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



Second reading (House), as of March 2, 2018

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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.


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.


Feb. 27, 2018 Passed Time allocation for Bill C-69, An Act to enact the Impact Assessment Act and the Canadian Energy Regulator Act, to amend the Navigation Protection Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts

Impact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

March 2nd, 2018 / 10:05 a.m.
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Julie Dzerowicz Liberal Davenport, ON

Mr. Speaker, I will be happily splitting my time with the hon. member for Saanich—Gulf Islands.

It is an absolutely great honour for me to rise in the House and speak on behalf of the residents of Davenport to Bill C-69. It has quite a long name, 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.

Davenport residents deeply care about the environment. They care about how we develop projects in this country that impact our environment. They care about how the Canadian government will be adhering to our Paris accord commitments. They have been asking me to show them the plan for how Canada will be achieving its targets, and I will be showing that to them very shortly. In Davenport we are doing our own bit as well in terms of trying to find ways to model a low-carbon, urban, sustainable community.

Back to Bill C-69, I am so pleased to have this opportunity to address the House regarding a legislative initiative that is at the heart of our priorities as a government: to ensure a sustainable future for Canadians. Our guiding principle is that a strong economy and a clean environment go hand in hand. We believe that we can harness our natural resources to create good jobs while fulfilling our duty as stewards of the environment.

Bill C-69 would introduce a review process that for major projects would strike a balance between protecting our environment and ensuring that good projects can be built and can create jobs for the middle class. Essentially, Bill C-69 would create a single agency, called the impact assessment agency of Canada, that would lead all impact assessments for major projects to ensure a consistent and efficient approach. The impact assessment agency of Canada would ensure that there were better rules in place to protect our environment, our fish, and our waterways; to rebuild public trust and respect indigenous rights; and to strengthen our economy. Let me spend the next few minutes telling members how.

We have to go back a little in time. The fact is that many Canadians no longer have faith in our previous environmental review process following changes introduced by the former government. That is why we made a promise to Canadians that we would review and modernize environmental assessment and regulatory processes. I am proud to say that we are delivering on that promise by bringing in better rules that will restore environmental protections and rebuild public trust in decisions about major projects. Building on what works, we have designed an assessment system that is clearer and more predictable and that allows good projects to go ahead sustainably.

We are a government that consults broadly. The proposed impact assessment act was not arrived at in isolation. It is the result of careful examination and extensive consultations with Canadians.

More than two years ago, our government launched a comprehensive review of federal environmental assessment and regulatory processes. This comprised four separate, but complementary, reviews. We looked at ways to improve federal environmental assessments, to modernize the National Energy Board, and to restore lost protections and introduce modern safeguards under the Fisheries Act and the Navigation Protection Act.

To that end, our government set up a four-person expert panel to solicit the views of Canadians from across the country. We also established a multi-interest advisory committee to support this work. The expert panel went to 21 cities, received more than 800 online and written submissions, and welcomed over 1,000 people at engagement sessions. We had extensive consultations with indigenous peoples and heard from the provinces and territories, industry, environmental groups, and the public.

We also took into account input from three other processes led by another expert panel and two parliamentary standing committees. We then prepared a discussion paper on the government's proposed path forward and solicited feedback. What did we hear? We heard from environmental groups, indigenous leaders, provinces and territories, businesses, and Canadians from communities across our country who told us that effective assessment must not only focus on avoiding negative impacts but must foster sustainability.

Stakeholders told us that there was a need for greater transparency and that assessments must demonstrate how public input informs decision-making. Project reviews must be grounded in scientific evidence as well as in indigenous traditional knowledge. Indigenous people want to participate as partners in the economic development of their territories. We heard that Canadians want to be more involved in our processes. Businesses need clearer and more predictable timelines, and decisions should be more open and evidence-based.

Let there be no doubt that the residents of Davenport also contributed their thoughts to the consultation process. They felt that the previous assessment process was not a good one, that there was not enough consultation with communities and indigenous groups, that there was not enough being done to protect nature, and in general that we needed stronger and fairer environmental assessment laws. I am happy to say that the new legislation incorporates and reflects not only the views of Davenport residents but of all Canadians who participated in the process. What we are proposing is a system that is more transparent, effective, and efficient for all concerned.

I will now highlight some of the principles that form the basis of Bill C-69.

First, we are adopting a broader approach based on the principles of sustainability. Canada has had a law in place since 1992 to ensure that the environment is taken into account as projects are considered for design and implementation. When first introduced, environmental assessment laws and regulatory processes had a specific focus on environmental impacts. Our thinking has greatly evolved since then, and we now understand that an assessment system must consider more than just the environment. It must take into account wider concerns, including the economic, social, and health consequences associated with proposed projects. The new act would do just that, and that is why the name of the act would change from the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act to the impact assessment act, reflecting a much wider range of effects we would consider as we reviewed projects for implementation and aimed to foster sustainability.

Second, the new process would be more efficient and more predictable. It would allow people to know where they stood. Projects would now go through an early planning and engagement phase during which potential impacts would be identified and discussed with the public, indigenous people, and the project proponent at the outset of an initiative. Timelines would continue to be legislated. Efficiencies gained through early planning would allow timelines for other phases to be reduced, leading to more timely decisions.

Third, we want to establish a new partnership with indigenous people. They are the most affected by the impacts of the projects, and we will ensure that we respect their rights and jurisdiction in the way decisions are considered.

Fourth, we want evidence to guide and inform all our decisions, so we will consider evidence of science as well as indigenous traditional knowledge as we move forward on these projects. The value of indigenous traditional knowledge cannot be underestimated, and we are determined to include indigenous people in every single project moving forward.

Fifth, we want to increase transparency. By transparency we mean openness that translates into removing barriers to public participation in the review process and making key project information openly available.

Finally, we want to take a truly big-picture view of impacts, one that improves our understanding of the cumulative effects of all projects in a given region. The new impact assessment would take this wider view through the increased use of regional assessments. Regional assessments would examine the effects of past, present, and future activities in a region. For instance, they might examine effects on biodiversity and species at risk and identify impacts on the rights and interests of indigenous people. They would provide decision-makers with a fuller and more complete picture of the context within which a project was proposed, allowing for a better understanding of the overall impact on the environment.

These are not mere operational changes we have introduced but rather are fundamental changes in the way we actually do business. I am very proud to be in this House speaking on behalf of Bill C-69. I believe that we have a wonderful new process in place, and I have a lot of confidence in the projects moving forward. I appreciate the opportunity to speak on behalf of the residents of Davenport.

Impact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

March 2nd, 2018 / 10:15 a.m.
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Arnold Viersen Conservative Peace River—Westlock, AB

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, at the northern and aboriginal affairs committee, we had natural resources officials there. We are currently studying Bill C-262, on the implementation of UNDRIP and how all Canadian law is going to have to live within the framework of UNDRIP. We asked the natural resources officials if they had considered whether Bill C-69 lived within that framework, and they had not. That was their answer.

I am just wondering if free, prior, and informed consent is to be held at all levels, particularly legislative, but also if the member thinks that Bill C-69 meets that threshold of free, prior, and informed consent.

Impact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

March 2nd, 2018 / 10:15 a.m.
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Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise today on the traditional unceded territory of the Algonquin people, and thank them for their generosity. Meegwetch.

I also want to thank the hon. member for Davenport for splitting time with me. The circumstances are not those that led me to feel particularly relieved or happy, but I am grateful for the civility of giving me 10 minutes. Otherwise, I would not be able to speak at all, because of the egregious use of time allocation on an omnibus bill. I never expected to see omnibus bills with time allocation after the change in government.

This is three bills put together: the National Energy Board Act changed, the Navigation Protection Act changed, and the Environmental Assessment Act overhauled. The fourth piece that had been running along in tandem, through the great judgment of the Minister of Fisheries, is Bill C-68. It stands on its own, and it is an excellent piece of legislation.

However, with the time available to me, I am going to be able to speak only to the impact assessment piece of this omnibus bill, which I am afraid falls below any standard of acceptability and should trouble deeply any Liberal who stood in this place and voted against Bill C-38 in the spring of 2012. We stood together with every single Liberal MP and every single New Democrat against the destruction of decades of environmental law. How that process has been captured by the same mentality, values, and principles that led to Harper destroying these acts, so we now have a repackaged version of those same principles of eroding environmental assessment, is something that the Liberal caucus should try to figure out. I hope it will lead to changes in committee.

With the time available to me, I will quickly review my background in environmental law. I happen to be an environmental lawyer. It is an even weirder fluke that when I was 22 years old and a waitress and cook, I participated in the very first environmental assessment panel hearing in Canadian history, in 1976. It was in Cape Breton. It was about the Wreck Cove hydroelectric plant. I have participated in dozens since.

Ten years after that, I was in the office of the Minister of the Environment. I was actually a senior policy adviser, the person who took the quest from Environment Canada from a wonderful senior civil servant named Ray Robinson, who headed the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency in those days, and we took to the Privy Council Office the request to legislate. Up until then, we had been operating under a guidelines order that required environmental reviews, but it was a bit uncertain in its full rubric. Some people thought it was a guideline and therefore was not binding. We got permission to legislate. Subsequently, I resigned from my job with the Minister of the Environment when the minister violated the environmental assessment review process guidelines in approving dams without permits.

This is just to say that I did not only recently come upon my commitment to proper and thorough environmental assessment in Canada. It is non-partisan and goes back decades.

Now, what happened under Bill C-38 was the repeal of our environmental assessment process and its replacement with a rather bogus process. We can compare Bill C-69 to the bogus process in Bill C-38 in 2012, or we can compare it to what is needed. It is all well and good for the federal Liberals to say to us today that they did a lot of consultation. It is true. There were 21 cities with public hearings, and over 1,000 people showed up to a superb expert panel on environmental assessment. The question before us today is why their recommendations were ignored.

I am going to read, one at a time, the recommendations that were ignored. There are many. In previous debate in this place, when the bill was first put forward, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Environment claimed I was wrong in my assertion, which I think is fact, that the environmental assessment expert panel was ignored. It is really important to understand the point of environmental assessment. I will just go back a bit and say that this is one of the pieces of Harper-think that have survived into Liberal-think.

Environmental assessment has never been about a green light or a red light, yes or no, or whether the project goes ahead or not. It is primarily a tool for good planning. In the entire history from 1976 to 2012, when Harper repealed the act, only two projects were ever given a red light. I will say that again. From 1976 to 2012, with the thousands of environmental reviews that were done, only twice did a federal-provincial environmental review panel say that a project was so damaging that it could not be mitigated and the panel had to say no.

It has primarily been about studying a process thoroughly, studying a project thoroughly, and deciding that we can mitigate the damage if only the proponent would agree to better scrubbers or change the location slightly. In the course of the review process, many projects were improved, the damages mitigated and reduced, and in the end a much better project was accepted. This has never been primarily about how to get to yes or no faster. That is what Harper thought, and apparently that thought process has somehow infested some ongoing decision-making process within government. An environmental assessment is about good planning.

Until 2012, the Environmental Assessment Act said that the purpose was to get in and review a project, “as early as is practicable in the planning stages of the project and before irrevocable decisions are made”

Let me quote what we heard from the expert panel on what an environmental assessment should contain. It did agree that it should be called “impact assessment”. That is one piece they could claim.

Page 5 states that the impact assessment authority “should be established as a quasi-judicial tribunal empowered to undertake a full range of facilitation and dispute-resolution processes.” This has been ignored. Members have heard about the expert panel the government sent around the country, with a thousand people participating and with 800 submissions. Their recommendation was not to have ad hoc panels where people are pulled in, with different projects always having different panels, but to develop expertise through a quasi-judicial tribunal. Ironically, this was also the advice from the red book Liberal platform of 1993.

The second point is to have time limits and cost controls that reflect the specific circumstances of each project, not the current one-size-fits-all approach, which was an innovation under Bill C-38. This is a key point. Projects need to be reviewed whether they are big or small. The effect of Bill C-38, which Harper brought in, is this. The previous era had seen approximately 4,000 projects a year reviewed, most of them with paper-screening exercises that did not take much time. After Bill C-38, the number shrank from 4,000 a year to fewer than 100 a year. The Liberals have gone with perpetuating the fewer than 100 a year. This is how they have done it, by ignoring this advice.

The panel stated that there should be a review when there are federal interests, and that “federal interests include, at a minimum, federal lands, federal funding and federal government as proponent, as well as”, and then there is a list: species at risk, fish, marine plants, migratory birds, indigenous issues, and so on.

This piece of legislation ignores anything except the project list. That was an innovation of Bill C-38. There are no law list reviews requiring that if the navigable waters act or the Fisheries Act requires a permit from the minister there be a review, and no requirement that when federal money is spent there be a review. That is the advice the government got from its expert panel, which it ignored.

The expert panel also said clearly that there should be no role at all for the National Energy Board, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, or the offshore petroleum boards. It pointed out that “the federal system prior to 2012 had decades of experience with delegating final decision-making to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission...and the [NEB]” without those agencies meddling in the environmental assessment.

What is happening under Bill C-69 is like a shell game. We are told it is one independent agency, except that when it is reviewing pipelines the panel must be comprised of people who are sitting members of the NEB, now called the Canadian energy regulator. If they are reviewing offshore petroleum operations in Atlantic Canada, the panel members must come from the offshore petroleum boards, which by legislation are required to expand offshore oil. It is an embedded conflict of interest in the legislation.

The atrocities continue, with respect to indigenous rights. How is it that the Minister of Fisheries can put before us Bill C-68, which has strong language to protect indigenous rights? Bill C-68, in section 2.3, “Rights of Indigenous peoples of Canada”, makes it clear that the act cannot derogate from indigenous rights. Section 2.4 states that it is the duty of the minister when making a decision to “consider any adverse effects” on the rights of indigenous peoples.

This piece of over-discretionary political masquerading of environmental assessment in Bill C-69 merely states that “the impact that the designated project may have on any Indigenous group” is a factor to be considered. As a former litigator, I can tell members that the courts do not regard indigenous rights as a factor to be considered as protecting indigenous rights.

This bill gets an F. At committee, let us please get it to a C+.

Impact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

March 2nd, 2018 / 10:30 a.m.
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Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley is absolutely right. To me, the question suggests its own answer, which is that had we not been put through a process that is not part of that history of environmental review that I reviewed, the National Energy Board had no expertise in doing reviews.

This allows me to mention another carry-over bad aspect of Bill C-38 into Bill C-69. The time limits that were put into Bill C-38 are how the National Energy Board determined that it would not allow people like me as an intervenor to cross-examine Kinder Morgan's witnesses, which led to an abuse of process and not really getting to the facts of the matter.

That aspect of time limits has not only been continued in Bill C-69, but the time limits have also been shortened.

Impact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

March 2nd, 2018 / 10:35 a.m.
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Michael Cooper Conservative St. Albert—Edmonton, AB

Mr. Speaker, I am going to be splitting my time.

I rise to speak to Bill C-69, a massive 400-page omnibus bill. Canadians will remember during the last election when the Prime Minister put his hand over his heart and made the solemn declaration to Canadians that he would never ever introduce anything resembling an omnibus bill, but here we are yet again with another omnibus bill from the government.

It gets even worse because the government has seen fit to invoke time allocation after two hours of debate. The government has invoked time allocation after just two hours of debate on a massive, complex bill that is going to rewrite the environmental assessment process, and that is going to have a profound impact on jobs and the economy. I say shame on the government for doing that.

In the short time that I have to speak to the bill, I am going to be focusing on part 2 of Bill C-69, this massive omnibus bill. Part 2 establishes a new approval process for energy projects, including pipelines. It is going to have a profound impact on my province of Alberta and thousands of my constituents who live in St. Albert and northwest Edmonton whose jobs are tied directly or indirectly to the energy sector.

The Minister of Environment , in speaking to Bill C-69 in this House, said that the objectives of the bill include improving public confidence in the approval process, strengthening investor confidence, making the energy sector more competitive, growing the Canadian economy, and creating good, middle-class jobs. That is what the minister said. Who could disagree with those objectives? Those are laudable objectives.

The only problem is that Bill C-69 will achieve none of those objectives. Rather, Bill C-69 is about keeping energy in the ground. That is what Bill C-69 means. I know that for the Prime Minister's principal secretary and chief political strategist, Gerald Butts, keeping Canadian energy in the ground is something he has long fantasized about.

Bill C-69 means gutting an assessment process based on science and evidence that balance environmental and economic issues with an assessment process that is politicized from top to bottom. How is the process politicized from top to bottom?

Let us start with who gets to make submissions to the regulator. Who has standing? Presently, in order to have standing before the National Energy Board, one must be impacted directly by a project, or one must have relevant knowledge or information about a project. Bill C-69 eliminates that criteria and replaces it with any member of the general public.

This means that it is open season. It is an invitation to Gerald Butts' friends and the Minister of Environment 's friends, and for the radical anti-oil sands movement to take over the process, to control the process with their ideological and political agenda to shut down Alberta's oil sands, a movement that is funded by U.S. money, filled with activists who are in many cases nothing more than shills for foreign interests.

The Minister of Environment says that is going to restore public confidence in the assessment process. What it is really going to do is completely politicize the process and result in delays in the approval process.

The Minister of Environment says that we should not worry about delays, because Bill C-69 is going to streamline the approval process, that it is going to reduce the time to see major projects approved. When the minister makes that assertion, she is conveniently overlooking the fact that Bill C-69 would impose a planning process before the assessment process begins. The planning process would be a six-month process, 180 days. When that is taken into account, it will not reduce the time; it will add about 100 days to the time in which a project could be approved.

If all we were talking about was an additional 100 days, we probably would not be having this debate, but it gets worse. The minister, on the basis of a political whim influenced by George Soros funded activists, can extend the timeline. She can extend the delay.

It gets even worse than that. The minister can kill a project at the planning stage before any scientific analysis is done, before any environmental analysis is done, before any economic analysis is done. In other words, the minister can kill a pipeline project purely on the basis of a raw political decision.

The minister says that this is going to increase investor confidence. Is that some kind of a joke? It is not going to increase investor confidence. It is going to do the opposite. It is going to drive billions of dollars of investment south of the border and to other energy-producing jurisdictions that allow their energy sectors to grow and thrive.

Make no mistake about it. If Bill C-69 is passed, not one major energy project will be approved in this country. Before another major pipeline project is killed, it is imperative that this Parliament kill Bill C-69.

Impact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

March 2nd, 2018 / 10:45 a.m.
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Michael Cooper Conservative St. Albert—Edmonton, AB

Mr. Speaker, I agree with the comment from the hon. member for Trois-Rivières that the Liberals like to say one thing to appeal to their base and then almost always do quite another.

With respect to the Navigation Protection Act and changes that are provided for in Bill C-69, I would say that I do have concerns with those measures. Perhaps they are not necessarily the same concerns that the hon. member for Trois-Rivières has, but the bottom line is that the changes being brought forward in Bill C-69 with respect to navigable waters are going to make it more difficult, and there are going to be more roadblocks and more impediments to getting critical infrastructure built.

Impact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

March 2nd, 2018 / 10:45 a.m.
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Joël Godin Conservative Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak after my colleague from St. Albert—Edmonton in Alberta. As we will see, Quebec and Alberta can get along well. He is my seatmate and an extraordinary, thoughtful man. He works for his constituents and his province, and I take my hat off to him.

I hope my colleague has convinced the Liberal government to improve 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. That is the title of the bill, and it sure looks like an omnibus bill to me. I will explain why as I try to figure it all out.

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

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.

Part 3 amends the Navigation Protection Act....

One might say that this 360-page bill is as clear as mud. The provinces are unable to comment on the bill because it is too big and too complex. The Liberals say that they want to improve the process. They have to do better. This government wants to paint us as the big bad Conservatives. The Liberals try every day to label us as wanting to destroy the planet. No one in the official opposition gets up in the morning with the intention of destroying our planet. We want to improve it and be smart about it.

I would like to remind my colleagues from the Liberal Party, the window-dressing party, the social media party, that the previous government introduced a number of measures to combat climate change.

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.

I can see my colleague from Mégantic—L'Érable smiling. My Conservative colleagues from Alberta, Quebec, and every other province work well together. That is how we build a country.

I will continue with my list. We established new rules to reduce emissions from carbon-based electricity generation. We implemented measures to support the development of carbon capture technologies and alternative energy sources. We enhanced the government's annual report on the main environmental indicators, including greenhouse gases. Another thing that will likely surprise the members opposite is that we even abolished, yes abolished, tax breaks for the oil sands, so the Liberals really need to stop talking about Alberta's dirty oil.

All of these measures resulted in a good environment report card for Canada and confirmed the reduction in greenhouse gases under the previous government. Do members know that, in 2014, the last full year our government was in power, we reduced greenhouse gas emissions? Canada's share of global emissions decreased by more than 15%.

We were unable to do more after 2014 because we were no longer in office. The Liberals took power. What did they do? Under the Conservatives, our share of global emissions fell from 1.9% to 1.6%. Those results were not obtained under the Liberals. We, the Conservatives, reduced greenhouse gas emissions.

We must have done something right because the Liberal government adopted our greenhouse gas emissions targets. They say that we do not consult scientists, but they probably consulted the same scientists that we did. They took the findings of our scientists and the findings of theirs to come up with the same target. As a Conservative MP, I established a circular economy committee in my riding of Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier. Yes, we Conservatives are working to protect our planet in various ways in our own ridings.

When the Liberal government talks about western Canada's dirty oil, I would like to remind the group of members opposite that it was prime minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau who created the oil sands. Yes, members heard me right. It was Pierre Elliott Trudeau. It was probably to pay for Canada's deficits because it was under Pierre Elliott Trudeau that Canada's deficits were created. Who is the son of that prime minister? It is the current Prime Minister of Canada. It is the son of Pierre Elliott Trudeau. Is this son about to do the same thing? Is he legalizing marijuana to try to address his spiralling debt? The father, at least, would not have emboldened the party's friends and organized crime.

I recently said in the House that the government was very naive to think that the Liberals' bill would stop organized crime groups from selling marijuana. What were the papers reporting this weekend? Prices are already dropping. I hear about this every time I go out to talk to constituents in my riding of Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier. People think this is irresponsible. This is not the right way to go about it.

To get back to the topic at hand, this Liberal government was elected on all kinds of promises to environmental groups, and now, 28 months later, it has brought forth a mouse. There is nothing in this bill to improve effectiveness and there is nothing to provide for reasonable time constraints, so that we can proceed with smart sustainable development.

Allow me to take a sip of water. This is a natural resource. We must protect it and develop it intelligently.

Furthermore, this law to protect the process creates a sense of insecurity. Even if the scientific assessment determines that a developer's project complies with environmental standards, the project will still not be guaranteed, since the minister has discretion over whether the project will move forward and can make this decision based on her mood or on the relationship this government has with the developer.

Why not be clear and provide criteria that are properly defined and based on scientific data? Why put the power in the Liberals' hands?

We saw what they were capable of with the Liberal bagmen and the friends of the Liberal government who are investing in pot. The Minister of Finance carried out a few transactions, and once he had made his money, he changed the law on pension plans. Does anyone remember the Gomery commission?

In conclusion, this bill is nothing but window dressing. The Liberals changed the formula for calculating the duration of the process. Honestly, this is just window dressing. It is not for real. It is irresponsible. The government sets deadlines and requests scientific studies, but at the end of the day, the minister has all the decision-making power. We agree that improvements need to be made to the way things are being done. Yes, we do agree. As I said earlier, we Conservatives want to protect our planet. We need to consider new processes for protecting the environment.

Once again, the government is tabling a document with blatant disregard for the objectives we seek to achieve. Like so many departments and files, this bill is all about appearances.

Can we balance sustainable development with economic development? Why this charade? Why do we not put effective mechanisms in place to protect our resources and develop them intelligently?

Impact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

March 2nd, 2018 / 12:45 p.m.
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West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country B.C.


Pam Goldsmith-Jones LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade

Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for Repentigny.

I am very pleased to join this important debate. Bill C-69 is a generational opportunity to realize the full promise of Canada through the resources of our land and the resourcefulness of Canadians. It is an opportunity to achieve a lasting balance. This is not easy, and this debate is most timely and most important.

We are at a pivotal moment. Climate change is the great challenge of our generation. The natural environment signals this to us, of course. It also plays a critical role in assisting us to manage climate change, and it will be the measure of the balance we achieve. The natural environment restores us in our daily lives. Our ingenuity and investment in clean technology and innovation are fundamental to the way forward as we continue to build success in the natural resources sector.

As we debate this bill, a new wave of resource development is before us, with more than 650 billion dollars' worth of projects either under construction or planned over the next 10 years. This is not insignificant. This means good, sustainable jobs and new economic opportunities for the middle class. Therefore, it is imperative we have a modern environmental and regulatory system, one that is open, transparent, and effective, a process that views public engagement as an asset, that is critical toward earning public confidence in government decision-making

This is what Bill C-69 achieves. Bill C-69 is based upon better, clearer rules in order to recognize and achieve greater protection of the environment, fish, and waterways; the centrality and importance of positive relations between Canada and indigenous peoples; collaboration between the federal government and the provinces and territories; more investment in Canada's natural resource sector; and finally, the importance of earning public trust every day.

Bill C-69 strives to integrate Canada's economic and environmental goals to advance indigenous reconciliation and to ensure that worthy projects go ahead in an environmentally sustainable manner. This cannot be accomplished on our own. We can work together better. The provinces and territories are key regulators. Indigenous peoples are central to Canada's economic development. Project proponents make key investments in our innovation economy. Bill C-69 anticipates and accommodates multiple players and multiple imperatives. It is an integrative bill that provides a strong foundation for decision-making.

Beginning with a commitment to the fundamental principle of one project, one assessment for major resource projects, Bill C-69 creates the way in which all parties are part of one process. Industry is asking for environmental processes that are timely and rooted in science, and regulatory reviews that are efficient and offer greater certainty. The general public and indigenous communities are asking for early and meaningful engagement to identify priorities. All of this would be coordinated by the new impact assessment agency.

Canadians are right to expect that impact assessments consider more than environmental impacts. This has been a long-standing criticism of the previous approach, and we should be proud of sustainability advocates from coast to coast to coast. Bill C-69 proposes that major new resource projects be viewed in the wider context of economic, social, and health impacts of ongoing development, as well as environmental impacts. The bill also expands the opportunities for Canadians to participate in the process, improving public funding for citizens to do so, and communicating our own efforts and decisions in language that is easy to understand and readily available.

Bill C-69 would help to renew and improve Canada's relationship with indigenous peoples, supporting new partnerships by improving the consultation process and ensuring clear accountabilities between indigenous peoples and the crown.

Finally, Bill C-69 would enhance how science and data are weighed, and how this contributes to a decision.

We believe that Bill C-69 responds directly to the reasonable expectation on the part of the general public, that policy-making should incorporate input from thorough public consultation, expert reviews, parliamentary studies, and open deliberation.

Bill C-69 is about environmental assessments and regulatory reviews that make resource development better and more sustainable. Our proposals for modernizing the National Energy Board build on this. Under the Canadian energy regulator act, the NEB would be replaced by a new federal energy regulator that would remain headquartered in Calgary, where it belongs. The new federal regulator would be based on the principles of modern, effective governance, more inclusive public engagement, greater indigenous participation, stronger safety and environmental protections, and more timely decisions.

The modern regulator would reflect Canada's changing energy needs and desires with an expanded mandate to review traditional and renewable sources of energy, including offshore, wind, and tidal. It would have the required independence and proper accountability for our clean-growth energy future in the 21st century.

Drawing upon the best energy data and the latest trends to inform its decisions, the new regulator would operate with shorter timelines for project reviews. For major new energy projects, the proposed Canadian energy regulator would collaborate with the new impact assessment agency to provide its own recommendations in a single final report. For all other projects, the new federal energy regulator would retain its existing responsibility to review.

Ultimately, our goal is to ensure that sound resource projects are built. We believe that this calls for a modern environmental and regulatory system that promotes common values and ensures shared benefits. Canada can achieve the public good by ensuring that projects are built in a responsible, timely, and transparent way, creating good jobs and a stronger middle class. We are rising to the challenges of our times by driving economic growth, building investment certainty, advancing indigenous reconciliation, and achieving sustainable solutions. We are restoring public confidence and combatting climate change. We are creating inclusive prosperity.

I am very proud to support this legislation, and I hope all members will join our government in approving better rules to build a better Canada.

Impact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

March 2nd, 2018 / 12:50 p.m.
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Michael Cooper Conservative St. Albert—Edmonton, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change has stated that one of the objectives of Bill C-69 is to increase investor confidence. I would ask the hon. parliamentary secretary to square that statement with the fact that the Minister of Environment, at the planning stage, has the ability to kill a major energy project before any economic analysis is done, before any environmental analysis is done, and before any scientific analysis is done. In other words, the minister can kill a pipeline project on the basis of a purely political decision. Could the parliamentary secretary explain just how that increases investor confidence?

Impact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

March 2nd, 2018 / 12:55 p.m.
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GPQ (ex-Bloc)

Monique Pauzé GPQ (ex-Bloc) Repentigny, QC

Mr. Speaker, Bill C-69 has some interesting aspects, but it also raises questions and does not do much at all for Quebec.

For example, the government wants to put science back into decisions on the environment. That is great, especially after our experience with the Harper government, which saw science as the enemy. Obviously, this is a vast improvement. It shows there is an intention to protect the environment, but as always with the Liberals, intentions are more talking points than anything else. That does not amount to much unless it is written in black and white in legislation.

I will provide some examples. Do members remember the electoral reform promise that was dropped like a hot potato, or the promise to defend supply management at any cost?

The Liberals did not even want to renegotiate the transpacific partnership to defend our farmers. The government has not even changed its greenhouse gas reduction targets. Instead, it adopted the Conservatives' targets, which are well below those of all other countries.

I cannot get into every one of these issues in the few minutes that I have, but I will raise a few points that are important for Quebec.

In its current form, this bill is the opposite of what Quebeckers want. I firmly believe that instead of imposing these requirements on Quebec, the government should be doing the opposite, that is, it should let Quebeckers decide how to manage their province and protect their environment.

That was the reason why on February 1st I introduced Bill C-392, which goes in the opposite direction of Bill C-69. We have a very simple vision: what happens within our borders should be decided by us.

We firmly believe that citizens must have a say on projects that can negatively impact their health and their environment. I am definitely thinking of energy east.

The federal government is being pressured by companies that have interests in these projects. The government must balance the competing interests of provinces. I am thinking of the interests of Quebec as opposed to those of oil producing provinces. I am also thinking of British Columbia, which is in a dispute with Alberta over the Trans Mountain pipeline.

In both cases, one province assumes all the risks without reaping any of the benefits, while the opposite is true for the other province. It is unfair that citizens must suffer the consequences.

I will give another example. In 2016, IMTT-Quebec Inc. moved to the Port of Québec and polluted the entire neighbourhood of Limoilou with red dust. The residents of Limoilou found this dust on their balconies and clotheslines.

The Superior Court ruled that since the company was located in the Port of Québec, which is a federal jurisdiction, Quebec's environmental quality act did not apply. That was ridiculous. The air pollution was a nuisance for everyone in Limoilou and also compromised their health. We are talking about the health of parents and our children, not an administrative technicality. Not at all.

It is really quite simple, it is the provinces that have the expertise. Quebec must manage its health services. It is Quebec that pays the price for pollution and, even worse, it is the people who suffer the consequences. That is why Quebec must have the final say.

The complete opposite would be happening with Bill C-69. The federal government always has the final say. Even if a project is rejected by the Bureau d'audiences publiques sur l'environnement du Québec, or BAPE, the new impact assessment agency of Canada and the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change can always ignore our experts' findings and approve the project anyway, all under the guise of the national interest. I think we can all agree that this term is a little vague. It means nothing and can be invoked at any time, in any way, and for any project.

To us, national interest means the health and safety of our citizens. To others, it may mean corporate profits. The government will be able to make its decisions based on its own interests and the interests of its friends, as we have seen in other cases.

I am not the only one who is concerned about this arbitrary aspect of the bill. Greenpeace contacted me to say it is concerned about the vague assessment criteria that the government will use. The problem is that the government is creating an agency that ultimately serves no purpose, since the minister will reserve the right to override it.

The government claims that Bill C-69 will fix existing problems and help the environment, but with a little lobbying from wealthy corporations, destructive and polluting projects may still be allowed to move forward. The bill really emphasizes consulting the public, scientists, and indigenous peoples, but the minister will be able to approve a project even if the public is against it. Even if the entire province of Quebec opposes a project, the minister will still be able to move forward with it, invoking the national interest.

On another note, the bill missed the opportunity to remove a provision in the current act that makes Hydro-Québec subject to Ottawa. In the current legislation, Hydro-Québec must go through the National Energy Board to build international and interprovincial lines. Hydro-Québec must also have a permit to export electricity, and the Canadian government reserves the right to prevent Quebec from exporting its electricity surpluses.

The future Canadian energy commission will decide whether Quebec can export its surpluses after considering the impact those exports will have on the provinces, verifying whether anyone else has shown an interest in that electricity, and determining whether Hydro-Québec is making an effort to offer its electricity to Canadian buyers. Ottawa also reserves the right to refuse for other reasons. In short, Hydro-Québec is under federal control.

I have to say that the government has never abused that law in the past, but it could well decide to use the legislation to its advantage, thus harming Quebec. The minister could have taken the opportunity presented by this reform to remove all of those provisions. Unfortunately, she did not do so.

In short, this bill takes the wrong approach for Quebeckers. By giving herself the right to approve a project regardless of the results of the agency's assessment, the minister is negating any positive effects this bill might have had. The government could impose projects such as energy east on Quebeckers and they would have no way of preventing it. That is unacceptable. It is Quebec that has all the expertise and is assuming all the risks. The government needs to listen to Quebec and respect its choices. It is simple. This is simple, and I will repeat: what happens within our borders should be decided by us.

I would point out that the government did not even change its greenhouse gas reduction targets, which are the same as the Harper government's. That is why this bill is just an empty shell in our opinion, and that is why we will be voting against it. I encourage all my colleagues to vote in favour of my Bill C-392, which will give Quebec and the other provinces their say on projects that could have an impact on their environment and their people.

Impact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

March 2nd, 2018 / 1:05 p.m.
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Robert Aubin NDP Trois-Rivières, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for her speech.

I gather that my colleague analyzed Bill C-69 through the lens of her own bill, which I hope I will get a chance to speak on, because it has some interesting aspects and raises questions.

To come back to the essence of Bill C-69, at the beginning of her speech, my colleague welcomed the idea of the Liberal government putting or wanting to put more emphasis on science. However, what happened under the Conservatives and is now continuing to happen under the Liberals is that every bill gives the ministers additional powers. In this case, although we do want to put more emphasis on science, the minister will have the power to save or kill a project with a snap of her fingers.

Is there not something of a disconnect between intention and execution?

Impact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

March 2nd, 2018 / 1:10 p.m.
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Dane Lloyd Conservative Sturgeon River—Parkland, AB

Mr. Speaker, Bill C-69 is the latest monstrosity to come out of the Liberal government, a bill that will cripple Canada's energy industry and eliminate tens of thousands of good-paying jobs across communities in Canada, particularly in my home province of Alberta. This entire process is yet another concession made by the Liberal government to radical environmental groups that will not stop until Canada's oil and gas industry is eliminated.

I reject the argument that Canada's National Energy Board was not capable of making independent decisions based upon critical public evidence and public interest. Canada's environmental assessment process is among the best in the world, because for generations, Canadians have placed a high emphasis on environmental stewardship and responsible energy development. This symbiotic relationship has allowed Canada to be innovative with environmental regulation and solutions. Our energy industry as regulated under the National Energy Board has resulted in such benefits as hundreds of billions in investments, tax revenue, jobs, and long-term prosperity in our country.

The new Liberal environmental review process threatens that foundation and our long-term prosperity. In fact, we are already seeing that happen today. Our oil prices have doubled over the past year and yet Bloomberg reports that in 2017, foreign direct investment dropped by 27%. This is primarily due to the toxic political environment that has scared away investment from Canada's energy sector.

The always shifting goalposts of the Liberals' social licence requirements are dictated by a United States funded radical environmental lobbies. They are not acting in our country's interests; they are acting in their own self-interest. While Canada appears to have been assigned to the role of a national park for the enjoyment of Americans, the United States has pushed forward with groundbreaking LNG projects and a rapidly expanding export market for shale petroleum. Canada is a hostage to American interests as our lifeblood flows down into America at a dramatic discount, only to be repackaged on American tankers at a premium market price. Canadians are doing the work and we are letting Americans get all the profits.

We live in an age of globalization and our decisions affect our neighbours. However, the Liberals have gone too far and I do not believe that other countries have the right to interfere in our energy regulation. Would the Americans, the Chinese, or the Russians entertain delegations from Canada that opposed their energy development? Never, and yet the Liberal government has eliminated the standing test, which allows only those with a direct connection to the project to have a say. Allowing foreign citizens and foreign interests to influence our energy industry policies and whether or not our regulators will allow infrastructure to be built is an attack on Canadian sovereignty.

In closing, Bill C-69 undermines our nation. It would consign us to the status of a national park for the enjoyment of people around the world, to the detriment of Canadian citizens, people who need jobs and the prosperity and stability that is created by a responsible energy sector.

It is time for the Liberals to go back to the drawing board and create policies and regulations that will actually get shovels in the ground so that our critical LNG and pipeline projects can get the support they deserve.

Bill C-69—Time Allocation MotionImpact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

February 27th, 2018 / 10:05 a.m.
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Waterloo Ontario


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


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 one further sitting day after the day on which this Order is adopted shall be allotted to the consideration at second reading stage of the Bill; and

That, 15 minutes before the expiry of the time provided for Government Orders on the day allotted to the consideration at second 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 shall be put forthwith and successively, without further debate or amendment.

Bill C-69—Time Allocation MotionImpact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

February 27th, 2018 / 10:10 a.m.
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Ruth Ellen Brosseau NDP Berthier—Maskinongé, QC

Madam Speaker, I want to stress my disappointment with this government's use of time allocation for Bill C-69. This is an incredibly important bill that is over 400 pages long and affects 36 acts.

The bill was tabled quite recently, on February 8, and was called for debate the following Wednesday, less than a week later. Bill C-69 has been debated for just two hours so far. We still have a chance to debate it today, but our discussion will be curtailed by the government's time allocation motion and the tabling of the budget. Our only other opportunity to debate this bill will be Friday. That means the mammoth Bill C-69 will be debated for less than 10 hours total in the House of Commons.

We just heard the Minister of Environment say that this is a critical bill and it is really important. I just want to ask the government why it is forcing us to have less time to look at this bill and debate this important piece of legislation. It is important to engage in this House of Commons. It is important to make sure that we have the time necessary to evaluate this bill.

Bill C-69—Time Allocation MotionImpact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

February 27th, 2018 / 10:20 a.m.
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Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Madam Speaker, I must say I am astonished that the minister is so unfamiliar with the content of the bill she is attempting to rush through the House on this day. This is an omnibus bill, but it is not, as she claims, a bill that brings together four pieces of legislation. If she were aware, Bill C-68 is the Fisheries Act and it was not lumped together with Bill C-69, which is an omnibus bill and requires proper study. It is offensive. If it were good legislation, I might get behind rushing it through, but it is decidedly not good legislation and it must not be rushed. Bill C-68 is good legislation and the fisheries minister, lucky for him, does not have to wear the rest of this package of hybrid Harper-Liberal strategy that will make a mess of our environmental assessment.

Here is some gender analysis on this day that we are expecting a gender budget. For an omnibus bill including legislation that would normally be presented by the male Minister of Transport and another piece of legislation that would normally be presented by the male Minister of Natural Resources, why does she suppose they picked the Minister of Environment and Climate Change to wear the whole thing? They are eroding her political capital by having an omnibus bill where she is the only target.

Bill C-69—Proposal to Apply Standing Order 69.1POINT OF ORDERGovernment Orders

February 27th, 2018 / 11:25 a.m.
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Ruth Ellen Brosseau NDP Berthier—Maskinongé, QC

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order regarding the omnibus nature of the most recent government bill, 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 do so somewhat reluctantly because the government has just finished passing a time allocation motion that will limit the debate on this enormous important and sensitive bill. There will be fewer than 10 hours of debate. The time is at such a premium here that I will do my best to be very brief.

I also note, Mr. Speaker, that in your ruling of November 7 of last year on a similar request, you said, “I would encourage them to raise their arguments as early as possible in the process, especially given that the length of debate at a particular stage can be unpredictable.”

I doubt even you could have foreseen the government would have shut the door on debate here after just two hours, but I trust that you will still have enough time to rule on this request before the debate wraps up this Friday.

Standing Order 69.1 states:

In the case where a government bill seeks to repeal, amend or enact more than one act, and where there is not a common element connecting the various provisions or where unrelated matters are linked, the Speaker shall have the power to divide the questions, for the purposes of voting, on the motion for second reading and reference to a committee and the motion for third reading and passage of the bill. The Speaker shall have the power to combine clauses of the bill thematically and to put the aforementioned questions on each of these groups of clauses separately, provided that there will be a single debate at each stage.

Mr. Speaker, as you can see, Bill C-69 repeals two laws, enacts three new laws, and amends 31 existing laws. In total, Bill C-69 will affect 36 statutes. Bill C-69 enacts the impact assessment act, which will replace the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act. As a result, the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, which were put in place by Mr. Harper in 2012, will be replaced by the new impact assessment act and the new impact assessment agency of Canada. This agency will now be responsible for any assessments requiring federal review—

Impact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

February 27th, 2018 / 11:35 a.m.
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Shannon Stubbs Conservative Lakeland, AB

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to continue my comments on part 2 of Bill C-69, the Canadian energy regulator act.

Last week I shared some concerns about the bill, especially in the context of the Liberals' constant denigration and undermining of confidence in the regulator and in Canada's reputation at home and internationally, especially since the 2015 election, with respect to responsible resource development.

The Liberals have imposed new hurdles, delays, rule changes, called for phasing out the oil sands, added costs and roadblocks to the oil and gas sector, which is already the most heavily-regulated industry in Canada by all levels of government. They have told the hundreds of thousands of unemployed energy workers in Canada to just hang in there.

Regulatory and fiscal policies are key factors in the economics and business decisions of multi-year, multi-billion dollar energy projects for private sector companies. Now the Liberals are adding more uncertainty with more processes and more details yet to be known. The risk is the acceleration of the already massive investment and job losses in Canada's natural resources development as a result of the Liberals' ideological and anti-energy-driven decisions.

I am concerned about the new preplanning phase in part 1 that would apply to major projects like pipelines. Put aside the fact that Canadian common best practice already is to undertake early pre-project engagement with stakeholders, indigenous communities, and scientific experts. According to Bill C-69, after the initial six-month process, the minister alone can deny projects before the assessment stage. So much for experts, transparency, objective evidence and clear measures.

The bill provides no assurances that clear and publicly-known rules will be applied consistently to all project applications or that the full rationale for a denial will be made public. This approach clearly allows for political and ideological decision-making behind closed doors. The only hope for energy developers is that if a project is politically risky, the minister might kill it at the outset, instead of forcing proponents to wade through years of expensive reviews, wasting time and billions of dollars of capital investment, risking jobs in the meantime.

I want to review the three key claims made by the Liberals.

First, the Liberals claim that public participation will increase in both volume and effectiveness because of the elimination of the standing test of the National Energy Board. That test set out the two-pronged consideration for those who can participate: first, anyone who was directly affected by the project; and, second, anyone who had sufficient expertise or relevant information may be heard. On the face of it, that is reasonable.

However, let us look at a concrete example, the Enbridge Line 9B reversal and Line 9 capacity expansion proposal, about how this test operated in practice.

After receiving 177 applications to participate, the NEB granted 158 applicants full participation rights, and asked 11 applicants to submit a letter of comment. The board only denied eight. One of them appealed, so the courts examined her application and the board's decision. Her application was aimed at the second prong of the standing test, to contribute based on her expertise.

The judicial decision stated:

She stated that she had a specified and detailed interest in the matter...based on her religious faith. In her view, a spill from a pipeline, even far away from her home, is “an insult to [her] sense of the holy.”

I think this case illustrates that the standing test worked reasonably, designed to keep the focus of the approval hearings on important issues and to weed out irrelevant information.

Now let us review the new standing provision. Section 183(3) states, “Any member of the public may, in a manner specified by the Commission, make representations with respect to an application for a certificate.”

I note this language excludes no one. Every person or organization, so long as they comply with the procedure, may submit comment and be heard. This means that a radical anti-resources activist organization from Europe or an American-funded group competing with Canadian companies for investment dollars has the same right to be heard at a hearing for a pipeline, mine, or an LNG project in Canada under Canadian regulations, in Canada's process, as local stakeholders, indigenous communities, industry representatives, experts, and concerned Canadian groups.

Therefore, the regulator will have two options. It might choose to allow everyone who asks to be heard to provide comment, which effectively eliminates any meaningful participation, because when everyone is heard in fact no one is heard. Or the regulator will establish a hierarchy where some participants have the right to give oral and written evidence, others will give written submissions, and the least helpful or relevant contributions will be relegated to some kind of participation prize category where they can contribute but no one will care.

This is fundamentally chaotic, unpredictable, and unclear. How can a proponent prepare for a hearing process where literally anyone can provide comments and questions? Why should decisions about Canadian projects in Canada be influenced by non-Canadians?

The second key claim the Liberals make is that Bill C-69 would create concrete timelines of 450 days for major projects and 300 days for minor projects, except it does not really.

First, the clock starts only when the commission says the applicant has submitted the complete application, but it is entirely discretionary. The bill gives no definition of what is “complete”. It does not prevent the regulator from continuously deciding that an application is incomplete for political reasons or otherwise.

The second problem is that the regulator may exclude any period of time from the time limit calculations, so long as reasons are provided. It is any amount of time and any number of times. Is a timeline that could have any part of it excluded from the calculation really a timeline at all?

The third problem is that the minister may extend the timeline indefinitely by issuing repeat orders granting new 300 or 450 day timeline resets. Stakeholders, like the Mining Association of Canada, are concerned that the proposed system for timelines could undermine the competitiveness and growth prospects of mining in Canada, a sector that is often the only or the major employer in northern, remote, and indigenous communities.

It is disingenuous of the Liberals to claim they have made timelines concrete when the bill clearly shows there is nothing concrete about them.

The Liberals third claim is that new factors for consideration will make the approval process more robust and produce better results for Canadians. Of course factors for consideration for a major pipeline project, for instance, are fundamental to its viability. For example, the Liberals interfered in the energy east hearings, and their appointed panel told the NEB that even though it was years and millions of dollars into the process, energy east should be reconsidered, based on upstream and, for the first time ever, downstream emissions. Making upstream and downstream emissions a condition for pipelines is a double standard to which no other major infrastructure, or any other sector or foreign oil, is held. It is already regulated provincially. The Liberals forced energy east to be abandoned.

On page 167, proposed subsection 183(1)(2), it states:

The Commission must make its recommendation taking into account...all considerations that appear to it to be relevant and directly related to the pipeline, including

(a) the environmental effects, including any cumulative environmental effects;

The term is not defined and may be designed to allow a project to be killed for political expediency.

Cumulative environmental impacts should be clearly defined here, not left broad and vague. Also, it is unfair to project proponents to account for impacts elsewhere in the value chain. For example, the approval of Trans Mountain should not hinge on Kinder Morgan accounting for emissions of planes flying out of Victoria and Vancouver. Imagine if that same standard applied to other vital infrastructure, like highways, airports, and rail.

On top of that, once a project gets through every single hurdle and even if approval is granted, the minister or the regulator can still issue a post-approval demand for further study and evaluation. This new measure almost guarantees delays after future approvals. Despite the Liberal rhetoric, that is exactly how the B.C. NDP is trying to kill Trans Mountain right now. Unfortunately, it is already clear that under the Liberals, federal approval of a national project in federal jurisdiction does not mean it still will not be stopped.

For every Liberal claim about the bill, the process is clearly designed for political influence and intervention. At any stage the minister can step in and kill the project. Even at the various stages where there is no formal ministerial approval required, the minister still could interfere, just as the Liberals did with energy east, and signal to the regulator that the project needs to be delayed or killed outright. It does not clarify or streamline an objective, evidence-based process where decisions will be made by experts.

What are the results? Suncor, the leading integrated oil and gas company in Canada, says that it will not invest in major projects in Canada in the future. Billions of investment dollars are leaving Canada for the U.S. and other energy-producing jurisdictions. The combined impact of additional regulations, higher taxes, and uncertainty makes Canada a more difficult place to invest capital.

There is another component of Bill C-69 that requires careful examination.

The government claims the bill would broadly enhance and expand consultations with indigenous communities, but the government should be more precise and accurate. Bill C-69 does not actually change the consultation rights for indigenous communities at all. Canada has developed, through laws, executive action, and court decisions, a framework within which meaningful indigenous consultation occurs. The crown has a duty, when it takes executive action, to examine if it would interfere with or infringe on a section 35-protected right of an indigenous community. If such a right is identified and the executive still intends on following that course of action, the indigenous community must be meaningfully consulted and compensated for any loss or infringement of the right.

Bill C-69 simply would not change this fundamental principle.

What I have heard from pro-energy and pro-natural resources indigenous groups is that the Liberals are interfering with their ability to responsibly manage their lands and to engage with industry in equity partnerships, which is a widespread practice. From the tanker and drilling bans to the northern gateway veto, the Liberals unilaterally destroyed immediate and future opportunities in responsible resource development for indigenous people, without consultation.

Canadian natural resource proponents have long worked with indigenous communities early to identify affected communities and establish relationships. In the case of Trans Mountain, literally any indigenous community that wanted to be involved was included in consultation. The project is supported by 40 aboriginal groups along the route and four of the six first nations in the area are equity partners.

The real question the House must consider about the legislation is this. What global oil market share should Canada own? As well, what will really be the future of natural resources development and all the jobs it provides across the country? The fact is that global demand for oil and gas is going to continue to increase. Countries that do not match Canada's environmental, human rights, labour and consultation standards, and transparency are ready to meet that demand.

If the Liberals continue to create more layers and uncertainty, it will only mean Canadian energy investment will continue to fall and energy resources will not be able to meet that increasing demand from Canada.

Energy is the number one private sector investor in the Canadian economy, and it is Canada's second biggest export. The importance of this sector cannot be understated. The responsible development and transportation of Canada's energy resources lifts that standard of living of every Canadian, reduces poverty, and funds important social programs in every community across the country.

Canada's economy needs a strong natural resources sector. It has sole ownership of 7% of GDP. It produces billions of dollars and a million jobs. It is Canada's opportunity to continue to be an environmental leader in the world.

Ramming this bill through is irresponsible. Industry is already pulling investment capital from Canada. It is warning about the impacts of this legislation. Hundreds of thousands of jobs have already been lost. If Bill C-69 passes, in one blow, the Liberals will have put at serious risk the immediate and long-term future of Canada's natural resources development.

I will oppose this bill and encourage my colleagues to do so. I hope, at the very least, the Liberals will allow us to represent the people who sent us here on their behalf to represent their interests and values, and to give this massive legislation the debate it deserves.

Impact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

February 27th, 2018 / 11:55 a.m.
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Winnipeg South Centre Manitoba


Jim Carr LiberalMinister of Natural Resources

Madam Speaker, I am proud to rise today to support the legislation before us.

Canada was built largely on investment and innovation in our abundant natural resources, from our oil and natural gas to our minerals, like gold, silver, copper, nickel, and zinc, to our vast and diverse forests. Canadians know that investment and innovation in all of our natural resource sectors must continue so that we can get our resources to global markets and use the revenues they generate to invest in a clean energy future, a healthier future, for those who will follow us.

Bill C-69 recognizes that the only way to achieve this success is by creating a modern environmental and regulatory review system that is truly open and inclusive and that can get good resource projects built. This proposed legislation would restore investor and public trust, invite the full participation of indigenous people, and be grounded in science, evidence, and traditional indigenous knowledge. It would also be an important piece of a larger picture and a broader plan, one that responds with the global transition to a clean energy future. Canadians know that we are in the midst of that transition.

Last April, we invited Canadians to imagine Canada's energy future and to be part of the largest and most important conversation of its kind ever held in our nation. We invited Canadians to be respondent, joining in the conversation online by the hundreds of thousands, with hundreds more descending on my home city of Winnipeg for the two-day Generation Energy Forum last fall.

People came to Winnipeg from across the country and around the globe, from Norway, France, Mexico, and the United States. They came from every sector of the energy industry, oil and gas, wind, solar, nuclear, electricity. Indigenous leaders, youth leaders, community leaders, academics were all there. Several members opposite joined us as well, from every party except the Conservative Party. That speaks volumes about how much the official opposition cares about the future of the energy industry in this country. There was not one individual in a group of 650 from every region in our country who represented the official opposition. Had any of the members opposite felt it worth their time to join us, they would have found people who may never have spoken to each other before, in the same room challenging each other and themselves.

Suddenly, the questions became ever more pressing: What happens now? What if our individual choices could add up to transformative changes? Generation Energy tapped into something unexpected and special. Years from now, Canadians may very well look back and say that Generation Energy was a turning point, that it marked our emergence as a global leader in the transition to a low-carbon economy.

Our government is building a Canadian energy strategy, working with the provinces and territories to expand on what they have already done, leveraging the fossil fuel resources we have today to deliver clean energy solutions for tomorrow, leaning on shared priorities such as energy efficiency, clean technologies, and green infrastructure, and linking those provinces who have an abundance of clean electricity with those who are trying to get it.

Until this proposed legislation was introduced, we had been missing an important piece of this vision. We were missing an environmental and regulatory system that commands the confidence of Canadians, a system that ensures we can mine the minerals and metals that will go into tomorrow's clean technology, that we can tap our abundant natural gas as a transitional fuel, and that we can get our resources to market. Those resources, by the way, include Canadian oil.

One of the clear messages from Generation Energy was that Canadians want a thriving low-carbon economy, but they also know that we are not there yet. They understand that while we need to prepare for the future, we must also deal with the present, by providing energy that they can count on when they flick on a light switch, or fill up their gas tanks, or plug in their electric cars. This means we must continue to support our oil and gas industry even as we develop alternatives, including solar, biomass, wind, and tidal.

We do not share the view of those who would simply pump as much oil as we can as fast as we can, nor do we agree with those who say we should leave all of the oil in the ground and never build another pipeline. Both miss the larger goal of balancing economic prosperity and environmental protection. How do we do both?

We do it by promoting resource development while putting a hard cap on greenhouse gas emissions, including Alberta's 100-megatonne limit on the oil sands. We do it by putting a price on carbon, implementing a $1.5 billion oceans protection plan, and enforcing new environmental safeguards, such as those in the Pipeline Safety Act. We do it by recognizing that a strong and sustainable oil and gas industry represents an enormous opportunity to fund the transition to a low-carbon economy.

Here are a few quick statistics. In 2016, the oil and gas industry directly employed 190,000 Canadians, producing $75 billion in exports and accounting for almost 5% of our GDP. It also generated billions of dollars in government revenues, revenues that pay for our hospitals and schools, for the social programs that make us who we are, and for the clean energy and new technologies that represent our future.

The Harper government took the approach of ignoring indigenous rights, climate change, and the environment in favour of economic development at all costs. This resulted in Canadians losing trust in the way major resource projects were being assessed.

That is why, when we formed government, we introduced a set of interim principles to get environmental assessments and regulatory reviews moving on those projects already in the queue, principles that reflected our priorities: maintaining certainty for investors, expanding public consultations, enhancing indigenous engagement, and including greenhouse gas emissions in our project assessments.

The benefits of these interim principles were felt right away. Major projects, such as the Trans Mountain expansion and the Line 3 replacement pipelines were approved, while the northern gateway project was not. Each one was the right decision based on good jobs, sound science, and the national interest.

Our goal has always been a permanent fix to Canada's environmental assessments. Just seven months into our mandate, we launched a comprehensive review that included modernizing the National Energy Board, protecting our fish, and preserving our waterways. We appointed expert panels, enlisted parliamentarians, released a discussion paper, and at every step of the way consulted Canadians, listening more than we spoke.

What emerged from these efforts were the same messages we heard through Generation Energy. Canadians are engaged. They are well-informed. They know the economy and the environment can and must go hand in hand. They agree that Canada works best when Canadians work together.

Those are the hallmarks of Bill C-69, a new and inclusive approach to protect the environment and build a stronger economy, creating good jobs and a sustainable future. It is an approach based on restoring public trust, renewing Canada's relationship with indigenous peoples, collaborating with the provinces and territories, protecting our environment, fish and waterways, and encouraging more investments in Canada's natural resource sector: better rules to build a better Canada.

It all starts with our proposal for an early engagement and planning phase that would help resource companies with new projects identify the priorities of local communities and indigenous peoples. This would create immediate benefits. First, the proponents and their investors would have a clear lay of the land before they spend a lot of money advancing their proposals. Second, by identifying the key issues early, the ensuing project reviews would be shorter and more focused. In other words, by engaging earlier, companies would be better able to plan and develop smarter, all of which would help them to attract investment, maintain competitiveness, and enhance bottom lines.

Bill C-69 also proposes to integrate project reviews within a single, consistent impact assessment, which Canadians have been calling for for years: one project, one assessment. Our legislation would do this by creating a new federal agency for impact assessments, the impact assessment agency of Canada, that would be responsible for coordinating indigenous consultations and collaborating with federal regulators who provide specialized expertise.

We are also proposing to establish a new federal energy regulator to replace the National Energy Board. Called the Canadian energy regulator, or CER, it would have the required independence and the proper accountability to oversee a strong, safe, and sustainable Canadian energy sector in the 21st century. Located in Calgary where much of the country's energy expertise is located, the CER would help restore investor confidence, renew Canada's relationship with indigenous peoples, and rebuild trust through open and inclusive public participation, all while ensuring good projects go ahead and our energy resources get to markets.

This new energy regulator would be specifically designed to deal with the shifting global energy markets of the 21st century, to respond to the evolving legal landscape for indigenous rights, and to adopt new technology that can support greater transparency and broader public engagement.

Let me outline how the new Canadian energy regulator would do this in five key ways.

First, it would have a more modern and effective governance. While the National Energy Board has served Canadians well, its structure, role, and mandate have remained relatively unchanged since the National Energy Board Act was first introduced in 1959. The Canadian energy regulator act clarifies the new regulator's responsibilities and operations, while strengthening its independence and its diversity. This includes separating the regulator's adjudicative function, which demands a high degree of independence, from its daily operations where a high degree of accountability is what we need. This would be achieved through a board of directors that would provide oversight, strategic direction, and advice on operations, while the chief executive officer, separate from the board, would be responsible for day-to-day operations.

The new regulator would also include a group of independent commissioners who would be responsible for timely, inclusive, and transparent project reviews and decision-making. The act would enhance the diversity of the new regulator's board of directors and commissioners, requiring the regulator's expert panels to include expertise in traditional indigenous knowledge, as well as municipal, engineering, and environmental issues, and ensuring that at least one member of the board of directors and one commissioner are indigenous.

Second, the act proposes to strengthen investment certainty and deliver timelier decisions. The energy sector's future success depends on a predictable process and timely regulatory decisions for major new projects, without compromising on public consultations, indigenous reconciliation, or environmental stewardship. The principle of “one project, one assessment” directly addresses those concerns.

Under the legislation, the Canadian energy regulator would work closely with the new impact assessment agency for new projects requiring a full impact assessment. With smaller projects, the new regulator would conduct the reviews and have final decision-making authority for minor administrative functions, such as certain certificate and licence variances, transfers, and the suspension of certificates or licences. Under our plan, project reviews would not exceed two years for major new projects and not more than 300 days for smaller ones. The Canadian energy regulator act would also restore the regulator's 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 the cabinet's right to ask commissioners to reconsider a decision.

The third key change is an emphasis on more inclusive public engagement. Our new approach would create more opportunities for Canadians to have their say on resource development. This would include more avenues outside of the traditional hearing process so that Canadians could debate pressing issues that are beyond the scope of the regulator's project reviews. The new Canadian energy regulator would also be more open and transparent, making more information public in a language that is easier to understand.

Here are a few examples. The NEB's existing “test for standing” would be eliminated to ensure every Canadian has an opportunity to express his or her views during project reviews. The new regulator would also accept comments from the public on a draft list of issues and factors. These would include explicit consideration of environmental, social, safety, health, and socioeconomic issues, as well as gender-based impacts and effects on indigenous peoples. As well, the CER's participant funding program would be expanded to support new activities.

Fourth, the new Canadian energy regulator would help advance reconciliation through greater indigenous participation. No relationship is more important to Canada than the one with indigenous peoples. Our government is committed to renewing that relationship based on recognition of rights, respect, co-operation, and partnership. Our government's new rights and recognition framework represents a historic step in that direction, replacing confrontation with collaboration, but we know we cannot do this on our own.

Canada's energy sector has been playing a key role in building indigenous partnerships through benefit agreements, indigenous advisory and monitoring committees for new pipelines, and indigenous-led assessments. Our legislation would complement those efforts by recognizing indigenous rights up front and confirming the government's duty to consult, requiring consideration of traditional indigenous knowledge, building capacity and enhanced funding for indigenous participation, and aiming to secure free, prior, and informed consent.

Fifth and finally, the new federal energy regulator would oversee stronger safety and environmental protection. The Canadian energy regulator act would strengthen the federal energy regulator's powers to protect Canadians and the environment in a number of important ways, such as assigning new powers to federal inspection officers, clarifying the regulator's role in enforcing standards related to cybersecurity, and authorizing the CER to safely cease the operation of pipelines in cases where the owner is in receivership, insolvent, or bankrupt.

In all of these ways, through modern and effective governance, enhanced certainty and timelier decisions, wider public engagement and greater indigenous participation, and strengthened safety and environmental protections, the Canadian energy regulator would help create the new environmental and regulatory system we want, one that promotes common values and ensures shared benefits. Our legislation is for the Canada we have today and the Canada we want tomorrow, a Canada that uses the resources of its land and the resourcefulness of its people to lead in this clean-growth century, a Canada that not only imagines the future but creates it for generations to come.

Impact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

February 27th, 2018 / 12:25 p.m.
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Jim Carr Liberal Winnipeg South Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, the member is absolutely right. The three pillars of responsible energy infrastructure development are the ones he suggests, economic growth, job creation, and environmental stewardship, in partnership with indigenous communities, all of which are contained within Bill C-69.

One can certainly make an argument that it is because those three pillars were not in place for 10 years that the Conservative opposition can let us know about the pipelines that were approved during the Harper administration. However, the Conservatives cannot seem to name a single one that was built to tidewater, because those three elements were not in place.

Bill C-69—Proposed Application of Standing Order 69.1Points of OrderGovernment Orders

February 27th, 2018 / 12:25 p.m.
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Winnipeg North Manitoba


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

Mr. Speaker, I rise to address the points raised by the member for Berthier—Maskinongé in her point of order.

Standing Order 69.1(1) is clear in outlining the procedure as it relates to omnibus legislation.

As stated by my hon. colleague, Bill C-69 seeks to amend more than one act. Where my hon. colleague and I disagree is in the claim that there lacks a common element linking the various underlying elements of this comprehensive piece of legislation.

This legislation is the result of the government's comprehensive review of federal environmental and regulatory processes that were launched in June 2016. The tabling of Bill C-69 in its current form represents the continuation of this government's commitment to address this priority. The engagement process for the bill brought together a range of stakeholders to inform our approach on interconnected and interrelated environmental assessment processes, such as the review of major projects, so as to minimize and mitigate impacts on the country's land, air, and waterways.

Its content represents the outcome of this engagement. Through this bill we seek to strengthen the existing environmental assessment and regulatory processes in a global manner to regain public trust, protect the environment, introduce modern safeguards, advance reconciliation with indigenous peoples, and help get natural resources to market. Introducing these changes via separate legislative vehicles would introduce unnecessary uncertainty and imperil the overall strategy that results from consultations with a broad range of stakeholders.

Our government remains committed to end the inappropriate use of omnibus legislation. Consequently, I respectfully submit to you, Mr. Speaker, that Bill C-69 respects both the letter and the spirit of Standing Order 69.1 in its establishment of a new single Canadian approach to impact assessments.

Impact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

February 27th, 2018 / 12:45 p.m.
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David Anderson Conservative Cypress Hills—Grasslands, SK

Mr. Speaker, I am glad to rise today to discuss Bill C-69. I would like to hold up a copy of it. This bill is so thick that the super staplers could not drill a hole through it. It had to be put into two packages to make it presentable to us.

The government has decided, after two hours of debate, that it is going to bring time allocation on this bill, that it needs to limit debate on it.

As my colleague just pointed out, it is not a simple bill. It is 400 pages. The index alone is 27 pages. The summary takes up two of them. We need to spend a little more time discussing it than the government is prepared to let us spend. This bill is going to have more impact on Canada, particularly on western Canada, my area in particular, than the budget today will have. It will take a little longer for the effects to show, but it is going to be very damaging to a large part of this country. My colleague just talked about some of the impacts that this bill will have on small communities.

I believe that as we do in small things, so we will do in large things. Therefore, I want to tell a story about the current government and the way it has approached an environmental issue in my riding. We can probably extrapolate from that how it is going to use this bill across the rest of the country.

A few years ago, our government made a decision that we were going to turn the PFRA pastures in western Canada back to the provinces, which previously had ownership of the land. The land had been turned over to the federal government in the 1930s when the provinces could not manage it, and the federal government had managed it since then. We made a decision to turn it back to either the local communities that wanted to buy it or the provincial government, and that process carried itself out.

There is a small pasture in the southwest corner of Saskatchewan called Govenlock. It has been federal land for 100 years. There was a discussion about how to handle this piece of property that was federal land. The decision was made that it was going to be transferred from Agriculture Canada to Environment Canada, and hopefully would be managed in a responsible fashion over the coming decades.

Our government made a decision that we were going to try something a bit different. We went to the local community. The minister's chief of staff went there to listen to the local community, to talk to the ranchers, and said, “You folks have been basically managing this property for the last 80 or 100 years. What would you like to see from the federal government in terms of being able to manage this pasture over the next few decades?”

The invitation was there, and she went. She sat down at a meeting with the community and talked about what they would like to see. There was an agreement that whatever happened, the community should benefit from the project. There was an agreement made, but this was not formalized at the time, unfortunately. There was an agreement that the committee would have some control over management of the pasture and the research money that was going to be spent in that pasture. They could bring people in, perhaps university students in the summertime, and assign them to do research. The community and the people living in the community would benefit from taking some of that money that was going to be spent on the project.

It was a unique pilot project, and that is probably the best way to label it. It was based around co-operation between the government and the local community. It would provide a benefit to the local community. There was going to be good long-term management. The government had decided it was going to trust the people who had managed that environment for so long that they could continue to do it in an effective way.

It has been a very different situation in the two years since the current government was elected. Basically, all elements of community control have been thrown out. It is interesting. There have been top Environment Canada officials come out to the community to tour around in a cavalcade of vehicles, yet they have refused to stop and talk to the local people. They came out, drove around, and took a look at the pasture land, but they would not stop to talk to the locals about what they might want to see or provisions for the future management of the pasture. They have basically come back to the community and said, “Here are the provisions we are laying out for you over the next few decades if you want to have access to this pasture.” They have told them the way they think the ground will be managed.

In my part of the world, every time that either an environmental organization or the government has come in to take over land that ranchers have managed, it has usually taken about 30 years to learn how to manage it. Interestingly, they typically end up managing it in the way the ranchers did in order to be successful. They removed any funding control from the local community. Basically, there is no commitment at all in any fashion to that. Certainly, any research that has taken place has been removed from the local community and will come out somewhere, maybe out of some environmental group that the government favours or a university somewhere, but the local community is not going to benefit.

The Liberals basically have set up a management system where the ranchers are the servants or slaves of government.

The only interest from Environment Canada seems to be in completely controlling the situation rather than co-operating. There has been a big loss to one small community, the small community of Consul in my riding. If that is how one small community has been approached, can we extrapolate that into how the bill will approach and deal with small communities across the country? I think we can.

Bill C-69 is 400 pages. As I mentioned, it is not so much concerned about improving the environment as it is about basically controlling the economy, controlling the environment, and trying to have the government tell people across the rest of the country how it is going to manage their affairs and the resources in their part of the world.

Now we have time allocation. That is the biggest insult in some time. We have a 400-page bill and now we are told we have two hours to debate it. The Liberals are rushing the bill through. Clearly, if people read this and see what the provisions are, the Liberals know they will get concerns. They are getting concerns from both ends of the spectrum. We know that. No one sees this as being adequate and the government, in its usual commitment to mediocrity, probably thinks that is okay.

In the past, we have had the highest standards in the world on energy development. When I drive through my riding and I see the energy development going on there, the wells that are being drilled, the environmental standards are extremely high. I would invite anybody to come out, walk onto one of those well sites and try to find any place where there has been any kind of a spill or pollution. People would have difficulty finding that because of our high standards. They have been high in the past as well. We are environmentally responsible. In the world in which I live, there is more wildlife now than there has ever been and the air is cleaner than it has ever been. We believe we did a good job of managing environmental issues around resource development, and that needs to be continued.

I want to talk specifically about the approval process around Bill C-69. I am trying to run through this quickly and it is only one part of the stream. People may get confused. If they do, it would not be the least bit surprising because it has taken a lot of people a lot of time to even try to figure out what the approval process looks like.

There is a preplanning section to the projects of 180 days. The minister would have the discretion to designate how that would proceed. We do not know how limited the minister's discretion will be because it is not in the bill. The minister can extend that process by 90 days before it goes to cabinet. The cabinet can extend that process indefinitely. Then it goes to an impact assessment of 300 days and two different streams, a short one and a long one. With both of them, we do not have any clarity right now about how that will be determined. With the short ones, the agency will handle it.

All major projects will end up in this long stream of a 450-day commitment. All life cycle regulatory projects will go through that one. That 450 days starts when a panel is appointed, not from the beginning of the application, and it will stop when the minister gets the report.

The short or long process can be extended 90 days and the cabinet can extend those timelines indefinitely. The minister will have the authority to ask for any information along this whole cycle and then the minister can come back and say that he or she needs new information, and a whole new process needs to happen. That is just one small part of one stream of the bill and the approval process that the Liberal will put in place.

As the minister pointed out to us, all of these decisions are political decisions. These decisions should be made based on science, based on whether it will impact the environment in the area. The government is clearly saying that it wants every one of those decisions to be political and it is happy to manage them. We know what will happen, and that is the economy in my part of the world, the economy in western Canada, will be severely impacted, It will do nothing to protect the environment beyond what has already been done.

Impact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

February 27th, 2018 / 12:55 p.m.
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Karine Trudel NDP Jonquière, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his speech. I want to talk to him about Bill C-69. The government says it is putting this assessment process in place to rebuild public trust in environmental assessments. I would like to know what the member thinks about the consultation period being shortened. What impact will that have? He talked about small communities. The government says it wants to restore trust and transparency, but it is reducing the time spent on consultation. Reading the bill, we can plainly see that the goal is not establishing public trust.

I would like to hear the member's thoughts.

Impact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

February 27th, 2018 / 1 p.m.
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Jennifer O'Connell Liberal Pickering—Uxbridge, ON

Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for Winnipeg South.

It is my pleasure to rise in the House 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.

Canadians understand that protecting our environment and growing our economy is not an either/or proposition. With hundreds of major resource projects worth over $500 billion in investment planned across Canada over the next 10 years, we need to ensure that better rules are in place so good projects that balance the need for economic growth and environmental protection can go forward.

Bill C-69 would fulfill that objective. It would also fulfill our goal of one project, one review. The review process would be streamlined and would make the process more predictable, timely, and clear, while ensuring stakeholders would be engaged effectively and potential issues with project proposals would be identified up front. These better rules would increase regulatory certainty and clarity, encouraging investment in Canada's natural resources sector.

After a decade that saw the erosion of public trust in our regulatory bodies, Canadians can be assured that we are putting in place better rules to protect our environment, fish, and waterways, with the goal of rebuilding that public trust. I am proud to say that decisions will be guided by science, evidence, and indigenous traditional knowledge. Impact assessment will also consider how projects are consistent with our environmental obligations and climate change commitments, including the Paris agreement on climate change.

A single agency, the impact assessment agency of Canada, would lead all impact assessments for major projects, with the goal of ensuring the approach would be consistent and efficient. Canadians can expect that under our new framework, projects will be held to a high standard and we will protect our environment and build healthy communities.

I am sure all members of the House would agree and recognize that building new and efficient infrastructure systems is necessary in a modern economy. We need bridges and other works to travel, to get goods to market, and to grow our economy. However, these projects need to be built in a way that allows Canadians to continue to travel and enjoy our waterways, and to be safe while doing it.

Canadians travel through our country's vast network of oceans, lakes, rivers and canals for commercial and recreational purposes.

It is important to note that navigable waters also play a critical role for indigenous peoples in the exercise of their rights. The free and unobstructed passage over navigable waters has long been recognized in law and has been one of the foundations of our country.

In 2014, the Navigation Protection Act introduced by the previous government drastically cut back navigation protections by establishing a short list of waters in a schedule to the legislation to focus protection on waterways that were heavily used near large population centres and which had a significant commercial use.

New works on waters not on the legislative schedule, including large dams, do not require any approval under the existing Navigation Protection Act, even though they may create a significant interference to navigation.

Obstructions on navigable waters outside the schedule do not receive protection under the existing legislation. The only recourse for Canadians who have navigation concerns about projects on navigable waters outside of this list is to take the matter to the courts. The Navigation Protection Act reduces transparency and makes it harder to know about proposals for works before they were constructed.

We have heard loud and clear from Canadians that this is not enough protection for their right to navigate our lakes, rivers, and canals. This is why we spent over a year consulting on changes to the Navigation Protection Act to better understand the kinds of navigation protections that Canadians and indigenous peoples were seeking.

During this comprehensive and informative consultation, we heard that Canadians wanted further navigation protections on more waterways, more information about projects that could affect navigation, more opportunities for their navigation concerns to be heard and resolved without going to court, and more clarity on the definition of “navigable water”.

We also heard from indigenous peoples that they want a greater role in protecting navigation in their territories. We heard from industry and provincial representatives, who said they want clear and predictable regulations.

We have listened to these concerns and we have acted. This is why the Canadian navigable waters act would deliver on all of this. First, it would restore navigation protection on all navigable waters in Canada by using modern safeguards. Major works, like dams, would require an approval on any navigable water. Minor works, like small cottage docks, would need to meet the requirements set out by an order in the act on any navigable water. All other work on unscheduled waters would be subject to mandatory notification and consultation requirements, and a new dispute resolution process that could require approvals where concerns remain unresolved. Canadians would no longer have to turn to the courts to resolve these types of issues.

All other works on scheduled waters would also be subject to notification and consultation requirements, but would always require an approval. Owners would not have the choice of using the dispute resolution process because they are proposing to build on waters identified as being vulnerable to impacts on navigation and of the utmost importance to Canadians.

The government is committed to open, accessible, and transparent processes. For the first time, a comprehensive definition of a navigable water would be included in the act. This new, broader definition does not return to the canoe test, which is unworkable in today's context, but actually creates a modern definition to identify the navigable waters that require the protection of the new act.

A strengthened crown-indigenous relationship is at the heart of the proposed approach. The Canadian navigable waters act would require the consideration of indigenous rights and knowledge, and create new opportunities for indigenous peoples to partner with Canada in the administration of navigation protections in their territories and jurisdictions.

Through the Canadian navigable waters act, the government is proposing modern protections for the right of Canadians to navigate on every navigable water in Canada. This protection would be stronger than ever before.

Before building any work on any navigable water, owners of works would have to satisfy the requirements of the navigation legislation. Under the new Canadian navigable waters act, these requirements would be tailored to take into account the many types of works and the many types of navigation that exist in Canada today.

The new Canadian navigable waters act and Bill C-69 is smart legislation, designed to deliver navigation protections where they are needed, to give indigenous peoples and communities a say in what is built in their territories, and to make expectations clear for owners of works. Bill C-69 and the new Canadian navigable waters act gets it right. That is why I am proud to support its passage through the House.

Impact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

February 27th, 2018 / 1:15 p.m.
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Winnipeg South Manitoba


Terry Duguid LiberalParliamentary Secretary for Status of Women

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak on Bill C-69, an act to enact the impact assessment act and the Canadian energy regulator act, to amend the Navigation Protection Act and to make consequential amendments to other acts. This important piece of legislation fulfills some of our earliest campaign promises from the 2015 election: restore credibility to environmental assessments, modernize and rebuild trust in the National Energy Board, conduct a wholesale review of the previous government's amendments to the Fisheries Act and the elimination of the Navigable Waters Protection Act with the intent to restore lost protections and incorporate more modern safeguards.

We made this commitment because we recognized that the economy and the environment go hand in hand. By putting in place better rules that protect our environment, fish, and waterways, by rebuilding public trust and respect for indigenous rights, and by strengthening our economy, these new rules will ensure good projects can go ahead and create new jobs and economic opportunities for the middle class. They provide clarity and consistency when it comes to impact assessments by creating a single agency, the impact assessment agency of Canada, which will lead all impact assessments for major projects. It will draw on the lessons learned through other agencies, such as the National Energy Board, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, and offshore boards.

The Minister of Environment and cabinet will have final say over decisions. Our government prioritizes accountability on issues of national interest, and this will allow Canadians to hold our government to account on decisions of importance. The manner in which these decisions are made will be vastly improved by this legislation. Decisions will be made based on science and evidence, not politics, like the previous government's process. We will create more publicly available data to allow Canadians to be informed and involved in these decisions. We are expanding the scope of these reviews to assess their impacts on health, society, and the economy. As the Parliamentary Secretary for Status of Women, I am pleased to see that we will be conducting gender-based analysis as part and parcel of these assessments as well.

We will advance Canada's commitment to reconciliation by recognizing indigenous rights and working in partnership from the start with indigenous communities across the country. We will integrate traditional knowledge into the process, and promote active participation from indigenous communities to ensure their voices are heard.

We will maintain a professional approach to these reviews by creating a predictable, streamlined process. Shorter legislated timelines for the project review phase will be rigorously managed to keep the process on track. Our goal, as the previous speaker mentioned, will be one project, one review.

The bill also seeks to amend the navigable waters act. Water is an issue of utmost importance to me. Lake Winnipeg is one of my home province's most important and treasured resources, and I am incredibly pleased to see this bill recognize and prioritize the importance of water. The Canadian navigable waters act would restore navigation protection for every navigable waterway in Canada. Changes to the Fisheries Act will add important new safeguards for our fisheries, including measures to rebuild damaged fish stocks and restore degraded habitat, ensuring that our fisheries and environment are protected for future generations.

This is not our first effort to protect water in this country. The historic investments we made with the oceans protection plan is a testament to our commitment to this essential natural resource. Canada has the longest coastline in the world. Our coasts support traditional indigenous and coastal community livelihoods, attract tourism, and enable the export and import of goods overseas. They are home to an abundance of Canadian fisheries, and play a key role in strengthening the economy and growing our middle class. That is why our government launched the oceans protection plan, the OPP. It is a historic $1.5 billion investment that will create a world-leading marine safety system, restore and protect Canada's marine ecosystems, and strengthen partnerships with indigenous communities.

Similarly, I am proud of the investment we are making in protecting and rehabilitating the water in the Great Lakes. The Government of Canada is committed to protecting fresh water through science, action, and collaboration with Canadian and American partners and, importantly, indigenous peoples. This includes the freshwater resources of the Lake Winnipeg basin. Budget 2017 allocated $70.5 million over five years to protect Canada's freshwater resources, including the Lake Winnipeg basin at $25.7 million and the Great Lakes at $44.8 million.

Through the $25.7 million allocated to protecting freshwater quality in Lake Winnipeg and its basin, Environment and Climate Change Canada will continue to support research, as well as provide financial support aimed at reducing nutrients, enhancing collaboration, and supporting enhanced engagement of indigenous peoples on freshwater issues in Lake Winnipeg and its basin.

I am extremely proud of the legislation we are debating before the House today. When we first came to office, we knew we had to act swiftly on this file, and did so by implementing the interim principles, offering a glimpse of our vision, and ensuring that projects could continue to be assessed. Now, after thorough consultation with the public and stakeholders, 14 months all told, and the parliamentary input of two committees, we are moving forward with the next steps.

Bill C-69 would ensure that the economy and the environment can both continue to thrive and that good middle-class jobs are created in our resource sector. We are providing clarity and certainty for development projects and ensuring that our natural treasures will be protected for generations to come.

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February 27th, 2018 / 1:25 p.m.
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Sheila Malcolmson NDP Nanaimo—Ladysmith, BC

Mr. Speaker, this is a hard debate for us on the B.C. coast because we have a government that is now indicating, by repairing the legislation two years into its term, that it concedes that the legislation was completely inadequate to review the Kinder Morgan pipeline, which has serious risks for jobs that already exist on the B.C. coast. The trade-off is 50 permanent jobs offered by the pipeline for British Columbia by Kinder Morgan.

Particularly in the area of oil spill response, the previous environmental review and National Energy Board review blocked evidence about whether bitumen spilled in the marine environment would sink or float. The National Energy Board found that hearing such evidence would be prejudicial to Kinder Morgan.

Is the government now willing to redo that part of the environmental review to make sure that Bill C-69 is applied to protecting marine environment in the likely event of a bitumen spill in the Salish Sea?

Impact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

February 27th, 2018 / 1:25 p.m.
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John Barlow Conservative Foothills, AB

Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with my colleague from Provencher.

I want to start by reading a couple of quotes about the response to the Liberals' new Bill C-69:

In reality, it’s unlikely that any major project would proceed under the new rules.... [It] contains a good deal of political posturing and seems to lean to the side of attempting to please the most extreme critics.... [It puts] the wants of a small number ahead of what is best for Canada’s economy as a whole.

That came from the research team at GMP FirstEnergy.

Here is a second quote:

By diminishing independent, quasi-judicial regulatory processes for expert tribunals, cabinet risks drifting further into the dangerous political shoals where science and economics are eclipsed by the darker forces of opportunism and favouritism.

This is by a former National Energy Board chair and Jack Mintz, who is president's fellow at the University of Calgary's school of public policy.

These are very esteemed people who have researched the energy sector, and they are telling us what Canada is facing when it comes to the changes the Liberals have brought forward. It strikes me how disingenuous the Liberals are about the impacts of this bill, or how much they really do not understand the impacts these changes would have on the energy sector.

There was a good example earlier today, when the Minister of Natural Resources said that the only reason energy east did not go forward was that TransCanada abandoned energy east when the price of oil dropped.

I am pretty sure that companies do not base multi-billion dollar projects on what the price of oil was on Thursday. They are going to be making a long-term, major investment into that piece of infrastructure. TransCanada walked away from energy east because of the changes and regulatory burdens the Liberals put on it, and the downstream emissions, unprecedented. No other industry in the country has to deal with those types of regulations. How can we expect a company to be putting those types of things into its decisions?

The same thing is happening with Trans Mountain. Our colleagues across the way kept talking about all the wonderful pipelines they have built that are going to tidewater. I would like to remind them that not one single inch of pipeline that they profess to have approved has been built. I suspect that Trans Mountain is a long way from getting a shovel in the ground.

I think the Liberals are waiting for Kinder Morgan to just walk away in pure frustration. Then, once again, they can say, just as they did with TransCanada and energy east, that it was not them but a business decision the company made. It was a decision based on Liberal ideology and regulations that make it literally impossible for a major piece of infrastructure to get built in this country.

That is certainly the case with Bill C-69, an omnibus bill, as many of my colleagues have shown, that has more than 400 pages. I would argue, as a Canadian, that this bill would have an incredibly profound impact on Canadians across the country.

We are no longer on the verge of being an energy superpower that develops its natural resources under the most stringent environmental stewardship in the world. We are now becoming a non-factor. Under these regulations, there is no capital investor in the world who looks at Canada as a place open to do business. In fact, investors look at Canada as a place where they are not welcome. There is no clear line to success for an infrastructure project.

What really bothers me is that Bill C-69 would open the door for non-Canadians to have an influence on Canada's natural resource sector and our future, whatever that may be under these new regulations. A portion of Bill C-69 allows non-Canadians to have an influence on Canadian infrastructure projects. Let us think about that for a minute.

Under the previous Conservative regime, we made sure that anybody who wanted to have intervenor status on a project had a very good reason to be there, and would be impacted in some way by this project. By eliminating those rules, we are now going to open wide the doors for anyone to influence these decisions.

This could include extreme anti-oil activists, who would now have a seat at the table. It could also include energy companies in the United States, which would benefit a great deal from crippling Canada's energy sector. They are also going to have a seat at the table.

Therefore, these people who are trying to negatively impact Canada's economy would have the same standing as those energy companies, pipeline companies, and first nations who want our energy sector to succeed. Who are the Liberals going to be listening to when they are making these decisions?

We have seen the impact of these activists across the country, and they have been doing this through subterfuge. However, now they could not only be blocking roads, highways, mining operations, and drilling operations, but they would be invited to the table to help the Liberals make these decisions. I find it extremely disconcerting that they would have an active role in defining who we are as Canadians when it comes to our natural resource sector.

How is it possibly going to make this process shorter or those timelines definitive, when the Minister of Environment and Climate Change could invite a countless number of witnesses to provide testimony? Also, as it is written in black and white in the bill, as much as the Liberals would like to deny it, throughout the process the minister would have the ability to stop this process multiple times at every single stage, and it stops the clock. Therefore, these comments about 45 days, 185 days, 300 days, 475 days, are a bunch of bunk. The minister could stop any process indefinitely and as many times as she wants.

Let us talk about another aspect of that. Time and again today our colleagues across the floor have said that this is going to be a science-based decision process. They would take it out of the hands of politics. How can the Liberals say that with a straight face when, again, in Bill C-69, it says, in black and white, that the Minister of Environment and Climate Change would have the sole responsibility of deciding if a project is in the public interest? She alone would decide if a project moves from the assessment stage on to the main study stage. How can the Liberals possibly say that this is science based? It is not. There is political influence at every single stage.

How can proponents or investors possibly make the decision to invest billions of dollars in a project when they know that one person would decide if their project is worthwhile? It would not matter how many studies were done. It would not matter how much support there was from communities, first nations, or businesses. It would not matter what kinds of environmental studies were done or what science was there. It would come down to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, who has been extremely vocal about her position on Canada's natural resource sector. She wants the gas and oil production, mining operations, and LNG projects to absolutely cease. She does not want those things. She wants to be a non-carbon-based economy, despite the demand for oil and gas increasing over the next 50 to 100 years. The oil would be coming from somewhere, but our Minister of Environment and Climate Change is saying as long as it does not come from us, and we are paying the price.

Let us talk about the price we are paying, even before the bill makes it through to legislation. More than $50 billion in capital has left Canada. Hundreds of thousands of energy jobs have been lost. I will put it into a perspective that I think every Canadian can understand. I talked about the price of oil a few minutes ago. It is at $60 a barrel, or maybe $57 a barrel, which is for West Texas Intermediate. Canadian crude is being sold at half that, at $30 a barrel. As a result, we sell our oil to the United States because we do not have international market access, because pipelines are not being built, and they will never be built under this proposed legislation. The United States buys our oil and sells it at a premium. That is a hospital being built every week and a school being built every day in the United States instead of Canada, and we are subsidizing it because of these decisions of the Liberal government.

It is absolutely wrong. We will fight it in every single way.

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February 27th, 2018 / 1:40 p.m.
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Linda Duncan NDP Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, the debate continues. All the Conservatives and Liberals care about is whose bill can fast-track pipelines faster.

It is my understanding that in Bill C-69 we are supposed to be reviewing processes that are going to address climate change, protect the environment, address transboundary rivers, and the interests, concerns, and rights of indigenous peoples. Somewhere along the way I guess we have the idea of where both those parties think this bill should go.

The member is complaining that the government is leaving the ultimate decision on approval of a project to a political level, the Minister of Environment. My recollection is that the law, as it is right now, was changed by the Conservatives so that it was no longer the review panel of the National Energy Board but was at a political level. Is the member's concern simply that it is assigned to the Minister of Environment and not the Minister of Natural Resources?

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February 27th, 2018 / 1:40 p.m.
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John Barlow Conservative Foothills, AB

Mr. Speaker, my colleague has to understand the difference in terms of what was in place before. There was never a political decision made on any pipeline approval that was there. It was based strictly on the National Energy Board, which is a non-partisan, arm's length decision process. That is how those decisions were made.

However, let us understand what would be in place now with Bill C-69. At every single step of the way, there would be an opportunity for political interference from the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, where she could step in and ask for a delay, stop the clock, or even ask for an entire new study to be done. That is significantly different from the quasi-judicial system we had under the National Energy Board that ensured we had the best record in the world when it came to environmental standards for natural resource development.

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February 27th, 2018 / 1:40 p.m.
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John Barlow Conservative Foothills, AB

Mr. Speaker, I completely agree, except in this case I do not think there is any room in Bill C-69 for any science-based decision-making. It is quite clear that there would be one person making the decision moving forward on any infrastructure project when it comes to our natural resources. That is mining, LNG, oil and gas, and 7% of our economy is based on these sectors. One person only would be making the decision, not based on any science, environmental stewardship, reports, or analysis. It would be the minister who decides if a project is in the public interest or not.

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February 27th, 2018 / 1:40 p.m.
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Ted Falk Conservative Provencher, MB

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague, the member for Foothills for his most inspiring, factual, and authentic speech.

Bill C-69, part 2, is the part I want to expand on a bit further. It is the part of the bill that replaces the National Energy Board and proposes a Canadian energy regulator. The entire process is supposed to increase clarity, predictability, and transparency. However, it fails on all three counts.

Of course this does not come as much of a surprise since the Liberal government has an outstanding record when it comes to breaking its campaign promises. We have seen numerous commitments, both big and small, meet untimely ends before ever achieving the goals set forth by the Liberals. Bill C-69 offers the same failing formula. The Liberal platform claims to “make environmental assessments credible again.” For one to make that promise, one has to start with the premise that the entire environmental assessment process had lost credibility somewhere along the way.

We recognize that there are always room for improvements to be made to existing processes, ways of doing things more simply and more effectively. However, when I look back over these last two years of so-called Liberal improvements, I wonder how much differently things would look if the Liberals were intentionally trying to sabotage the process. It's probably not much. I do not think it could get much worse.

Far from making the process more credible, the Liberals have mismanaged this file to such an extent that nothing can get built in this country. In particular, the Liberals have pushed the view that by building social licence, somehow all of the roadblocks to responsible resource development will disappear. In reality, attempts to improve social trust and build social licence have not increased resource or national infrastructure development.

Before I go any further, I want to turn back the clock to consider what was being said about Canada's environmental review process several years ago. Before the lack of leadership that we are witnessing today, Canada had long been recognized internationally and by experts as the most responsible and transparent producer of oil and gas. A 2014 WorleyParsons report compared the environmental assessment processes and policies around oil and gas development across the globe. When it came to environmental assessments, the report concluded:

The results of the current review re-emphasized that Canada's [Environmental Assessment] Processes are among the best in the world. Canada [has] state of the art guidelines for consultation, [traditional knowledge], and cumulative effects assessment. Canadian practitioners are among the leaders in the areas of Indigenous involvement, and social and health impact assessment. Canada has the existing frameworks, the global sharing of best practices, the government institutions and the capable people to make improvements to [environmental assessment] for the benefit of the country and for the benefit of the environment, communities and the economy.

It goes on to state:

In summary, the review found that [environmental assessment] cannot be everything to everyone. In Canada, however, it is a state of the art, global best practice, with real opportunities for public input, transparency in both process and outcomes, and appeal processes involving independent scientists, stakeholders...and courts

That was in 2014. Looking back at 2014, Canada was considered a world leader in environmental assessment. We had the most stringent standards and most rigorous review process in the world. As I said earlier, no system is perfect, and just like with any other statute or regulation, there are always sections that could be improved. The regulatory system tries to strike a balance between projects and the environment, between predictability and social factors. It is not a perfect system. However, it is far better than the regime we are going to have under the imposement of Bill C-69. Instead of making the system better, the Liberals have simply made it worse. Under the Liberal government, the environmental assessment system lacks clarity, predictability, and transparency.

Let us look at what Bill C-69 does to clarity. The changes proposed in the bill would make the regulatory process more unclear. This does not serve anyone, whether we are talking about investors looking to participate in responsible resource development or Canadians who care deeply about this process. What is proposed is a move away from science-based decision-making processes.

For example, references to sustainability, identity, and gender-based analysis are difficult to quantify in a standardized test. This is, much like a great deal of Liberal policy, more of a virtue-signalling smokescreen to give the illusion of modernization to a bill that ultimately takes Canada backwards.

Furthermore, the proposed legislation makes a point of treating major and minor projects differently, but it provides no clear list of criteria which would make a project either a minor project or a major project. Leaving so much to guesswork is just plain irresponsible.

That leads me to my next point. Predictability will suffer under this legislation. The Liberals claim that Bill C-69 creates concrete timelines for review, saying that the process will take 450 days for major projects and 300 days for minor projects. However, the timer only begins when the Governor in Council determines that the applicant has submitted a complete application, which seems to be an entirely discretionary process. According to the proposed legislation at this time, that will be the criteria to set the clock in motion. Furthermore, the process may be stopped at a number of different points to add additional studies or submissions. Finally, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change may extend the timeline indefinitely with repeat orders.

The Liberals call the system more predictable. It is not more predictable. It is more uncertain. It is a process where the outcome rests entirely in the hands of the minister, one minister, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change. She will be the sole individual deciding which projects will go forward in the national interest. It seems that rather than making the process more open and democratic, the Liberals' proposed legislation has concentrated power in the minister's office. This does not lend itself to predictability in any way, shape, or form.

One of the difficulties that Canada faces is a decline in major capital investments in energy. The decline has occurred since the Liberals were elected in 2015 and it is directly related to the regulatory uncertainty created as a result of their poor leadership in this area. We are bound to see this sad trend continue as the Liberals try once again to fix a system that worked better before they took their tool box out. This again is a solution in search of a problem.

Energy investment has to be a priority. We are a natural resource country. These investments are directly and indirectly responsible for employment and revenue for all three levels of government, yet in just two short years, which actually seem very long, energy investment in Canada is lower than any other two-year period in the last 70 years. Ensuring a stable, predictable process has to be a priority in order to attract these essential investments.

Let us talk about transparency as well. Bill C-69 claims to change the framework of indigenous consultation. However, in reality, all it does is codify something that already exists. The practices are already in place which allow for indigenous consultation.

A significant change in the regulatory process would be the elimination of the standing test. This will affect the predictability of the process, as any individual would be able to challenge the process, whether or not they have a connection to the project. Under the proposed new regulations this would include non-Canadians. Bill C-69 would allow Canadian decisions made about Canadian resources in Canada to potentially be influenced by non-Canadians. That is not right.

The Liberal government talks about the importance of restoring public trust to the regulatory system, but allowing non-Canadians or foreign special interest groups to influence the outcome of Canadian energy projects does not inspire trust in the proposed new system. It will not inspire trust from potential applicants that are seeking to develop our resources further.

Bill C-69 is not clear, predictable, or transparent. It adds vague criteria to the process, more uncertainty to the process, and eliminates a standing test from the process. The Liberals are just adding more burden to the already heavily regulated energy sector, and the industry has taken notice. That is why we have seen, as I mentioned earlier, that investment in the energy sector over the last two years has been lower than any two-year period in the previous 70 years.

The Liberals took the existing Canadian system and managed to change it into a system which is discouraging capital investment in our country. Those capital dollars are now flowing into the United States, funding projects there. The United States has a competitive advantage over Canada, in terms of regulatory and tax regimes and access to markets. Investors are putting their dollars into the U.S. market, which is fast becoming a world leader in energy.

If Bill C-69 becomes law, Canada will continue its downward trend in global competitiveness rankings. Both foreign and domestic investors will find other countries for their investments.

While the bill certainly leaves much to be desired, I want to conclude on a positive note. The new process under the proposed Canadian energy regulator will not apply to projects already approved under the National Energy Board. That means the already approved energy projects which are in our national interest will go ahead. I hope that the Liberal government will make sure to follow through on its promise and build the Trans Mountain pipeline. Get it done.

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February 27th, 2018 / 3:15 p.m.
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Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is a habit of the Liberals, I have discovered, to reference the abundant consultation that has taken place as though that directed or influenced their decisions.

I consulted on this particular piece of legislation, which is three bills in one. Bill C-69 is an omnibus bill. I submitted every time a window opened for consultation, and I have looked at the submissions of others. Overwhelmingly, the government was told to repair the environmental assessment process and not to allow it to continue as it had been destroyed under Bill C-38 back in 2012.

In my question for the parliamentary secretary, I want to reference in particular the expert panel on environmental assessment, among many important pieces of advice received by the government. When it empanelled a group of experts and paid for them to travel the country and listen to people, I do not see how anyone could doubt that their recommendations should have had some influence. We have never even seen a report or a response from the minister to the expert panel report on EA, nor the expert panel report on the NEB, both of which one would think would have some reference in this omnibus bill, which deals with both.

Specifically to the parliamentary secretary, I would say that the expert panel on environmental assessment said clearly that whenever federal money was used, there should be a federal review. The expert panel on EA said there should be no role for the National Energy Board, the offshore petroleum boards, or the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission.

However, the legislation before us today, Bill C-69, does not include a trigger when federal money is used. Although it pretends to have one agency, the impact assessment agency, whenever projects fall under the jurisdiction, for regulatory purposes, of what used to be the National Energy Board, the offshore petroleum boards, or the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, members of the panel must be selected from those agencies, which hardly takes them out of the process.

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February 27th, 2018 / 3:25 p.m.
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Linda Duncan NDP Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, I am going to have to try to speak really fast because it is hard in 20 minutes to talk about a 360-page bill.

Many will be delighted that after two and a half years the government has finally delivered the campaign promise to bring forward a new federal assessment process. During the 2015 election, the Prime Minister committed that if he became Prime Minister, Kinder Morgan would have to go back to the drawing board, saying the process needed to be redone. When asked if no means no if indigenous peoples opposed a pipeline, the Prime Minister responded yes. Regardless, the Kinder Morgan pipeline project, the Site C dam, and an LNG project were all approved by the government based on the Harper-eviscerated assessment process.

The Minister of Environment, in tabling Bill C-69, said, “The legislation we are introducing today aims to restore public trust in how the federal government makes decisions about major projects, like mines, pipelines, and hydro dams.” This 366-page omnibus bill includes an environmental assessment law, a revised energy regulation law, and a new law on navigation. Therefore, how well would Bill C-69 actually restore public trust by enshrining a strengthened rules-based process including clearly prescribed rights to participate, and respect for indigenous rights and title?

In most instances, the bill leaves these concerns unanswered, either because the bill is rife with discretionary powers or the fact that significant matters are left to yet-to-be-promulgated regulations or rules. Does the bill respond to the recommendations made by the government's appointed expert panel? Again, it does so only partially.

Yesterday, a motion on privilege was filed against the minister for her disdain for the rights of parliamentarians to review this bill. Now, after only two hours of debate, the Liberals have moved to impose time allocation. The parliamentary secretary has just said that his government is open to refinements. It is for these reasons that I am issuing a call for expanded opportunity for Canadians, including indigenous peoples, to directly participate in the review of this bill. This can best be met by having the standing committee conduct hearings in communities across this country. The government advised that the law and associated regulations would not be in place until the spring of 2019. This allows ample time for a process enabling Canadians to express their voices and to recommend amendments.

In the time allotted to me, it will be impossible to discuss this massive bill in its entirety. I will therefore touch only on a few key issues in the bill. Would it restore public trust and confidence? Would it create greater legal certainty? Would it prescribe expanded rights of participation by the public in project reviews and government energy policy? Would it enshrine a clear process to assess government policy consistent with the sustainable development 2030 commitments? Finally, would it respect and deliver on the rights and duties to indigenous peoples as prescribed by the UNDRIP?

First, would the bill restore public trust and confidence as the government has alleged? The expert panel struck by the minister to gauge public views on the federal environmental and energy assessment and regulatory regime made a number of recommendations to reform and strengthen the systems. These included replacing the ad hoc review panels with a new quasi-judicial agency and to disallow federal regulatory bodies from participating in the reviews. Both recommendations were ignored.

While the bill would provide for the appointment of an independent impact assessment agency, review panels would still continue to be appointed on an ad hoc basis and could still include representatives of the Canadian energy regulator and the Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador offshore boards.

The bill does expand the factors to be considered by a panel if an assessment proceeds, and that is a big if, including cumulative impacts, contributions to sustainability, impacts to the federal government's obligations on climate change, alternatives, mitigation measures, and impacts to indigenous rights. However, concerns have been raised that little clarity is offered on how these factors are to be considered or weighted. It is noteworthy that the list of factors the minister must consider in deciding if a project is in the public interest is far shorter than those considered by a panel.

Does the bill introduce greater legal certainty? A vast array of duties and powers remains discretionary.

For these and other reasons, I share the views expressed by many, including CELA lawyer, Richard Lindgren, “that the new [environmental assessment] process will not restore public trust or ensure credible, participatory and science-based decision-making.” The best description one can ascribe to Bill C-69 is that it offers a framework for project assessment processes but little certainty for when a federal project is assessed or approved. This observation appears supported by a number of legal experts.

I fully concur with the views expressed by law professor Martin Olszynski from the University of Calgary, who said:

my approach to this legislation--and the basis for one of my main criticisms of it--is to consider what it actually says and requires, not what the current government says it will do as a matter of policy. In my view, environmental law should be written with a view towards potential future governments that may be hostile to environmental concerns. Better rules, in this context, means legislation that would constrain such governments, forcing them to either conform or to - yet again - try to amend the legislation, with all the potential for democratic accountability that comes with that. On this score, much of the legislation introduced last week is wholly inadequate.

A critical determinant to knowing when a project triggers a federal assessment is the project list, yet consultation on the list was only just initiated. Why was it not done over the past two years? Will it include projects excluded by the Conservatives, for example, in situ oil sands operations? Will it include dangerous rail traffic as proposed under my bill, Bill C-304?

While the bill does list some laws that may trigger effects under federal jurisdiction, the responsible ministers still get to decide if an approval or review is even needed. The minister is required only to consider if a project may impact federal lands, have transboundary or transborder impacts, or impact indigenous peoples, health, social or economic matters, not yet established by cabinet.

It should be noted that the minister can allow for the substitution of a provincial assessment regardless if federal powers or duties may be triggered. The majority of the bill extends broad and extensive discretionary powers to the minister of the environment, the new agency, and the cabinet to call for an assessment or not. The minister is not required to call an assessment, even if in her opinion the proposed activity warrants designation due to its adverse effects or due to public concerns. The power currently in place has rarely ever been utilized. It should be mandatory.

My bill, Bill C-304, to the contrary, imposes a mandatory duty on the minister to call for an assessment where, in her opinion, a project may pose significant risks to environment or health or there are public concerns.

There are many discretionary powers to list, but they include the following examples: discretion to decide if an impact assessment is not required even for a designated project; the discretion to decide the scope of factors to be considered; an agency discretion to delegate any part of the impact assessment to other jurisdictions; ministerial discretion to substitute equivalent provincial processes; ministerial discretion to terminate a review panel or remove conditions in an environmental impact assessment decision to revoke or amend the impact decision statement. The minister can even delegate his or her powers, duties, and functions to the agency.

The power to assess regional impacts and strategic assessments also requires greater clarity. The bill provides absolutely no clear triggers for either of those to occur, or any right to trigger them.

The much-touted planning stage sounds remarkably similar to the initial assessment process. There is concern that the new approach is solely reliant on information provided by a project proponent.

Broad concerns have been voiced that the power to approve or reject a project remains vested in the minister or the cabinet, and that while panels can identify adverse effects, they cannot reference any degree of significance. The potential remains for interjection of political considerations to override any of the determination in the review, including sound science. The minister need only determine that the effects are in the public interest.

With regard to public participation, while the government claims that the bill provides strengthened rights to participate, it is remarkably silent in extending any specific rights, including to present evidence or to cross-examine. The agency must merely “provide an opportunity to the public to participate” in the planning stage and assessment of a project in any regional or strategic assessments. The agency is empowered to decide on participant funding, but there is no similar duty to enable funding for strategic reviews.

Regarding indigenous rights, the bill does require the addition of some indigenous participation in panels and advice. Any assessment must consider impacts on indigenous groups or adverse impacts to indigenous rights. The minister, in making a determination on public interest, must also consider adverse impacts of a project on the rights of indigenous peoples, although they are not stated to serve as a bar to approval.

The minister alleges that the bill provides indigenous peoples with “Early and inclusive opportunities for engagement and participation at every stage, in accordance with a co-developed engagement plan, with the aim of securing free, prior and informed consent..”. However, while the justice minister committed last December to ensuring that all federal laws will be made consistent with the UNDRIP, no such specific reference is found in this bill.

The second part of the bill is with respect to the Canadian energy regulator act. An expert panel was also struck to modernize the National Energy Board, whose recommendations included, among them, a new independent Canadian energy information agency, which does not exist in the bill. There was significant public concern with the decision by the Harper government to shift the decision-making power from the NEB to the cabinet, and from the CEAA to the NEB and the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission.

How well does the proposed new regime deliver on these calls for reform? The answer is perhaps best expressed in the analysis by Calgary energy law expert Professor Nigel Bankes, entitled “Some Things Have Changed but Much Remains the Same”, adding that the tabling of a completely new Canadian energy regulation act rather than mere amendments to the NEB Act “no doubt creates the impression that the new Bill represents a wholesale replacement of the NEB rather than mere tinkering.” His analysis suggests that much of the current regime remains unchanged.

The name of the agency is changed, there are several additional requirements for indigenous appointments, and there is the addition of prescribed factors for the Canadian energy regulator to consider. However, what is noteworthy is that unlike the impact assessment panel members, the Canadian energy regulator is not required to consider climate commitments or cumulative impacts. In fact, there is zero mention of climate in the entire Canadian energy regulatory act. This is doubly concerning, as Bill C-69 allows for unlimited CER appointees to each panel. As with the Harper law, the energy regulator may only recommend.

The CER is empowered to review offshore renewable and power line projects. Concerns have been expressed with a potential conflict of interest, as the Nova Scotia and Newfoundland offshore oil boards will participate in assessments of offshore projects. Interestingly, the power to issue export and import oil and gas licences is shifted from the cabinet to the Minister of Environment. The CER may review designated interprovincial power lines, but no such project has to date ever been designated. Legal experts have raised concerns with the lack of legal certainty if the CER is authorized to deliver on the crown's aboriginal consultation duties.

Finally, on the Navigation Protection Act, while the new law counters views once expressed by the Liberals while in opposition, they do mirror recommendations of the Liberal's majority standing committee on transport to maintain much of the downgrades to the law instituted by the Harper government. Erased are the words “navigable waters protection” from the law.

In many instances, the legal protection of our lakes and rivers is even further weakened or left to be determined by yet to be promulgated regulations. The schedule of lakes and rivers is blank, shifting the onus to Canadians to even seek the meagre protections offered under the bill. Public notice and right to participate are very limited.

Gone is the once important trigger for a federal assessment where navigable waters may be impacted. I think immediately of the loss of navigation access by indigenous peoples, who practice their traditional harvests in the many lakes, rivers and marshes in northern Alberta, because the approval of dams and oil sands projects are absent consideration and respect for their treaty and aboriginal rights. The bill offers one vague opening for consideration of these rights. However, based on past experience, the likelihood of genuine consideration and respect is small.

In summation, I implore members to support extended standing committee hearings to ensure opportunities to hear Canadians on their views, including recommended amendments to this bill.

Impact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

February 27th, 2018 / 3:50 p.m.
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David Yurdiga Conservative Fort McMurray—Cold Lake, AB

Madam Speaker, today I will be speaking 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.

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, $330 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, and $1.6 million to Yukon. These figures include everything from specially made work gloves to satellites monitoring emissions. What the figures do not include are the equalization payments, which have long relied on collecting billions from Albertans working in the energy sector to be divided among have-not provinces.

When I was first elected, anyone across the country that was willing to work could find a job in Alberta. For those willing to work hard, often more than 40 hours a week, they could support a family, send their kids to post-secondary education, and still have money to save for the future. Small businesses across Alberta were also booming from the economic activities that the industry brought into almost every town and county in the province. That is not the case today. An oil crash later, a provincial government change, and a federal government change have all Alberta reeling.

The global price of oil is out of control, but what many Canadians do not know is we do not receive market rates for our oil. What is often reported is the North American benchmark, West Texas Intermediate. Our oil is traded as Alberta's Western Canada Select. As of yesterday, the difference between the two prices was $34.74 per barrel. Pipelines can help close those gaps in prices. The more access we have to markets other than the United States, the better the deal we can strike. Instead of supporting the building of these pipelines, the Liberal government has introduced regulation after regulation, which is crippling the industry and deterring investment.

Today, we are talking about the newest blow the Liberal government has struck against the west and our oil industry. It would rob the National Energy Board of most of its power and create 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 many major energy projects in Canada. Over the last decade, the NEB has approved pipelines that Alberta desperately needs, which has made it a target for political interference.

When the Liberals took power, the natural resources minister's mandate letter called on him to modernize the National Energy Board to ensure that its composition reflected regional views and had sufficient expertise in the field, such as environmental science, community development, and indigenous traditional knowledge.

While the government believes Bill C-69 will complete his mandate, I would like to cover how the bill will drive investment out of Canada.

One of the changes the bill would bring is the establishment of timelines. The government claims there would be timelines of 450 days for major projects and 300 days for minor projects, respectively, pursuant to proposed subsections 183(4) and 214(4). While many Conservatives are in favour of timelines for projects, the devil is in the details. The application process can be dragged out and will not be considered in the timelines. The lead commissioner will be given the ability to exclude time in the process. Last, and most important, 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 text. Currently, individuals and organizations directly affected by the projects or capable of providing valuable knowledge are heard by the National Energy Board. The new rules will allow anyone to participate and be heard. This will 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 our legislation. It gives them an 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 shortsighted.

This is an attempt to fix a problem that did not exist. During the review of the Enbridge line 9B reversal and line 9 capacity expansion project, only eight of the 177 applications to participate were denied. I encourage Canadians to take a look at some of the denied submissions. One individual said that a spill from a pipeline, even far away from her home, is an insult to her sense of the holy.

While this example may come up a couple of times today, I think it is important to show that our National Energy Board is not trying to silence individuals and organizations, but is just applying common sense to the process. We need more common sense in government, not less.

Over the last three years, we have seen less and less investment in our natural resources because of the Liberal government's policies. From the carbon tax to the inclusion of upstream emissions to the National Energy Board review, it appears that the government wants to repeal investment in the resource sector.

According to the Financial Post, in February, Suncor CEO Steve Williams told financial analysts that Suncor is actively discussing Canada’s lack of competitiveness with various levels of government here because “other jurisdictions are doing much more to attract business, so Canada needs to do much more to up its game”.

Members need to consider that if we keep our resources in the ground, like David Suzuki wants, we are not saving the environment; we are just moving the resource development to other countries around the world that have lower safety standards and lower environmental protection. I believe that if resources are needed, it is better that they come from here and not from a human rights abuser or a dictator or a country with very low environmental standards.

I know that many members of Parliament have voted for and will continue to vote for regulations of every type. What they need to consider before voting on the 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 investment and the jobs that come with it. 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 resources jobs in my riding, in Alberta, and across Canada are at stake if this bill passes. That is why my Conservative colleagues and I stand against this bill.

Impact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

February 14th, 2018 / 4:55 p.m.
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Ottawa Centre Ontario


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 second time and referred to a committee.

Mr. Speaker, before I begin, I wish to acknowledge that we are all on the traditional territory of the Algonquin and Anishinabe peoples. On this historic day, the Government of Canada has committed to developing a new recognition and implementation of an indigenous rights framework.

I stand here today to address this chamber in support of Bill C-69, a legislative initiative that is a key priority of our government. We are keeping our promise to Canadians. We are putting in place better rules to protect our environment and build a stronger economy. After 14 months of hearing from provinces and territories, indigenous peoples, companies, environmental groups, and Canadians from coast to coast to coast, we are making real changes.

Bill C-69 aims to restore public trust in how the federal government makes decisions about major projects, such as mines, pipelines, and hydro dams. These better rules are designed to protect our environment while improving investor confidence, strengthening our economy, and creating good middle-class jobs. They will also make the Canadian energy and resource sectors more competitive. We are working to build on Canada's strong economic growth and historic job numbers.

Today we are keeping our promise to Canadians. We are putting in place better rules to protect our environment and build a stronger economy. After 14 months of hearing from provinces and territories, indigenous peoples, companies, environmental groups, and Canadians across the country, we are making real changes. The legislation we are introducing today aims to restore public trust in how the federal government makes decisions about major projects, like mines, pipelines, and hydro dams. These better rules are designed to protect our environment while improving investor confidence, strengthening our economy and creating good middle-class jobs. They will also make the Canadian energy and resource sectors more competitive. We are working to build on Canada’s strong economic growth and historic job numbers.

Our government understands the importance of the resource sector to our economy. Over $500 billion in major resource projects are planned across Canada over the next decade. These projects would mean tens of thousands of well-paying jobs across the country and provide an economic boost for nearby communities and our economy as a whole, but we cannot get there without better rules to guide our decisions around resource development. Unfortunately, the Harper government gutted environmental protections and made changes to the environmental assessment process that eroded public trust in how decisions are made.

Unfortunately, the Harper government gutted environmental protections and made changes to the environmental assessment process that eroded public trust in how decisions are made.

Canadians became concerned that project approvals were based on politics rather than robust science. There were concerns that changes were putting our fish, waterways, and communities at risk and we are not taking into account the climate impacts of projects. They were also concerned that the views of communities and indigenous peoples were not being heard. This lack of trust resulted in polarization and paralysis. Projects stalled and resource development became a lightning rod for public opposition and court challenges. Billions of dollars of investment were put in jeopardy, raising concerns for investors and shareholders. Ironically, the Harper government's changes made it a lot more challenging for good projects to get built. Weaker rules hurt both our environment and our economy.

Since we formed government, we have worked very hard to restore public trust while providing certainty to business. In January 2016, we introduced interim principles to guide how our government would review proposed major projects until we could put better rules in place. We knew we could not keep approving projects under the Harper government's flawed rules, but we also knew that we could not put our economic development on hold for two years while we worked on the new rules.

Our recent principles were the first part of delivering on one of our high priority platform commitments: to review and fix Canada's environmental assessment process and to restore confidence in how decisions about resource development are made. Those interim principles made it clear that decisions would be based on robust science, evidence, and indigenous traditional knowledge; that we would listen to the views of Canadians and communities that could be affected by proposed projects; that indigenous peoples would be consulted in a meaningful and respectful manner; that decisions would take into account the climate impacts of proposed projects; and that no project already under review would be sent back to the starting line.

Our government did not stop at the interim principles. In November 2016, we also announced a $1.5-billion oceans protection plan. Through that historic investment we are creating a world-class marine safety system while protecting our coastlines and clean waters for generations to come. Then in the summer of 2016, after a year of negotiations with provinces, territories, and indigenous leaders, we announced the first ever made-in-Canada climate plan. Our national climate plan builds on the actions of provinces and territories and provides a clear road map as to how we will cut carbon pollution and move together toward a cleaner future.

Using the interim principles, and building on the foundations of our oceans protection plan and climate action plan, we moved forward with approving new major projects worth billions of dollars to the Canadian economy and thousands of good middle-class jobs across the country. These projects are clearly in the national interest, and because of the steps we have taken to date, we are confident they can be built in a way that protects our environment and communities. We are committed to seeing them built.

The better rules outlined in Bill C-69 build on improvements we have already made and on the feedback that we received from Canadians over the last 14 months. We heard loud and clear that Canadians want a modern environmental 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 heard from investors and project proponents that they want a clear, predictable, and timely process. That is what our better rules provide.

First, these better rules will rebuild trust. When it comes to resource development, we cannot get very far if people do not trust the rules and the way governments make decisions. The same goes for companies. They need to know what is expected of them from the start and that the process will be predictable, timely, and evidence-based. That is why our top priority with the changes we are proposing is increasing transparency and rebuilding trust.

To rebuild trust, we will increase public participation in project reviews so that Canadians can help shape the project design, provide input into the project plan, and assess the science used to make decisions. We will create a new early engagement phase, to ensure that indigenous peoples’ rights are recognized and respected, and that we work in partnership from the outset; and that communities will have their voices heard from the start.

We will create a single agency, the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada, that will lead all impact assessments for major projects, to ensure the approach is consistent and efficient.

The impact assessment agency of Canada will work with and draw expertise from other bodies, such as the Canadian energy regulator, which is currently the National Energy Board, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, and offshore boards, but the final decision on major projects will rest with me or with the federal cabinet, because our government is ultimately accountable to Canadians for the decisions we make in the national interest.

Second, decisions on projects will be transparent and guided by robust science, evidence, and indigenous traditional knowledge. We will also increase Canadians' access to the science and evidence behind project proposals and make easy-to-understand summaries of decisions publicly available.

Third, we are expanding project reviews to assess what matters to Canadians. The new impact assessment will look at a project's potential impacts, not just on the environment but also its health, social, gender, and economic impacts over the long term as well as the impacts on indigenous peoples. We will also evaluate projects against our environmental obligations and national climate plan.

Fourth, we will advance Canada's commitment to reconciliation and get to better project decisions by recognizing indigenous rights and working in partnership from the start. We will make it mandatory to consider indigenous traditional knowledge alongside science and other evidence. Indigenous jurisdictions would have greater opportunities to exercise powers and duties under the new impact assessment act, and we would increase the funding available to support indigenous participation and capacity development relating to assessing and monitoring the impacts of projects.

Fifth, project reviews will be completed through a timely and predictable process. The new early planning and engagement phase would provide clarity on what is required and more certainty about the process ahead. Shorter legislated timelines for the project review phase will be rigorously managed to keep the process on track. A more efficient and predictable process will lead to more timely decisions.

Finally, we will streamline the process and coordinate with the provinces and territories to reduce red tape for companies and avoid duplicating efforts in reviewing proposed projects. Our goal is one project, one review.

We have also announced that we are seeking Canadians' feedback on how we will change the project list regulations that define the types of projects that would be subject to impact assessment. The project list aims to make it easier for everyone to understand when the new rules will apply, providing certainty that both Canadians and companies need and expect.

The Harper government's project list was a grab bag of projects developed in a non-transparent way, and based on political motives, not the public interest. The project list is meant to identify the types of projects that pose significant risks to the environment in areas that fall under federal jurisdiction. These projects will always require federal review.

We want to hear from Canadians on the criteria to revise the project list to ensure that they are more robust and effective and that they include criteria such as environmental objectives and standards for clean air, water and climate change.

The new rules outlined in Bill C-69 must undergo a thorough review in the House and the Senate until they come into effect. Existing laws and interim principles for project reviews will continue to apply to projects under review.

In terms of changes to other statutes as part of our government's regulatory review, we are also proposing changes to the Canadian Navigable Waters Act, and in Bill C-68, to the Fisheries Act, as was announced by the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard last week. These changes would better protect waterways, fish, and fish habitat.

The Canadian Navigable Waters Act will restore navigation protection for every navigable waterway in Canada. Changes to the Fisheries Act will add important new safeguards for our fisheries, including measures to rebuild damaged fish stocks and restore degraded habitat, ensuring that our fisheries and environment are protected for future generations.

Of course, none of these proposed changes mean much without providing the extra capacity needed to deliver on our commitments. That is why we are investing up to $1 billion over five years to support the proposed changes to impact assessments and the 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 today that we are delivering on one of our major campaign promises. I want to thank Canadians from coast to coast to coast for all of their valuable input which will help ensure better rules to make our environment and grow the economy.

We know that the changes we are announcing today in Bill C-69 will not satisfy everyone. People who tend to distrust business and want no project to go ahead will say we are doing too little to protect our environment. Those who want every project to go ahead whatever the environmental cost will say we are doing too little to support resource development. However, the better rules we are announcing today in Bill C-69 reflect what we have heard overwhelmingly and consistently from Canadians over the past year and a half.

Canadians want a modern environmental and regulatory system that protects the environment, supports reconciliation with indigenous peoples, attracts investment, and ensures good projects can go ahead, which creates middle-class jobs and grows our economy. Canadians understand that better rules will make us more competitive, not less. Canadians understand that the environment and the economy go together.

Impact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

February 14th, 2018 / 5:15 p.m.
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Catherine McKenna Liberal Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for the question.

All our decisions certainly have to respect our environmental and climate change obligations. We have negotiated with the provinces and territories a made-in-Canada plan to fight climate change and we must ensure that every project falls in line with that plan. Under Bill C-69, it is clear that we will consider the impact projects will have on the climate.

We also said that we wanted to conduct a strategic environmental assessment to ensure that the projects fit with the climate change action plan. We worked very hard on our Canadian plan to fight climate change and we have international obligations that we are determined to satisfy. It is very important to our government.

Impact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

February 14th, 2018 / 5:25 p.m.
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Ed Fast Conservative Abbotsford, BC

Mr. Speaker, here we are with Bill C-69, all 370 pages of it, full of mind-numbing reading and rhetoric. Do members remember when the Liberals, during the last election, and the Prime Minister, when he was in opposition, lamented, decried the fact, actually, that the occasional omnibus bill was tabled by the previous government? They railed against omnibus bills. What do we have today from the Prime Minister, his government, and the minister? It is an omnibus bill. It covers the enactment of the impact assessment act and the Canadian energy regulator act, amending the Navigation Protection Act, and consequential amendments to other acts. Talk about omnibus. In fact, we are calling it the “ominous omnibus bill.” It is ominous because of what it means to our economy and our resource sector.

The bill is toxic to Canada's future development. It is toxic to our efforts to take the resources entrusted to us and to extract them in an environmentally sensitive way to make sure that future Canadians have a pristine environment and long-term prosperity. The omnibus bill, this ominous bill, does not do that. It does quite the opposite. It undermines our ability to have long-term prosperity.

Let me start off by talking about the bill itself. There are three main parts and a fourth one. The first three parts of the bill are effectively about a new environmental assessment process, a new Canadian energy regulator, and a new navigable waters act, which, by the way, would not be about the environment. The navigable waters act would be about navigation. Those are the three parts covered in the bill itself.

Earlier last week we also saw tabled the Fisheries Act, which contains further amendments that would make it more difficult for Canadians to realize the full value of our economy and our resource sector. It would put more hurdles and obstacles in the way of extracting our natural resources and building critical infrastructure across the country, which is so important to our national prosperity.

Effectively, what would happen is this. We have the National Energy Board. The first thing that would happen is that the board would be stripped of its impact assessment functions, the ones that are used to review resource projects that come forward. I believe that every Canadian and every member of this House understands how important it is to protect the environment for future generations. We disagree on how we go about doing that. However, the impact assessment function addresses the review process that resource projects, such as pipelines, mines, and oil and gas projects, have to go through to get an approval that proves that they are environmentally sustainable and not harmful in the long term to our environment.

The second part that would be stripped from the National Energy Board would be its regulatory functions. Once projects are built, we want to make sure that they are carried on and managed sustainably. Effectively, the regulatory function ensures, through the life cycle of the project, that we protect our environment.

The third part is the navigable waters protection piece, which is all about ensuring that on waters used for navigation, we do not impose impediments to navigation and do not undertake infrastructure projects that would impede navigation.

It is interesting. Navigable water is defined as a water body in which a canoe or a kayak can float. In fact, when our former Conservative government first undertook amendments to the Navigable Waters Protection Act, we did so because it had not been reformed for close to 150 years. Imagine, Mr. Speaker, a piece of legislation floating around that has not been really reviewed for 150 years, and that has definitions like that of navigable water being a body of water on which a canoe or a kayak can float.

Under the Liberal amendments, the navigable waters protection piece would introduce further obstacles that are not environment-related but navigation-related, and that would impair Canada's ability to build and implement critical infrastructure that drives the prosperity of this country.

Let me focus my comments on the environmental review process, the impact assessment process. This legislation would create a whole new body, called the impact assessment agency, which would oversee reviews of resource projects such as pipelines and mines. The promise we received from the minister, with which she went public, was that the process the Liberals have introduced would shorten the timelines under which a project gets reviewed, to provide better certainty for project proponents and to make sure that these projects, if they are environmentally sustainable, can get passed more quickly. Therefore, it would reduce the timeline of the assessment piece by, say, 60, 70, or 80 days.

However, what the minister did not tell Canadians is that at the beginning of the whole process there is a whole new process, called the planning phase, and that process is 180 days, so effectively the Liberals would add another 100 days onto the total process for getting any project reviewed in Canada. This is unconscionable, as investment in our resource sector is fleeing the country. As we know, over the last two years we have had incredible investment flight to places like the United States and elsewhere around the world, where there is more predictability and a more inviting investment environment. We are seeing this play out in front of our eyes, and the minister introduced a bill that would lengthen the process even more. It is shameful.

Here is the kicker. Within that 180-day planning phase, the proponent has to undertake all kinds of activities, many of them new activities, including consultations with the public. The public has a chance to share its opinions on a project that has not even gone through a science-based review. At the end of the 180 days, if the minister feels like it, usually on political grounds, she can simply kill the project right there. Can members imagine proponents coming forward with a billion-dollar proposal to develop a resource in Canada and being told that they are going to have to go through a 180-day process where they are going to have to consult with all kinds of people?

By the way, we are not opposed to consultations. What we are opposed to is consultations that unnecessarily extend the process beyond what Canadians would consider reasonable and common sense. Can members imagine a proponent facing the 180 days and dealing with all this preplanning process, and then, before the proponent has ever had a chance to have a regulatory body, the impact assessment agency, review the application based on science and evidence, the proponent is told, “Sorry, go away. We are killing the project. We do not want your investment in Canada”? Can members imagine that? That is what this bill would do.

The minister has a veto right, at the end of the planning phase, and then, if the project gets to the impact assessment process and goes through that, through all the new criteria that the minister has established, at the end it goes back to the minister and cabinet for a decision, which invariably becomes a political decision.

Anybody looking from afar, with $1 billion to invest and wondering whether to invest in Canada, would say, “At the end of the day, the Liberals are going to make a political decision, so we have no certainty at all that our project will be assessed on its merits, on the science, on the evidence.”

This legislation would also codify the duty to consult with first nations, which is already established in our laws in Canada. The Supreme Court of Canada has spent decades trying to frame exactly what the duty to consult is. There is a lot of case law that provides companies with a clearer idea of the standard they have to meet in order to properly consult with first nations. Conservatives do not have a problem with that. We believe that first nations need to be partners in our prosperity and they need to be consulted, and that has been enshrined in this legislation.

The legislation would also require indigenous traditional knowledge to be considered in the review. Conservatives believe that this provision reflects what Canadians expect when a project proponent wants to move forward with a resource proposal. We believe it is in Canada's best interest to consult with indigenous Canadians and take into account, during the assessment process, the traditional knowledge they can offer to that process.

I mentioned additional criteria that proponents would now have to take into account. Historically, proponents have had to apply certain criteria to ensure that no environmental damage occurs as a result of a project being built, but now my Liberal friends across the way have inserted a requirement that the applicants have to take into account both upstream and downstream effects, and the impacts a project would have on Canada's climate change targets: new hurdles, new criteria, new discouragement for investment in Canada. We should not for a minute think that investors are not paying attention to the debate we are having in the House today and the legislation that is before us. As I mentioned earlier, this legislation is toxic to our long-term prosperity.

Another thing included in this legislation is a broad discretion for the minister to extend, and even suspend, timelines. People think they have 180 days, and then another 300 days for certain projects, and another 450 days for other projects. No, the minister can step in at any point along the timeline and say he is suspending the timelines and that other things are going to be done, removing predictability, which is what investors in the resource sector covet most.

The bottom line is that additional uncertainty has been injected into our investment environment. The resource sector in Canada is responsible for some 16% of our economy. Imagine, Mr. Speaker, 16%. Two million jobs are either directly or indirectly related to our resource sector. Two million Canadians rely on us, as legislators, to get this right, to make sure we balance the environment and the economy.

The minister often talks about the environment and the economy going hand in hand. The problem is that she has no idea what that appropriate balance is, and more and more the Liberal government is leaning to the left, toward the environment, to the detriment of our economy and long-term prosperity. Do not get me wrong, Mr. Speaker. The environment, as I mentioned at the beginning of my speech, is critically important because we are leaving a legacy for our children and grandchildren, for future generations. We need to ensure that we leave them a pristine environment. Quite frankly, if we try to do that in the absence of prosperity, it is never going to happen.

Why do I say that? If we look around the world, which countries have the highest environmental standards? They are also the most prosperous countries in the world. Prosperity and the environment go together.

The intentions of the Liberal government, of the Prime Minister and the Minister of Environment, may be good, but unfortunately they have it all wrong. They have not been listening to the concerns of those who make a living from our resource sector, those who know the millions of jobs generated by that sector. No one should be surprised that we completely disagree with this legislation, and some of my colleagues in the Conservative Party will continue to highlight that in future speeches.

Earlier today, the minister said her goal was to basically develop a policy and introduce legislation where there would be no surprises and no drama. Unfortunately, she missed one piece: no surprises, no drama, no development. Our prosperity is at risk here, and I encourage my colleagues on the other side who are listening to this debate to please give their heads a shake. The more barriers we place in the way of extracting our resources in a sustainable way, the more we undermine the future prosperity of our children and grandchildren, of future generations.

Let me close by saying that there is one bottom line. The legislation ensures more uncertainty, longer timelines, and less investment in our resource sector, which equals less prosperity for Canada. That really is a shame, because we are cheating future generations out of the value that has been left to us as a legacy.

Impact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

February 14th, 2018 / 5:50 p.m.
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Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, if I may, instead of rehashing the 2012 debate, I am going to mainly focus on Bill C-69 and on what is happening now, in 2018. It is always interesting to revisit history, and we could do that here all day.

This is not just any bill that the Liberals tabled last week. It is a bill whose purpose is to renew and review the environmental assessment process, which is crucial for the future. It is crucial for our role and our responsibilities with regard to climate change and cutting our greenhouse gas emissions. It is also crucial for life in many indigenous communities and white communities across the country. Respect and the quality of life of people in several regions will be influenced by ending the current process and bringing in this new environmental assessment program.

Everyone will have noticed by now that the Liberal government and the Minister of the Environment are extremely skilled at using buzzwords. All the buttons that need to be pressed to make the bill look good, modern, effective and respectful, all those words are always used in speeches, presentations, press releases and sometimes in legislation.

However, with all this talk about consultation, respect, biodiversity and climate change, more often than not, when you get right down to it, it is increasingly difficult to know just what is being proposed in government legislation, and I want people to be aware of that. If we cut through the rhetoric and look below the surface, we have serious doubts about the tangible effects of implementing this new environmental assessment process, and it is not just us. As my Conservative colleague said, this substantial, 364-page bill was released and tabled less than a week ago. There are a lot of things to go through and people have a lot of questions.

Naturally, our initial response is excitement at finally being able to talk about a new environmental assessment process. Hooray! We wanted to close the book on the Harper years. We are getting there, and that in itself is a good thing. It is too bad my colleague up the row does not agree, but over here, we welcome this as a step in the right direction even though we have major concerns.

I would like to point out that it is now February 2018, which means that the Liberal government was elected 28 months ago. In that time, the Liberals have used the old environmental assessment process to review and approve major projects. That worries of lot of NDP members, progressives, and environmentalists because the Liberals dragged their feet. They bought themselves all kinds of time by spending more than two years condemning a process that they were using anyway. I do not want to impugn anyone's motives, but if the Liberal government wanted to approve a pipeline project using the Conservatives' environmental assessment process, it could, and that is what it did.

On August 20, 2015, in British Columbia, an individual asked the Prime Minister if the Kinder Morgan project would be reviewed using his proposed new environmental assessment process. The Prime Minister replied that the project would be reassessed because the Conservative government's bare-bones environmental assessment process was not to be trusted. Now that the Liberals are in power, that promise has been forgotten. They are using the old process and approving the pipeline expansion.

As a result, we have a great many questions about this government's good faith and diligence. We wonder why it took so long to come up with the proposal before us.

The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency will now oversee all assessments. Its name will be changed to the impact assessment agency. The National Energy Board and the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission will carry on under new names. We would like to get more details on what their roles, duties, and responsibilities will be. A great many people question whether it is worth maintaining these organizations at all.

We would have preferred it if their roles had been scaled back in much clearer and more decisive terms, especially in regard to what the government describes as “minor projects”, because the new National Energy Board, the new energy regulator, will have a role to play in this assessment process. We would not want a repeat of the bad experiences we had over the past few years with the NEB, where minor projects did not seem to matter so much.

In our view, when the goal is to protect the environment and respect local communities, there is no such thing as a major or minor project. Air quality, water quality, and greenhouse gas emissions all have a regional and cumulative impact. I will come back to those concepts later.

This is a complex bill. It amends several laws and affects many organizations. We are concerned by the continued mandate, for example, of the assessment panels of certain organizations, such the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board and the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board. They will continue to be involved in the offshore oil and gas sector.

The new environmental assessment agency will not be mandated to conduct assessments of offshore projects. This worries us because although the agency has a clear mandate and the scientific capability to conduct environmental assessments, the two boards I mentioned, by virtue of their mandates, will be obliged to rule in favour of offshore oil and gas development. An important part of oil and gas development taking place off the coast of Nova Scotia and Newfoundland has been separated off, forgotten and discarded. This will be completely excluded from the prerogatives or the mandate of the new environmental assessment agency and we are concerned about that.

This begs the following question: which projects will be subject to this new environmental or impact assessment process? For now, it really is not clear. We do not have a new list of the projects that have been submitted. For now, the previous list that was established by the Conservative government remains the only list. There has been no change in the projects subject to a environmental assessment.

For now, we are being told that there will be a consultation process concerning the criteria for placing projects on this new list. I feel that this will take so long that, by the time the next election comes around in 2019, none of this will have been cleared up. Furthermore, the new agency will not have had the time to start its work because we will still be trying to determine which projects can be studied and assessed by the agency.

We can have an excellent impact assessment process and a very robust and competent agency with a lot of expertise. However, if that agency does not assess any projects, it will not have any impact on environmental protection, our communities, or the reduction of greenhouse gases. It is an empty gesture to create an impact assessment agency that does not conduct any studies, does not examine anything, and does not assess anything because no one knows what projects it should be examining. Such an agency is useless. It does not help to protect our environment and does not help us to fulfill our responsibility to reduce greenhouse gases.

Bill C-69 should set out the criteria for determining when an impact study or environmental assessment must be conducted. Is it when federal funding is being invested in a project, when a federal law comes into play, or when something under federal protection and jurisdiction is involved?

We think that the criteria should be logical and objective. We should be able to use them to force the agency to conduct an environmental assessment. That is not currently the case.

The bill indicates that sustainable development and climate change must always be included in the decision-making process and the agency's assessment. However, let us be clear. The current greenhouse gas reduction targets are not even part of the goals and objectives of the bill. The government has mentioned them and we have talked about them, but there are no concrete measures in place to give the process teeth and ensure that it has consequences. That is a big problem for the NDP.

For example, a project that would produce a large amount of greenhouse gas emissions should automatically result in a impact study or environmental assessment. However, the weight of carbon emissions is not currently one of the criteria for determining whether a project will be assessed simply because there are still no criteria. That is a major concern for us.

There is one detail we want to emphasize on today. According to our interpretation it would seem that the oil sands development sites that use in situ technology would not be covered under the agency's mandate. The agency would not have a mandate to study the environmental impact of certain projects that use certain types of technology.

People are starting to talk about this. We are very concerned because this technology is not perfect. We know there are major consequences even though the development sites are much smaller and less visible than they were in the past.

Earlier I asked the minister point-blank about this. She gave me a politician's answer full of buzzwords, but failed to give a clear answer as to whether a project submitted in a province that already has a GHG cap program would be excluded by virtue of the province already having a GHG cap program. The bill seems to touch on that.

We want confirmation on this because the federal government could very easily use this as an excuse to shirk its responsibilities and burden the province that might have an existing program, without any guarantee that the program is being enforced, that the objectives are met or that they are in the process of being met.

The Government of Quebec is participating in a North American carbon market. As of right now, however, there is no guarantee that it will meet its own targets.

If this pretext were used to say that environmental assessments are not needed because the Government of Quebec already has measures in place, that would be completely delusional and an attempt to shirk one's responsibilities. The federal government has absolutely no way of verifying whether the province is complying with the program and meeting its targets. We have some serious concerns about that at this time.

I will come back a little later to the heart of the consultations and what can be included in those consultations. When the Conservatives curtailed and gutted the environmental assessment process, one of the things they introduced was time limits for environmental impact studies. In their eyes, this was supposed to expedite the approval of certain projects, including potentially polluting ones.

Much to our surprise, the Liberal bill changes those provisions. Much to our surprise, it shortens the timeframe for environmental assessments. I would have thought the Liberals would have wanted to take a little longer to create a system that is transparent, public, open, and based on science, one that listens to the experts, cross-examines the experts, one in which participants are well informed, taking the time to do things right. Well, no, in another new twist, the Liberals are shortening the timeframe for assessments. Depending on the size of the project, it is dropping from 365 to 300 days, or for bigger projects, from 720 to 600 days.

We in the NDP see this is as a direct response to demands from investors and industry. It is definitely not to improve the public consultation process or to ensure that things are done properly in good time. We believe that the process should take the necessary time to reach conclusions that meet with widespread approval, that are based on science, that respect the will of local and regional communities. As it stands, that is not the case, and we are very concerned about that.

With respect to the topic of consultations, the government claims to want to restore public trust in the assessment process. The changes proposed in Bill C-69 include getting the public and indigenous communities involved at the planning stage. This is good news, if everyone is truly included at the preliminary approval stages of a project. However, the bill is short on details about who will be able to participate in the consultations, how they can be heard, how long the consultation will last, whether individuals will have access to the information held by the agency, or whether individuals will be able to question industry experts or witnesses. This is still not clear. The NDP will want to make a lot of improvements to the bill to ensure that when this bill takes effect, the process is truly open and transparent, as the Minister of Environment has claimed it will be.

I want to talk about two more points, which are very important, including the one that worries us the most: the Minister of the Environment's arbitrary power. It is rather strange for the minister to say that she is bringing back a science-based process that will restore trust, and that will take communities into account, and then in the same breath say that, no matter the outcome of the process, the minister will just do as she pleases, since at the end of the day she is the one who decides. This is almost exactly what the Minister of the Environment just said in her speech a couple of minutes ago here in the House. Ultimately, she will decide. Not only do we not know which projects will be assessed by the agency, but we also have a guarantee that no matter the recommendations or findings, one, single minister will have the final say. This is the type of political interference that the Liberals condemned during the election campaign.

We also do not know what criteria the minister will use. Clause 17 sets out the minister's power, and then clause 63 lists a series of factors that the minister must include in her consideration, but it does not state that the list is exhaustive. This means anything could be included.

When the Liberals spend days telling us they are here to protect the national interest and the public interest, yet offer up no definition of “national interest” whatsoever, that worries me. Is it in the national interest to make an oil company happy by forcing a pipeline through, or is it in the national interest to do our part to reduce greenhouse gases and respect what local, regional, and indigenous communities want?

That is not at all clear right now, and giving that much power to the minister, power that did not exist under the Harper government, really has us worried. We think ministerial power should be limited. The government claims its process is open and transparent, and we think the bill should absolutely reflect that. We need to do a lot of work on Bill C-69. We hope it can be split so that three different committees can study it. After all, it affects many different acts, and we need to be able to do our work properly and take a very good look at this in committee. We also hope that the parliamentary committees will be able to travel across the country so they can hear voices outside Ottawa, voices from all over the Canadian federation.

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February 14th, 2018 / 6:15 p.m.
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Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I will agree if in the mind of a Liberal the national interest is not in the interest of the Liberal Party of Canada.

Basically, we have many concerns, especially about citizen participation, or public consultation. This is mentioned in the bill's preamble, but when you go through the bill clause by clause, it is gradually watered down.

What we want is for civic participation, public participation, to be enshrined in the bill, for it to be part of the mandate of the new impact assessment agency in order to guarantee that Canadians' voices are effectively heard.

There are several things either missing from the bill altogether or not strong enough. Regional strategic assessments are missing. With respect to the assessment of cumulative effects, it is all well and good to say there are a bunch of small projects, but several small projects together can have a greater regional impact and a big impact on people. As it stands, we do not see how cumulative effects could be taken into account under the current Bill C-69.

People who have been listening to the debates between the Liberal Party and the Conservative Party in recent days will have noted that this has mainly been about who can approve the most pipeline projects the fastest. Personally, as a citizen, hearing that really worries me.

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February 14th, 2018 / 6:15 p.m.
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Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am a little confused about my colleague's comments. I do not quite see how they tie in with Bill C-69. However, I can understand her comments on the weaknesses or shortcomings of other methods of electricity or energy production in the world. I think fossil fuels are the most polluting method right now. They release massive amounts of greenhouse gases. We need to be aware of that. We need to act responsibly. We need to comply with the Copenhagen and Paris targets.

If we could then have a discussion on the virtues of electric cars, solar panels, or wind turbines, I would be extremely pleased. However, I can guarantee my colleague that there are many renewable energy alternatives with a very small environmental footprint or carbon footprint. Canada could become a leader in these technologies and in new ways of using or generating energy. I think that is the way of the future and the way of the 21st century.

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February 14th, 2018 / 6:25 p.m.
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Parkdale—High Park Ontario


Arif Virani LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage (Multiculturalism)

Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for Hastings—Lennox and Addington.

On this February 14, I would like to wish three loves of my life, my wife Suchita, and my sons Zakir and Nitin a very happy Valentine's Day.

I rise proudly today to speak to Bill C-69, an act to enact the impact assessment act and the Canadian energy regulator act. The bill would introduce the impact assessment agency of Canada, replace the National Energy Board with the Canadian energy regulator, and reinstate protections for waters used for travel across this country.

I will start by complimenting the Minister of Environment and Climate Change and her department for the important work done to get us to where we are today. As stated in her speech earlier this evening, this legislation is the product of 14 months of extensive consultation with provinces and territories, indigenous persons, companies, environmental groups, and communities right across Canada. We went through that consultation period because we wanted to make sure that we got this assessment package right.

We are introducing today an impact assessment system, a reinvigorated energy regulator, and restoring protections for navigable waters. These would restore public trust in the government's ability to review major energy projects. This trust is critical. It was lost with the patchwork of harmful changes that had been introduced by the previous Conservative government.

To be clear, the orientation of our government cannot be more different from that of Mr. Stephen Harper, the previous prime minister. We accept the science that the climate is changing. We have unmuzzled scientists. We have put a price on carbon pollution. We have invested unprecedented sums in shifting to a low-carbon economy. Now we turn our work to the important aspects of environmental assessments.

We wanted to ensure that we not only restored the environmental protections that were cut under the Harper government, particularly those made in 2012, but that we also created a better framework to protect the environment while at the same time encouraging investment and job creation in Canada. We took the time necessary to get the feedback from those who would be directly involved in the process after its implementation to make sure that this new system will work.

With $500 billion in energy investment that is planned for our country over the next decade, a functional, big-picture approach to energy and resource development is critical to ensure that we are protecting our environment while encouraging economic growth and job creation. The two go together.

To ensure that projects that came forward over the last two years were not held up or passed without careful review that ensured the protection of the environment, we put in place interim environmental assessment principles in January 2016. That step ensured that we had a framework to review major project proposals until we introduced this new assessment plan. This avoided leaving environmental assessment to the uneven and unbalanced system put in place by the previous government, which favoured industry to the detriment of environmental protection.

It was under those interim principles that our government approved the Kinder Morgan pipeline and rejected the northern gateway pipeline, which would have gone right through the pristine Great Bear Rainforest on the west coast of British Columbia and destroyed that vital ecosystem.

Let us be clear that in the face of widespread public opposition, the northern gateway pipeline was approved by former Prime Minister Harper to fit the political agenda set out by the previous government. The result of our 14 months of consultations is a clarified review process, which implements a robust method to protect our environment.

In addition, we are maintaining our commitment to require a gender-based analysis for every project under review. The consideration for how energy resource development impacts women and their livelihood has been neglected for far too long, which is why we are committing, through this legislation, to ensure that gender impact will always be a consideration for evaluating proposals.

Another critical aspect of this legislation is reconciliation with indigenous persons. Built into the new rules under Bill C-69 is a requirement to consider the impacts of development on indigenous rights and culture in the decision-making process, a recognition affirmed by section 35 of the Constitution. Whether or not a project moves forward is directly linked to the impacts it would have on the rights of affected indigenous communities.

Our goal across government is to renew the relationship with indigenous persons founded on the recognition of rights, respect, co-operation, and partnership. This was the theme of the Prime Minister's address in this very chamber earlier today. This is no longer a negotiable position. It is no longer the suggestion that it used to be under the previous government's regulations. It is now a mandatory factor to consider indigenous impact in assessing and developing energy projects in this country.

As well as making decisions based on science and evidence, we would require the incorporation of traditional indigenous and community knowledge right alongside it. We are committed to protecting indigenous traditional knowledge and using that very knowledge before making decisions on resource development.

In my riding of Parkdale—High Park, I have heard from my constituents on these very issues. At a recent town hall that I hosted on indigenous reconciliation, residents of my community voiced loudly and clearly that the rights and needs of indigenous people in this country must be taken into account when developing our energy and resource sector. A focal point of the concern expressed to me by the residents of Parkdale—High Park was that our first peoples were not involved in these processes when it came to projects such as mining, hydro, or oil and gas development, and that indigenous persons need to be partners in the assessments of projects.

I have heard these concerns of my constituents, I have relayed those concerns to our government, and our government has responded with this bill.

Under the new rules in Bill C-69, indigenous people will be engaged from the outset to the end of the process, with the aim of securing free, prior, and informed consent, implementing the principles of UNDRIP into resource development. This means that a requirement will now be built into the assessment system to engage and consult with indigenous people throughout the assessment process, including monitoring and follow-up engagement.

For example, we are investing a total of $1 billion over the next five years to ensure that we have the capacity to support essential indigenous participation and capacity development for assessing and monitoring impact, as well as for expanding public participation and the scientific capacity of federal departments and government agencies.

The residents of my riding of Parkdale-High Park have spoken to me repeatedly about the importance of indigenous reconciliation as a means of achieving another fundamental priority: protecting our environment. During meetings at my constituency office, during gatherings right here in Ottawa, and at town hall discussions, I have heard repeatedly from strong advocates from my riding, such as Green 13, Green 14, the Citizens' Climate Lobby, and Earth Day Canada, that protecting the environment is the most pressing issue of our generation and that combatting climate change and reducing greenhouse gas emissions must be at the heart of any actions we take as a government. Again, those concerns were expressed to me. I heard them, and so too has our government.

In response to these kinds of concerns and the voices of Canadians, not just in my riding but right around the country, we are, through this bill, overhauling the assessment process so that it prioritizes the environment, so that it compels the involvement of indigenous persons, and so that it considers the impact of project development on women. These factors are all critical to ensuring that economic growth proceeds in a manner that has the confidence of all Canadians.

With Bill C-69, we are also attentive to the needs of proponents of projects for a streamlined, transparent, and more efficient process, for better rules, and for quicker decision-making.

Putting in place a predictable process, under which proponents can be rewarded if they invest in clean innovation and demonstrate that they maintain high standards for sustainability and corporate responsibility, means that we will be able do better for Canadians across the country. Our government encourages the right type of investment and ensures that job-creating projects are carried out properly during our transition to a low-carbon economy.

Our government is committed to reducing our carbon footprint and fostering innovation. It will also establish regulations for our energy industry. This bill will also directly improve transparency and access to information. In order to ensure significant public participation in the assessment process, from the beginning of the phase of engagement, the new regulations will require that scientific and other information sources be taken into account in an impact assessment and that the reasons for decisions be made available to the public through an online registry.

Taking 14 months to consult with environmental groups, energy companies, indigenous leaders, and Canadians across the country, our government has developed a new set of rules that will restore public trust and ensure development moves forward responsibly. This bill would amend the patchwork of environmental laws and processes brought forward by the previous government, which created an impossible system that eroded trust, disregarded science, and put our communities at risk, and under which not a single major energy project was built.

With this one project, one assessment process bill, we are keeping our commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, address climate change, transition to a low-carbon economy, and advance indigenous reconciliation, while encouraging vital job growth in this country.

I wholeheartedly support this bill and I urge my colleagues to do the same.

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February 14th, 2018 / 6:35 p.m.
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Arif Virani Liberal Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, the member is right that the changes we are proposing are fundamental, and they are fundamental for a reason. The question that was posed was about what is different in Bill C-69. The two major differences are, first, mandatory consultation and engagement with indigenous people, and second, the issue of putting the environment hand in hand with the economy.

That was not achieved under the previous process. The previous process was tilted to one side and not the other. We firmly believe that the two go hand in hand. We can achieve pipeline approvals and we can achieve energy projects by considering the environmental impacts and ensuring it is a green project that goes forward.

In terms of things getting built, I stand behind our record of job creation in the country. The unemployment rate is the lowest it has been in 41 years, and 700,000 jobs have been created since October of 2015. That is a record of increased job creation.

We believe in promoting the economy, but we can do so while also promoting the environment.

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February 14th, 2018 / 6:35 p.m.
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Mike Bossio Liberal Hastings—Lennox and Addington, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have the opportunity to participate in this important debate on our government's proposed new impact assessment legislation, 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 tabled in this House last week by my colleague, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change Canada.

I have spent about two decades of my life as a community activist alongside my colleagues in the Concerned Citizens of Tyendinaga and Environs and the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte, fighting a megadump expansion that threatened the health of our community's water. Ensuring our communities have strong environmental protections is one of my driving forces, so when I saw the weakening of federal environmental protections under the previous Harper government, I was compelled to act.

I was pleased to see our government launch a comprehensive review in June 2016 to restore the confidence of Canadians in federal environmental assessment processes, restore lost protections for our fisheries and waterways, and modernize the National Energy Board. Now, after more than 14 months of extensive engagement with indigenous leaders, provincial and territorial leaders, businesses, environmental groups, and Canadians, our government has introduced proposed legislation that reflects the values and priorities Canadians expressed throughout this process.

The proposed impact assessment act lays out a vision for a modern impact assessment and regulatory system that recognizes that the environment and the economy must work together to build us a sustainable future. It represents an important shift in the way major projects will be assessed in Canada.

The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency would now become the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada. It would be the single authority mandated to lead assessments and coordinate the government's consultations with indigenous peoples on all matters related to project assessments. This new structure would bring about greater process integrity and ensure consistency in how major projects are assessed.

The new agency would work closely with life-cycle regulators on major energy transmission, transportation, nuclear, and offshore oil and gas projects. The new Canadian energy regulator, which would replace the National Energy Board, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, and offshore boards, would provide expertise for assessments of projects related to their mandates, such as major energy transmission, nuclear, and offshore oil and gas projects. The regulatory requirements would be considered within an integrated impact assessment process.

The proposed changes seek to broaden project reviews from environmental assessments to impact assessments, with a focus on sustainability. This means assessments would consider a broader range of potential impacts to understand how a proposed project could affect not just the environment but also social and health aspects, indigenous peoples, jobs, and the economy over the longer term.

An impact assessment is a dynamic process. It brings together a wide range of perspectives, including different cultural and historical references, often diverging economic interests, and varying points of view on how to manage our environment, our health, and our society.

Too often in the past, indigenous peoples and the general public were invited to engage in environmental reviews very late in the process. The Concerned Citizens of Tyendinaga and Environs and other community groups across the country know all too well the battle it can take to have our voices heard. As another way to rebuild faith in environmental reviews, the proposed impact assessment act introduces a new early planning and engagement phase for assessments. This would allow Canadians to have their say right from the outset and thereby influence the design of proposed projects. This early planning would also provide the basis for co-operating with other jurisdictions and ensuring early consultation with indigenous groups.

Regulatory certainty would be achieved by making the system more efficient and predictable, giving companies the clarity and predictability they need with legislated timelines, with the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada leading all reviews in collaboration with provinces, indigenous peoples, and life cycle regulators, where applicable, to support the objective of one project, one assessment. It is one thing to streamline the federal review process, but we also recognize other jurisdictions have their own assessments. This can be confusing for proponents and the public, creating duplication and delays.

The proposed impact assessment act would introduce a new era of collaboration in the review of projects. It would advance the principle of “one project, one assessment” to reduce duplication and increase co-operation with other jurisdictions. It would also create alignment within federal departments that contribute to different steps of the assessment and regulatory phases.

Through this proposed legislation, our government has demonstrated its commitment to restoring robust, thorough reviews of major projects while working closely with provinces to avoid duplication. Another element of the proposed legislation, reconciliation with indigenous peoples, is one of the main elements of the design of the new system. The proposed changes seek to build new partnerships based on recognition of indigenous rights up front. This includes early engagement and participation at every stage.

The legislation would create new space for indigenous jurisdictions to enter into agreements with the federal government to exercise powers under the act, including the potential to conduct assessments. Going forward, it would be mandatory to consider and protect indigenous traditional knowledge alongside science and other evidence. The proposed impact assessment act would provide a practical plan that will rebuild trust, drive innovation, encourage the use of cleaner technologies, and promote a healthy and clean environment.

With these significant improvements to our assessment system, Canadians will be confident that good projects can move forward in a way that protects our environment and supports reconciliation with indigenous peoples, while creating jobs and strengthening our economy. I believe strongly that the proposed impact assessment act would achieve a unique balance. We are making sure that good projects can be built sustainably while creating jobs and economic opportunities for Canadians.

I have reached out to conservation groups in my riding about this bill, and I have heard from organizations like Quinte Conservation and Lower Trent Conservation that the proposed changes are a positive step in the environmental assessment process. This proposed legislation represents a significant milestone, but we still have a lot of work to do to advance this bill and develop supporting policies. We will do so by continuing to engage Canadians, as we have done to date. The result will be an impact assessment process that demonstrates we can bring resources to market while considering our environment, our health, and our society, and that we can do it in a sustainable way.

I have been very fortunate to be part of both the environment committee and the indigenous affairs committee, and I have to say that this bill is very much informed by the importance of both areas to ensure that we get it right. The economy and the environment can go hand in hand, but so can indigenous rights. It is so important to recognize the principles of indigenous rights throughout all of the bills that we bring forward in the House to ensure that indigenous peoples are recognized and that they can move toward self-determination. That can only be accomplished by ensuring that they participate in every aspect of our environmental and economic development. I am very proud to be part of a government that recognizes the importance of including indigenous peoples in every aspect of legislation moving forward, whether it is environmental or otherwise.

In conclusion, the proposed legislation reflects values that are important to Canadians, including early, inclusive, and meaningful public engagement; nation-to-nation, Inuit-crown, and government-to-government partnerships with indigenous peoples; timely decisions based on the best available science and indigenous traditional knowledge; and sustainability for present and future generations.

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February 14th, 2018 / 6:50 p.m.
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Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, I want to pursue something. Bill C-69 is an omnibus bill changing three bills. I should stress that Bill C-68 on the Fisheries Act gets it exactly right and keeps the promise to restore lost protections. Bill C-69 does not.

What we keep hearing from the government side is that there was listening and there was a great deal of consultation. There was a great deal of consultation, but there was not much listening. We had two high-powered expert panels convened by the Liberal government, one on environmental assessment and one on the National Energy Board. Both expert panels gave detailed advice for what should take place.

There was no formal response, ever, to those high-powered, and I imagine high-priced, efforts that had cross-country hearings. Their recommendations were not heeded at all in what we have here. I could detail the many ways in which they were not.

Perhaps the hon. member could explain to me why the government commissioned two expert panels to tour the country and provide advice, if it intended to give it no weight whatsoever in drafting new legislation.

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February 14th, 2018 / 6:55 p.m.
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Shannon Stubbs Conservative Lakeland, AB

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak at second reading of Bill C-69. I will focus my comments on part 2, the Canadian energy regulator act.

Bill C-69 is about so much more than exactly how pipelines and other major energy projects are reviewed and approved. It is about what role Canada will play internationally on resource development and energy production. It is about whether Canada will continue to be a leader in producing the most environmentally and socially responsible energy under the highest standards in the world. It is about whether the federal government will fulfill its moral obligation and economic imperative to enable Canada to supply the ever-growing global demand with Canadian oil and gas. Canada must remain open for business. The world needs and wants more Canada. The world needs and wants more Canadian oil.

Every other oil-exporting country is stepping up to meet that demand and to seize its growing share of the world market, but during the two years since the last election, energy investment in Canada has declined more than in any other two-year period in 70 years. The dollar value is the equivalent of losing 75% of auto manufacturing and 100% of aerospace investment in Canada. Recent reports show that in 2017 alone, four projects worth $84 billion left Canada.

The decline in Canadian energy investment is not only due to lower energy prices, which are now rallying, but due to irresponsible anti-energy policies and a lack of leadership and political will. The real consequences have been hundreds of thousands of Canadians, one-sixth of the total oil and gas workers in Canada, out of work; bankruptcies and foreclosures; family breakdowns; and escalating crime. The economic impacts have rippled through other sectors and across Canada. Canada is falling behind.

Reuters reports that Canadian oil producers are running out of options to get through to markets as pipeline and rail capacity fill up, driving prices to four-year lows and increasing the risk of firms having to sell cheaply until at least late 2019. Canada is a captive merchant to its American market with 99% of Canadian oil exports going to the U.S. However, the result of American regulatory reform and cost-cutting with the removal of the 40-year ban on oil exports is that U.S. shale oil is being recovered and sold to new markets at an ever-increasing pace. In 2005, the U.S. imported 12.5 million barrels per day. Today, it imports only four million. Today, it exports almost two million, and this number is estimated to double in only four years. The U.S. is expected to provide over 80% of the global supply growth over the next decade.

Market diversification is critical for Canada, and Canadian energy companies are trying to find a way to reach tidewater so that they can compete for international markets and not sell at a discount to the U.S. Meanwhile, the U.S. is removing red tape, ramping up exports, and rapidly pursuing its energy independence. However, the Liberal delays, uncertainty, and anti-energy agenda are threatening Canada's economy now and our position as a potential global leader.

The government's failure of leadership on the Trans Mountain expansion is the latest in a pattern of roadblocks to Canadian energy development. The same day the Liberals approved the Trans Mountain expansion, over 400 days ago now, they vetoed the federally approved northern gateway pipeline, which would have connected Alberta oil to the west coast for export to the Asia-Pacific region, where demand for oil will grow exponentially for decades.

Northern gateway had undergone the same rigorous review and consultation as Trans Mountain and Line 3, which were both approved, but despite the science and the evidence that the route was sound, despite the project being in the national interest, despite the 31 equity partnerships with indigenous communities, instead of the Prime Minister offering additional consultation or any options, he said that he did not “feel” right about the project and he vetoed it.

Recently, in October 2017, TransCanada was forced to abandon the nation-building energy east opportunity. It would have been one of the largest private sector infrastructure investments in Canadian history, and would have carried crude from the west through the heart of Canada to Atlantic ports for use in eastern Canadian markets and sale to Europe. However, the political risks and pressure were too great for the Prime Minister and after three years of delay, stops, and starts, additional review, and last-minute conditions, TransCanada finally warned and then withdrew its plans for the $15 billion project. TransCanada estimates that it lost just over $1 billion on energy east. Enbridge estimates it lost just over half a billion dollars on northern gateway, and that does not even come close to the lost opportunities for Canadians. Billions of dollars that should have been added to Canada's economy are going to other jurisdictions.

In July, Petronas cancelled the $36 billion Pacific NorthWest LNG project after regulatory delays because “headwinds were too great”, despite widespread support, including the majority of first nations. Progress Energy, Petronas's Canadian subsidiary, anticipated Canadian investment dollars moving to American projects.

Calgary-based company, Veresen, recently announced it was investing up to $10 billion on a new LNG project, proudly called “Jordan Cove”, in Oregon. The project will invest $10 billion in the American economy and provide thousands of jobs in the U.S.

Oil and gas companies are moving their assets to the U.S. because the Liberals are constantly changing the rules of the game, making it ever more difficult to invest in Canadian energy. What is especially disappointing is that Canada has a long track record of rigorous and comprehensive environmental, social, safety, and economic assessments for energy projects like pipelines.

In 2014, WorleyParsons issued an exceptionally thorough report examining the processes and policies for oil and gas in many jurisdictions around the world to evaluate Canada's situation and compare it to its international competitors. It measured Canada against other countries for performance in areas such as overall decision-making process; cumulative assessments for regions with multiple projects; implementation of early and meaningful consultation with stakeholders and indigenous people, including the real integration of traditional indigenous knowledge; and the implementation of effective social impact in health assessments.

Here are the report's conclusions:

The results of the current review re-emphasize that Canada's EA Processes are among the best in the world. Canada has state of the art guidelines for consultation, TK, and cumulative effects assessment, Canadian practitioners are among the leaders in the area of indigenous involvement, and social and health impact assessment. Canada has the existing frameworks, the global sharing of best practices, the government institutions and the capable people to make improvements to EA for the benefit of the country and for the benefit of the environment communities and the economy....

In summary, the review found that EA cannot be everything to everyone. In Canada, however, it is a state of the art, global best process, with real opportunities for public input, transparency in both process and outcomes, and appeal processes involving independent scientists, stakeholders, panels, and courts.

However, since the 2015 election, the Liberals have constantly denigrated and undermined confidence in the regulator and in Canada's reputation, and have created a regulatory vacuum for energy development in Canada by ongoing reviews.

The EnvironmentAdjournment Proceedings

February 8th, 2018 / 5:55 p.m.
See context


Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am speaking tonight in adjournment proceedings, and the timing is almost impossible to believe. On October 20, I attempted to warn the Minister of Environment and the Prime Minister of how very dangerous it would be to give the offshore petroleum boards in Atlantic Canada any power or role in environmental assessment. The idea that the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board or the Canada-Newfoundland & Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board should have any role in the environmental assessment of projects over which they have regulatory authority is desperately worrying. I say that because these boards were created by legislation to expand offshore oil and gas. That is their role. They have a mandate to expand offshore oil and gas.

I said to the minister on October 20 that offshore petroleum boards in Atlantic Canada have legislated mandates to expand oil and gas activity. They have never had any role in environmental assessment, and if they did, it would be a conflict of interest. Now it appears that the Liberals are following through on Stephen Harper's plan to put these boards into environmental assessments, where they should not be.

I have to say that my final question to the Minister of Environment was whether she could assure this House that she would keep these offshore boards out of environmental assessment. Her answer was not very clear on October 20. The answer is really clear today, because we now have omnibus Bill C-69, which entrenches a role for these very boards in environmental assessments, where they have no business being.

There has been a bit of fancy footwork in the Liberal talking points. Expert panels reviewed the broken laws left after the Harper era by omnibus budget bills C-38 and C-45. We had massive consultations. Very high-powered expert boards were commissioned to look at the National Energy Board and provide recommendations and to look at the environmental assessment process and provide recommendations. Both recommended that energy regulators should play no role in environmental assessment and that there should be a stand-alone environmental assessment agency.

In some ways, if we were to read the press releases and the talking points, one might think that is what was just done today in Bill C-69. There is one agency, called the impact assessment agency, except for one thing. When one reads it in detail, one finds that when there is a project that would be regulated by one of these boards—what we used to call the National Energy Board, which we will have to get used to calling the Canadian energy regulator; the offshore petroleum boards; or the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, which, for the first time ever, Stephen Harper put in the frame of environmental assessment in 2012—under the Liberals, these boards would continue to play a role in environmental assessment.

This is how they did the fancy footwork. There is only one environmental assessment agency, but when a project falls into one of those jurisdictions, the people put on the panel to review the project must be taken from the boards of those agencies. They will apply their other laws at the same time as they go through environmental reviews.

Let me talk about the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board. I am going to quote Dr. Lindy Weilgart, an adjunct professor at Dalhousie University and an international expert on seismic blasting. She talked about the seismic surveys, approved by the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board, in the migratory habitat of the endangered right whale. Air guns are shot every 10 seconds around the clock. It is the loudest human-produced noise right after nuclear and chemical explosions. That is why she said that in 2016, 28 right whale experts declared that the additional distress of widespread seismic air gun surveys represented a tipping point for the survival of this species. The Liberals today have given these boards a role in environmental assessment.

I am horrified by this. I ask my colleague, the hon. parliamentary secretary, how she can live with what the government has just done.