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

Sponsor

Status

Second reading (Senate), as of Oct. 4, 2018

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Summary

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.

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 20, 2018 Passed 3rd reading and adoption 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
June 20, 2018 Passed 3rd reading and adoption 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
June 19, 2018 Passed 3rd reading and adoption 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 (previous question)
June 11, 2018 Passed Concurrence at report stage 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
June 11, 2018 Failed 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 (report stage amendment)
June 11, 2018 Failed 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 (report stage amendment)
June 11, 2018 Failed 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 (report stage amendment)
June 11, 2018 Failed 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 (report stage amendment)
June 11, 2018 Failed 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 (report stage amendment)
June 11, 2018 Failed 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 (report stage amendment)
June 6, 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
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

Impact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

June 12th, 2018 / 10:10 p.m.
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Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, I suppose we agree that the bill is flawed, but I want to correct a few things.

There were at least two opposition amendments accepted. I still cannot vote for Bill C-69, but I want to make sure that people know that, on the recommendation of Professor Martin Olszynski, who was referenced in my friend's speech, we amended proposed subsection 6(3) to say, “The Government...must, in the administration of this Act, exercise their powers in a manner that adheres to the principles of scientific integrity, honesty, objectivity, thoroughness and accuracy.”

I would rather see more about science in the bill. I would rather see less ministerial discretion. However, this debate, repeatedly, for weeks now, has singled out large oil companies leaving Alberta, as if the only reason these large oil companies have left has something to do with pipelines. The reality is global.

Globally, to give some context, investment in fossil fuels is shrinking. Globally, investment in renewables is growing like Topsy. In fact, in 2017, solar investment alone eclipsed investment in coal, nuclear, and all the renewables. The price of solar has been plummeting. Globally, greenhouse gases fell last year in the U.S., Russia, Brazil, China, throughout the EU, and, of course, in the U.K. They dropped infinitesimally in Canada. It was a 1.4% drop.

We are part of a global transition right now, which is why large companies like Statoil, from Norway, Royal Dutch Shell, France's Total, and ConocoPhillips, when they left the oil sands, said that they were leaving because they did not want stranded assets. In the words of Mark Carney, current president of the Bank of England, they did not want “unburnable carbon”, because there are assets in oil and gas that will be left in the ground, which represent a financial liability.

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 / 10:30 p.m.
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Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Madam Speaker, in the past I practised environmental law for a while and I have worked in the environmental field for a long time and I am quite familiar with laws in other countries. It is unlikely that the hon. member will take my word for it, but Canada does not have the best environmental assessment process, the toughest regulations, and the best endangered species law at all. That was the case even before Bill C-38 in the spring of 2012. After the changes to environmental assessment by the Harper government in Bill C-38, we had one of the worst, weakest, and most inconsistent and incoherent environmental assessment processes in the industrialized world. Sadly, tragically, Bill C-69 would not restore the consistent, predictable process we had that ensured that anything within federal jurisdiction would be reviewed.

Just so the hon. member knows what countries to which I refer, anything in the European Union is stronger, the United States is much stronger, and New Zealand is much stronger in their anticipatory environmental assessments, which is why it is such a tragedy that Canada, which knows how to do this better, is failing to do so now.

Impact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

June 12th, 2018 / 10:35 p.m.
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Conservative

Kelly McCauley Conservative Edmonton West, AB

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise tonight at this late hour 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, also known as an omnibus bill. I also like to call this bill the let us never build another pipeline or major energy project in Canada bill, or we could call it the labyrinth act, after the David Bowie movie Labyrinth, with its never-ending maze, which is what our regulatory process is going to be.

According to the Liberal government, the main purpose of this bill is to create an environmental assessment process that increases consultation, broadens a number of social economic criteria for approval, and decreases legislative timelines. At a lengthy 350 pages, this bill has so many proposed changes, it is tough to digest them all at once. Here is one clear takeaway. It will ensure the private sector pipelines will never see the light of day in Canada again.

This comes straight from the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association that these introduced amendments or “Regulatory 'poisons' are 'suffocating' oil industry by driving investors away”.

At committee we heard this from a witness, “The impact assessment does not address the pipeline sector's most fundamental concern: a process that is expensive, lengthy, polarizing, and ends with a discretionary political decision.”

Hence, the the labyrinth act.

I was pleased to quote Ozzy Osbourne in an earlier speech today on Bill C-344, which is another act from the Liberals that will create another regulatory burden. I am glad I was able to mention the late David Bowie as well.

We have seen the Trans Mountain pipeline put on life-support worth $4.5 billion because of the Liberals' action and inaction. However, knowing the Liberals' spin machine, they are going to say that this $4.5 billion life-support system is actually a health care investment.

The Liberals want to introduce this bill to ensure that we never see another pipeline built in Canada again. In this bill, we can clearly see that this regulatory process is designed for political influence and intervention. The minister can step in any time she wants and kill any major energy resource project at any time. This even includes the various stages where there is no formal ministerial approval required. It is going to be energy east all over again. It does not clarify or streamline an objective evidence-based process where decisions will be made by experts.

The Liberals can scrap entire pipeline projects for purely political reasons, and there is nothing anyone can do about it. Of course members are sitting there saying that surely the Liberals would not kill something like an energy project, like a billion dollar gas plant for political reasons? I know that it was the Ontario Liberals, but where do people think most of the current Liberal PMO staffers come from? Of course, they come from Queen's Park.

Placing this kind of power in the hands of the minister will reduce transparency and give industry no guarantee that sensible projects will move forward. This planning phase is also concerning because, under the proposed bill, an environmental advocacy group from Sweden has as much right to be heard as a Canadian energy industry advocacy group.

I suppose we should give even more ministerial powers to the Liberals. After all, what could go wrong? We have had ad scam, the sponsorship scandal, the gun registry, Shawinigate, HRDC under the previous Liberal government, and of course the clam scam, where the fisheries minister personally intervened to give a lucrative clam fishing quota to, now get this, a brother of a sitting Liberal MP, a former Liberal MP, and a family member of the current fisheries minister. A Gordie Howe hat trick is described as a hockey game where one gets into a fight, scores a goal, and gets an assist. This is a Gordie Howe hat trick of corruption: a brother of a Liberal MP, a former Liberal MP, and to top it off, a family member of the deciding and interfering Liberal minister.

I could mention more Liberal scandals, but I should not talk about that if I want to finish by midnight. However, if people at home who are watching on CPAC are bored and want a more fulsome understanding of some of the Liberal scandals, they should take a look at https://www.mapleleafweb.com/forums/topic/4466-199-liberal-scandals.

I will return back to the bill. Steve Williams, the CEO of Canada's leading integrated oil and gas company, Suncor Energy, said that this legislation will effectively end his corporation's ability to invest in major Canadian projects. Suncor is worried about Canada's lack of competitiveness because, as he said, “other jurisdictions are doing much more to attract business”. The Liberal government just gave $4.5 billion of taxpayers' money to Kinder Morgan to invest back in the U.S. No offence to Mr. Williams and his comment, but he is incorrect. With the current government, other jurisdictions do not have to do more to attract business, because it will give money to companies to invest in other jurisdictions.

Canada's largest developer in the oil industry says it will not be able to invest in Canada, will not be able to create jobs in Canada, will not be able to pay more taxes in Canada, or create more wealth for Canadians. Suncor is a valued employer in Alberta, and provides thousands of well-paying jobs to indigenous people, youth, and new Canadians. Maybe if we change the name to Suncorbardier, then the Liberals would not try to phase out Suncor and our oil sands, but here we are.

We are talking about billions of dollars in investment going straight to the U.S. and other energy producing jurisdictions. This combined with higher taxes and more government uncertainty makes Canada a more difficult place to invest capital.

Bill C-69 completely fails to improve our ability to compete. In fact, it is only going to make matters worse. GMP FirstEnergy has also criticized Bill C-69 because it has “increased complexity, subjectivity and open-ended timelines”. The company sees “nothing in these proposed changes that will attract incremental energy investment to Canada.”

These statements do not exactly sound like a ringing endorsement for Bill C-69. We have some of the strongest and most stringent environmental regulations and standards in the entire world, so why are we introducing even more regulations when our system is world renowned?

We have seasoned experts telling us that over the years the ability of these major resource projects to get completed has become exceedingly difficult and is now almost impossible, and the Liberals want to introduce even more regulations to effectively put these projects six feet under.

Unfortunately, six feet under will refer to Alberta's economy and not the placement of a pipeline. Of course, the Liberals believe that adding increasingly complex legal frameworks and indeterminate regulatory methods will somehow expedite the process. The environment minister says we need a process with no surprises and no drama. I think what she meant to say is that she wants a process with no surprises, no drama, and no development, and perhaps no future for the young workers in Alberta.

I am sure members have heard this many times before. The Liberals love to talk about how the environment and the economy go hand in hand. However, Bill C-69 does not even live up to their own shaky standards in this regard. This policy puts red tape and the interests of foreigners first and the economy, jobs, and prosperity of Canadians dead last.

Energy development is crucial to jobs and economic opportunity in this country and Bill C-69 will only make it more difficult for private companies to receive approval for critical infrastructure projects.

I will remind the Prime Minister that many Albertans are still struggling to find work and pay their bills. His policies will only cause further harm to them and kick them while they are down.

Former premier Frank McKenna announced in mid-February that Canada has lost $117 billion due to pipeline woes. How does this legislation address that issue? I will answer that question: it does not. It does absolutely nothing. I would argue that the $117-billion loss is only going to climb higher in the future.

Bill C-69 will decrease Canada's economic competitiveness, without resulting in any meaningful environmental protection. While the United States scraps excessive regulations and cuts taxes for its citizens, the Liberal government has chosen to impose more unnecessary red tape, longer project timelines, and higher taxes for middle-class families. Bill C-69 will make it increasingly difficult to compete with countries around the world and grow our economy. The approval process will become even longer, more tedious, and completely unappealing to the private sector.

Seriously, what company wants to come forward and invest billions in Canada when they see the government actively kills energy projects and their only hope to get something done after the Liberal action is to nationalize it?

Venezuela is a mess right now because of nationalizing its oil industry. Experts are saying the way for Venezuela to get out of the hellhole it has created is to un-nationalize its oil industry. What are we doing? We are nationalizing our pipeline. We cannot afford to add uncertainty for companies who want to invest in Canada.

The Liberal government has managed to consistently decrease investor confidence with each and every passing day. It should be more cautious with its legislation. Liberals continuously outdo themselves and are setting the bar for failure as a government. We already have $20 billion in deficits every year, so what could possibly go wrong as investor confidence reaches new lows?

I cannot support a bill that would kill jobs in Edmonton, that would kill jobs in Alberta, and that would chase away energy investment at the same time as doing nothing for the environment.

Impact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

June 12th, 2018 / 10:45 p.m.
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Conservative

Michael Cooper Conservative St. Albert—Edmonton, AB

Madam Speaker, I would ask the member for Edmonton West about the issue of standing in Bill C-69. Peeling that back to the last election, we saw an unprecedented assault on Canadian democracy with U.S. money funnelled to third parties that, in turn, backed the Liberal Party. Now we have Bill C-69, which opens standing up to foreign anti-oil sands activists. The government has now introduced Bill C-76, which leaves a major loophole with respect to foreign funding of third parties, which essentially says that it is open season for foreign entities to fund registered third parties if the monies are transferred before June 30.

Does the hon. member for Edmonton West think that this is all a coincidence or is this just a case of the Liberal Party trying to benefit from foreign funding to help it during elections and to advance its activist radical agenda to keep Alberta energy in the ground?

Impact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

June 12th, 2018 / 10:45 p.m.
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Conservative

Kelly McCauley Conservative Edmonton West, AB

Madam Speaker, if only the Liberals were as efficient in governing as they are in skullduggery around such issues, Canada would be a much better place.

My colleague brings up some very valuable points. The U.S. treasury department is, right now, investigating Russian interference in its energy industry. Russia views the U.S. and Canada as major energy competitors. Without its energy industry, Russia would be bankrupt, so it is against the interests of the U.S. and Canada to grow their energy industries. Russia is funnelling money, as the U.S. treasury department says, into Tides U.S.A. Tides U.S.A. sends its money to Tides Canada, which then funnels it to Leadnow, which campaigns on behalf of the Liberal government of Canada.

Now the government is introducing Bill C-76 that will open the floodgates for more foreign money coming into Canada and Bill C-69 would also allow equal standing for radical environmentalists from the U.S., Russian activists, and a Canadian appearing before the regulatory regime.

Impact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

June 12th, 2018 / 10:50 p.m.
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Conservative

Kelly McCauley Conservative Edmonton West, AB

Madam Speaker, the member brings up very valid points about investment in Canada.

I will read from an article from Bloomberg today, which states, “Unlike portfolio investment, foreign direct investment is considered a stable source of funding that comes with the additional benefits of a transfer of know-how. Instead, an increasing amount of Canada’s funding needs are being met by short-term funds denominated in foreign currencies”, meaning loans, “which makes the country more vulnerable to a sudden loss of interest from foreign investors.” Bloomberg is saying that Canada is relying on debt for growth and not foreign investment.

It notes in this article that the amount that the Government of Canada is giving Kinder Morgan to buy Trans Mountain is greater than the entire investment in Canada in the last quarter of last year. Bill C-69 is only going to pile on the flight of capital from Canada.

Impact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

June 12th, 2018 / 10:50 p.m.
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Conservative

Michael Chong Conservative Wellington—Halton Hills, ON

Madam Speaker, Bill C-69, in front of us today, has a lot of different changes to current acts of Parliament, but also introduces new acts of Parliament. While I support one of the principles in the bill, which is the “one project, one assessment” process for major natural resource projects, there are too many problems with this bill for me to support it.

In particular, I want to focus on the new impact assessment act that the bill creates. First and foremost, the bill will not streamline, and make quicker, assessments for projects designated to be included in the project list. While the government says that the proposed impact assessment act would reduce the current legislated timelines for reviewing projects from 365 days to a maximum of 300 days for assessments led by the new review agency, and from 720 days to a maximum of 600 days for assessments led by a review panel, it is failing to acknowledge that while these timelines are shorter, the new legislation also introduces a planning phase ahead of an assessment led by either the review agency or the review panel. That planning phase can last up to 180 days.

In fact, this legislation will actually increase the amount of time that it takes for major natural resource projects to be reviewed under a federal environmental assessment. Furthermore, while the timelines put in place for the actual impact assessment are shorter, the timelines in the current legislation in front of the House can be extended by the Minister of Environment and by the cabinet, repeatedly.

There is nothing in this legislation to suggest that the process by which we review proposed projects will be shorter, in fact it suggests that it is actually going to be longer. The legislation in front of us will not actually lead to more efficient and less costly assessments for companies looking to invest in Canada's natural resource sector. In fact, the evidence in the bill is that it is going to be much more expensive for companies to make these applications, because the government has proposed to substantially expand the number of criteria that the review agency or review panel has to take into consideration when it is assessing a project. It does not just have to take into account environmental factors. It now also has to take into account health, social, and economic impacts, as well as impacts on other issues, and these impacts over the long term.

When we take into account this vastly expanded criteria and that it is vastly expanded over the long term, it is clear that companies are going to have to spend a lot more money preparing for these applications and working through the application process.

Proposed subsection 22 of the impact assessment act lists more than 20 factors that have to be considered in assessing the impact of a designated project. For example, there is a reference to sustainability and to the intersection of sex and gender with other identity factors. These are just some of the added criteria that the government has added to the process, which is just going to increase the cost and complexity for proponents. It is not only going to be a much longer process for proponents to go through; it is also going to be a much costlier process.

This is a big problem, because we have a problem in Canada with attracting, not just domestic but foreign investment for natural resource projects. In fact, Statistics Canada recently, this past spring, highlighted that there has been the biggest drop in foreign direct investment into this country in eight years. Last year saw the deepest plunge in foreign investment in this country since the deep, dark days of 2010, when we were just coming out of the recession of 2009 caused by the global financial crisis of 2008.

We have seen a massive plunge in foreign direct investment, a massive drop in investors willing to invest in Canadian companies. In fact, last year, for the second year in a row, we saw more foreign selling of Canadian companies than purchasing of Canadian companies. This has led to a drop in investments, particularly in the oil sector, with the commensurate drop in jobs and growth.

However, there is another problem with the bill that I want to highlight, which has to do with the designated project list. In other words, there is a problem in how certain projects get designated for an environmental assessment and how other projects do not. It remains to be seen with the proposed legislation whether or not the government will get it right in regulation.

Earlier this year, the government announced that it was going to undertake consultations with a view to help revise the regulations concerning the designated projects list. The Liberals said they would be coming forward with new regulations under the proposed act, and I hope they read the Hansard transcript tonight of the debates here in the House of Commons to ensure that our input is incorporated if the bill does pass in these new regulations.

The problem is one of inequity and unfairness from a whole range of perspectives. If a mine is proposed in western Canada, let us say in Alberta, under both the pre-2012 rules and the current 2012 rules, and potentially under the proposed legislation, it would undergo a federal environmental assessment. However, if that same mine was proposed in southern Ontario, mines that we often call “gravel pits” or “quarries”, it would not undergo a federal environmental assessment.

I will give members an example of this. In 2011, a mega-quarry was proposed in southern Ontario by an American company that had acquired over 2,500 acres of prime farmland in Dufferin County. That American company had acquired the equivalent of 10 square kilometres of land to build an open pit mine. Under the pre-2012 rules and the 2012 rules, and potentially under this proposed legislation, the federal government said that it did not require a federal environmental assessment, yet if that same 10 square kilometre mine was proposed in Alberta, let us say an open pit bitumen mine, a federal environmental assessment most certainly would have been required. This is an example of the unfairness of the current and potentially the proposed system the federal government has.

If one builds a mine to extract iron ore or bitumen in western Canada, one would undergo a federal environmental assessment, but if the same mine is proposed in southern Ontario, then do not worry, the government will turn a blind eye and not have it undergo that federal environmental assessment. Therefore, it is not just treating one sector of the economy different from another, the oil and gas sector, or the iron ore sector compared with the aggregate sector, but it is also treating one region of the country differently from another, and that is not fair. I hope that the government, in undertaking these consultations, takes that into account.

It is also not fair to the environment when a 10 square kilometre open pit mega-quarry is proposed for southern Ontario, which would have plunged 200 feet deep and pumped 600 million litres of fresh water out of the pit each and every day. It should undergo the same federal environmental assessment that a mine of similar size would undergo in western Canada. It should undergo that, because in southern Ontario we have the most dense biosphere in the entire country. There is all the more need to protect this dense biosphere, which is under greater threat than any other part of the country largely due to the growing urban populations we see in the Montreal, Quebec City, Ottawa, Windsor, and Toronto corridor.

I hope the government's yet to be created project list, whether it is based on the current legislation or the proposed legislation, treats all sectors of the economy and all regions of the country fairly, and I hope the department is incorporating this input as it comes forward with new regulations.

There is yet another problem with the proposed legislation before the House, and it plays into a broader pattern of the government, and that is of political interference. As the member for St. Albert—Edmonton just pointed out, the proposed legislation would allow the minister a veto power over natural resource project applications. This is unprecedented in this country. Until the Liberal government came to power, not a single natural resource project had been rejected or approved by the federal cabinet before the federal environmental assessment process had been completed, and not a single federal environmental assessment process had been overruled by federal cabinet.

In other words, up until this government, the federal cabinet accepted every single recommendation coming out of a federal environmental review process over the many decades that it was in place. The current government's rejection of the northern gateway pipeline was the first time the federal cabinet had stopped the process for the review of a major natural resource project before allowing that process to be completed and before allowing the cabinet to accept fully the recommendations of that process.

Here, in this legislation, we see a repeat of that pattern. They are proposing to give the minister a veto power. Before an impact assessment can begin, the minister will have the power not to conduct an assessment if the minister believes the proposed project would cause unacceptable effects. That is so broad a criteria that a person could drive a Mack truck through that. There again we see the politicization of processes that were once arm's length, quasi-judicial, and left to the professional public service.

Another example of this politicization of what was once performed by the professional public service, by quasi-judicial entities is Bill C-49. Bill C-49 gives the Minister of Transport a political veto over a review of joint ventures by an airline. Up to Bill C-49, and for many years, any airline that wanted to enter into a joint venture had to undergo a review by one of the premier law enforcement agencies in the world, the Competition Bureau, to ensure that there were no anti-competitive results from a joint venture. In fact, when Air Canada proposed a joint venture with United Airlines some years ago, the Competition Bureau said no to the original proposal for that joint venture and said they had to pull out of that joint venture a number of cross-border routes because they would be deleterious to competition, and because it would increase prices for consumers and for businesses across Canada.

What the current government has done through Bill C-49, which it rammed through the House and Senate, is it has given the Minister of Transport the ability to veto that process through a broad definition of public interest to bypass the Competition Bureau's review of a joint venture, and to rubber-stamp a joint venture in the interests of the airline and against the competition interests of consumers in this country. With the recent passage of Bill C-49, Air Canada has announced a joint venture with Air China. I do not think that is any coincidence.

Thus, there are just a few examples of how the government is politicizing the process for law enforcement of our competition laws for the review of major natural resource projects that no previous government has ever done.

Finally, I want to critique the Liberal government's general approach to environmental issues. The Liberals have created a climate of uncertainty. On pipeline approvals, they have created uncertainty. That is why Kinder Morgan has announced that it is pulling out of Canada and why it sold its assets to the Government of Canada. They have created a climate of uncertainty in the business community. That is why, as I previously mentioned, Statistics Canada, this spring, reported that foreign investment into Canada plunged last year to its lowest level in eight years. There has been an exodus of capital from the country's oil and gas sector. Statistics Canada reports that capital flows dropped for a second year in a row last year, and are down by more than half since 2015. Net foreign purchases by foreign businesses of Canadian businesses are now less than sales by those foreign businesses, meaning that foreign companies sold more Canadian businesses than they bought.

On climate change, they have created a great deal of uncertainty.

The Liberals came with big fanfare with their price on carbon, but they have only priced it out to $50 per tonne to 2022. They have not announced what happens after 2022. We are four short years away from 2022, and businesses and consumers need the certainty of what happens after 2022.

Furthermore, the Liberals have created uncertainty because $50 per tonne does not get us to our Paris accord targets. In fact, last autumn the Auditor General came forward with a report saying that Canada will not meet its Paris accord targets of a 30% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from 2005 levels by 2030 with the $50-per-tonne target. He estimated that we are some 45 megatonnes short of the target.

The Liberals have created uncertainty with their climate change policy because they have been inconsistent on climate change policy. They are inconsistent with how they treat one sector of the economy versus another. For example, they demand that projects in the oil and gas sector take into account both upstream and downstream emissions, while not requiring projects in other sectors of the economy to do the same.

They are inconsistent with climate change policy in the way they treat one region of the country versus another. The Auditor General's report from a week ago, report 4, highlights the inconsistency in the way they treat central Canadians versus the way they treat westerners.

For example, the Liberals tell western Canadian oil and gas producers that climate change impacts need to be part of the approval process of any major natural resource project, and yet they turn around and one of the first decisions they make as a government is to waive the tolls on the new federal bridge in Montreal, a $4-billion-plus bridge. The Auditor General reported, in report 4 last week, that waiving the tolls will result in a 20% increase in vehicular traffic over that bridge, from 50 million to 60 million cars and trucks a year, an additional 10 million vehicles crossing that bridge every year, with the attendant greenhouse gases and pollution that this entails.

The Liberals tell companies and Canadians on one side of the country that they have to take into account greenhouse gas emissions when they propose a new project in the oil and gas sector, but when the government builds a brand new federal bridge in Montreal for $4 billion-plus, it is not going to take into account those greenhouse gas emissions. In fact, it will waive the tolls, which is going to lead to a 20% jump in traffic, with the attendant greenhouse gas emissions that this entails.

Finally, the Liberals have created a climate of uncertainty by their failure to realize that our income taxes are too high. The government talks a good game about the environment and the economy, but the facts speak otherwise. They blew a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reduce corporate and personal income taxes. They failed to seize the opportunity of using the revenues generated by the price of carbon to drive down our high corporate and personal income taxes. They also failed to seize the opportunity to reform our income tax system to reduce its complexity and its distortive nature.

Our system was reformed in 1971 by the government of Pierre Trudeau. It was reformed again in 1986 by the government of Brian Mulroney. It has been over 30 years since we have had any significant income tax reform to our personal income tax system or our corporate income tax system, and the Liberals blew the chance to do it, even though they promised to take a look at tax reform in their very first budget.

The government talks a good game on the environment and the economy, but the facts say otherwise. It is a story of a missed opportunity, and that is why I cannot support this bill.

Impact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

June 12th, 2018 / 11:20 p.m.
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Northumberland—Peterborough South Ontario

Liberal

Kim Rudd LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources

Madam Speaker, it is an honour to rise again in the House to speak to a piece of legislation that represents a major turning point in how Canada develops its vast resources.

After listening to the discussions over the past while, it is important that we come back to a sense of reality. This is legislation that strengthens investor confidence, restores public trust, advances indigenous reconciliation, and enhances environmental performance, all while ensuring that good resource projects get built in a timely, transparent, and responsible way. It is legislation that has also been improved by committee review, the input of its witnesses, and the advice of its members.

Today, we have an amended bill that not only reflects, but confirms, our belief that Canada works best when Canadians work together. It is an even better bill that delivers on our government's vision for Canada in this clean growth century, and one that supports our goal of making Canada a leader in the global transition to a low-carbon economy.

This is critical because the world is at a pivotal moment when climate change is one of the greatest challenges of our generation, and when marrying the strength of prosperity with the protection of our environment is the new imperative.

Bill C-69 would do that. It recognizes that Canada was built, in large measure, through investments and innovation in the natural resource sectors. It addresses our need for a new and more effective approach to environmental assessments and regulatory reviews. It helps to ensure Canada capitalizes on a new wave of resource development that could top $500 billion over the next 10 years.

Canadians get that. They told us so through our extensive pre-consultations on Bill C-69, in response to our discussion paper, and again in committee. They also stepped forward in unprecedented numbers to join Generation Energy, our national discussion on Canada's energy future that culminated in a two-day forum in the minister's home city of Winnipeg just last fall.

What did we hear? Hundreds of thousands of Canadians made it clear to us that they want a thriving, low-carbon economy. They want Canada to be a leader in clean technology and innovation. They want an affordable and reliable energy system, one that provides equal opportunities to Canadians without harming the environment. They want smart cities with integrated energy systems, increased energy efficiency, and low-carbon transportation. They want rural and remote communities to have better options than diesel for generating electricity or for heating their homes.

They also told us they want regulatory reform that includes increased transparency and more communication with Canadians to restore public confidence. They want regulatory reform that ensures indigenous peoples are part of the decision-making, and that they benefit from the opportunities that resource development creates. They want regulatory reform that supports a competitive and sustainable resource sector, one that creates good jobs and shared wealth. They want regulatory reform that takes the politics out of decision-making so that science, facts, and evidence carry the day. We agree with all of that.

This is why we created a 14-member Generation Energy council, which came out of the two-day forum, to maintain the momentum and develop recommendations on how best to move forward on everything we had heard. That council is due to report shortly, but much of the optimism of Generation Energy, and many of the ideas from it, have already found their way into Bill C-69.

The amended bill also reflects what committee heard from indigenous peoples, and includes an even clearer commitment to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples by enshrining it in the bill's preamble and by providing greater transparency regarding the way indigenous knowledge is used and protected.

Other amendments respond to issues important to industry, including concerns that the length of a project review could cause uncertainty. The proposed amendments address this by establishing a baseline of 300 days for review panels involving federal regulators, and a timeline of 45 days to appoint panel members; by improving the transition provisions so that there are clear and objective measures to confirm our commitment that no project will go back to the starting line; by providing new incentives to encourage the proponents of existing projects to proceed under the new impact assessment regime; and by clarifying that final decisions on resource projects are based on, and do not just consider, the assessment report and other key factors set out in the legislation, including both positive and negative impacts.

As amended, Bill C-69 would also address concerns raised by environmental groups to strengthen public participation and transparency. These include placing additional emphasis on meaningful participation; ensuring opportunities for public comment are always part of the review process for projects on federal lands; posting a broader range of information online and for longer; fine-tuning the role of federal life cycle regulators on a review panel, while ensuring impact assessments continue to benefit from their expertise; and the list goes on.

The Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development has done excellent work, and its amendments only build on the legislation's strengths. The proposed changes capture the spirit of a bill that will not only improve the way Canada reviews major resource projects, but can ultimately redefine the way projects are even contemplate.

By providing project proponents with clearer rules, greater certainty, and more predictability, we also ensure local communities have more input and indigenous peoples have more opportunities in the resource sectors.

For example, Bill C-69 would help us ensure project proponents and their investors would know what was expected of them from the outset, by introducing an early engagement and planning phase to identify the priorities and concerns of each new project. This would allow resource companies to plan better, engage earlier, and develop smarter, all of which would bolster their competitiveness, enhance performance, and move Canada to the forefront of the clean growth economy.

At the same time, our new approach would rebuild public confidence by introducing greater transparency and stronger protections for the environment, while advancing reconciliation with indigenous peoples and giving Canadians a more meaningful say. Of course, none of this guarantees unanimity. We cannot legislate agreement with every decision a government makes. However, with Bill C-69 and its amendments, Canadians would always know their voices were heard, their evidence was considered, and the process was fair.

For Canadians tuning in for the first time, Bill C-69 would do all of this by taking a more comprehensive approach to resource development, starting with the principle of “one project, one assessment”. To support this, our legislation proposes the creation of a new government agency for impact assessments. The impact assessment agency of Canada would be responsible for a single integrated and consistent process that would include the specialized expertise of federal regulators, which is where our simultaneous creation of a new, modern, and world-class federal energy regulator would come in.

The Canadian energy regulator would replace the National Energy Board and would be given the required independence and proper accountability to oversee a strong, safe, and sustainable Canadian energy sector in this clean growth century, starting with five key changes: more modern and effective governance; increased certainty and timelier decisions for project proponents; enhanced public consultations; greater indigenous engagement and participation; and stronger safety and environmental protections. The amendments support these goals by proposing changes to respond to such things as the evolving landscape for indigenous rights and new technologies that promote greater transparency and broader public engagement.

Before I highlight some of the important ways the amended bill would do these things, it is useful to take a step back and talk about the motivations behind our plans for a new federal energy regulator.

When our government came to office, we started from the very simple premise that while the National Energy Board had served Canadians well, it needed modernization to reflect the fact that its structure, role, and mandate had remained relatively unchanged since the National Energy Board Act was first introduced in 1959.

That is what the Canadian energy regulator act would do. It proposes a new federal energy regulator with clearer responsibilities, greater independence, and more diversity. For example, we would separate the regulator's adjudicative function, which demands a high degree of independence, from its daily operations, where a high degree of accountability is required.

We would do this by creating a board of directors to provide oversight, strategic direction, and advice on operations, while a chief executive officer, separate from the board, would be responsible for day-to-day operations. In addition, there would be a group of independent commissioners responsible for timely, inclusive, and transparent project reviews and decision-making, the very things Canadians have been telling us and that witnesses told the committee.

The amended Bill C-69 also enhances the diversity and expertise of the new regulator's board of directors and commissioners, with a fair and transparent recruitment process to identify the most qualified candidates; a new emphasis on expertise in indigenous knowledge as well as municipal, engineering, and environmental issues; and a requirement for at least one member of the board of directors and one commissioner to be first nations, Métis, or Inuit.

The amended legislation proposes to restore investment certainty by making regulatory reviews more timely and predictable without compromising on public input, indigenous engagement, or environmental protection.

I have already touched on some of the key changes proposed by the committee: establishing a baseline of 300 days for review panels, ensuring panel members are appointed within 45 days, and confirming that no existing projects are sent back to the starting line.

These measures build on the bill's underlying principle of one project, one assessment and the new Impact Assessment Agency of Canada's responsibility for coordinating consultations with indigenous people.

Bill C-69 proposes that all of this work will be carried out in closer collaboration with the new Canadian energy regulator, making its reviews clearer, its powers more defined, and its timelines for decision shorter, more predictable, and better managed, with fewer opportunities to pause the ticking clock.

In addition, the new federal regulator would retain final decision-making authority for minor administrative functions such as certain certificate and licence variances, transfers, and the suspension of certificates or licences. The Canadian energy regulator act would also restore the regulators' 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 cabinet's right to ask commissioners to reconsider their decisions.

Other amendments in the bill would advance our commitments to greater public consultation and indigenous engagement. The CER act already featured more opportunities for Canadians to have their say including the elimination of the NEB's existing test for standing; explicit consideration of environmental, social, safety, health, and socio-economic issues, as well as gender-based impact on any effects on indigenous peoples; expanded participant funding is also extended to new activities; and more opportunities outside of the traditional hearing process for public debates and discussions.

The amendments to the Canadian energy regulatory act offer greater clarity.

On indigenous knowledge, for example, our new protections would be enhanced through a requirement for consultations before any details could be disclosed and the minister would be able to place conditions on their disclosure based on those consultations. The bill would now also require, rather than just provide, options for a committee to provide advice on enhancing indigenous peoples involvement under the Canadian energy regulator act. Other changes would ensure that public and indigenous participation is more meaningful and that Canadians have the information, tools, and capacity to contribute their perspectives and their expertise.

Finally, the amendments on Bill C-69 expand on our efforts to clarify ministerial discretion and ensure stronger safety and environmental protections. For example, through committee's proposed changes to the Canadian energy regulator act, the public decision statements would clearly demonstrate how a report formed the basis for the decision, and how key factors were considered. As well, future exemption orders would only be made to ensure safety and security, or for the protection of property or the environment.

These are in addition to existing provisions in the CER act, such as assigning new powers to federal inspection officers so they can act quickly and, if necessary, place a stop work order on any project that is operating unsafely or falling short of agreed to conditions, requiring that companies increase the protection of their infrastructure, clarifying the regulators oversight role to include enforcing standards related to cybersecurity, and authorizing the federal energy regulator to take action to safely cease the operation of pipelines in cases where the owner is in receivership, insolvent, or bankrupt.

Through Bill C-69 and its amendments, we see legislation designed for the Canada we have today and, indeed, the Canada we want tomorrow. The Canadian energy regulator act is an important piece of that, helping us to diversify Canada's energy markets, expand our energy infrastructure, and drive economic growth through timely decisions that reflect our common values as Canadians.

I hope all members of this House will support this important legislation as we seek to create the shared prosperity we all want, while protecting the planet we all cherish.

Impact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

June 12th, 2018 / 11:40 p.m.
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Conservative

Ed Fast Conservative Abbotsford, BC

Madam Speaker, I want to follow up on the question posed by my colleague, and it has to do with UNDRIP, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Implicit in that is free, prior, and informed consent. That is an element that we in the Conservative Party have some serious concerns about because of the possibility of it being interpreted as being an absolute veto right.

However, in the last election, the Prime Minister made it very clear that he would incorporate UNDRIP into all legislation in Canada. In fact, earlier this year, there was a vote in the House on Bill C-262, a bill from the NDP, which agreed that UNDRIP would be incorporated into all government legislation.

At the amendment stage of Bill C-69, the NDP and the Green Party brought forward 25 different amendments asking the Liberal government to incorporate UNDRIP in the legislation, as it promised during the election campaign. On 25 different occasions, the Liberal government and the Liberal members of that committee voted no. They opposed the inclusion of UNDRIP.

Why would Liberal members of the committee vote against UNDRIP 25 times, when the Liberal government made such a clear commitment to incorporate it?

Impact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

June 12th, 2018 / 11:45 p.m.
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Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Madam Speaker, I have looked up the mandate letter the Minister of Natural Resources received, dated November 12. It says that in relation to environmental assessment and working with the environment minister, he is to “restore robust oversight and thorough environmental assessments of areas under federal jurisdiction”.

I want to highlight that part, “federal jurisdiction”, because the expert panel the government mandated to look into environmental assessment, at a cost of over $1 million, came back with the clear advice that federal jurisdiction include, “at a minimum, federal lands, federal funding and federal government as proponent, as well as: Species at risk; Fish; Marine plants; Migratory birds; Indigenous Peoples...; Greenhouse gas emissions”, and the list goes on.

However, the government chose to ignore the mandate letter, to ignore its campaign promises, and to deliver in Bill C-69 not reviews of environmental assessments for areas of federal jurisdiction but only for major projects, which will be found on a list we can see later. The government explicitly said it does not include federal funding. It explicitly said that this is not about federal jurisdiction, for instance, for permits issued by the Minister of Transport under the Navigation Protection Act or permits issued by the Minister of Fisheries. Therefore, the undoing, the wrecking of environment assessment law by the previous government, is being entrenched by the current government.

Why did the Minister of Natural Resources ignore his mandate letter?

Report StageFisheries ActGovernment Orders

June 11th, 2018 / 8:15 p.m.
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Conservative

Jamie Schmale Conservative Haliburton—Kawartha Lakes—Brock, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today to speak to Bill C-68, an act to amend the Fisheries Act and other acts in consequence. I would like to start by stating that the official opposition supports the protection of our oceans and fisheries. Our previous changes to the Fisheries Act in 2012 were enacted to support transparency in the decision-making process and to provide a level of certainty to those invested in that act. Unfortunately, the Liberal government is proposing amendments through Bill C-68 that add additional layers of regulatory uncertainty.

The hon. Sergio Marchi, president and CEO of the Canadian Electricity Association stated that while Canada's electricity sector remains committed to protecting and conserving our natural resources, Bill C-68 “represents one step forward but two steps back”. The Canadian Electricity Association's concerns centre on the government's shortsightedness in choosing to return to pre-2012 provisions of the Fisheries Act that address “activity other than fishing that results in the death of fish” and “the harmful alteration, disruption or destruction”, otherwise known as HADD, “of fish habitat”.

While the Liberals say they are restoring HADD they sidestep any obligation to uphold the HADD regulations in the legislation by providing the minister with the ability to exempt certain provisions. The CEA points out, and rightly so, that virtually any action without prior authorization could be construed as being in contravention of Bill C-68.

The Canadian nuclear agency shares these concerns. In its testimony before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans it stated that the definition of fish habitat has been changed so that the term now means “water frequented by fish”, while retaining the “directly or indirectly” terminology. The Canadian Nuclear Association warned that this has the potential to include waters not designated to support fish, like tailing ponds, or drainage ditches, or waters not intended to be fish habitats, or where no fish are present at any time of the year. As such, it called on the government to revise the term “fish habitat” to exclude these structures.

The Canadian Electricity Association echoed the same sentiment, seeking amendments to provide greater certainty around the definition of fish and fish habitat, focusing on fish population conservation.

Ontario Power Generation agrees. In its written statement to the standing committee it recommended that exceptions, including intake canals and other structures that were constructed for the purpose of facility operations and not intended to be frequented by fish, should also be considered.

All of this is falling on deaf ears. Bill C-68 would also result in greater uncertainties for existing and new facilities and discourage yet more investment opportunities in energy projects, something the government seems to be quite good at.

The Canadian Nuclear Association in its submission to the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans stated, “the concept of 'cumulative impact' is not only a key issue with respect to the environment, but also with respect to sustained investment in Canadian energy projects”.

The Canadian Nuclear Association's testimony continued, highlighting the plight of Canada's energy sector, advising that, “Right now, investment in Canada is facing significant challenges - including uncertainty caused by a suite of changes to federal and provincial regulatory policies, trade restrictions, corporate and individual tax rates”. This regulatory uncertainty is shared throughout industry.

The Canadian Electricity Association recommends that the minister be required to consult with any jurisdiction also exercising potentially duplicative, overlapping, or conflicting orders. Regulations are important. No one in any industry in Canada would refute the need for regulations. However, it makes no sense that a company has to go through the same regulatory conditions at every level of government simply to satisfy duplicate regulatory conditions. This costs time and money, and ultimately it costs investment opportunities.

This is at a time when the U.S. President's tariff action against Canadian steel and aluminum remains unfair and a serious threat to workers across the country who rely on this industry to put food on the table for their families, at a time when, according to Statistics Canada, the total foreign direct investment in Canadian oil and gas extraction slumped 7.4% in 2017, down to $162.2 billion.

That is due to a hasty retreat by international oil producers last year, including massive divestment by Royal Dutch Shell, about $9.3 billion, and ConocoPhillips, about $17.7 billion, totalling nearly $30 billion.

The government's carbon-tax scheme threatens to increase the cost of living for every Canadian, emphasized by the new report recently released by the Parliamentary Budget Officer. It found that the Liberal carbon tax will take $10 billion out of the Canadian economy by 2022, while other estimates argue that it could be as much as $35 billion per year, hurting jobs, workers, and families.

The current Liberal government is compelled to introduce bills like Bill C-68, which would add layers of regulatory ambiguity, adding massive uncertainty in an already turbulent investment climate. When will the government realize that investment opportunities are highly perishable prospects?

Bill C-68, like other bills, such as Bill C-69, appears to undermine transparency and due process by allowing the minister to withhold critical information from interested proponents, which runs contrary to the Prime Minister's promise of a more open and transparent government.

The act would require the minister to take into account indigenous knowledge and expertise when it was provided, and all decisions would have to take into account the possible impact on indigenous rights. However, that knowledge would be protected from being revealed publicly, or even to a project's proponents, without explicit permission from the indigenous community or the people who provided it.

The government has announced $284 million in new money to implement and enforce the new law through the hiring of new fisheries officers to enforce the act and educate people about it. There are, however, no timelines or details on when and how many officers would be hired. This bill would allow for the establishment of advisory panels and for members to be remunerated. However, there is no guidance or limitation on their use.

Bill C-68 would expand the reach of a prohibition against anything that alters or impacts fish habitat to all waters where fish exist. As the member for Cariboo—Prince George indicated earlier, the goal of the Fisheries Act is and should remain to protect and enhance Canada's fish stocks while avoiding any unnecessary negative economic impacts on industries that rely on access to Canadian land and water. In 2012, the Conservative government improved fisheries conservation, prioritized fish productivity, protected significant fisheries, and streamlined an overly bureaucratic process. The current government, though, through Bill C-68, would revert to rules that caused confusion, were difficult to enforce, and that negatively impacted farmers, communities, and resource development. The only real winners here would be regulatory lawyers, who would reap the rewards of Bill C-68.

I have no doubt that my colleagues across the way will question our commitment to the preservation of fish habitat. I have said before that we clearly support the protection of our fisheries and oceans. What the current government fails to understand is that they can protect the environment and have responsible resource development. It only makes sense to protect fish habitat if they want a robust fisheries economy, and that is what the current Fisheries Act does.

It is my hope that the government will continue consulting with industry on fish-habitat restoration plans moving forward. The government's knowledge and appreciation for the protection of fisheries is essential. We will continue to work closely with fishers, farmers, industry groups, and communities to ensure that their questions are heard.

I would rather be having a longer debate instead of being under time allocation, but this is the situation we are in. I look forward to questions from my hon. colleagues.

Report StageFisheries ActGovernment Orders

June 11th, 2018 / 8:30 p.m.
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Liberal

Darrell Samson Liberal Sackville—Preston—Chezzetcook, NS

Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to rise in the House today to speak to Bill C-68 following the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans' review and analysis of this bill.

We thank the committee members for their careful study of this legislation and their thoughtful amendments. During this review of Bill C-68, my colleagues in committee heard from many different witnesses and experts. I would like to take this time to talk about what they heard. I would also like to share the concrete steps proposed to make improvements and move forward with this legislation.

From the environmental NGO community and members across the aisle in the Green Party and the NDP, the committee heard about the importance of water flow for fish habitat. The government supported the associated amendments put forward in committee.

The committee also heard from industry groups seeking amendments to the rules proposed for the processing of applications for habitat authorization during the transition from the current to the new legislation. In response, the committee adopted the amendment to provide clearer transition provisions.

The committee also heard about strengthening the federal government's legal obligations when major fish stocks are in trouble. This is why the committee proposed the inclusion of requirements, under the legislation, that the minister sustainably manage or rebuild fish stocks that are prescribed in regulation. However, the legislation would require that when such cases arose, Canadians would be informed and provided with a rationale. Our aim is to sustainably manage fisheries resources for the long-term benefit of Canadians.

As members know, in 2012, the previous government decided to change habitat protection without the support of or consultation with indigenous peoples, fishers, scientists, conservation groups, coastal communities, and the Canadian public. In contrast, our government has worked with all Canadians and has encouraged everyone to be part of this process. The proposed amendments to Bill C-68 are part of our government's broader review of environmental and regulatory processes under 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, which was reviewed by the committee.

The Standing Committee on the Environment and Sustainable Development also adopted some important amendments, which have been reflected in Bill C-68. These include better protections for indigenous knowledge and clearer transition provisions that would ensure better business continuity.

The changes proposed in Bill C-68 would support several government priorities, such as partnering with indigenous peoples; supporting planning and integrated management; enhancing regulation and enforcement; improving partnership and collaboration; and, finally, monitoring and reporting back to Canadians. This is transparency.

This bill would include the reintroduction of the prohibition against the harmful alteration, disruption, or destruction of fish habitat as well as the prohibition against causing the death of fish by means other than fishing. There are measures to allow for better management of large and small projects that may be harmful to fish and fish habitat through a new permitting scheme, for big projects, and codes of practice, for smaller ones.

The amendments would enable the regulatory authorities that would allow for establishing a list of designated projects, comprising works, undertakings, and activities for which a permit would always be required. We have been, and will continue to be, engaged with indigenous peoples, provinces and territories, stakeholders, and others to capture the right kinds of projects on the designated project list.

Habitat loss and degradation and changes to fish passage and water flow are all contributing to the decline of freshwater and marine fish habitat in Canada. It is imperative that Canada restore degraded fish habitat. That is why we proposed changes to the Fisheries Act that would include the consideration of restoration as part of project decision-making.

The bill is motivated by the need to restore the public's trust in government, which was lost following decisions made in 2012.

In order to re-establish the trust of Canadians in government, access to information on the government's activities related to the protection of fish and fish habitat, as well as protecting information and decisions, is essential. We listened and we proposed, through Bill C-68, measures to establish the public registry, which will enable transparency and access. This registry will allow Canadians to see whether the government is meeting its obligations and allow them to hold the government accountable for decision-making with regard to fish and fish habitat.

The addition of new purpose and consideration provisions will more clearly guide the responsibility of the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard when making decisions and provide a framework for the proper management and control of fisheries, and for the conservation and protection of fish and fish habitat, including by preventing pollution.

Fisheries' resources and aquatic habitats have important social, cultural, and economic significance for many indigenous peoples. Respect for the rights of the indigenous peoples of Canada, taking into account their unique interests and aspirations in fisheries-related economic opportunities and the protection of fish and fish habitat, is one way we are showing our commitment to renewing our relationship with indigenous peoples.

We listened to Canadians on the need for modern safeguards. That is why we have proposed changes to the Fisheries Act that provide a new fisheries management order power to establish targeted fisheries management measures for 45-day increments where there is a threat to the proper management and control of fisheries or to the conservation and protection of fish. This will help to address time-sensitive emerging issues when a fishery is under way and targeted measures are required.

Proposed changes to the Fisheries Act include a new ministerial authority to make regulations to establish long-term spatial restrictions to fishing activities under the act, specifically for the purpose of conserving and protecting marine biodiversity. This will support our international commitment to protect at least 10% of our marine and coastal areas by 2020. Proposed changes also include authority to make regulations respecting the rebuilding of fish stocks.

As I mentioned earlier, our government reached out to Canadians to help put the bill forward. We listened to the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development and the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans and provided direction for the restoration and recovery of fish habitat and stocks. We were pleased with the amendments of the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans during its clause-by-clause review. We listened to environmental groups, and the committee proposed provisions aimed at implementing measures to promote the sustainability of the major fish stocks.

In addition, in keeping with modernizing the act in line with other federal environmental law, changes are being proposed to the Fisheries Act to authorize the use of alternative measures agreements.

Through Bill C-68, the Government of Canada is honouring its promise to Canadians. By restoring the lost protections and providing these modern safeguards, the government is delivering on its promise as set out in the mandate letter from the Prime Minister to the Minister of Fisheries.

Since introducing this bill, we have heard support from a broad range of Canadians for these amendments that will return Canada back to the forefront when speaking about fish for generations to come.

I urge all hon. members on both sides of the House to join me in supporting this bill, which is so important.

Report StageFisheries ActGovernment Orders

June 11th, 2018 / 8:45 p.m.
See context

NDP

Richard Cannings NDP South Okanagan—West Kootenay, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to speak tonight to Bill C-68, the new Fisheries Act. Although I grew up, and still live, far from the coast, my family has deep history in coastal fisheries. My mother's family, the Munns, once controlled the cod fishery of Labrador. My great uncle William Azariah Munn was what one might call a cod liver oil baron. Luckily, my mother hated the stuff so much that she did not force it on me and my siblings.

Getting back to the bill, the bill comes from a Liberal promise in the last election campaign when both the NDP and Liberals ran on platforms that included the repealing of Conservative legislation that gutted all of the environmental protections of federal legislation. We are very happy the Liberals have finally acted on this, although I am not sure why it took so long.

The bill would finally restore protection for all fish across Canada. When I say all fish, I would like to point out that under the previous Conservative legislation, all fish were not created equal. Only those fish that were part of a commercial or indigenous fishery were protected, and they were not protected as strongly as they were in the past. I am happy that some of our rarest and most vulnerable fish species, like the speckled dace of the Kettle River, are now protected in this manner once again.

In the past, the Fisheries Act was the strongest piece of legislation that actually protected habitat in Canada. As many here know, I was a biologist in my past life, and I spent a long time working on ecosystem recovery plans and species at risk. Time and again, my colleagues would point out that the only legislation, federal or provincial, that effectively protected habitat, was the Fisheries Act. As a biologist who worked on land, I was always a bit jealous of my fisheries colleagues since there was little or nothing that had the same power of protection for terrestrial habitats.

This habitat protection was at the core of earlier versions of the Fisheries Act. The Conservatives took this habitat protection out in 2012 through Bill C-38, one of their omnibus budget bills. This action resulted in a huge public outcry, and among the voices were four former fisheries ministers, including one of my constituents, Tom Siddon, a former Conservative fisheries minister. He wrote an open letter to the government, urging it to keep habitat protections in the act.

This new act is still deficient in a few ways regarding habitat. For instance, while it talks about the water in rivers and lakes as fish habitat, it does not discuss the amount of that water. That is clearly important. Increasingly, low water levels in our rivers and lakes are causing difficulties for fish. Many of our fish require good quantities of clean, cool water, and more and more often they are faced in late summer with low levels of warm water that can be lethal to fish, especially to salmonids.

This act also does not address the habitat conflict between wild salmon stocks and the practice of open-net salmon farms. We should be moving in an orderly fashion toward closed containment farms to isolate fish health issues caused by the farms that impact wild salmon stocks under the open-net regime.

Bill C-68 empowers the fisheries and oceans minister to make management orders prohibiting or limiting fishing to address a threat to the conservation and protection of fish. Of course, I am fully in favour of this power, but I wonder how often it would be used, despite the fact that it would likely be recommended on a regular basis by scientists.

Fish are consistently treated differently from terrestrial species in conservation actions. As an example, of all the fish species assessed as threatened or endangered in recent years by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada, less than half have actually been placed on the Species at Risk Act schedules. If a terrestrial species is in trouble, it is generally added to the list as a matter of course. However, but if a fish is in trouble, it is out of luck. This attitude has to change.

As well, the bill would give a lot of discretion to the minister to make decisions based on opinion rather than on scientific evidence. This practice must be limited and only used in exceptional circumstances. I am always concerned when it is enshrined in legislation and seemingly encouraged, as it is here and in other recent legislation, such as Bill C-69 on environmental impact assessments.

I am happy there is a provision in this act to give the DFO more resources for enforcement. I hope some of those resources can be used to rebuild the DFO staff that used to be found throughout the British Columbia interior to promote fish habitat restoration and rebuilding fish stocks.

There are no DFO staff left at all in the Okanagan and Kootenay regions now, despite the fact that there are numerous aquatic stewardship societies across my riding that used to have a great relationship with DFO and its work, and which benefited from that work. Volunteer groups that are devoted to aquatic habitats on the Arrow Lakes, the Slocan Valley, Christina Lake, the Kettle River watershed, Osoyoos Lake, and Vaseux Lake would all benefit through a renewal of those staffing levels. They talk to me regularly about that, and that they miss that help.

I would like to close with a good-news story that shows what can happen when Canadians take fish conservation into their own hands, identify the problems and solutions, and then work hard to make good things happen. That story is the restoration of salmon populations in the Okanagan. This story involves many players and funding from the United States as well as Canada, but it is mainly a story of the Okanagan Nation Alliance, ONA, the first nations of the Okanagan, who came together to bring salmon back to the valley.

Salmon, or n’titxw, is one of the four food chiefs of the Okanagan peoples, and is central to their cultural and trade traditions. When I was a kid in the Okanagan, salmon were in very low numbers. The Okanagan is part of the Columbia system, and those fish had to climb over 11 dams to get back to the spawning grounds. Most of the Columbia River salmon runs died out, but a few sockeye came back to the Okanagan every year, though maybe a only a couple of thousand in some years. However, after years of work by the ONA and other groups, we often see runs of over 100,000 fish. The Okanagan River is once again red with sockeye in the autumn. The ONA has taken an ecosystem-collaborative restoration approach that combines cultural ceremonies and salmon feasts with technical restoration. They work collaboratively with provincial and federal authorities, and everyone in the region has benefited, with recreational fishery openings, an increase in licence revenues, and local salmon to the public. I enjoy the sockeye out of Osoyoos Lake every year now.

This approach has enabled the ONA to grow to one of the largest inland first nations fisheries organizations in Canada. It has 45 full-time staff, which is probably 10 times the staffing level of DFO in the interior of B.C. It has its own hatchery, biology lab, habitat restoration course, and courses that are even taken by DFO staff.

However, even though they have been working collaboratively with DFO, they have still identified some serious issues to me.

First, there is a need for a harvest sharing agreement between Canada and the U.S. There is no agreement in place to ensure minimum food fishery requirements for first nations, and there is no other place in the Pacific region where there is up to 150,000 salmon harvested between Canada and the U.S. that does not have such an agreement in place.

Second, ONA has asked for support for the Columbia River Treaty renewal and the importance of Canadian salmon. Okanagan salmon are the only Columbia River salmon returning to Canada, and they are directly affected by how Canada stores water in its treaty dams.

Third, it points out the need for support for ONA's salmon restoration in the upper Columbia, which is in the Kootenay region. There are no salmon there now. ONA submitted a proposal to DFO and asked the minister back in September 2017, but it has received no response.

Fourth, the ONA regrets to see the overall exclusion of first nations at the Columbia River Treaty table, which is something that is very important to them.

To conclude, we will be supporting Bill C-68, but there is clearly still a lot of work to be done to protect our fish and our fisheries.

Report StageFisheries ActGovernment Orders

June 11th, 2018 / 9:45 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Francis Scarpaleggia Liberal Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

Madam Speaker, this is a very interesting discussion and there have been some good speeches this evening.

I will start by saying there are two pieces of federal legislation aimed at protecting the quality of Canada's fresh water. These laws implement Ottawa's clearly stated constitutional jurisdiction and responsibility in two specific areas: navigation and the fishery. I am speaking of the Navigation Protection Act, formerly the Navigable Waters Protection Act and soon to be renamed the Canadian navigable waters act by virtue of Bill C-69, which passed at report stage today and is on its way to passing at third reading. The second piece of legislation, of course, is the Fisheries Act. These two laws are really the basis of federal water policy. Often water policy comes more out of provincial jurisdiction, but the federal government has something to say about water policy, and it is through those two main pieces of legislation.

Navigation and fishing were key aspects of life at the time of Confederation and remain significant today in our diversified modern economy. This is no doubt the reason that jurisdiction for both navigation and the fishery were given to the central government, this plus the fact that, as Pierre Trudeau famously said, “Fish swim,” which means they cross provincial boundaries, as do marine vessels for that matter.

Based on the speeches I have heard here and on what I know to be the Conservative narrative, it is fair to say the Conservative opposition does not see these two laws broadly as environmental laws. This is despite the fact that both laws govern and protect the aquatic environments on which vessels traverse and in which fish live. The Navigation Protection Act and the Fisheries Act are part of a grouping of four federal laws that are the basis of federal environmental policy in Canada, a grouping that includes the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, which is being renamed the impact assessment act under Bill C-69, and the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, which has just gone through its five-year legislative review at the environment committee under the very able stewardship of the member for King—Vaughan.

It was the Navigable Waters Protection Act and the Fisheries Act that the Harper government targeted for revamping in order to restrict their scope and significance for the environment. The Harper government amended the Navigable Waters Protection Act twice, including at one point changing its name to the Navigation Protection Act. The first time it restricted the act's scope was in a 2009 omnibus budget bill, and the second time in a 2012 omnibus budget bill.

I know members find it hard to believe that the Conservative government would ever do that, but yes it did use omnibus budget bills and they were not necessarily encompassing only financial matters. The 2012 omnibus budget bill by the Conservative government removed broad Fisheries Act protections for all fish habitats, stipulating that the act would from then on only prohibit “serious harm to fish that are part of a commercial, recreational or Aboriginal fishery, or that support such a fishery”.

Incidentally, Prime Minister Harper and the Conservative government used the 2009 omnibus budget bill, if I am not mistaken, to also weaken the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, which is why the government had to bring in Bill C-69 to strengthen environmental assessment in Canada and to regain the trust of Canadians regarding the federal government's commitment to protecting the environment.

I know the Conservatives are unhappy with government budget bills when they have too many pages, and call them omnibus bills, but there is no comparison—Madam Speaker, you will recall, you were in the House—to the blatant manner in which the previous government stretched the meaning of budget bill to effectively cover everything from banks to canoes and sailboats to trout, shellfish, and crustaceans. That is what the Liberal platform objected to: the Harper government's semantic elasticity with regard to the notion of a budget bill.

Bill C-68 rolls back the changes the Harper government made to the Fisheries Act. As has been mentioned by others, the bill protects all fish and fish habitat. The definition of “serious harm to fish” is also being removed.

Those carrying out projects would be generally responsible for avoiding harmful alteration, disruption, and destruction of fish habitat. However, when proponents are unable to completely avoid harm to fish, an authorization permit with conditions may be issued by the minister to allow a project to proceed without contravening the act. I wonder if the opposition is critical of this ministerial discretion, given its criticism of ministerial decision-making power in Bill C-69.

It is important to note the distinction in Bill C-68 between designated projects and routine projects. I have not heard that distinction mentioned on the other side. Designated projects would always require ministerial approval. These are of course expected to be large-scale projects. Currently, under the bill the previous Conservative government was responsible for, projects requiring authorization are determined on a case-by-case basis, which adds complexity and uncertainty for business.

As for routine smaller projects, published codes of practice would provide advice to proponents on how to avoid project impacts on fish or fish habitat. Although the regulations defining designated projects have not been created, I imagine irrigation canals or flood canals on farms would not be considered major, large-scale projects, like dams. I believe they would be considered routine projects, and farmers could just avail themselves of a guide of best practice and do the best job they possibly could. There is a bit of fearmongering on the other side about what the impact of the bill would be on farmers, who are indeed very much the backbone of a large part of the Canadian economy.

Laws are all well and good, but enforcement is always the key. The government will invest $384.2 million to ensure the capacity to enforce the Fisheries Act. Among other things, this money would go toward increasing the number of front-line fishery habitat officers.

Also worth mentioning, Bill C-68 would empower cabinet to make regulations for the rebuilding of fish stocks. It would also empower the minister to make regulations for the purposes of the conservation and protection of marine biodiversity. Again, I am curious to know whether the opposition objects to ministerial discretion in these cases.

Significantly, the bill requires that the government consider the rights of indigenous peoples and traditional knowledge when making decisions about fish habitats. This supports the government's priority on reconciliation with Canada's indigenous peoples.

Finally, Bill C-68 would ban the capturing of whales, dolphins, and porpoises for the purpose of keeping them in captivity. This should be welcomed by those who hold to the protection of marine wildlife. They are people like the beluga specialist, Dr. Pierre Béland, who is the world's most well-known expert on the beluga whale, and who was actually involved in an aqua-hacking conference in Toronto this past weekend. Aqua hacking is a process by which we look for solutions to problems, like pollution affecting our waterways.

Lastly, it is worth noting that extensive consultation was undertaken to arrive at the measures we are debating today. There have been two rounds of online public consultations, and over 100 meetings with partners, stakeholders, and indigenous groups. In 2016, the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans asked the House of Commons Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans to review the previous government's changes to the act. This review resulted in 32 recommendations, which helped shape Bill C-68. This is on top of all the debate that took place in 2012 around changes to the act undertaken within the context of a rather egregious so-called budget omnibus bill.