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 (Senate), as of Oct. 4, 2018

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


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.


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

Canada Labour CodeGovernment Orders

October 16th, 2018 / 3:50 p.m.
See context


Cheryl Gallant Conservative Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am not quite sure because my colleague mentioned Bill C-69 and the hypocrisy. Bill C-69 is the new legislation that would require the energy companies, any resource companies, to be more intense, spend more time and more resources in getting the proper assessments through.

I will speak to the hypocrisy to which my colleague alluded. On the one hand, the Prime Minister is saying that he wants to have this pipeline built, yet on the other hand what he is really doing at the same time is putting in legislation that would kill any pipeline, not just the one he says has been okay.

Likewise, we are concerned about Bill C-65. He is putting forth that he is trying to eliminate sexual harassment and violence in the workplace. Would Bill C-65, like the concerns of my colleague, truly accomplish what we set out to do?

Canada Labour CodeGovernment Orders

October 16th, 2018 / 3:50 p.m.
See context


John Barlow Conservative Foothills, AB

Mr. Speaker, I know my colleague across the way from Winnipeg North was concerned about the personal attacks, but this goes to a large part of the essence of the bill. There seems to be a lot of “Do as I say, not as I do” from the government. What are the implications of the message we are sending with Bill C-69?

The intent of this bill is very important. We do want to address sexual assault and harassment in the workplace. However, as parliamentarians, it is also very important that we send the message that this applies to everyone, no matter what his or her position is, no matter if the individuals are regular parliamentarians, regular Canadians, a cabinet minister or the prime minister.

Could the member talk about why it is important that we discuss the hypocrisy of what the Liberal actions have been when it comes to these types of issues and what Bill C-65 is intended to accomplish?

Canada Labour CodeGovernment Orders

October 16th, 2018 / 3:30 p.m.
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Cheryl Gallant Conservative Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

Mr. Speaker, as the member of Parliament for Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, I am honoured to have the opportunity to talk about Bill C-65, which deals with workplace harassment and violence.

Violence against women is not new. While I would like to believe that in a predominantly rural riding like mine in eastern Ontario violence against women is an urban problem, we know that is not the case. Violence against women continues to be a fact of life in Canada and in rural Renfrew County.

Carol Culleton, Nathalie Warmerdam, and Anastasia Kuzyk were killed on September 22, 2015. Their killer was known to all of the women and to police for a long history of violence. He had been released from prison just shortly before the murders. The system failed these women.

On average in Canada, one woman is killed by her intimate partner every five days. The man arrested and accused of their murders had a long criminal history, including charges involving two of the three women. I am not prepared to let Carol, Nathalie, Anastasia and all the other women who have been murdered by their intimate partners die in vain. My memory of their senseless murders pushes me to speak out in this debate.

When I was first elected in 2000, I immediately recognized the transient and precarious nature of politics in general, and Parliament Hill in particular. For a female in a new political party with an evolving political culture, my position was even more precarious. Uncertainty after each election, and with the change in assignments in the ebb and flow of duties, was compounded by the hierarchical nature of Canadian politics and the fact that we serve at pleasure.

To quote one of my colleagues:

At any moment, everyone here weighs the opportunity cost of making a complaint or committing an non-acquiescent action with the threat of quiet dismissal, being overlooked for a promotion, being shuffled out of a spot, having a nomination candidate quietly run against us, or not having our nomination papers signed at all.

She went on to say:

To say that there is a power imbalance here is an understatement. Further, for all the talk of feminism and pursual of women's rights, there is not gender equality in the broader context of Parliament Hill. Women are still used as photo-op props, included for quotas or optics without having the authority of real decision-making automatically attached to their perceived utility. For that, women have to fight, and fight hard, and put up with being accused of not being a team player, or being an “insert choice of gender expletive here” when they do. That is only for those of us who are lucky enough to have built a platform and a profile that allows us to do that without those in the top tiers of power having to take a bit of damage in order to suppress our voices.

When this legislation was debated in the House of Commons previously, I did not have an opportunity to be part of this discussion. I was successfully defending my right to represent my party in the next federal election.

Bill C-65 is being supported by the Conservative Party. Today we are discussing amendments made by the other place, which allows for a re-examination of the legislation and the context in which it has been brought forward. At the time the legislation was previously in this chamber, it was presented by the government as partisan politics being set aside for a common purpose. All parliamentarians were prepared, or so I thought, to stand together and send a strong message to all Canadians that workplace harassment and sexual violence are unacceptable and that they will not be tolerated any longer, period.

It was that implied spirit of co-operation that encouraged my party to support Bill C-65. As a long-standing female member of Parliament, I am very cognizant of my position as a role model. I am reminded of my responsibility as a positive role model by the Daughters of the Vote program.

Young women are smart enough to spot a hypocrite when they see one. All parliamentarians have a responsibility to be a positive role model, starting with the Prime Minister.

I was hopeful that Bill C-65 would not be just another example of virtue signalling by the Liberal Party, where the Prime Minister directs his attack dog Gerald Butts to throw social media mud from the political ditch he occupies while claiming to take the high road. Subsequent events have proven me wrong.

Sexual violence and harassment in the workplace are nothing new.

I was particularly encouraged by the comments made by newly elected members of Parliament on the government side, such as the member for Oakville North—Burlington, who talked about taking a stand together. She shared her personal experience of harassment and bullying on Parliament Hill when she worked as a staffer prior to seeking elected office. She made reference to the #MeToo movement, #AfterMeToo and Time's Up and to having the courage and the strength to speak out and be a positive role model. In that context, her brave words in the House of Commons and her subsequent total capitulation to the Gerald Butts, “Kokanee grope” talking points were all the greater disappointment.

The greatest disappointment in this entire discussion has been the deafening silence from the female caucus on the government benches, who have quietly condoned the Prime Minister's behaviour with their silence. Not one female Liberal MP rose to defend the female reporter who was subjected to an unwanted sexual advance by the Prime Minister in her workplace. Not one government MP rose to demand a coherent explanation of what the Prime Minister admitted to doing when he belatedly provided an apology to the young female reporter who was the subject of his unwanted advance.

Enabling bad behaviour almost guarantees that it will continue. After all, is that not the subject of Bill C-65, which is what we are discussing here today? Silence is tacit approval.

Certainly in my career as the member of Parliament for Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, spanning six elections over 18 years, I have experienced sexual harassment and bullying. It would be impossible to find a woman in politics who is not expected to put up with misogynist fools like Dan Leger or the tiresome Dick Mercer, let alone similar dinosaur attitudes in their own parties.

From the time Bill C-65 passed third reading and returned from the other place with amendments, something has changed. Canadians learned something about the leader of the Liberal Party. Canadians learned that the Prime Minister admitted to groping a young woman reporter at a music festival before he sought elected office. This is a very important discovery.

Unlike the recent events in the United States during the confirmation hearings for U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh about alleged events before he started his professional career, the Prime Minister has avoided a rigorous examination of his inappropriate behaviour.

South of the border, the Prime Minister has been referred to as the Bill Clinton of the great white north.

The Prime Minister had an opportunity. Rather than making up one answer, the Prime Minister chose to come up with a series of tortured explanations for the groping allegation against him. Constantly changing his story, he had an opportunity to come clean with Canadians.

In the process, the Prime Minister dodged questions about the need to call an investigation on his own conduct, the way he did with Liberal MPs Scott Andrews and Massimo Pacetti in his caucus, who faced similar allegations in the past and were removed from the Liberal Party.

The Prime Minister has single-handedly “terribly set back”, to quote Kathleen Finlay, founder of the Zero Now campaign to fight sexual misconduct in the workplace, progress on women's issues.

Ms. Finlay said:

He went from saying he had a good day and sort of smiling about it, and dismissing it that way...and then he went on to explain it, in a tortured explanation about different perceptions, how men and women can perceive things differently. And from where I was sitting, that just re-opened the whole “he said, she said” kind of explanation...which is something women who have suffered incidents of sexual misconduct do not want to hear.

The incident was first published in an editorial in the Creston Valley Advance, a community newspaper in British Columbia. The Prime Minister, who was in Creston to attend the Kokanee Summit festival, put on by the Columbia Brewery, admitted later to inappropriately groping the reporter while she was on assignment.

In addition to being on assignment for the Creston Valley Advance, the female reporter was also on assignment for the National Post and the Vancouver Sun. While her connection to the big city newspapers may have prompted remorse after the fact, that is a topic for a proper investigation.

The incident resurfaced online, including in a scandal magazine earlier this year. The allegation came into wider circulation the first week of June, when photos of the Creston Valley Advance editorial were widely shared on social media, and it received further comments when prominent online media outlets reported on it that same week.

The now former female reporter for the Creston Valley Advance community newspaper, the Vancouver Sun and the National Post confirmed that the Prime Minister groped her, or in his words, “inappropriately handling”, while she was on assignment at the festival.

After the incident, she wrote an unsigned editorial blasting the Prime Minister for his misconduct. The editorial did say that the Prime Minister told the female reporter that had he known the reporter was working for a national paper, he never would have been so forward.

The reporter wrote this about the Prime Minister:

...shouldn't the son of a former prime minister be aware of the rights and wrongs that go along with public socializing? Didn't he learn, through his vast experiences in public life, that groping a strange young woman isn't in the handbook of proper etiquette, regardless of who she is, what her business is or where they are?

After the incident, the female reporter, who is not in journalism anymore, held meetings with Valerie Bourne, the then publisher, and Brian Bell, the then editor of the newspaper, and communicated her displeasure about the Prime Minister's conduct. In a statement, the female reporter said she reluctantly went public to identify herself and to confirm the incident because of numerous media requests. She would not offer any comment or take part in any discussion on the subject, she said, adding that the incident happened as reported.

This is what the Prime Minister stated on CBC Radio, on January 30, 2018, before details of the groping incident were reported in the national and international media. He stated:

I've been very, very careful all my life to be thoughtful, to be respectful of people's space and people's headspace as well. This is something that I'm not new to. I've been working on issues around sexual assault for over 25 years.

My first activism and engagement was at the sexual assault centre at McGill students' society where I was one of the first male facilitators in their outreach program leading conversations—sometimes very difficult ones—on the issues of consent, communications, accountability, power dynamics.

To connect the dots, it was after the Prime Minister left university in Quebec when the groping incident occurred.

The following is from the newspaper editorial following the groping incident. It states:

It’s not a rare incident to have a young reporter, especially a female who is working for a small community newspaper, be considered an underling to their ‘more predominant’ associates and blatantly disrespected because of it. But shouldn’t the son of a former prime minister be aware of the rights and wrongs that go along with public socializing? Didn’t he learn through his vast experiences in public life, that groping a strange young woman isn’t in the handbook of proper etiquette, regardless of who she is, what her business is, or where they are?

And what makes the fact that she was working for the Post of any relevance? Big stories break first in community newspapers after all.

It may not have been an earth-shattering find, but one thing could have been learned from the experience. Like father, like son?

That was from the Creston Valley Advance, Monday, August 14, 2000.

What are Canadians expected to take away from this incident of groping that took place between the Prime Minister and a young female reporter? First and foremost, this incident is about hypocrisy, saying one thing and applying a different set of rules to one's own behaviour. It is about believing women, until it happens, then it is deny and hope that the clock runs out on the media cycle.

It has been noted by the CBC that there is no dispute that this incident happened. In 2018, the excuse “I did not think I was doing anything wrong” does not pass the smell test. Worst of all, the Prime Minister has shown no ability to grow with the job and learn from his mistake. Women in Canada deserve better from a Prime Minister who claims to be a feminist.

What this incident has also taught Canadians is that they cannot trust the Prime Minister, when he tells the public he is doing one thing but legislatively does another. It was finally figured out by the temporary socialist government of Alberta that the current government has no intention of seeing any pipelines built, let alone the Trans Mountain pipeline. In response, the NDP in Alberta pulled its support for the scam carbon tax, which is all about getting the provinces to take the blame for raising taxes while using the environment as an excuse to raise taxes.

If dragging the government's feet on this issue somehow does not work, Bill C-69 will be sure to suffocate any resource project from going forward.

There are ethics rules for parliamentarians, versus the Prime Minister's trip to a tropical island. When the Ethics Commissioner rules that opposition members are in violation of the rules, charges are laid by the RCMP. Where are the charges against the Prime Minister for his breaches of the code of ethics for parliamentarians?

In public, the Prime Minister claims that his government is going to crack down on guns and gangs but it cranks out Bill C-71 instead, which cracks down on law-abiding citizens who are already obeying the law. Then there is Bill C-75, which would soften the penalties for gang violence, among other atrocities.

The biggest lie of all is the Prime Minister's betrayal of veterans. It was announced by the government that no Canadian Armed Forces personnel would be medically released until their benefits were in place, yet last week, not only was it confirmed that soldiers are being released without their pension amounts and benefits confirmed but that soldiers should be told to wait longer.

In the last election, the Prime Minister claimed that the problem was that there were not enough offices open to service veterans. The government went ahead and spent funds intended for veterans to open offices in government ridings, and it now tells veterans that it has just doubled the official wait time, if they even qualify.

How much is the political decision to direct shipbuilding contracts going to cost Canadians?

I had high hopes for Bill C-65. It now appears that Canadians will be disappointed, as they have been disappointed with everything else this Prime Minister has touched.

Global WarmingEmergency Debate

October 15th, 2018 / 8:55 p.m.
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Arif Virani Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Lib.

Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for Brossard—Saint-Lambert.

I am pleased to rise in the House this evening to speak during this emergency debate on climate change. I will begin with last week's report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The IPCC is dedicated to providing the world with an objective, scientific view of climate change and its political and economic impacts, so we know that the conclusions that come from this report have merit. The report confirmed that we are the first generation to feel the impacts of climate change and the last generation that has the possibility of stopping it.

This is not actually new information. We have known the urgency of our environmental situation for some time now, which is why we are taking steps to protect the environment and to combat climate change.

How are we doing this? In budget 2018, we reaffirmed our commitment to preserving and protecting our natural environment and to addressing climate change. That budget included a $1.3-billion investment for nature conservation, the most significant investment of its kind in Canadian history. Additionally, $500 million will come from the federal government to create a $1-billion nature fund with provinces, territories, not-for-profits, and corporate and other partners. The nature fund will allow us to secure private lands, support provincial and territorial environmental species protection efforts and help build indigenous capacity to conserve land and species.

We have also implemented a $1.5-billion oceans protection plan, the most rigorous of its kind on the entire planet. It includes a marine safety system, restoring marine ecosystems and investing in innovative cleanup methods. Budget 2018 also included a $1.4-billion investment in the low carbon economy leadership fund to support clean growth and reduce greenhouse gases.

On February 8, our government also introduced Bill C-69 to address the inadequacies of the current environmental assessment system. With this bill, our government would bring forward better rules for the review of major projects that would protect our environment, fish and waterways; rebuild trust and respect indigenous rights; and strengthen our economy and encourage investment. To help with the implementation of this bill, we also included $1 billion in funding in budget 2018 for the proposed new impact assessments under Bill C-69 and for the Canadian energy regulator.

It is also one of our top priorities to ensure that indigenous people have their voices heard in this political discourse on the environment. We are taking firm steps to conduct proper consultations with first nations, commensurate with direction from the court, on the matter of the environment and protecting heritage. To that end, our government has co-developed an indigenous advisory and monitoring committee that gives indigenous persons access to monitoring ongoing environmental projects. Further, we launched an economic pathways partnership that will make it easier for indigenous people and communities to access existing federal programs that will help benefit them economically.

Following consultations, we were able to meet with, discuss and come to an agreement with 43 communities that signed mutual benefit agreements with the proponents on the proposed expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline, and 33 of those communities are in British Columbia. A grand total of 43 first nation communities will get the benefit from the proposed use of their territory for the construction of an expanded Trans Mountain pipeline.

We have undertaken all these projects with proper and comprehensive indigenous consultation and input. Where that consultation has been lacking, we have heard from the court, and we are committed to revisiting the consultations and reaching out in a serious manner to understand the needs of indigenous persons and to accommodate their needs.

We are also fulfilling the promise of UNDRIP. I think this bears some discussion. UNDRIP calls for a number of things, among which is having the resource wealth contained on indigenous territories reaped by those very indigenous communities, communities that for 400 years have been excluded from the benefit of the resource wealth on their land. That is what we are changing through our policies. That is what UNDRIP speaks to.

We are also helping to incentivize businesses to make positive, environmentally sound upgrades. We are extending tax support for clean energy investments. This is critical. I speak now as not only the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice but as the member of Parliament for Parkdale—High Park in the city of Toronto in the province of Ontario. The current provincial government of Ontario is stepping out of supporting green renovations. We, on the other hand, have allocated $123 million in budget 2018 to extend the tax benefit program beyond 2020 to 2023. This benefit promotes and supports the adoption of energy efficient equipment, which is exactly what Ontarians, and indeed all businesses, want to see around this country.

The most important step we have taken so far is to commit to putting a price on pollution. We have set a national price on carbon pollution that will be implemented in every province that has not implemented its own pricing system by January 1 of next year. This is essential, because polluters must pay. That bears repeating, and members will hear that over and over again from this side of the House: polluters must pay.

Many governments around the world understand this, but some provincial leaders are, unfortunately, deciding to no longer take action. Saskatoon has said no, Manitoba has withdrawn from pricing pollution and now, to the dismay of the residents in my riding, the Premier of Ontario has also withdrawn from the fight against climate change. This is nothing less than an abnegation of responsibility, and it jeopardizes the future of Ontario, and indeed, the future of this country. By cancelling the cap and trade system, the Ontario government cancelled at the same time 700 renewable energy contracts. However, our response on this side of the House and at the federal level is simple. We will stand firm in our commitment that polluters must pay.

For jurisdictions implementing an explicit price-based system, the carbon price must start at a minimum of $10 per tonne in 2018 and rise $10 per year to $50 per tonne by 2022.

Overall, our plan has over 50 commitments, and we remain committed to meeting those targets. It is also important to say that on this side of the House, we are actually focused on doing the work necessary to meet our targets, not simply talk about the targets, which is in marked contrast to some other members in the chamber, who continue to publicly opine on our plan but have yet to propose a plan of their own to address climate change.

The argument that pricing pollution harms economic growth is wholly inaccurate. The money collected from pricing pollution is returned to the residents and governments of the respective provinces. In this way, the price on pollution is entirely revenue neutral. Just look at the Province of British Columbia, for example. B.C. unveiled a carbon tax of its own with an identical commitment: that carbon pricing would be entirely revenue neutral in 2008 and that every dollar raised would be returned to the people of B.C. in the form of lower taxes. The statistics bear that out exactly. The first year of carbon pricing in B.C. saw $307 million collected and $315 million given back in the form of revenue returned to residents. The following year, the net give-back was over $180 million in excess.

Research by environmental economist Dave Sawyer, of EnviroEconomics, suggests that in this scenario, most households, regardless of income level, would receive more money, not less, from the federal government than they would pay in terms of any increased prices in the economy. The study of three provinces suggests that those households, particularly at the lower end of the income spectrum, would end up better off under this plan. The amount they receive would rise over time, in line with the direct price on pollution, which will start at $20 per tonne next January and rise to $50 per tonne in 2022.

In my remaining time, I want to reiterate that the concept of the environment and the economy going together is not a partisan issue. Indeed, it is only the leadership of NDP premiers, like Rachel Notley in Alberta, who aggressively put a price on carbon pollution and a cap on oil sands extraction, that allowed the notion of the pipeline approval to proceed in the first instance, in the case of TMX. Indeed, Premier Horgan, in British Columbia, is equally supportive of building up natural resource infrastructure to support economic growth, as he is actively pursuing a liquified natural gas refinement facility in Kitimat, B.C., to ensure that this resource can be exported from B.C. to markets elsewhere. That historic agreement with the NDP Premier of B.C. and indigenous communities in the west for an LNG refinery, which will be the cleanest of its kind on earth, will support jobs for indigenous persons and help assist our Asian allies, including China and India, in transitioning from polluting coal toward a low carbon economy.

As we know and as the UN outlined in its study last week, the issue of climate change is not just pressing at a national level, it is pressing at a global level. It is a global problem that requires a global response. We need to think globally but also act locally.

I will finish on a note about my constituents in Parkdale—High Park who care so passionately about the environment. These are the residents of my riding who have expressed their dismay with the actions of Premier Ford and are asking for a reinvigorated federal response. That is what we are committed to: finding a way to address the environmental concerns of Ontario residents and businesses and making a firm commitment to combat climate change. That is what we are here to do, and that is what this debate is about tonight.

Global WarmingEmergency Debate

October 15th, 2018 / 6:35 p.m.
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Linda Duncan NDP Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, despite the fact I am feeling very under the weather, which seems to be an appropriate saying for tonight, I had to be here to participate in this. I want to thank my colleagues, colleagues across the way and the member for the Green Party for calling this debate.

This matter of urgency did not happen simply because the IPCC told us to wake up, that we were already at the 1.5°C mark. The urgency was identified a long time ago. I happen to hold a very thick report issued by the Department of National Resources 23 years ago, calling for expedited action on climate change. That report was edited by an agricultural expert. There is a major chapter in that report about the impacts that were already being felt in Canadian agriculture then because of climate change.

This is a crisis that touches every corner of the country. Our colleagues in the Conservative Party represent a lot of farmers, and they should wake up and realize the impacts their farmers are facing.

In my province, we have faced unprecedented terrible weather this fall. We have not had a fall. We had a bumper crop, and so many of those crops have been downgraded in value because of early terrible weather, namely early snow and terrible rains. Those who rely on the construction industry, landscaping and nurseries have been devastated. This represents two months of incomes and this is just the beginning.

Those are what we might call “minor” impacts to small businesspeople, but the impacts are being felt across the globe. We simply need to look at our neighbours to the south in this continent to understand the devastation that has been wreaked upon us. We do not need the IPCC scientists, but we certainly need to heed them.

Many times over, Canada committed to Kyoto and the 2020 targets, which have passed by. The Harper government pulled out of the Kyoto targets and the Liberals have simply brushed away the 2020 targets, which the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development has decried. Are we simply going to brush away the 2030 targets? If we do not get serious, we are in serious trouble not only with respect to meeting our commitments in Paris, but even in meeting the reprehensibly low Harper government targets, which, amazingly, remain the targets of the Liberal government. It is time to get serious.

A question was asked about what other country we can give as an example. One of our trading partners, the United Kingdom, achieved 23% greenhouse gas reductions from 1999 levels by 2012, and it is on track for a 35% reduction of 1999 levels by 2020. We are not even basing our reductions on 1999 anymore. We have moved forward to the Harper target of the 2000s.

While the Liberals have supported this call for an emergency debate, sadly their commitments fall far short of responding to the urgent need for action.

It is really important for us to keep in mind, and particularly so given the comments from our colleagues in the Conservative Party, that the federal government does have powers to act on climate change. Yes, it is a good idea to also work in co-operation with the provinces and territories and with first nations, but the federal government has a duty to move when the provinces and territories are not moving. Recent elections in Canada have put a greater onus on the federal government, but it is the federal government that committed to the Paris targets, and it should therefore be the government held accountable.

What are the two key powers? The really important one is the spending power. The federal government collects dollars from Canadian taxpayers, and it decides how it is going to spend those dollars. Regrettably, despite commitments by the Harper regime and the Liberals of the day, the government has still not removed the perverse subsidies for fossil fuels. That would be a start. The investments in renewables and in energy efficiency in no way match those supporting the fossil fuel industry. If we are talking about making a shift toward a cleaner economy, that would be a simple first step.

Could the government please shift from pilot projects to significant federal investments for the deployment of renewable energy? We have had enough pilot projects. We have so many proven technologies, developed in this country and elsewhere, that can be deployed. Our communities need federal support to deploy those energy sources.

We need help in costing the smart grids and the interprovincial grids. There is a lot of talk about Manitoba Hydro being fed into Saskatchewan so that the latter can get off coal sooner, of Quebec hydro going into Ontario and lots of talk of BC Hydro going into Alberta. It would be nice if B.C. would give us a good price. However, the federal government could certainly help.

If we look at Bill C-69, a lot of the discussion during the expert panel was that it was unlikely that the National Energy Board, soon to become the new Canadian energy regulator, would actually deal with a lot of fossil fuel projects except for interprovincial grids. Therefore, the government needs to gearing up and talking about that and having a big dialogue about how it can help to expedite these improved grids.

The government needs to disburse the pan-Canadian funds now. We raised this three years ago. It has set aside this $1.5 billion dollars and some, and then sat on it, supposedly waiting for the provinces and territories to decide what they needed to do. My premier, Premier Notley, said to send it now. Thank heavens the province finally put in place an energy efficiency program and it was grateful for the infusion of dollars. If there were any way to get more people on side to understand that we need to put a price on carbon, we also need to help those who need a leg up to retrofit or build in cleaner ways. How about a little balancing?

Recently, dollars were given to the Northwest Territories. I have talked to my friends and colleagues there, and they are saying that it is merely symbolic. Imagine what it costs to build energy-efficient housing and buildings in the Northwest Territories, let alone Yukon and Nunavut. There are a lot of people interested, such as small energy companies, in deploying clean technology and building energy efficiency. Let us move forward our national building code. For heaven's sake, we learned at committee that it is not going to be in place until 2030. We need to have our housing and buildings built to a higher standard right now.

The transportation sector is on par with the fossil fuel industry in emitting GHGs, so we do not just need a major infusion of dollars, but to make sure that the federal government uses its regulatory powers and sticks with those stricter standards for large vehicles and, frankly, for trucks and SUVs.

The Harper government promised that it would use its regulatory power. In 10 years, it never issued a regulation on fossil fuels. I am sorry, but we cannot listen to what it did. It is more a case of what it did not do.

As I mentioned, the fixation seems to be on whether we should have a carbon tax and how much it should cost. Why are we not talking about the whole bundle of measures that need to happen in tandem with the carbon tax? There is no way that Canadians are going to look at a $50 a tonne carbon tax, let alone a $150 a tonne tax, which is projected to be necessary to stay at 1.5°C, unless there are measures in place to help them get there. In particular, I refer to those who cannot afford to do it, such as small business a lot of homeowners and apartment dwellers. A lot of people who have small businesses are renting from other people who own those buildings. They need support to lower their power bills.

We absolutely need the federal government to issue stronger regulations for controlling methane. Forty per cent is just not good enough. I encourage everyone in this place to take in one of those technical briefings that show that we can reduce far more methane if we require, as the technology exists. However, we need to require the monitoring of methane in tandem with the initial regulations. We can reduce our climate impacts in a large way if we get those industries to reduce their methane faster.

Also, I am concerned about the standards to be set for gas power. People need to be aware that the conversions from coal to gas are going to be much weaker than for new gas plants. Gas plants also emit a lot of greenhouse gases. Where is our timeline? What is the timeline for simply moving to cleaner sources of energy?

We need to be scaling up the investments in northern diesel. It is costing the northern governments hundreds of millions of dollars to transport that diesel to the communities and it is polluting those communities.

In terms of coal shutdown, where is the federal budget for a just transition for those working in the coal fire power sector? To its credit, a year ago Alberta committed $40 million to help retrain and support workers in that sector. All the government has done is to consult. It does not expect to even have a report until the end of this year. We need a major infusion of federal dollars to support both oil and gas, not just coal workers, and to shift to renewables.

Natural ResourcesOral Questions

October 15th, 2018 / 2:40 p.m.
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Shannon Stubbs Conservative Lakeland, AB

Mr. Speaker, four major new pipelines, including access to new markets, is the Conservative legacy.

The reality is that the Liberals' anti-pipeline bill, Bill C-69, will block all new pipelines and make the massive discount permanent. That will be the Liberal legacy. The consequences of the Liberals' failure are tens of thousands of Canadians out of work, Canada's money going to the U.S. and billions of dollars in deficits.

When will the Liberals kill their anti-pipeline bill, Bill C-69?

Natural ResourcesOral Questions

October 15th, 2018 / 2:40 p.m.
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Shannon Stubbs Conservative Lakeland, AB

Mr. Speaker, the consequences of the Liberals' pipeline failures are tens of thousands of Canadian jobs lost, oil moved by trains at record levels, hurting agriculture, forestry, and manufacturing, and now a Canadian barrel of oil selling for $52 less than a U.S. one. That is billions of lost dollars that could pay for health care, pensions and bridges in Canada. Premiers, workers, and economists have warned that the anti-pipeline bill, Bill C-69, will kill all future pipelines in Canada.

Will the minister listen to Canadians and cancel the Liberal anti-pipeline bill, Bill C-69?

Multilateral Instrument in Respect of Tax Conventions ActGovernment Orders

October 15th, 2018 / 12:45 p.m.
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Tom Kmiec Conservative Calgary Shepard, AB

Mr. Speaker, I am glad to be back this Monday to talk about what I think is a tax treaty for tax treaties. I can think of no drier subject to debate in the House other than maybe ways and means motions.

Bill C-82 looks at base erosion and profit shifting. It is a problem that tax regimes and tax administrators across different countries are increasingly starting to grasp as a result of the digital age now upon us and the ability of companies to create sub-companies and larger holding companies to shift around money quite easily, as well as IT, or intellectual property. They are able to shift the work of employees in a digital sense, not in a physical sense, to other countries to take advantage of lower taxes and tax loopholes and tax avoidance schemes that currently are legal in some ways, but in other ways go against the spirit of tax treaties that legislatures have introduced across different countries.

The Tax Justice Network has done some estimates and provided an aggregate of different statistics from the OECD, World Bank and IMF of how much money we are talking about in base erosion and profit shifting. It could be an excess of $200 billion that developing countries are losing out on from that money being shifted around. This is revenue that could be taxed and possibly provide social services that we all live off of. We need police forces and EMS. Also, this place does not run for free. We have to pay the clerks. We have to pay all of those who provide administration for this building. Some of the lowest estimates are as low as $100 billion while some of the higher one go up to about $300 billion. Large multinational corporations are typically best able to take advantage of different tax treaties and tax treatments for the type of work they do. This is happening mostly because the digital age is upon us and the ease with which companies can hire experts in this field.

Let us be honest. I am not a tax lawyer. Neither are the vast majority of the members in the House. I am humble enough to say this. Whenever I see a tax bill before the House, it takes me an extra long time to go through it. When I have to file my taxes every single year, it takes me the better part of an afternoon to do it. Dealing with tax treaties and their tax implications for multinational corporations and how these could be used is not my area of specialty. Those companies know that. Multinational companies are able to hire high-paid accountants, high-paid lawyers and high-paid lobbyists to ensure that they get the best possible tax treatment for their businesses. In some cases it may be justified to avoid a situation of being double taxed.

In Bill C-82, a lot of the provisions in this tax treaty for tax treaties will get rid of the double taxation of some companies. However, many simply abuse the rules. There are 78 jurisdictions that will be covered by this and 1,200-plus matching treaties that will be looked at. Countries are joining this process every day.

This was not started by the current Liberal government, let us be clear. It began under the previous Conservative government as a result of multinational bodies starting to look at this matter. I have heard several members on the government benches say this is part of the their initiative to improve tax collection somehow. They are taking credit for something that others started. The government repeatedly takes credit for things that others have done, either things that civic society has done or charities are doing on their own, or that a previous government has done or a provincial government is doing. The government takes these as its own, claiming victory that somehow these meet the campaign promises that the Liberals were elected upon.

I have an example that I found in a package that the OECD made available on its website. I want to read it into the record because it is an example of base erosion and profit shifting.

In the example set out in the video, company A, which resides in the Cayman Islands, wants to provide a licence for the use of intellectual property to company C in South Africa. South Africa, however, has not concluded a tax treaty with the Cayman Islands and would thus be entitled to apply its domestic withholding tax rate on outbound royalties. I hope that everyone is still with me on this. However, a European country has concluded a tax treaty with South Africa that reduced its withholding tax rates on royalties. Also, this country does not itself levy a source tax on royalties. Therefore, company A establishes a letterbox company in this European country and diverts the royalty payments through the letterbox company to reduce the tax withheld by South Africa. In this example, the principal purpose of establishing this arrangement, including the letterbox company, was to obtain the lower withholding tax rate available under the tax treaty between South Africa and the European country.

If everyone is still with me, that is what we call “base erosion profit shifting” in its simplest sense. Large international companies like Starbucks do this. Every time we go to Starbucks to get a triple spiced pumpkin latte, or whatever, that company engages in this type of behaviour. I am sure I am going to get a phone call from one of its lobbyists. Specifically, it is a popular thing to do with intellectual property and trademarks, particularly in the arts and cultural industries. At a certain size we are talking about large sums of money. In these cases, the trademarks and intellectual property have a very high value. A company's reputation and branding are how it differentiates itself from its competitors.

This matter is international. We also have it happening in a certain way domestically. We have a government that has been pursuing single moms, small business owners, and many residents in my riding who have been trying to make ends meet. The government wants to force them to provide documentation proving they are not engaging in tax avoidance or welfare fraud of some sort.

Other members have said that the Alberta registered corporation that the Minister of Finance uses is really a form of tax avoidance. It is not illegal in any way in Canada to go outside a jurisdiction where the work is being done in order to register in a lower tax jurisdiction, Alberta in this case, to avoid paying more taxes.

It is done domestically, which is why the Standing Committee on Finance has been doing a statutory review of the proceeds of crime and terrorist financing act. The reason I bring it up is that in the process of this study, the members of the committee would have had an amazing opportunity to learn from FINTRAC and other agencies of the government that are dedicated to tracking down illicit funds and suspicious transactions and activities.

What we do domestically has implications internationally. We know that business owners are engaging in aggressive tax planning, making use of tax firms and tax consultants, such as KPMG, PWC and all of the large firms out there. KPMG is notably the one that has made the news most often with its relationship with the Canada Revenue Agency. These companies are aggressively planning businesses' taxes to help them avoid paying their “fair share”. It is not a term I like to use, but it is one that has been used quite often in the House.

I wish we spent more time talking about how to get companies and Canadians to create more wealth. We spend an awful lot of time in the House trying to figure out ways to tax people and corporations in order to try to squeeze and get more water out of that stone in some way, but we do not really spend a whole lot of time talking about how to make sure that in the free market economy, where free people are working in their own best interests and figuring out how to make ends meet for their families, we can simplify and improve their lives. We are not doing that. We have been doing the opposite for the past three years. From this so-called middle-income tax cut, a Canadian who is earning $48,000 is saving $81.44 off their taxes. If we include carbon taxes, increased payroll taxes, depending on the provincial jurisdiction, where they are probably paying higher provincial taxes as well, costs are rising, including the costs of everyday essentials.

There are think tanks that say that the number one item on the average family's pay slip is taxes. They are paying more for taxes than for the essentials of life: rent, food, electricity or natural gas. For the first time ever, the average family is having to pay more in taxes than for anything else. We do not spend enough time talking about how to create more wealth and to broaden the base that has been a way of ensuring that more Canadians and corporations are at least paying a little bit into the system. When we pay into the system, it makes us part of it. There is a certain ownership in what the Government of Canada and what the Parliament of Canada do on our behalf. When we have to put a little money into it, we really do care what is being done with it.

The Liberals said in their campaign platform that a so-called tax hike on the top 1% would bring in $3 billion more. The Department of Finance then produced an estimate, saying it would bring in an extra $2 billion. The government actually lost money in its first year; $4.5 billion to $4.6 billion less money being brought in. Those are not my numbers. Those are Statistics Canada and CRA numbers, which say the government is bringing in less money than it did before.

The top 1% of income earners pay 20% of all taxes. The top 8% of income earners, including every member in the House, every cabinet minister, are paying half of all taxes right now. That is an incredible amount, just in the share of national revenue, that we are asking an increasingly smaller group of people to pay. It also speaks to the administration and the idea of taxing the rich, fleecing the rich, on a personal income side, which has been a total failure of the government.

Now we have Bill C-82, in which the Liberals want to go after multinational corporations and big business, and I am all for it. It is a fantastic idea. We have a tax treaty of tax treaties. It should be done right. I am glad we are at this point where we can talk about it.

However, where are we talking about the wealth creation to get small businesses and entrepreneurs to start creating more jobs, to want to invest? We had the aborted attempt by the Minister of Finance's department, and by him as well, to tax small businesses more because they were not paying their fair share. I heard loud and clear from general practitioners and small business owners in my riding who were just trying to make ends meet. They wondered how they could keep growing their small family businesses and eke out an existence to pay for the schooling for their kids and to continue living.

Calgary continues to have the highest unemployment rate in Canada. The reason for that is that the Government of Canada is in no way interested in ensuring that the energy industry of Alberta continues humming along. Most high-income earners come from Alberta. The Government of Canada has made changes to the tanker ban on the coast of British Columbia and the introduction of Bill C-69, which has passed through the House and is in another place. Every regulatory and legislative measure that the Government of Canada has been able to use to constrict and put the energy industry of Alberta into a pretzel, it has done it. The Liberals have succeeded in reducing our incomes. They have succeeded in undermining the ability of Albertans and Alberta families to make a living. They are not helping to create the wealth that they want to tax. We should be starting the conversation with how we can ensure people can create wealth for themselves and the Government of Canada can tax a reasonable amount from them to pay for common, public services that we all get to enjoy.

For multinational corporations, what we are talking about in this tax treaty is base erosion. They are using a digital economy to shift around so-called profits, and this is primarily used by big businesses. The ability of small businesses to do this is very limited because they need access to high-paid tax lawyers, lobbyists and accountants who know the details of these tax treaties, who can read the different tax treaties between different countries and take advantage of specific provisions in them.

After the paradise papers and the Panama papers, I think there is a general understanding among parliamentarians in both houses that something has to be done. It is not just in North America and in Canada that base erosion and profit-shifting for large multinationals is getting out of control. It is happening in European and developing countries as well. With the digital economy and the ability to cite their so-called work locations almost anywhere they wish, it has become profitable for companies to engage in this type of tax avoidance.

We also have to remember that they are trying to avoid taxes, sometimes punishing taxes, that limit their ability to continue working, to continue generating a profit for shareholders. If they are co-operatives, it limits their ability to provide a return to the members of the co-operatives. It goes back to the notion of whether we are creating an opportunity to create wealth. Instead, we usually talked about how we can tax more.

Another example is that during the whole cannabis decriminalization and legalization, the discussion primarily in the public was about how much taxes the Government of Canada would generate through the legalization provisions it had introduced. Oftentimes we did not talk about the potential for wealth creation through these businesses, through legalizing this one sector of the illegal economy, the black market that already exists.

The United States will not be a party to these international tax treaties that Canada and many other countries have, to this multinational effort on the base erosion of profit shifting, although it would be in its best interest to do so because it stands to gain quite a bit from it as well.

Canada's competitiveness is further eroding. We do not participate in measures such as this. The provisions in our federal corporate income taxes and the tax rates in comparison to those in the United States make us not competitive. In Canada, one of its champions for natural gas just cannot continue doing business in Canada at this pace. It costs it $100,000 in carbon taxes for every well drilled in British Columbia. That is a rig hand, an extra person on every rig who could be hired who did not need to be.

The Government of Canada crows about how great it is doing on the energy file, such as the LNG project that was approved. However, it does not talk about the $70 billion to $75 billion in projects that did not go ahead. It does not talk about the fact that this project, the LNG project, was approved in 2014. Businesses took until 2018 to decide to go ahead with it. They only went ahead when they got exempted from the carbon tax.

Large multinational corporations have been exempted from the domestic carbon tax that everyday Canadians will have to pay, every small business owner who owns a convenience store and every gentleman I meet who drives my Uber. Usually in Calgary it is a form of an oil and gas war. The drivers of my Ubers will pay higher carbon taxes, will pay a higher price on their gasoline, will pay a higher price on their natural gas to heat their homes. They will have to pay for that, but multinational corporations will not have to pay. That was the inducement, on top of other inducements, necessary to get them to invest in Canada.

I am all for Bill C-82, what I call the tax treaty of tax treaties, the driest subject we could possibly talk about. However, let us go back and talk about how we can get people to create more wealth. I do not mean the government-directed creation of wealth. I see this all the time in news releases, that the government created 100,000 jobs. It created no such thing. This place is not capable of creating jobs. People out there create jobs. They start businesses. They may start a family business. They go out and find a product or a service that somebody out there wants to buy. They fill a gap, a niche in the free market. That is popular capitalism. It is capitalism for the people. We do not talk about it enough in this place.

In this place what we often talk about is select industries that deserve a tax break or special treatment of some sort. I am glad we are going ahead and ensuring that base erosion and profit shifting stop happening as easily as they have been.

Let us go back to talking about how we can get junior oil and gas companies in Alberta to start drilling again, to start hiring again. Probably 10% to 15% of the people who live in my riding are either unemployed or underemployed. They are maybe working a day or two a week. This is years after the commodity prices, the so-called grand WTI went down. We do not even get that in Alberta. Last week, we were told that WCS, a standard Canadian mix of bitumen and dilbit, was selling at zero. Companies were paying others to take it for 8¢ to 18¢. They had to pay someone to take it because there was so much supply.

We rarely talk about all of these problems. We posture, which is pretty standard from that side of the benches. I do not hear us talk about wealth creation. How can we get people to create their own wealth? Then, at that time, the Government of Canada can come by and ask for a reasonable share of that amount.

However, for multinational corporations, I hope this treaty will be the starting point for reducing their ability to rob from the public purse, which should be justly paid to the Government of Canada for the provision of services that we all enjoy.

October 4th, 2018 / 1:15 p.m.
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Patrick DeRochie Climate and Energy Program Manager, Environmental Defence Canada

Thank you, Mr. Chair and MPs on this committee, for the opportunity to provide some ideas and recommendations for budget 2019.

My name is Patrick DeRochie. I am climate and energy program manager for Environmental Defence Canada. We work to defend clean water, a safe climate and healthy communities. My comments today will focus on recommendations from our plastics, toxics, and climate and energy program areas.

Regarding climate change, energy and clean growth, my recommendations will focus on how to best position Canada to capitalize on the massive economic opportunity arising from the global shift to a low-carbon economy.

Last month's report from the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate found that global efforts to accelerate climate action represent a $26-trillion opportunity. Canada can't afford to fall behind in this clean-growth opportunity.

Environmental Defence's recommendations include fulfilling the government's long-standing commitments to stop subsidizing fossil fuels in Canada, starting with the disclosure of all federal direct spending and the value of all annual tax deductions claimed for the exploration and production of oil and gas, and legislating a timeline for the phase-out of these fiscal supports.

In particular, the federal government can save upwards of $9 billion by ending its push to build the Trans Mountain expansion pipeline. The Prime Minister himself acknowledged that the project would be dead without public dollars to prop it up. The government should not be in the business of buying and building a fatally flawed oil sands export pipeline that nobody in the private sector wanted, and that cannot be reconciled with indigenous rights and Canada's international and domestic climate commitments.

The federal government must also play a role in supporting climate action in provinces that are not in compliance with the pan-Canadian framework. We would urge the government to link some of the revenues collected by the federal government pricing backstop to programs that reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Here in Ontario, we will see that revenue amounts to $2 billion next year, in 2019, rising to $5 billion in 2022.

There are a couple of things in particular that we would like to see that money spent on. One is the renewal of a residential home energy rebate program, through NRCan, that issues rebate cheques for home energy efficiency retrofits, including solar panels, home batteries, high-efficiency furnaces, heat pumps, insulation and other measures to reduce energy use.

Second is partnering directly with municipalities that are taking action on climate change, including support for cycling infrastructure, mass public transit, microtransit projects, electrifying municipal bus and truck fleets, district energy systems, and energy retrofits from municipal buildings, schools and social housing.

The federal government must also enhance regulatory certainty and attract investment in large energy and industrial projects by fine-tuning and passing Bill C-69. The legislation has had notable improvements over the 2012 omnibus bill that gutted Canada's environmental laws. Bill C-69 strikes a balance between economic developments and environmental protection that helps restore public trust in the project review process.

Some of the $1 billion announced in last year's budget should begin implementing this legislation, increasing scientific capacity across federal departments and enabling greater indigenous and public participation.

In the area of reducing plastic pollution and developing a circular economy, although Canada has made international investments and commitments to reduce microplastics and marine debris in the Great Lakes and our oceans, it has not matched the efforts of the European Union or other jurisdictions through investment in infrastructure, research, extended producer responsibility programs, or modernized waste management programs and policies that support a movement towards a circular economy. Now is the time for a national waste reduction strategy that harmonizes performance standards, measurement protocols and definitions from coast to coast to coast.

To accelerate the efforts to create a national plastics and waste strategy, Environmental Defence recommends that the government provide new five-year funding of $86 million per year to Environment and Climate Change Canada in collaboration with other federal agencies and levels of government. That includes $1 million per year for policy development, including on extended producer responsibility; $50 million per year in research that supports innovative product design and increases knowledge and understanding of the impacts that plastics have on the environment and human health; and $35 million per year in modernized waste diversion infrastructure to support the developments of a circular economy.

In the area of toxic pollution, Environmental Defence recommends that budget 2019 tackles exposure of Canadians to toxic chemicals and harmful pesticides and the presence of these toxics in the environment. Providing sufficient resources to regulatory departments to meet the current legislative requirements under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act and the Pest Control Products Act for managing toxic chemicals and addressing the risks of pesticides is necessary to ensuring the protection of Canadians' health, our communities and the environment.

We recommend that the upcoming budget renew funding for Canada's chemical management plan to ensure ongoing chemical assessments, research, monitoring and actions to protect people from toxics, and to provide funding to Environment and Climate Change Canada and Health Canada to implement needed legislative changes to modernize the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, the country's two-decades old toxics law. Specifically nearly half of the regulations under the law have received little to no enforcement activity, underscoring the need to increase the resources of relevant departments to better enforce pollution prevention regulation. Finally, we recommend providing funding for Health Canada to fulfill its obligations under the country's pesticide law to assess risks and enhance compliance enforcement. Funding is also needed to upgrade monitoring by reviving and expanding a national pesticide monitoring framework.

Finally, as Canada's leading environmental action organization, Environmental Defence Canada recommends changes in budget 2019 to free charities to fully participate in an equal playing field in public policy development in Canada. Specifically, that means amending the Income Tax Act, as promised, to remove prohibitions on public policy involvement by charities, clarifying and renewing CRA direction on partisan political activity to ensure that clear definitions of direct and indirect partisan activity are developed and applied, and undertaking consultations with the charitable sector to address overall sector modernization and development of a modern, enabling and encouraging legal framework for the charities sector.

I'd be happy to take your questions. I really appreciate your having me before you to speak today. I would note that I am a subject matter expert on our climate, energy and clean growth priorities, but less so on our plastics and toxics priorities. I'll do my best to answer those questions, but I'll pass them along to my colleagues in Toronto if I'm unable to myself.

Thank you.

October 4th, 2018 / 9:25 a.m.
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Churence Rogers Bonavista—Burin—Trinity, Lib.

Thank you, Madam Chair.

Welcome to our witnesses.

Forgive me if I refer to Mr. Orb as Ray. We spent four years together as members of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and we became good friends.

I have a couple of comments first, and then a couple of questions for Mr. Orb.

Regarding the comments around Bill C-69, it's my understanding that ditches and sloughs and such types of water are not considered navigable waters under Bill C-69. I remember that discussion, being a past member of the environment committee, so I just want to point that out.

I wonder if you could comment on the role of municipalities in trade and transportation logistics, and whether you think there is really a role for the municipalities in rural Saskatchewan. If so, how would you like to see the role of these municipalities incorporated into a national trade corridors strategy?

October 4th, 2018 / 9 a.m.
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President, Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities

Ray Orb

Of course, we have opposed the amendments, the changes to the legislation. Actually, both Bill C-68 and Bill C-69 affect fisheries and navigable waters. We feel that the changes are actually going to impede what municipalities need to do as far as work is concerned. The projects will be delayed. We have a lot of examples that we showed to the committee of how that would add costs and time delays. We've relayed those concerns. We understand that now the Senate will be looking at that bill. We're actually hoping there will be some amendments to that to make it easier for municipalities, not only in Saskatchewan but across the country, to do their work while still protecting the environment.

October 4th, 2018 / 9 a.m.
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Kelly Block Conservative Carlton Trail—Eagle Creek, SK

When we did a study of the Navigation Protection Act, or the Canadian Navigable Waters Act, you provided testimony. Here we are again.

The minister's mandate letter asked him to reverse all of the changes that were made back in 2012-13. I'm wondering if you would also comment on Bill C-69. What are some of the greatest concerns you have in regard to infrastructure and transportation being impacted as a result of reversing those changes?

Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with DisabilitiesPrivate Members' Business

October 3rd, 2018 / 6:50 p.m.
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John Barlow Conservative Foothills, AB

Madam Speaker, I welcome this opportunity to speak to Motion No. 190, the private member's motion brought forward by my colleague from Mississauga East—Cooksville. I agree with some of his comments but have to disagree with others.

One of the aspects of his speech which I agree with is the fact that we are undervaluing a lot of these careers, whether they are in construction, agriculture, tourism or hospitality. We have to do a much better job of speaking with students when they are in high school, or even elementary school, and talk about the incredible opportunities available to them in these types of careers. Absolutely, one may be starting on the front lines as a dishwasher or a labourer, but there are opportunities to work up the ladder, be successful in that career and earn a very strong income. In concert with industry, as parliamentarians and parents, we need to do a much better job of ensuring that industry gets the word out to the schools and guidance counsellors. It needs to be part of the curriculum in order to ensure these careers are understood as the incredible opportunities that they are.

I grew up in a rural area, and the misperception when I was younger was that anyone who wanted to go into skilled trades was making a bad decision and it meant they could not make it in university or college. If they only knew the wages available in some of those skilled trades, the guidance counsellors may have given us different advice.

I want to talk about the scope of this study. It concerns me that it is so focused on Toronto and Hamilton. It highlights an issue with the Liberal government. It has become so urban-centric, so GTA-centric. I have spent the last several years travelling across the country focused mainly on agriculture, but I have spoken with many other industries and they are concerned with the inaccessibility of labour. It is a crisis out there. Some businesses have closed. I met with a greenhouse operator in B.C. just last week, who closed her vegetable greenhouse because she could not get the labour. Many of the other businesses we have spoken with are at risk of closing because they cannot access the labour.

The Liberal government has set a very high target. It wants $75 billion in additional agriculture exports by 2025. It is an aspirational goal but it can be done. Agriculture is ready. However, every tool that it has in order to reach that goal is being taken away. One of those critical pillars is access to labour. I would like to see this motion expanded to include other industries, sectors and certainly other parts of the country.

I appreciate my colleague's comments about why he focused this on the GTA, but to compare what is going on in the GTA to what is going on in rural Saskatchewan, Canada's north or the labour shortage in Quebec City is really difficult. There are so many different factors involved. I would like to see the scope of this motion expanded.

My colleague also spoke about some of the great accomplishments the Liberal government has had. I find it ironic that he is concerned about the labour shortage. He talks about the $180-billion infrastructure promise that the Liberal government made in 2015, yet only 6% of those funds have actually been committed to real projects. We cannot get any of these major infrastructure projects built because the money is not rolling out the door. The Trans Mountain pipeline is an infrastructure project which is on very shaky legs. It makes it hard to get Canadians back to work and get them encouraged about going into the skilled trades when they see none of these projects are going to happen. It is disconcerting.

We have to ensure there is a bright future. If we want to ensure young people understand the value of these jobs, they also have to see there is a career opportunity in these jobs, and that some of these opportunities will be there. Right now, I can sense their frustration. Why should they go into some of these skilled trades, such as pipefitting, welding or steel work, if we cannot get any of these infrastructure projects built? That is a critical piece of this. The government needs to start showing that it can get these projects done, get the money out the door and make this a priority. That is highlighted for rural communities, and is certainly what I have heard in my trips across rural Canada. Canadians are extremely frustrated that they see everything with the Liberal government is urban focused.

The map that came out last week in the Huffington Post or iPolitics showed where the vast majority of infrastructure dollars have been committed. The vast majority are in urban centres. I understand that this are where the mass part of the population is, but they cannot do that and neglect some of our rural areas at the same time. That is why I think it is important that we expand the scope of this motion and this study at the HUMA committee, of which I am a very proud member.

We have to look at some of the other issues that are part of this: higher taxes, punitive regulations, surrendering our sovereignty as part of the United States-Mexico-Canada agreement, not being able to remove steel and aluminum tariffs and not being able to get a softwood lumber agreement. All of these have an impact on attracting Canadians to these types of careers. They need to understand that are there is opportunity and a future there. Right now, with the pace this is going, Canadians see the writing on the wall. There is not a future in some of these careers, because the jobs simply will not be there long term. That is extremely disconcerting.

Let us take a look at Bill C-68 and Bill C-69. Regardless of what happens with Trans Mountain, it is very clear that if these pieces of legislation go through, we will never have another major infrastructure project built in this country, whether it is a pipeline, a mining operation or another resource extraction initiative. It is going to be very difficult to get these projects built.

When I speak to some of our stakeholders in agriculture, construction and hospitality and tourism, there is no question that their inability to access labour is much beyond a motion at a committee. It is a crisis. They need action on this quickly.

I am going to support this study, because I think we can get some really good recommendations out of it. It is still worthwhile going through that process. I hope we get some tangible recommendations from the study.

Again, we have had businesses close, and others are at risk of closing. We heard it at the agriculture committee yesterday. Some of the farmers and ranchers were talking about the mental stress they are under. One of the reasons they cited for that mental stress was the inability to access labour for their businesses. They are taking on much too much. They are working hard, long hours. It is difficult navigating the temporary foreign worker and seasonal ag worker programs. They said, almost unanimously, that over the last three years, under the Liberal government, being able to navigate these programs has become almost unattainable.

My hon. colleague talked a little bit about the temporary foreign worker program. We have to find a permanent solution to what is a permanent problem. Just tweaking the temporary foreign worker program or making some adjustments to that program is not good enough. We have to have bold changes when it comes to accessing labour.

Exhausting what resources we have right now to deal with illegal border crossers is not the way to do it. We need to put our focus on processing the applications of legitimate immigrants who are going to be coming to Canada and having a significant, positive impact on our economic development. These are people who are going to be filling job vacancies in skilled labour areas where we desperately need those jobs filled. That has to be another part of this discussion. Where do we put our focus in immigration? How do they access that system? How do our stakeholders access that system? How do they get through that process?

We have to build a pathway to Canada. I hope this is going to be part of that. Again, we need bold changes. I really look forward to working with our stakeholders across Canada as part of this study to come up with a permanent solution to a permanent problem to address the labour crisis that is happening right now across Canada.

October 2nd, 2018 / 9 a.m.
See context

Matt Jeneroux Edmonton Riverbend, CPC

Thank you, Madam Chair, and thank you both for appearing before us here today.

We spent the last week going across the country. We started in the Niagara region, went and visited a few ports and opportunities there. Then we went to Vancouver and down to Seattle to visit their ports as well.

A constant theme for me throughout the trip was the impact, either positive or negative, of some pieces of legislation that have come forward recently. One that we heard of a lot in Vancouver was the impact of Bill C-69 and what that meant for a number of...whether they be importing-exporting companies or airport authorities.

I'm hoping to open it up to both of you. Perhaps to you, Mr. Chaundy, is there any impact that Bill C-69 legislation would have on your organization?

Multilateral Instrument in Respect of Tax Conventions ActGovernment Orders

September 28th, 2018 / 12:55 p.m.
See context


Pat Kelly Conservative Calgary Rocky Ridge, AB

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to speak to this legislation. It is my pleasure to follow my colleague from Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola and his excellent discussion on a topic that he is interested in and knows a great deal about.

Bill C-82 is a welcome step forward. It is the natural conclusion to work that was first undertaken by the previous government in 2013. This is a good, positive step forward by two governments now to help address the serious problem of base erosion and profit shifting.

This legislation seeks to address a global problem that Canada is a part of, namely tax evasion, whereby corporations, through a corporate domicile or clever accounting, can shift profits between different jurisdictions or shop for the most desirable tax treatment from any of a variety of different jurisdictions.

For years we have heard in the news criticism of many global giants, including Starbucks, Apple and a number of other familiar global brands, that will seek to minimize their taxes by shopping for the most favourable jurisdiction. This is a problem that confronts western governments.

If the bill passes, Canada would be able to participate in a protocol that the OECD has in place.

We heard a bit about the scale and scope of this problem at the finance committee, and we welcome the bill.

The bill is an effective and efficient means by which we could deal with a wide variety of different tax jurisdictions through the same instrument. We would not have to separately renegotiate dozens of different existing tax treaties. As a result, we could co-operate much more efficiently with our global trading partners and combat what has been described by some as a “race to the bottom”.

Perhaps close to $25 billion in taxes is not being collected from economic activity that takes place in Canada. During its first two years in office, the Liberal government claimed it was going to recoup this $25 billion. The Prime Minister in late 2017 said in the House that the government looked forward to collecting this money.

While I do support the bill and acknowledge that it is an important step forward, it is certainly not a panacea or a solution to deal with all of the problems. I do hope colleagues from all parties will support it.

With respect to this $25 billion, the government has yet to really tackle the issue at all and it is now three years into its mandate. That number has been debunked. It would seem that most of the money the government planned to collect, money from tax evasion and tax avoidance, through the steps it would take, would be on the domestic side, the majority of which is believed, even by the department, to be uncollectible.

The CRA, almost three years into the government's mandate, has failed to make significant progress on foreign tax evasion, but during that time period it has floated a number of, in some cases, strange ideas on how it would plug its gaps in revenue. These ideas do not involve foreign tax evasion and do not involve corporate profit shifting.

They involve ideas that arose when the CRA first floated the idea of taxing employer benefits, like health and dental benefits; taxing retail discounts to service industry employees; and the war that was being waged this time last year on disabled Canadians, including the rejection of the disability tax credit for type 1 diabetics and a number of people who suffer from other health ailments.

In my riding, I have spoken to people who suffer from different types of chronic fatigue, who had been receiving the disability tax credit for years and suddenly were denied it. In one case, someone had been receiving it for 10 years and was suddenly denied it while her medical evidence had not changed. We have also heard the parents of autistic children losing their disability tax credit at the hands of the CRA under the Liberal government.

None of these seemingly small and petty attempts to raise additional revenues address the issue at hand and fulfill the promise of the government to crack down on foreign tax evasion and tax avoidance. These are nickel-and-dime measures targeting low-hanging fruit. The CBC reported again last night how the Liberal government makes it very difficult for single parents, with its onerous requirements on their proving they are indeed separated. We have seen quite a number of cases of this, and it has been raised in the House.

The other side of this and what this bill does not address is a different type of base erosion. Base erosion from profit shifting is an important global phenomenon that must be addressed. However, perhaps a bigger threat to the Canadian economy and a bigger drain on the tax revenue of the government than base erosion from profit shifting is base erosion from capital flight taking place right now.

Since the Liberal government took office, we have seen the imposition of a carbon tax. My colleague from Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola spoke about carbon leakage, how chasing economic activity with emissions into a different jurisdiction does not change global emissions, but does change the tax revenue base of the Canada Revenue Agency and costs jobs. We have seen the carbon tax and have seen Bill C-69, which should be titled, “an act to ensure no pipeline is ever built in Canada again”. We have also seen tax increases, which the government had indeed promised to impose on the wealthiest Canadians, actually result in a reduction in tax revenues from the wealthiest Canadians. That is a different type of base erosion that would not be addressed by this bill.

We have seen the debacle over the Trans Mountain expansion. That will also result in an erosion of the tax base, as that economic activity is curtailed. We also all know what is happening with the NAFTA negotiations, and we know how many hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of Canadians who fear for their jobs as this unfolds.

To conclude, this bill is an excellent step forward to address a serious global problem that Canada must play a part in solving for our own tax base and in participation with our economic partners. I look forward to its coming to committee, where it may be improved and where I could address some of the issues that have been raised by my colleagues.

I will be supporting this bill, and I commend the government for moving ahead with this initiative.