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



In committee (House), as of March 19, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Canadian Energy Regulator Act, among other things,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Part 2 also repeals the National Energy Board Act.

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

(a) rename it the Canadian Navigable Waters Act;

(b) provide a comprehensive definition of navigable water;

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


March 19, 2018 Passed 2nd reading of Bill C-69, An Act to enact the Impact Assessment Act and the Canadian Energy Regulator Act, to amend the Navigation Protection Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts
March 19, 2018 Passed 2nd reading of Bill C-69, An Act to enact the Impact Assessment Act and the Canadian Energy Regulator Act, to amend the Navigation Protection Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts
Feb. 27, 2018 Passed Time allocation for Bill C-69, An Act to enact the Impact Assessment Act and the Canadian Energy Regulator Act, to amend the Navigation Protection Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts

Impact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Impact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

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

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

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

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

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

Impact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

March 2nd, 2018 / 1:05 p.m.
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Michael Cooper Conservative St. Albert—Edmonton, AB

Mr. Speaker, during the member's speech, she alluded to the fact that the minister could, on a whim, essentially approve or veto a pipeline project. That seems to be part of the problem. In as much as Bill C-69 is a framework, what it is lacking are rules that would apply consistently to all major pipeline projects, and this creates uncertainty and a whole host of other issues.

I was wondering if the hon. member could comment on that.

Impact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

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

Monique Pauzé GPQ (ex-Bloc) Repentigny, QC

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Impact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

March 2nd, 2018 / 12:55 p.m.
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Mike Bossio Liberal Hastings—Lennox and Addington, ON

Mr. Speaker, a primary focus of our government has been achieving the balance between the environment and the economy going together. I wonder if the member could expand on how Bill C-69 would help us accomplish that balance.

Impact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

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

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

Impact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Impact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

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

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

I hope my colleague has convinced the Liberal government to improve Bill C-69, an act to enact the Impact Assessment Act and the Canadian Energy Regulator Act, to amend the Navigation Protection Act and to make consequential amendments to other acts. That is the title of the bill, and it sure looks like an omnibus bill to me. I will explain why as I try to figure it all out.

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

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

Part 3 amends the Navigation Protection Act....

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

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

We created the clean air regulatory agenda. We established new standards to reduce car and light truck emissions. We established new standards to reduce emissions from heavy-duty vehicles and their engines. We proposed regulations to align ourselves with the U.S. Working Group III standards for vehicle emissions and sulphur in gasoline. We sought to limit HFCs, black carbon, and methane.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Impact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

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

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

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

Impact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Impact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

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

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

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

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

Impact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Impact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

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

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

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

Impact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

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

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

It is an absolutely great honour for me to rise in the House and speak on behalf of the residents of Davenport to Bill C-69. It has quite a long name, an act to enact the Impact Assessment Act and the Canadian Energy Regulator Act, to amend the Navigation Protection Act and to make consequential amendments to other acts.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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