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

Third reading (House), as of June 12, 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 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 6th, 2018 / 9:55 p.m.
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Liberal

John Aldag Liberal Cloverdale—Langley City, BC

Mr. Speaker, I truly value the work my hon. colleague from across the way does on the environment committee.

On Bill C-69, I would like to go back. One of the issues that was the driver behind it was that Canadians had lost trust in the process. We heard that clearly during the 2015 election campaign. That was why it was part of our campaign platform. I am pleased with the changes that our government has made in Bill C-69 to the legislation that we saw prior to it.

To the member's question on process, this was a very robust consultation process that our government employed in coming up with the legislation. Consultations were held across the country, from province to territory, indigenous organizations to industry. It was a very robust set of consultations.

When it came to committee, we had opportunities to discuss it, to bring in witnesses. On many occasions, the opposition members did speak to the need to have more time to hear from witnesses. The public record will show, time after time, that our side said we would add days and hours, and that we would come in during constituency week. There was a very robust process at the committee stage, as we moved to report stage, looking at amendments and the testimony, and reflecting those changes in a very meaningful way in the legislation before us today.

Impact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

June 6th, 2018 / 9:55 p.m.
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NDP

Alistair MacGregor NDP Cowichan—Malahat—Langford, BC

Mr. Speaker, I do not doubt at all the commitment of my fellow British Columbian across the way to indigenous rights. I have spoken to him privately about this.

What I am worried about, though, is the commitment of his government. I acknowledge that the Liberals did vote in favour of Bill C-262 last week, and I commend them for doing that.

Now we have an opportunity before us to put that vote into action with Bill C-69. The member will know that the member for Edmonton Strathcona has several report stage amendments on the bill. I will specifically reference Motions Nos. 12 and 13, which would insert language into Bill C-69 to recognize indigenous rights, and make specific reference to the Constitution of Canada and to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Will the member be consistent with his vote last week and vote in support of these report stage amendments so we can make the bill come into compliance, as per the instructions of Bill C-262, that the laws of Canada be brought into harmony with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples? I would like to see the member's commitment, right here and now, to support these amendments.

Impact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

June 6th, 2018 / 9:55 p.m.
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Liberal

John Aldag Liberal Cloverdale—Langley City, BC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague his comments about Bill C-262 and how that will be reflected in Bill C-69.

As I stated in my comments today, we are dedicated to the idea of reconciliation, and not just the idea but actions of reconciliation. Through the amendments that were made, we have been able to reflect a commitment in the preamble to the legislation that the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is a key principle that needs to guide the legislation and how it is implemented.

Many pieces of the legislation deal with how indigenous knowledge will be used, how we will consult in a meaningful way with indigenous peoples. This really moves the principles and ideas of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples forward in a meaningful manner. I am quite happy that this is reflected here.

Impact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

June 6th, 2018 / 9:55 p.m.
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Conservative

Jacques Gourde Conservative Lévis—Lotbinière, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to speak to Bill C-69, an act to enact the Impact Assessment Act and the Canadian Energy Regulator Act, to amend the Navigation Protection Act and to make consequential amendments to other acts, introduced by the Liberal government.

As members no doubt know, this bill would create a new impact assessment agency of Canada to replace the Canadian Environmental Protection Agency. This agency will be responsible for all federal reviews of major projects and will have to collaborate with other agencies, like the new Canadian energy regulator, currently known as the National Energy Board, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, and offshore offices.

As a citizen and as member of Parliament for Lévis—Lotbinière, I have always taken an interest in protecting our waterways and keeping them safe. The prestigious St. Lawrence runs not too far from my home, and all of these issues are close to my heart. This is one of the reasons our Conservative government amended the Canadian Environmental Protection Act in 2012.

I obviously have many concerns about Bill C-69, in particular about the merits of these amendments and the Liberal government's flexible ethics. The government claims to be accountable and transparent. In reality, the Liberals keep showing that all they care about is helping Liberal cronies and promoting Liberal partisanship by filling their party's coffers, from coast to coast, under some guise or other.

On the surface, this bill has the noble goal of ensuring that all projects will be assessed on the basis of their impact on the environment and health, and on social issues. However, we may need to cry foul on the practices of these good old Liberals, masters of all that is crooked and scandalous. Take, for example, the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard and fishery allocations for a highly valued shellfish.

Where things go downhill with the Liberal government is that it puts forward these bills that give ministers more discretionary power, and then issues around the economy and so-called gender and indigenous rights take a back seat to the financial interests of the highest bidders and people with Liberal connections.

The government loves nothing more than a taxpayer-funded spending spree and thinks it can reinvent the wheel. This bill lays out its plan to spend up to $1 billion over five years on the new regime, on necessary changes, and, ostensibly, on increasing the participation of indigenous peoples and the general public.

Let me once again point out that these objectives look very similar to those of the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, who we hope will soon be under investigation.

We all know that the former Conservative government knew how to make things better without raising Canadians' taxes. Canada's Conservatives understand how important certainty, predictability, and regulatory clarity are to ensuring the viability of major energy projects.

We know that these projects create tens of thousands of jobs and benefit communities across Canada, without any political favouritism. With the Conservatives, solid economic policies do not come at the expense of solid environmental policies, or vice versa.

Greater prosperity and better environmental performance always go hand in hand, but all the Liberal government sees are enticing opportunities to dole out goodies to friends and family members.

Bill C-69 will create two new regulatory burdens that, combined with the pointless federal carbon tax, will hurt Canada's global competitiveness even more without improving environmental protection in any way. This is scandalous.

These fresh repercussions are troubling, as are so many others we have suffered since this perpetually failing Liberal government took office.

The Liberals have a very long way to go before the next election if they want to start defending Canada's natural resource industry properly, instead of throwing up one roadblock after another.

Fortunately, in accordance with our values and commitments, we, Canada's Conservatives, will continue to oppose costly regulations that hurt jobs, economic growth, and global competitiveness.

Bill C-69 does not in any way meet the Conservative Party's objective of always striking a balance between protecting the environment and growing the economy.

When we look at what is happening with our neighbours, it is appalling to see that, while the American administration is relaxing regulations, lowering taxes, and encouraging energy production from natural gas or coal, Canada is regressing.

We cannot hamper our competitiveness by tightening regulations and creating uncertainty around the environmental assessment process. We need to stand up against and do away with any bill like this one that would harm Canada's economic competitiveness.

On this side of the House, we firmly believe that, in order to be effective, economic and environmental policies must not contradict each other, undermine each other, or cancel each other out. All the empirical evidence shows that prosperity brings with it a better environmental record. It is one thing for the Prime Minister to embarrass us and lose all credibility in our eyes and the eyes of the world, as he did on his trip to India, for example; it is quite another, however, for him to put Canada at a political disadvantage and jeopardize our position in the global economy. We will not allow him to do that.

We have repeatedly seen his picture in every situation and costume imaginable, but what we are interested in and concerned about on this side of the House is not Superman, it is Canada's image, its role, its prosperity, and the well-being of all Canadian families.

I am worried about how this bill will be used to determine whether a project should undergo an assessment by the agency or a panel. Beyond the process that has been set out, the answer is very easy and predictable. The assessment process will remain very political because it is the minister who will determine whether it is in the public interest for a project to be submitted to a panel instead of the agency's shorter impact assessment.

I am also concerned about why the government is saying that the bill will shorten the assessment process for resource projects. The government is misleading Canadians by saying that project assessments will be shorter. The planning phase adds 180 days to the process, even if the impact assessment is a bit shorter.

What is more, Bill C-69 provides for broad ministerial discretion to extend or suspend the process. In the Consultation Paper on Information Requirements and Time Management Regulations, a proposed impact assessment system, the Liberal government recognizes that in some cases, the proposed time limits in the legislation will not be met. In light of this discretionary power that will undoubtedly be abused, there is very little we can support in this legislative measure.

We support in principle the process providing for one assessment per project, as well as the commitment on the time limits proposed under the legislation. However, the bill puts up regulatory barriers and additional criteria that will invariably lengthen the assessment period.

We oppose Bill C-69 for many reasons, including the fact that it establishes a number of new criteria for impact assessment, in particular the impact that the project will have on Canada's climate change commitments. From now on we will have to consider the environmental impact upstream and downstream. The bill also substantially increases the number of people that could intervene in a review even if they do not have specific expertise. Finally, at the end of the planning phase and at the end of the impact assessment, the minister or the cabinet will make the final decision. The process remains political in nature, which creates ongoing uncertainty for investors.

There is nothing in today's announcement that would increase investor confidence or attract new investment to Canada's resource sector. We know that Canadian companies are already facing stiff competition even as the United States implements its plan to reduce regulations, cut taxes, and invest in coal-fired and natural-gas-fired electricity in order to cut energy costs.

Canadian businesses deserve a government that works with them, not against them. Canada's approach to fighting climate change must be realistic and strike the right balance between protecting the environment and growing the economy. The Conservatives support regulation, investment in clean technologies, and the mitigation of climate change if these initiatives produce concrete and measurable results for businesses and the environment.

We do not see any guarantees here.

Impact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

June 6th, 2018 / 10:10 p.m.
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Liberal

Deb Schulte Liberal King—Vaughan, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak today in support of Bill C-69. As chair of the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development, I found it a privilege to be able to study this bill and report it back to the House with important amendments. These amendments were developed after listening to over 55 witnesses and receiving over 150 briefs from NGOs, indigenous peoples, unions, experts, and industry representatives. The amendments adopted were to bring more predictability, transparent decision-making, clarity on expectations, and timely reviews.

Our government is committed to regaining public trust in the review of projects and to getting Canada's resources to market. That is what this bill will do.

Since 2012, we have seen that weaker rules have hurt Canada's economy and our environment. Without public trust and support, projects cannot move forward and investment is put at risk. This bill would result in better rules to govern major project reviews, helping ensure that Canadians can benefit from over $500 billion in major resource projects planned over the next decade. It would provide predictable, timely project reviews to encourage investment. At the same time, it would ensure that our environment is protected and that we can meet our commitments to reduce carbon pollution and transition to a clean-growth economy.

Engagement with industry as well as with indigenous peoples, provinces and territories, stakeholders, and Canadians has been instrumental in the development of this bill. Over 14 months leading up to its introduction, the government heard from companies about what they need to keep good projects moving forward. Since then, the government has continued to stay engaged with companies, indigenous peoples, and stakeholders. Consistently, companies have told us that they need certainty about the process, about what is required and when, and about how decisions on project approvals are made. Bill C-69 would provide that certainty.

To begin with, one agency, the new impact assessment agency of Canada, would act as a federal lead for all major project reviews. This will result in reviews that are more consistent and more predictable. We have consulted with Canadians on the criteria that will form the basis for a revised project list, which will provide clarity on how our new rules will apply.

Through a new early planning and engagement phase, companies would be able to identify and address issues early on, before an impact assessment begins. The bill provides clarity on the scope and outputs of this new phase. It would result in tailored impact statement guidelines that reflect factors and requirements relevant to the project, as well as a co-operation plan, an indigenous engagement and partnership plan, a public participation plan, and, if required, a permitting plan.

Details on these products will be set out in regulations, which the government is consulting on now, and which would come into force at the same time as the impact assessment act. The early planning stage would define requirements and clarify expectations so that companies would know what was expected of them, and when. It would help them design and plan their projects and more effectively engage indigenous peoples, stakeholders, and local communities.

The minister would also be able to inform companies early on if a project is likely to have negative impacts, without stopping the process. This would give companies an earlier opportunity to decide whether to continue with an impact assessment.

Bill C-69 would ensure that companies know in advance what would be considered in a project review and in decision-making. Reviews would take into account not just environmental impacts, but also social, economic, and health effects, as well as impacts on indigenous peoples and their rights.

This bill would also provide strong transparency measures so that proponents are informed about key decisions, as well as the reasons behind them. That includes, for example, decisions to extend the timeline for a review or to refer a final decision on a project to cabinet.

When final decisions are made on whether a project will go ahead, the proponent would be informed of the reasons for the decision and would be assured that all key factors were appropriately considered.

Bill C-69 would also respond to what we have heard from industry by providing more timely assessments. Our better rules would include stricter timeline management, with shorter timelines for assessments. Specifically, timelines for agency-led reviews would be reduced from 365 to 300 days; panel reviews would be shortened from 720 days to a maximum of 600 days; and, in addition, panel reviews for designated projects reviewed in collaboration with a federal life-cycle regulator would be shortened to 300 days, with the option to allow the minister to set the timeline up to a maximum of 600 days if warranted, based on the project's complexity. As well, timelines for non-designated projects reviewed by life-cycle regulators would be shortened from 450 to 300 days.

Regulations would require clear rules around when timelines could be paused. When there is a decision to extend a timeline, the proponent would need to be informed about the reasons why.

I would like to briefly mention how Bill C-69 would support one project, one review, and how this would contribute to our goal of getting our resources to market. The bill would provide for joint reviews and substitution, in which a review process led by another jurisdiction would fulfill the requirement for a federal review. Those provisions would help promote cooperation with provinces and territories, reduce red tape, and prevent duplication. We are also increasing opportunities for partnership with indigenous peoples and for indigenous governing bodies to take on key responsibilities. That could include taking the lead on assessments through the bill's substitution provisions.

Our government has heard from industry how important it is for Bill C-69 to provide a smooth transition between the current assessment regime and the new regime. Transition provisions must be clear and predictable to encourage investment and keep good projects moving forward. Bill C-69 would provide that clarity by setting out objective criteria to identify projects that would continue to be reviewed under CEAA 2012, giving companies the option to opt into the new process, and confirming that no one would go back to the starting line.

I would just like to emphasize that as a result of the committee's work, Bill C-69 now includes stronger transparency provisions that would benefit proponents and provide more certainty and consistency across the legislation. For example, assessment reports would be required to incorporate a broader range of information, including a summary of comments received, recommendations on mitigation measures and follow-up, and the agency's rationale and conclusions. Public comments would have to be made available on the Internet, and information posted online would need to be maintained so that it could be accessed over time.

The standing committee also addressed feedback from industry that some smaller projects with federal life-cycle regulators, such as offshore renewable energy projects, could face longer reviews than they do now. The amendments address this by establishing a new timeline of 300 days for reviews of projects with a life-cycle regulator, with the possibility of setting the timeline to a maximum of 600 days, if warranted.

Complementing the existing provisions to support timeliness, the amended bill would set a clear 45-day timeline for establishing a review panel. The committee's amendments would clarify that public comments must be provided during a time period specified by the agency, so that meaningful participation would be ensured and balanced with the need for timely assessments.

The standing committee further advanced the objective of one project, one review. As a result of the committee's amendments, integrated review panels involving federal regulators would also be able to include other jurisdictions, making it possible to have just one assessment that meets all of the requirements. Finally, the standing committee responded to feedback from companies by making the bill's transitional provisions even clearer.

To conclude, the bill responds to what we have heard from companies, providing clarity on expectations and requirements, predictable timely reviews, and transparent decision-making. By rebuilding public trust, it would encourage investment and help create new jobs and opportunities for Canadians.

Impact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

June 6th, 2018 / 10:25 p.m.
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NDP

Rachel Blaney NDP North Island—Powell River, BC

Mr. Speaker, one of the realities in my riding of North Island—Powell River is just how much people care about the environment. We live in an amazing and beautiful area and need to know that the environment will be protected, because it means jobs and the well-being of indigenous communities, families, and people in the community.

One of the concerns I heard again and again, and continue to hear, is that there is a lack of trust and faith in the process. During the election campaign, the Liberal platform stated, “We will end the practice of having federal Ministers interfere in the environmental assessment process.” However, we know that in clause 17 of Bill C-69, we see the very opposite.

I would like the member to explain to me why the environment minister will still have a lot of power to make decisions. If we looking at a process that is going to meet the scientific evidence, and that is how decisions are going to be made, why is it that the minister will still have this incredible power and how will that allow communities to trust the process? When I talk to people in my riding, this just raises the concern again.

Impact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

June 6th, 2018 / 10:25 p.m.
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Conservative

Cheryl Gallant Conservative Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

Mr. Speaker, as the member of Parliament for Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, I am pleased to be given this opportunity, on the eve of the Ontario provincial election, to deliver a warning to voters about Bill C-69 about why they need to elect a majority Doug Ford Conservative government.

While there are many aspects of this government legislation that I find objectionable, the greatest cause for concern is the politicization of the Canadian energy board. The decision to move from a fact-based, scientific decision-making process to one based on greed is a regressive move that Ontario electricity ratepayers are all too familiar with.

Whereas under the previous Conservative government Canadians had an environmental and regulatory system that commanded the confidence of all Canadians, the Liberal strategy to invoke a culture war to deflect from the true fallacy of what is being proposed can only end badly for all Canadians.

Under the Conservatives, the National Energy Board was an arm's-length regulatory agency in the way the Ontario Energy Board used to be. The decision by the Toronto Liberal Party to stack the Ontario Energy Board with political appointees, which is similar to what is being proposed federally in Bill C-69, has resulted in the highest electricity prices in North America. Energy poverty in this province has become the new normal, particularly among seniors, anyone on a fixed income, and the working poor.

What is so very unfortunate is the support given by the NDP for these same failed energy policies, failed policies that are being repeated at the federal level in misguided legislation like Bill C-69, which we are discussing today.

Let me be clear: There is a direct link between the failed policies of Kathleen Wynne and the NDP, which supports those same policies. The direct link is Gerald Butts, the Prime Minister's principal assistant. He is the most powerful unelected, unaccountable, technocrat in Ottawa today. He is in the same position he held in Toronto when he set up the greedy policies that have resulted in Ontario being the most indebted subnational government in the world today.

As for the green hustle, anytime anyone questioned the “Greed” Energy Act, the environment was used as an excuse, with zero facts to back up the claim.

For the benefit of all Canadians watching this debate, I encourage voters in Ontario to go to the Global News website for stories from June 1, and watch its investigative story exposing the corruption that has reduced Ontario to a have-not province.

Global News obtained 4,000 pages of internal emails and documents from the now-defunct Ontario Power Authority showing billions of dollars in unnecessary spending that could have been avoided had the government followed the early advice of the Ontario Power Authority, which was tasked with designing many of Ontario's energy policies. In fact, according to Global News, when it comes to the FIT and microFIT programs, which are a key component of the province's greed energy act, documents show that decisions made by the Liberal government in 2009 and 2010, when Liberal Party insider Gerald Butts was in Toronto, as well as design flaws in the programs themselves, put Ontario on a collision course with rising electricity costs.

Brady Yauch, an economist and executive director at the Consumer Policy Institute, independently reviewed all 4,000 pages of documents and shared his views with Global News. According to the director of the Consumer Policy Institute, “The province hijacked the [FIT and Micro-FIT] programs from the very expert agencies it established to handle these types of technical, complicated energy policies. Worse still, [the Liberal Party ignored]...concerns of those experts [about] overpaying [electricity] generators.” Mr. Yauch observed, “That’s very concerning, because now you have a political electricity system, as opposed to one that’s based on economics or cost-effectiveness.”

This is what Bill C-69, the federal legislation we have before us now, will do at the federal level.

Further quoting Global News, the man responsible for designing the FIT and microFIT programs, Jim MacDougall, also said that the government “ignored” expert advice that could have saved Ontarians billions of dollars in greed energy spending. So much for fact-based, scientific decision-making. The Liberal Party refused to answer specific questions about the FIT and microFIT programs in relation to the Global story.

As Global News reported, “Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO), which merged with the Ontario Power Authority in 2015, also refused to answer specific questions about design and implementation of” the failed programs. “Instead, it provided a written statement to [Global News] saying the OPA 'worked closely'” with its political masters “to make sure that the programs met the government's 'broader economic and environmental policy objectives.'”

On October 1, 2009, the OPA started receiving applications through the renewable energy programs it was directed to create. Unlike the main program, designed for large-scale commercial projects, such as big solar farms, industrial wind turbine installations, and hydroelectric dams, the microFIT program was supposedly “created so homeowners could put a solar panel on their roofs to 'offset' electricity use and lower hydro bills.”

The Global News report continues:

What ended up happening, however, is the [Ontario Power Authority] was quickly overwhelmed by the number of Micro-FIT applications it received.

Electricity bills started to skyrocket.

By mid-November, about six weeks after the program was launched, emails show the [Ontario Power Authority] was worried some applicants were “gaming” the system—meaning that people were submitting multiple applications for small solar projects on the same property, which, though technically not against the rules, violated the “spirit” of the program.

“Aggregators”, as they became known, submitted hundreds of Micro-FIT applications with plans to set up solar panels on “vacant lots” or on farmers' fields. This was a problem, because Micro-FIT contracts were to pay nearly double what large solar projects received.

And because the cost of building larger projects was significantly lower than what a homeowner might pay to put a solar panel on a roof, aggregators received higher government payouts than the...OPA initially intended.

One of the worst abusers of the greed energy program was the Ontario president of the Liberal Party of Canada, Mike Crawley. His company received a contract that guaranteed $66,000 a day for 20 years, or $475 million over the life of the contract. During the bidding process, he even had the nerve to send out an email encouraging various other parties to attend an infamous pay-to-play soirée, at $5,000 a pop. Liberal Party—

Impact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

June 6th, 2018 / 10:35 p.m.
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Conservative

Cheryl Gallant Conservative Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

Mr. Speaker, the $475 million payout for the solar panel company he was with was even more astounding when we consider the fact that most of the power electricity consumers are forced to pay for from that contract is sold at a loss to American border states.

People gaming the system could have been avoided. However, this is what happens when a regulatory body is stacked with partisan political appointees, which is what Bill C-69 would do.

Consumer watchdog Brady Yauch said this was a big mistake and that the OPA was ignoring the issue of aggregators. How many billions of dollars the greed energy policy actually ends up costing us remains to be seen.

The email said:

It's one thing to keep...government in the loop with changes and issues. But it's another thing to take direction from government—especially on very detailed programs.

These are technical issues that the government does not fully understand

Mr. MacDougall said,

Like I said, I no longer know where the lines are between [the Ontario Power Authority] and government.

I think the government didn't trust the OPA to launch and roll out this program as aggressively as they wanted us to.

When we would give advice they would consider it, but they would make their own decisions and largely ignore some of the key policy recommendations that we were trying to put into place.

The Global News article continued, “The government refused to answer specific questions about whether the policy advice was being ignored.”

If government members want to understand why Kathleen Wynne conceded the election to Doug Ford last weekend, they should heed the Global News story I have been quoting from. The parallel is the pipeline debacle that is unfolding as I speak. There is real anger in Ontario over the mismanagement of Ontario—

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June 6th, 2018 / 10:40 p.m.
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Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, with all due respect, I do not think the hon. member for Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke is interested in the bill we have before us, Bill C-69. Bill C-69 does not include anything about carbon taxes. The bill actually does not apply in any way to the issues she has raised about Ontario's policies for energy.

Personally, I cannot vote for Bill C-69, because it is so terribly weak and fatally flawed because of the persistence of the philosophy that is now embedded in the Government of Canada, left behind by the previous Harper government. Therefore, while I suppose I share the way I will vote with her, I cannot share anything else.

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June 6th, 2018 / 10:45 p.m.
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Liberal

Churence Rogers Liberal Bonavista—Burin—Trinity, NL

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to join today's debate on Bill C-69. The proposed changes are important, because they build on and strengthen the legislation that has been described as historic, groundbreaking, and a major turning point for resource development in Canada.

There is a good reason for all these superlatives, because Bill C-69, even more so now that it has been amended, is a potential game changer in the way Canada reviews new major resource projects by creating greater investment certainty; restoring public confidence; advancing indigenous reconciliation; strengthening protections for our environment, fish, and waterways; and establishing better rules for co-operation among the various levels of government and federal regulatory agencies.

For example, there is a proposed early engagement and planning phase that would bring the proponents of new projects together with local communities and indigenous peoples to identify priorities and concerns. This would have two immediate benefits. First, project proponents and their investors would get a clearer lay of the land before they spent a lot of money advancing their proposals. Second, by identifying the key issues early, the project reviews would be shorter and more focused.

These kinds of results would be transformational for Canada's resource industries. They would enhance our competitiveness at the same time that we are ensuring sustainability, demonstrating yet again that economic prosperity and environmental protection are not competing interests but equal components in a single engine that will drive clean growth.

Bill C-69 features many other innovative measures that are equally significant. I am pleased to see that the amendments proposed at committee are consistent with the spirit and intent of the legislation. They include amendments that would further advance the recognition of indigenous rights, amendments that would enhance public participation and transparency, amendments to improve timelines and predictability, and amendments to clarify both ministerial discretion and the factors to be considered during impact assessments and regulatory reviews.

Many of these amendments extend across all acts within the bill, but I would like to focus my time on how the proposed changes would reinforce the goals of the Canadian energy regulator act.

For those who may be watching at home and are new to Bill C-69, the proposed new Canadian energy regulator would replace the National Energy Board. Our aim is to create a more modern federal regulator, with the required independence and the proper accountability to oversee a strong, safe, and sustainable Canadian energy sector in this clean-growth century.

The Canadian energy regulator act proposes to do this in these five key areas: more modern and effective governance; greater certainty and timelier decisions for project proponents; better public consultations; greater indigenous participation; and stronger safety and environmental protections. The amendments before us would move the yardsticks in each of these areas.

For example, we have a proposal from committee to clarify the factors to be considered by the Canadian energy regulator to ensure that climate change is considered when the regulator is making decisions about non-designated projects, such as pipelines, powerlines, and offshore projects.

I am disappointed in the opposition for how it has treated this historic piece of legislation. During the committee review, opposition members attempted to completely remove the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board from the review panel process. This was quite shocking, as it was proposed despite massive objections from Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, as well as the experts.

In fact, the biggest single criticism of the 2012 changes by the previous government in Newfoundland and Labrador was that it left the CNLOPB out of the entire process. It is clear that the opinion of the Conservatives has not changed. I am proud that Bill C-69 incorporates the critical role of the CNLOPB.

In its appearance before the environment committee, the CNLOPB said that Bill C-69 would provide for improvements over the current process and would allow it to work more closely and more collaboratively with federal agencies and regulators. It also said that regional assessments allowed for in Bill C-69 would strengthen the process.

Other amendments propose ways to enhance the new energy regulator's transparency and to provide for more meaningful opportunities for Canadians to participate in the regulatory process. This includes a requirement for processes and funding to support indigenous and public engagement. Further, there is an important amendment stipulating that whenever a project proponent issues a notice, which means that it has submitted information to the Canadian energy regulator, that the regulator would be required to put that notice on its website. This is an important step to inform the public about projects.

As for discretionary powers, the only exemption orders that would now be allowed under the Canadian energy regulator act would be to ensure safety and security or for the protection of property or the environment.

Other proposed changes build on the principle of one project, one review. For example, we see an amendment proposing that integrated review panels be allowed to include other jurisdictions, thereby ensuring a single impact assessment that still meets all requirements.

Also, other amendments that would provide greater certainty about the transition to a new review process. This includes adding objective criteria to determine which projects would continue to be reviewed under CEAA 2012, as well as a provision to encourage proponents to opt in to Bill C-69's new process. Of course, there are further clarifications that no project proponent will be asked to return to the starting line.

These are all good amendments that our government welcomes.

These changes will help to create an even better Canadian energy regulator. They will ensure good energy projects go ahead with timely and transparent decisions reflecting common values and shared benefits. They would lead to smarter resources, more effective reviews, and better results.

Taken together, Bill C-69 and its amendments are appropriately ambitious and historic. They reflect the adage that one has to swing for the fences if one wants to hit a home run. Bill C-69, as amended, does that.

I hope all members will support Bill C-69 and its changes so we can get on with the business of building an even better Canada, one where the way we manage and develop our natural resources truly reflects who we are as Canadians and the values we cherish most.

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June 6th, 2018 / 10:55 p.m.
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Liberal

Dan Ruimy Liberal Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge, BC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to thank my parliamentary colleagues for their careful review and analysis of our navigation protection legislation.

Many Canadians told us they were unhappy that the previous government's changes were made without an opportunity for them to participate and voice their concerns about the changes. My parliamentary colleagues changed that. They heard from Canadians and responded with recommendations and legislation that would protect Canadians' right to travel on all navigable waters in Canada.

This journey started almost two years ago when the government launched a broader review of environmental and regulatory processes. The broader review included the review of environmental assessment processes, the modernization of the National Energy Board, and the restoration of lost protections for the Fisheries Act and Canada's navigation protection legislation.

Reviewing the Navigation Protection Act is important to parliamentarians, so important that the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities carried its own study of the act. The committee tabled its report in March 2017, taking into the account the views of witnesses and the many submissions received from interested Canadians. The committee's reported findings and recommendations helped supplement our review.

Consultations have been at the heart of this review. I would like to take this opportunity to also thank Canadians who contributed to the committee's study.

The committee's work opened the dialogue on the protections Canadians wanted to see for navigation in Canada. What did we hear? We heard that Canadians wanted to see protections for all waterways in Canada, including those left unprotected by the current law. We also heard that Canadians wanted a smarter way of protecting navigation, one that would put resources where they were needed most.

In June 2017, the government responded to the committee's report, accepting all of its recommendations. Shortly thereafter, the government released a discussion paper, setting out proposals for all four components of the broader review. This kicked off a second phase of consultations.

Consultations were held with other levels of government, indigenous peoples, voters, environmental non-governmental organizations, and industry. What we heard through the summer and early fall of 2017 helped us shape the proposed Canadian navigable waters act introduced in Parliament in February of this year as part of Bill C-69.

I would like to take this opportunity to recognize the work done by the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development. I would also like to thank the committee, the witnesses, and those who made written submissions for their time spent studying the new Canadian navigable waters act and providing their views.

Bill C-69 delivers on the government's commitment to restore lost protections by providing oversight for all works on all navigable waters in Canada. The Canadian navigable waters act in Bill C-69 would keep the minor works order. This order allows works with minor interference to navigation to be built, provided they meet the terms and conditions set out in the order.

The bill also introduces a new major works order. This order would require anyone building a major work with significant interference to navigation to apply to Transport Canada for an approval before building on any navigable water in Canada. Similarly, the bill would also require anyone building works, except minor works, on waters listed on the schedule to apply to Transport Canada for approval.

Works under the new Canadian navigable waters act not covered above would be subject to the new dispute resolution processes set out in the act. This process would require builders to notify the public before starting construction and to resolve any navigation related concerns. If these concerns are not resolved, the builder may be required to apply to Transport Canada for an approval. This process would allow local communities to have a say in the projects that could have an impact on their navigation. This is a good step forward.

I am pleased to see the committee has made important improvements to the new Canadian navigable waters act, including clarifications to the provisions related to indigenous knowledge, the sale of obstructions, and the regulatory power that allows the Governor in Council to exclude small bodies of water from the definition of navigable waters.

Perhaps the most important amendment is the one that makes it clear that changes to water levels and water flows will be considered when assessing the interference that works will have on navigation. Clearly navigation cannot continue if water levels are too low. The impact of works on water levels or water flows will be considered when works are assessed, and conditions can be put in place to mitigate these impacts.

I come from the riding of Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge. We are a watershed community. When I was elected, one of the first things I did was gather a diverse group of people in the community who cared about the environment, who were interested in what was going on, and I listened to them. As a result, we spent almost two years talking to local stream keepers, talking to the municipality, talking to folks who care about the salmon and the connected waters. Through that we were able to put together a report on the Fisheries Act and on making amendments to it.

The one thing I kept hearing over and over again from everyone in my community was that the previous government had gutted not only the Fisheries Act but a lot of acts as well that were supposed to protect our environment. These steps that we are taking now are to restore those lost protections.

I would like to conclude by highlighting the extensive consultations that led us to this bill. Canadians truly had a say in restoring lost protections.

We have built on the foundation of the initial review by the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities and the recent review by the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development with what Canadians told us they would like to see in navigation protection. Both committees have provided a key forum for ensuring that the views of Canadians are heard, and the bill responds to these concerns.

I cannot stress enough that I keep hearing from the opposition members that there was nothing wrong with their act, that everything was fine, everything was great, yet that is not what my community was telling me. That is not what I saw in my community. It is not what I see today when I see the challenges we face with fish and fish habitats and our waterways.

Before summer it is possible to canoe on the Katzie Slough with no problems whatsoever, but then halfway through the summer invasive species of plant life take over the entire slough, and people cannot even canoe over it. Those are real problems. They are not problems made up in the House. That is what is happening in our communities right now.

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June 6th, 2018 / 11:20 p.m.
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NDP

Daniel Blaikie NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise to speak to Bill C-69. I want to take a moment to talk specifically about some of the deficiencies of the bill. Then I would like to talk a bit more about a general pattern of behaviour that the bill fits into, which is problematic in and of itself.

With respect to the bill, Canadians were upset with the previous government and its approach to environmental assessment, if we can call it that. The previous government really gutted the existing environmental assessment process. The key feature of that gutting in my opinion and the opinion of many Canadians across the country was that the Harper government essentially made the final approval of large natural resource projects a political decision at the cabinet table. It became a decision that was not inherently tied to evidence, to science, to predictable impacts with respect to the effect of these projects on the climate. It was not tied to the rights of indigenous peoples to have a say over what happens on their own land. It was simply a political decision to be taken by cabinet. Therefore, one would think that a party that ran against the Harper Conservatives, in part because the latter had gutted environmental assessments and the Liberals committed to Canadians in the election that they would fix that, would have to address the issue of that approval becoming essentially just a prerogative of the government to make according to its own reasons.

The problem with Bill C-69 is that after waiting well over two years for the government to present its fix to the Harper approach to approving these projects, the bill does not in fact do that. It maintains the absolute prerogative of the government to plow ahead, irrespective of the facts, the science on a particular project, or the views of many first nations that may be affected by a particular project. To me, that is a clear and obvious deficiency in the legislation. It does not meet the commitment the Liberals made in the last election to Canadians who are really concerned about this issue. One of the clearest and most obvious things those Canadians wanted was to try to depoliticize the approval process for many of these projects and to have decisions based on science and evidence. It was not to allow the government a choice as to whether or not to go along with the science and the evidence, but to bake it into the process so that the government would not have a choice other than make decisions based on that evidence, or to have an independent body make that decision based on that evidence and science. That is a clear deficiency with the bill, and one that is very disappointing.

With regard to the rights of indigenous people being respected in the approval of these kinds of projects, my colleague, the member for Edmonton Strathcona, presented a number of amendments that would not have put that commitment in the preamble alone, which is what the government ultimately decided to do. The government's decision to put that commitment in the preamble gives us a measure of how strong its commitment to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples really is, because the preamble is non-binding. That, of course, is the kind of commitment that Liberals seem to prefer, the non-binding ones. That was evidenced in their rejection of a number of amendments that would have given UNDRIP real force and effect in the environmental review process. Putting that commitment in the preamble does not give UNDRIP real effect. They are nice words, but they do not get the job done when we have a government that is not interested in respecting the rights of indigenous people. What indigenous people needed was something with the force of law that they could take to court when the government trampled on their rights. The Liberals opted not to do that, and it really does not do it a service to say that it was a missed opportunity.

It is wrong for them not to have done that. It is wrong in principle, but it is also wrong in light of the commitment they just made in voting in support of Bill C-262 last week, which is essentially all about trying to implement UNDRIP within Canadian law. It is wrong, according to the claims of the Prime Minister, who often says that the nation-to-nation relationship is one of the most important relationships.

In light of all those things, it was clearly wrong for the government to do that.

It is part of a theme on a number of files within the government, where the attitude is that we should just trust the government. The government admits there is a lot of discretion, but it says discretion allows it to do the right thing, and it wants to do the right thing. It does not think it has to put the right thing in law or require itself to do the right thing, because it really wants to do it, so we should just take its word for it. That is what is happening with Bill C-69. That is what it means to maintain ministerial prerogative to decide on a project regardless of the evidence.

We heard the minister say something to that effect in the debate on time allocation earlier, when she said that the government cares about science and evidence and therefore it does not need to put a requirement in the law to make decisions based on science and evidence. She said that if we wait and look at the decisions the government makes, we will see, in hindsight, that they were based on science and evidence.

I do not think that this is what Canadians were asking for when they elected a government that said it was going to create a new process based on science and evidence. It is a bad way of making law. It means that a future government that comes in will not be required to do that, just as the current government is not.

Frankly, I do not think the Liberals are really committed, in many cases, to evidence-based decision-making. They would not have bought a 65-year-old leaky pipeline for far more than it is worth if they were actually serious about making information-based decisions. We could go down that road, but even if we do not, it is very clear that if one's commitment is to build a good process, this process should not rely on the goodwill of the government of the day. It should be a process that requires the government of the day to do the right thing, notwithstanding who is in power. This bill obviously fails that test.

We saw something similar with Bill C-49 with respect to voice and video recording devices in locomotives. The government said that we need not worry because it has no interest in invading the privacy rights of workers, and that it would look after it, but without putting it into law; it would just put it in regulations. The government asked us, when voting on the legislation, to trust that it would do the right thing later in regulation.

Never mind the fact that even if the current government does the right thing, and we have not seen that yet, it is still up to some future government to simply change the regulations by order in council without coming to Parliament, because it is not in the law. I do not think the government has done any great favour to workers in that industry by setting up a law that could be so easily abused.

We have seen a similar thing from the government when it comes to approving funding for all its new budget initiatives for 2018-19. It is asking for approval of over $7 billion up front. Department officials and ministers have been very clear in committee that they do not actually have a plan for the money yet. They do not know what they are going to do with that money yet. They have not designed the program, and it has not been to the Treasury Board. They do not know how many people they are going to hire. They do not know whether they will build a building, rent an office, or use existing space. They do not know if they will be travelling across the country. The government does not know what it is going to be spending the money on, but its answer is clear: We should just trust it that things are going to work out and that everything will be okay.

Canadians are looking to the government for leadership on a number of issues, whether it be fiscal responsibility, or being open and accountable, or the very important issues that Bill C-69 is at least nominally meant to address. I have given some indication that I am not convinced it actually addresses those issues.

Regardless of the issue, when Canadians are looking for leadership, they are looking for legislation that holds the government to account. If the government of the day is sincere in giving its word, it should not mind being held to a higher standard, allowing Canadians to test that in court if they have to. Hopefully it will not come to that and the government will keep its word, which remains to be seen.

Canadians deserve to have the tools to hold the government to its word. They also deserve to have future governments bound by those things. At the very least, if a future government wants to change that, it should have to come to Parliament to make the case to Canada's elected representatives, instead of being able to do it fly-by-night through regulation. That is the problem with Bill C-69.

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June 6th, 2018 / 11:35 p.m.
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Liberal

Francis Scarpaleggia Liberal Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to read a quote about Bill C-69 from the National Post. It reads:

Bill C-69 outlines a number of factors that the minister must consider before approving a project including sustainability and impacts on indigenous groups and on Canada's ability to meet its climate change commitments. That's an improvement over the existing system where the government's reasons for project approvals are often 'mysterious' according to Jamie Mean, spokesperson for Mining Watch Canada.

I would just like the member's comments on that quote. Could he say whether or not he feels this quote reflects the fact that we have a bill that is an improvement on the existing process brought in by the Conservatives?

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June 6th, 2018 / 11:35 p.m.
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NDP

Daniel Blaikie NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, the problem is that notwithstanding any virtues of the process proposed in Bill C-69, if the minister is the one who will decide whether the process will be applied to a project or not, because the process itself is not mandatory, and if at the end of it the minister is able to simply ignore the outcomes of the process, then no, we would not have a process that is fundamentally better than the one the Harper government had, because the government could ignore it at will.

The major problem with the Harper process as far as I am concerned is that at the end of the day, the government, for whatever reason, could simply ignore the science and the evidence. That fundamentally has not changed.

Incidentally, members looking to the National Post to validate whether or not their policies are progressive are probably barking up the wrong tree.

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June 6th, 2018 / 11:35 p.m.
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NDP

Daniel Blaikie NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, it would be speculation indeed, because it does not seem to make a lot of sense to have commissioned that work, have it done, and then largely ignore it.

We saw something similar with the Special Committee on Electoral Reform. There was a budget for that committee too. It did a lot of travel, heard from a number of witnesses, and produced a really great report. Everybody put a bit of water in their wine to clear the path for the government to move forward and make good on its election commitment. Without really even taking time to consider that report, the government decided to throw it in the wastepaper bin. It is a theme, but the motivation behind that theme is not exactly clear.

On the issue of electoral reform, by way of analogy to Bill C-69, one could imagine the government creating a really good proportional representation voting system that actually satisfied Canadians who voted for change, but putting in a caveat in the bill that the government of the day could decide in advance of an election whether it would use that process or the old process. I do not think anybody would say that made sense. Right?

Effectively, the ministerial discretion to decide whether to apply this framework to a project and then to ignore it afterwards would be a further caveat. We would be saying, “If we had the election and we do not like the results, we will actually just rescind it and then will redo the election under the old process”. Nobody would think that was a good idea and effectively that is what is happening here.

There may be virtues in the change to the process, but the real problem is whether the process will be applied and whether it has to be respected once it is seen through.