An Act to enact the Impact Assessment Act and the Canadian Energy Regulator Act, to amend the Navigation Protection Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts

Sponsor

Status

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

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Summary

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Canadian Energy Regulator Act, among other things,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Part 2 also repeals the National Energy Board Act.

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

(a) rename it the Canadian Navigable Waters Act;

(b) provide a comprehensive definition of navigable water;

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Elsewhere

All sorts of information on this bill is available at LEGISinfo, provided by the Library of Parliament. You can also read the full text of the bill.

Votes

June 20, 2018 Passed 3rd reading and adoption of Bill C-69, An Act to enact the Impact Assessment Act and the Canadian Energy Regulator Act, to amend the Navigation Protection Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts
June 20, 2018 Passed 3rd reading and adoption of Bill C-69, An Act to enact the Impact Assessment Act and the Canadian Energy Regulator Act, to amend the Navigation Protection Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts
June 19, 2018 Passed 3rd reading and adoption of Bill C-69, An Act to enact the Impact Assessment Act and the Canadian Energy Regulator Act, to amend the Navigation Protection Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts (previous question)
June 11, 2018 Passed Concurrence at report stage of Bill C-69, An Act to enact the Impact Assessment Act and the Canadian Energy Regulator Act, to amend the Navigation Protection Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts
June 11, 2018 Failed Bill C-69, An Act to enact the Impact Assessment Act and the Canadian Energy Regulator Act, to amend the Navigation Protection Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts (report stage amendment)
June 11, 2018 Failed Bill C-69, An Act to enact the Impact Assessment Act and the Canadian Energy Regulator Act, to amend the Navigation Protection Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts (report stage amendment)
June 11, 2018 Failed Bill C-69, An Act to enact the Impact Assessment Act and the Canadian Energy Regulator Act, to amend the Navigation Protection Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts (report stage amendment)
June 11, 2018 Failed Bill C-69, An Act to enact the Impact Assessment Act and the Canadian Energy Regulator Act, to amend the Navigation Protection Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts (report stage amendment)
June 11, 2018 Failed Bill C-69, An Act to enact the Impact Assessment Act and the Canadian Energy Regulator Act, to amend the Navigation Protection Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts (report stage amendment)
June 11, 2018 Failed Bill C-69, An Act to enact the Impact Assessment Act and the Canadian Energy Regulator Act, to amend the Navigation Protection Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts (report stage amendment)
June 6, 2018 Passed Time allocation for Bill C-69, An Act to enact the Impact Assessment Act and the Canadian Energy Regulator Act, to amend the Navigation Protection Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts
March 19, 2018 Passed 2nd reading of Bill C-69, An Act to enact the Impact Assessment Act and the Canadian Energy Regulator Act, to amend the Navigation Protection Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts
March 19, 2018 Passed 2nd reading of Bill C-69, An Act to enact the Impact Assessment Act and the Canadian Energy Regulator Act, to amend the Navigation Protection Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts
Feb. 27, 2018 Passed Time allocation for Bill C-69, An Act to enact the Impact Assessment Act and the Canadian Energy Regulator Act, to amend the Navigation Protection Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts

Motions in AmendmentImpact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

June 5th, 2018 / 11:40 a.m.
See context

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.
See context

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.
See context

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.
See context

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.
See context

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.
See context

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.
See context

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.
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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.
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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.

Motions in AmendmentImpact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

June 5th, 2018 / 12:35 p.m.
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NDP

Alistair MacGregor NDP Cowichan—Malahat—Langford, BC

Mr. Speaker, one of the gaps in Bill C-69 is that it only requires a consideration of indigenous knowledge in going ahead with these assessments.

The member for Edmonton Strathcona has moved some report stage amendments, specifically Motions Nos. 4, 7, 9, 10, 12, and 13, which seek to bring this bill in harmony with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. I checked the vote last week on May 30, and the member for Hastings—Lennox and Addington did vote in support of Bill C-262, which seeks to bring Canadian laws in harmony with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Will the member be consistent with his vote last week and vote in support of these amendments when they come before the House?

Motions in AmendmentImpact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

June 5th, 2018 / 12:40 p.m.
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Liberal

Mike Bossio Liberal Hastings—Lennox and Addington, ON

Mr. Speaker, I was also on the indigenous committee that studied Bill C-262. I am a very strong supporter of UNDRIP.

I am proud to say that we are the government that for the first time has embedded UNDRIP into a bill, even before UNDRIP was put into effect in this House, by introducing it into Bill C-69 through amendments that the Liberal members of the committee had put forward. I strove to ensure that UNDRIP was included in Bill C-69 even before Bill C-262 has fully passed in this House.

I am very proud of what our government is doing in moving forward with Bill C-262 and I have tremendous respect for the member for the James Bay region and his work on that bill.

Motions in AmendmentImpact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

June 5th, 2018 / 12:40 p.m.
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Conservative

Karen Vecchio Conservative Elgin—Middlesex—London, ON

Mr. Speaker, I first want to address the comment made to the member for Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke. It is not fearmongering and it is not hysteria; it is the fact that the constituents of her riding believe in her, because they know she is going to fight for what they believe in. The fact that she comes to this chamber with such passion is something we can all learn from, because she listens to her constituents and brings their voices to the chamber.

There was a comment made regarding the member for Edmonton Strathcona having a voice at the table. I adore the member for Edmonton Strathcona. Although we are from different parties, she brings so much to the House because of her background. When I sat down with her and we talked, she let me know she felt almost demoralized. That is not her word, but she felt she could not bring anything to the committee because Liberals were not listening. She had so much to bring to that committee, and those voices were not heard. People can say, “We let you sit at the table; we just told you to shut up”, and that is basically what happened here. That is very concerning.

UNDRIP is another thing, and I will allow the NDP members to talk about UNDRIP in this bill. The government says it will vote for something one week, and then the next week it does a total 180°.

I will now speak on Bill C-69, an act to enact the Impact Assessment Act and the Canadian Energy Regulator Act, to amend the Navigation Protection Act, and to make consequential amendments to other acts. I must agree that with that title, we can recognize how large this act is and how many different committees should have been looking at this bill, but instead Liberals sent it to the environment committee, where it got shut down in debate.

There are many concerns being highlighted by the Conservative caucus, informing Canadians about concerns for Canada's economy and the decreased competitiveness in Canada on a number of issues, including reduced taxes on corporations in the U.S. and the $25-a-barrel discount on our oil.

I want to discuss this issue to highlight how it impacts our constituents. I am from the riding of Elgin—Middlesex—London. I am not from a riding that is oceanside and there are not a lot of pipes going through my community, but this bill will impact my community of Elgin—Middlesex—London, so I want to discuss two key items.

In late spring, a bridge collapsed in the village of Port Bruce. This bridge connected the village of Port Bruce to the rest of Aylmer on Highway 73. The first issue was how to rebuild the bridge. We had to look at so many different things, including where we were going to get the money and what we were going to do. There are great people in the municipalities and the country working on this. When the bridge collapsed, one of the first things that came to mind, other than the money, was what the government was going to do with regard to environmental impacts and what kinds of delays the community and council were going to have to deal with.

Having worked with a former MP, I recalled some work I had done with the municipality of Thames Centre back in 2010 on species at risk. We have to understand that there are going to be obstacles, and there was about a 10-month delay in the municipality of Thames Centre because of this. I am very concerned that we will see delays like this when this new legislation proposed by the Liberal government passes. Maybe some things will work and maybe some things are better, but we will never know, because we never got the chance to debate it.

The bridge that collapsed is near the mouth of Catfish Creek and connects the waterways from Catfish Creek to the Great Lakes, specifically Lake Erie. Although I agree with the necessity of environmental assessments, I am concerned that the reconstruction of the bridge will be hampered because of increased bureaucracy, specifically with the passage of Bill C-69. This small community needs support from all levels of government, including the Government of Canada. What will these new timelines do to the government's response and what will the government's involvement be in this project?

Although the government states that what is in the bill would reduce the timelines, we have seen the government's track record and the raft of broken promises. I just do not have it in me to believe that this proposed legislation would create anything but obstacles for our economy and the people who live in Canada. The new planning phase would add an additional 180 days, followed by a 30-day assessment by the minister. There are so many opportunities for both major and minor projects to be slowed down because of this hierarchy and the ministerial and Governor in Council exemptions.

The village of Port Bruce will need a plan. I have reached out to all of the ministers of the government who could impact the reconstruction of this bridge. To date, all of the responses that I have received are basically a bunch of Liberal talking points. I am not seeing assistance. I am not seeing help. Rather, I see the government telling me what it is doing and patting itself on the back and saying that maybe we can go after the gas tax fund. Those are not the kinds of things that we need from the government. I do not really know if people in government understand how smaller municipalities need to work together with all levels of government and how they have to be part of this. They cannot just give us platitudes.

Whether the township and county decide to go with a temporary bridge or go directly toward reconstructing this bridge, I fear that the government will slow things down. The village is a tourist destination and is currently being greatly impacted by the inability of people to take a direct route. We also must be concerned over the inability of the township to adequately provide emergency services. One of the biggest challenges that this community has had is that Highway 73 does not even go there, so we have had neighbouring municipalities get on board to provide those emergency services.

However, we must move forward on our project, and I am totally concerned about what is going to happen in our next phase. Once it decides what it will do, what is the government going to be doing with new red tape approaches, both to the county and to the municipalities?

My second point also focuses on the farmers in my riding and the change to the navigational waters act. For years, I have heard from local farmers about some of the restrictions regarding ditches and things of that sort. We all have different ways of looking at it, but the fact is that we do not have a way of discussing this issue because when we are at committee, debate gets shut down.

For years farmers have been strongly speaking about the restrictions that they have been under, and when in 2012 there were some changes, they applauded the government because they felt that they were not going to be restricted as much. That is positive. When we are trying to work on the economy, we want to make sure that we are working with the stewards of our land and not always against them. I am always concerned with how we are going to make sure we are working forward. I believe in our farmers and I have watched them use responsible methods to improve their applications.

What will this legislation do to impact our local farmers, as well as reconstruction of the bridge? Well, I wish I could tell members more about that, but this bill was rammed through the committee and amendments proposed by all opposition parties were ignored. The government says it is allowing people's voices to be heard, but we know that the moment nine o'clock strikes at committee, committee members can not debate anything further.

We know that the Liberal government put in over 100 of their own recommendations when it came to amendments. Are the Liberals saying that this bill does not need amendments? By having to amend their own bill that many times, I think they have proven to the entire committee and to all Canadians that the bill is flawed.

We may not agree on everything, but the government cut debate. Although we may not agree on everything, the most important part is to listen. As the chair of the status of women committee, I have seen some co-operation when we are talking about amendments and when we are talking about recommendations. When we are all sitting at the table and really trying to do what is best for Canadians, everyone is actually listening. There are opportunities for us to merge. When we are putting in a recommendation, we may take something from the NDP or we may take something from the Liberals and the Conservative Party and merge those thoughts together so that we can all be heard, but Canadian voices have been shut down at committee and in this House when debating this bill.

How are Canadians supposed to know that their voices are being heard when time allocation is being imposed not only on their representatives in this House but also in the committees? How do we know that we are getting what is best for Canadians when the Liberals seem to be listening only to themselves and not listening to some of these amendments?

I agree that Liberals may have some good suggestions but do not think that the Conservatives, the NDP, the Green Party, and the Bloc all have good suggestions. We need to work together.

I see that part of my role as a parliamentarian is to listen. I urge the government to start to listen again. We have seen a lot of problems, but if the government can get off its talking points, maybe we can all do better. I think that is part of the issue: the questions that are being asked are taken back to government talking points. We are not talking about how it is going to impact people. We are not talking how it is going to impact the Trans Mountain pipeline. We are not talking about those things. We are talking about spending $4.5 billion without even seeing how we will get a pipeline built. We know that the government was the obstacle for Kinder Morgan, and now how is it not going to be the obstacle for itself, unless it turns 180° once again?

The government's role is to create a positive atmosphere for businesses to succeed. New taxes, government red tape, and truly poor opportunities for Canadians to speak on legislative changes that engage Canadians are here with this government. I heard the leader of the Greens say that we can do better. With discussions and amendments actually being heard, we can do better. I urge the Liberals to start consulting with all parties.

Motions in AmendmentImpact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

June 5th, 2018 / 12:55 p.m.
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North Vancouver B.C.

Liberal

Jonathan Wilkinson LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to rise today to speak in support of Bill C-69. The bill fulfills a core commitment our government made to rebuild public trust in the environmental assessment system. It is based on 14 months of consultation with provinces and territories, indigenous peoples, companies, environmental groups, and Canadians from coast to coast to coast.

Today, I will start by outlining why we created this bill and what it will accomplish. I will then discuss how our government and the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development have engaged in dialogue with indigenous communities and other partners throughout this process. I will also speak about what we heard.

Finally, I will describe how the standing committee's hard work in studying and amending the bill responds to the comments that have been received, and how it supports our government's commitment to a clean environment and a strong economy.

Before I begin, I would like to congratulate the standing committee and recognize what has been accomplished. Consideration of such a complex and significant bill is a challenging task. I commend the committee for its openness in hearing diverse witness testimony and for making thoughtful amendments that address important issues and significantly strengthen the original bill.

I would like to start my comments by providing some background about Bill C-69: why it is before us today and why it is so important for the future of Canada's economy and environment.

Public trust was eroded as a result of changes made by the Harper government in 2012. Canadians lost confidence in how decisions about major resource projects were made. Bill C-69 aims to restore that trust, put in place better rules to protect our environment, and build a stronger economy. It reflects our conviction that a clean environment and a strong economy can and must go hand in hand in the modern world, something that has guided all of our actions since forming government. It takes a balanced approach: providing certainty for industry while upholding the rights of indigenous peoples, protecting our environment, and facilitating the generation of economic benefits for all Canadians.

I would like to thank indigenous peoples, stakeholders, and Canadians who contributed their knowledge and perspectives. The proposed legislation provides many important improvements. Decisions would be transparent and guided by robust science and indigenous knowledge. Project reviews would consider a wide range of impacts on the economy, health, indigenous rights, and the community, not simply the environment. Reviews would be more timely and more predicable. Measures are included to advance reconciliation and partnership with indigenous peoples. Duplication and red tape would be reduced through a “one project, one review” approach.

As I was saying, during months of consultation, indigenous peoples, stakeholders, and Canadians across the country helped us develop Bill C-69. Since the bill was introduced, our government has continued to ensure that they participate fully in the process at every opportunity.

Hearing from Canadians directly was also central to the standing committee's consideration of the bill. In recent months, the committee heard from more than 80 witnesses with diverse perspectives and expertise. I would like to share some of the valuable input that we heard from stakeholders during this process.

First, indigenous peoples and organizations have said that Bill C-69 must fully support our government's goal of advancing reconciliation and a renewed relationship based on the recognition of rights, respect, co-operation, and partnership, as well as our commitment to implement the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. This is critically important.

As the Prime Minister said, no relationship is more important to Canada than the one with indigenous peoples.

Environmental organizations have stressed the importance of public participation and accessible, transparent information. In particular, they told us that the bill must ensure not just participation, but meaningful participation that has an influence on project reviews and decision-making. From industry and other stakeholders, we heard that the legislation must provide certainty and clarity about what would be considered in project reviews and in decision-making.

The project proponent and other participants should feel confident that the decisions are evidence-based and are made in the public interest.

I am pleased that the standing committee has made a number of amendments to the bill that respond to many of the comments and concerns highlighted by stakeholders and indigenous peoples. Finding appropriate ways to address these issues is not easy, and I want to recognize the committee for its dedication and its collaborative approach.

I would now like to mention some amendments made by the committee and explain how they support our goals for a sound environment and a strong economy.

As a result of the committee's work and feedback from indigenous peoples, the bill now clearly states our government's commitment to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The declaration would now be reflected in the preamble to both the proposed impact assessment act and the proposed Canadian energy regulator act. The government, the minister, the agency, the Canadian energy regulator, and other federal authorities would also need to exercise their powers under the impact assessment act and the Canadian energy regulator act in a manner that respects the government's commitments with respect to the rights of indigenous peoples.

The amendments also add to the existing provisions, to ensure that indigenous knowledge is taken into account along with the science when projects are being assessed. The bill will now require more transparency in how the indigenous knowledge is used and will implement strong measures to protect this knowledge.

The standing committee has strengthened the public participation and transparency provisions across the legislation. The bill now clarifies that Canadians would have opportunities for meaningful participation throughout assessments. To support meaningful participation, a broad range of project information would need to be posted online, and there would be a requirement to maintain this information so that it stays accessible over time.

Furthermore, in response to reactions from environmental organizations, amendments would establish new safeguards so that Canadians can have confidence that the process is fair. For example, the bill clarifies that the project would be based on the impact assessment report and that decisions would also have to consider the main factors of public interest, including the project's contribution to sustainability.

The committee has also responded to industry's calls for more certainty. Amendments have been made to clarify that the government's public interest decision will be based on the assessment report and the consideration of specific factors, including positive and negative consequences. Other amendments include clarifying that comments must be provided during a time period specified by the impact assessment agency of Canada so that meaningful participation is ensured and balanced with a need for timely assessments. They would 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 whether to continue with an impact assessment. Finally, the committee's amendments would improve the transition provisions set out in the bill.

The committee has strengthened Bill C-69 with these changes and others. By maintaining a balanced approach, the bill will further support environmental protection and reconciliation, and will also help increase investor confidence.

I am very proud of our government's work on this bill.

Bill C-69 addresses a key commitment we made during the 2015 election campaign. Our best rules adopt a balanced approach that takes into account the interests of people across Canada.

Once again, I want to recognize the essential contributions made by the standing committee, as well as the many Canadians who participated in consultations and made their voices heard. Thanks to their passion and commitment, I am confident that this bill will support the goals that I believe all of my colleagues share: a clean environment for our children, and a strong and growing economy.

I hope that all members of the House will join me in supporting this bill.

Motions in AmendmentImpact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

June 5th, 2018 / 1:05 p.m.
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Conservative

Harold Albrecht Conservative Kitchener—Conestoga, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is clear that the Liberal government is out to destroy our natural resources sector, not only with this bill but with the introduction of carbon taxes.

In terms of looking at advancements in how we process these things, Bill C-69 proposes a 180-day planning phase, which can be extended by 90 days by the minister or indefinitely by cabinet. There is actually no timeline for establishing the panel. Once it is finally established, the panel has to submit its report within 600 days, and that, again, can be extended by the minister for 90 days or indefinitely by cabinet.

How can my colleague stand in this place and actually imply that the bill would enhance the capability of bringing projects online?

Motions in AmendmentImpact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

June 5th, 2018 / 1:05 p.m.
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Liberal

Jonathan Wilkinson Liberal North Vancouver, BC

Mr. Speaker, obviously, it is important to restore public trust in the processes so that projects can move forward. That was the primary focus of all the work that was done on Bill C-69.

One very important measure that has been introduced is related to the early planning phase. It is something that many resource-based organizations have called for to try to set the parameters and scope of when the environmental assessment would take place so that we can flag issues that need to be addressed early on and not flag them far down the road when they are much more difficult to address. Therefore, I would suggest that the hon. member may want to reflect that comment back to some of the natural resource organizations that asked for this.

With respect to the timelines, there are specific timelines that will provide certainty for proponents going forward. One of the amendments that the member has perhaps not seen is the lowering of the 600-day limit to 300 days. However, the focus is very much on providing timelines that will give certainty to proponents as to how this will proceed in a timely way.