was being said about Canada's environmental review process several years ago. Before the lack of leadership that we are witnessing today, Canada had long been recognized internationally and by experts as the most responsible and transparent producer of oil and gas. A 2014 WorleyParsons report compared the environmental assessment processes and policies around oil and gas development across the globe. When it came to environmental assessments, the report concluded:

The results of the current review re-emphasized that Canada's [Environmental Assessment] Processes are among the best in the world. Canada [has] state of the art guidelines for consultation, [traditional knowledge], and cumulative effects assessment. Canadian practitioners are among the leaders in the areas of Indigenous involvement, and social and health impact assessment. Canada has the existing frameworks, the global sharing of best practices, the government institutions and the capable people to make improvements to [environmental assessment] for the benefit of the country and for the benefit of the environment, communities and the economy.

It goes on to state:

In summary, the review found that [environmental assessment] cannot be everything to everyone. In Canada, however, it is a state of the art, global best practice, with real opportunities for public input, transparency in both process and outcomes, and appeal processes involving independent scientists, stakeholders...and courts

That was in 2014. Looking back at 2014, Canada was considered a world leader in environmental assessment. We had the most stringent standards and most rigorous review process in the world. As I said earlier, no system is perfect, and just like with any other statute or regulation, there are always sections that could be improved. The regulatory system tries to strike a balance between projects and the environment, between predictability and social factors. It is not a perfect system. However, it is far better than the regime we are going to have under the imposement of Bill C-69. Instead of making the system better, the Liberals have simply made it worse. Under the Liberal government, the environmental assessment system lacks clarity, predictability, and transparency.

Let us look at what Bill C-69 does to clarity. The changes proposed in the bill would make the regulatory process more unclear. This does not serve anyone, whether we are talking about investors looking to participate in responsible resource development or Canadians who care deeply about this process. What is proposed is a move away from science-based decision-making processes.

For example, references to sustainability, identity, and gender-based analysis are difficult to quantify in a standardized test. This is, much like a great deal of Liberal policy, more of a virtue-signalling smokescreen to give the illusion of modernization to a bill that ultimately takes Canada backwards.

Furthermore, the proposed legislation makes a point of treating major and minor projects differently, but it provides no clear list of criteria which would make a project either a minor project or a major project. Leaving so much to guesswork is just plain irresponsible.

That leads me to my next point. Predictability will suffer under this legislation. The Liberals claim that Bill C-69 creates concrete timelines for review, saying that the process will take 450 days for major projects and 300 days for minor projects. However, the timer only begins when the Governor in Council determines that the applicant has submitted a complete application, which seems to be an entirely discretionary process. According to the proposed legislation at this time, that will be the criteria to set the clock in motion. Furthermore, the process may be stopped at a number of different points to add additional studies or submissions. Finally, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change may extend the timeline indefinitely with repeat orders.

The Liberals call the system more predictable. It is not more predictable. It is more uncertain. It is a process where the outcome rests entirely in the hands of the minister, one minister, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change. She will be the sole individual deciding which projects will go forward in the national interest. It seems that rather than making the process more open and democratic, the Liberals' proposed legislation has concentrated power in the minister's office. This does not lend itself to predictability in any way, shape, or form.

One of the difficulties that Canada faces is a decline in major capital investments in energy. The decline has occurred since the Liberals were elected in 2015 and it is directly related to the regulatory uncertainty created as a result of their poor leadership in this area. We are bound to see this sad trend continue as the Liberals try once again to fix a system that worked better before they took their tool box out. This again is a solution in search of a problem.

Energy investment has to be a priority. We are a natural resource country. These investments are directly and indirectly responsible for employment and revenue for all three levels of government, yet in just two short years, which actually seem very long, energy investment in Canada is lower than any other two-year period in the last 70 years. Ensuring a stable, predictable process has to be a priority in order to attract these essential investments.

Let us talk about transparency as well. Bill C-69 claims to change the framework of indigenous consultation. However, in reality, all it does is codify something that already exists. The practices are already in place which allow for indigenous consultation.

A significant change in the regulatory process would be the elimination of the standing test. This will affect the predictability of the process, as any individual would be able to challenge the process, whether or not they have a connection to the project. Under the proposed new regulations this would include non-Canadians. Bill C-69 would allow Canadian decisions made about Canadian resources in Canada to potentially be influenced by non-Canadians. That is not right.

The Liberal government talks about the importance of restoring public trust to the regulatory system, but allowing non-Canadians or foreign special interest groups to influence the outcome of Canadian energy projects does not inspire trust in the proposed new system. It will not inspire trust from potential applicants that are seeking to develop our resources further.

Bill C-69 is not clear, predictable, or transparent. It adds vague criteria to the process, more uncertainty to the process, and eliminates a standing test from the process. The Liberals are just adding more burden to the already heavily regulated energy sector, and the industry has taken notice. That is why we have seen, as I mentioned earlier, that investment in the energy sector over the last two years has been lower than any two-year period in the previous 70 years.

The Liberals took the existing Canadian system and managed to change it into a system which is discouraging capital investment in our country. Those capital dollars are now flowing into the United States, funding projects there. The United States has a competitive advantage over Canada, in terms of regulatory and tax regimes and access to markets. Investors are putting their dollars into the U.S. market, which is fast becoming a world leader in energy.

If Bill C-69 becomes law, Canada will continue its downward trend in global competitiveness rankings. Both foreign and domestic investors will find other countries for their investments.

While the bill certainly leaves much to be desired, I want to conclude on a positive note. The new process under the proposed Canadian energy regulator will not apply to projects already approved under the National Energy Board. That means the already approved energy projects which are in our national interest will go ahead. I hope that the Liberal government will make sure to follow through on its promise and build the Trans Mountain pipeline. Get it done.