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 June 20, 2018

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

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 6th, 2018 / 10:25 p.m.
See context

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.
See context

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—

Impact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

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

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.

Impact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

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

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.

Impact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

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

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.

Impact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

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

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.

Impact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

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

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?

Impact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

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

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.

Impact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

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

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.

Impact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

June 6th, 2018 / 11:40 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

The Conservatives can heckle whatever they want. The reality is that they did not build one inch of pipeline to tidewater. They failed. There were 10 years of failure on that front. What they asked for was to see a pipeline built, because they could not do it.

Now we have a government that is actually making it happen. One would think the Conservatives would be happy to see that, but no. Now they are asking why the government is buying a pipeline. Do I need to remind them that it was Harper who bought automobile shares to protect an industry? Imagine the thousands of jobs that were saved because of the Harper decision to invest in the automobile industry. That money was ultimately returned. Need I remind them they cashed out a billion dollars on it in the last budget they presented? Why are they saying no to Alberta, and to Canada as a whole? That is the challenge I put to my Conservative friends, because it just does not make any sense.

What does Bill C-69 do? It protects our environment, fish, and waterways. This is good stuff. We are re-establishing public confidence in the environment and in economic development because they can go hand in hand. We are also respecting indigenous rights.

If I go back to my New Democratic friends, they will point out that there is a group that is in opposition to it. The logic of the NDP, which at times can be a challenge, is that if we do not get 100% buy-in, then we should kill the project, no matter what the project is. That seems to be the New Democrats' approach to economic development. I think they owe it to Canadians to be a little more clear and transparent.

I believe we have seen political parties on all sides recognize exactly what we have been able to accomplish with regard to the Trans Mountain expansion project. It is something the Conservatives could not accomplish. Whenever you have a major project, there are divisions, even within the NDP ranks. Take a look at the premier of Alberta. What does she have to say? She is very encouraging and very positive that we finally have a national government able to get the job done. On the other hand, we have the NDP in British Columbia who are determined to kill the project, and now we have the national party, whose position is a little harder to peg, but I think in the last week or so it has become very clear that it does not see the value of pipelines.

I will tell members why it is in Canada's national best interest from the narrow perspective of my province of Manitoba. We can talk about the thousands of jobs that will be created and the endless opportunities for indigenous people and communities in all regions of our country. We will all benefit from it. However, I want to focus on something that does not get talked about very often, which is that the Province of Manitoba will spend roughly $6 billion on health care, and probably quite a bit more than that. It has been awhile since I was a member of the Manitoba legislature, but we are very dependent on equalization payments, transfer payments, and so forth. A province like Alberta, for example, contributes billions of dollars towards equalization. If Manitoba did not receive that kind of funding, we would be unable to provide the type of services we do in health care, education, and many of the social programs that are so very important and part of what I believe Manitobans and all Canadians would like to see.

When I first learned that we were acquiring the Trans Mountain expansion project, I felt very good about it. I thought this is what it means to be in government, which is to have a vision that would ultimately see Canada continuing to grow. Our middle class today will be healthier tomorrow as a direct result of this acquisition. At the end of the day, that was a commitment we made to voters back in 2015. We committed to looking at ways to build Canada's middle class and those aspiring to be a part of it, and to look at ways to strengthen our economy.

However, those naysayers, the New Democrats, do not understand or appreciate the importance of energy and getting our commodities to market, and would rather say no to anything and everything. The Conservatives do not appreciate the importance of our environment and respecting indigenous rights.

On this side of the House, this Prime Minister and this caucus understand the value of a government that is prepared to make tough decisions that will have a profoundly positive impact in many different ways in every region of the country. I am so proud to be part of a government that does not shy away from acting in the national best interest. That, to me, is one reason we should all be getting behind the Trans Mountain project and, specifically, this proposed legislation.

This proposed legislation would reinforce that trust by having, for example, the Canadian energy regulator ensure that on the issues the agencies are addressing, the required conditions are in fact being met. That would be a good thing. There would be more efficiency. At the end of the day, we will be better off with the passage of this legislation.

Impact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

June 6th, 2018 / 11:55 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Rosemarie Falk Conservative Battlefords—Lloydminster, SK

Mr. Speaker, I rise this evening, and almost tomorrow, 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.

I appreciate this opportunity to speak to this legislation, as the measures proposed in it would have a significant impact on the constituents in my riding. The energy sector is a central industry in my riding of Battlefords—Lloydminster, and ensuring the industry's viability and growth going forward is crucial to my constituents. While the responsible development of our natural resources is important to my riding, it is equally as important to all Canadians.

Our country owes a lot of its prosperity to our natural resources, a fact that even the Prime Minister has admitted. In his mandate letter to the Minister of Natural Resources, he wrote, “Throughout Canada’s history, our prosperity has been built on our natural resources.” It is a fact that he cannot and should not forget. Our development of natural resources creates jobs in Canada and economic development, and through taxes, it contributes significant revenues to the government.

The energy sector is a key natural resource sector in Canada. It creates over 800,000 Canadian jobs and represents nearly 10% of Canada's nominal GDP. Those figures are nothing to scoff at. Unfortunately, despite the Prime Minister's acknowledgement of the importance of our natural resources, both his actions and inactions have come with a tremendous price tag.

The Liberal government has a terrible record when it comes to Canada's energy sector. While the members across the aisle may want to claim that this legislation is a positive step for the future of our energy sector, that is just not the case, and the Liberals simply cannot be trusted on this file.

This legislation proposes a one project, one review system for approving proposed projects. In principle this looks very positive, but a closer look at this bill quickly reveals that it is full of measures that could be taken to slow down the approval process. In actuality, the process that has been outlined is lengthier.

This perhaps comes as no surprise to many, as we have repeatedly seen the Prime Minister make promises to Canadians and then fail to deliver on them. In fact, since forming government, the Prime Minister has repeatedly failed our energy sector. The recent taxpayer purchase of the Kinder Morgan pipeline is a great example of the Prime Minister's failure, a failure with a $4.5-billion price tag and one that puts Canadian taxpayers on the hook for billions more in costs.

I remind my colleagues that Kinder Morgan never asked for a single dollar of taxpayer money. All it asked for was that the government provide certainty that a pipeline could be built. Even though the Liberals approved the expansion of the Kinder Morgan pipeline, they sat on their hands and did not champion it. Kinder Morgan was not given the certainty it asked for. Instead, it saw delay after delay after delay.

Motions in AmendmentImpact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

June 5th, 2018 / 10:45 a.m.
See context

Conservative

Shannon Stubbs Conservative Lakeland, AB

moved:

Motion No. 149

That Bill C-69 be amended by deleting Clause 129.

Motion No. 150

That Bill C-69 be amended by deleting Clause 130.

Motion No. 151

That Bill C-69 be amended by deleting Clause 131.

Motion No. 152

That Bill C-69 be amended by deleting Clause 132.

Motion No. 153

That Bill C-69 be amended by deleting Clause 133.

Motion No. 154

That Bill C-69 be amended by deleting Clause 134.

Motion No. 155

That Bill C-69 be amended by deleting Clause 135.

Motion No. 156

That Bill C-69 be amended by deleting Clause 136.

Motion No. 157

That Bill C-69 be amended by deleting Clause 137.

Motion No. 158

That Bill C-69 be amended by deleting Clause 138.

Motion No. 159

That Bill C-69 be amended by deleting Clause 139.

Motion No. 160

That Bill C-69 be amended by deleting Clause 140.

Motion No. 161

That Bill C-69 be amended by deleting Clause 141.

Motion No. 162

That Bill C-69 be amended by deleting Clause 142.

Motion No. 163

That Bill C-69 be amended by deleting Clause 143.

Motion No. 164

That Bill C-69 be amended by deleting Clause 144.

Motion No. 165

That Bill C-69 be amended by deleting Clause 145.

Motion No. 166

That Bill C-69 be amended by deleting Clause 146.

Motion No. 167

That Bill C-69 be amended by deleting Clause 147.

Motion No. 168

That Bill C-69 be amended by deleting Clause 148.

Motion No. 169

That Bill C-69 be amended by deleting Clause 149.

Motion No. 170

That Bill C-69 be amended by deleting Clause 150.

Motion No. 171

That Bill C-69 be amended by deleting Clause 151.

Motion No. 172

That Bill C-69 be amended by deleting Clause 152.

Motion No. 173

That Bill C-69 be amended by deleting Clause 153.

Motion No. 174

That Bill C-69 be amended by deleting Clause 154.

Motion No. 175

That Bill C-69 be amended by deleting Clause 155.

Motion No. 176

That Bill C-69 be amended by deleting Clause 156.

Motion No. 177

That Bill C-69 be amended by deleting Clause 157.

Motion No. 178

That Bill C-69 be amended by deleting Clause 158.

Motion No. 179

That Bill C-69 be amended by deleting Clause 159.

Motion No. 180

That Bill C-69 be amended by deleting Clause 160.

Motion No. 181

That Bill C-69 be amended by deleting Clause 161.

Motion No. 182

That Bill C-69 be amended by deleting Clause 162.

Motion No. 183

That Bill C-69 be amended by deleting Clause 163.

Motion No. 184

That Bill C-69 be amended by deleting Clause 164.

Motion No. 185

That Bill C-69 be amended by deleting Clause 165.

Motion No. 186

That Bill C-69 be amended by deleting Clause 166.

Motion No. 187

That Bill C-69 be amended by deleting Clause 167.

Motion No. 188

That Bill C-69 be amended by deleting Clause 168.

Motion No. 189

That Bill C-69 be amended by deleting Clause 169.

Motion No. 190

That Bill C-69 be amended by deleting Clause 170.

Motion No. 191

That Bill C-69 be amended by deleting Clause 171.

Motion No. 192

That Bill C-69 be amended by deleting Clause 172.

Motion No. 193

That Bill C-69 be amended by deleting Clause 173.

Motion No. 194

That Bill C-69 be amended by deleting Clause 174.

Motion No. 195

That Bill C-69 be amended by deleting Clause 175.

Motion No. 196

That Bill C-69 be amended by deleting Clause 176.

Motion No. 197

That Bill C-69 be amended by deleting Clause 177.

Motion No. 198

That Bill C-69 be amended by deleting Clause 178.

Motion No. 199

That Bill C-69 be amended by deleting Clause 179.

Motion No. 200

That Bill C-69 be amended by deleting Clause 180.

Motion No. 201

That Bill C-69 be amended by deleting Clause 181.

Motion No. 202

That Bill C-69 be amended by deleting Clause 182.

Motion No. 203

That Bill C-69 be amended by deleting Clause 183.

Motion No. 204

That Bill C-69 be amended by deleting Clause 184.

Motion No. 205

That Bill C-69 be amended by deleting Clause 185.

Motion No. 206

That Bill C-69 be amended by deleting Clause 186.

Motion No. 207

That Bill C-69 be amended by deleting Clause 187.

Motion No. 208

That Bill C-69 be amended by deleting Clause 188.

Motion No. 209

That Bill C-69 be amended by deleting Clause 189.

Motion No. 210

That Bill C-69 be amended by deleting Clause 190.

Motion No. 211

That Bill C-69 be amended by deleting Clause 191.

Motion No. 212

That Bill C-69 be amended by deleting Clause 192.

Motion No. 213

That Bill C-69 be amended by deleting Clause 193.

Motion No. 214

That Bill C-69 be amended by deleting Clause 194.

Motion No. 215

That Bill C-69 be amended by deleting Clause 195.

Motion No. 216

That Bill C-69 be amended by deleting Clause 196.

Madam Speaker, on behalf of Lakeland and communities in every corner of Canada, I strongly oppose Bill C-69, which would radically overhaul Canada's regulatory system, and by extension, hurt Canada's responsible natural resources development.

It is rich for the Liberals to talk about transparency and for their mandate letters to instruct meaningful engagement with opposition members while they ram through legislation with this magnitude of impact on the Canadian economy. The Liberals refused to split this massive omnibus bill, which involves three big ministries; denied all but a handful of the literally hundreds of amendments proposed by members of all opposition parties; introduced 120 of their own amendments at the last minute; did not provide timely briefings or supplementary material to MPs; and ultimately ignored all the recommendations in the two expert panel reports, from months and months of consultation, rumoured to cost a million dollars each. They shut down debate in committee and are pushing the bill through the last stages with procedural tools.

Bill C-69 would make it even harder for Canada to compete globally. More than $100 billion in energy investment has already left Canada under the Liberals. Foreign capital is leaving Canada across all sectors.

The government should focus on market access, on streamlining regulations, and on cutting red tape and taxes in Canada, especially because the U.S. is Canada's biggest energy competitor and customer. However, the Liberals are layering on additional regulatory burdens and costs that make it more difficult for Canada's private sector to compete. The Liberals are damaging certainty and confidence in Canada, putting our own country at a disadvantage.

Bill C-69, without a doubt, compounds red tape and costs in natural resources development. During testimony, the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers said:

Unfortunately, today Canada is attracting more uncertainty, not more capital, and we will continue to lose investment and jobs if we do not have a system of clear rules and decisions that are final and can be relied upon.

Unfortunately, CAPP and the investment community today see very little in Bill C-69 that would improve that status.

CAPP went on:

We see substantial risk that all the work undertaken today could be deemed incomplete. Therefore, they may have to restart and follow an entirely different process, which would add more time and more uncertainty for our investment community.

That issue was addressed in committee by amendments giving proponents the option for reassessment. What I worry about is that the Liberals have now given anti-energy activists the opportunity to demand that all projects go back through that new process, because they have spent years denigrating Canada's regulatory reputation. It has already begun. The Liberals have created years of a regulatory vacuum, destabilizing the framework for Canada's responsible resource development, and have added hurdles during an already challenging time, the worst time, for prices, costs, and competitiveness. That has caused the biggest decline in Canadian oil and gas investment of any other two-year period since 1947, and hundreds of thousands of Canadians losing their jobs. This year alone, during three-year price highs, Canadian oil and gas investment is projected to drop 47% from 2016 levels. The Bank of Canada says that there will be zero new energy investment in Canada after next year.

In committee, the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association said:

In the two years leading up to this bill, you can pick your poison: policies, including a tanker moratorium...; proposed methane emission regulation reductions; clean fuel standards; provincial GHG emission regulation; B.C.'s restrictions on transporting bitumen; a lack of clarity regarding the government's position on the implementation of UNDRIP and FPIC; and the fierce competition from energy-supportive policies in the United States, etc. The cumulative effect of these policies has significantly weakened investor confidence in Canada. It is seriously challenging the energy sector's ability to be competitive.

Nancy Southern, the CEO of ATCO said “our competitive edge is slipping away from us. ...it's layer upon layer [of regulatory burden]. It's increasing regulatory requirement, it's compliance, new labour laws, it's taxes—carbon tax”.

She called it “heartbreaking”.

What is really galling is that it makes neither economic nor environmental sense to harm Canada's ability to produce oil and gas. The IEA says that 69% of the world's oil demand growth was in the Asia-Pacific in the past five years, and global demand will grow exponentially for decades to come. Therefore, the world will keep needing oil and gas, and other countries will keep producing it, but of course, to no where near the environmental or social standards of Canadian energy.

Right now, Canada has more oil supply that it does pipeline capacity, but if Canada had more pipelines, to both the United States and other international markets, Canada could capitalize on its almost limitless potential to be a global supplier of the most responsible oil to the world.

Building new pipelines makes sense, but as if the Liberals have not already done enough damage, Bill C-69 would make it even harder for new major energy infrastructure to be approved. It is based more on ideology and politics than on science, evidence, and economic analysis.

The Canadian Energy Pipeline Association said:

...it is preposterous to expect that a pipeline proponent would spend upwards of a billion dollars only to be denied approval because the project must account for emissions from production of the product to consumption in another part of the world. If the goal is to curtail oil and gas production and to have no more pipelines built, this legislation has hit the mark.

Oil and gas proponents are seeing clearly that Bill C-69 would ensure that no future major energy projects will be built in Canada.

The Liberals claim that this bill would enhance indigenous participation. In fact, it actually would make no substantive changes to indigenous rights or duties in the approval process. Indigenous people and communities and all directly impacted communities must be consulted on major energy projects. That is the crown's duty. However, this bill plays right into the hands of anti-energy activists. It would allow distant, unaffected communities, even non-Canadians, to interfere in the review process by removing the standing test and would allow anti-energy groups to subvert the aspirations of indigenous communities that want energy and economic development.

A hallmark of both Canada's regulatory system and Canadian oil and gas developers has long been world-leading best practices for indigenous consultation and the incorporation of traditional knowledge. Canada's energy sector is more committed to partnerships, mutual benefit agreements, and ownership with indigenous people than anywhere else in the world, so shutting down Canadian oil and gas will hurt them, too. However, the Liberals say one thing and do another when it comes to indigenous people and energy development. The tanker ban was imposed without any meaningful consultation whatsoever with directly impacted communities, such as the Lax Kw'alaams Band, which is taking the government to court over it.

The tanker ban is also the main obstacle to the Eagle Spirit pipeline, which would run from Bruderheim in Lakeland to northern B.C., carrying oil for export. After five years of work, this $16-billion project has been called the biggest indigenous-owned endeavour in the world. Thirty-five first nations, every single one along the route, support it. The Prime Minister ordered the tanker ban less than a month after the last election, with no consultation or comprehensive economic, environmental, or safety analysis and no consultation with indigenous communities impacted by it. Just like the northern gateway pipeline, 31 first nations supported it, and indigenous partners had equity worth $2 billion. The Prime Minister could have ordered added scope and time for more consultation, but he vetoed it entirely, so both dozens of indigenous agreements and the only already-approved, new, stand-alone pipeline to export Canadian oil to the Asia Pacific are gone.

The Prime Minister did the same thing to the Northwest Territories when he unilaterally imposed a five-year offshore drilling ban, with no notice to the territorial government, despite intergovernmental discussions. Northwest Territories Premier Bob McLeod said, “I think for a lot of people, the prime minister took away hope from ever being able to make a long-term healthy living in the North”. This bill is part of the Liberals' pattern of enabling themselves to make political decisions about energy development in Canada.

This bill is bad for investor confidence in Canada, it is bad for the energy sector, it is bad for the economy, and it is bad for the country as a whole. On top of ideologically driven political decisions, it would not establish timelines for certainty either, despite Liberal claims. There are multiple ways either ministers or the commissioner could stop and extend the process as long as they wanted, as many times as they wanted.

This bill would not harm only Canadian oil and gas. The Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada said, “the Canadian mineral industry faces fierce global competition for investment. In fact, Canada is starting to fall behind its competitors in a number of areas, indicating its decline in attractiveness as a destination for mineral investment.”

That is a major problem for Canada too, as Australia and South Africa compete directly as destinations of choice for mineral investment, exploration, and mining. Like oil and gas, Canadian mining is a world leader on all measures. The sector is the biggest employer of indigenous people. It is often the only opportunity for jobs in remote and northern regions. Any additional hurdles or costs will tip the scale in favour of other countries.

The Liberals' decisions have provoked even former Liberal MP and premier of Quebec Jean Charest to say, “Canada is a country that can't get its big projects done. That's the impression that is out there in the world right now”.

Although the Liberals should put Canada first, they jeopardize Canada's ability to compete, forcing Canada into a position where natural resources development, the main driver of middle-class jobs and Canada's high standard of living, is at serious risk.

The Liberals should champion Canada's expertise, innovation, and regulatory know-how. They should be proud of Canada's track record instead of constantly attacking Canada's regulatory reputation and imposing policies and laws like Bill C-69, which would damage the future of Canada's responsible natural resources development and put very real limits on Canada's whole economy and opportunities for future generations.

Motions in AmendmentImpact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

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

Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

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

Madam Speaker, when I make an overall assessment of the bill, Bill C-69 is long overdue. It makes a lot of positive changes. The best way I could summarize this legislation, which the official opposition has put forward so many amendments for, is to say that we should be looking at what it would really do. It would protect our environment, fish, and waterways; it would rebuild public trust and respect for indigenous rights; and it would strengthen our economy.

We need to recognize that the environment and the economy go hand in hand. This is something that the former Harper government failed to do, but we are doing. The best example of that is the pipeline that will go through. For 10 years, Harper failed with that. This government is moving forward with protecting our environment, consulting with indigenous people and others, and advancing the economy with thousands of jobs. Why does the Conservative Party continue to believe that when it comes to development in Canada, it has to be one-sided?

Motions in AmendmentImpact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

June 5th, 2018 / 11:10 a.m.
See context

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Madam Speaker, I rise this morning to speak of a really terrible tragedy, which is the destruction of environmental law in this country, how it was done in 2012, and how the current government, despite promises, has failed to repair the damage. I do not enjoy watching a government make mistakes, even if they cost them it in the next election. I do not enjoy saying that the Prime Minister made a promise and now has broken another promise.

It is tragic because we could do better and we used to do better. I will briefly cover the history of environmental assessment in this country and why this bill is not acceptable as it currently stands. It could be made acceptable by accepting a lot of the amendments, particularly those put forward by the member for Edmonton Strathcona and by me. This bill is an omnibus bill that attempts to repair the damage, but first let us look at what was damaged.

Starting back in the early 1970s, the federal Government of Canada embarked on a commitment to environmental assessment. We were late, later than the U.S. government under Richard Nixon, which brought in something called the National Environmental Policy Act, which remains to this day far superior to Canadian law on environmental review.

By fluke, I actually participated in the very first panel review of environmental assessment in Canada in 1976. When I walked into the high school gym in Baddeck, Nova Scotia, I had no idea that it was the first time there had been a public panel review of a project, but the Wreck Cove hydroelectric plant on Cape Breton Island was the first. I participated in environmental reviews thereafter as a senior policy adviser to the federal minister of environment from 1986 to 1988.

I worked with the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency and its then head, the late Ray Robinson, on getting permission to take the guidelines order, which was a cabinet order for environmental review, and to strengthen it by creating an environmental law, the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, which was brought in under former prime minister Brian Mulroney and received royal assent under former prime minister Jean Chrétien.

That bill made it very clear, as did the previous guidelines order from 1973 onwards, that any time federal jurisdiction was affected, the government had an obligation to do an environmental review. Since the early guidelines order of the 1970s, federal jurisdiction was described as federal money, federal land. Any time federal jurisdiction, which over time was narrowed down to decisions made by federal ministers under certain bills, or any of those triggers were set off, there had to be at least a cursory screening of the projects. That was the state of environmental law, with many improvements, from the early 1970s until 2012.

The previous government, under Stephen Harper, brought in amendments in 2010. I certainly know that the committee heard from industry witnesses, the Mining Association of Canada in particular, that it thought everything was just about perfect in 2010. There was an attempt to avoid duplication, there was one project one assessment, early screening, and comprehensive study. Everybody knew what was happening.

Then in the spring of 2012, the previous government brought in Bill C-38. It was an omnibus bill. It changed 70 different laws in over 430 pages. When the Conservatives complain of lack of consultation on this one, they are right. However, they are in a glass house, and anyone who fought Bill C-38 has a huge pile of stones, because there was no consultation. We did not have briefings and the government did not accept a single amendment between first reading and royal assent. That bill repealed the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act brought in under former prime minister Brian Mulroney, and it devastated the prospect of any environmental review in this country when federal jurisdiction was impacted, unless it was a big project on a short list. That is the easiest way for me to explain what happened.

The Conservatives changed the triggers by eliminating federal land, federal money, and federal jurisdiction. They just said that if it were a big project, and this is their short list, then they would do a review, but would exclude most of the public and keep the review fast. This was a Harper invention, and it was really diabolical to say that when it were an environmental assessment of a pipeline, the Environmental Assessment Agency would not run it, but the National Energy Board; that when it were an environmental assessment of a nuclear project, it would be run by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission; and that if it were an environmental assessment of drilling on the offshore in Atlantic Canada and off Newfoundland, it would be the Canada-Newfoundland Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board, and if it were off Nova Scotia, it would be the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board. This collective, which I will now refer to as the “energy regulators”, had never played a role in environmental assessment before. They are part of what was broken in Bill C-38.

My hon. friend from Lakeland wants to know why the Kinder Morgan mess is such a mess. It goes back to that assessment being handed to an agency not competent to do it, and giving it very short timelines, which forced Kinder Morgan to say that it could no longer respect procedural fairness even for the few intervenors it let in the door because of the timeline. The attitude was that we have cut out cross-examination of expert witnesses; we have to move this thing fast; we are just going to barrel through and ignore most of the evidence because of the short timeline. The mess that this country is in right now over Kinder Morgan can be layed directly at the door of Bill C-38 in the spring of 2012.

This legislation should have repaired all of that damage. That was a promise in the Liberal platform and the commitment in the mandate letter to ministers. What do we have now? We have an omnibus bill that deals with the impact assessment piece, that deals with the National Energy Board, to be renamed the Canadian energy regulator, and deals with the disaster that happened in Bill C-45 in the fall of 2012 when the government of the day gutted the Navigable Waters Protection Act.

These three pieces of legislation are fundamental to environmental law in this country and to energy policy, and they all need fixing, but should not be fixed in one omnibus bill.

I completely agree with the member for Lakeland that this legislation was forced through committee, but it was forced through the wrong committee. The environmental assessment piece should have gone to the environment committee. The NEB/Canadian energy regulator piece should have gone to natural resources committee. The Navigable Waters Protection Act piece should have gone to transport committee.

The omnibus bill in front of us, Bill C-69, has been inadequately studied despite heroic efforts by the chair of the environment and sustainable development committee. She did a great job. The government committee members worked really hard to improve the bill, but no members had enough time. We had a deadline. A hammer fell at 9 o'clock at night on the last chance to look at it. By 12:30 in the morning, most of the amendments that were accepted were never debated at committee, much less adequately studied. It is a tragedy.

Here is how “Harper-think” has survived and owns Bill C-69 in terms of environmental assessment. We have not restored the triggers. Federal funding of a project no longer triggers an environmental review, full stop. Federal lands still do, but federal jurisdiction decisions made by the Minister of Fisheries on the Fisheries Act do not trigger an environmental assessment. Decisions made by the Minister of Transport under the Navigable Waters Act do not trigger an environmental assessment. It will again be on the short list of big projects that we have still not seen because it is under consultation. The triggers are inadequate.

The scope of the reviews will move from there being about 4,000 to 5,000 projects a year being at least given a cursory review in the pre-2012 period to the current situation bequeathed to us by former prime minister Stephen Harper of a couple of dozen a year.

I should mention that there were two expert panels, one on the NEB and one on environmental assessment. Huge consultations were carried out. The speeches by the Liberals will probably reference the enormous level of consultation that took place before this legislation came out. It needs to be said on the record that the advice of the expert panels was ignored in both cases.

In terms of environmental assessment, what was ignored was the call to go back to the same triggers we have had since 1974: federal land, federal money, federal jurisdiction. The Liberals did not pay attention to that recommendation. They claim to have taken into account the recommendation that it be a single agency, but the bill says that when the impact assessment agency sets out a panel review in the case of a pipeline, the members of the Canadian energy regulator, which was the NEB, have to be on that panel.

More egregiously, despite the amendments accepted in committee, the government has rejected the one that says if it is the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board or the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum, board member of the panel can also sit as chairs. Only in those two instances were the amendments accepted at committee rejected by the government, and those boards were created by statute with the mandate to expand offshore oil and gas.

This bill is so bad that after decades of fighting for environmental assessment, I have to vote against it. That is why it is tragic. I would like to break down right now and weep for the loss of decades of experience. We know better than this.

Motions in AmendmentImpact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

June 5th, 2018 / 11:25 a.m.
See context

NDP

Linda Duncan NDP Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Madam Speaker, I share the initial comments of my colleague for Saanich—Gulf Islands. We have both been involved in trying to strengthen federal, provincial, territorial, and international environmental law for many decades.

The very reason I ran for office was because of my fear that the Harper government would do exactly what it eventually did when it got a majority government, and that was to shred all federal environmental law that I had worked with many other Canadians to strengthen during my 40 years as an environmental lawyer, both within the federal government and in a non-governmental organization. I was very instrumental in achieving the famous Supreme Court of Canada case, Friends of the Oldman, where the court ruled that the environment was shared federal-provincial jurisdiction, and as a result of that, we got strengthened enforcement of federal environmental laws through co-operation between both orders of government.

As my colleague just said, in the 2015 election, the Prime Minister campaigned repeatedly with promises that if elected, he would immediately restore a strengthened federal environmental assessment process. He made the commitment that he would not approve any projects without first enacting that strengthened assessment process to ensure that decisions were based on science, facts, and evidence, and would serve the public interest. The Liberal election platform promised robust oversight and that any involvement of political interference in approving projects would be removed. The Liberals also promised to ensure that the rights of indigenous peoples would be upheld, and to review and restore protections lost under the previous Conservative government, including clear rights of the public to fully participate in reviews.

Canadians actually believed the promises they were given that the previous strong federal environmental assessment and protection laws would be restored immediately if there was a Liberal government. Many voted based on those promises.

The government also promised an open, transparent, and participatory government. As my colleague from the Conservative Party mentioned, so much for that promise of participation in the review of this omnibus bill.

How well would Bill C-69 deliver on these Liberal promises? Well, we have two main concerns: one is over the process by which the bill has come before the government and been reviewed, and the second is in what the bill offers.

Our foremost concern has been the perverse and undemocratic process that the Liberals imposed for the review of the bill, and the delay in enacting this law. As the parliamentary secretary just reminded us, Bill C-69 was long overdue. For Canadians who had great anticipation, finally—finally—the government has delivered on its promise, almost into the third year of its mandate.

The government continues to approve resource projects by relying on the Harper-eviscerated review process. Examples include the Kinder Morgan pipeline, the Petronas LNG facility, and the Site C dam. We were advised at committee by the assessment agency that there are many projects in the hopper that will continue under the eviscerated Harper assessment law, even if and when the bill before us is passed, so that legacy will last for some time because of the delay in bringing forward this legislation.

Where are we at with the enactment of a strengthened impact assessment process and the reinvention of the National Energy Board?

The government expended millions of dollars on two expert panels on these two subjects. Despite broad efforts at consultation, many of the key findings and recommendations have been discarded by this government.

This year, the government tabled Bill C-69, an omnibus bill of over 800 clauses, encompassing changes to three critical laws: the federal assessment of projects, establishing a new energy regulator, and a revised law on navigable waters. After waiting two and a half years, the Liberals finally tabled this law. They then imposed time allocation on debate of this massive omnibus bill. They refused our very sensible request to divide the bill and send the three parts to three separate committees. As my colleague for Saanich—Gulf Islands noted, logically the bill would have been divided into three parts and gone to the appropriate committees.

The transport committee had already reviewed the navigable waters law and made a number of recommendations. My colleague provided a very wise dissenting report to in fact deliver the strengths and protections the Liberals had promised. That could have allowed a timely and focused review of each part of the bill by the three respective committees, but no—the Liberals chose to send it all to one committee, our environment committee. Then they imposed a timeline for the review of this massive bill. Of course, it is a Liberal majority committee, so it agreed to this time restriction.

The committee then refused my request to travel to at least Alberta and B.C., over a two-day period, to hear from those communities and industries that would be most impacted by this bill. The committee said it was too expensive, that committees never travel to review bills, and it rejected that idea.

The committee severely reduced the witness list. As mentioned, we had two expert panels that travelled extensively. We had a list of the people who wanted to be consulted and who all wanted to be heard on this bill. The committee said we did not have time to hear from those people and substantially reduced that list.

It then said that people could submit a brief, but guess what? We were required to submit any amendments to this bill before we even received those briefs. Over 100 briefs recommending amendments to this bill were received after the deadline to submit amendments.

I still managed to submit over 100 amendments. I could have submitted more. They were all based on what indigenous Canadians, industry, municipalities, lawyers, and the expert panels had recommended. Over 300 were submitted by the opposition. Every last one of my amendments was voted down, regardless of where they came from and regardless of the strong recommendations from even the government's expert panel.

The government itself tabled more than 100 amendments. Is that maybe an indication that the bill was drafted in haste?

Only very few of the opposition amendments were accepted. One amendment on scientific integrity that both my colleague from Saanich—Gulf Islands and I had tabled was accepted. The Liberals reluctantly agreed to include a change to the bill to require scientific integrity, not by the proponent, but at least by the government.

Madam Speaker, as you are aware, because you read all the amendments today in this place, we tabled additional amendments at report stage to strengthen the bill and to make it reflect what Canadians have called for. We are ever hopeful that the government will accept some of those amendments.

What about the substance of the bill? Were substantive changes made to deliver on the promises by the government to restore credibility for federal assessment? Given the way the law is drafted, it is very difficult to say. Why is that? It is because it is rife with discretion. One of the intervenors listed endless lists of discretionary triggers. We have not even seen the project list, so no one, including potential proponents, has any idea what this bill will apply to. The government could simply defer to provinces and let them do the review. There is no prescribed duty to extend rights to the public to fully participate—to table evidence, to cross-examine, and so forth. That was one of the big issues of contention on the Kinder Morgan pipeline and energy east. This bill does not extend clear rights.

A big one was that the Liberals refused to prescribe the UNDRIP, yet in this place they voted for the bill brought forward by my colleague to incorporate the UNDRIP. The Minister of Justice has promised that, going forward, every federal law will incorporate those rights accorded under the UNDRIP. However, they did not do that, so there we are: not respecting the UNDRIP, not extending clear rights to the public to participate, with no real demand for sound science, not even a specific reference to the 2030 sustainable development goals, and the problems go on and on. We just voted in this place on a bill that does not even address those measures.

In closing, I regrettably would have to say that it is impossible for me to support this bill. We had great hope. There were huge promises that the government would restore a strong environmental law assessment process. However, it failed, which is very sad.