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

Sponsor

Status

Second reading (Senate), as of June 20, 2018

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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

Aeronautics ActGovernment Orders

June 19th, 2018 / 5:45 p.m.
See context

Kanata—Carleton Ontario

Liberal

Karen McCrimmon LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak today about Bill C-392.

Bill C-392 touches upon several subjects, including intergovernmental relations, federalism, and the paramountcy principle, matters that have been debated in both houses of Parliament in relation to a wide range of subjects. In essence, this bill seeks to allow provincial governments to impose restrictions on environmental protection activities and land use for projects which the federal government undertakes across the country.

I applaud the member for Repentigny's initiative to give more prominent consideration to the environment and land use when projects and activities that fall under federal jurisdiction are being considered.

The government also believes that the environment is worth protecting. Canadians should know that their governments, at all levels, are working together to achieve economic and environmental objectives and are acting in the interests of their safety and security.

Every day millions of Canadians can go about their lives in an orderly and predictable way. They get into their cars that start and stop as they should; drive on roads where people follow the rules; buy groceries that are free from contaminants; land in airplanes at airports that are safe; drink water that is clean; and sleep well at night, knowing that our police, fire departments, paramedics, and military personnel are on guard for our security.

Our society depends on laws and rules to function, and each level of government is responsible for those things that fall into its jurisdiction. Education, building codes and highways, for example, are primarily provincial responsibilities. Matters such as defence, aeronautics, and radio communications, for example, extend beyond provincial borders and impact the country as a whole. In these areas, it falls to the federal government to implement a nationally consistent approach that serves Canada and its people.

As we all know, the division of powers in Canada has been defined in the Constitution Act, but we also know that this division is not black and white. There are many areas and many issues where interests will cross jurisdictional lines, where two or even three levels of government have a stake in an issue, like the environment, like health, like safety, like employment.

The Government of Canada works with the provinces on matters such as education, health, and employment. Likewise, the provinces work with the Government of Canada on matters that fall under federal jurisdiction.

This division of power is essential to maintaining order and predictability in our society. It ensures that we avoid the scenario of too many leaders in one situation or a leadership void when no one else wants to take responsibility in another. In Canada, all jurisdictions must work together on certain issues to promote and protect the interests of all Canadians. Even when we agree to work together, we must still respect jurisdictional boundaries.

Recent Supreme Court decisions on the doctrine of interjurisdictional immunity have stated that provincial and municipal legislation cannot impair core matters of federal jurisdiction over aeronautics or radio communication infrastructure.

While these decisions quite clearly establish federal authority on matters such as aerodromes and cell phone towers, the government does not hide behind interjurisdictional immunity to run roughshod over communities.

In fact, to ensure that local concerns are taken into consideration for activities and projects that fall under federal jurisdiction, the government puts processes in place for consultation and the consideration of environmental laws and land use.

I would like to illustrate this point with a few examples.

First, in January 2017, following a regulatory consultation process, Transport Canada implemented a new regulation called Canadian aviation regulation 307–aerodromes–consultations. The regulation was specifically established to require proponents of certain aerodrome projects to consult with affected stakeholders before starting work so local concerns could be identified and mitigated.

As another example, under the Canada Marine Act, Canada port authorities are charged with the management of federal real property and marine assets as well as navigable waters within the ports. In addition to abiding by all federal legislation and regulations, the Canada Marine Act provides for the incorporation of provincial legislation by reference to address specific issues when the need arises. As a result, British Columbia's liquefied natural gas regulation is being applied to the federal lands being managed by the Prince Rupert Port Authority.

My third and final example is the Canada Infrastructure Bank funding program. The Canada Infrastructure Bank acts as a minority partner in delivering federal support to infrastructure projects, alongside co-investment by private sector and institutional investors and sponsoring governments. Projects supported by the bank must respect all applicable laws in the relevant jurisdiction, including any applicable environmental or labour laws. Project sponsors are required to provide assurance to the bank and other investors that all applicable laws in a province have been respected.

The reason these specific examples were chosen is because these initiatives, all of which require consultation and consideration of local issues related to land use and the environment, are taken from the very acts that the private member's bill seeks to amend. There are countless other examples in the same acts and elsewhere that demonstrate the government's commitment to hearing the concerns of Canadians.

Because the government is not above listening and improving, it is constantly looking for ways to demonstrate this commitment.

Recently, it introduced 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. Bill C-69 exceeds the amendments proposed in Bill C-392 and would explicitly reflect the consideration of environmental, social, safety, health, socio-economic issues, including gender-based impacts, economics, and impacts on indigenous peoples.

Bill C-69 will also provide the public an opportunity to express their views during review processes.

As we all know, there are many issues that transcend municipal and provincial boundaries, and many others where the federal government may be unaware of local concerns. For this reason, taking a co-operative approach achieves the best possible outcome for all Canadians. With a country as large and diverse as Canada, we must all act in good faith and work together to achieve the best possible results for our economy and the environment and for our citizens.

Co-operation is a fine balance. There have been, and will continue to be, times when differences arise despite our best efforts to work together. Even the strongest relationships will experience disagreements.

Bill C-392 would represent a major shift in federal-provincial dynamics in Canada and would undermine the co-operative relationship that we have worked so hard to establish.

Aeronautics ActGovernment Orders

June 19th, 2018 / 6:05 p.m.
See context

NDP

Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House to outline my position and the position of the NDP on the bill put forward by my colleague from Repentigny.

I think her bill has many interesting elements with regard to respecting the jurisdictions of Quebec and the other provinces, municipal officials, and certain acts and regulations Quebec or other provinces have passed to protect ecosystems, public health, or local residents. Legal and constitutional matters are being raised. There is also the matter of respecting the Quebec nation, as well as respecting the concept known as social licence. Today, no government of any kind can just barge in like in the old days and try to impose its projects in spite of misgivings or fierce opposition from local, regional, or indigenous communities.

I found it hilarious, but at the same time kind of tragic, to hear the Liberal member say earlier that this bill would undermine her party's efforts to promote co-operative federalism.

That takes some nerve. I do not know whether Kinder Morgan, health transfers, or marijuana mean anything to them in terms of co-operative federalism. That is the type of approach they promised to take during the election, but since they took office, the Liberals have been all about unilateralism, federal imperialism, bulldozing, and charging ahead. I think that is absolutely shameful.

In fact, I would like to point something out to the member for Winnipeg North, the parliamentary secretary. He asked a question earlier and I remembered it. I would simply like to tell him that Quebec is not a region. It is a nation. It was not the National Assembly that said that. That was recognized here in the House of Commons and by the Parliament of Canada. I think the member should do his homework and find out exactly what motions have already been adopted here.

The bill introduced by the member for Repentigny has to do with Quebec, of course, but it also has to do with all of the provinces. It seeks to establish a balanced approach that respects the different jurisdictions of the provinces, the federal government, the municipalities, and first nations.

I would like to remind members of the NPD's approach. A few years ago, we had a leader named Jack Layton. He believed that the recognition of the Quebec nation should have implications and consequences, and he took that very seriously. That resulted in a very interesting document entitled the Sherbrooke declaration, drawn up by Pierre Ducasse. The Sherbrooke declaration, which was historically adopted by the NDP, recognizes the Quebec nation and asymmetrical federalism. For years, we have been accused of being a centralist party, but all of the Canada-wide programs that the NDP has proposed have had a Quebec clause that would allow the province to opt out with financial compensation if it was not interested in the program or if it already had an equivalent program. That is what I mean by asymmetrical federalism.

In terms of co-operative federalism, the bill is a step in the right direction. That is why the NDP will proudly support this bill so that it may be studied in committee. We have questions about the mechanics of the bill and how the courts will interpret the fact that we are restoring balance between various jurisdictions and, if possible, those with the best environmental assessments and the strongest social licence. However, I think that this is worth studying. We agree in principle. Second reading is a vote on the principle. We want to refer the bill to committee to be studied. We have some questions, but we think that the spirit of the bill is consistent with our vision. It is also a step in the right direction toward better understanding, to better protect our communities and the people who want to protect their lakes, rivers, farmland, and simply their peace and quiet. They can protect their creek from one end to the other as well. I am sure that if we can sit down and talk about this we will come to an agreement at some point.

The member for Repentigny introduced a bill that will amend eight federal acts, forcing Ottawa to respect applicable provincial laws and municipal regulations governing land use and development.

That is very important because land development is key here and the government has to do a better job of respecting that. This bill will affect wharves, ports, airports, telecommunications infrastructure, federal properties, interprovincial pipelines, and more.

This bill does not explicitly state how it changes the status quo, and that is what we have questions about. The bill simply says that the exercise of the powers in question must comply with provincial laws.

I believe my colleague from Repentigny mentioned an example to do with the Canada National Parks Act, which already takes certain provincial jurisdictions and regulations into consideration. In many cases, the exercise of powers under federal law is already subordinate to provincial laws, including those that govern land development and environmental protection. We do not see this as an inapplicable precedent or something unprecedented. This is the natural extension of a principle we agree with. Remains to be seen how it will apply in real life.

The bill's purpose is to give the governments of Quebec and the other provinces more power over land development within their borders. The bill would require the federal government to recognize agricultural zoning regulations, for example, and to respect more exacting environmental assessments, such as those carried out by the BAPE, Quebec's environmental assessment agency. We can talk more about that.

As the Green Party leader said, the Liberal government's Bill C-69 does not inspire confidence in the seriousness of the government's new environmental assessment processes. In some ways, this bill is full of holes. We do not even know if it will be enforced or if the Minister of Environment and Climate Change will abide by these recommendations. After all, her discretionary power is absolute.

In accordance with the division of powers under the Constitution, the laws affected by this bill are a matter of federal jurisdiction. According to the Library of Parliament analysis that we requested, it is impossible to determine the legislation's exact scope from its current wording. It is possible that the courts will interpret the provisions of Bill C-392 as an incorporation by reference of provincial laws, meaning that it incorporates, for the purposes of the eight laws amended, the rules set out by the provinces. If it turns out that the courts consider that the provisions of Bill C-392 incorporate by reference the provincial laws related to the eight laws amended, these provincial laws, for the purposes of these eight laws, will be considered to be federal laws. This is a common legislative technique that has a great deal of precedent. However, the real effects remain unknown for the time being. It will be important to examine these points and questions when the bill is studied in committee.

We also consulted David Robitaille, tenured professor in the Faculty of Law at the University of Ottawa. He thinks this bill is interesting and could result in a better division of the responsibilities and decision-making powers between the federal government and provincial governments, or the Government of Quebec in this particular instance.

There are a number of examples in which this could have made a difference if the bill introduced by the member for Repentigny had already been applied. For example, there is the private developer operating near Shawinigan that had the right to operate a small airport on private land or to fly a float plane on a lake, even though it was prohibited by a municipal zoning bylaw or provincial law, such as the Act Respecting the Preservation of Agricultural Land and Agricultural Activities. This is the kind of situation we must stop from happening.

I think it is important to be open, show common sense, and send this bill to committee, so that we can respect Quebec laws, provincial laws, and municipalities.

The current Liberal government violated the rights of indigenous peoples and of British Columbia. It barged in and bought a 65-year-old pipeline for $4.5 billion. It completely disregarded all of the orders from the Government of British Columbia. As a Quebecker, I would be particularly concerned that it might manage to revive a pipeline project like energy east, which had massive opposition throughout Quebec, in Montreal, in the metropolitan area, in towns, and in the regions. Energy east would have crossed 800 rivers in Quebec, including the St. Lawrence. The government needs to understand that it must sit down with Quebec, the provinces, and municipalities to talk things over, like a respectful partner.

Aeronautics ActGovernment Orders

June 19th, 2018 / 6:15 p.m.
See context

Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I always welcome the opportunity to comment on private members' bills. As members opposite will know, I am somewhat opinionated on issues that I believe are of national importance. It is not often that I agree with so many comments of my friend from across the way in the Conservative Party. Maybe we can find some commonality among parties inside the chamber, with the possible exception of some Quebec members of Parliament associated with the Bloc. That is why when I posed the question earlier, I made reference to my own heritage.

I am very much a proud Canadian. I think that we live in the best country in the world. I really believe in Canada's diversity and the rich heritage that can be witnessed in all provinces across our country. I am very proud, for example, of the St. Boniface area, with its very large francophone community that is quite possibly the largest in western Canada, as well as St-Pierre-Jolys where my grandparents came from, prior to coming from la belle province of Quebec. I understand the importance of the many different regions and the beauty from within that diversity.

Having said all that, I am very much a nationalist. I believe that we need strong national leadership on a wide number of fronts. It is in all the regions' best interests to have a government that is prepared to demonstrate leadership issues on those important files. That is ultimately, I would suggest, in the nation's best interest. We have witnessed that very recently.

If this bill were to become law, think of the impact it would have on what has been an incredible issue that has been debated and discussed in this chamber for a number of years. It has been fairly well debated even in the last number of days and weeks. That is in regard to the extension of the pipeline, the Trans Mountain expansion, which was deemed to be in Canada's national interest. As a result, we have the national government playing a fairly proactive role in ensuring that the extension takes place. It is sound policy.

My friend across the way talked about the importance of communities and working with communities, provinces, and municipalities. This government takes that very seriously. A good example of that is the Trans Mountain expansion. We have worked closely with not only provinces and municipalities, but as well with indigenous peoples to resolve a very important debate.

When I talked about the Trans Mountain expansion as one of the areas that is in the national interest, I made reference to my home province of Manitoba. I said that Manitoba has been a have-not province in terms of equalization. It is a beautiful province and I am very proud of it. However, in terms of equalization, we have received literally hundreds of millions, going into billions, of dollars on an annual basis.

That is important to note when we take a look at Alberta and the wealth that it has generated, with its contributions to equalization, and the positive impact that it has had on provinces like Quebec, Manitoba, and many others that have received significant amounts of funds through the development of the beautiful resources that we have. In particular, this one here happens to be oil. It has provided for things such as better quality health care, better quality education, and even investments in many environmentally friendly energy or high-tech companies.

I would argue that this legislation, if it were to pass, would prevent the national government from being able to take the actions necessary once it was deemed that this was in the nation's best interests.

In good part, for that reason I cannot support this legislation. I differ from members opposite. There are many federal areas of responsibility. We could talk about airports, parks, and other lands owned and run by the national government and I believe the national government needs to play that leading role. Quite often, leading means working with the different stakeholders.

This is not to take anything away from provincial jurisdiction or municipal responsibilities they carry out. I am very much aware of that. However, I believe Canadians in every region of our country will recognize there is a responsibility of strong leadership coming from Ottawa to protect those ideas and developments in the national interest. An example is transportation corridors, and we can factor into those transportation corridors our airline industries. Check with the municipalities or the City of Montreal on just how economically important, not to mention socially important, the Montreal airport is to the city and the province. This is also the case with other airports throughout our country, even our more rural airports, in terms of the lands and their operations and what sort of impact this legislation could have on them. The federal government has a responsibility to the population as a whole for such issues.

When I look at the national government and the types of things we have seen developed over the years, I see that it does have a role to play in the environment. We have seen very progressive policies, legislation, and commitments through national budgets in the last couple of years. For example, members made reference to Bill C-69.

We have a government that recognizes it has a role to play. Shortly after the Prime Minister was elected, he went to Paris and invited other stakeholders. I do not know if it is the case, but the Premier of Quebec might have been there. However, I believe other stakeholders such as provinces were represented in Paris. Often we find there is a high sense of co-operation between the different levels of government on those important issues, upon their return. Working with Ottawa and provinces, they can come up with good, sound environmental policies. We can learn from provincial jurisdictions. Some provinces are more progressive than others in different areas of development. The federal government has a role to encourage best practices where it can, and to ultimately have that holistic approach in the overall promotion and development of standards across Canada. As well, where necessary, it needs to be more directly involved, as with Trans Mountain.

When we look at the legislation coming before us, what the member is proposing is that Ottawa ultimately transfer its responsibilities to the provinces. Often my concern with members, whether from the Bloc or the separatist element, is that even though part of their motivation on the surface might be to introduce positive legislation, another part of the motivation is to not necessarily do what is in the best interest of the nation as a whole, but for one region of the country.

Ultimately, what is in Canada's best interest is in the best interest of our provinces, both collectively and individually.

We must continue to work with provinces, municipalities, indigenous groups, and others to ensure that we continue to build that consensus so that Canada remains a country of diversity and a country that understands and appreciates the true value of being a federalist state, and so that we ultimately develop our resources.

Standing Order 69.1—Bill C-59—Speaker's RulingPoint of OrderRoutine Proceedings

June 18th, 2018 / 3:55 p.m.
See context

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

The Chair is now prepared to rule on the point of order raised June 11, 2018 by the hon. member for Beloeil—Chambly concerning the applicability of Standing Order 69.1 to Bill C-59, an act respecting national security matters.

The Chair would like to thank the hon. member for having raised this question, as well as the hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons for his intervention.

The hon. member argued that Bill C-59 is an omnibus bill as he feels it contains several different initiatives which should be voted on separately. On a point of order raised on November 20, 2017, he initially asked the Chair to divide the question on the motion to refer the bill to committee before second reading. As the Speaker ruled on the same day, Standing Order 69.1 clearly indicates that the Chair only has such a power in relation to the motions for second reading and for third reading of a bill. The Speaker invited members to raise their arguments once again in relation to the motion for third reading.

The hon. member for Beloeil—Chambly pointed out that each of the three parts of the bill enacts a new statute. Part 1 enacts the national security and intelligence review agency act, part 2 enacts the intelligence commissioner act, while part 3 enacts the Communications Security Establishment act. He argued that since each of the first two parts establishes a new entity, with details of each entity's mandate and powers, and since the third significantly expands the mandate of the CSE, he felt they should each be voted upon separately. He also argued that each part amends a variety of other acts, though the chair notes that in most cases, these are consequential amendments to change or add the name of the entities in question in other acts.

The hon. member argued that parts 4 and 5 of the bill should be voted on together. They deal with new powers being given to the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, CSIS, relating to metadata collection and threat disruption, as well as with the disclosure of information relating to security matters between government departments.

As part 6 deals with the Secure Air Travel Act and what is commonly referred to as the “no-fly list”, he felt that this was a distinct matter and that it should be voted upon separately.

Finally, the hon. member proposed grouping together parts 7, 8, 9, and 10 for a single vote. Part 7 deals with changes to the Criminal Code relating to terrorism, while part 8 deals with similar concepts in relation to young offenders. Part 9 provides for a statutory review of the entire bill after six years, while part 10 contains the coming into force provisions.

In his intervention on the matter, the hon. parliamentary secretary to the government House leader indicated that the provisions of the bill are linked by a common thread that represents the enhancement of Canada’s national security, as well as the protection of the fundamental rights and freedoms of Canadians. In order to achieve these objectives, he mentioned that it is necessary for Bill C-59 to touch on a number of acts, and that the bill should be seen as a whole, with several parts that would not be able to achieve the overall objective of the bill on their own. He concluded that Standing Order 69.1 should not apply in this case.

Standing Order 69.1 gives the Speaker the power to divide the question on a bill where there is not a common element connecting all the various provisions or where unrelated matters are linked.

Bill C-59 does clearly contain several different initiatives. It establishes new agencies and mechanisms for oversight of national security agencies and deals with information collection and sharing as well as criminal offences relating to terrorism. That said, one could argue, as the parliamentary secretary did, that since these are all matters related to national security, there is, indeed, a common thread between them. However, the question the Chair must ask itself is whether these specific measures should be subjected to separate votes.

On March 1, 2018, the Speaker delivered a ruling regarding Bill C-69 where he indicated that he believed Standing Order 69.1 could be applied to a bill with multiple initiatives, even if they all related to the same policy field. In this particular case, while the Chair has no trouble agreeing that all of the measures contained in Bill C-59 relate to national security, it is the Chair's view that there are distinct initiatives that are sufficiently unrelated as to warrant dividing the question. Therefore, the Chair is prepared to divide the question on the motion for third reading of the bill.

The hon. member for Beloeil—Chambly has asked for six separate votes, one on each of the first three parts, one on parts 4 and 5, one on part 6, and one on parts 7 to 10. While the Chair understands his reasoning, it does not entirely agree with his conclusions as to how the question should be divided.

As each of the first three parts of the bill does, indeed, enact a new act, the Chair can see why he would like to see each one voted upon separately. However, the Chair's reading of the bill is that these three parts establish an overall framework for oversight and national security activities. For example, the national security and intelligence review agency, which would be created by part 1, has some oversight responsibilities for the Communications Security Establishment provided for in part 3, as does the intelligence commissioner, established in part 2. Furthermore, the intelligence commissioner also has responsibilities related to datasets, provided for in part 4, as does the review agency. Given the multiple references in each of these parts to the entities established by other parts, these four parts will be voted upon together.

Part 5 deals with the disclosure of information between various government institutions in relation to security matters. While the relationship between it and the first four parts is not quite as strong, as the member indicated that he believed that parts 4 and 5 could be grouped together, the Chair is prepared to include part 5 in the vote on parts 1 to 4.

The hon. member for Beloeil—Chambly has not addressed the question of the new part 1.1 added to Bill C-59 by the adoption of an amendment to that effect during clause-by-clause consideration of the bill. Part 1.1 enacts the avoiding complicity in mistreatment by foreign entities act, which deals with information sharing in situations where there is a risk of mistreatment of individuals by foreign entities. Since the national security and intelligence review agency, created by part 1 of the bill, must review all directions prescribed in this new part, it is logical that this part be included in the vote on parts 1 to 5.

The Chair agrees with the hon. member that part 6 dealing with the “no-fly list” is a distinct matter and that it should be voted upon separately. The Chair also agree that parts 7 and 8 can be grouped together for a vote. Both largely deal with criminal matters, one in the Criminal Code and the other in the Youth Criminal Justice Act.

The Chair has wrestled with where to place parts 9 and 10. They are, in the words of the hon. member for Beloeil—Chambly, largely procedural elements, but they apply to the entire act. Part 9 provides for a legislative review of the act, while part 10 contains the coming into force provisions for the entire act. The Chair also must ensure that the title and preamble of the bill are included in one of the groups.

There is an obvious solution for coming into force provisions in part 10. Since clauses 169 to 172 relate to the coming into force of parts 1 to 5 of the bill, they will be voted on with those parts. As clause 173 deals with the coming into force of part 6, it will be included in the vote on that part.

This leaves the title and the preamble as well as the legislative review provided for in part 9, which is clause 168. Though these apply to the entire bill, the Chair has decided to include them in the largest grouping, which contains parts 1 to 5 of the bill.

Therefore, to summarize, there will be three votes in relation to the third reading of Bill C-59. The first vote will deal with parts 1 to 5 of the bill, as well as the title, the preamble, part 9 regarding the legislative review, and clauses 169 to 172 dealing with coming into force provisions. The second vote relates to part 6 of the bill and the coming into force provisions contained in clause 173. The third vote relates to parts 7 and 8 of the bill. The Chair will remind hon. members of these divisions before the voting begins.

I thank all hon. members for their attention.

Impact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

June 18th, 2018 / 4:10 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Stephanie Kusie Conservative Calgary Midnapore, AB

Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time today with the hon. member for Cariboo—Prince George.

The proposed legislation before us is very concerning for me, and I will tell members why.

I am a member of Parliament who is very fortunate to have grown up in my riding of Calgary Midnapore and to represent the place where I grew up. Calgary Midnapore is a beautiful riding in the south-central part of Calgary. It is home to five beautiful lakes. I was very fortunate to have grown up in one of these lake communities, called Lake Bonavista. In addition to Lake Bonavista, there is Lake Midnapore, Lake Chaparral, and Lake Sundance. We are so very fortunate to have come from these communities, which are lovely family environments. People grow up in the summer swimming in these lakes and in the winter skating on them. These communities really are the backbone of the riding.

These communities were built on the back of the energy sector, the oil and gas sector. It is something everyone in the community recognizes. Everyone is very proud that these lovely communities were built with the oil and gas sector. When we went to school in Calgary Midnapore, it was with the hope that one day, we would go on to high school and perhaps the University of Calgary, where we have prestigious business and engineering programs. I am a very proud graduate of the University of Calgary.

When I went to my niece Samantha's grade 4 graduation six years ago, all the students who were moving on to middle school went to the microphone and said what they hoped to do. Outside of many young people there wanting to be hockey players, so many said that they wanted to be accountants or engineers like their moms and go on to work in the oil and gas sector.

This was just part of who we were and our upbringing. We would grow up in these lovely communities and get an education with not only the hope but the confidence that we would have good jobs in the oil and gas sector when we were finished our education. We would get married, raise families, and have confidence that we would be able to provide for our families as a result of the oil and gas sector, which was so relied upon by this community for so long. It was such a backbone of not only Calgary Midnapore but of Calgary itself, Alberta, and beyond. It is similar, perhaps, to how people in our capital might reference the public sector.

In addition to that, there was an appreciation of the National Energy Board. It was seen as an institution in Calgary. It was well understood that the decisions that came out of the National Energy Board had gone through a rigorous process, with proper consideration of all the factors necessary to support a thriving oil and gas sector and a prudent oil and gas sector, one that took into account the many needs and considerations of project approval.

These are two sacred cows in the riding I represent and grew up in: the oil and gas sector, and the confidence within that sector; and the National Energy Board. Unfortunately, with Bill C-69, we are seeing these concepts, these things Calgarians count on, thrown out the window entirely. These things will not exist any longer as we knew them before.

It is because of these considerations that provide so much more uncertainty in this sector, not only for the citizens of Calgary Midnapore, but in Calgary and beyond. Of course, the considerations I am referring to are numerous, but they include health, social issues, gender issues, and indigenous rights.

Therefore, going forward, everything has changed as we know it in the oil and gas sector for my constituents of Calgary Midnapore. We are seeing this take place in a number of ways, and one is in the uncertainty of project approval. I have a quote from the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association.

CEPA is very concerned with the scope of the proposed new Impact Assessment process. From the outset, CEPA has stated that individual project reviews are not the appropriate place to resolve broad policy issues, such as climate change, which should be part of a Pan-Canadian Framework. Including these policy issues adds a new element of subjectivity that could continue to politicize the assessment process.

That is what I said when the NEB review came out last year. I said that the right hon. Prime Minister wrote the report he wanted, and he got the outcomes he wanted in regard to what I believe is essentially destroying the NEB. Everything certainly has changed.

We are hearing a lot of other things in regard to project approvals from industry members themselves, who are very concerned. Here is a quote from a land manager at Cona Resources, a foreign investment company that has left Canada. I will talk a little more about this later, but it is not alone in its exodus. It said, “To a certain extent, Canada will remain a higher cost country because of the social infrastructure that we have in place and our social licence to operate. While there is some opportunity to reduce some of those, the costs are not a net benefit to the country. I don't think that is what is deterring foreign investment. I think if we had greater consistency in both the royalties and taxation structure, people would be more comfortable. The uncertainty is what drives away project approval and foreign investment, and you have to sort of rely on your desire. If the project is a net benefit to Canada as a whole, you have to trust that the federal government will be able to enforce the decisions that were made, and trust that they are making the right decisions.”

Therefore, Bill C-69 is very concerning to industry members as well.

With regard to uncertainty to market access, we have seen that in a number of projects recently. Petronas LNG, a $36-billion project, has left Canada as a result of the uncertainty of project approval, and therefore market access. Keystone, with 830,000 barrels of oil a day, an $8-billion project, is at this time not going forward. Energy east, a $15.7-billion project, was abandoned, squarely on the NEB decision to consider direct and indirect greenhouse emissions. Northern gateway would have provided close to 4,000 jobs.

What else are we seeing? We are seeing foreign investment fleeing, as I mentioned previously. The corporations are too numerous to mention, but I will name a few of them. There is Royal Dutch Shell. It has gone. Growing up in Calgary Midnapore, I remember during the 1988 winter Olympics, people wearing their Shell jackets with pride. There is Statoil, a Norwegian company. We have heard a lot about Norway in our conversations here. Marathon Oil is out the door, as is ConocoPhillips. Investment is simply not attractive in Canada at this time, and we continue to see these investments leaving Canada.

I mentioned previously an event I went to called SelectUSA, where the U.S. consulates network is working very hard to attract even Canadian investment outside of Canada to the States. That is because that environment is providing a more competitive environment and better place for corporations to do business at this time.

In conclusion, I will say for Calgary Midnapore and Canadians that things will never be the same after Bill C-69.

Impact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

June 18th, 2018 / 4:20 p.m.
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Conservative

Stephanie Kusie Conservative Calgary Midnapore, AB

Sadly, Mr. Speaker, my colleague from North Okanagan—Shuswap knows that the response is “all of the above”. It is for a multitude of reasons that we are in fear of this piece of legislation, and for all of those reasons, the project approval, the uncertainty in regard to market access, the foreign investment that is in large exodus from Canada. The sad thing is that there are so many other reasons beyond those three, and as they relate specifically to Bill C-69, they are the carbon tax, red tape, taxation structures in general. It is a very unfortunate time for not only the oil and gas sector, but for Canadian industry in general. I am very worried for the future of not only my son, but for all the young inhabitants of Calgary Midnapore.

Impact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

June 18th, 2018 / 4:25 p.m.
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Conservative

Todd Doherty Conservative Cariboo—Prince George, BC

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank our colleague from Calgary Midnapore for a very heartfelt intervention. I think I have just scrapped my entire speech because of what our colleague has mentioned.

It brought me back to growing up in the Cariboo and what our thoughts and dreams were as kids. I was one of the those kids who wanted to be a hockey player and to move on. However, the reality was, we were probably going to become a logger or a farmer, because that is what we did, and that is what we do very well in the Cariboo.

Bill C-69 bring us back to yet another failed election promise of the Liberals and to some of what we have mentioned throughout this House over recent days, weeks, and months. When the member for Papineau was campaigning in 2015, he talked about letting debate reign, yet here we sit.

This is the 44th time allocation that has been imposed on this House, meaning that the members of Parliament on the opposition side, and the Canadians who elected them, have not had the full opportunity to present their feelings about what the government is doing, whether it is on Bill C-69, Bill C-59, Bill C-71, or Bill C-68.

Thank goodness that the Standing Orders dictate that private members' bills cannot be time allocated, and our late colleague, Senator Enverga's private member's bill, Bill S-218, has had the full breadth of comments and support.

Bill C-69 seeks to reverse the 2012 changes to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act. I will bring us back again to the promise from the member for Papineau, or one of the Liberals, who said that the government would undertake a full review of laws, policies, and operational practices when it comes to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act.

There are a number of people, groups, and organizations that have serious concerns over what Bill C-69 proposes. Our hon. colleague has mentioned, and it has been mentioned before, that most notably the legislation says it intends to decrease the timelines for both major and minor projects. Unfortunately, there are a myriad of ministerial and Governor in Council exemptions that can be exercised to slow down approvals.

What Bill C-69 represents is not a further clarification of the rules and regulations so that project proponents and those who are trying to enforce the act know where they stand, but rather it muddies the waters. What we have heard time and again, what the committee heard time and again, was that it was a wait and see. There was a lot of concern, and indeed those very groups, the environmental groups, that the Liberals campaigned to and got their vote are now saying that it does not meet the standards.

We have seen this over and over again with the government. It likes to say it has consulted with Canadians, and its Liberal members stand with their hand on their heart and talk about how important consultation is. Yet we know, time and again, as it is with the cannabis legislation, the Liberals are rushing legislation through without fully looking at some of the concerns that have been brought forward by the groups, the organizations, and the stakeholders who are going to be most impacted.

Let us talk about the Arctic surf clam in my file. I cannot stand up and do a speech nowadays without bringing up this injustice. The minister was given the authority and the discretion to go in and implement policy, without anybody checking how this would impact the stakeholders, and without the minister consulting about how that policy would impact those on the ground, the stakeholders, whose livelihoods truly depend on the Arctic surf clam fishery. These are some of the concerns that we have.

When the member for Papineau was campaigning, he said that omnibus bills were done for, and yet here we are again debating another 400-page piece of legislation.

He also talked about maybe having a small deficit of $10 billion. We now know that it will not be our children but our grandchildren who will see a balanced budget, because of the Liberal government's spending.

Bill C-69 represents more broken promises, and it does nothing to give confidence to industry. We know at this time that foreign investment is fleeing our nation at record levels. The CEO from Suncor recently spoke to Bill C-69 and said that it had absolutely put a nail in the coffin of Canadian investment in industry.

The government would like everyone to believe that it knows best and that the Ottawa-developed policies have the best intentions for Canadians, yet the Liberals are not listening when Canadians are speaking. They are not allowing members of Parliament to stand and bring the voices of Canadians to Parliament.

It would not be one of my speeches if I did not remind the House and Canadians that the House does not belong to me, and it sure as heck does not belong to those on the government side. It belongs to Canadians. All 338 members of Parliament and the Canadians who elected them deserve to have a say and to have their voices heard. When the government is forcing time allocation on pieces of legislation that fundamentally are going to have an impact on Canadians' lives, Canadians deserve to have a say.

Industry is shaken at the government's lack of consultation and lack of understanding on how we are moving forward. A good friend of mine, the hon. member for North Okanagan—Shuswap, asked our colleague from Calgary Midnapore about the industry's lack of confidence. Is it the carbon tax and the fact that the government refuses to tell Canadians how much it is going to be? Is it Bill C-69, the regulatory environment, that is shaking the confidence of the industry? Is it other legislation that is shaking the confidence of industry, or is it all of the above?

I would offer one more. The Prime Minister, in one of his earliest speeches to the world, spoke about how Canada was going to be known more for its resourcefulness than for its natural resources. The Liberals have waged war against our energy sector from day one. He said he wished the government could phase out the energy sector sooner and apologized for it.

Canadians and the energy sector, our natural resource industry, deserve a champion. The Minister of Natural Resources has said that it is about time our forestry producers and our energy producers got in line with what the world is doing in terms of technology and sustainable harvesting.

Whether it is our softwood lumber producers, our oil and gas producers, our fishermen on the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, or our farmers, Canada has some of the best, if not the best, in terms of technology and harvesting. They are leading the way. They just need a champion. Guess what? They will have that in 2019, when the Conservatives regain the right side of the House.

Impact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

June 18th, 2018 / 4:35 p.m.
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Conservative

Todd Doherty Conservative Cariboo—Prince George, BC

Mr. Speaker, my hon. colleague from North Okanagan—Shuswap brings up a great point. I meant to bring it up, but I got so excited about all the other topics.

Bill C-69 and Bill C-68 are fluff pieces that kind of weighed into the 2015 campaign promises to the environmental groups. Fishermen groups have come to my office to tell me that when the Conservatives were in power, they could get in to see a minister, and now they need to go through an environmental group to see a minister. I have also heard that sitting around the table to develop this policy are more environmental groups than the actual stakeholders whom this is going to affect the most. We also know who is calling the shots at the highest level of government. It is Gerald Butts, who was the president and CEO of the World Wildlife Fund prior to coming to his current office and calling the shots.

Bill C-69 represents another fluff piece of legislation that both sides have said does not go far enough. I have said it before: Canadians and industry deserve a champion, and they are going to get one in 2019.

National Security Act, 2017Government Orders

June 18th, 2018 / 8:15 p.m.
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Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Madam Speaker, I would say this to the hon. member for Esquimalt—Saanich—Sooke. I remember the fight we had in the 41st Parliament with respect to Bill C-51, the so-called Anti-terrorism Act, which I believe made Canada much less safe. It is hard for me to actually vote for Bill C-59 now, especially when I hear his very good arguments.

However, I will tell him why I am going to vote for Bill C-59. I am very relieved to see improvements to what I thought were the thought-chill provisions in Bill C-51, the rules against the promotion of unexplained terrorism “in general”. There are big improvements to the no-fly list. However, there are not enough improvements, for my taste, to the ability of CSIS to take kinetic action. The big failure in Bill C-59 in front of us is the information sharing around what Canadians are doing with other governments.

The irony for me is that the Liberals voted for Bill C-51 in the 41st Parliament and voted against the destruction of environmental assessments in Bill C-38. Ironically, I think they have done a better job now of fixing the bill they voted for than of fixing the bill they voted against, at least as far as environmental assessments go. Therefore, I am voting against Bill C-69 on environmental assessments. However, I am voting for Bill C-59. I am influenced a lot by Professors Craig Forcese and Kent Roach, who overall think this is an improvement. I do too, overall. However, it does not fix everything Bill C-51 did to make us less safe.

I appreciate the member's thoughtful analysis, and I am going to vote for it, but with misgivings.

Opposition Motion—Global Climate Change and Clean Energy LeadershipBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

June 12th, 2018 / 10:40 a.m.
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Northumberland—Peterborough South Ontario

Liberal

Kim Rudd LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the hon. member for Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie for his motion. In many ways, I thought he did a great job in his opening comments and in his motion of summarizing our government's record to date, as well as our vision for Canada's future in this clean growth century.

Among other things, his motion acknowledges our commitment to making Canada a global climate change leader, and rightly so. After all, we did not just sign the Paris accord on climate change; we helped to shape it.

Then we took a leadership role in the creation of Mission Innovation, a new global partnership that is accelerating clean energy solutions like never before.

We sat down with the provinces and territories. We engaged with indigenous peoples. We consulted with Canadians on how best to reach our climate change targets. The result was the pan-Canadian framework on clean growth and climate change, which lays out a path to the clean growth, low carbon economy, a blueprint for reducing emissions, spurring innovation, adapting to climate change, and creating good, sustainable jobs across the country, the very things the hon. member opposite prescribes in his motion. However, we have not stopped there.

We continue to make generational investments in clean technology and innovation as well as foundational science and research. We are making similar unprecedented investments in the green infrastructure that supports clean growth. At the same time, we are putting a price on carbon and accelerating the phase out of coal. All of this leads me to think the hon. member opposite wrote his motion by taking a page out of our policy book. That will become even clearer as this debate proceeds.

Over the course of today, a number of my colleagues will speak to specific elements of the motion, including our comprehensive efforts to combat climate change, such as our record investments develop clean and renewable sources of energy, our focus on promoting energy efficiency, and our plan to protect Canada's oceans and coastal communities.

I would like to begin as the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources by setting the scene, explaining how the many moving parts fit together, and how Canada's abundant natural resources, including our vast supply of energy, are a key piece of the clean tech puzzle.

The world is in the midst of something that has only happened a few times in history, a fundamental shift in the types of energy that power our societies. The page of that transition may vary from country to country, but it is under way and it is irreversible.

Climate change is forcing all of us to think differently about how we power our factories, heat our homes, and fuel our vehicles, and about the importance of using both traditional and renewable energy more efficiently.

This is not just another issue. We are not talking about tinkering with a particular government policy or deciding whether to build a road somewhere. We are talking about the future of our planet. We are talking about creating an entirely new direction for our economy, redefining how we see our connectiveness to other nations, and about the importance of global action.

That is why our government is taking action. This year alone we have invested in smart electricity grids, electric and alternative fuel for charging stations, more energy efficient homes, and help for northern communities to move off diesel. Each of these takes us a step closer to the future we want, a country driven by clean technology and defined by innovation.

We are also reimagining carbon by turning otherwise harmful carbon dioxide emissions into valuable products, such as building materials, alternative fuels, and consumer goods.

Just last week we heard exciting news reports about a company on the west coast that had found a way to pull carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and turn it into a low carbon fuel for vehicles at an economical price of less than U.S. $100 per tonne. That is where Canadians are taking us with their ingenuity and their imagination. This is the kind of innovation that will transform our economy and create great green jobs for years to come.

Then there is energy efficiency, an area that is too often overlooked. According to the International Energy Agency, improving energy efficiency could get us almost halfway to our Paris commitments. Just think of that: halfway. Thus is why we have proposed new building codes that will require our homes and offices to do more with less and transform the use of energy in the country for generations.

Canadians are helping to lead the way with innovative and novel ways to reduce our energy consumption. Our government is investing in those opportunities but there is still plenty of work to be done, which is why we continue to invest in our traditional sources of energy, and why we continue to develop our vast oil and gas reserves as a bridge to tomorrow's low-carbon economy.

There are two reasons for that. First, as the IEA also tells us, global demand for energy will increase by 30% by 2040. That is like adding another China in terms of energy demand. Even under the most optimistic scenarios for renewable energy, and even with our best efforts at enhancing energy efficiency, much of that increased demand identified by the IEA will have to be met by fossil fuels. The fact is the world will continue to rely on oil and gas for some time, meaning that our conventional energy is not “increasingly obsolete”, as the hon. member opposite would have us believe.

The second reason for developing our oil and gas resources is so Canada can leverage the revenues it generates to invest in our low-carbon future. I will have more to say on that in a moment, but first I would like us to return to the motion before us.

I presume the hon. member opposite's reference to fossil fuel infrastructure is a thinly veiled reference to our government's decision last month to secure the Trans Mountain pipeline and its expansion. Even on that score, I would argue that the hon. member is playing catch-up to our government. Let me explain.

As all members of this House know, our government approved the Trans Mountain expansion and Line 3 replacement pipelines based on the best science, the widest possible consultations, and Canada's national interest. Those decisions were made as part of a sensible policy that includes diversifying our energy markets, improving environmental safety, and creating thousands of good middle-class jobs, including in indigenous communities.

However, what the member opposite may have forgotten is that we made two other key decisions at the same time. First, we rejected the northern gateway project because the Great Bear Rainforest is no place for an oil pipeline. Second, we placed a moratorium on tanker traffic along the northern B.C. coastline, including around the Dixon Entrance, the Hecate Strait, and the Queen Charlotte Sound.

All of those decisions reflected balance, and our belief that economic prosperity and environmental protection can, and indeed must, go hand in hand, and that there must be a balance. The Trans Mountain expansion pipeline is part of that balance. It is part of the plan that I described earlier using this time of transition to Canada's advantage by building the infrastructure we need to get our resources to global markets and then using the revenues they generate to invest in cleaner forms of energy. By moving more of our energy to tidewater, our producers will have greater access to global markets and world prices, which according to analysts at Scotiabank and others, could add about $15 billion annually to the value of our oil exports.

In addition, the construction and operation of the pipeline is expected to generate as much as $4.5 billion in new federal and provincial government revenues. Those are new tax dollars to pay for our hospitals and schools, to build new roads and bridges, to fund our cherished social programs, and yes, to invest in clean technology and renewable energy.

The TMX pipeline will operate within Alberta's own 100-megatonne cap on greenhouse gas emissions, making the project consistent with Canada's climate plan. For all those reasons it was essential that our government take the necessary steps to protect the project from the political uncertainty caused by the Government of British Columbia. However, as the Minister of Finance has said, our plan is not to be the long-term owner of the TMX pipeline. We know that the TMX pipeline has real economic value and we fully expect that investors will want to be part of the project's future. In fact, we are already seeing that. A number of investors, including indigenous groups, have expressed interest in taking an ownership position.

This is all part of a well-begun journey to our clean energy future, a journey that started as soon as we formed government and set about restoring public confidence in the way major resource projects, such as the TMX pipeline, are reviewed.

One of the first ways we did that was by adopting an interim approach for major projects already in the queue. These principles include assessing direct and upstream greenhouse gas emissions associated with the project, expanding public consultations and indigenous engagement, and recognizing the importance of indigenous knowledge, all the while ensuring that no project proponent would have to return to the starting line.

This new approach led to a number of significant breakthroughs. For example, we led the single deepest indigenous engagement ever for a Canadian resource project in Canada, and we responded to what we heard from those consultations by co-developing an indigenous advisory and monitoring committee to oversee the lifespan of the TMX pipeline, as well as an economic pathways partnership to enable indigenous workers to reap the benefits of the projects. Both are Canadian firsts. Our government also appointed a special ministerial panel to hear from Canadians whose views may not have been considered when the National Energy Board concluded its review of the TMX project.

In the end, we approved the project and accepted the NEB's 157 binding conditions as part of our larger plan for clean growth. It is a plan that combats climate change, protects our oceans, invests in clean technology and energy, restores investor and public confidence, and advances indigenous reconciliation.

We introduced legislation, Bill C-69, as a permanent fix to the way environmental assessments and regulatory reviews are carried out in Canada. We have also launched a historic process to recognize and implement inherent indigenous rights, a new approach that will renew Canada's relationship with indigenous peoples, rebuild indigenous nations, and set a real path to indigenous self-determination based on mutual respect and partnership. We have tabled budget after budget that promotes clean growth, improves opportunities for indigenous communities, and supports fundamental science. Our budget this year builds on its predecessors by encouraging businesses to invest in clean energy and use more energy-efficient equipment. It also invests in cybersecurity for critical infrastructure, such as energy grids and information networks.

Budget 2018 recognizes that Canada will not get ahead if half of its population is held back, that investing in women is not just the right thing to do, it is the smart thing to do.

Our government has matched its words with actions, investing to build exactly the kind of future that the hon. member opposite envisions, one where science, curiosity, and innovation spur economic growth. All of these things I have talked about today are part of a solid plan, a balanced practical plan, one with many elements but a single goal: making Canada a leader in the global transition to a low-carbon future by creating the prosperity we all want while protecting the planet we all cherish.

I know the hon. member opposite shares those same goals. His motion speaks to our vision, and I hope he will continue to support our efforts.

Opposition Motion—Global Climate Change and Clean Energy LeadershipBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

June 12th, 2018 / 11:55 a.m.
See context

North Vancouver B.C.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for Edmonton Mill Woods.

I am very pleased to stand in the House today to discuss the motion of my colleague, the hon. member for Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie.

I appreciate the call for Canada to be a global climate change leader. I agree, and Canada is. However, this motion fails in a number of areas, including its failure to recognize the actions the government has taken in ensuring that the environment and the economy go together as we build a clean energy economy. Our government has been steadfast in its belief that a strong economy and a clean environment go hand in hand. The NDP motion completely ignores the historic investments that the government has made through successive federal budgets that specifically address Canada's environment, coastlines, waterways, and wildlife, as well as the introduction of government legislation such as Bill C-69, Bill C-68, Bill C-57, and Bill C-74, which would further strengthen our ability to protect the environment and grow the economy in sustainable ways.

Today, I will highlight the global market for clean technologies and the enormous opportunity Canadians are already taking advantage of that is estimated to be in the trillions of dollars, with demand only increasing, and at an incredibly rapid pace.

This is an area I personally know very well, having spent the past almost 20 years as a chief executive officer and senior executive in the clean technology and renewable sector. The clean technology industry presents significant opportunities for Canadian businesses from all sectors of the economy. That is why investing in clean technology is a key component of our government's approach to promoting sustainable growth and to addressing key environmental challenges.

Our government also recognizes that clean technology is a source of good, well-paying jobs for Canadians. Therefore, when it comes to clean technology, Canada has the opportunity to be a true global leader, creating good, well-paying jobs for Canadians, while helping to meet our climate change and other important environmental goals.

Clean technologies are central to Canada’s low-carbon, globally competitive economy that provides high-quality jobs and opportunities for our middle class and those working hard to join it.

Clean technologies are by definition innovative technologies. Our government understands that innovation is a key driver of economic success. That is why we developed an innovation skills plan that will assist in making Canada a world-leading centre for innovation.

Today, clean technology already employs over 170,000 Canadians, and we sell about $26 billion annually in goods and services. Of that $26 billion, about $8 billion is exported.

Clearly, there is a strong appetite for Canadian innovation, but we have only just scratched the surface and there is so much more room to grow. That is why our government set aside more than $2.3 billion for clean technology in budget 2017. For the record, that is Canada's largest-ever public investment in this field. Prior to making this historic investment, we worked closely with industry to develop a comprehensive strategy that will successfully accelerate the development of the sector.

This $2.3 billion will support clean technology research, development, demonstration, and adoption and the scaling up of our businesses.

We know that access to financing fuels the growth of companies and provides the capital needed to hire new staff, develop products, and support sales at home and abroad, which is why we have set aside $1.4 billion in new financing for clean-tech providers. This is in addition to the $21.9 billion investment in green infrastructure, which will create jobs and position Canada for the low-carbon economy of the future.

We have also allocated $400 million to recapitalize Sustainable Development Technology Canada. This fund is helping our Canadian businesses develop world-class expertise in clean technology engineering, design, marketing, and management. To date, the fund has invested $989 million in 381 Canadian companies, supporting projects across the entire country. The funding has helped these companies develop and demonstrate new clean technologies that promote sustainable development, including those that address environmental issues, such as climate change, air quality, clean water, and clean soil.

There is also the Business Development Bank of Canada with its $700 million commitment to help clean technology producers scale up and expand globally. Since mid-January, I am pleased to say that four investments worth $40 million have been made. Through our participation in mission innovation, the Government of Canada will work with the international community to double federal investment in clean energy research and development over five years.

These are very significant and substantive investments, and we will drive for strong results. The government will carefully monitor the results of its investments both in terms of economic growth and jobs, as well as the environment.

Through a new clean-tech growth hub within Innovation Canada, the government will streamline client services, improve federal program coordination, enable tracking and reporting of clean technology results across government, and connect stakeholders to international markets. The clean growth hub is the government's focal point for all federal government supporting clean technology. Since launching in mid-January, the hub has served over 450 companies. This one-stop shop is a major innovative win for government that industry is already recognizing as a key step forward.

The 2017 Global Cleantech Innovation Index, which investigates where entrepreneurial companies are most likely to emerge over the next 10 years, ranked Canada fourth, up from seventh in 2014. Further, in January of this year, the Cleantech Group released a Global Cleantech 100 list. The list recognizes the clean-tech companies that are most likely to have significant market impact over the next five to 10 years.

Under the Harper government, Canada's share of the global clean-tech market shrunk by half. In partnership with the clean-tech industry, we have successfully turned this around. This year, a record 13 Canadian clean technology firms comprised the top 100. All the winning companies are clients of the Canadian trade commissioner service, and seven of the 13 companies are Export Development Canada customers.

We know that is only a small sampling of the innovative clean technology companies that are doing amazing work every day across the country to create economic growth, and solve our most pressing environmental challenges.

For example, in Montreal, GHGSat has developed the technology to monitor industrial greenhouse gas emissions using satellite technology. They launched their first satellite in 2016. In my own province of British Columbia, Carbon Engineering is developing a process to turn carbon dioxide in the air into a clean fuel. I could go on and on, speaking about all of the fantastic and innovative clean technology companies working across the country in so many industries and sectors of the Canadian economy.

In order to ensure their continued success, we will continue to collaborate with all stakeholders and jurisdictions across Canada to meet our climate change commitments and bring innovative and competitive clean technologies to market.

We have developed strong international linkages that promote Canadian technology as solutions to global challenges and attract private sector investment. This government is focused on scaling our great Canadian clean technology success stories, and in the process, helping to solve the world's most pressing environmental challenges.

As we move forward, the Government of Canada will continue to be a strong partner for clean technology producers. Our government is incredibly proud and impressed by the innovative work being done by the entrepreneurial women and men working in this sphere and we will continue to support them and their work, and with their success, generate future wealth for Canadians, while safeguarding the environment for future generations.

Opposition Motion—Leadership on Climate Change and Clean EnergyBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

June 12th, 2018 / 3:50 p.m.
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Liberal

Robert-Falcon Ouellette Liberal Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, a lot of the environmental programs we see do not have to be a windmill or solar power panels we see outside buildings. In fact, they can actually be about energy efficiency and the things we do on a day-to-day level to ensure that we actually save energy and use the good types of energy.

For instance, our government is ensuring that we are a model for sustainability by greening our government. We are on track to reduce the government's own greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2030 and by 80% by 2050. Even when I was in the Canadian Armed Forces, there were many times, 20 years ago, when someone would leave the door open. We would be heating the outdoors, because someone thought it was too hot, and we were not able to actually turn down the heat. The government today is actually reviewing a lot of the policies on how we conduct ourselves in our day-to-day operations to see if there are energy savings. It is listening to people on the ground, asking civil servants, and even our military personnel, what we can do to ensure that we can meet that target. That takes a lot of effort, because it is going to be an effort by all Canadians to ensure that we actually get there.

I am proud of our government. Not only are we committed to those agreements but we are intent on actually trying to achieve those targets. It is not simply empty rhetoric. It is actually something we hold in our hearts to be true that we will get there if we work day in and day out, and we are doing that.

We are passing a number of bills that are repairing the damage from the decade of darkness. We are engaging with our international counterparts to ensure that we are going to be meeting those targets. For instance, we are changing legislation through Bill C-69 and Bill C-68. We have also introduced Bill C-74, and the list goes on.

Department of Public Works and Government Services ActPrivate Members' Business

June 12th, 2018 / 5:45 p.m.
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Conservative

Kelly Block Conservative Carlton Trail—Eagle Creek, SK

Madam Speaker, I am thankful for the opportunity to speak to Bill C-344, an act to amend the Department of Public Works and Government Services Act regarding community benefit. While this bill has commendable intentions, it is my great concern that it will actually have a negative impact on our communities and the small and medium-sized construction businesses that employ so many Canadians. In my opinion, this private member's bill continues the Liberals' assault on SMEs by adding another layer of red tape to federal government contracts.

Just last week, I spoke on Bill C-69 and the Liberals' changes to the Navigation Protection Act contained within that bill. Like Bill C-344, the changes to the NPA would add more red tape and cost for project proponents and the construction companies that do the work. While this private member's bill may be smaller in scope and thereby seen as less problematic for small and medium-sized businesses than the government's omnibus bill, Bill C-69, it still reflects a worrying trend by the government.

The Liberals' mentality seems to be that they can add any amount of new taxes on businesses and that it will have no effect on their bottom line or the price they charge their customers or, on this occasion, that they can attach any amount of red tape on businesses' activities and they will happily absorb the administrative burden. This is not the case. There are consequences every time a government does this, just as there are benefits every time a government reduces taxes or cuts red tape for job-creating small and medium-sized businesses. If passed, this bill would pertain to those projects and the subsequent contracts awarded by the federal Minister of Public Services and Procurement.

I will talk about the substance of narrow scope of the bill in a minute, but for the moment, I will speculate about why the Liberals, through this private member's bill, have limited the application of the bill in such a way. It could be that the Liberals actually know that applying these principles more broadly would generate a larger backlash among the construction industry and the many partners that often work with the federal government to fund projects. It could be that Liberals want to use this private member's bill as a virtue-signalling talking point in order to win over a certain segment of the population. It could also be that some Liberals actually realize that slapping this requirement onto all federally funded projects would have a negative impact on the construction industry, as I have already identified, and as a result, they have decided to limit the damage to a more narrowly defined category of projects.

As I mentioned earlier, this private member's bill covers a limited number of projects and contracts of which the federal government is a partner. This private member's bill would amend the Department of Public Works and Government Services Act and would not apply to the projects that the federal government supports through the department of infrastructure. Still, the government's support of this bill is something that the construction industry and the federal government's partners should be aware of and concerned about.

Looking at the substance of the bill in a bit more detail, I find the level of ambiguity contained in Bill C-344 troubling. In clause 1 of the bill, the section creating new subclause 20.1(2) states, “The Minister may, before awarding a contract for the construction, maintenance or repair of public works, federal real property or federal immovables, require bidders on the proposal to provide information on the community benefits to be derived from the project.” First, this clause says, “The Minister may”. “May” is a small word, but it sure has huge implications. Right there, we have uncertainty. This rule will not be constant. How will bidders know if this requirement will be applied?

Next, the new subclause 20.1(3) states, “A contracting party shall, upon request by the Minister, provide the Minister with an assessment as to whether community benefits have derived from the project.” Here we have more ambiguity, particularly in the needlessly vague and nebulous term “community benefit”. How is a bidder to determine what constitutes “community benefit”?

As we heard from the question I asked the sponsor of this bill, he could provide no definition. How is a bidder to know whether said benefit will meet whatever subjective criterion the minister choses to employ? When the bill states, “upon request by the Minister”, there is no certainty for the bidders or ultimately the successful bidder. This means that if this bill were to pass, people bidding on a contract will have to price into their bid the risk of being required to do or produce what the minister wants without knowing what that may be.

As I said at the beginning of my speech, I think the intent behind Bill C-344 is commendable. However, it leaves me wondering how the Liberals feel about charity and social responsibility, and whether they have considered the law of unintended consequences.

I would like to quote from Michael Atkinson, President of the Canadian Construction Association, who appeared before the transport, infrastructure and communities committee when this bill was being studied.

Regarding corporate social responsibility, Mr. Atkinson stated:

Corporate social responsibility is becoming something that we are looking at very earnestly in our industry. It's a very important part of doing business today. We have a how-to guide coming out for our contracting members in the industry, but CSR is not social procurement. CSR is a voluntary program that a corporate entity takes on to ensure that what it does as a company meets environmental sensibilities, good HR practices, etc. Social procurement is a government coming out and saying, “If you want to do business with us, then you have to have a CSR policy.” I think that's a very important difference.

Mr. Atkinson highlights a very important distinction. Businesses in general, and many companies in the construction industry, already make investments in their local communities as part of their commitment to corporate social responsibility. I believe that it is important that in this conversation about community benefit, we do not minimize the benefit that communities are already receiving from businesses of all sizes. The picture painted by those in the Liberal Party and the NDP is that corporate Canada simply takes. Nothing could be further from the truth. Corporations, big and small, give back to their communities. They provide jobs to families in the communities in which they operate. However, beside this very basic economic support, small, medium and large businesses sponsor community events, support local infrastructure, and provide support to non-profit community groups like sports teams. They do this not out of obligation or necessity but out of an appreciation for the community they work and operate in, and sometimes live in, because they know they are part of the community. They do not need to be told how to be good corporate citizens. Most already are.

Of the reasons that I will not be supporting Bill C-344, the most notable are that I believe it minimizes the support and benefits that already accrue to communities when a project is undertaken in their backyard, that it is needlessly ambiguous, and that it fails to consider the unintended consequences that may arise from its implementation.

Fisheries ActGovernment Orders

June 12th, 2018 / 6:25 p.m.
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Conservative

Stephanie Kusie Conservative Calgary Midnapore, AB

Madam Speaker, tonight I would like to focus my attention on the detrimental effects Bill C-68 would have on development. Before I do so, I want to point out to those listening at home that the government has once again moved time allocation.

When the Liberals were in opposition, they absolutely railed at the thought. They used every tactic in the book to disrupt and to stall debate. Now, however, it seems that every time the Liberal government House leader has a chance, she moves time allocation in an effort to limit our free speech.

This bill is completely unnecessary and, as the House has heard from my colleagues, this matter was studied in depth at the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans. In fact, it was the minister himself, in 2016, who asked the committee to examine the lost protections in the Fisheries Act.

After months of debate, do members know how many witnesses testified on lost protections? It was none. Zero. Not a single one. Now the Liberals have brought forward this unnecessary legislation, which is already expected to cost close to $300 million to implement. I want to clarify that as part of our previous government's economic action plan of 2012 and in support of the responsible resource development plan, changes to the Fisheries Act were introduced and received royal assent in November of 2013.

The legislative changes we, on this side of the House, made to the fisheries protection provisions of the act supported a shift from managing impacts to all fish habitats to focusing on the act's regulatory regime on managing threats to the sustainability and ongoing productivity of Canada's commercial, recreational, and aboriginal fisheries.

Prior to these sensible amendments, all fish, and consequently all potential fish habitat, regardless of economic or social value, were covered under the Fisheries Act. This created a system that was impossible to manage, and created impediments to the most minor work on ditches, flood prevention etc. This creates an incredible amount of red tape for towns and municipalities, and means completely unnecessary hardship for Canadians trying to simply go about their business, and protect their property, a fundamental Canadian right.

The Liberals' approach to the legislative, regulatory, and policy framework governing infrastructure projects would cause a competitive disadvantage for all Canadian companies and would be felt by local governments across the country. I would also like to point out that the Liberal strategy of layering broad policy considerations into environmental regulations, such as Bill C-68 and Bill C-69, would lead to a marked decrease in investment and competitiveness for Canada's energy sector, as though it could possibly get any worse. This threatens the sector's sustainability and its contribution to Canada's future social, economic, and development objectives.

What the Liberals have done is put forward a piece of legislation with a bunch of “fill in the blanks” or “to be considered” slots, and asked Canadians to trust them. Unfortunately for business, this approach does not work and only serves to undermine industry.

In relation to the authorizations pursuant to the Fisheries Act, it is uncertain as to the types of projects that would require approval and potentially trigger an impact assessment pursuant to Bill C-69. Depending on forthcoming codes of practices and regulations, there could also be the need for additional approvals for low-impact activities, and the result would be a longer process with no different outcome than is achieved under the current legislation.

The unknown of the project specifics that would trigger approvals pursuant to the Fisheries Act is most concerning since it has a strong likelihood to impact all project development, not just those projects requiring assessment by the proposed impact assessment agency.

Former Liberal cabinet minister, the Hon. Sergio Marchi, who is now the president and CEO of the Canadian Electricity Association, has made it clear that he sees Bill C-68 as a missed opportunity. In its press release, the CEA stated:

...Bill C-68 represents one step forward but two steps back.

CEA is particularly concerned that the government has chosen to return to pre-2012 provisions of the Fisheries Act that address ‘activity other than fishing that results in the death of fish, and the harmful alteration, disruption or destruction (HADD) of fish habitat’. In practical terms, this means that virtually any action, without prior authorization, could be construed as being in contravention of this Act. Consequently, the reinstatement of these measures will result in greater uncertainties for existing and new facilities, and unduly delay and/or discourage investment in energy projects that directly support Canada’s clean growth agenda and realize its climate change objectives.

Bill C-68 is a missed opportunity for the federal government to anchor the Fisheries Act on a reasonable, population-based approach rather than focusing on individual fish, and to clearly define fisheries management objectives.

Regarding criteria for project designation, the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans heard from the Pembina Pipeline Corporation and were told of a number of alternative measures that could be used to lessen any environmental impact. Unfortunately, it seems any suggestions fell on deaf ears as the committee refused all 20 amendments put forward by my colleagues.

Pembina is a Calgary-based pipeline corporation that has provided transportation and midstream services to North America's industry for over 60 years. Sixty years is not a small amount of time in the span of Canadian history. In fact, it has one of the best integrated pipeline systems in the entire world and transport hydrocarbon liquids, natural gas, and natural gas products all over Alberta.

In its brief to the committee, it highlighted that pipeline associated watercourse crossing construction practices and technology had in fact come a long way over the last few decades. These processes are state-of-the-art, and horizontal directional drilling is a perfect example of a technology that is widely used and eliminates environmental impacts of a pipeline crossing waterways.

I will not go into the complete detail on the briefing submitted by Pembina, but I will say that this bill is unnecessary. It would create more bureaucratic red tape and would only serve to hinder development. In fact, the legislation is so very ambiguous that Pembina cautions that the Liberal government is virtually ensuring future conflict among indigenous communities because it has not considered the complexity of overlapping traditional territories.

On this side of the House, we support the protection of our oceans and fisheries. Our previous changes to the Fisheries Act were enacted to support transparency in the decision-making process and provide a level of certainty to those invested in the act.

The Liberals have done the exact opposite with Bill C-68. As usual, what they say is not actually what they do. They have said that they are restoring harmful alteration or disruption or the destruction of fish habitat. However, they sidestep any obligation to uphold the HADD regulations in the legislation by providing the minister with the ability to exempt certain provisions.

I want to reiterate also that Bill C-68 seems to undermine transparency and due process by allowing the minister to withhold critical information from interested proponents, and this goes against the Prime Minister's commitment to openness and transparency.

There is no way the Conservative Party of Canada will support this burdensome bill that serves no purpose other than to check off an election promise from the Liberals' 2015 red book.

Fisheries ActGovernment Orders

June 12th, 2018 / 6:40 p.m.
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Conservative

Robert Sopuck Conservative Dauphin—Swan River—Neepawa, MB

Madam Speaker, I was on the fisheries committee back in 2012 when the changes were made. I helped author them. I was also on the fisheries committee when the Liberal government tore apart extremely good legislation. I have also had the honour of being in the environment field for over 35 years and did pipeline assessments. My colleague is exactly right about how carefully pipelines are made these days.

Just as an aside, I would recommend my colleague get on the fisheries committee, she is so competent in this field.

I was also on the environment committee recently when we looked at Bill C-69, and the horror stories from industry are legendary. Chris Bloomer from the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association said that Canada had a toxic regulatory environment. He talked about pancaking regulation on top of regulation. It is an environmental lawyer's dream. The lawyers are the ones who will to get rich.

Could my colleague talk about the effect of this and other acts on Canada's investment climate?

Fisheries ActGovernment Orders

June 12th, 2018 / 6:40 p.m.
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Conservative

Stephanie Kusie Conservative Calgary Midnapore, AB

Madam Speaker, it is no secret that foreign investment has been fleeing and will continue to flee Canada at an alarming rate. I have seen this first-hand in my dear hometown of Calgary, Alberta, where we have seen the exit of organizations and of corporations such as Murphy Oil, ConocoPhillips, Royal Dutch Shell, and I can go on and on with respect to the foreign investment that has fled. That is even prior to the installation and royal assent of such damaging legislation such as Bill C-68, which we are discussing today, and Bill C-69. The government has to take responsibility for the investment that is fleeing Canada and ruining the lives of Canadians.

Impact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

June 12th, 2018 / 7:30 p.m.
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Ottawa Centre Ontario

Liberal

Catherine McKenna LiberalMinister of Environment and Climate Change

moved that 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, be read the third time and passed.

Madam Speaker, before I begin, I wish to acknowledge that we are on the traditional territory of the Algonquin and Anishinabe peoples.

I am very pleased to once again address the House in support of Bill C-69. This is a key priority of our government. With the bill, we are keeping our promise to put in place better rules to protect our environment and build a stronger economy. It reflects our view that the economy and the environment must go hand in hand and that Canada works best when Canadians work together.

I am going to speak about why our government introduced the bill, and why there is a clear need for better rules to protect our environment and govern how decisions about resource development are made. I will talk about how the bill's balanced approach addresses the priorities of indigenous peoples, stakeholders, and Canadians from coast to coast to coast, and how it delivers what Canadians expect.

I will also describe how our better rules will benefit all Canadians, how they will lead to a cleaner environment for our children, more investment as good projects go ahead, and more jobs and economic opportunities for the middle class and those working hard to join it.

We made a commitment when we formed government to regain public trust and help get Canada's resources to market. We committed to put in place new, fair processes that would ensure major project approvals are based on science and indigenous knowledge, that serve the public interest, and that allow good projects to proceed.

Why is this so important? Madam Speaker, $500 billion in major resource projects are being planned across Canada over the next decade. We need rules and processes in place that will allow these projects to move forward. Under the previous system, people lost confidence in Canada's environmental assessment processes.

Since participation in the review of major projects was limited, some Canadians were not able to contribute their knowledge and expertise.

The decision-making process was opaque, and Canadians began to fear that decisions on projects were being made based on political considerations, not on science and evidence.

Furthermore, after amendments were made to the Fisheries Act and Navigable Waters Protection Act, Canadians discovered that major protections had been lost, leaving Canada's fish, waterways, and communities at risk.

The changes made by the previous government eroded public trust and without public trust, it became very difficult for good projects to move forward. Weaker rules hurt both our environment and our economy.

All these changes eroded public trust, and without public trust, it became very difficult for good projects to move forward. Weaker rules hurt both our environment and our economy. If Canada wants to capitalize on the next wave of resource development, we need better rules that reflect Canadians' priorities and concerns, provide certainty, and foster the competitiveness of proponents operating in Canada, while respecting our responsibility to protect the environment.

Knowing this, we introduced interim principles in 2016 to guide our government in reviewing major projects until we could put the better rules in place.

To rebuild trust in the environmental assessment process, our government launched a 14-month review involving two expert panels and two parliamentary committees. Input from provinces and territories, indigenous peoples, companies, environmental groups, and Canadians from across the country informed a discussion paper released in June 2017 and, ultimately, helped shape the approach set out in this bill. What we heard through those panels and committees is that Canadians want a modern environmental assessment and regulatory system that protects the environment, supports reconciliation with indigenous peoples, attracts investment, and ensures that good projects go ahead in a timely way to create new jobs and economic opportunities for the middle class. We have also heard from industry about the importance of a clear and predictable process.

Bill C-69 would put in place the better rules that Canadians and companies expect. Thanks to indigenous peoples, stakeholders, and Canadians who contributed their knowledge and perspectives, this bill would help rebuild public trust through key improvements that include decisions that are transparent and guided by robust science and indigenous knowledge; project reviews that consider a wide range of positive and negative impacts on the economy, health, indigenous rights, and communities, in addition to the environment; more timely and predictable review processes; measures to advance reconciliation and partnership with indigenous peoples; reduced duplication and red tape through a one project-one review approach; and through amendments to the current Navigation Protection Act, restored protection for every navigable waterway in Canada. It also complements Bill C-68, which proposes changes to the Fisheries Act to ensure it provides strong and meaningful protection for our fish and waters.

As I said, we made a commitment to restore public trust in Canada's environmental assessment system, to restore the protections that were lost, and to make sure that Canadians can trust the review process and its results.

It is essential that we ensure that all decisions are transparent and serve the public interest in order to restore trust. That is exactly what Bill C-69 would accomplish.

Under the previous system, Canadians had no idea how decisions were made. Under our new rules, Canadians can rest assured that all major project reviews are done fairly and based on evidence, that all decisions serve the public interest, and that good projects will go ahead.

Bill C-69 would clarify that project approval would be based on the impact assessment report. Decisions would also have to fully consider the factors that informed the review, as well as key public interest factors, including the project's contribution to sustainability and impacts on indigenous rights. That means all final decisions would need to have a clear basis in facts and evidence.

That alone is a major advance over the previous system, but even this important step is not enough to restore trust if Canadians are not informed about how final decisions have been made. To build that trust whenever a final decision is made on a project, a public statement of the rationale for that decision would be issued. That statement would clearly demonstrate to Canadians how the assessment report formed the basis for the decision and how factors like sustainability were taken into account.

To make good decisions, we need good processes that take into account a broad range of considerations. Bill C-69 provides clarity on the factors that would guide project reviews. We know that the impacts of major projects go beyond the environment alone. Projects also affect Canada's economy, our health, and our communities. They can also affect indigenous peoples and their rights.

Our government also recognizes that not all effects of major projects are negative. They also have positive impacts, like creating well-paying jobs for local communities. That is why under our new rules, both positive and negative consequences, economic, environmental, social, and health, would be taken into account. At the same time, tailored guidelines for project reviews would ensure they focus on factors relevant to the specific project.

These improvements will help improve the decision-making process and enhance public trust. Indigenous people, businesses, and the general public will know ahead of time what factors will guide project reviews. These reviews and the resulting assessment reports will the provide the basis for the final decisions.

Public decision statements will provide Canadians with the assurance that key factors were properly taken into consideration and that all decisions serve the public interest.

Without the support and partnership of indigenous peoples, there is no way to move forward with major resource projects. This is not optional. It is integral to ensuring that indigenous peoples, and all Canadians, can benefit from increased jobs and investment.

That is why Bill C-69 fully reflects our government's commitment to a renewed relationship with indigenous peoples based on recognition of rights, respect, co-operation, and partnership. This has been a focus of our government from the very beginning. We have taken important steps to put that commitment into action.

For example, we announced our full support for the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People, we are working in partnership with indigenous peoples to develop a new recognition and implementation of rights framework, and we are making major new investments in education, health, infrastructure, and indigenous communities.

This bill puts our commitment to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People at the forefront, in the preambles of impact assessment act and the Canadian energy regulator act.

It also states that, when exercising their powers under the impact assessment act, the government, the minister, the agency, and federal authorities must respect the government’s commitments with regard to the rights of the indigenous peoples of Canada.

The new Canadian energy regulator's mandate will specify that it is to exercise its powers and perform its duties in the same manner.

Indigenous peoples, as well as stakeholders and the public, would have meaningful opportunities to participate in project reviews from the start and throughout the process. Recognizing the important contributions that indigenous knowledge makes to project reviews, our bill would make it mandatory to consider this knowledge alongside science and other evidence in every assessment, and would require transparency about how it was taken into account and used. At the same time, it would provide strong protection for the confidentiality of indigenous knowledge across all parts of the bill.

I have said that our better rules are designed to help good projects move forward to get Canada's resources to market. Companies have told us what they need to make sure that happens: clear, timely, and predictable processes that provide certainty at every stage.

Under our proposed legislation, one agency, the proposed impact assessment agency of Canada, would be the federal lead for all major project reviews. This would mean more consistent, more predictable reviews for all projects. At the same time, the agency would work closely with regulatory bodies so that their valuable expertise could continue to inform assessments.

A revised project list would provide clarity for companies, indigenous communities, environmental groups, municipalities, and all citizens on how our new rules would apply. We have consulted with Canadians on the criteria that would guide that revised list, and we will be consulting again in the fall on the proposed list itself.

Our bill would require a new early planning and engagement phase before an impact assessment could begin. This new phase would help companies identify and address issues early on. It would result in a clear set of products to guide the impact assessment. These would include tailored impact statement guidelines that are scoped to reflect the scale and complexity of the project, a co-operation plan, an indigenous engagement and partnership plan, a public participation plan, and a permitting plan.

While a broad set of factors would be considered in early planning, the tailored guidelines would reflect only those that are relevant to the specific project. Following early planning, proponents would be notified if a project is likely to have unacceptable impacts. This would not stop the process. Instead, it would allow the company to make an informed decision about whether, or how, to go forward with the project in the impact assessment process.

As I have said, companies would have a clear understanding of what would be taken into account in the review itself, including positive and negative effects on the environment, the economy, health, and communities. Companies could also be certain about how final decisions are made. They would be based on the assessment report, and on consideration of key public interest factors, including the project's contribution to sustainability. This would be clearly demonstrated through public decision statements.

To provide the timely decisions and reviews companies expect, Bill C-69 sets out clear time limits for each stage of the process, including the new early planning phase. That includes 300 days for reviews carried out by a review panel with input from a life cycle regulator. When justified, more complex projects may take up to 600 days. This is a major improvement over the 2012 Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, the CEAA, which allowed up to 120 days for all reviews carried out by review panels.

This bill will also reduce red tape and prevent duplication through opportunities to collaborate with the provinces. It provides for joint assessments in which a single assessment process can meet the requirements of several levels of government. The bill also provides for substitution should a process carried out by another level of government satisfy the federal government's requirements.

Bill C-69 will facilitate a smooth transition toward the new impact assessment system. The bill would set objective criteria to determine which projects will continue to be reviewed under the 2012 CEAA, give companies the option to go through the new process, and confirm that nobody will ever be sent back to square one.

This bill would also provide certainty and help restore public trust by providing opportunities for public participation at every stage of the review process.

When it comes to resource development, public trust and support are essential for projects to move forward. That will not happen if Canadians are not able to take part in project reviews. Bill C-69 would remove the “standing test” imposed by CEAA 2012, so that a broader range of Canadians could contribute their knowledge and perspectives.

With the new early planning and engagement phase, Canadians would be able to make their voices heard from the beginning.

Bill C-69 would provide for the public and for indigenous peoples to participate in a meaningful manner, and would ensure that they have the information and tools they need and the ability to share their thoughts and expertise.

The bill would strike a balance between allowing for meaningful participation and the need for assessments to be completed in a timely manner.

Canadians want projects to be approved based on scientific facts and indigenous knowledge. Our government is committed to adopting policies based on evidence, and Bill C-69 is proof of that.

This bill includes a clear commitment to implementing the act in a way that respects the principles of scientific integrity, honesty, objectivity, rigour, and accuracy. This is perfectly in line with our strong commitment to science and shows that we intend to implement this act.

Bill C-69 also provides for regional and strategic assessments. These studies would inform project reviews by looking at crosscutting issues and cumulative impacts, those that go beyond any one project. To ensure they can play an important role in our impact assessment system, these reviews would benefit from the best available advice and fully take into account indigenous knowledge. We are committed to moving forward with these assessments, beginning with a strategic assessment on climate change.

As we transition to the new system, we will invest up to just over $1 billion over five years to support the proposed new impact assessment regime and Canadian energy regulator; increased scientific capacity in federal departments and agencies; changes required to protect water, fish and navigation; and increased indigenous and public participation.

I am extremely proud of our government's work on this bill. It is the result of extensive public engagement and fulfills the commitment we made when we formed government: to rebuild public trust and get Canada's resources to market sustainably.

I want to acknowledge that many people have contributed to the development of this bill. Of course, I want to recognize the indigenous peoples, stakeholders, and Canadians who participated in our 14-month review process, as well as those who have continued to engage after we introduced the bill.

I also want to recognize the members of this House who have contributed to debate on Bill C-69 and its further development. In particular I want to express my appreciation for the members of the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development. Their efforts in hearing from witnesses and amending the bill have resulted in important changes that have strengthened the legislation.

Throughout this process, the government and the standing committee worked on adopting a balanced approach that addresses the priorities of indigenous peoples, the industry, environmental groups, and other stakeholders. I think that, together, we succeeded.

Through this balanced approach, our better rules will protect Canada's environment, help good projects move forward, and recognize and uphold the rights of indigenous peoples. I think all of us in the House can support that.

Impact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

June 12th, 2018 / 7:45 p.m.
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Conservative

John Brassard Conservative Barrie—Innisfil, ON

Mr. Speaker, if there is anything Bill C-69 speaks of, it is another broken promise by the Liberals, given the fact this is again another omnibus bill. However, it really does fulfill a prophecy that has been stated widely by the Prime Minister. He said it in Peterborough and Paris about moving to an alternate based economy. In fact, his inside operatives, the de facto prime minister in the country, Gerald Butts, has said that it is not about alternative pipelines; it is about an alternative economy.

What is most disturbing in the bill is the consolidation of power, a consolidation that would give power to the environment minister and to cabinet to basically destroy any project that comes forward. It gives them unilateral control of this.

Will the Minister of Environment and Climate Change stand in the House and finally admit that it is your intent to destroy the oil and gas industry in the country and not to protect it?

Impact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

June 12th, 2018 / 7:50 p.m.
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NDP

Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank the minister for her speech. Sometimes I have trouble following the Liberals' logic. The minister just reminded us that previous Conservative governments gutted the environmental assessment process, that they broke the trust of Canadians, and that they removed science from the process. Then, all of a sudden, as soon as they took office the Liberals used the very environmental assessment process they are criticizing to approve the Trans Mountain expansion.

The Liberals will say that they tried to fix it up, but no one believes them. It was the same thing. Bill C-69 was introduced a year and a half later, after the Trans Mountain project was approved using the Conservative approach that the Liberals are criticizing. That makes no sense whatsoever.

The question I would like to ask the minister is this. Let's say I give the Liberals the benefit of the doubt and that the process really is better than it was before, even though we have our doubts. How is it that Bill C-69 does not include a list of projects that will be assessed and does not contain any clear and definitive criteria for determining which projects will be assessed? Why do we not know how that will be decided?

It is all well and good to have a good process, but if no projects are ever assessed, then it is useless.

Impact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

June 12th, 2018 / 7:55 p.m.
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Conservative

Ed Fast Conservative Abbotsford, BC

Mr. Speaker, here we are again speaking to Bill C-69. The minister pretends the bill is going to wonderfully restore trust in Canada's impact assessment program. That is a myth. In fact, she spent a lot of time talking about the process we needed to establish that would restore this trust.

Let us talk about the process that the minister embarked upon to get the bill through the House of Commons. Rather than consulting broadly, rather than allowing the committee and the House to do its work in the time required to do it well, she and her government invoked closure in the House again and again.

The Liberals introduced a bill they claimed they would never introduce, an omnibus bill. It is a bill that touches on a whole raft of different pieces of legislation, including the Environmental Assessment Act, the National Energy Board Act, and the Navigation Protection Act. Before they were in government, the Liberals said they would never use omnibus bills. Then they present us with one, try to ram this through the committee, and ram it through the House, invoking closure.

I sit on that committee as vice-chair. I know the minister spoke well of the committee. That is because she got her way. The majority of the members on that committee are Liberals. They rushed the bill through. It got so bad that hundreds of witnesses wanted to appear on the bill because it was important to their industries or their environmental movement.

We had heard about 24 witnesses out of the hundreds that wanted to appear, and suddenly, the Liberals on the committee introduced what is called a programming motion. Basically, the programming motion gives a set number of days to hear witnesses, review all the amendments, pass the legislation and send it back to the House. That programming motion was so inadequate. It did not provide anywhere close to the amount of time required to actually evaluate the legislation. It is very serious legislation and it is absolutely critical to Canada's national prosperity and our ability to get Canada's resources to world markets. They could not even spend the appropriate time doing the review.

Over 400 amendments came forward at committee, and over 100 amendments were Liberal amendments. This is the Liberal government bringing forward legislation. It rushes it forward, saying, it has to get this done, that it needs to restore trust, that it will ram it through, but it will introduce some of its own amendments because it got it wrong and it wants its Liberal members to fix the mistakes. One hundred Liberal amendments were introduced, so that was 100 mistakes in the legislation.

That is symptomatic of a failed Liberal government. Of course every Liberal amendment passed. How many Conservative amendments passed? Not one. These were common sense amendments that improved the legislation, to the degree it could be improved because it is deeply flawed legislation.

Here is something else, and I think Canadians need to hear this. It is the hypocrisy of the Liberal government. The government has said that it supports the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and has said it will implement that in Canadian law. Members of the NDP and Green Party who were at committee brought forward 25 different amendments where UNDRIP would be incorporated into the legislation, the way the Prime Minister promised when he ran for government.

How many times do members think the Liberals on a committee voted in favour of UNDRIP being incorporated into the legislation? Zero. Is that hypocrisy? I think we can all agree that he spoke out of both sides of his mouth. That is the whip coming from Gerald Butts and his team, who were sitting behind the Liberals telling them exactly how they should vote at committee.

This was the process that was supposed to restore trust in our impact assessment review process. This legislation went through a process that was a sham. The stakeholders across Canada who expected to be heard on it were not heard. We, as members of the committee, were not allowed to speak and debate many of the amendments that were brought forward, because we were cut off by this programming motion.

That is just the context of Bill C-69, the supposed efforts by the government to introduce Bill C-69, which was to restore trust in our environmental review process. It has done nothing of the sort.

Let me talk about the bill itself. We have talked about the flawed process that was followed to actually get this bill through. I am assuming the same rushed process will be imposed in the Senate. This bill has three main parts. It addresses the environmental assessment approval process. It also creates a new Canadian energy regulator to replace the former National Energy Board, and it also fixes what the government believes are flaws in the Navigable Waters Protection Act.

Let me talk about the last one first. In 2012, the former Conservative government identified that the Navigable Waters Protection Act had not been reviewed or amended for 150 years, basically going back to the time of Confederation. This was legislation that was so antiquated. Now the environmental movement had taken the Navigable Waters Protection Act and had treated it as an environmental piece of legislation. They would always trot it out and say the Navigable Waters Protection Act prevents one from doing this and this, and this. “We are protecting the environment.”

However, the Navigable Waters Protection Act had nothing to do with the environment. It was all about transportation on Canadian waters, and making sure that navigation was free and open across Canada. Think about going back 150 years and how transportation has changed. Think about that. This legislation had not been changed.

Therefore, the Conservative government went about modernizing that legislation and it was excellent legislation. It improved the process in which we address navigation issues, especially as they relate to areas of our country that are subject to farming, and farmers, who could not get work done on their lands because of antiquated navigation laws.

However, there is a second piece. That was the Canadian energy regulator. Think about this. This is what the Liberals do. This characterizes the Liberals. They took the National Energy Board, one of the most competent and capable boards of its kind in the world, in fact noted around the world, and sought out for its expertise in the world, and created a whole new Canadian national energy regulator. Imagine that. Was it necessary? Of course not. It is another make-work project for the Liberal government, more costs, hundreds of millions of dollars of additional costs to create this new organization to implement a new environmental review process. Who pays for that? It is the taxpayers.

The government promised that this legislation, Bill C-69, was going to shorten the timelines in which resource projects would be reviewed and approved. Okay. People took them at their word. What came out of the sausage maker? Wow, what a mess, just like sausages look like quite a mess as they are being made. This legislation was the same.

The government said that these new timelines shortened the actual environmental review process, the assessment. However, it tacked on 180 days at the beginning called the “planning phase”, which of course has extended the time frames involved far beyond what people expected.

Beyond that, within the legislation itself, the government incorporated numerous opportunities for the minister to exercise her discretion to extend or suspend a timeline. Therefore, throughout this process that a proponent goes through there are opportunities for the minister to say, “I want to suspend the process right now because I have some concerns about that and that”, and the proponent has no power to prevent that. The minister also has a right to say, “I'm going to extend the timelines. Notwithstanding our government's promise that it was going to be a shorter assessment process, I'm going to extend it. I have the power in this new legislation to do that.” Therefore, the time frames are actually longer, and the certainty is much less because of the amount of discretion given to the minister in this legislation, contrary to what the government had promised.

At the end of this process, the planning phase and the environmental review process, one would think that decisions would be based on science, and that would be it, we have moved to a fully science-based process. No. The government has reserved unto the minister the right to veto a project at any point along the line, including at the end of the environmental review process, again undermining certainty for the investment community, which is shopping its money and investments around the world saying, “Where is there a warm and welcoming environment in which we can do business, where we drive prosperity for the people of that nation, and we are able to build critical resource projects and infrastructure that gets those resources to market?”

This bill does not live up to its billing at all. The timelines are longer and the discretion is greater, as is the uncertainty for the people who want to move forward with resource projects.

It gets worse. Do members remember the minister saying that the government wants this process to be more streamlined, more welcoming, and with certainty for proponents of research projects in Canada? Bill C-69 includes a host of new criteria that will now be applied to those who want to get projects approved, including upstream and downstream impacts of things such as pipelines.

It gets worse. On top of that, the government has included a provision that says that every project must take into account the impact that project will have on Canada's greenhouse gas emission targets under the Paris Agreement. If we were thinking of sending a message to the world that we are open for business again, this would be the wrong way of doing it. Bill C-69 does not do that in any way. We have heard some of my colleagues quote organizations in Canada that are focused on resource projects and that have lamented the fact that Bill C-69 is a huge step backward, and that no further pipelines will ever be approved in Canada based on the legislation as it is.

We tried to improve the legislation at committee. It is not like we sat on our hands and said that it was a fait accompli. We worked very hard. We brought forward about 100 amendments that would have improved this legislation, made it more timely, made it more certain, and made it a vehicle that would attract investment to Canada. What did our Liberal friends across the table do? They voted against every single one of those amendments. That is what we are dealing with, with the Liberal Party.

It gets worse. Let us talk about the precautionary principle, which is also incorporated into this legislation. A lot of people do not understand what the precautionary principle is. Effectively, what it is saying is better safe than sorry.

In other words, if there is anybody, whether it is the minister or someone on the minister's staff or someone in industry or someone in the environmental movement, who says that they think this project, before it has ever been assessed based on the science, it could be a danger to Canadians' health or the environment, the precautionary principle would dictate that the project would not go ahead.

The minister has the power to use the precautionary principle to simply say, “I am not allowing this project to go ahead.” The proponent could say, “Well, Madam Minister, we have all this evidence, scientific evidence that we have paid millions and millions of dollars to secure. This scientific information will prove to you that this project can be built and operated in an environmentally sustainable way.” The minister could say, “No. Precautionary principle. Better safe than sorry. Bye, bye.” That is what is included here.

Members may recall that there was a lot of complaining by the Liberals during the last election that somehow the environmental review process did not allow for enough people to become engaged in the process. What did the Liberal government do? It changed what is called the “standing test”. The standing test is very simply the rules under which Canadians and others are entitled to appear as intervenors before an impact assessment review.

Members can imagine what this would be like, if we had no control over who could be an intervenor. If any Tom, Dick, or Harry in the world wants to appear before an environmental review process but has no direct nexus to the project, or cannot prove that they have an interest in that project, why would we allow that individual to line up in this queue of people wanting to intervene?

What the Liberals have said is, “We are going to open this wide up. We don't care how many people come to be intervenors. If special interest groups use large numbers of intervenors to basically slow down the process, drag it out, and discourage investment, so be it.” That is what we are left with now in Bill C-69, a deeply flawed piece of legislation that has introduced numerous new opportunities for special interest groups to delay and obstruct projects that are of a national interest.

Let us talk about projects of a national interest. The government says that this legislation is going to attract all kinds of investment. We know industry is saying, “Absolutely not. There will not be one more pipeline built in Canada.” Now we have a pipeline, the TMX pipeline, the Kinder Morgan pipeline, which was approved in Canada, which was ready to be built, but, as usual, there are special interest groups that say, “Notwithstanding that there is a process, like Bill C-69, a process that is supposed to be legal, supposed to be fair, we will disagree with the decision, and we are going to fight this all the way. We are going to protest, lay our bodies down in front of the bulldozers.” On and on it goes. That is what we have with Kinder Morgan.

We have a Prime Minister who does have some options. He is, after all, the Prime Minister and has constitutional powers. One of those is the declaratory power under the Constitution. He has the ability to state that a project is in the national interest, and that supersedes provincial powers. Under the BNA Act, interprovincial pipelines are considered federal projects. The federal government has a right to intervene and promote. Rather than doing that, our Prime Minister says, “I am not going to exercise my constitutional powers. I am going to see if somebody else out there in the world will buy this pipeline, because TMX wants to sell it, wants to get out of it.”

Did he find any takers? None. What he says to taxpayers is, “I want you to pay this bill. I am going to pay $4.5 billion for this pipeline, even though its book value is only $2.5 billion.”

The cost is $2 billion more than the book value of that pipeline. That is what Canadians now have from the government. We have bought ourselves a pipeline, where all of the risk now falls on the shoulders of Canadian taxpayers.

This is awful legislation and we were never given the time to properly assess, review, and amend it. That should be a shame on this Liberal government.

Impact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

June 12th, 2018 / 8:20 p.m.
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Conservative

Ed Fast Conservative Abbotsford, BC

Mr. Speaker, all I can say is poppycock. He talks about consultation with the public, but he left out the members of the House, who Canadians have elected to review this kind of legislation. A government can have all the consultation it wants across Canada, but if it does not provide the elected members of Parliament the opportunity to do their work, that is a scandal. That is why Bill C-69 is a scandal of a process. It has been short-circuited.

The member refers to the process by which the former government introduced bills, which is very similar to the process we have here, where the Prime Minister introduces omnibus bills and he then invokes closure and cuts off debate in the House. Where were the 14 months of consultations and work that the House could do on this bill? Where were they? We were cut short here. Is that the kind of government the Prime Minister leads?

If one were to review the mandate letter that the Minister of Environment received, one would see that there are numerous references to raising the bar on the relationship between the minister and the committees that review her legislation, and on how she relates to the members of the House. None of those mandate requirements were complied with in this case. Again, it is a true shock and scandal to the House.

Impact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

June 12th, 2018 / 8:20 p.m.
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Conservative

Ed Fast Conservative Abbotsford, BC

Mr. Speaker, as I articulated in my speech, the minister certainly would have the power under this legislation, in Bill C-69, to do pretty well anything she pleases because she would have broad discretionary powers to suspend, extend, and then veto projects, which is the exact opposite of what industry expected the current government to do. People in industry expected there would be more certainty in the process, the process would be science-based, and instead it is something quite different.

To the member's earlier comment on amendments, as I mentioned, every single amendment of the over 100 amendments that the Liberal members of the committee brought forward was passed. None of the Conservative amendments were passed because the committee was not interested in getting this legislation right. It was interested in ramming through legislation that the minister wanted to have through.

By the way, I move, seconded by the member for Barrie—Innisfil, that the motion be amended by deleting all the words after the word “that”, and substituting the following: 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, be not now read a third time but be referred back to the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development for the purpose of reconsidering all of its clauses.

Mr. Speaker, you will understand why we are doing this. It is because of the sham of a process that the Liberal government undertook to address amendments that were brought forward in good faith by my Green friends in the corner, by the NDP, and by our Conservative members of the committee, most of which were disregarded and treated in a very cavalier manner. This is intended to rectify that and give the House another opportunity to get this bill right.

Impact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

June 12th, 2018 / 8:25 p.m.
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Conservative

John Brassard Conservative Barrie—Innisfil, ON

Mr. Speaker, notwithstanding a minor hiccup at the end there, Canadians saw in the hon. member for Abbotsford's passion and heard tonight in his speech the truth about Bill C-69 and not the platitudes, rhetoric, and buzzwords used by the Minister of Environment and Climate Change.

He spoke about the committee. I was there. I actually saw this sham of a committee meeting go on, where every single amendment that the Liberal members of the committee tried to put through was adopted. When the Conservative side tried to move amendments forward to make this bill better, and even when the NDP member for Edmonton Centre tried to move amendments to make this bill better, all of them were lost. They were not accepted by the Liberal members of the committee.

The one thing that is really disturbing about this bill, and I mentioned this when the Minister of Environment and Climate Change was here, is the fact that this consolidates power. It actually would bring the decision-making into the minister and into the cabinet, which effectively means that the potential exists that no further projects would occur in this country. I wonder if the member shares that same assessment.

Impact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

June 12th, 2018 / 8:30 p.m.
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NDP

Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, again, I am pleased to rise to speak to Bill C-69 on a new impact assessment and environmental assessment process.

I must begin by saying a few words about the approach to adopting this new process. Cloaked in righteousness, the Liberal government set to defending democratic institutions. It sought to give MPs their power and their voice back, respect the work of Parliament, and break from the Conservatives' despicable practice of cutting debates short. The Liberals said they wanted to give MPs time to do their work in order to represent their constituents well.

However, bad habits die hard, and closure has been imposed more than 40 times already. These are what we call time allocation motions that seek to limit the time for debate.

It seems that this bill is important to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change. However, the Liberals imposed closure at every stage. At first reading, at report stage, and now at third reading, they gave parliamentarians a maximum of four or five hours before closing debate. We were promised, hand on heart, that a Liberal government would never do such despicable, undemocratic things. It has now become routine.

My Conservative colleague, who is a member of the Standing Committee on the Environment and Sustainable Development, said that the government was bragging about having collaborated, studied amendments in committee, and listened to the opposition. It also brags about the fact that about 100 amendments were adopted in committee to improve the bill. Congratulations. I just want to point out that 99% of the amendments adopted were Liberal amendments. I have no doubt that that makes things easier.

It is mind-boggling to think that the bill was so poorly drafted and cobbled together, right from the start, that the Liberals were forced to present about 100 amendments in committee to try to patch it up and repair the damage. The bill lacked clarity and was poorly crafted, so it needed a lot of clarifications. That gives you an idea of the process, since government members are almost never required to fix a lousy job from the minister's office.

I would now like to talk about timeframes. It took the government 28 months to come up with a bill for a new environmental impact assessment process. During the campaign, the Liberals said that it was a priority because Canadians lost confidence in the process when it was destroyed and dismantled in the previous Parliament. They claimed that the Conservatives' process turned away from science and that we urgently needed to restore a transparent, valid, and scientific process that people could rely on. It took 28 months to come up with this bill.

During these 28 months, the government continued to sit back and to use the previous Parliament's process, a process that was supposed to be terrible.

What did the government do in the meantime? For one thing, it authorized the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline, which was Kinder Morgan's priority. How convenient that is for the government. When it wants a project to go ahead, it holds off on establishing a more serious, more credible, more scientific, and more rigorous process. The government used the tool left behind by the Conservatives, a means of fast-tracking and rubber-stamping projects, and was thus able to approve everything and anything.

The Liberals go through the motions of sticking a few bandaids on so it appears different, but they are not fooling anyone. Once again, the government used what it once criticized. This is more proof of the Liberals' hypocrisy.

The Trans Mountain expansion was approved in November 2016. It is now June 2018, and we are once again discussing the new environmental assessment process. Halfway through their mandate, the Liberals still have not passed a bill because they keep dragging their feet, citing consultations. The Liberals had no problem speeding some things through; a more rigorous process would have gotten in their way.

They broke their promise to assess the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion under a new environmental assessment process. While in British Columbia during the election campaign, the Prime Minister swore that the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion would never be assessed under the Conservatives' rules, yet that is exactly what happened. He also promised to change the voting system and institute democratic reform. It seems to be a bad habit of his. When he solemnly swears something, look out because he is about to flip-flop.

We have a new agency that is based on the old environmental assessment agency, but with more powers and a bigger role. It will be above certain commissions, like the National Energy Board, which will become a commission. That is a step in the right direction we had been waiting for, but we are still concerned about the fact that two organizations we have heard little about, which will exist alongside the new impact assessment agency of Canada, will be getting much more authority and a bigger role. I am referring to the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board and the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board.

These two boards are separate, independent assessment committees that are responsible for assessing any drilling that may occur in marine environments, in the oceans, in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, potentially, or off the coast of Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador. That troubles us, because the mission of these two boards is to promote offshore oil and gas development. Their job is not to protect the environment, the seabed, ecosystems, or endangered species. It is to promote oil and gas development off the coast of certain provinces.

This flies in the face of everything the government says about how much it cares about the environment and its claims that it is here to protect our oceans, our natural resources, and our ecosystems. In itself, that is a total contradiction. We in the NDP find this really troubling, and I doubt we are the only ones, judging by the spontaneous reaction of the Green Party leader, who is just behind me.

When you tell a story, there is a beginning, a middle, and an end. It is not complicated. That is what kids learn in school. I want to talk about those three stages in the context of Bill C-69. In the beginning, a decision has to be made as to which projects will be submitted to the new agency for assessment, because all of this has to be good for something. If it is decided that the project will not be assessed because it is not worth it, everything in Bill C-69 and everything that was said about public consultations, indigenous consultations, and considering reports from climate change experts—all of that goes out the window.

As things now stand, and the minister confirmed it in her speech, Bill C-69 does not establish a list of projects. It also does not set out any clear, definitive, and verifiable criteria that would allow us to determine which projects require an environmental assessment. There is nothing about that at all.

From the start, there has been a very serious grey area. The agency can arbitrarily decide for itself what it considers to be important or unimportant.

It is all well and good to have a good process, which as we will see is not as good as all that, but if that process is never used, then it does not do anything more to protect us as Canadians, as people who are concerned about the environment, ecosystems, and global warming.

Take the following oddity, for example. The bill states that if the project is deemed to be a major project, it will fall under the responsibility of the new assessment agency. If it is deemed minor, then it can be reviewed by a commission, such as the National Energy Board. What is the difference between major and minor? There is nothing in the bill about that, so we do not know.

There are things like the steam-based oil sands development technology called “in situ”, which has been completely left out of the scope of the bill and any new environmental assessment. The government says it will not look at it even though it is an increasingly common technology that could have serious impacts. Those impacts could be relatively minor, but for the people living in the indigenous community or the town involved, it does not necessarily take a thousand-litre spill or a huge amount of pollution to jeopardize their health, pollute their environment, or cause a public health issue.

There is no clear explanation for why in situ bitumen extraction was excluded. Knowing what gets assessed and what does not is just the beginning. There are a lot of vague and arbitrary elements. There is very little clarity, and that is what worries us. That is the first problem.

The second problem is with the middle part, the public consultations, the dialogue with indigenous communities, and the appointment of review panels to do the scientific environmental assessment.

Consultations are another novelty of the Liberal process, and on that topic, assessment timeframes are being shortened. Depending on the size of the project, they will drop from 365 days to 300 days. That means that we will lose 65 assessment days. For major projects, the process will drop from 720 days to 600 days, for a loss of 120 days. This Liberal decision was taken in direct response to the demands from investors and private companies.

The decision worried many environmental, indigenous, and citizen groups. They do not understand, if we want a credible, serious process we can trust, why the government is adopting an attitude where it seems to want to expedite things as quickly as possible and satisfy the desires and needs of the industry first and foremost.

The Liberal government is also saying that first nations will have a greater role to play in the assessment process. Connect the dots to what I just said. If we greatly shorten the timeframes of a project and process, it is rather unlikely that there will be enough time to conduct extensive consultations with first nations. Again, they say one thing, but in fact there is a good chance that nothing will come of it or that the process will be flawed or absolutely incomplete.

That is what we know about the duration, the timeframe of the process.

The second aspect is the appointment of these experts we have been talking about to the panels that will carry out these ostensibly scientific, environmental impact assessments. There are many groups, including the Quebec Environmental Law Centre, that are concerned about the fact that the Liberal plan has no mechanisms to ensure that these will not be partisan appointments, that Liberals will not appoint their cronies, and that panel members will not be prone to making recommendations or a report that merely reflects what the government wanted from the start.

It is a simple process that is already in place in other jurisdictions. I am thinking of BAPE in Quebec, which is well regarded and credible, and has this type of mechanism. Here, we get the feeling that the Liberal government would allow the appointment of people who will not really care or who will listen to what the government says and wants.

It is really not that surprising. If I have time, I will come back to Kinder Morgan and the absolutely ridiculous purchase made recently.

While public consultations were being held on the Trans Mountain expansion, while first nations were being told that they were being listened to, that it was important, that they really wanted to hear their perspective, it became apparent that a decision had already been made. The government was already looking for excuses and reasons to legally say that the decision was made and that it would be approved.

Phony consultations were held very recently, and I believe that people should be concerned about the possibility of these partisan appointments to the expert panel.

After the beginning and the middle, we get to the end. Let us say the project has been assessed. Let us say the consultations lasted long enough and were sufficiently credible, although perhaps a bit limited. Let us say the experts really were independent, they did their job diligently, and they prepared a report with recommendations based on science, social licence, the impact on climate change, our ecosystems, and so on. After all that, it is completely up to the minister if he or she wants to dismiss all the recommendations of the impact assessment agency. All of that good work, even if it is perfect—and we already have some misgivings about that—could very well be taken and tossed into the trash, and the project could be deemed in the national interest and approved.

The national interest is being tossed around a lot these days. It can be made to mean pretty much anything. A majority government can simply declare something to be in the national interest since it knows that it can force it through the House either way, and everyone else will have to deal with it. I think it would be in the national interest to listen to experts, scientists, Canadians, and first nations. When the minister of the day has all of this discretionary power, the process can become arbitrary. Say that you like the current Liberal government, and that you trust its environment minister. That is fine, and I am sure there are people out there who feel that way, but once a bill passes, it will not change with every cabinet shuffle, with every federal election, or with every change in government. Things could turn pretty quickly under someone who has a different style or vision of development. I am really being very kind to the sitting minister, who has the instincts of an industry minister rather than those of an environment and climate change minister. Incidentally, anyone claiming to champion environmental protection and the fight against climate change should not go out and buy a 65-year-old pipeline that is already leaking everywhere.

I would like our Liberal colleagues to take out their 2015 electoral platform and show me the part where they told voters they wanted a pipeline so badly that they were prepared to spend billions of taxpayer dollars to buy one if necessary and that Canadians would have to assume all the risks associated with such a project. Let us be clear, Kinder Morgan deemed the project was too high risk. The current Prime Minister even acknowledged that no private company wanted to take on these risks because legal challenges have been filed by British Columbia and many of its first nations.

There are difficulties and challenges with respect to our international commitments under the Paris Agreement and our greenhouse gas reduction targets. The project simply does not make sense. We will be spending at least $12 billion on infrastructure that might be worthless in 25 or 30 years. On top of taking a huge financial hit, we will have invested in the energy source and jobs of the past, when we could have been investing in renewable energy. Those types of investments create six to eight times more jobs. The Prime Minister would have become a leader with a vision for the environment and for sustainable development. Sadly, that will never happen.

Impact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

June 12th, 2018 / 8:50 p.m.
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NDP

Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for his concern for the member for Edmonton Strathcona.

She accomplished a massive amount of work. She is very knowledgeable, thorough, and detail-oriented, and she truly cares about working with other parliamentarians to improve bills that are important to the future, like Bill C-69. She went to committee in good faith and listened to experts and people familiar with the topic. She worked in this field for years. She is familiar with it. She wanted to make this bill as good as possible.

Unfortunately, she was told that they did not want to hear from her. The Liberal government does not listen to the opposition parties. I think the leader of the Green Party had the same experience. Very few of her amendments were adopted. This is quite unfortunate, because we are trying to do a good job, but, once again, the government is not listening.

Impact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

June 12th, 2018 / 9 p.m.
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Kanata—Carleton Ontario

Liberal

Karen McCrimmon LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I would first and foremost like to thank the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development for its careful study of Bill C-69. I would also like to thank the witnesses and those who have made written submissions for having taken the time to make their views heard. This work has strengthened the bill and has been an important step in getting us to where we are today.

I would like to speak particularly about part 3 of Bill C-69, which would create a new Canadian navigable waters act.

Our country is bordered by three oceans, giving us the world’s longest coastline, and we are internally connected by thousands of rivers and countless lakes and canals.

Canadians rely on our navigable waters. They are vital to our economy and to our way of life. We have a profound relationship with our waters. That relationship is part of what it means to be Canadian.

We need to protect navigation on these waters for our use and enjoyment today, and for the benefit of generations to come.

When the previous government introduced the Navigation Protection Act, many Canadians were concerned that most of Canada's navigable waters were left unprotected. In response to these concerns, the minister was asked to review the changes made by the previous government to restore lost protections and incorporate modern safeguards.

In June 2016, the review of the Navigation Protection Act was launched. As a first step in this process, the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities examined the act. The committee reported its findings and recommendations in March 2017.

I would like to take this opportunity to also thank this standing committee, the witnesses and those who made written submissions for their early input. This input provided the foundation for the new Canadian navigable waters act that was eventually tabled as part of Bill C-69.

During its first year of review, the work of the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities was complemented by consultations with recreational boaters, as well as other levels of government, indigenous groups, industry, and environmental organizations. What did they tell us? Many of them told us they wanted all navigable waters protected, and that is what we are doing.

Under the existing legislation, the minister has the power to review new projects and deal with obstruction to navigation only if they are on the navigable waters listed in the schedule. However, we believe that all navigable waters should be protected. We promised to restore lost protections, and we are delivering on that promise.

What would this legislation do? The act would include, for the first time, a comprehensive definition of navigable waters. It would provide oversight for all works on those navigable waters in Canada, whether those works are minor, requiring approval, or are subject to the new resolution process.

It would give communities and recreational waterway users more chances to have their say on infrastructure and resource projects that could affect their right to navigation. It would deliver a new level of transparency by creating a new online registry that would make information about projects easily accessible. It would extend the powers to address obstructions to all navigable waters in Canada, not just those waters listed on a schedule.

Finally, the act would advance reconciliation with indigenous peoples, consider their rights and knowledge, and give them the opportunity to partner with the government to manage the navigable waters that would be important to them.

Let me discuss some of these improvements in more detail. As I said, this legislation would include a comprehensive definition of “navigable water”.

The new definition includes bodies of water with public access or multiple shoreline owners that are used for transport or travel for commercial or recreational purposes or by indigenous groups to exercise their constitutionally protected rights.

This new definition strikes the right balance: it is not so broad as to capture any ditch or irrigation canal that could float a canoe, nor is it so narrow as to exclude bodies of water that are important to Canadians.

All works in navigable waters in Canada will be under the oversight of the new act, regardless of whether the navigable water is listed on a schedule or not. Someone building a minor work, such as a cottage dock or a boat ramp, in a navigable water could proceed, provided they build and maintain the work in accordance with the requirements set out in the minor works order.

There will also be some works that will always require approval because of their potential impact on navigation. These are major works on any navigable waters in Canada as well as works on scheduled waters.

I strongly believe users of navigable waters and local communities have a right to express their views about projects that may impact navigation. The proposed act meets a new standard of transparency by requiring owners to notify the public of their project and to seek feedback before beginning construction on any navigable water. In some circumstances, owners could be required to post notice of their project in community centres, marinas, local newspapers, or other appropriate places.

Further, the new Canadian navigable waters act will require the creation of a new online public registry that will make project information more accessible than ever before. For millennia, the indigenous people of Canada have used navigable waters to fish, hunt, trade, and travel, and they continue to do so today. Indigenous peoples played an active role of the review of the Navigation Protection Act.

Transport Canada participated in more than 90 meetings with indigenous groups and received close to 150 submissions. What did we hear from indigenous peoples? We heard that they wanted a say in what happened within their traditional territories.

This past February, the Prime Minister announced his commitment to reconciliation through the recognition and implementation of rights framework. The Government of Canada recognizes that reconciliation is a long-term undertaking. Rebuilding relationships will require sustained government-wide action.

A strengthened crown-indigenous relationship is at the heart of the proposed approach. This new relationship with indigenous peoples is based on respect, cooperation, and partnership.

The act would also provide new opportunities for indigenous peoples to partner with the Government of Canada to protect navigation in their traditional territories. Indigenous peoples have helped to shape the proposed legislation, and I am very proud of the work we have done together.

Whether they are tourists on a river cruise, or cottagers taking the boat out to do some fishing, or kayakers exploring secluded bays, Canadians get a lot of pleasure out of our waterways. However, under the existing legislation, these navigable waters may not be protected for recreational purposes.

Under the new Canadian navigable waters act, a more inclusive schedule will provide a greater level of oversight for navigable waters that are important to Canadians and that are vulnerable to development. The new act proposes a process for adding navigable waters to the schedule that will take into consideration recreational uses, not just commercial ones.

The proposed changes to the navigation legislation will offer better navigation protections for recreational boaters on every navigable water in Canada.

Bill C-69 would not only restore navigation protection for every navigable water in Canada, but it would also position the new Canadian navigable waters act to play an important role in the proposed new impact assessment system.

Bill C-69 would establish the impact assessment agency of Canada to lead all federal reviews of designated projects. The impact assessment agency would work with other bodies, such as the new Canadian energy regulator, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, and off shore boards, and in co-operation with the provinces and territories, and indigenous jurisdictions.

The impact assessment agency of Canada would identify the types of projects and areas of federal jurisdiction that could pose major risks to the environment, and would therefore require a review.

A whole range of potential impacts would be considered, not just the project's impact on the environment, but also the impact on communities, health, indigenous peoples, jobs, and the economy in general.

We are finding better ways to measure the potential impact of designated projects to make sure only good ones go forward.

The new Canadian navigable waters act will be transformational. It will restore protection for navigation on all navigable waters in Canada, and it will create a new standard of transparency. It will restore public confidence and it will provide new opportunities for indigenous peoples to partner with the Government of Canada to protect navigation in their traditional territories.

As I wrap up, I move:

That this question be now put.

Impact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

June 12th, 2018 / 9:10 p.m.
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Conservative

Tom Kmiec Conservative Calgary Shepard, AB

Mr. Speaker, as I listened to the parliamentary secretary's speech, she talked mostly about the navigable waters act, but I want to bring it back to the standing test the NEB used to have. It will be eliminated in this act. Section 183(3), specifically deals with the standing test. The practice of the NEB had been, and I think it was the right one, that persons directly affected by a project that ran through a community should be the ones before the National Energy Board in order to present their views on any proposed project and how it would impact them directly.

I think it was said by the Prime Minister that only communities could give consent, so why not allow those people most locally affected by it to have a direct say in it?

This bill will eliminate that test, and that is actually two steps backwards. As an example, during the Enbridge Line 9B reversal and the Line 9 capacity expansion, the NEB received 177 applications to participate, of which 158 were granted, 11 received an opportunity for a written submission, and only eight were denied. The reason those were denied because they were not directly affected by it.

However, under the model proposed in Bill C-69, even international individuals can come before the new regulator and basically say that they are affected by it directly and therefore permission should not be granted. I think in a great deal of cases Canadians will support local projects because of the jobs and the shared prosperity they benefit from it directly. Therefore, this is two steps backwards.

Does the parliamentary secretary agree with me?

Impact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

June 12th, 2018 / 9:20 p.m.
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Conservative

Shannon Stubbs Conservative Lakeland, AB

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of Lakeland, I oppose Bill C-69, which would have wide-ranging, significant impacts on Canada's oil and gas, nuclear, and mining sectors, and by extension on every other sector in the country.

Bill C-69 does not involve minor tweaks. It is a major overhaul of multiple laws and regulations related to Canada's assessment processes, and it would damage Canada's capacity to attract investment that benefits everyone. Canada is a resource-based economy and is a world leader on responsible resource development.

Those facts are among Canada's greatest strengths and contributions to the world. Canada's exploration and mining sector is a major driver of the economy. In 2016, it contributed $60.3 billion directly to Canada's GDP, 19% of Canada's total domestic exports worth $92 billion, and the employment of nearly 600,000 Canadians. As a sector, it is the largest private employer of indigenous people in Canada, often where jobs and opportunities are scarce, in remote and northern regions.

At the end of 2015, the value of Canadian mining assets at home and abroad totalled $171 billion across 102 countries. From remote and indigenous communities to large cities across Canada, and the Toronto Stock Exchange, the mining sector generates significant economic and social benefits for Canadians. Of course, the oil and gas sector is also a key generator of middle-class jobs and Canada's high standard of living.

The International Energy Agency projects global oil demand will continue to grow, with oil maintaining the largest share of any energy fuel source in the global energy market for decades. The average energy demand is predicted to increase approximately 30% by 2040. For context, that is the equivalent of adding another China or India, the most populous countries in the world, to the current level of global energy consumption.

Canada is home to the third largest oil reserves in the world, with recoverable reserves of 171 billion barrels. Canada is the fifth largest producer of natural gas and has the 19th largest proven natural gas reserves in the world, enough to supply consumers with natural gas for more than 300 years.

The Canadian Energy Research Institute says that every job in Canadian upstream oil and gas creates two indirect and three induced jobs in other sectors across the country. Scholar Kevin Milligan notes that without income derived from the resource boom, Canadian inequality and the well-being of Canada's middle class would be much worse.

The Liberals talk a big game about making life better for middle-class Canadians, but, in fact, the Prime Minister has turned his back on the hard-working men and women who have given so much to our country through responsible resource development. Last year, the Prime Minister talked about phasing out the oil sands, and a couple of months ago, he told the world he regrets that Canada cannot get off oil “tomorrow”. The cumulative impacts of the Liberal-caused uncertainty and their imposition of layers of cost and red tape are driving investment out of Canada.

The Liberals have imposed a carbon tax on everything, which is something that major oil and gas producers are not imposing on themselves around the world, and the anti-energy legislation and policies like removing the tax credit for new exploratory oil and gas drilling last year was at a time when more than 100,000 energy workers had lost their jobs after the Prime Minister chased more energy investment out of Canada than in any other two-year period in 70 years, more than half a century.

The Liberals killed the nation-building energy east pipeline with last-minute rule changes and a double standard of upstream and downstream emissions assessments that they would now formally be imposing on all pipeline reviews with Bill C-69. The Liberals outright vetoed the already approved northern gateway pipeline. Both of those were the only actual new stand-alone proposals for exports to markets other than the U.S. in recent history. They are forcing a tanker ban on B.C.'s northern coast, which is really just a ban on the oil sands and on pipelines, and they have imposed an offshore drilling ban in the north.

Even before Bill C-69 has been implemented, the Montreal Economic Institute says that “The message being conveyed to investors is: ‘Don’t come here to do business. Even if you fulfill all regulatory requirements, you’ll still face many obstacles.” That is exactly what happened to the Trans Mountain expansion because of the Liberals' failures and the Prime Minister's response was to pay $14.5 billion tax dollars for Kinder Morgan to take its $7.4-billion private investment plans out of Canada. It is clear, the Prime Minister's anti-energy policies are chasing energy investment away at historic rates.

Now, the Liberals would pile on even more regulatory uncertainty for investors in Bill C-69. The Canadian Energy Pipeline Association said that “If the goal is curtail oil and gas production, and to have no more pipelines built, this legislation may have hit the mark.”

In a recent letter to Alberta MLA, Prasad Panda, several associations directly impacted by Bill C-69 outlined the following criteria essential to attract investment to Canada: “Certainty in regulations, in order to plan capital investments of large magnitudes and reach final investment decisions in Canada's favour. Permanence, because if programs or policies are temporary or have an expiry date, they will be deemed too high risk to factor into capital planning life cycles, which span approximately 6-8 years. Certainty in the form of timelines. Performance-based policies, ensuring benefits to communities by tying incentives to performance-based measures such as job creation, research and development, innovation and capital investment.”

These criteria were hallmarks of Canada's regulatory framework for decades, with the most rigorous assessment, comprehensive consultation, highest standards, and strongest environmental protections in the world.

A 2016 WorleyParsons study echoes conclusions of the 2014 benchmark analysis of Canada against the top major oil and gas producing jurisdictions in the world. It confirmed: “Canada is a global leader in environment, Aboriginal relations, and governance of resource use, with state of the art processes, practices, and legislation. Canada is recognized internationally as a nation that has contributed significantly to the development and advancement of regional and strategic environmental assessment since the introduction of the Canadian Directive in 1990 requiring federal departments and agencies to consider environmental concerns at the strategic level of policies, plans, and programs.”

However, every time the Liberals attack the last 10 years of Canada's energy and environmental assessment and evaluation for politics, trying to keep the NDP and Green voters who helped them win in 2015, they empower foreign and domestic anti-Canadian energy activists who are fighting to shut down Canadian resources. It is becoming a crisis, and this debate is a critical policy question for the future of our country. Canada must be able to compete.

Of the top 10 most attractive jurisdictions for oil and gas investment, six U.S. states rank at the top 10 global jurisdictions: Texas, Okalahoma, North Dakota, West Virginia, Kansas, and Wyoming. According to a 2017 World Bank report, Canada ranked 34 out of 35 OECD countries in the time required to obtain a permit for a new general construction project. There are real impacts of falling behind in competitiveness.

In committee, the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers representative said:

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 will improve that status.

Suncor said, “The competitiveness improvements that we're achieving as an industry through ongoing innovation are being largely negated by the continuously increasing cost of new regulations.”

Paul Tepsich, founder of High Rock Capital Management Inc., said, “I'm not crazy about Canada. We've got taxes going up and regulations going up.”

In committee, the president and CEO of the Mining Association of Canada said, “Proponents making billion-dollar investments need to know what the rules are and how they will be implemented. You can't have this certainty knowing that the rules may change midstream in some way.”

The Liberals have already caused a regulatory vacuum for major resource developers since January 2016, and they have exacerbated uncertainty for investors and for workers. With Bill C-69, the Liberals might as well hang a sign in the window that says, “Canada is not open for business”.

Clear timelines and requirements, and predictable rules and responsibilities provide certainty. The Liberals claim Bill C-69 would implement short and clear timelines for reviews, but that is not true. The planning phase, during which the impact assessment agency would determine whether a project is in the public interest, for which Bill C-69 sets some guidelines but leaves wide arbitrary discretion for the minister to define, would add an extra 180 days, which could be extended by 90 days at the request of the minister or Governor in Council. That is before a project can even get approved to start an impact assessment. Bill C-69 also does not establish criteria that a project must meet, or what constitutes a complete application for it to be granted an assessment in the first place.

The bill has been amended so the minister would no longer have the power to veto a project before it can move on to the impact assessment stage, which I support. However, under proposed paragraph 17(1), the minister could still interject opinions about the potential environmental impacts of a project that may or may not influence the impact assessment agency's decision to review. So much for objective, independent, expert-based decisions. Even after the Liberals pass Bill C-69, the parameters of the project list would not even be revealed to the public until fall, and regulations would not be fully implemented until 2019.

When the Liberals ram through this legislation, there will still be ongoing uncertainty for potential proponents of long-term, capital-intensive, multi-billion dollar, major resource projects, following almost three years of the same.

If a project is granted an assessment, there are still no concrete timelines in Bill C-69. Proposed subsection 37(6) states, “The Minister may suspend the time limit within which the review panel must submit the report until any activity that is prescribed by regulations made under paragraph 112(c) is completed.” Bill C-69 would allow the assessment to be stopped and started, and for timelines to be extended indefinitely. Obviously, there would be yet more uncertainty for potential proponents and investors.

In committee, the director of environmental services at Nova Scotia Power, Terry Toner, stated, “while the timelines in the bill provide some guidance for project proponents, the government's goal of process predictability is significantly diluted by provisions in the acts that permit limitless extensions and suspensions.”

Time is of critical value, and it can make the difference between a project built and a project abandoned. We accept that there must be some flexibility, but there must also be discipline and transparency in order to ensure investor confidence in Canadian infrastructure projects.

In committee, the president and CEO of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission stated, “It is important that we all know, from the get-go, the length of time to get project approval. From our experience, industry can accept a quick 'yes' or 'no' decision. What is unreasonable is to get a 'maybe'.”

Unfortunately, Bill C-69 is ripe for a swath of “maybes” on project applications, because of the potential for suspensions, delays, and uncertainty about measures for applications and outcomes. Clearly, Bill C-69 will not deliver on discipline and transparency in all aspects of the assessment of major resource projects.

According to proposed subsection 183(5) in part 2 of the bill, the regulator may exclude any period of time from the time limit calculations so long as reasons are provided. If resource development proponents have a choice between multiple “maybes” over years of review in Canada and a timely “yes” south of the border, where do the Liberals think their investments will go? Unfortunately, the answer is already obvious in the flight of investment capital from Canada, with U.S. investment in Canada falling by nearly half and Canadian investment in the U.S. going up two-thirds.

While the Liberals claim that Bill C-69 would streamline and clarify the approval of major federal resource projects, its requirements create confusion and unanswered questions. For example, Bill C-69 mandates that proponents must demonstrate “health, social and economic effects, including with respect to the intersection of sex and gender with other identity factors”.

Obviously, job creation, research and development, innovation, and capital investment from resource development reduce poverty, benefit the economy, and provide revenue for governments and public services such as health, education, and social services, as well as funds for academic and charitable organizations, but I think proponents can be forgiven for uncertainty around how their investments and initiatives relate to identity factors.

It is rich for the Liberals to argue that Bill C-69 would enhance scientific evidence in reviews, beyond what has already been done in Canada's regulatory system. In fact, during committee, Mr. Martin Olszynski of the University of Calgary pointed out that the terms “science” and “scientific” are mentioned only five times in all the 400 pages of this major omnibus bill that the Liberals are using all procedural tools to push through, while rejecting the vast majority of the over 400 amendments submitted by opposition members.

In the process of issuing certificates, the Canadian energy regulator is tasked with establishing a commission and undertaking public consultation. At committee, one of my amendments was adopted, which requires the commissions to make public any reasons for holding a hearing about the consideration of issuing a certificate. However, there still remains uncertainty around the assessment, and Bill C-69 would open the door to foreign influence in these public hearings.

Bill C-69 would enable increased foreign influence on Canadian resource development decisions because of the removal of the previous standing test, which ensured that intervenors in the process either were impacted directly by the project under review, or had specific knowledge or expertise that would contribute to the assessment.

Some claim that foreign groups have always been allowed to participate in Canada's environmental assessment processes, but that is just not true. This has only rightfully been the case for projects that cross international borders. Canada has never permitted foreign interference in the environmental assessment process for interprovincial pipelines or other resource projects in federal jurisdiction that do not cross international borders. However, the removal of the standing test now opens up this process to groups that are either directly or indirectly backed by foreign dollars or by Canada's competitors.

The Canadian Energy Pipeline Association warned that “[t]here are recent examples in Canada where the absence of a standing requirement has led to highly inappropriate participation that had no probative value with respect to the issues to be decided in the review” and that the elimination of the standing requirement could “be used to clog the hearing process in an attempt to delay projects to the point that they are abandoned”.

Foreign interference in Canadian resources is already growing, to the detriment of all of Canada. Millions in foreign money is funding opposition to the Trans Mountain expansion. It was used to challenge Canadian LNG development opportunities, too, and it is growing as a barrier to Canadian mining.

The Financial Post recently revealed that “Tides has granted $40 million to 100 Canadian anti-pipeline organizations”, which, in return, fight to stop Canadian energy development and access to export markets, disadvantaging Canada against the U.S., its most significant energy competitor and primary energy customer.

Foreign funds are interfering in and influencing electoral outcomes in Canada, too. A report to Elections Canada and Senator Frum has highlighted foreign funding funnelled to third party groups, such as the Dogwood initiative and Leadnow, to defeat incumbent Conservative MPs in certain ridings in the 2015 election, and to fight Canadian resource development.

I support Senator Frum's bill, Bill S-239, which would define foreign contributors, add classifications of foreign contributions, and make it an offence for any third party to accept foreign dollars “for any purposes related to an election”.

However, the Prime Minister defends using Canadian tax dollars to fund jobs specifically for activists to stop the approved Trans Mountain expansion, and he is resisting Conservatives' calls to ban foreign funding in Canada's elections, too, which makes the case that he seems to welcome foreign influences to deliver on his stated objective of phasing out Canadian energy.

Bill C-69 would put Canada's economic future at risk.

The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers warns that Bill C-69 would harm Canada's reputation as a transparent, stable, predictable, and fair place to do business, and this would risk Canada's ability to be a supplier of choice for world demand of responsible energy in the future.

Suncor's CEO warns that “Canada needs to up its game” to attract investment and to compete with the United States. Instead of upping its game, Bill C-69 is the equivalent of the Liberals folding Canada's hand.

The Canadian Energy Pipeline Association warns that Bill C-69 would damage Canada's reputation as a priority choice for energy investment. It says:

[I]t is difficult to imagine that a new major pipeline could be built in Canada under the impact assessment act, much less attract energy investment to Canada.

Investment in oil and gas is projected to drop 12% this year from 2017, and the Bank of Canada already says that there will be no new energy investment in Canada after next year, 2019. In the last two years, at least seven multinational companies have divested from Canada's energy sector completely, and many more have frozen existing operations or shelved future plans.

CEPA's CEO says:

Currently there is profound uncertainty in advancing new major pipeline projects. We now have a significant problem as a sector and as a country in accessing new markets for our products around the world. The development of new projects is grinding to a halt. CEPA member companies that have material assets in other countries are actively pursuing those opportunities because of the uncertainty and potential implications of further potentially seismic regulatory changes that will directly impact the pipeline sector. Our sector is suffocating because of it.

It is clear that Liberal red tape and uncertainty are already forcing investors and developers to seek out other markets, causing hundreds of thousands of Canadians to lose their jobs. Bill C-69 would make it worse. The Prime Minister must stop sacrificing Canada's interests to the rest of the world. Canada already has the highest environmental standards in the world and the most responsibly produced oil and gas.

Canada will continue to do so long into the future, if only governments would allow energy, and all responsible resource development, to continue to fuel Canada's economy and contribute public revenue for all levels of government.

Resource jobs are middle-class jobs, so if the Prime Minister truly cares about the middle class, he will stop increasing red tape and imposing policies that drive out investment and the hundreds of thousands of middle-class jobs in every corner of the country that go with it.

Impact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

June 12th, 2018 / 9:40 p.m.
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Conservative

Shannon Stubbs Conservative Lakeland, AB

Mr. Speaker, I agree with my colleague that we likely approach the legislation from different world views and ideological perspectives. Regardless of that, I was dismayed to see the Liberals reject the vast majority of the 400 amendments put forward in good faith, after the hard work done in an almost impossible committee situation created by the Liberals.

From our different perspectives and on behalf of the diverse constituents we represent, we wanted to improve the legislation and participate meaningfully in this omnibus bills, which will have a serious impact on the entire Canadian economy and on our future as a country.

I agree completely with the member about her concerns with respect to the multiple areas in which either the minister or commissioners are granted wide discretion, from deciding what a completed application looks like; to when a project gets into the assessment process; to whether more information is required, which enables the minister and the commissioner to stop and start the timeline; and to suspend the timeline for review as many times as they want and indefinitely.

This is reflective of a key thing about the Liberals. They so often say one thing and then do another. Their key argument is that they are in favour of objective, independent science and expert-based decision-making. However, it is clear, with Bill C-69, that they have allowed multiple political influences, and the influence of non-Canadians, on Canadian resource projects that are important to every community in the country.

Impact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

June 12th, 2018 / 9:50 p.m.
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Conservative

Tom Kmiec Conservative Calgary Shepard, AB

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to be rejoining the debate on Bill C-69. I have a tough job. I am following the member for Lakeland, who has probably contributed more in this House, in the last two and a half to almost three years, to defending Alberta and Canada's energy industry than any other member of the House. In fact, she has a very long history of defending Canada's energy sector and Alberta's energy workers in her private sector experience before.

She provided us with an overview of the damage that Bill C-69 would do to Canada's economic sector related to the energy industry, and the depth of how much damage would be caused to the energy workers in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and British Columbia.

I cannot match those numbers, but I have seven points I want to go through with respect to Bill C-69, and the different parts of the bill that I think will be very damaging to investments and the future jobs in the energy sector, and to Canada's GDP growth and how much it will be reduced by.

One of the things we often hear about in the House is how strong Canada's growth is. It is often said that we are leading the G7. In fact, that is not even true. We are not leading the G7. The projections by the OECD, and in the PBO's own economic update, has us in the middle, at number four, especially for 2018, with a 1.9% growth. We are actually behind the United States, and we know why. It is because it does not have a carbon tax, which will damage Canada's economy with up to 0.4% less GDP growth.

When I was at the finance committee and I asked the parliamentary budget office officials if ever they had seen a government policy that was intentionally damaging to Canada's economy the way the carbon tax is going to be, they had no answer for me. They could not come up with a response to it because there simply is not one. It is a damaging policy that is being introduced and forced down the throats of provinces that do not want it, including the electorate of Ontario, which last week rejected the damaging policies of the federal Liberal government.

We also know that the natural resource sector in 2016 accounted for 16% of Canada's economic activity. Therefore, 16% of Canada's economic engine is related to the natural resources, and 38% of non-residential capital investment is related to this one sector.

We also know, because the member for Lakeland did a good job of itemizing it, how much foreign investment has fled the country. Again, we know why. It is because we are not as competitive with our main trading partner, the United States, as we used to be. It has introduced drastic tax changes and reforms to its system that make its companies much more competitive. I cannot tell members how many of my constituents, friends, and supporters have moved down to Texas, which I often call “Alberta south”, to work in its energy sector. We know that next year the state of Texas will become the number one producer of oil in the world. It is going to exceed even large producers, such as Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, and Venezuela. It will be producing more oil than any one of them. This is just one state in the United States of America.

We also know that Texas, for instance, does not have a personal income tax system. It has a sales tax instead. However, the offering it provides to workers and to companies is that it will get out of the way. It provides a simple to understand regulatory system that typically does not change from government to government. It provides stability, whereas the current Liberal government is providing more instability.

These are the seven points that I want to raise, and they are in no particular order: moving away from science-based decision-making; the timelines for a final decision will be changed; there are self-processes that will be stopping the clock; we will have open questions about what constitutes a major or minor project; the concentration of power in this legislation; the restoring of the public trust concept, which is highly politically charged; and finally, a question that I asked previously to one of the parliamentary secretaries with respect who would have standing to appear before the renamed NEB regulator to have their voices and their issues heard. Those are the seven points I want to raise in my intervention tonight on this issue.

This legislation has been referred to in the National Post, and this is how it was described. It said, “This new process repeats the mistake in believing that those groups dedicated to the destruction of our oil industry can be reasoned with”.

I, like many other Albertans, did not work directly in the energy industry but was related to it in ways. I worked in human resources. I was a registrar for a profession, and many members worked for organizations that participated in providing HR advice, recruitment, benefits, pension plans. Therefore, it was not directly related to it, but they worked in companies but also provided ancillary services to them. They believed that there is simply no way to satisfy those who are ardently opposed to large-scale industrial energy development of any kind. We can never create a system that will satisfy any of them. No matter how complex the labyrinth becomes, it will never satisfy those who are opposed to development, period.

Social licence does not exist. There is no way to reach the end point where there is broad consensus. In fact, one of the reasons the carbon tax was introduced in Alberta was so that we could get a pipeline built of some sort. Since then we have lost northern gateway. Since then we have lost energy east. Since then LNG projects have been cancelled all over British Columbia. Oftentimes this would have been an outlet for a lot of the natural gas production in Alberta and in British Columbia to world markets. We often do not talk about those, but they are just as important as oil pipelines.

Now Trans Mountain finds itself in the hands of the Liberal government. The Liberals truly have the ability to follow through on the dream of the Prime Minister's father, and I think of many supporters of the Liberal Party today, to phase out the oil sands, to phase out Alberta's energy industry. Twice that has been said by the Prime Minister. The first time he apologized and we all believed that he had misspoken, but the second time he said it at the National Assembly in Paris, France.

Many Albertans, even those who are not directly in the energy industry simply do not believe the Liberal government when it says it will get this pipeline built, because there is no plan going forward. Liberals have not itemized how they are going to get it done. They have simply talked about a very specific purchase agreement that they have successfully negotiated with Kinder Morgan, because it is looking to flee. It is fleeing because of things like Bill C-69, which add more complexity and do not make it simpler to go from a project application to a project completion.

I do not mean the application process being finished. I mean construction actually being completed on the ground. That should be the measure of success and the very minimum expected by the House. If we are going to spend $4.5 billion of taxpayer funds, a contract should be provided to the House so that we can judge the quality of it, who is getting and receiving payment, but also a plan attached to it that has an itemized detailed timeline of when construction will begin, when construction will be finished on particular components of it, and when it will be operating. Again, something we will not see anytime soon, at least not in my mind.

In terms of the moving away from science-based decision-making in this piece of legislation, the Liberals are adding in a lot more qualitative factors over quantitative factors. It has been said by the GMP FirstEnergy Research team:

The qualitative factors look to be nearly impossible to measure or assess. Additionally, certain quantitative measures such as gender-based analysis may be almost impossible to implement in practice.

This has a huge implication for a company with a large-scale industrial project when it is preparing to apply at the beginning. Just as with any application there will be a bunch of boxes to fill in and information to provide. If companies do not know how to meet the test, if the multiple choice question does not have any multiple choices to pick, how are they supposed to satisfy the government on what it is trying to get? This is where the complexity increases. This is where a lot of energy companies will struggle to satisfy the government's want for more information.

Second, on the timelines for a final decision a lot has been said in the House by members that in fact the supposed timelines provided for Bill C-69 are not true timelines. What will happen instead is that there are ample opportunities for it to be blocked and ample opportunities for it to be deviated.

Third, the sub-processes are stopping the clock. Again, GMP FirstEnergy noted that included allowing for additional studies and submissions by interested parties and “other delaying tactics such as the Governor in Council having an unlimited ability to extend a pending decision by the minister for as long as desired and suspending the time limit under which the notice of the commencement of assessment begins.” These are issues itemized by researchers who work for energy companies, who advise energy companies on how to comply with regulatory complexity, which is increasing under Bill C-69.

If the goal was never to have another major industrial project be built in Canada, then the Liberal government has achieved its goal, but I just do not think that was the goal.

We have the CEO of Suncor Energy who has said that no new major industrial projects will come forward. We have the CEO of Sierra Energy, a smaller player in the field, but still a very important one, saying that under this legislation, no new large-scale industrial projects will be proposed to the regulator. I can understand why. It will become way more complex to get anything done.

I mentioned the problem identifying what is a major or a minor project. That is not clarified in this piece of legislation. It would still be difficult to determine that, and again, researchers said that this was a problem.

There would be an immense concentration of power, which many members have issues with, especially on the Conservative side. We have itemized our concern that the minister is getting too involved in the decision-making around projects. There are paths projects could be redirected to that would add to the complexity and add to the burden on the company to try to prove things with information and criteria that might be difficult to collect.

This would not help energy workers in any way. This would not help us get to the “yes” side. This would not help us get to a project being completed and Canada yielding additional prosperity with wealth generated.

At the end of the day, I am convinced that the government wants more revenue. The government wants people to generate income. It wants projects to be undertaken and built. It wants to see that to have an opportunity to levy income tax and sales tax. That cannot be done without having wealth generated.

If the CEO of Suncor Energy is saying that no new major industrial project is going to go ahead, we have serious issues.

The concept of restoring public trust is highly politically charged. It is a manufactured narrative that before there was no trust, but now there is trust. That is interesting. Perhaps that should be told directly to those who are protesting the Trans Mountain pipeline. Maybe that should have been told to those protesting the energy east pipeline, when it was still on the table before the Liberal government killed it off by introducing new regulatory rules.

In its news release at the time, Trans Canada said that it was the decision to introduce new regulatory rules that led to its cancellation. This false concept about restoring the public trust is not helpful in any way. It somehow speaks again to this idea of social licence, which again does not exist. It has been proven over the past few years that nothing will satisfy those who are opposed to energy development of any sort.

Finally, who can be involved in NEB hearings? That was a question I asked before. Subclause 183(3) would eliminate the NEB standing test, which is very important to narrow the scope of the determination of who could appear before the NEB to make the case that they are impacted, beneficially or not, and could make the case that the project should be modified in a certain way to meet their personal or local community needs. Now there would be the opportunity for international groups to appear before the regulator and make a case that they would be somehow impacted directly.

If communities are the ones that can say yes, then it can only be the local community directly related to the project that should have a role in saying how it would be impacted. It should be individuals in those communities who should have the greatest role. It should not be spokespeople who are self-appointed saying that they speak on behalf of a certain group. It should be people locally who can go before the NEB to make their case, as they were able to do before. Now there would be the potential situation where foreigners or people from different parts of Canada, totally unrelated to the project, would make submissions and appearances, slowing down the process and adding more complexity and further delays to the regulatory process to try to meet their demands and their goals.

There are some in the legal community who have offered their opinions, such as Jean Piette, an environmental lawyer at Norton Rose Fulbright, in The Lawyer's Daily, on February 9, 2018. This was very early on, before some of the amendments were made. He said, “I think there are going to be delays inherent to this new process which are going to be of concern to proponents.”

Martin Ignasiak, national co-chair of Osler's regulatory, environmental, Aboriginal and land group, again in The Lawyer's Daily, on February 9, 2018, said, “there is nothing in these legislative proposals that suggests future assessments...will be in any way streamlined, more efficient, or more effective.” In fact, they will not be.

We know that to be true. We know that to be a fact, having seen the final bill that was jammed through the natural resources committee without even a single amendment from the Conservative side accepted as reasonable being added to the docket.

I often hear members of the government caucus say that the committee worked collaboratively. “Collaboratively” gives the false impression that somehow it was a multi-party process, where amendments from each side were considered and included in the final version of the bill that was reported back to the House of Commons. In fact, we know that not to be true. Not a single Conservative amendment was approved on this particular piece of legislation, and often on other pieces of legislation. I hope this will not be a trend that will continue from now until election time, but it speaks to the type of work that is being done on committees. There is a lot of talk and a lot of rhetoric, but the reality is that very few, if any, Conservative amendments are given their full due so that we can consider them in amending government legislation. It does happen, but it is a rare occurrence.

I know I do this quite often, but I want to end on a couple of points, because I know certain points are made by government caucus members about the record of the previous government and how many pipelines were approved and the concept of the economy and the environment going hand in hand. The Yiddish proverb I would like to use on this one is “One cross word brings on a quarrel.” I want to start a quarrel, not directly, but maybe verbally in the House. My quarrel is that we talk about the environment and the economy going hand in hand, but too often, the rhetoric I hear is as if one unit of the economy has to be lost for a unit of the environment to be gained. That is not the case. Why is it that every time the Liberals talk about the environment and the economy going hand in hand, what they mean is that taxpayers pay more and more every single time? They pay more in carbon taxes and more in CPP premiums and payroll taxes and a higher tax on the goods they purchase. On and on it goes. Every single time, small businesses are paying more because of tax changes the Liberals are introducing, despite lowering the small business tax after they rediscovered their promise. It goes on an on.

The second point I want to make is on the record of the previous government. There were countless pipelines, both oil and gas, that were approved: the Melita to Cromer oil pipeline capacity expansion, the TMX-Anchor Loop oil pipeline, the Cochin oil pipeline, the Keystone oil pipeline, the Alberta Clipper oil pipeline expansion—Line 67, the Bakken oil pipeline, the Line 9B oil pipeline to Edmonton, the Hardisty oil pipeline, the Deep Panuke offshore natural gas pipeline, and the South Peace pipeline, and it goes on and on.

There was an immense record of success in the previous system that existed to approve large-scale projects. These pipelines I mentioned are operational today. We know that the government has overseen the cancellation of the most kilometres of pipeline of any government in recent memory. Thousands of kilometres of pipeline have been cancelled or not approved under its watch. I do not see very many new projects going ahead, aside from Trans Mountain, and being put before the regulator for consideration, that would have a meaningful impact on either the differential or on bringing our natural gas to new markets and ensuring that they reach different parts of the United States and international markets.

This is my concern. The rhetoric does not match the reality. The president and CEO of Suncor and other major energy companies, such as Sierra Energy, are right. There will be no new major industrial energy projects proposed under Bill C-69. It is a flawed piece of legislation. It does not address the underlying need to ensure that the rule of law is respected in Canada. That is the fault and defect in the current Liberal government. It is refusing to apply the Constitution. It is refusing to apply the rule of law and to ensure that the permit that was provided in the case of Trans Mountain is actually followed through on. A permit from a regulator is not worth the paper it is written on if it is not backed up by the rule of law, with the courts ensuring that those who continue to obstruct a project illegally face the judicial system. That is the way it should be done. It should also have clear support from the government that does not involve nationalizing a pipeline in the name of trying, in vain, to get it built, when in fact, it is simply bringing it under the control of the government so it can set the timelines on what happens in the future.

Albertans do not trust the government. Alberta energy workers do not trust it controlling the Trans Mountain pipeline, and because of that, I will be voting against the bill.

Impact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

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

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

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

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

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

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

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

Impact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

June 12th, 2018 / 10:20 p.m.
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Conservative

Larry Maguire Conservative Brandon—Souris, MB

Mr. Speaker, it is my privilege to stand this evening to debate Bill C-69. I would like to say a number of things at the outset. The most obvious one is that the Liberals broke their promise with the bill. It has nothing to do with the wording of the bill and everything to do with the size of it.

First, the government said it would not have omnibus legislation and, as my colleagues mentioned earlier this evening, this is a 370-page bill. It cannot be put in any other context than it is an omnibus bill.

The second broken promise is that the bill is not very environmentally supportive by its very voluminous weight. It could have helped, in spite of its size, if it really would improve our environment, but this bill fails to do that.

A number of things have been said about the bill this evening and I will come back to those. However, a whole host of events has taken place around the rhetoric the government has put in this bill. The Liberals talk about trying to improve the environment, to create more jobs, and to improve those jobs, but they have ended up killing two pipelines already. One was the northern gateway pipeline across northern British Columbia to get oil in Alberta over to the west coast. The other one was the eastern access line to move oil to the New Brunswick area for refining purposes in that part of Canada.

Before I elaborate on that, I should inform the House that I will be sharing my time with my colleague from Edmonton West. I know he will have much to say about the situation taking place in Alberta.

My perspective comes from the small amount of oil in southwest Manitoba, which happens to all be in my constituency. This is a very important issue to the communities, maybe not to Winnipeg as much, though it is impacted because a lot of income comes out of that area from this oil, and to the people who live in those communities and on the farms in that region as well. A great deal of work is being done by the oil industry in the southwest region, from trucking to the building of lines to the building of batteries to the moving oil from the wells to the batteries to the tracks to the loading facilities. We also have a major pipeline running right through the middle of my constituency, which moves the oil east and down through the United States.

There are thousands of jobs in my little southwest corner of Manitoba because of this industry. That is why it is so important to have certainty in this industry. It impacts the lives of individuals on farms as well. I went through the downturn in the farm economy, particularly BSE in 2003, droughts in 2003, and flooding in 2005, 2011, and 2014. Therefore, off-farm jobs in the oil industry have been a stabilizing factor in many of the family operations in southwest Manitoba.

It is pretty important to ensure there are sound rules so investors in the economy, not just in my area but more particularly in Alberta, Saskatchewan and, to a certain extent in Newfoundland, have the assurance they can make investments and know they will get returns from those investments.

I will refer to my colleague from Carleton when this debate started. He had a good economics lesson, I thought it was Economics 101, about whether the government learned anything from the lesson he was trying to teach about how important it was to have a sound investment process. We know that comes with great difficulty in Canada right now, and there is a lot of concern about it. As he pointed out, and as we all know, the country's debt is three times higher than it was supposed to be this year.

One thing I did not know, and it is worth repeating, is there are overpayments in Ontario's hydro of $176 billion over the last 30 years. That is a tremendous amount of money, when we consider that is a quarter of Canada's debt. The other number we need to bear in mind is that we have already lost $88 billion worth of investment in our oil industry. It has moved out of the country. It has gone south, as my colleague from Calgary Shepard just indicated. Thousands of jobs have gone south, 101,000 jobs in Alberta alone.

There is a little more drilling going on right now in our area of southwest Manitoba, but the bill would not help that economy survive. Bill C-69, this omnibus legislation, and the amount of regulations in it would not make it easier to grow our economy, which puts people to work.

I was the environment critic for seven of the 14 years I was in the Manitoba legislature. I want to put a few things into perspective. When we look at a situation where infrastructure and investment is required, the government always talks about how we can have both, the economy and the environment. That is not new. It is certainly not foreign to anybody in the House or to any Canadian for that matter.

This is about ensuring that Canadians know that the environment and the economy have gone hand in hand probably since oil was found in Canada in the late 1940s, early 1950s. Anyone who does not abide by those rules of trying to ensure the environment is kept as pristine as we possibly can is not paying attention. My colleagues have already stated tonight that we have the cleanest rules for dealing with environmental packages of anywhere in the world, particularly in our oil industry.

Rules have been brought, and not just in Bill C-69 or Bill C-68, the Fisheries Act. We know full that the efforts in Bill C-69 will not help the economy in any way. They certainly will not make jobs.

As I said, I was asked to become the environment shadow minister in Manitoba when I was first elected in 1999. It was either conservation or the environment. As the representative for Arthur-Virden, the constituency receives water from all of eastern Saskatchewan, southeastern Saskatchewan as well as northeastern Saskatchewan, and all of it comes into the Souris River, coming down the Assiniboine, and even through the Qu'Appelle in central Saskatchewan.

We know the impacts of what the environment can do to our province. The current provincial government is spending its infrastructure dollars rather responsibly. It is using them to protect cities like Brandon and Winnipeg particularly, Portage la Prairie, and the shorelines of Lake Manitoba and Lake Winnipeg. This is responsible management. Why? It is because the provincial government is spending the money on infrastructure to prevent flooding, instead of paying billions out after the fact in flood damages and devastation.

The Liberals need to heed that example and respect investments, instead of killing investment opportunities like the eastern access and northern gateway. These are important issues.

I could go on about a lot of other shortfalls in the bill. Changes to the National Energy Board is just one of them. It may have needed tweaking, but the government decided it knew best and threw out the baby with the bathwater.

My colleague, the member for Dauphin—Swan River—Neepawa, certainly has more experience, having a master's in biology, and he has certainly hit the nail on the head with respect to the Fisheries Act and Bill C-68. I have spoken to him about this bill as well.

I just want to wrap up by saying that I will not be supporting Bill C-69 for a number of reasons outlined, particularly by my colleague from Abbotsford today, as well—

Impact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

June 12th, 2018 / 10:30 p.m.
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Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

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

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

Impact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

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

Kelly McCauley Conservative Edmonton West, AB

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise tonight at this late hour to speak to Bill C-69, an act to enact the Impact Assessment Act and the Canadian Energy Regulator Act, to amend the Navigation Protection Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts, also known as an omnibus bill. I also like to call this bill the let us never build another pipeline or major energy project in Canada bill, or we could call it the labyrinth act, after the David Bowie movie Labyrinth, with its never-ending maze, which is what our regulatory process is going to be.

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

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

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

Hence, the the labyrinth act.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Impact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

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

Michael Cooper Conservative St. Albert—Edmonton, AB

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

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

Impact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

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

Kelly McCauley Conservative Edmonton West, AB

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

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

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

Impact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

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

Kelly McCauley Conservative Edmonton West, AB

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

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

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

Impact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

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

Michael Chong Conservative Wellington—Halton Hills, ON

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Impact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

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

Liberal

Kim Rudd LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In addition, the new federal regulator would retain final decision-making authority for minor administrative functions such as certain certificate and licence variances, transfers, and the suspension of certificates or licences. The Canadian energy regulator act would also restore the regulators' pre-2012 decision-making authority to issue a certificate for major projects subject to cabinet approval. This change is important because it removes the federal cabinet's ability to overturn a negative decision from the CER, but maintains cabinet's right to ask commissioners to reconsider their decisions.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Impact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

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

Ed Fast Conservative Abbotsford, BC

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

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

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

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

Impact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

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

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

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

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

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

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

Report StageFisheries ActGovernment Orders

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

Jamie Schmale Conservative Haliburton—Kawartha Lakes—Brock, ON

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Report StageFisheries ActGovernment Orders

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

Darrell Samson Liberal Sackville—Preston—Chezzetcook, NS

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

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

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

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

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

As members know, in 2012, the previous government decided to change habitat protection without the support of or consultation with indigenous peoples, fishers, scientists, conservation groups, coastal communities, and the Canadian public. In contrast, our government has worked with all Canadians and has encouraged everyone to be part of this process. The proposed amendments to Bill C-68 are part of our government's broader review of environmental and regulatory processes under Bill C-69, an act to enact the impact assessment act and the Canadian energy regulator act, to amend the Navigation Protection Act and to make consequential amendments to other acts, which was reviewed by the committee.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Report StageFisheries ActGovernment Orders

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

Richard Cannings NDP South Okanagan—West Kootenay, BC

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Report StageFisheries ActGovernment Orders

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

Francis Scarpaleggia Liberal Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Report StageFisheries ActGovernment Orders

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

John Barlow Conservative Foothills, AB

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to rise and speak on Bill C-68 tonight. The comment that was made earlier this evening from one of my colleagues across the floor was that he was happy that a member from the west coast or a coastal riding was getting up and speaking about this. I am not picking on him for any reason, but I think it highlights one of the issues we are having with this bill. There seems to be a lack of knowledge or scope when it comes to our friends in the Liberal government not understanding the ramifications and implications that the decisions they are making with this bill will have on every region of the country. That is why we are seeing many of the rural members of Parliament from the Conservative side getting up to speak to this bill, because it will have very real and profound consequences on our rural communities.

I want to back things up prior to 2012, when these changes to the Navigable Waters Act and the Fisheries Act were made by the previous Conservative government. I recall I was a journalist at that time in a small community newspaper throughout southern Alberta. I remember covering numerous council and town hall meetings hosted by rural municipalities that were having significant issues when when it came to dealing with culverts, small bridges, drainage ditches, seasonal waterways, and irrigation canals, and the hoops, bureaucracy, and red tape they had to go through to try to complete some of those projects.

Prior to 2012, municipalities had to go through labour-intensive regulatory requirements when it came to areas of what was then called “navigable waters”. They were forced to endure lengthy delays, because the Department of Fisheries and Oceans was inundated with thousands of applications from municipalities that were waiting for it to come and make decisions on their projects, not to mention the length of those delays. It proved extremely costly to these municipalities that were having to endure these very long wait times. I would think many of us who have rural municipalities in our ridings understand that many of these municipalities are extremely small. They simply do not have the financial or staffing resources to be able to handle the workload and amount of paperwork that comes along with a Department of Fisheries and Oceans assessment. Therefore, our rural municipalities were coming to the previous Conservative government with these problems and issues with respect to managing their own lands. That is when the previous Conservative government came up with these changes to try to reduce some of that regulatory burden. We wanted to turn the focus to ensuring that the protections in that legislation focused on the most critical fish and fish habitat in navigable waters. At the same time, we wanted to take some of that regulatory burden off some of the waterways that probably never had fish habitat and would never have fish habitat, but were still under the same regime and regulatory layers of bureaucracy that any river, stream, ocean, or lake would come under, when we were just talking about drainage ditches and irrigation canals, for example.

When we talk about some of the changes that were made, I think we need to highlight that the act maintained a very strong regulatory regime and protected very important fish habitat, but it had more of a practical scope. It reduced that administrative burden on not only municipalities, but also the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. It had now freed up a lot of its time and resources to focus on the most important cases and waterways without having to deal with very minor projects for municipalities. However, it also empowered municipalities to be the environmental stewards of their own waterways. When it comes to those types of projects and waterways, who would be better to be the stewards of those lands than the municipalities, the councils, and their staff, who are on the ground each and every day? They know the history. They have that local knowledge. They know whether it is fish habitat. They know if it is a seasonal waterway. Certainly, they know that better than a bureaucrat in Ottawa. Therefore, I think it was a win-win situation for the municipalities, as well as the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.

Now we are faced with these changes in Bill C-68, which would expand the definition of fish habitat, expanding it even wider and more broad than it was prior to 2012. That is very disconcerting in the fact that it was burdensome and difficult to deal with and almost impossible to enforce prior to 2012. How difficult will this be when not only we restore it to the previous definition, but have even expanded that definition to a much wider scope. It has re-engaged a lot of those same regulations, but it also introduces something that is new, which is designated projects. This will include any projects within a category that could impact any waterway, whether it has a specific impact on a known fish habitat or not.

What is even more concerning for our stakeholders, municipalities, farmers, and ranchers is the fact that there is no definition on what a designated project is. This is really a larger narrative that we have seen from the Liberal government. It rushed through this legislation without doing all the homework and all the background work first so that it tabled a complete document that everyone could understand exactly where they stood. The legislation is very clear. The rules and regulations are very clear. There are still some very large holes in it with which stakeholders are very concerned.

The other issue, which is a large narrative with some of the Liberal legislation we have seen, is the minister would have more expanded and broader powers. This is very similar to what we have seen with Bill C-69.

We now have proponents in the energy sector that are divesting themselves of the energy sector because they do not feel there is a clear path to success. If they do apply for a project, whether it is pipeline, a mine, a forestry initiative, LNG, they could go through the regulatory process, through every environmental review, could pass all of those things, but at several steps during the process, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change would have the authority to step in and tell them to go back to the beginning. The minister could cut it off right there and tell them the project was not in the public interest or it was not something that could be supported. That would be the end of that project.

There is no clear definition of how to reach success or if there is a definitive pathway that people would know their projects would not succeed. We cannot have those types of projects at the whim of one person. That is very similar to what we see in Bill C-68 where the minister would have similar powers.

This is a crippling burden for municipalities that do not have the resources or the infrastructure to deal with these things. Imagine the burden and the impact it will have on farmers and ranchers who absolutely do not have the wherewithal to handle some of these issues.

Prior to 2012, a farmer in northern Alberta explained to me that he had a spring run-off area that went through his field. He would put a couple of 2x4s down during the spring so he could drive his machinery over it when he sprayed or seeded. However, Fisheries and Oceans came to him before 2012 and said that it was a waterway because it could float a canoe or a kayak. Certainly it could for about two weeks in the spring, but the rest of the time it was dry. He had to build a bridge over that seasonal spring runoff area. We are not talking about a river for the last pirate of Saskatchewan to float down the plain. This was simply a spring run-off. He was very concerned that he would have to go back to this. This will very burdensome to him.

Again, this goes back to the narrative that the Liberal government implements knee-jerk legislation, without doing the due diligence, without having an idea of what the ramifications will be and the unintended consequences, or doing the economic impact analysis of these decisions and what they will have on other sectors.

This is again another attack on rural Canadians. It is not science-based, front of package labelling, food guide, carbon tax. These changes will impact our rural communities, farmers, and ranchers who are struggling just to stay in business. Now there is a potential trade war with the United States.

For farmers and ranchers in rural municipalities, their livelihoods depend on healthy waterways, lakes, rivers, streams, aquifers. No one would take better care of these waterways than those who are on the ground, rural Canadians, farmers, and ranchers.

Business of the HouseOral Questions

June 7th, 2018 / 3:10 p.m.
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Waterloo Ontario

Liberal

Bardish Chagger LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister of Small Business and Tourism

Mr. Speaker, this afternoon, we will continue with the report stage debate on Bill C-69, the environmental assessment act.

Following this, we will turn to Bill C-75, the justice modernization act, and Bill C-59, the national security act.

If time permits, we shall start debate at report stage of Bill C-68, the fisheries act, and Bill C-64 on derelict vessels.

Tomorrow morning, we will begin third reading of Bill C-47 on the Arms Trade Treaty. Next Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday are allotted days. Also, pursuant to the Standing Orders, we will be voting on the main estimates Thursday evening.

Next week, priority will be given to the following bills: Bill C-21, an act to amend the Customs Act; Bill C-59, an act respecting national security matters; Bill C-64, the wrecked, abandoned or hazardous vessels act; Bill C-68 on fisheries; and Bill C-69 on environmental assessments.

We also know, however, that the other place should soon be voting on Bill C-45, the cannabis act. If a message is received notifying us of amendments, that will be given priority.

Impact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

June 7th, 2018 / 3:20 p.m.
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Conservative

Rosemarie Falk Conservative Battlefords—Lloydminster, SK

Mr. Speaker, I am glad to rise again today to finish my remarks. I started them at five minutes to midnight last night, so I am glad that I have this opportunity to continue.

I want to remind my colleagues that Kinder Morgan never asked for a single dollar of taxpayers' money. It asked the government to provide certainty that its 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 had asked for. Instead, it got delay after delay. That failure led to the nationalization of the pipeline, and as I have said, it has come at a significant cost to Canadian taxpayers.

Of the bailout, Aaron Wudrick, the federal director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, said it is “both a colossal failure of the [Prime Minister's] government to enforce the law of the land, and a massive, unnecessary financial burden on Canadian taxpayers.”

Pipeline projects can be built without taxpayer money. The former Conservative government approved 4,500 kilometres of new pipeline through four major pipeline projects.

The role of the government should be to ensure that projects that are scientifically determined to be safe for the environment, and in the interests of Canadians, receive approval. Through low taxes and a clear and less burdensome regulatory system, the government could achieve some success. More than halfway through their mandate, the Liberals have not learned that lesson. That is why Trans Canada pulled out of the energy east pipeline project.

That was not the only energy sector loss. The Liberals' poor management of our energy sector has chased away over $80 billion of investment. As I am sure every member in this place will remember, just recently the Liberal government passed the oil tanker moratorium act through the House. This legislation, when enacted, will prevent an entire region from accessing economic opportunities in the oil and gas sector.

Chris Bloomer, president and CEO of the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association, said, “Projects require clarity and predictability, and once approved should not be subject to costly delay tactics that thwart Canada's economic and social prosperity.” It is really quite a simple ask from Canada's energy industry. It wants to know the rules, know that they are fair, and know that they will not change erratically.

Bill C-69 would not provide that assurance to those working in the energy sector. First, it would provide a slew of ministerial and Governor in Council exemptions that could be used to slow down the approval process. It would also add a planning phase to the process, a brand new process that would be an added 180 days.

The legislation we have in front of us does not provide me with any measure of confidence that it would decrease project timelines or improve certainty for investors. Rather, it would do just the opposite. This legislation would not make investment in Canada more appealing. Rather, it would make it more complicated and more uncertain.

Bill C-69 proposes increased consultation and would expand the criteria to be considered in the assessment of a project. It would seek social license, but it would not increase scientific analysis of the project.

Let us not forget the fact that the minister would have a veto right at the end of the planning phase. This would certainly not instill confidence in investors. It would tell potential investors that decisions on the approval of a project could be decided on a political whim.

We have to also remember that this is happening while the United States is cutting regulations and lowering its taxes. Canada has lost significant business investment. We cannot afford the cost of increased regulation and increased uncertainty. This legislation would not strike the appropriate balance between protecting the environment and growing our economy.

This legislation, like the Liberal government's policies, is flawed. It would propose new regulatory burdens that, when combined with other measures the Liberals have introduced, such as the carbon tax, would drive investment away from Canada.

If Canada wants to compete globally, we need to lower taxes and streamline the regulation system. We need a government that works with Canadians and not against them.

Bill C-69 would result in a loss of jobs, a loss of economic growth, and a loss in global competitiveness. I cannot support the Liberal government's continued efforts to undermine Canada's long-term prosperity.

Impact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

June 7th, 2018 / 3:25 p.m.
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Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Madam Speaker, we are debating Bill C-69, which is an omnibus bill that affects the new Canadian energy regulator, which was the National Energy Board; the Impact Assessment Act, which was the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act; and the navigable waters act. Having practised environmental law for most of my life, I do not suppose she will believe me when I tell her, but I will try to tell her, that this bill is incredibly weak and does nothing to make development more difficult. It cannot possibly drive away investors unless they only want to put their money in countries where environmental assessment meets the minimum standards of rigour that Canada used to have between the early 1970s and 2012.

I do not suppose she is reassured, but I am voting against Bill C-69 because it is absolutely weak. I wonder if she has read it in detail and recognizes that it keeps in place most of what the previous government had done.

Impact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

June 7th, 2018 / 3:30 p.m.
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Conservative

Kelly Block Conservative Carlton Trail—Eagle Creek, SK

Mr. Speaker, thank you for the opportunity 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. My remarks this afternoon will focus on part 3 of this misguided bill.

Part 3 is the section of the bill that makes amendments to the Navigation Protection Act. This section of the bill continues the Prime Minister and the Liberals' assault on common sense laws and regulations that promote jobs and economic growth. The only people calling for the changes proposed in the bill are those opposed to resource projects that create economic development and jobs. They are representatives of the same people who have been protesting the Trans Mountain pipeline, the pipeline the Liberals recently purchased for $4.5 billion in taxpayers' money.

It is rather ironic that the Liberals are burning the bridge, so to speak, with the very voter pool they had hoped to pacify with the bill.

Bill C-69 proposes to change the name of the Navigation Protection Act to the Canadian navigable waters act. While seemingly cosmetic, this change reflects a substantial refocusing of the act on the protection of waters rather than the protection of navigation.

Canada is a large country, the second largest in the world. In the 1800s, waterways were often the primary means of transporting goods across our vast geography. The legislative forerunners of the Navigation Protection Act were designed to protect the navigability of waterways for the sake of our economy.

With the advent of Canada's rail and road systems, as well as our transportation system, Canada's transportation system has become less reliant on water navigation. However, that said, waterways remain an important element of our transportation system in many regions of the country.

As I said a moment ago, the changes in Bill C-69, including changing the act's name, demonstrate the Liberals' complete disregard for the original intent of the Navigation Protection Act, and instead reflect their misguided attempt to virtue signal in order to obtain the obscure idea of social licence. Without definition or boundaries, social licence is no more real than a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow.

The Liberals' fixation on this abstract idea is costing Canadians dearly. Again, just consider the $4.5 billion, and counting, that the Liberals have spent to buy the old Trans Mountain pipeline. Now consider the substantial changes to the Navigation Protection Act contained within this bill.

The current Navigation Protection Act includes a schedule of waters to which the act applies. This schedule was created by the previous Conservative government because we realized that not every seasonal creek, tiny river, or stream was used for the purpose of commercial navigation. We also realized that these seasonal creeks or tiny rivers were already protected by other environmental legislation and that when economic development was planned on or near them, it was duplicative and redundant to make these projects subject to the NPA when in fact these small bodies of water were not used for navigation.

Our changes were strongly supported by a broad range of stakeholders and organizations across Canada. They ranged from the construction industry, to the resource development industry, to municipalities and their associations. These organizations recognized that Canada needed prudent, careful environmental laws and regulations, but not duplicative ones. They realized that applying the NPA to projects where navigation was not a consideration was a waste of time and money and led to increased project costs.

On this point, the opposition by municipal organizations and the construction industry was highlighted to parliamentarians at the Standing Committee on Transportation, Infrastructure and Communities when we undertook a study in 2016 of the former Conservative government's changes to the NPA. The genesis of that study by the committee was very interesting and should be noted.

What prompted the committee's study of the NPA was twofold. First, I believe there was a misguided eagerness on the part of Liberal and NDP MPs to do the bidding of the Prime Minister, rather than focusing on the real issues, which would have had a more meaningful and positive impact on Canadians and our economy. The committee's study of the NPA was a case of the legislative branch taking its marching orders from the executive branch.

Second, and connected to my first point, the transport, infrastructure and communities committee undertook the study of the NPA as a result of an inadvisable letter from the Minister of Transport, co-authored by the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, which was sent to the chair of the transportation committee. In this letter, the Minister of Transport, in effect, directed the committee to undertake this study to provide political cover for introducing changes to the previous Conservative government's legislation. Add to that the fact that the instructions contained within the Minister of Transport's ministerial mandate letter directed him to reverse the changes that were made when the NPA became law.

By directing the committee to undertake the study, the minister was foisting upon a parliamentary committee an instruction that he, himself, had been given. It is no wonder, then, that the conclusions of the committee study were pre-determined. To this day, I find this invasion by the executive branch into the workings of a committee of the legislative body to be a very egregious act on the part of the Minister of Transport and this Prime Minister.

Getting back to Bill C-69 and the new provisions it contains, if passed, the bill will maintain the schedule of waters to be covered by the bill, but it will change the rules and regulations for any work on any navigable water listed in the schedule. Additionally, the bill will create new rules and regulations that will apply to all navigable waters, not just those listed in the schedule.

When I say “navigable water”, it is important to note that this term is code for any body of water or seasonal stream that can float a petroleum-produced canoe or kayak. These new rules include providing an opportunity for the public to express concerns over a work's impact on navigation.

While noble in concept, we all know that this new provision has the potential to be abused by individuals and organizations ideologically opposed to certain projects. This bill is about undoing the good work of our previous Conservative government for spite, rather than implementing policy for the good of the country.

In conclusion, I believe that Bill C-69 is a bad bill and completely unnecessary. While I have only touched on a small part of this bill, I know that its other elements, which my colleague, the member for Abbotsford and others have articulated, will have an equally damaging effect on the Canadian economy and the investment environment in Canada as a whole. This damaging bill is just another piece of bad policy that is causing investment and job creators to look at other countries and/or leave Canada.

It is my sincere hope that the Liberals will reconsider what they are doing to Canada's economy and reputation with misguided pieces of legislation like this one.

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June 7th, 2018 / 3:40 p.m.
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Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, I heard my friend's comments loud and clear with respect to the Navigable Waters Protection Act. Canada had the legislation since 1867, originally under our first prime minister. It remained virtually unchanged until the very significant changes in 2012.

My friend and I will disagree. The omnibus budget bill, Bill C-45 in the fall of 2012, really did damage to our ability to protect navigable waters across Canada. This version in Bill C-69 represents a real improvement. The tragedy is that although the Minister of Transport has done a really good job in repairing that damage, because the impact assessment law does not create a requirement for a review of permits being given by the Minister of Transport, the whole system remains rather shattered, as it was by the budget bill and Bill C-38.

Has she looked at the definition and not recognized that this new definition in Bill C-69 does in fact take into account that waterways that can be used only part of the year and are not actually used for human navigation will not trigger any governmental involvement in navigable waters?

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June 7th, 2018 / 3:45 p.m.
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Conservative

John Barlow Conservative Foothills, AB

Mr. Speaker, I have heard from many farmers and ranchers in rural Canada about the changes in Bill C-69 and the impact they will have, especially when it comes to working on their own land. When they are working in spring runoff areas, little waterways and ditches, they will be forced to work with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, even if someone cannot even get a raft or a balloon down that waterway. They are going to be treated like the last pirate of Saskatchewan is going to be sailing down the plain in his ship. It is going to cause a lot of burden and red tape for these farmers when they are trying to produce food and work on their land.

Could my colleague talk about the impact the changes in Bill C-69 will have on the agriculture sector?

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June 7th, 2018 / 3:45 p.m.
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NDP

Alistair MacGregor NDP Cowichan—Malahat—Langford, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am glad to have this opportunity to join the debate on Bill C-69. It is an opportunity that unfortunately many colleagues in the House will not be able to have. We are currently debating it under time allocation, so we have a limit of five hours to debate it.

I want to walk the House through a little history lesson.

If we go back to the 2015 election, the Liberals, particularly the Prime Minister, made a lot of promises during that campaign. One of them was a repeated promise that if the Liberals were elected, they would immediately restore a strengthened federal environmental assessment process. They made a commitment that they would not approve any projects without first enacting that strengthened assessment process to ensure decisions were based on science, facts, and evidence, and that they would serve the public interest.

In fact, the Prime Minister made a visit to British Columbia. He came to Vancouver Island to the community of Esquimalt on August 20, 2015. People will know Esquimalt, because that is the home of the main Pacific naval base for Canada. He was asked specifically about the promise in the context of Kinder Morgan. He said, quite clearly, that the Kinder Morgan pipeline review process would have to be redone under stronger and more credible rules.

However, what we have before us today, with Bill C-69, is a gargantuan bill, clocking in at 364 pages. It is too little too late, because we are now debating a bill after the government has approved Kinder Morgan and after it has announced the purchase of the pipeline.

The bill comes to us roughly 28 months since the Liberals were elected. I have heard other members of Parliament express in this place that the bill should have gone to three separate committees. It should have gone to the transport committee, the natural resources committee, and the environment committee so each of those collective bodies, with the experience and knowledge that members attain while working on them, could have studied the constituent parts and called forth the appropriate witnesses.

Instead, one committee was entrusted to this monumental task, this herculean task. I know the efforts of the member for Edmonton Strathcona in listening to the evidence and in trying to put forward amendments to see that the bill lived up to the promises the Liberal government had made. Unfortunately, due to the time constraints and the Liberal members on the committee not really listening to her, most of those amendments were defeated, and here we are at the report stage of the bill.

I also want to go back to the time before Bill C-69 was introduced. The Liberals keep on saying that Kinder Morgan did go through a renewed review process. Well, let us just examine what they in fact set up.

The Liberals had set up what was known as a “ministerial review panel”. In fact, that panel admitted that it lacked the time, the technical expertise, and the resources to fill the gaps in the National Energy Board process. It ended up with little more than questions that remained unanswered. They kept no public records of hearings, admitted that the meetings were hastily organized, and confirmed that they had a serious lack of public confidence in the National Energy Board and its recommendations.

I attended one of those meetings when it came to Victoria. I remember the room unanimously coming out against Kinder Morgan. It was kind of a slapdash piece of work.

Despite all of the setbacks of the ministerial review panel, its members still came out and acknowledged that Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain pipeline proposals could not proceed without a serious reassessment of its impacts on climate change commitments, indigenous rights, and marine mammal safety. Therefore, they, in a sense, were acknowledging the huge problems that existed with this project.

The Liberals keep on openly wondering why there is such passionate opposition to this project, specifically in British Columbia where the risks are very much concentrated. It is because people did not have faith in the previous process. Many of them were lured to vote Liberal. They had hoped that the new Liberal government would actually live up to its promises.

Instead what they got was a ministerial review panel, judgment passed by the Liberal government before the facts, and now this bill, Bill C-69, which still has many problematic elements. One of the big ones is that the Minister of Environment will still have an arbitrary right to monitor environmental projects. It leaves them open to political influences instead of scientific evidence.

Governments come and go. We may have an environment minister in one government whom the public can trust and know that the person's heart is in the right place, but if a new government comes in that has completely different leanings and gives that kind of power to ministers, it can sway its decisions according to which way the political winds blow. That is not the way to enact strong, scientific, consensus-based decision-making.

I want to start framing this debate a bit more in the context of Kinder Morgan and the very fact that the government has made promises to get rid of subsidies to the oil and gas sector, that we are now last in the G7, and that the government has tried to strive to a 2025 goal.

The Liberals have paid $4.5 billion for a 65-year-old pipeline, one that exports diluted bitumen, and this is just the cost of the existing infrastructure and not of anything that will come from it. I hear members from all sides talking about a national energy strategy, but this pipeline serves foreign interests. It is not accumulating the best value for our product.

Diluted bitumen is the lowest grade of crude we can export. That is why it fetches the lowest prices. Expanding Kinder Morgan's capacity will not change the price. I see no incentive and I have seen no evidence that customers will be willing to pay more for the same product just because we can ship more volume. The existing pipeline exports 99% of it to California, so I would like to see evidence of all the buyers from Asia lining up at the door. They are currently not buying what Kinder Morgan is exporting today.

The Liberals like to use a favourite phrase that the environment and the economy go hand in hand. There are a few things that are wrong with this. It supposes that the environment and the economy are equal partners. That is not the case. I would argue that there is a relationship, but the economy is very much the junior partner. When we start affecting our environment, when we start polluting the waterways, and we see the effects of climate change, the economic ravages that can have far outweigh any of the benefits we can get.

There are economic opportunities in keeping in line with our environmental goals if we start to make the right investments into renewable energy. We have to see the way the world is going. This is 2018, and there is a trend. I want our country to take advantage of the economic opportunities of the 21st century economy, not invest in something that rightfully belongs in the 20th century.

Along the way, we have to be speaking to current energy workers. We have to ensure they come along with us. Everyone acknowledges that the oil sands will not stop production tomorrow, but we need to have a plan where we talk about the just transition of those workers to bring them with us into the new energy economy, so Canada is best placed for the 21st century.

I also want to talk about the Liberals' vote for Bill C-262 last week and how little those commitments mean this week.

The member for Edmonton Strathcona tried repeatedly, both at committee and now at report stage, to insert language into Bill C-69 that would live up to what Bill C-262 would do. Bill C-262 seeks to bring the laws of Canada into harmony with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. If we look at all the report stage motions, we can see that the member for Edmonton Strathcona has tried to insert language in there that acknowledges the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and acknowledges the Constitution Act, 1982 and all of our commitments. I have been questioning Liberals repeatedly on this. Will they at least have some consistency and vote in support of those amendments, following their support for Bill C-262?

This bill is too little too late. There are gaps in it that we could drive a bus through. While we appreciate some elements of the bill, we have to look at the whole thing.

When it is this large, there are just far too many negatives. They outweigh the positives. That is why the NDP is going to withhold its support for the bill. We were hoping for a lot more, and frankly, so were the Canadian people.

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June 7th, 2018 / 4 p.m.
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Conservative

John Barlow Conservative Foothills, AB

Mr. Speaker, I have great respect for my colleague. We work very well together on the agriculture committee. He touched on something when he pointed out that although we are talking about Bill C-69, this really is about a larger narrative.

The government is making making significant decisions that will impact almost every aspect of our economy, whether it is energy, farming, ranching, or small business. As we have seen over the last few days, and certainly over the last couple of weeks, the Liberals are trying to ram these decisions through with little to no consultation either from members or from Canadians who are going to be impacted by this decision.

I would like my colleague to talk about some of the things he is hearing in his constituency about the impact, or about the frustration from his residents as a result of the decisions being made by the Liberal government with no consultation with Canadians.

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June 7th, 2018 / 4 p.m.
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Conservative

David Yurdiga Conservative Fort McMurray—Cold Lake, AB

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to debate Bill C-69.

It is obvious that Bill C-69 would ensure that major private sector pipelines will never see the light of day. This Liberal Bill C-69 will forever be known as a black death to the oil and gas sector, killing jobs from coast to coast to coast. The Liberal government has enacted a series of anti-resource policies and has sent signals that discourage economic growth. The hikes in tax rates, increased capital gains taxes, which entrepreneurs are averse to, and the carbon tax all affect investment in Canada. We have witnessed that Liberal policies and lack of action on the energy file have chased over $80 billion out of our country, taking with them hundreds of thousands of jobs.

When I was first elected, anyone across the country who was willing to work could find a job in Alberta. Those willing to work hard, often more than 40 hours a week, could support their families, send their kids for post-secondary education, and still save for the future. Small businesses across Alberta were also booming from the economic activity that the industry brought into almost every town and community in the province. That is not the case today. An oil crash later, a provincial government change, and a federal government change have all Albertans concerned for their future.

The global price of oil will always fluctuate, but what many Canadians do not know is that we do not receive the price per barrel that is commonly reported. The price reported is the North American benchmark, West Texas Intermediate. Our oil is traded as Western Canadian Select. The difference between the two prices is about $34 a barrel, on average. The good news is that pipelines can help to close that gap in prices. The more access we have to markets other than the United States, the better the deal we can obtain.

Instead of supporting the building of these pipelines, the Liberal government has introduced regulation after regulation to cripple the industry and deter investment. Today we are talking about the unpopular move that the Liberal government has struck against the west and our oil industry by robbing the National Energy Board of most of its powers through the creation of the Canadian energy regulator.

The National Energy Board has served as a world-class regulator for the natural resource sector since its creation in 1959. Since then, it has reviewed and approved major energy projects across Canada. Over the last decade, the NEB has approved the pipelines Alberta desperately needs, which made it a target for political interference. When the Liberal government took power, the natural resource minister's mandate letter called on him to “Modernize the National Energy Board to ensure that its composition reflects regional views and has sufficient expertise in fields such as environmental science, community development, and Indigenous traditional knowledge.”

While the government believes Bill C-69 would complete this mandate, I would like to cover how this bill would drive investment out of Canada.

One of the changes the bill would bring in is the establishment of timelines. The government claims that there will be timelines of 450 days for major projects and 300 days for minor projects, respectively, pursuant to subclauses 183(4) and 214(4). While many Conservatives are in favour of timelines for projects, the devil is in the details, and unfortunately we did not have time or enough witnesses at our round tables to go over these details. The application process can be dragged out, and that will not be considered in the timelines. The lead commissioner will be given the ability to exclude time. Lastly and most importantly, the minister can approve or deny an application before it even gets to the assessment phase. We only have to look at the cancelled northern gateway pipeline to see that the government has no problem putting national interests on hold and dismissing a pipeline for political reasons.

I am also concerned about the changes to the NEB standing test. Currently, individuals and organizations directly affected by the project or capable of providing valuable knowledge are heard by the National Energy Board. The new rules would allow anyone to participate and be heard. This would ensure that groups who oppose all energy projects across Canada will be given a bigger voice. Groups outside of Canada will be given a voice as well, and they do not have our best interests at heart.

I can only imagine what our global competitors think of this legislation. It would give them the opportunity to fund groups that will oppose every project that has the ability to threaten their market share. To think that this will not occur in the future is foolish and short-sighted.

Briefly, I would like to bring your attention to the projects that have died under the Liberals' watch.

The Prime Minister imposed offshore drilling bans in the Northwest Territories without notice to the territorial governments, which killed exploration and future development, and the Petronas-backed NorthWest LNG megaproject on the west coast was cancelled. The Liberal government has ever-changing policies and roadblocks, which led to the cancellation of energy east. The Liberals also cancelled the Conservative-approved pipeline project known as the northern gateway, which would have brought our oil to tidewater. They legislated the northern B.C. coastline tanker ban, which will ensure projects like the northern gateway and Eagle Spirit will never be possible.

In addition, many Canadians and experts are concerned over the purchase of a 65-year-old pipeline at twice its book value, but the biggest concern is the current condition of the pipeline.

Some of the questions I have are these: What is the life expectancy of the 65-year-old pipeline? What is the projected cost of the maintenance and upgrade of the 65-year-old infrastructure? Will the newly created crown corporation be self-sufficient or end up like the CBC, dependent on taxpayer handouts? Will the construction of the twinning of the pipeline be subject to Bill C-69? Did the government assume all liability from Kinder Morgan, including liabilities from the past?

We should all recognize that the natural resource sector has brought tremendous wealth to my riding, all of Alberta, and Canada. The oil sands alone have brought $7.4 billion to the Canadian economy outside of Alberta: $3.9 billion to Ontario, $1.3 billion to British Columbia, $1.2 billion to Quebec, $333 million to Newfoundland, $143 million to Manitoba, $142 million to Saskatchewan, $96.7 million to Nova Scotia, $50.8 million to New Brunswick, $11.4 million to the Northwest Territories, $6.3 million to Prince Edward Island, $1.6 million to Yukon, and the list goes on. These figures include everything from especially made overalls to high technology for reducing global emissions.

Members need to consider that if we keep our resources in the ground, as environmentalist David Suzuki wants us to do, we are not saving the environment; we are just moving resource development to countries around the world that have lower safety standards and lower environmental protections. I believe that if resources are needed, it is better that they come from here and not from human rights abusers and dictators.

I know that many members of Parliament have voted for regulations of every type and will continue to do so. What they need to consider before voting on this bill is that we are part of a global market. Right now we are competing with countries across the world to sell our goods and attract investment.

We only need to look across the border to see a government intent on bringing in billions of dollars of investments and the jobs that come with them. Since taking office, the Trump administration has given the energy industry a tremendous amount of confidence to invest by cutting regulations and taxes. Future natural resource jobs in my riding, in Alberta, and across Canada are at stake if this bill passes, and that is why my Conservative colleagues and I stand against this bill.

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June 7th, 2018 / 4:15 p.m.
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NDP

Richard Cannings NDP South Okanagan—West Kootenay, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am happy to rise here today to speak to Bill C-69, one of the most important attempts to modernize our environmental protection laws in Canada.

In large part, I think it was meant to deal with some of the actions of the Conservative government, which gutted a lot of our environmental protection laws in the previous Parliament through changes to the Navigable Waters Protection Act, the Fisheries Act, et cetera. We dealt with fisheries in Bill C-68, but Bill C-69 is an answer to try to fix some of the other acts that were radically changed by the previous government.

I have to say, off the top, how disappointed I am that the government not only brought in this bill as an omnibus bill, a huge bill, well over 300 pages long, but it moved time allocation in the first debate after only two hours. It moved time allocation on the bill yesterday as well. This is a bill that really should get fulsome debate. I am disappointed that not only did the government move time allocation, but it took so long to bring in this bill.

The NDP originally asked the Speaker to rule this an omnibus bill so that we could deal with it separately. The government agreed that we could vote on the navigable waters section separately. We also asked that the bill be split up for committee study. The first section, on the impact assessment, is ideally suited for study by the environment committee. The central part, which deals with the National Energy Board and the Canadian energy regulator, belongs with the natural resources committee. The navigation protection section, obviously, should have gone to the transport committee.

That division of labour would have provided for a thorough and efficient study. Instead, the whole bill was thrust onto the environment committee, where, with impossible deadlines, many important witnesses could not testify. I was contacted early on by a consortium of Canadian scientists who had studied this and wanted to present evidence before the committee. This was not a single scientist; these were a lot of the important environment scientists in Canada. They were denied access to the committee simply because, I imagine, there were too many witnesses trying to testify before the committee in those tight timelines.

At committee, the NDP submitted over 100 amendments, none of which were accepted. Tellingly, the government submitted over 100 amendments of its own. This tells me that the legislation was clearly rushed into the House and should have been written with more care.

The Liberals are hashtagging this bill #BetterRules, but the Canadian Environmental Law Association, the legal experts who arguably know more about this subject than most Canadians and most politicians, has said that this legislation in neither better, nor rules.

I will quote from a briefing note prepared by Richard Lindgren of the Canadian Environmental Law Association:

[T]he IAA is not demonstrably “better” than CEAA 2012. To the contrary, the IAA replicates many of the same significant flaws and weaknesses found within the widely discredited CEAA 2012....

[T]he IAA does not establish a concise rules-based regime that provides clarity, consistency, and accountability during the information-gathering and decision-making process established under the Act. Instead, the key stages of the proposed impact assessment process are subject to considerable (if not excessive) discretion enjoyed by various decision-makers under the IAA.

At the most fundamental level, for example, it currently remains unclear which projects will actually be subject to the IAA.... [It] contains no benchmarks or criteria to provide direction on the type, scale, or potential effects of projects that should be designated under the new law.

I would like to spend a little while speaking more to the second part of the bill, the energy regulator section.

This section disbands the National Energy Board and creates a new but rather similar body called the Canadian energy regulator. The section opens with a preamble and a statement of purpose. Surprisingly, in this day and age of a brave new world of energy, neither makes reference to linkages between energy and climate. In fact, there is no mention at all of climate in this entire section.

Much of the public work of the old NEB was about regulating pipelines. One could easily come to the conclusion that this is a case of closing the barn door after the horses have left, since it seems unlikely that the new regulator will ever have to review an application for a major new oil pipeline.

The Minister of Natural Resources has risen countless times in this place declaring that the government has restored confidence in the energy regulation system, and that is why the Kinder Morgan pipeline can be built. Unfortunately, he is deeply misinformed.

A couple of months ago, I met with Dr. Monica Gattinger of the Positive Energy group at the University of Ottawa, who studies this very issue of public confidence in energy issues, and Nik Nanos, whose polling firm had asked Canadians about that confidence. Perhaps not surprisingly, Mr. Nanos found that public confidence in the Canadian energy regulation system was at an all-time low. If we thought it was low during the Harper government, it has continued to decline, and now only 2% of Canadians have strong confidence in the energy regulation system. That lack of confidence is shared by members of the public on both sides of the issue: it is lowest in both Alberta and British Columbia. It results in situations like the Kinder Morgan impasse. I should mention that the last time I heard the minister speak on this subject, he did admit that confidence was suddenly a problem in this area.

The Liberals promised during the last election to put the Kinder Morgan proposal through a new, stronger review system, but instead sent a three-member ministerial panel on a quick tour along the pipeline route, giving communities, first nations, governments, and the concerned public almost no advance warning to prepare their presentations. No record was made of the proceedings.

Despite the serious shortcomings of this process, the panel came up with six questions that it said the government would have to answer before making its decision about Kinder Morgan. I will mention only the first three.

First, can the construction of the Trans Mountain expansion be reconciled with Canada's climate commitments?

Second, how can pipeline projects be properly assessed in the absence of a comprehensive national energy strategy?

Third, how can the review of this pipeline project be squared with the government's commitment to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples?

I would suggest that none of these questions was answered, even in part, before the government made its decision to approve the Kinder Morgan expansion, and none of them were answered before the government bought the pipeline, which was actually the old pipeline. This leaves a lot of questions about how the government is to regulate itself in getting that pipeline built.

Amazingly, none of those questions are properly answered in the legislation before us, which comes two years after the Kinder Morgan decision. After the government has accepted Bill C-262, which calls for government legislation to be consistent with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, there is no mention of this in the body of Bill C-69. Only after much pressure did the government agree to put it in the preamble, where it would have no legal effect.

We need to restore the confidence of Canadians in our energy regulatory system and in our environmental impact processes. Without that confidence, it will be increasingly difficult for Canadian companies to develop our natural resources, which are at the heart of our national economy.

The Liberals continue to pretend they are doing good, but they are all talk and no action, or as we say in the west, all hat and no cattle. We need bold action to build a new regulatory system that gives voice to all concerned Canadians.

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June 7th, 2018 / 4:30 p.m.
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Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, as much as I want to join in the conversation and keep discussing climate, in looking at Bill C-69 I really want to make a point and ask the hon. member for his commentary.

We had an expert panel on EA. The government spent over $1 million to get its advice, and that advice was very clear: the projects subject to review must include much more than the large controversial projects, and we must ensure that all areas of federal jurisdiction are covered. Smaller projects can do serious environmental damage. I want to ask my hon. colleague from South Okanagan—West Kootenay about this, as he has an extensive scientific background. Smaller projects are not going to be caught at all by Bill C-69.

This is about the review of a couple of dozen projects a year, all big ones. That is a fatal mistake for a federal government to make. It will be fatal to our environment. Smaller projects can destroy a species and wipe out a key ecosystem, and we will never even know about it. That is what I would like to ask my hon. colleague to comment on.

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June 7th, 2018 / 4:30 p.m.
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Conservative

Joël Godin Conservative Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier, QC

Mr. Speaker, this is a first for me. I am using my tablet to deliver my speech. We all need to row in the same direction, and every Canadian must be part of the effort to protect our planet. Today I am pleased to rise to debate 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.

We believe in taking action and building on what we have already done to ensure that Canada remains an environmental leader. Those of us on this side of the House believe that. As I often say, the Liberal Party likes labelling the Conservative Party as anti-environment. Nothing could be further from the truth. I will keep saying that as long as the Liberals keep slapping a label on us that in no way reflects how hard Conservative men and women are working for the environment.

My Green Party colleague called this bill incredibly weak earlier today. This, from a party whose primary focus is the environment. I find this surprising coming from that member, but I completely agree with her. I agree that this massive bill is weak and unacceptable, and it does not meet the objective of protecting the environment for our children and grandchildren.

I am a member of the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development, and I want to work. This committee has good intentions, and we would like to implement measures to improve the environment. However, I would guess that this government probably forced the chair, who is from the governing party, to pressure the committee to introduce a bill quickly. This is irresponsible.

It is irresponsible because the environment is important to all Canadians and to the members of the Conservative Party of Canada. These kinds of actions are unacceptable.

I will explain what happened in committee. We received 150 briefs totalling 2,250 pages within a month and a half. Fifty organizations appeared before the committee, 100 were not able to appear but submitted briefs, and 400 amendments were moved, including about 100 by the Liberal Party of Canada.

I would like to point out that, just like all Canadians, all MPs are human beings. If we want to do a good job, we need time to do research and to read, so that we are not saying just anything. We have to be rigorous and conscientious. If this government really intended to put together something to protect the environment, it would not have acted this way.

On another matter, in the 2015 election campaign, the Liberal Party of Canada had this to say on page 39 of its platform:

Canadians want a government they can trust to protect the environment and grow the economy. Stephen Harper has done neither. Our plan will deliver the economic growth and jobs Canadians need, and leave to our children and grandchildren a country even more beautiful, more sustainable, and more prosperous than the one we have now.

It seems important to them to talk about Stephen Harper, who was our prime minister and someone I am very proud of. What was our economy like when the Liberal government took over? It was doing very well. We introduced a balanced budget in 2015, and we left the Liberals with the tools they needed to keep it going, but this spendthrift government managed to create a structural deficit.

The 2019 election cannot come soon enough. This government is going to run a deficit of over $80 billion during its term, so let us hurry up and put the Conservatives back in power so that we can provide sound economic management.

With regard to the previous Conservative government's supposed failure, as I mentioned, here are some of the practical measures that it put in place. The Liberals like to say that we are anti-environment, but that is completely false. I will set out the facts and give concrete examples.

We created the clean air regulatory agenda. We established new standards to reduce car and light truck emissions. We established new standards to reduce emissions from heavy-duty vehicles and their engines. We proposed regulations to align ourselves with the U.S. Working Group III standards for vehicle emissions and sulphur in gasoline. We sought to limit HFCs, black carbon, and methane. We established new rules to reduce emissions from carbon-based electricity generation. We implemented measures to support the development of carbon capture technologies. We implemented measures to support the development of alternative energy sources. We enhanced the government's annual report on the main environmental indicators, including greenhouse gases. We, the big bad conservatives, even abolished tax breaks for the oil sands. In 2007, we invested $1.5 billion in the ecotrust program. It was not a centralist program like the Liberals tend to introduce. Rather, it was a program that worked well with the provinces.

Do you know who sang our praises? Greenpeace, that is who. Wow. We must not be as bad as all that when it comes to the environment. Maybe someday the Liberals will realize that we Conservatives are not here to destroy the planet.

I would like to point out that I, a Conservative MP, established a circular economy committee in my riding of Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier. Why would I waste time doing that if I were anti-environment? That is real action. In my view, and in the view of all the witnesses I had the privilege of hearing at the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development, Bill C-69 is unacceptable. The witnesses told me and the rest of the committee that this bill is nothing but the usual Liberal window dressing.

I am obliged to say that I personally, along with the other members of the Conservative Party, cannot accept this bill. We want to move things forward, but the government across the aisle does not.

We are willing and able to contribute and help the people across the aisle implement proactive, productive, efficient, and rigorous measures. However, it takes time to do that. Let us give ourselves the tools we need to respect the environment instead of defiling it. Let us implement a process that will protect the environment.

In their electoral platform, the Liberals said they wanted to leave a legacy for our children and grandchildren. First of all, environmentally speaking, this bill accomplishes nothing. Secondly, financially speaking, we are going to mortgage the lives of our children and grandchildren. That is unacceptable.

On that note, I know my time is running out. I am now ready to take questions from my colleagues here in the wonderful House of Commons.

Impact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

June 7th, 2018 / 4:45 p.m.
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Conservative

John Barlow Conservative Foothills, AB

Mr. Speaker, unfortunately it is not an honour for me to rise to speak to Bill C-69, which would create some burdensome regulation and red tape and add additional uncertainty to our natural resource sector.

Over the last few months, we have seen the impact the policies of the Liberal government on this industry and the jobs that go with it.

Bill C-69 has not even gone through the House yet, has not been given third reading, but we have already seen the ramifications of it. The private sector has seen the writing on the wall and is divesting itself of their interests in Canada: Statoil, Shell, BP, and certainly Kinder Morgan, which has made a substantial profit from the Canadian taxpayers of $4.5 billion on the purchase of an existing pipeline. As part of those companies divesting themselves of their interests in Canada, they have also taken $86 billion in new investment and new opportunities to other jurisdictions.

Let us be clear: these companies are not going to stop investing in the energy sectors, but they are going to stop investing in the Canadian energy sector. They are taking those dollars to other jurisdictions. They are going to be investing in places like Kazakhstan, Texas, and the Middle East, not in Canada. Unfortunately, we will suffer the consequences when it comes to our economic opportunities.

I want to take an opportunity to clarify something we heard again in question period today. The Liberals keep touting themselves as somehow building a pipeline to tidewater. All this $4.5 billion has done is purchased an existing pipeline. It does not remove any of the obstacles to the building of the Trans Mountain expansion. In fact, the Liberal purchase of this pipeline, which we heard is closer to $2 billion in market value than $4.5 billion, does not build one inch of new pipeline to tidewater. They should be very clear that this purchase does nothing. It removes none of the obstacles that the provincial Government of B.C. has put forward. It does not remove any of the protesters who will be blocking the construction of the pipeline. It does not remove any of the judicial challenges that opponents of the pipeline have put forward.

When the Liberal Prime Minister had opportunity to show some leadership, stand with Canada's energy sector, and use section 92 of the British North America Act, the constitutional tools he had to ensure the project was done, he did none of those things. This will cost our economy thousands of jobs.

I want to make another thing very clear, and I think my colleagues across the floor do not quite understand this. These jobs are not for wrench monkeys and roughnecks, which are also extremely important, as they are the backbone of our energy sector, but they are for highly skilled individuals. They are engineers, geophysicists, and geologists. I have spoken to many of them in western Canada. Some of them have been without jobs for more than two years. These are highly skilled individuals who will go to other areas of the world to find work, and they will not come back. It will be very hard to attract these highly skilled individuals back to Canada.

I have spoken about the impact this has had on western Canada. I have certainly spoken to many of these unemployed energy sector workers in Saskatchewan, Alberta, and B.C. However, the Liberal government also needs to understand that the implications of its decisions on the energy sector ripple right across the country. I would like to talk about just one example.

A General Electric plant in Peterborough, Ontario, made turbines for the pipelines across Canada. General Electric had announced plans to expand that facility should energy east, Trans Mountain, or northern gateway be approved and move forward. However, when energy east was killed on a political decision by the Liberal government, and after the foot-dragging and mismanagement of the Trans Mountain decision, General Electric announced it would close its plant in Peterborough, costing 350 jobs.

Therefore, the ramifications of the Liberal decisions, lack of action on Canada's energy sector, and the Prime Minister saying we are going to phase out the oil sands have real consequences across the country. These 350 jobs in Peterborough, Ontario, are now gone because of the Liberal decision on the energy sector. These families in Peterborough are now going to have to find new work.

I do not think our colleagues across the floor really do understand that. In fact, the Liberal member of Parliament for Peterborough—Kawartha supported killing energy east and supported Bill C-69. She is not fighting for her own constituents. She is not fighting for the jobs of those families in her own riding. The Liberals are making an ideological decision to listen to the vocal minority of activists.

Even today, my colleague from Hamilton East—Stoney Creek talked about how great things were in Hamilton because it was building all these grain cars. I am not too sure how all these new grain cars help the energy sector. They will not be hauling oil in grain cars because we do not have a pipeline. Maybe he is anticipating that the hundreds of thousands of Canadians who have lost their jobs in the energy sector are all of a sudden going to start farming. I do not think that is a real solution.

The solution is standing behind our energy sector, championing it and the jobs it creates and the social infrastructure it supports. That is the direction we should be supporting, not trying to find new jobs for those who have lost their positions. These are very well-paying middle-class jobs across the country, jobs that have now been lost in places like Fort McMurray, Calgary, Leduc, and certainly in Peterborough, Ontario, because of these ideological decisions. Bill C-69 would simply make matters worse.

We have heard from stakeholders and employees in the energy sector. They say that one of the most important drivers of investment in Canada has been that confidence, that reliability, and that regulatory certainty in Canada. Bill C-69 would do everything it possibly could to dismantle that certainty in our regulatory process.

The process is being politicized. The Minister of Environment and Climate Change would have the sole responsibility to decide whether a project would be for the greater good or in the national interest. One person, one minister, would have that decision.

Let us say an investor or a large energy company has an opportunity to apply for a project in Canada. It goes through all the regulatory processes and does all of its environmental assessment studies and financial assessments. However, as part of Bill C-69, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change will have the authority to say no even before it has its foot in the door. Even if it has passed all those environmental assessments, even if it has the support of first nations and communities along the way, even if it is proven to be in the national interest, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change has the authority to say that it is not something the government supports. That is what happened with energy east. The government put so many double standard burdens upon that project that there was no way the stakeholder would go ahead with it. That is what we are seeing as part of this process.

I spoke earlier about the ramifications this had on the sector and how we saw a government make ideological decisions, not decisions made on consultation with Canadians, not decisions based on science, not decisions that are fiscally based, and certainly not decisions based on economics. For example, let us look at agriculture.

This week or last week the Minister of Agriculture said that the vast majority of Canadian farmers supported the carbon tax. That was patently false, and we have heard that it is false. The Liberals are making decisions contrary to what Canadians are asking them to do. That is where this becomes extremely frustrating.

Farmers have reduced their use of diesel fuel by 200 million litres a year. Our energy sector now takes a third of the carbon footprint to produce one barrel of oil than it took 10 years ago. Members are going ask why the government is not investing in renewable energy and fossil fuels. Who do they think has been doing all the investing in renewable resources? It is our fossil fuel companies. Those are the ones which have the funds to invest, and they have been doing it for decades.

Why does the taxpayer have to be doing this when the private sector has already been doing it, and doing it successfully for decades? What the sector is asking for is for the government to get out of its way. It wants the government to let it do what it has been doing successfully, better than anybody in the world for generations. It just wants to do its job and get back to work.

Impact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

June 7th, 2018 / 5 p.m.
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Conservative

John Barlow Conservative Foothills, AB

Mr. Speaker, I agree. I am very concerned. The Liberals campaigned on being science based, open, and transparent. They were going to make decisions based on those criteria, but Bill C-69 shows very clearly that they are going to make decisions that are not science based. We have seen that in a larger narrative within the government. Let us look at the food guide and front-of-package labelling. All these things that are going to have a significant impact on our industries and constituents are not based on science whatsoever. In fact, we have heard from stakeholders and constituents that they are actually going in the complete opposite direction of what science would tell them to do.

Impact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

June 7th, 2018 / 5:15 p.m.
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NDP

Cheryl Hardcastle NDP Windsor—Tecumseh, ON

Mr. Speaker, I certainly cannot argue with the fact there is much distorting of the truth here. I really want to talk to the hon. member about the last Parliament, when the Conservative government did remove or gut the environmental assessment process. It also removed almost all of the protections of our waterways. That is a fact that can be looked up.

Then the Liberal government promised that it was going to restore those things. As we see with Bill C-69, it has really fallen short of the mark. Bill C-69 has done nothing. It does nothing to reverse these changes, which the Liberals promised they would do.

Do the Conservatives still believe that waterways and lakes do not need any protection? Is that what I am hearing—that we do not need any protections for water?

Impact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

June 7th, 2018 / 5:20 p.m.
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Conservative

Tom Kmiec Conservative Calgary Shepard, AB

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to add my voice to this debate, obviously in opposition to the bill before us.

I will begin as I always do, because I want to get it in early, with a Yiddish proverb: “Misfortune binds together.” That is how a lot of Calgarians feel, especially in my riding.

Bill C-69 is simply more misfortune piled on other ill-advised decisions by the government that have hurt constituents and energy workers in my riding. They have spent a lifetime getting experience, an education, and then pursuing a career they were hoping would last their entire lifetime. This is something they were passionate about, producing energy in a responsible and ethical way, which they will now not be able to do.

I have been told repeatedly by executives, industry, and energy workers, including a constituent of mine, Evan, a few days ago, that when Bill C-69 passes Parliament, it will put an end to all future major energy infrastructure projects. No company will put forward major projects again, because the process will be much too complex, involve too many criteria, and will be too complicated, with too much political risk associated with satisfying a minister in order to reach the completion date of just the permitting process. The CEO of Suncor has said publicly that this will put an end to investment in the energy industry. The CEO of Sierra Energy has said exactly the same thing. Therefore, misfortune binds together.

I will explain other things that bind together as a result of this particular piece of proposed legislation, which that would damage the opportunity of energy workers and their families to continue working in this very successful sector.

We should be very proud of this sector of the economy, because we have been exporting the R and D, innovation, commercialized products and services from it for a long time, alongside the product that we export to our friends down south. Even though we have had difficulties negotiating a successful NAFTA renewal, they are still our friends, and we are still trying to make them understand that at the end of the day, our success is their success.

We often hear government members say that the environment and the economy go hand in hand. The Liberals are making it seem like it is a zero-sum game: one unit of the environment gained is one unit of the economy lost. It is zero-sum, and there are no two ways around it. When we look at Bill C-69, that is evident. The Liberals are trying to gain many more units of environment, and we are going to be losing out on the economic side, based on commentary by both energy workers and executives, who are simply saying that there is no way that they can invest in the Canadian economy, hire energy workers in Canada, in Calgary and Alberta, with these types of rules in place.

On the misfortunes I talked about, there is the carbon tax, for instance. Often in this chamber, I hear members say things like, “We should refine it and upgrade it where we mine it, where we extract it out of the ground”. Well, the highest carbon taxes are paid by refineries and upgraders. It is a GHG-intensive industry.

Do we say the same thing to farmers who produce wheat, that we should upgrade it and refine it here? Do we say that to the farmer who produces canola? Do we say that to the farmer who produces big lentils? Maybe we should force all farmers to produce soup. They should not be allowed to export lentils outside Canada. The same idea, the same drive that says we should never export any type of bitumen or oil out of the country until it is refined and upgraded to the highest level product, could be applied to our agricultural sector.

I have heard repeatedly from energy workers that the tanker ban off the B.C. coast is damaging, because it sends a signal that there is a tanker ban now. Actually, it is just a pretend ban because it just moves tankers 100 kilometres farther off the coast to an area where there already is tanker traffic, which is going to continue as long as it does not stop in a Canadian port. However, it sends a signal that those types of workers and that sector of the economy are not wanted anymore by the government.

On the misfortune, there is a close electoral alliance between radical environmentalists, their foreign financiers, and the future electoral prospects of the Liberal government. That is the case. We know it to be true. The Liberals' success in the 2015 election was closely linked to their making promises on the environment that they absolutely could not keep. They made those promises fully knowing they would never be able to keep them. The misfortune continues.

Twice already, the Prime Minister has said he would like to phase out the oil sands. Every single time the Prime Minister says that, the first thing I get by email and phone from Albertans in my riding is, “He has done it again. He said it again.” The last time he said it was at the Assemblee Nationale in Paris.

Many workers question the sincerity of the Prime Minister when he says that he wants this sector to succeed, which is supposedly why he expropriated Kinder Morgan and purchased its pipeline for $4.5 billion. Workers do not trust him. They do not believe him when he says it. They think he is speaking from both sides of his mouth. He is saying one thing to one crowd and something completely different to another crowd. They do not trust him. However, it is their misfortune that he is the Prime Minister right now.

Bill C-69 increases the number of criteria that will be considered during the regulatory process. What logically happens is that before a company even puts in an application to consider a major new energy infrastructure project, they will do their research and due diligence. That will add months and years to the pre-regulatory process. Before even applying, one has to have more information to prove to the regulator that one meets all of the new criteria. Embedded in Bill C-69 is the opportunity for the minister to say “no” at multiple stages of the process.

I have heard Liberal caucus members say how great the bill is and that shortened timelines give certainty. The bill does no such thing because it will increase the number of criteria and datasets that one needs to collect to prove one's case.

This is exactly where I am going to come to my last point of why energy east was cancelled. Energy east and the company's executives and energy workers said they had no way of meeting the new requirements of downstream and upstream emissions. To collect that vast sum of information and provide it to the government was impossible. The company made the only wise decision on behalf of its shareholders and abandoned the permitting regulatory process. There was no other choice. However, that was a political decision by the government. The government is responsible for that and nobody else. The business decision that drove driving Kinder Morgan out of the country, which led to the government expropriating the company and purchasing the pipeline, was the same type of decision-making process Trans Canada had to use on energy east. Those decisions are deeply connected.

Obviously, I will be voting against this bill. The last point of data I want to provide is that under the government, we have seen thousands of kilometres of pipeline cancelled, whereas under in the previous government, we had thousands of kilometres of pipeline finished.

Impact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

June 7th, 2018 / 5:35 p.m.
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NDP

Richard Cannings NDP South Okanagan—West Kootenay, BC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for his speech, and especially for his Yiddish proverb. We all wait for that with bated breath each time he rises.

We have heard a lot of concern from the Conservatives about the excessive powers the minister would have to intervene at any stage of the impact assessment process and to put a stop to it, or create an extra process.

I am wondering if the member could comment on the fact that it was the Conservatives who initially gave the minister and cabinet that power with the National Energy Board. Previously, National Energy Board decisions were final, but the previous Conservative government gave that final say to cabinet, and now those members are concerned that the Liberals have run with this and made it rampant throughout Bill C-69 and will put it into law. Could he comment on that?

Impact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

June 7th, 2018 / 5:35 p.m.
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Conservative

Tom Kmiec Conservative Calgary Shepard, AB

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member both for his question and his appreciation of Yiddish proverbs. We sometimes share them in the lobby.

Some ministerial accountability for the decisions Liberals make and the activities of the department should be expected by the House of Commons. It should be an expectation. Excessive amounts of ministerial oversight, such as an ability to overrule or redirect decisions and impose one's own personal political views on a process or individual projects, is the wrong way to go. The balance between having just enough regulatory and ministerial oversight and too much burdensome regulation with ministerial discretion is the balance that we are trying to find, and it is not in Bill C-69.

Impact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

June 7th, 2018 / 5:35 p.m.
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Conservative

Todd Doherty Conservative Cariboo—Prince George, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am very proud to rise in response to Bill C-69, the government's environmental and regulatory bill, one that is supposed to be revolutionary. This just brings us to another long list of broken promises that the Prime Minister made when he campaigned in 2015 as the member for Papineau at the time. He made some great promises to Canadians.

We heard a lot about sowing the seeds of fear, that Canadians had lost confidence in some things like our environmental assessment plan. The groups that were promoting that had a sole purpose. There was a lot of talk about foreign-funded groups and how they had influenced elections, both on this side of the border as well as the other side of the border recently.

We know very well that during the 2015 election, and I know because I was one of the candidates who was targeted, groups were targeting Conservative members of Parliament. They were talking about how damaging Mr. Harper was to our environment. We heard people say how we were fearmongering with respect to Bill C-59. If we looked at it and followed where the dollar started, these groups started in other jurisdictions, and perhaps not in Canada.

What would be the sole purpose for those groups to sow the seed of fear or perhaps put doubt in the minds of Canadians in the industry or in the government of the day. It would be to really shake up the economy. Why would they do that? Probably because the money they get comes from big oil or big energy groups in the U.S. This is the fact. We know this. To some extent, the Prime Minister, the Liberals, and perhaps the NDP have bought into those groups. I know about the NDP candidate who I ran against in my region, the one who had probably the best photography team I have ever seen. Again, my riding was one of those targeted because ridings they thought they would win, but I proved them wrong.

Let us talk about the growing list of broken promises, and this is so relevant to Bill C-69.

The Prime Minister talked about a small deficit of $10 billion at that time, and the budget would be balanced. There is a record and a history with this. He also said that under his government, the Liberals would be the most open and transparent government in Canadian history. There is a smattering of applause on the other side, but we know it is not true. When he created the mandate letters, he said that the ministers would be more accountable and more open to Canadians. He also said that he would let the debate reign, yet today we are in the 41st closure of debate.

During the campaign, the member for Papineau said that under his government the Harper government's way of doing omnibus bills would be in the past, that it would never happen again. Today, we are speaking to a 400-page bill.

We know the Prime Minister is not really very happy. He is not a very strong champion of our energy sector. We know this from one of his very first speeches to the world, when he said that under his government Canada would be known more for our resourcefulness rather than our resources. We know he has gotten himself into a little trouble for some of the comments he made on the world stage, when he said that he wished the energy sector could be phased out a little faster. We also know he got himself into trouble when he went into Alberta, during a time when we were facing some terrible issues, to speak to the out-of-work oil workers. There is that famous clip where a gentleman asked “What am I going to do? I'm out of work. I don't know whether I'm going to have a home. I don't know how I'm going to feed my children”. What was his comment? “Hang in there”.

The Liberals hated our Navigable Protection Act. The reason I bring this up is because the fisheries, oceans and Canadian Coast Guard committee, FOPO, studies some of the changes to legislation brought forward by government. The Liberals said that Prime Minister Harper had a war on the environment, and the changes he made to the Navigable Waters Protection Act were because the Conservatives did not care.

The Liberals like to bring in academics, NGOs, and environmental groups. Witness after witness, when asked to provide proof if any of the changes from 2012 to the Fisheries Act and Navigable Waters Protection Act would cause any harmful death or damage to our waterway, not one witness could provide proof. In fact, one of our hon. colleagues was part of the group that wrote the changes to the legislation. He talked about why some of these navigable waterway regulations were changed. He said that it was because of our farmers. If farmers had a drainage ditch that had been washout and repairs had to be made, whether to accommodate their livestock or their crops, it took a lot of time, waiting to get that done. Also, if a municipality was isolated because a road had been washed out, there were a lot of challenges in getting the repairs done.

I could go on and on.

The Prime Minister and all of his ministers like to stand and with their hands on their hearts, they pledge they will consult with Canadians from coast to coast to coast. They tell us that every Canadian will have a say. We know the consultations are not true. In fact, they are shutting down debate.

As I like to do every chance I get, I want to remind folks on the other side, and all Canadians, that the House is theirs. Shutting down debate means the 338 members of Parliament who were elected to be the voices of all Canadians do not have their say. They are not able to bring their constituents' voices to Ottawa. The Prime Minister, his cabinet, the other Liberals want to bring the voice of Ottawa to those communities. We know that the only voice that seems to matter is the Prime Minister's voice.

Impact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

June 7th, 2018 / 5:50 p.m.
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Whitby Ontario

Liberal

Celina Caesar-Chavannes LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Development

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member spoke about the Stephen Harper government and how it was accused of fearmongering and sowing doubt. The Conservatives are still doing that.

The hon. member spoke about the economy and jobs and how the ministers needed to be accountable. Under this government, we have had the fastest growth in the G7. Over 600,000 jobs have been created by Canadians. We have a robust oceans protection plan. We have Bill C-69. We have a $1.3 billion investment in biodiversity and conservation.

What would the hon. colleague across the way say to his constituents, who have benefited from the fact that our government has taken the growth of the economy and the environment hand in hand?

Impact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

June 7th, 2018 / 6 p.m.
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Conservative

Luc Berthold Conservative Mégantic—L'Érable, QC

Mr. Speaker, we have just very clearly seen that members on this side of the House want to talk about bills. We want to talk about Bill C-59. We want to talk about Bill C-69. All the parliamentarians on this side of the House want to express their views. Unfortunately, the Liberals have cut parliamentarians' speaking time so much that some members have to talk about two bills at once.

I would like my colleague who spoke about both Bill C-59 and Bill C-69 in the same speech to tell me whether he sometimes feels forgotten by the government because he sits on this side of the House. The Conservatives, the NDP, the Bloc Québécois, and the Green Party all represent our constituents here in the House, and they want to hear us speak about all of these bills.

I commend my colleague over here for wanting to speak about two bills, because he knows that we will not have time to talk about all of these things and that the members on the other side of the House often prevent us from speaking. I would like to hear what my colleague has to say about that.

Impact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

June 7th, 2018 / 6 p.m.
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Liberal

Nick Whalen Liberal St. John's East, NL

Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for his comments. I was in the middle of preparing my remarks on Bill C-59 and I am planning on speaking to Bill C-69 next week. I will have a chance to talk about it at third reading. I may have lost it, I am not sure. I have already said half of what I intended to say on the matter.

At the same time, I know that our sitting hours have been extended because we cannot fit all the members who want to speak into the limited time that the House has to implement all of our legislation and amendments. It is a shame we do not have thousands of hours to speak in the House. These are the hours we have, and we have only four years to fulfill all our election promises.

Now, we are working on fulfilling our promises, and I think I will get a chance to speak on Bill C-69 next week and Bill C-59 a few minutes from now.

Bill C-69—Time Allocation MotionImpact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

June 6th, 2018 / 7:10 p.m.
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Waterloo Ontario

Liberal

Bardish Chagger LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister of Small Business and Tourism

moved:

That in relation 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, not more than five further hours shall be allotted to the consideration of the report stage and five hours shall be allotted to the consideration at third reading stage of the said bill; and

That, at the expiry of the five hours provided for the consideration of report stage and at the expiry of the five hours provided for the consideration of the third reading stage of the said Bill, any proceedings before the House shall be interrupted, if required for the purpose of this Order, and in turn every question necessary for the disposal of the said stage of the Bill then under consideration shall be put forthwith and successively without further debate or amendment.

Bill C-69—Time Allocation MotionImpact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

June 6th, 2018 / 7:15 p.m.
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Conservative

Robert Sopuck Conservative Dauphin—Swan River—Neepawa, MB

Mr. Speaker, as a member of the environment committee who has been involved in the discussion and debate on Bill C-69, I have never been so appalled in my entire life at how bad this particular bill is.

For example, Chris Bloomer, the president of the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association, likened Canada's regulatory environment to a toxic regulatory environment.

Recently Don Lowry, past president and CEO of Epcor Utilities, wrote a piece in the Edmonton Journal on June 5:

Investor flight from energy sector is a national embarrassment

Over the last few years, a thicket of regulatory approvals and processes, both provincial and federal, have crept into place, effectively suffocating through delay and denial anything getting timely approval.

As someone with an environmental background who has worked in pipeline assessments, I can assure the minister that every single pipeline in Canada is built to the highest environmental standards.

Why is the minister piling unnecessary regulations on the Canadian energy sector and denying Canadians the economic opportunity that they need to build this country?

Bill C-69—Time Allocation MotionImpact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

June 6th, 2018 / 7:15 p.m.
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Ottawa Centre Ontario

Liberal

Catherine McKenna LiberalMinister of Environment and Climate Change

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member and all members of the committee for their very thorough review of Bill C-69 and the many thoughtful amendments.

The committee heard from over 80 witnesses and reviewed over 150 submissions over two months, and the quality and scope of the amendments speak to the rigour with which they reviewed the bill. I am very pleased to say our government is supporting these amendments.

We need to do better. Canadians elected us because they wanted to make sure we demonstrated that the environment and the economy go hand in hand. With Bill C-69, we knew we needed to rebuild trust that was sorely lacking because of the Conservatives' actions in gutting our environmental assessment process, so I am very pleased that we have come together and are going to be able to rebuild trust, because it is so critical that we get good projects going ahead after a thorough environmental assessment.

Bill C-69—Time Allocation MotionImpact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

June 6th, 2018 / 7:15 p.m.
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NDP

Alistair MacGregor NDP Cowichan—Malahat—Langford, BC

Mr. Speaker, here we go again with time allocation.

Now that I have the minister in the House, I have a question for her. Last week the minister and her government voted in support of Bill C-262, an act to ensure that the laws of Canada are in harmony with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The member for Edmonton Strathcona moved roughly 25 amendments at committee to make sure that this bill actually lives up to what the Liberals did last week, and every single amendment was voted down by the Liberals. She now has several motions at report stage that seek to bring this bill in harmony with the UNDRIP.

Will the minister be consistent with her vote last week and support these amendments to make sure that Bill C-69 lives up to the provisions of what she voted for in voting in favour of Bill C-262, yes or no?

Bill C-69—Time Allocation MotionImpact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

June 6th, 2018 / 7:20 p.m.
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Liberal

Catherine McKenna Liberal Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to talk about Bill C-69. While we might not always agree on every point, it is important to note that the committee passed a number of opposition amendments and there were a significant number that received unanimous support. I would like to highlight some of those.

There was a key amendment proposed by the member for Saanich—Gulf Islands that was supported by committee members. It clearly reflected the government's strong commitment to science, and it was clearly very important. Liberal members also took into account NDP amendments in drafting the amendments. The member opposite spoke about reflecting the importance of the UNDRIP. That was really key.

Many amendments in relation to indigenous peoples were passed. This bills clarifies that indigenous knowledge would be considered and would not be limited to traditional knowledge of indigenous peoples. A number of amendments would strengthen the protection of indigenous knowledge. We know this is very important to indigenous peoples.

There were many other amendments that I am sure I will have the chance to talk about.

Bill C-69—Time Allocation MotionImpact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

June 6th, 2018 / 7:20 p.m.
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Liberal

John Aldag Liberal Cloverdale—Langley City, BC

Mr. Speaker, I would first like to commend the minister for the excellent job she has done. She appeared before committee on Bill C-69 twice and then returned for the main estimates this past week. There has been unparalleled access to the minister as we have discussed this bill, and there have been many fantastic amendments put forward. The bill itself strongly addresses the many concerns that arose. The reason we lost trust in the environmental assessment process arose from the previous government's actions in meddling in CEAA 2012.

One of the areas the committee looked at, which the House will see with the changes coming forward at report stage, deals with timelines. I would ask the minister to speak to the significant improvements in timelines that will be dealt with through Bill C-69. Canadians and the House would benefit from those comments.

Bill C-69—Time Allocation MotionImpact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

June 6th, 2018 / 7:25 p.m.
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Conservative

Kevin Sorenson Conservative Battle River—Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, my New Democratic colleague said best when he said “Well, here we go again.”

In the last election, the Liberals said that they would never move time allocation, that they would not move closure, that they would not shut down debate. However, this is the 40th time that they have done it.

The bill before us would have a massive effect on my constituency. I would say that from about 2000 to 2007, when I met with my rural municipalities, without exception the number one concern they had was the navigable waters act. They understood that if they were to replace a culvert or if they were to do any type of construction, they would have to call the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, or what they called the “fish cops”. It meant massive red tape and it took forever to happen. This was their number one frustration.

To all those municipalities out there, the Navigable Waters Protection Act would be brought back under Bill C-69. There is not a rural municipality that will like it. Again, the Liberals are doing it, and they are shutting down debate. They are limiting us in being able to represent our constituents, and that is the shame.

Bill C-69—Time Allocation MotionImpact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

June 6th, 2018 / 7:25 p.m.
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Liberal

Catherine McKenna Liberal Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, as I mentioned at committee yesterday, unsurprisingly the Conservatives are once again engaging in delay tactics by moving to delete every single clause of the act with not one substantive amendment. This has happened every step of the way, including at second reading. At committee, the opposition repeatedly refused additional meetings within the timeline established, and Conservative MPs delayed consideration of clause-by-clause.

Despite these actions, our government will ensure that we restore public trust, that we protect the environment, that we introduce modern safeguards, that we advance reconciliation with indigenous peoples and, of course, that we ensure that good projects go ahead and we get our resources to market. That is why we are taking appropriate steps to ensure that Bill C-69 moves forward.

Bill C-69—Time Allocation MotionImpact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

June 6th, 2018 / 7:30 p.m.
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Liberal

Catherine McKenna Liberal Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my parliamentary secretary for all the hard work he has done in rebuilding public trust and restoring transparency.

The amendments and Bill C-69 would provide additional clarity and safeguards so that Canadians can have confidence in reviews of major projects. When we look at transparency, the bill requires 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 requires that public comments provided during a project's reviews be made available online and that the information posted online be maintained so that it can be accessed over time. It is critically important that Canadians have an opportunity to provide input, that they have an opportunity to see what folks have said about environmental assessment, and that people understand how a decision was made.

Bill C-69—Time Allocation MotionImpact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

June 6th, 2018 / 7:35 p.m.
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Liberal

Catherine McKenna Liberal Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I was really pleased that the committee had time to do a thorough review of Bill C-69 and to make many thoughtful amendments. There were more than 80 witnesses and more than 100 submissions over a two-month review, and the quality of the amendments actually speaks to the rigour with which they were received. I am proud to say that our government supports the amendments.

We believe that this process is better for farmers. We believe the process is better for industry. We believe the process is better for indigenous peoples. We believe the process is better for folks who believe in science and making decisions based on evidence and facts. We believe, overall, that it will be a better process that will not only rebuild trust, but also ensure that good projects go ahead in a timely way.

Bill C-69—Time Allocation MotionImpact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

June 6th, 2018 / 7:35 p.m.
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NDP

Alistair MacGregor NDP Cowichan—Malahat—Langford, BC

Mr. Speaker, for the minister's recollection, I want to read a summary from Bill C-262, an act to ensure that the laws of Canada are in harmony with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Notice that it does not say anything about a preamble.

The minister previously mentioned that the Liberals accepted an amendment to the preamble, which, as every member in the House knows, is non-binding. I again ask the Minister of Environment, given that the Liberals rejected every single amendment by the member for Edmonton Strathcona at committee to make sure that Bill C-69 would be in harmony with UNDRIP, will she revisit her position and at least be consistent with her vote last week and accept the member for Edmonton Strathcona's amendments to Bill C-69? I am talking about the bill before us now. Will she be consistent? Will all of the Liberals be consistent with the way they voted last week?

The first nations of Canada are watching the government.

Bill C-69—Time Allocation MotionImpact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

June 6th, 2018 / 7:45 p.m.
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Liberal

Catherine McKenna Liberal Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased the member opposite cares so greatly about climate change. It is really unfortunate that the Conservative members of the environment committee voted to remove the consideration of the impact to our climate from Bill C-69. That might have been an oversight or a mistake. However, we know that unfortunately the Conservatives do not have a plan to tackle climate change. I do not know whether they all believe climate change is a problem or real. Nor do I think they understand the huge economic opportunity.

We understand that. We understand we need to be ensure we do right by our planet, that we tackle our emissions, but that we also have a plan to get our resources to market in a sustainable way. That is exactly what we are doing with Bill C-69. We certainly hope all parties will support it.

Bill C-59—Time Allocation MotionNational Security Act, 2017Government Orders

June 6th, 2018 / 8:35 p.m.
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NDP

Alistair MacGregor NDP Cowichan—Malahat—Langford, BC

Mr. Speaker, from the 41st Parliament, we have reams of quotes from Liberals regarding the use of time allocation by the then Conservative government. The quotes we have from the member for Winnipeg North would fill several pages.

What we have seen over the last couple of weeks is the government's use of time allocation and using the bare minimum, allocating five hours for debate on this legislation, on Bill C-69, which was done just before this, on Bill C-75, and on Bill C-76. The list goes on.

I have a simple question for the Minister of Public Safety. Given his party's record when it was the third party in the 41st Parliament, does he not feel the slightest bit of shame and contrition over the complete reversal of his position, now that he occupies that side of the House?

Bill C-59—Time Allocation MotionNational Security Act, 2017Government Orders

June 6th, 2018 / 8:40 p.m.
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Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, as I was unable to rise earlier tonight on time allocation on Bill C-69, I will say, parenthetically, that I find that time allocation even more offensive than this one, because we were time allocated in committee as well. I had clause-by-clause amendments on Bill C-69, and I had clause-by-clause amendments on Bill C-59. At least, to the credit of the Bill C-59 time management, we were allowed to debate all the amendments on Bill C-59, on public security, but we were stopped from debating two full bills' worth of amendments on omnibus Bill C-69.

Why is it required at this point, on a bill that has much that is good in it, to stop this place from being able to have a full debate? It is anti-democratic.

Impact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

June 6th, 2018 / 9:40 p.m.
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Liberal

John Aldag Liberal Cloverdale—Langley City, BC

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to speak tonight in support of Bill C-69. Before I begin, I would like to acknowledge that we are on the traditional territory of the Algonquin and Anishinaabe peoples.

This bill provides the framework for a modern assessment process that would protect the environment, attract investment, and ensure that good projects go ahead in a timely way to create new jobs and economic opportunities.

Today, I am going to focus specifically on how it supports our government's commitment to reconciliation and a renewed relationship with indigenous peoples. Meeting this commitment is challenging, but it is also necessary. I will discuss how Bill C-69 would advance reconciliation and partnership with indigenous peoples. I will also describe what the government has heard from indigenous peoples in recent months, and how their input has helped strengthen this bill.

From the very beginning, our government has been clear that no relationship is more important to Canada than its relationship with its indigenous peoples. We committed to a renewed relationship based on the recognition of rights, respect, co-operation, and partnership as the foundation for transformative change, and we have taken important steps to fulfill that commitment.

In 2016, Canada announced its full support of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples without qualification, with a commitment to its full and effective implementation. This February, the Prime Minister announced that we will work in partnership with indigenous peoples to develop a new recognition and implementation of rights framework to realign the relationship between the Government of Canada and indigenous peoples based on the UN declaration.

Development of the framework builds on steps we have already taken along this path. That includes launching a review of laws and policies to ensure that the crown is meeting its constitutional obligations with respect to aboriginal and treaty rights, guided by 10 principles rooted in section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982, guided by the UN declaration, and informed by the report of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's calls to action.

We have begun to make institutional changes to support the renewed relationship. In particular, we have announced the dissolution of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada and the creation of two new departments: Indigenous Services Canada and Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs. This will accelerate work already begun to renew the relationship with indigenous peoples and better enable them to build capacity that supports the implementation of their vision of self-determination.

We have announced our support for Bill C-262, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples act, as a strong first step in the process of implementation. More legislation will be needed in order to fully implement the declaration in Canada. Our government has also made historic investments in indigenous education, health, infrastructure, and communities, including to improve primary and secondary education on reserve, improve health facilities, build housing, and ensure access to clean and safe drinking water.

Finally, recognizing that indigenous peoples have long been stewards of the environment and have knowledge of the land that spans generations, we continue to work closely with them as we take action to protect and enhance Canada's environment and respond to the threat of climate change.

Meaningful participation of indigenous peoples informed the development of the pan-Canadian framework on clean growth and climate change, and our government is working in partnership with the Assembly of First Nations, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, and the Métis National Council to implement it. Given the indigenous coastal communities' deep ties to Canada's oceans, we are partnering with them to implement our $1.5-billion oceans protection plan, for example in developing training programs to increase the participation of indigenous community members and women in marine safety jobs.

Finally, the bill before us today is built on a foundation of engagement with indigenous peoples, along with industry, stakeholders, and a broad range of Canadians from coast to coast to coast.

This bill is an important step, which would advance reconciliation and produce better project decisions by recognizing indigenous rights and working in partnership from the start. It would make it mandatory to consider indigenous knowledge alongside science and other evidence, including when the assessment is led by another jurisdiction.

Under the new impact assessment act, indigenous jurisdictions would also have more opportunities to exercise powers and duties, including taking the lead on impact assessments through substitution. Through measures such as the new early planning and engagement phase, the bill would ensure that indigenous peoples have opportunities to participate from the very beginning and throughout the assessment process.

Finally, it would place consideration of impacts on indigenous peoples and their rights at the centre of the decision-making process by including this as one of the key factors that must be taken into account when making a decision following an impact assessment.

Going forward, we are committed to working with indigenous peoples to define processes aimed at securing consent and collaborating with them as we develop regulations under this legislation.

Since the introduction of Bill C-69, our government has continued to engage with indigenous peoples at every opportunity. The Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development also heard testimony from a number of indigenous peoples and organizations during the study of the bill. In response to that testimony, the committee made several key amendments that enhanced the bill's potential to advance reconciliation and a renewed relationship.

Indigenous peoples have said that it is important that the bill fully reflect our government's commitment to implement the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Through amendments, the standing committee has ensured this commitment is at the forefront of the bill and will guide its implementation.

The bill now references the UN declaration in the preamble to both the impact assessment act and the Canadian energy regulator act. The purposes clause of the IAA now specifies that the government, the minister, the agency, and federal authorities will need to exercise their powers in a manner that respects the government's commitments with respect to the rights of indigenous peoples. Similarly, the mandate of the Canadian energy regulator would include exercising its powers in performing its duties and functions in the same way.

We have heard about the importance of taking a distinctions-based approach, one of the 10 key principles guiding our review of laws and policies. This is needed to ensure that the unique rights, interests, and circumstances of first nations, Metis, and Inuit peoples are acknowledged, affirmed, and implemented. In response to this feedback, the committee has amended the bill to ensure that membership of key committees under the legislation reflect a distinctions-based approach.

Indigenous peoples have told us that considering indigenous knowledge in impact assessments is critical. At the same time, they have called for better protection of this knowledge. The standing committee's amendments would strengthen both its use and protection of indigenous knowledge.

The bill would now require that assessment reports clearly show how indigenous knowledge has been taken into account. It also provides more safeguards across all acts to ensure appropriate protection for indigenous knowledge, while also recognizing that proponents may, at times, need to have access to it. Consultation would be required before indigenous knowledge could be disclosed, and ministers would then be able to place conditions on the disclosure of this information in light of those consultations.

In line with feedback from indigenous organizations, the committee has also clarified that indigenous knowledge would be considered, that this would not be limited to “traditional” knowledge of indigenous peoples.

Finally, throughout the bill, the committee has taken steps to further emphasize the commitment to meaningful participation in assessment processes for indigenous peoples as well as the public.

I am pleased to see that many of the amendments made by the standing committee directly respond to issues raised by indigenous peoples and will further ensure the bill can support reconciliation.

As I have described, our government is committed to advancing reconciliation and a renewed relationship in all of our actions, including this bill.

I want to recognize the contributions made to Bill C-69 by indigenous peoples and organizations across Canada. It is truly a privilege to work with indigenous peoples and to hear their perspectives and priorities. Our government looks forward to working collaboratively with indigenous peoples to implement the legislation.

I would once again like to recognize the committee for listening and responding to the testimony of indigenous peoples and organizations. This is a challenging process but, ultimately, a rewarding one as we work together to protect the environment, create economic opportunities, and advance reconciliation.

On a personal note, I would like to mention that I am a member of the environment and sustainable development committee. It was a great honour to be part of the considerations and the amendments on this legislation.

Impact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

June 6th, 2018 / 9:50 p.m.
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Conservative

Joël Godin Conservative Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague from Cloverdale—Langley City, with whom I have the privilege of serving on the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development.

I like to remind the House every chance I get that Conservative Party members do not wake up every morning looking for ways to destroy the planet. On the contrary, we took very meaningful action when we were in power, and we are proud to work hard every day to make the environment a priority.

As I mentioned at the outset, I have the privilege of serving with my colleague on the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development, and we have been under tremendous pressure from the government to fast-track the study of Bill C-69.

I must say that we have received a great deal of written evidence because we did not have time to hear from witnesses in committee. We even heard a presentation from a Quebec organization, and the representative told us she was the only person from her province who was able to testify. A number of Quebec organizations would have liked to take part in the debate. Their participation was important to us.

I would like to ask my colleague whether the Liberal government's process for Bill C-69 is adequate and whether we have done everything we possibly can to improve Bill C-69 so as to replace the 2012 legislation.

Impact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

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

John Aldag Liberal Cloverdale—Langley City, BC

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

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

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

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

Impact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

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

Alistair MacGregor NDP Cowichan—Malahat—Langford, BC

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

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

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

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

Impact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

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

John Aldag Liberal Cloverdale—Langley City, BC

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

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

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

Impact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

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

Jacques Gourde Conservative Lévis—Lotbinière, QC

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We do not see any guarantees here.

Impact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

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

Deb Schulte Liberal King—Vaughan, ON

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rachel Blaney NDP North Island—Powell River, BC

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

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

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

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

Cheryl Gallant Conservative Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Global News report continues:

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

Electricity bills started to skyrocket.

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

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

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

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

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

Cheryl Gallant Conservative Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

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

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

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

The email said:

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

These are technical issues that the government does not fully understand

Mr. MacDougall said,

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

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

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

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

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

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

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

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

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

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

Churence Rogers Liberal Bonavista—Burin—Trinity, NL

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

These are all good amendments that our government welcomes.

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

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

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

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

Dan Ruimy Liberal Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge, BC

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Daniel Blaikie NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Francis Scarpaleggia Liberal Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

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

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

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

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

Daniel Blaikie NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

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

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

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

Impact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

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

NDP

Daniel Blaikie NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

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

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

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

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

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

Impact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

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

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Impact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

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

Conservative

Rosemarie Falk Conservative Battlefords—Lloydminster, SK

Mr. Speaker, I rise this evening, and almost tomorrow, to speak to Bill C-69, An Act to enact the Impact Assessment Act and the Canadian Energy Regulator Act, to amend the Navigation Protection Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Motions in AmendmentImpact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

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

Conservative

Shannon Stubbs Conservative Lakeland, AB

moved:

Motion No. 149

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

Motion No. 150

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

Motion No. 151

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

Motion No. 152

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

Motion No. 153

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

Motion No. 154

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

Motion No. 155

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

Motion No. 156

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

Motion No. 157

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

Motion No. 158

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

Motion No. 159

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

Motion No. 160

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

Motion No. 161

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

Motion No. 162

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

Motion No. 163

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

Motion No. 164

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

Motion No. 165

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

Motion No. 166

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

Motion No. 167

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

Motion No. 168

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

Motion No. 169

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

Motion No. 170

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

Motion No. 171

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

Motion No. 172

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

Motion No. 173

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

Motion No. 174

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

Motion No. 175

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

Motion No. 176

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

Motion No. 177

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

Motion No. 178

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

Motion No. 179

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

Motion No. 180

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

Motion No. 181

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

Motion No. 182

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

Motion No. 183

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

Motion No. 184

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

Motion No. 185

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

Motion No. 186

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

Motion No. 187

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

Motion No. 188

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

Motion No. 189

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

Motion No. 190

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

Motion No. 191

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

Motion No. 192

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

Motion No. 193

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

Motion No. 194

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

Motion No. 195

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

Motion No. 196

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

Motion No. 197

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

Motion No. 198

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

Motion No. 199

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

Motion No. 200

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

Motion No. 201

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

Motion No. 202

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

Motion No. 203

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

Motion No. 204

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

Motion No. 205

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

Motion No. 206

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

Motion No. 207

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

Motion No. 208

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

Motion No. 209

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

Motion No. 210

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

Motion No. 211

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

Motion No. 212

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

Motion No. 213

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

Motion No. 214

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

Motion No. 215

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

Motion No. 216

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CAPP went on:

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

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

In committee, the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association said:

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

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

She called it “heartbreaking”.

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

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

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

The Canadian Energy Pipeline Association said:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Motions in AmendmentImpact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

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

Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

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

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

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

Motions in AmendmentImpact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

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

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Motions in AmendmentImpact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

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