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 / 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.
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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.

Motions in AmendmentImpact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

June 5th, 2018 / 11:40 a.m.
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Northumberland—Peterborough South Ontario

Liberal

Kim Rudd LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to speak today in support of Bill C-69.

Our government recognizes that national resource sectors are a vital part of Canada's economy. Over $500 billion in major resource projects are planned across Canada over the next decade. Those projects have the potential to create tens of thousands of well-paying jobs to support our communities and to contribute to our economy as a whole.

We have committed to regain public trust and get Canada's resources to market and to ensure those resources are developed in a responsible and sustainable way. Bill C-69 would put in place better rules that would provide predictable, timely project reviews and encourage investments. At the same time, it would ensure our environment would be protected and we could meet our commitments to reduce carbon emissions and transition to a clean growth economy.

Today, I will speak about how Bill C-69 would provide certainty for proponents and would help ensure good projects could go ahead, specifically, how it would contribute to more timely reviews and clearer requirements for companies; how it would reduce duplication and red tape by achieving our goal of one project, one review; and how it would provide a clear process and rules for transitioning to the new impact assessment system.

Throughout our extensive engagement with companies and industry groups across Canada, we heard they needed predictable, timely review processes to develop resources and get them to market. We listened, and that is exactly what the bill would provide.

Under the proposed legislation, one agency, the new impact assessment agency of Canada, will lead all major projects reviews, working closely with regulatory bodies. With one agency as the federal lead, reviews will be more consistent and indeed more predictable. A revised project list will define the types of projects that will be subject to impact assessments, providing the certainty that companies need and expect.

Our government is consulting with Canadians now to ensure the project list is robust and includes effective criteria such as environmental objectives and standards for clean air, water, and climate change. Through a new early planning and engagement phase, companies will be able to identify and address issues early in the process before an impact assessment begins. Early planning will result in tailored impact statement guidelines, a co-operation plan, an indigenous engagement and partnership plan, public participation plan, and, if required, a permitting plan.

The details of these early planning products will be further articulated in the information requirements and time management regulations. We are consulting on these now and they will come into force concurrently with the IAA. This early planning stage will define requirements and clarify expectations so companies know what is expected of them and when.

This new phase will help them design and plan their projects and more effectively engage indigenous peoples, stakeholders, and local communities. Amendments proposed by the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development will also enable the Minister of Environment and Climate Change to inform companies early on if a project is likely to have negative impacts, giving proponents an earlier opportunity to decide to continue with an impact assessment.

Bill C-69 would also put in place stricter timeline management for impact assessments, with fewer stops of the clock. Specifically, timelines for agency-led reviews would be reduced from 365 days to 300 days. Panel reviews would be shortened from 720 days to a maximum of 600 days. 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. Timelines for non-designated projects reviewed by life cycle regulators would be shortened from 450 days to 300 days.

The regulations I mentioned earlier would also establish clear rules around when timelines could be paused. In addition, proposed amendments provide for a 45-day timeline for establishing a review panel. Together, these measures will result in more timely decisions and more certainty for proponents.

Companies will also know in advance what will be considered during reviews and what factors will guide decision-making. Reviews will take into account not just environmental impacts, but social, economic, and health effects, along with impacts on indigenous peoples and their rights.

Recognizing that not all project effects are negative, the bill would ensure that both positive and negative impacts would be considered. Amendments clarify that the government's public interest decision will be based on the assessment report and the consideration of specific factors.

The bill would also provide strong transparency measures so proponents would be 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. Also, when final decisions are made on whether a project will go ahead, the proponent will be informed of the reasons why and will be assured that all factors were appropriately considered.

I want to note that in considering Bill C-69, the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development heard testimony from a number of companies and industry groups. There were suggestions for improving the bill, and I want to recognize the committee for listening to that feedback and responding.

As reported back to the House, Bill C-69 now includes stronger transparency provisions that would benefit proponents and provide more certainty and consistency across the legislation. Amendments would improve transparency by requiring assessment reports 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. It would also require that public comments provided during the public reviews would be made available online. That information posted online would also need to be maintained so it could be accessed over time.

I would like to talk now about how Bill C-69 would achieve our government's goal of one project, one review. By providing for joint reviews and substitution, where a process led by another jurisdiction fulfills the requirement for a federal review, it would promote co-operation with provinces and territories, reduce red tape, and prevent duplication. In addition, we would be increasing opportunities for partnership with indigenous peoples and for indigenous governing bodies to take on key responsibilities, including taking the lead on projects.

I commend the standing committee for further advancing our objective of one project, one review. As a result of its work, integrated review panels with federal regulators can now include other jurisdictions, making it possible to have just one assessment that meets all requirements. This is important for investor certainty. This change responds directly to testimony made before the committee and what our government has heard from industry stakeholders. It supports our goal of certainty and timelines in review processes.

Finally, we have also heard how important it is for Bill C-69 to support a smooth transition between the current assessment regime and the new regime. Our government recognizes that this transition needs to be clear and predictable to encourage investment and keep good projects moving forward. We have also committed that no project will have to return to the beginning of the process. This legislation fulfills that promise. Under Bill C-69, projects would continue under the current rules where the assessment would already be under way.

Thanks to the work of the standing committee, the transition process in now even clearer. Amendments would increase predictability by confirming how the transition to the new review process would work, with objective criteria to identify projects that would continue to be reviewed un CEAA 2012, giving companies the option to opt in to the new process and confirming that no one would go back to the starting line.

We know that many companies are already adopting best practices that are in line with this legislation. Should they choose to opt in, we will provide advice and support to help them transition smoothly to the new requirement.

Bill C-69 is designed to help good projects move forward, not stop them. Our government is committed to developing Canada's natural resources in a sustainable and environmentally supportive way.

Motions in AmendmentImpact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

June 5th, 2018 / 11:50 a.m.
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Conservative

Harold Albrecht Conservative Kitchener—Conestoga, ON

Madam Speaker, multiple times in the member's speech she used the phrases “predictable, timely project reviews” and “provide certainty” as to how projects can proceed. However, in Bill C-69, the entire approval process could take 915 days, plus there are six opportunities to extend that. There would be a 180-day planning phase, which could be extended by 90 days by the minister or indefinitely by cabinet. There would be a 45-day window for the minister to refer assessment to a panel, and this could be suspended indefinitely. There is no timeline for establishing a panel, and the panel would have to submit a report to the minister within 600 days of the establishment of the panel. This could be extended by the minister until the prescribed activities are completed, and, again, it could be extended indefinitely by cabinet. There would also be a 90-day timeline for cabinet to make a decision, and this could be extended by 90 days by the minister or indefinitely by cabinet.

My question is simple. Multiple times the member used the terms “predictability”, “timely project reviews”, and “provides certainty”. How can that be possible with the extended timelines I just referred to?

Motions in AmendmentImpact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

June 5th, 2018 / 11:55 a.m.
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Liberal

Kim Rudd Liberal Northumberland—Peterborough South, ON

Madam Speaker, the hon. member's question allows me to say that as we are speaking right now, the Prime Minister is in B.C. speaking to the Indigenous Advisory and Monitoring Committee, which the member may remember is the first of its kind in Canada. This is a monitoring committee for the life cycle of the TMX project, with $64 million to support it through that process. In response to the question of the member opposite, it is really important to remember that when we look at the scope of projects that are going through Bill C-69, the indigenous engagement piece and consideration of indigenous and traditional knowledge are a key element of this bill.

Motions in AmendmentImpact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

June 5th, 2018 / 11:55 a.m.
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Bloc

Xavier Barsalou-Duval Bloc Pierre-Boucher—Les Patriotes—Verchères, QC

Madam Speaker, I thank you for giving me the opportunity to speak to Bill C-69. I also thank my colleague for sharing her time with me and allowing me to have a few minutes to speak about this important bill today.

This is an important bill that will have a significant impact on Quebec. This is not just a bill about the environment; it is also a bill that creates a problem as to how it will be enforced by provincial jurisdictions. I am particularly concerned about the Quebec government's jurisdiction, and that is the main point I want to make in my speech today.

Nothing at the core of Bill C-69 says that the agency has the power to enter into agreements with the provinces to delegate environmental assessments to the provinces. In Quebec, we already have the Bureau d'audiences publiques en environnement, or BAPE, which has considerable expertise and has never been contradicted. There have never been any scandals surrounding its independence or its reports, unlike various federal institutions, such as the NEB, where there have been many problems recently,especially regarding the independence of the board members. Doubt surrounding the independence of the board members can cast doubt on the findings, if there is not a proper process is in place.

Unlike the federal process, so far the process in Quebec has virtually always been respected and considered valid and credible. I think it is important to rely on credible institutions whenever possible, especially in Quebec.

It is obvious to me that Bill C-69 should let the agency delegate its environmental assessment authority to institutions under provincial jurisdiction. These institutions are often much more knowledgeable about their territory. We know that, in Quebec, BAPE conducts such assessments. Its employees have acquired a certain expertise over the years.

This bill will create a new institution with new people and with practices that have yet to be established. A new culture and new expertise will have to be developed, even though that already exists within the Quebec government. It is important to build on a solid foundation, and to rely on the people already in place and their knowledge of the area, because they are closer to the people of Quebec.

There is a major element in C-69 that is problematic. It allows the federal government to disregard provincial jurisdictions and to make decisions about what it wants, how it wants it, and when it wants it. Provincial legislation and municipal bylaws are not important. They are not taken into consideration.

This creates some big problems. Take, for example, how technology has evolved in our ridings. That may not be directly related to the environment, but there is an interesting parallel. Cell towers are being put up in our ridings, for Internet and all kinds of data transmissions that fall under federal jurisdiction. In many municipalities, these towers are being put up anywhere, in the middle of public parks, and sometimes in front of houses. This destroys the landscape, sometimes in heritage areas, even. The federal government does not work with the communities at all. Take the much-discussed issue of mailboxes, for example. Members will recall when Montreal mayor Denis Coderre infamously destroyed a mailbox. I am not condoning his actions, but I think it was an important symbolic gesture showing the federal government's failure to listen to the provinces and municipalities. When the federal government itself does not need to comply with our laws and regulations, it is even easier to completely ignore them.

Obviously, respect for the Government of Quebec's areas of jurisdiction, including on environmental matters, should be incorporated into Bill C-69. The Government of Quebec already has jurisdiction over the environment and that must be enforced. The Government of Quebec has to be able to enforce its own laws, its own rules, and be master within its own jurisdiction. If the federal government interferes all the time, it indirectly prevents Quebec from doing its job.

Bill C-69 has a lot of room for improvement in that regard. This is such a fundamental issue that the government should act in good faith, allow these changes, and abide by them. I hope all other members of the House will support us on this. Many individuals and environmental groups in Quebec share this vision.

We have seen instances of the provinces' rights not being respected, and we are about to see it again with the government imposing the Kinder Morgan pipeline on British Columbia in violation of the province's jurisdiction and the rights of the people who live along the pipeline route. When the government does not listen to the people, they see that as an injustice. A government that inflicts such an injustice loses legitimacy in their eyes, and that makes people cynical.

A government that wants to avoid cynicism must respect our institutions. There is not just one institution that matters. The government has to listen to other legitimate governments' institutions, which are just as important. To forestall intergovernmental strife, the feds must at the very least respect those institutions, but that is something the federal government does not often do.

That is one of the reasons why we in the Bloc Québécois believe that Quebec should be a country. This habit is so ingrained in this government that it can barely even function because of its arrogance and attitude of superiority. Ottawa knows best. It is always Ottawa that decides what happens and, at the end of the day, our laws and our interests are trampled on. This has to change. By amending Bill C-69, Ottawa could reach out to the provinces and try to come up with an agreement that is a little better, despite the circumstances. In short, Ottawa must respect Quebec's laws and the Bureau d'audiences publiques sur l'environnement, which is pretty important.

In addition, the bill provides no guarantee that any public hearings will be held on major projects. Public hearings are important, because they give members of the public a chance to have their say on a project. When the public does not have a chance to do so, it is much harder to adapt the project and determine what the public really wants. It is much harder to sell a project when you do not seek public opinion, even if that opinion is positive. Public consultations are fundamental to any major project and, once again, they are not even mentioned in this bill.

There are no parameters for appointing the commissioners. That is a major problem because it is the Minister of the Environment who has the power to appoint the commissioners of the future agency. We end up with the same problem that we had with the National Energy Board where the government appoints agency employees who are accountable to the person who appointed them and who sometimes have special interests.

The current bill still does not address the possibility of appointing people from industry. Obviously appointing a pipeline promoter to assess a pipeline will not work because he clearly wants the pipeline built. That is his job. Similarly, if we ask a real estate agent whether the housing market is overheated, he will always say it is not, because he wants to sell houses and get a better commission. I think this leaves room for conflicts of interest and conflicts of vision.

It is therefore important to regulate the process for appointing commissioners and appointing independent commissioners rather than having commissioners appointed by the minister who are accountable to her. We know this creates major problems with regard to perception and independence, which results in a process that does not work.

For all those reasons, we will oppose Bill C-69. It is also important to consult first nations since they too have a right of oversight and should have their say.

Motions in AmendmentImpact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

June 5th, 2018 / 12:05 p.m.
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Bloc

Xavier Barsalou-Duval Bloc Pierre-Boucher—Les Patriotes—Verchères, QC

Mr. Speaker, my intention in bringing up cell towers was to give an example of a case where the federal government is disregarding both provincial laws and municipal bylaws. Urban planning is a municipal responsibility, and cities should be able to decide where towers should be installed. There is an important question in all this with regard to urban development and landscape integration. However, that goes beyond Bill C-69. In my opinion, the important thing is for the bill to respect areas of provincial jurisdiction and comply with municipal bylaws. The example of cell towers illustrates the federal government's tendency to disregard municipal bylaws and provincial laws. If we want good collaboration and well-run projects in the future, it is essential that the federal government get in the habit of complying with these provincial laws, since they are perfectly valid, having been passed by elected officials like us. These laws were passed for the benefit of the people. Furthermore, provincial elected representatives are often closer to their constituents than their federal counterparts, since Ottawa is quite far away for many people.

Motions in AmendmentImpact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

June 5th, 2018 / 12:10 p.m.
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NDP

Robert Aubin NDP Trois-Rivières, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his remarks. I will admit that I share some of the views he put forward in his speech. However, I think he overlooked the biggest snag, and that is what I would like to hear him talk about in the next few minutes.

Even though the bill allows BAPE to conduct a certain number of environmental assessments and make use of its expertise, the biggest snag in Bill C-69 is the fact that the minister ultimately gets to decide, with the stroke of a pen, whether to proceed, or not proceed, with the recommendations made to her, regardless of who made them.

Would my colleague not agree that the major snag in Bill C-69 is the enormous powers it gives to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change?

Motions in AmendmentImpact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

June 5th, 2018 / 12:10 p.m.
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Conservative

David Anderson Conservative Cypress Hills—Grasslands, SK

Mr. Speaker, members will hear from this side of the House just how tragic and pathetic this piece of proposed legislation really is.

It is interesting, because the Liberals think they have found a balance. The NDP oppose it for some reasons and we oppose it for others, but typically the reason for the opposition is that it just gives way too much power to the minister, and has way too little transparency and accountability. Not only is this proposed legislation dangerous, and I use that word deliberately, but it is also going to have a very real impact on a large number of people across this country, particularly those who live in areas dependent on resource development.

The Liberals had an opportunity to smooth out the environmental assessment process with this bill, but instead they chose to do the complete opposite. I think there is an intent here to destroy the credibility of the existing EA process in Canada, because the Liberals do not actually want to see resource development carried out. Our Prime Minister will say one thing in Alberta, and as we saw earlier this spring, go to France two days later and apologize for not getting rid of the energy industry soon enough. Therefore, I believe there is an agenda here to complicate this process and to make it basically unmanageable. Then the reality will be that it will not be possible to put in place resource projects across this country. Investors are already basically laughing at Canada and walking away. We saw an article yesterday saying that investors no longer even bother considering Canada as an option to invest in. Therefore, the Liberals are getting their way. The NDP members are getting their way.

The problem with these big government initiatives and socialism, and those of us who live in Saskatchewan understand it, is that it takes a while for the pain to actually begin. It does not happen right away. It is not immediate, but it is profound and long-lasting. The bill before us will have a profoundly long-lasting and negative impact on Canada and our economy.

The bill before us, Bill C-69, is called 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. The main thing it would do is to set up a new impact assessment agency of Canada, replacing some other agencies. That agency will then be the lead on all federal reviews of major projects and would be expected, I guess, to work with other bodies on that.

However, realistically, what will happen here, because of the many things that are being thrown into this mix of what will be called an environmental assessment reality, is that these projects will just not get done. It is interesting, because the bill would add a number of things that need to be considered in an environmental assessment, and things that go far beyond the environment, but it would basically give anyone who has an objection to a project the right to claim there would be some impact on them and that they have a legitimate reason to have the project stopped.

I will talk a little about the process that would take place, because I think when Canadians see it, they will start to understand how disingenuous the government has been with this bill.

If we want to apply for a project, we need to go through an environmental assessment on most things. The Liberals have set up the proposed legislation so that, supposedly, there will be a planning phase of up to a maximum 180 days. This could then go in a couple of directions. It could go to a joint panel, or it could go back to the assessment agency, and there would be some timelines. However, there are a variety of tracks available for it to follow. It could end up at a review panel. The agency itself would oversee the smaller projects and then would have a full review of the larger projects. After a while, when that is done, the agency or panel would submit a recommendation and the minister would have 30 days to approve or reject it.

Well, that sounds pretty straightforward, until we start to look at the actual processes involved in this, and I want to go through three possible tracks. I will probably use most of my time doing this, but it would just point out to Canadians how bizarre this gets and how much interference the minister can play, as the NDP just pointed that out with their last questions.

The minister basically has authority at all levels over these things. The minister can make things go ahead or stop dead, and they can stay stopped if the minister and cabinet decide to do that.

First of all, I will talk about a decision that does not require a joint panel. It does not even require approval by cabinet. Under this proposed legislation, there would be a 180-day planning phase. This is something brand new that the government has thrown in here, which would already put a six-month delay or kind of stop on a project moving ahead. This could be extended by 90 days or it could be extended indefinitely by the minister if someone demanded that. There is no clarity around what that means.

Then there is a 300-day time limit for the impact assessment itself, almost a year, and no surprise, this can be extended by 90 days or indefinitely by cabinet. Timelines are thrown completely out. There is no certainty at all. Why would investors bother getting involved with something like this? And this is the simplest process of the few that are there.

Then there is a 30-day time limit after the minister and cabinet have already been involved at two different levels. It then comes to the minister and cabinet to make the decision. What kind of industry organization or business is going to come forward and put themselves through this when there is absolutely no certainty?

No surprise, that 30-day time limit can be extended by 90 days or it can be extended indefinitely. That is the simplest. A joint panel is not required. Approval by cabinet is not required. At all three levels of planning and working through the process, cabinet has authority to extend the deadline indefinitely or to whatever it chooses to extend it to. A joint panel is not required, and approval by cabinet is not required. Under Bill C-69 the total time should be about 570 days, almost a year and a half, but again, there are several opportunities to extend it.

It starts out again with that 180-day planning phase, which can be extended by 90 days or indefinitely by the minister or cabinet. Then there is a 300-day time limit for the impact assessment itself. The proponent has to get this all done in 300 days, considering all of the different factors that the government has thrown into Bill C-69, and this can be extended by 90 days or indefinitely by the minister or cabinet. Then there is a 90-day limit for cabinet to make a decision and again, this can be extended by 90 days or indefinitely by cabinet.

Those are two tracks.

The third one is a decision that requires a joint panel with a cabinet decision. The time frame on this one is set at 835 days, well over two years, with at least one opportunity to extend it. There are 10 days to start a 45-day screening process, once the decision has been made that this has to go through a joint panel. Then there is 60 days from notice to referring the assessment to the panel. Then there is 24 months from the referral when a decision statement must be issued. This can be extended 90 days by the minister, or indefinitely by cabinet. That actually was the case in the past under the CEAA 2012 method, but under Bill C-69 it would go from that 800 days to 915 days, and there are six opportunities in the bill to extend it.

So there is a 180-day planning phase and a 45-day window for the minister to refer an assessment to a panel, and there is no timeline for establishing a panel at all. The panel has to submit a report to the minister within 600 days, another two years down the road, and this can be extended by the minister until anything the panel prescribes is completed, or by 90 days. Cabinet an extend it indefinitely again, and then there is another 90-day timeline for cabinet.

This assessment process that the government has thrown into the bill is basically a game. It is a game that cabinet can play with anybody who wants to apply for a project in Canada.

It is no surprise as I mentioned before that people are looking at other places to invest. They are investing in other countries. The Americans right now are making it very clear that they want to become the world's largest energy producer and exporter. They are eating our lunch right now. They are doing things: they are lowering taxes; they are easing the regulatory burden on people; and they are not imposing a massive carbon tax that will raise the price of everything. It is no surprise that money is moving out of Canada and into the United States.

The latest version of that is the Liberal government's decision to pay $5 billion to a Texas-based company to buy a used pipeline, which is going to take another $8 billion to $10 billion at least, and probably more knowing this government is involved. That money will be given to this project when the proponent initially did not ask for any money.

It is unfortunate that the Liberals do not keep their promises. This is one more that has been broken. They have not fulfilled their commitments. This entire piece of legislation is just meant to hamper the industry's capacity to be able to do resource development in this country. I am sorry it has even come forward. I wish it were set aside. If this legislation is passed, it will not be a good thing for this country.

Motions in AmendmentImpact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

June 5th, 2018 / 12:25 p.m.
See context

NDP

Alistair MacGregor NDP Cowichan—Malahat—Langford, BC

Mr. Speaker, I want to ask my Conservative colleague a question specifically in the context of the vote we had last week on Bill C-262. I know that the Conservatives did not vote for it, but the important fact is that the Liberals did.

My colleague, the member for Edmonton Strathcona, moved a series of amendments at report stage that seek to bring Bill C-69 in harmony with what the Liberals supported last week on Bill C-262. Does the member have a reasonable expectation that the Liberals would at least remain consistent and support those amendments from the member for Edmonton Strathcona, or are we going to see a flip-flop, where they say one thing and do something completely opposite?

Motions in AmendmentImpact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

June 5th, 2018 / 12:25 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Mike Bossio Liberal Hastings—Lennox and Addington, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am happy to rise today to speak in support of Bill C-69. With this bill, our government is meeting our commitment to rebuild public trust and help get Canada's resources to market. In developing Bill C-69, we heard from provinces, territories, indigenous peoples, businesses, environmental groups, and Canadians from coast to coast to coast.

Overwhelmingly, they told us that they want a modern environmental and regulatory system that protects the environment, supports reconciliation with indigenous peoples, attracts investment, and ensures that good projects can go ahead. That is exactly what our government has delivered in introducing this bill.

Through better rules, Bill C-69 would support the responsible development of Canada's natural resources, create good middle-class jobs, and help grow our economy. Measures in this bill would provide more timely and predictable reviews, more certainty for businesses, and more opportunities for partnerships with indigenous peoples.

Today I would like to take a step back. I want to look more closely at the question of public trust. I am going to discuss what it means to rebuild that trust, how this bill would accomplish that, and how the hard work of the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development has contributed through its careful study of the bill and its thoughtful amendments.

Where there is public trust, proponents, indigenous peoples, stakeholders, and all Canadians can have confidence that major project reviews are based on evidence, including robust science, and indigenous knowledge. It also means that when final decisions are made, Canadians can be assured that those decisions have fully considered the evidence and that they serve the public interest. That is what has been lost under the current rules, and it is what Bill C-69 would restore.

It would do that in a few ways, which I will go on to discuss in more detail. It would do so by clearly setting out in legislation which factors would be considered in reviews of major projects; by ensuring that decisions were made in the public interest, and the reasons for them were communicated; and by ensuring that panels established to conduct project reviews were balanced and included the right people with the right expertise.

I will begin with the factors that would guide major project reviews. Compared with CEAA 2012, Bill C-69 sets out a more comprehensive and complete set of factors for consideration in reviews. While it would provide strong protection for the environment, the bill would expand the scope of reviews beyond the environment alone. Assessments would take a broader view based on sustainability, taking into account a wide range of impacts on the economy, health, indigenous rights, and the community.

Crucially, Bill C-69 would require consideration of a project's impact on indigenous peoples and their rights. In the words of the Prime Minister, “No relationship is more important to Canada than the relationship with Indigenous Peoples.” Considering the rights of indigenous peoples in every review fully aligns with our commitment to achieve reconciliation through a renewed relationship based on the recognition of rights, respect, co-operation, and partnership.

Finally, the bill reflects our government's commitment to effective action on climate change. It would ensure that reviews considered the effects of major projects on Canada's ability to meet our climate change commitments as well as our obligations related to environmental challenges like air quality and biodiversity. That supports our actions to fight carbon pollution, such as working with partners to put a price on pollution that will cut 80 million to 90 million tonnes of GHG emissions by 2022.

That is where we began when our government introduced Bill C-69 in this House in February. Since then, the standing committee has strengthened the bill by adding even more clarity on factors to consider in project reviews and by improving consistency across the legislation.

To highlight just a few of the changes, the committee clarified that both positive and negative impacts must be considered, recognizing that not all effects of major resource projects will be negative. It amended the proposed Canadian energy regulator act to ensure that climate change is considered when making decisions about non-designated projects, including pipelines, power lines, and offshore projects. It improved consistency by requiring that the same set of factors guide the agency's decision on what information and studies are required for a project review, the review itself, and inform the impact assessment report. All these measures would support more predictable reviews, more certainty for industry, and public trust.

Over and over we have heard that a good process means nothing if the decision at the end is opaque and is based on politics, not evidence. When that happens, there can be no public trust. Bill C-69 would do the opposite. It would set up safeguards to ensure that science, indigenous knowledge, and other evidence formed the basis for important decisions on whether major projects would go ahead.

Specifically, following amendments by the standing committee, the bill would require decisions to be based on the assessment report prepared by the impact assessment agency of Canada. Decisions would also need to consider key factors, including the project's contribution to sustainability, meaning its ability to protect the environment and contribute to the social and economic well-being of the people of Canada and preserve their health in a way that benefits present and future generations.

To provide certainty and build trust, public decision statements would need to clearly demonstrate how the assessment report formed the basis for the decision and how those factors were considered. This clarity would benefit all parties: proponents, indigenous peoples, and stakeholders. Through transparency and accountability, it would help ensure that the decisions on projects were made in the public trust.

In terms of further amendments that would improve transparency and help restore trust, the bill would now require that the minister consider any feedback provided by the proponent when deciding whether a decision statement for a project would expire or whether the timeline would be extended. The comments would have to be provided during a time period specified by the impact assessment agency of Canada so that meaningful public participation was assured and balanced with the need for timely assessments.

Last, I want to talk about the safeguards Bill C-69 would provide so that panels set up to review major projects with life-cycle regulators would strike the right balance in their membership. Our government and the standing committee heard from some groups that this is a critical step toward restoring public trust. We recognize that these regulators have long-standing specialized expertise and knowledge. Their participation is essential to ensuring that Canada's resources are developed in a way that protects the environment and grows the economy. We put forward amendments in committee to strike a balance to ensure that review panels also included other voices and perspectives. The bill would require that federal regulators not constitute a majority on the panel. At the same time, regulators would continue to serve on panels and contribute their expertise.

We cannot get Canada's resources to market without public trust. With this bill, we would rebuild that trust by introducing new, fairer processes for project reviews. Bill C-69 would define the needed safeguards so that Canadians could again have confidence that processes were fair and evidence-based, that decisions served the public interest, and that the right projects went forward. As I have described, these measures would include clearly setting out in advance the key factors that would guide major project reviews; requiring evidence-based decision-making; being transparent when final decisions were made so that Canadians would know that the process was being followed, and they could have confidence in the outcome; and ensuring balanced review panels that would bring together diverse expertise and multiple perspectives.

I would like to conclude by once again recognizing the work of the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development. As a result of its members' insight and dedication, the committee's work has produced an amended bill that would respond to the priorities of indigenous peoples, stakeholders, and Canadians and would further contribute to our goal of restoring the public trust.