An Act to amend the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act and the Canada Petroleum Resources Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts

Sponsor

Dominic LeBlanc  Liberal

Status

This bill has received Royal Assent and is, or will soon become, law.

Summary

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

Part 1 of this enactment amends the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act to establish an administration and enforcement scheme in Part 5 of that Act that includes the issuance of development certificates. It also adds an administrative monetary penalty scheme and a cost recovery scheme, provides regulation-making powers for both schemes and for consultation with Aboriginal peoples and it allows the Minister to establish a committee to conduct regional studies. Finally, it repeals a number of provisions of the Northwest Territories Devolution Act that, among other things, restructure the regional panels of the Mackenzie Valley Land and Water Board, but that were not brought into force.

Part 2 of the enactment amends the Canada Petroleum Resources Act to allow the Governor in Council to prohibit certain works or activities on frontier lands if the Governor in Council considers that it is in the national interest to do so.

Elsewhere

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

Votes

June 17, 2019 Passed 3rd reading and adoption of Bill C-88, An Act to amend the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act and the Canada Petroleum Resources Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts
June 11, 2019 Passed Time allocation for Bill C-88, An Act to amend the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act and the Canada Petroleum Resources Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts
June 10, 2019 Passed Concurrence at report stage of Bill C-88, An Act to amend the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act and the Canada Petroleum Resources Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts
April 9, 2019 Passed 2nd reading of Bill C-88, An Act to amend the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act and the Canada Petroleum Resources Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts
April 9, 2019 Passed Time allocation for Bill C-88, An Act to amend the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act and the Canada Petroleum Resources Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts

Third ReadingMackenzie Valley Resource Management ActGovernment Orders

June 11th, 2019 / 10:20 p.m.
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Liberal

Michael McLeod Liberal Northwest Territories, NT

Mr. Speaker, I am aware that Bill C-15 was a Conservative bill that really shattered the confidence of the indigenous people in the Northwest Territories.

It was a bill that never should have come forward. It is a bill that we are trying to correct today. There is an opportunity for my honoured colleague from across the way, who I travel with most weekends to return home, to support this bill. He has the opportunity to stand up now and support Bill C-88. I would appreciate it if he would do so. I think he knows the bill. He knows how important it is to the Northwest Territories. I think he is quite supportive of indigenous governments and resource development.

This would provide reassurance. I would ask the member to stand up and support this bill. Let us clear up some of the wrongdoings from the past.

Third ReadingMackenzie Valley Resource Management ActGovernment Orders

June 11th, 2019 / 10:20 p.m.
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Conservative

Kevin Waugh Conservative Saskatoon—Grasswood, SK

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise tonight to speak to Bill C-88, an act to amend the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act and the Canada Petroleum Resources Act.

Once again, this bill, like many other bills we have seen in the House, is being debated and rushed through Parliament in the last few days before the House rises for the summer. It is worth noting that this is a bill that was only studied in our committee on indigenous and northern affairs for one meeting before we went into clause-by-clause consideration. As a result, we were unable to hear live testimony from stakeholders such as the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation, the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers and the Northwest Territories Chamber of Commerce.

We have recently seen these legislative delays with other important bills, such as Bill C-92, which was passed at third reading in this House just last week, on June 3. It is totally unacceptable that the Liberals have so utterly mismanaged their legislative schedule when it comes to the bills that are now before us, days before we rise.

Bill C-88 is a bill that forms part of a long Liberal saga to kill natural resources development in this country. The bill would amend subsection 12(1) of the Canada Petroleum Resources Act to allow the Governor in Council to arbitrarily ban any oil and gas activity across the Arctic offshore. Under this bill, the government would only need to invoke the national interest to ban oil and gas development in the Beaufort Sea. However, the term “national interest” remains undefined in this bill, so the government would have complete discretion to decide when it should ban oil and gas activities in the Arctic offshore. These opportunities for greater economic prosperity in the north would therefore be limited and controlled by the ministers here in Ottawa. Again, under the current government, Ottawa knows best.

We have already seen the Liberals reveal their paternalism when it comes to economic opportunities for northern communities. We just have to go back to December 2016. While the Prime Minister was in Washington, D.C., he announced that there would be a moratorium on offshore oil and gas development in the Beaufort Sea. No, he was not up in northern Canada. He was, in fact, meeting with President Obama in Washington.

There was absolutely no consultation with the Government of Northwest Territories before this moratorium was announced in Washington. In fact, the territorial leaders of the day were given less than half an hour's notice before the Prime Minister declared the moratorium, in the United States, the farthest destination away from northern Canada.

By single-handedly introducing a moratorium on oil and gas development in the Beaufort Sea, the Liberals are telling northern communities that Ottawa knows best. The Liberals are saying, through their actions, that northerners do not have the right to pursue their own economic opportunities without the approval of the current federal government.

We heard from multiple witnesses in committee about the devastating impact the Liberals' moratorium has had on northerners. Wally Schumann, the minister of industry, tourism and investment and the minister of infrastructure for the Northwest Territories, said the following about the moratorium:

I guess we can be very frank because we're in front of the committee.

When it first came out, we never got very much notice on the whole issue of the moratorium and the potential that was in the Beaufort Sea. There were millions and millions, if not billions, of dollars in bid deposits and land leases up there. That took away any hope we had of developing the Beaufort Sea.

We also heard from Merven Gruben, the mayor of Tuktoyaktuk. He was very disappointed with the Liberal decision to unilaterally impose this moratorium on northerners. He was very concerned about the effects this ban would have on the people of his community. He said:

It's so easy to sit down here and make judgments on people and lives that are some 3,500 klicks away, and make decisions on our behalf, especially with that moratorium on the Beaufort. That should be taken away, lifted, please and thank you. That is going to open up and give jobs to our people—training and all the stuff we're wishing for.

Unfortunately, the Liberals are not listening to the voices, again, of the northerners, and as a result, communities are paying the price now for the Liberal government's arrogance. There is absolutely no doubt that Bill C-88 is just another attempt by the Liberal government to polarize oil and gas extraction in this country. It explains the power of cabinet to block economic development and adds to the ever-increasing levels of bureaucratic red tape that need to be navigated by proponents of energy development.

The bill makes northern energy development more difficult by increasing the obstacles that must be overcome by energy proponents before they can even put shovels in the ground.

In response to these polarized anti-energy provisions, many stakeholders have voiced their concerns. One of the numerous stakeholders that want to see the Governor in Council power to ban oil and gas development removed finally from the bill is the Northwest Territories Chamber of Commerce. It has written submissions to our committee. The chamber indicated its opposition to the final authority of the Governor in Council to ban northern oil and gas development.

The chamber wrote to us as follows:

The final decision needs to be approved by the Indigenous Nation of the prescribed area who are the steward's of the area but also rely on the land to provide economic independence to their membership and throughout the NT.

Of course, in pushing through Bill C-88 without any amendments, the Liberals have demonstrated that they do not care about the opinions and concerns of our northern communities, which will be deeply affected by this piece of legislation. These northern voices are once again being ignored by the Liberal government.

Another important stakeholder that expressed really serious concerns about Bill C-88 was the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation. Unfortunately, like the Northwest Territories Chamber of Commerce, the IRC was not afforded the opportunity at all to present live testimony to our committee, because, as I mentioned before, we were only given one day to hear from witnesses on this very important matter.

Again, the Liberals rushed the process. It was the result of the Liberals' mismanagement of the parliamentary agenda and a consequence of the fact that the Liberals left this bill to the very last minute for deliberations.

Like so many other crucial stakeholders, the IRC is opposed to the unilateral power to ban oil and gas development in the Arctic offshore, which the bill gives to the Governor in Council.

It is hardly surprising that the IRC is against the arbitrary power given to politicians here in Ottawa to determine the fate of energy development in the north. Bill C-88 says that the Governor in Council can ban oil and gas development projects when “it is in the national interests to do so”. However, does Bill C-88 tell us what the national interest is? Does Bill C-88 tell northern communities what the national interest is? No, of course not.

Like so many other Liberal anti-energy policies, questions of the national interests are only for the Liberals to decide and nobody else. The bill is simply a reinforcement of the arrogant mantra that the Liberals know best.

Given that the IRC was not given the opportunity to offer live testimony on this discussion on Bill C-88, I would like to read into the record some of the serious concerns the IRC highlighted in its written submission to our committee.

First of all, it bears noting that the IRC is an organization that was created way back in 1984 to manage the settlement that formed part of the Inuvialuit Final Agreement, better known as the IFA. The Inuvialuit occupy the Inuvialuit Settlement Area, or the ISR, and beyond.

The IFA was the first comprehensive land claim agreement settled north of the 60th parallel and only the second settled in Canada's history.

Why was this land claim agreement so important for Inuvialuit people, and why did they initiate the negotiations with the Government of Canada? In the IRC's own words, the land claim negotiations “came in response to our limited influence in increasing development activity on our lands and the vast marine areas of the ISR.”

In the short term, then, the Inuvialuit secured a land claim agreement, in part, so that they could have greater influence over development activities on their own lands.

With this background in mind, the IRC has written about its serious reservations with regard to the power the bill would give to Ottawa to declare oil and gas moratoriums on IRC lands. In fact, the IRC already saw the Prime Minister declare a moratorium in a significant portion of their settlement region when the Liberals were first elected to power in 2016. In regard to this ban, the IRC wrote,

it is important to note that the imposition of the Moratorium by the Prime Minister was done without consultation with any Inuvialuit in contravention of the IFA and with the framework established and the promises made under the Northwest Territories Lands and Resources Devolution Agreement.

The Liberals simply seized the opportunity in 2016 to unilaterally implement a moratorium on oil and gas in the north while the Prime Minister, as I mentioned before, was not even in this country. He was in the United States of America looking for photo ops and free publicity. The Liberals did not consult at all with stakeholders before they took on this decision. What is worse, instead of apologizing to many of the northern communities that are suffering because of this moratorium, the Liberals are going full steam ahead with Bill C-88, as we see tonight, to ensure that they can unilaterally put bans on northern oil and gas development again and again.

Bill C-88 says that the Governor in Council can make these bans when it is in the national interest to do so. The IRC and Conservatives would like to know what the Liberals mean when they say “in the national interest”.

The IRC had the following to say on the issue of the national interest:

The national interest criterion is problematic as it elevates the national priorities of the day vis-à-vis Inuvialuit priorities within our traditional territory. It would be akin to an appropriation a constituent might experience in the south without any restitution from the government. Bill C-88 does not define national interest or incorporate an express requirement to consider how the national interest ought to be balanced against the ability of rights holders to provide for their economic future.

Despite these concerns from indigenous stakeholders in the north, the Liberals have demonstrated repeatedly, through their anti-energy policies, that they have no intention at all of ever balancing their vision of the national interest against the views of indigenous groups that do not share the Liberals' hostile attitude toward natural resource development.

Unfortunately, Bill C-88 is not the only bill the Liberals have pushed forward, to the detriment of the indigenous communities across this country. We have just heard from indigenous communities about the real concerns they have about Bill C-69, the Liberal environmental assessment act.

Stephen Buffalo, the president and CEO of the Indian Resource Council and a member of the Samson Cree Nation, said:

Indigenous communities are on the verge of a major economic breakthrough, one that finally allows Indigenous people to share in Canada's economic prosperity. Bill C-69 will stop this progress in its tracks.

Roy Fox, chief of the Kainai or Blood tribe first nation, said the following about Bill C-69:

...I and the majority of Treaty 7 chiefs strongly oppose the bill for its likely devastating impact on our ability to support our community members, as it would make it virtually impossible for my nation to fully benefit from the development of our energy resources.

Bill C-48, the northern B.C. oil tanker ban, is yet another Liberal anti-energy bill that the Liberals have rammed through this Parliament against the wishes of major indigenous stakeholders. Bill C-48 shuts the door to the Eagle Spirit pipeline proposal, an energy corridor that is supported by over 35 first nations and is an indigenous-led and indigenous-owned initiative. It is a $17-billion project that has the potential to provide economic opportunity to numerous indigenous communities. However, as with Bill C-88, this one tonight, Bill C-48 is another Liberal anti-energy bill that is both hurtful and patronizing to indigenous communities. Bill C-48 is another example of the Liberal government here in Ottawa telling indigenous communities that they cannot pursue their own natural resource development when it does not suit the interests of the Liberal agenda of the day.

Indigenous communities are tired of the paternalism that has been constantly demonstrated toward them by this anti-energy Liberal government. The chair and president of Eagle Spirit Energy, Calvin Helin, who is a member of the Lax Kw'alaams First Nation, had the following to say about the viewpoint of the 35 first nations that are in favour of the Eagle Spirit pipeline. He said that these first nations “do not like outsiders, particularly those they view as trust-fund babies, coming into the traditional territories they've governed and looked after for over 10,000 years and dictating government policy in their territory.”

However, the Liberals clearly do not think that these indigenous viewpoints are part of the current government's idea of a national interest, so they choose to ignore these voices. As a result of Liberal indifference to the concerns of these indigenous groups, in 2018 the chiefs council for the Eagle Spirit pipeline had to launch a GoFundMe campaign just to help pay legal costs in a court challenge to Bill C-48. The Eagle Spirit project noted the sad state of affairs by stating that this action is required to be taken by Canada's poorest people against a federal justice department with unlimited resources. Other indigenous groups have either filed lawsuits or are planning to do so pending the legislative fate of Bill C-48.

Sadly, the Liberals again did not listen to these indigenous voices then, and they are not listening to the indigenous voices in our northern communities today. It is glaringly clear that all the Liberals care about is the pursuit of their anti-energy policies at all costs. However, the cost is a very real human cost to the ability of northern communities to be in control of their own economic development opportunities.

The Liberals have promised time and time again to work with northerners. With only days left now in this Parliament, when will the Liberals finally live up to this promise?

Third ReadingMackenzie Valley Resource Management ActGovernment Orders

June 11th, 2019 / 10:45 p.m.
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Conservative

Kevin Waugh Conservative Saskatoon—Grasswood, SK

Mr. Speaker, we did have Neil McCrank, from Calgary. He did all the consultations regarding the superboard. He was one of the few live guests we could bring in on the one day we had to talk about Bill C-88 at committee. As members may know, other submissions were submitted through email.

At committee, Neil McCrank disputed that claim. He spent months talking about the superboard. As members know, the proposal back then was to go from four boards down to one. Members know the result: It ended up in court and we did not do that.

I want to put on the record that Neil McCrank spent months in the territories dealing with the superboard issue.

Third ReadingMackenzie Valley Resource Management ActGovernment Orders

June 11th, 2019 / 10:50 p.m.
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Liberal

Mike Bossio Liberal Hastings—Lennox and Addington, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am thankful for the opportunity to speak on Bill C-88, and I acknowledge that I do so on traditional Algonquin territory.

I will be splitting my time with the member for Port Moody—Coquitlam.

This important bill demonstrates the Government of Canada's commitment to the north and to the people who live there.

The legislation now before us proposes to amend the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act and the Canada Petroleum Resources Act. This bill would reverse legislation that aimed to amalgamate three regional land and water boards established under comprehensive land claim agreements in the Northwest Territories. It would also modernize the overall regulatory regime that oversees the development of resources along the Mackenzie Valley and in the offshore Arctic.

Perhaps most significantly, though, Bill C-88 would be a tremendous win for the environment. With the devastating effects of climate change that are evident in the Arctic more than anywhere else in the world, we all know how important this is. While Canada's north is rich in natural resources, it is also a fragile and rapidly changing environment. I am sure that my hon. colleagues will agree that it needs to be handled with care.

How do we do that? We would take a big step forward with Bill C-88 on what I call the three Ps of environmental responsibility: people, protection and prosperity. Bill C-88 would provide the right people with the right regulatory tools to make the right decisions for the environment and for Canada.

The first P in environmental responsibility is people, and one of the best ways to care for the environment in the north is to involve the people who live there in decisions about development projects. In the same way that urban communities across Canada invite residents to have a say in proposed developments in their neighbourhoods, northerners must also have a meaningful say in how natural resources are managed in their region. Bill C-88 aims to do this in the best possible way.

Most importantly, the legislation would repeal provisions in the Northwest Territories Devolution Act that would have eliminated the regional panels of the Mackenzie Valley Land and Water Board and established a single consolidated board. Bill C-88 would reverse the board restructuring and reintroduce other regulatory elements to function under the existing four-board structure, including the Gwich'in Land and Water Board, the Sahtu Land and Water Board, the Wek'èezhìi Tlicho Land and Water Board and the Mackenzie Valley Land and Water Board.

These are all independent, co-managed boards that have appointed members who bring valuable local and traditional knowledge to the table. These members have the experience and local knowledge needed to effectively review and influence resource and development projects, as only they can. It is also important to know that the regional land and water boards are part of the existing land claim agreements, and that respecting these agreements is crucial to reconciliation with indigenous peoples.

The second P of environment responsibility is protection. A scientific report from Environment and Climate Change Canada shows that the Arctic is being hit hardest by climate change. The region is warming at a rate that is about three times faster than the rest of the world. In winter, this means melting permafrost and less sea ice. By the middle of this century, most marine regions in the Canadian Arctic may be ice free for at least a month at a time.

This would change everything. The habitat of ice-dependent wildlife, such as narwhals, polar bears and walruses, would be severely impacted. The Arctic caribou population would be at risk, because these animals rely on sea ice for their long-distance migration. Various species of fish would likely move away from where they are usually harvested in search of colder water temperatures. Of course, the melting sea ice would likely open new shipping routes and expose more fossil fuel reserves to development.

What is clear is that we have to understand what is happening to the environment and protect it, for both current and future generations. Bill C-88 would help us accomplish this goal. This is because the legislation also proposes amendments to the Canada Petroleum Resources Act, CPRA, which regulates oil and gas rights on federal Crown lands in the north and in offshore areas not under federal-provincial co-management.

The CPRA amendments support commitments made by Canada and the United States in the joint Arctic leaders' statement of 2016. The two nations agreed to base decisions about the future development of offshore oil and gas resources in the Arctic on scientific reviews that would be conducted every five years.

Bill C-88 would encourage governments and local communities to work together and move forward with both scientific and traditional knowledge to protect and develop the rich natural environment. It is so important that we take our indigenous knowledge into account, which has existed for thousands of years and that has a far greater understanding of the Arctic than any other Canadian does. We need to ensure that traditional knowledge is taken into account when we are considering any resource projects or otherwise that occur in the north.

Bill C-88 would encourage governments and local communities to work together, to move forward with both scientific and traditional knowledge to protect and develop the rich natural environment.

This brings me to my third P of environmental responsibility, and that is prosperity. Canada's prosperity, in many ways, relies on the development of natural resources. As the Right Hon. Prime Minister said recently at the 2019 Nature Champions Summit in Montreal, “We can't afford to ignore climate change.” The future of our country and our economy depends on it. “You cannot have a plan for the future of our economy as a country, as a nation, if you don't also have a plan for environment sustainability and environmental protection.”

Bill C-88 would support a robust regulatory regime that not only protects the environment, but also provides a responsible approach to the development of natural resources. Furthermore, renewing the relationship with northern and indigenous organizations and governments is the proper and just way to move forward in partnership, with legal certainty in regard to environmental protection and toward increased investment and jobs.

All told, I would suggest that this is what reconciliation is all about. It is establishing that relationship with indigenous communities that can be based on trust. That trust is only going to happen if we have meaningful and collaborative consultation with our indigenous communities.

It is about making sure that indigenous peoples have a meaningful voice in important decisions about their lands, their lives and their future. Bill C-88 would enable a resilient resource sector while also respecting the rights and interests of indigenous peoples.

The three Ps of environmental protection, people, protection and prosperity, are the key drivers of Bill C-88. They are also sound reasons to support the proposed legislation. This legislation is finally going to bring about an environment where all indigenous peoples in the north will feel they can actively participate in determining what happens with that environment, what happens with their economy, and what happens with their future, for both today and for their children and grandchildren. Once again, indigenous people always look out seven generations. We need to take that into consideration in the north.

I encourage my hon. colleagues to vote in favour of Bill C-88 at third reading.

Third ReadingMackenzie Valley Resource Management ActGovernment Orders

June 11th, 2019 / 11:05 p.m.
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NDP

Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

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

I think that he already knows that the NDP will support Bill C-88, which will fix some of the mistakes made by the previous government. This bill is a step in the right direction.

Unfortunately, I do not really understand the lack of consistency. The Liberals voted in favour of the bill to include in federal legislation the principles of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, but unfortunately those principles are nowhere to be found in Bill C-88.

I would like my colleague to explain that inconsistency to me.

Third ReadingMackenzie Valley Resource Management ActGovernment Orders

June 11th, 2019 / 11:05 p.m.
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Liberal

Mike Bossio Liberal Hastings—Lennox and Addington, ON

Mr. Speaker, simply, it shatters the trust completely. Rural Canadians are very generous, and indigenous peoples are very generous people, but if someone breaks that trust, it takes a very long time to earn that trust back again.

This bill will go a long way towards earning that trust, because so much consultation was done in the writing of the legislation. Once again, Premier McLeod and many leaders in the indigenous communities are in full support of this bill. They want this bill to be passed expeditiously, as soon as possible. We heard that in testimony at committee many, many times.

I encourage everyone in this House to please vote for Bill C-88.

Third ReadingMackenzie Valley Resource Management ActGovernment Orders

June 11th, 2019 / 11:25 p.m.
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Liberal

Larry Bagnell Liberal Yukon, YT

Mr. Speaker, first I want to acknowledge that we are on the traditional territory of the Algonquin Anishinabe people.

I have a speech, but I think I will start by trying to answer questions and concerns that have been brought up. If I do that, then members could vote unanimously for this bill.

The first thing members have been asking is why there are only five more hours to debate this bill. For a lot of bills, that would be a valid question, but at this particular time we have had Conservative after Conservative getting up and not talking about the bill. We heard a lot about Bill C-48, Bill S-6, a letter from premiers not related to this bill, Bill C-15 and a northern moratorium.

I have been here awhile, and last night I witnessed an amazing situation. One of the Conservative speakers, in a 10-minute slot to speak on this bill, spent nine and a half minutes talking before they got to the bill, and then answering three questions by not referring to anything in the bill.

If the public wonders why Parliament has decided to call time allocation on this bill, it is obviously because the Conservatives have nothing more to say. We have heard the same arguments over and over again, and they are not valid. I will go through them one by one right now.

I am not sure why a party would want to stretch out a debate on a terrible injustice that it has caused, and it has done this a number of times. It is strange. Why would they want to put that in the light? Why would they not want to fix that injustice by supporting this bill? One of the members mentioned that he was not here at the time that it happened, so in good justice, he could support the bill.

People have asked what we have been doing for the last four years and why we did not debate this bill earlier. Some of the people in the House now have actually asked this question. This Liberal government has passed something like 85 bills. I think some members' constituents would like to ask them where they have been while these very important 85 bills were being discussed and debated.

One bill in particular was in the exact same situation as this one. It was Bill C-17. Again, the previous government had unlawfully, either technically or in spirit, abrogated a modern treaty, a constitutionally protected treaty, and tried to pass a law that got around it. That was certainly disrespectful.

Some may ask why Liberals did not get more things done, and a good example was what happened when Bill C-17, related to the treaty, was ready to pass. There was a grand chief, chiefs and aboriginal people here in the galleries. It cost thousands of dollars for them to get here from the Yukon. What did the Conservatives do at that time? They called a dilatory motion that the next speaker be allowed to speak, and then the bill could not be done. Some members ask why things are not done, yet they continue to do tricks like that.

This particular bill broke a constitutionally protected treaty, as I said earlier, a land claim. The members opposite have asked—and it is a good question for the ones who were not here before—why Liberals voted for that bill. This question has been brought up a number of times. The reason is that the part of the bill in which the law was broken in spirit or in technicality was snuck in in a much larger devolution bill.

The devolution bill transferred the remaining federal powers to the territorial government. That was a tremendous move, and that is why the party supported that initiative. Unfortunately, even though the people affected by this wanted this taken out and some parliamentarians tried to get it out, the Conservatives pushed ahead with the bill, and that is why the other parties voted for it.

Another concern the Conservatives have noted a number of times is that there are two parts to the bill. I think the member for Northwest Territories corrected them and said there are three parts. Nevertheless, they said there is part 1 and part 2, and there was no consultation regarding part 2. That is not true at all. When we consulted, we consulted with all the local governments involved regarding the entire bill, both part 1 and part 2. Shortly, I will read to members some of the things they said, because the opposition has suggested they did not support both parts of the bill.

The bill concerns the Sahtu, the Gwich’in and the Tlicho. When the Tlicho signed its constitutionally protected land claim and its self-government agreement, I was parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Indigenous Affairs. At that time, unfortunately, we had to fight against the Conservatives to get that agreement signed. At least the Conservatives can now make peace with that wrongdoing of the past and support the bill.

I will read some comments of support, because the Conservatives have said that indigenous groups did not support part 2 or the bill.

Grand Chief George Mackenzie, from the Tlicho Government, said, “We urge the community to move swiftly and decisively to ensure that Bill C-88 comes into force during the current session of Parliament.”

David Wright is legal counsel to the Gwich'in Tribal Council. I say to David, drin gwiinzih shalakat. He said the following at the INAN committee:

If Bill C-88 is not passed, not only will Canada not have fulfilled its commitment to Northwest Territories indigenous communities, but these communities will be forced back into time-consuming, expensive, acrimonious litigation, all adversely affecting that treaty relationship and the broader reconciliation project. Further, this would generate regulatory uncertainty that benefits no one....

I know the Conservatives have spoken against uncertainty in the past, so that is another reason for them to support the bill.

Premier McLeod and Grand Chief George Mackenzie, in a joint letter, said:

[W]e are hopeful that Bill C-88 will proceed expeditiously through the legislative process and receive Royal Assent [in this Parliament].... The negative implications of the status quo are significant.

Mervin Gruben was also quoted as supporting the bill, as well as Duane Smith from Inuvialuit. It was suggested he was not allowed to come to committee, but he was actually invited. He did provide a written submission, and it was nice to have that information added to the record.

A Conservative member talked about not listening to indigenous people and indigenous voices. The member said that not listening to the people of the north is arrogance. I just read that the four governments involved, the Sahtu, the Gwich’in, the Tlicho and the GNWT, all support the bill. Conservatives are right; we should listen to those people. They should listen to those people as well, along with the rest of the parties supporting the bill, and support the bill.

Another thing the Conservatives have talked about a lot is support for resource development. I am sure all other parties agree with sustainable development. It is another reason the Conservatives should vote for the bill. I will read some comments about how the bill promotes and ensures this.

Chief Alfonz Nitsiza, from the Tlicho Government, said:

[F]ailure to resolve this matter co-operatively would damage our treaty relationship and undermine the process of reconciliation as directed by the courts. Long-term regulatory uncertainty for any reason will damage the economy of the Northwest Territories, including within the Tlicho community. This is all avoidable with the passage of Bill C-88.

David Wright, legal counsel to the Gwich'in Tribal Council, said, “Bill C-88 is a step toward certainty in the Mackenzie Valley, and that is a step that should be taken at this time”.

Finally, Premier McLeod said:

The proposed amendments to the MVRMA in Bill C-88 would increase certainty around responsible resource development in the Northwest Territories. That certainty is something our territory needs as we continue to work with the indigenous governments in the territory to attract responsible resource development.

Conservatives, to be true to the values they so eloquently put forward on resource development, can support those values by supporting this bill.

I support Bill C-88, an act to amend the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act and the Canada Petroleum Resources Act. Although the debate so far has focused on the content of the proposed act, I want to talk about what is not in Bill C-88 and why it would be a mistake to make major amendments at this stage.

Amending Bill C-88 at this stage of the process would defeat its overall purpose, which is to resolve a court challenge arising from the previous government's decision to merge the land and water boards without holding appropriate consultations.

The Northwest Territories Devolution Act, Bill C-15, was assented to in March 2014. The act transferred the administration and control of public lands and waters to the Government of the Northwest Territories and amended the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act. The act includes provisions restructuring the Mackenzie Valley land and water boards.

The Tlicho government and Sahtu Secretariat Incorporated challenged the changes to the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act that would have dissolved their regional land and water boards. They argued that theses changes violated their land claims agreements and infringed on the honour of the Crown. They added that the consultations had been inadequate. On February 27, 2015, the Supreme Court of the Northwest Territories granted an injunction that suspended the proposed board restructuring, along with the coming into force of other regulatory amendments.

I would like to point out that those regulatory amendments, which included the addition of a regulation-making authority for cost recovery, administrative monetary penalties, development certificates and other provisions related to regional studies, all passed through the parliamentary process in 2014. Those same provisions are being presented today. However, they were rewritten to ensure that they could apply under the existing four-board structure. They were not part of the court challenge. Bill C-88 responds to the court challenge by reversing the provisions to merge the boards and re-introducing some regulatory elements that are applicable under the existing four-board structure.

On September 23, 2016, the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations sent a letter to indigenous governments, organizations and stakeholders to launch the consultation process on Bill C-88.

Consultations were held with indigenous governments and organizations in the Mackenzie Valley, transboundary indigenous governments and organizations, resource co-management boards, organizations from the mining, oil and gas sectors, and the territorial government. To ensure that the indigenous governments and organizations were able to fully participate in the process, the Government of Canada provided funding to these groups and to the resource co-management boards that took part in the consultations.

Representatives from Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada, or CIRNAC, held a teleconference with stakeholders to consider next steps and to discuss the consultation plan. A legislative proposal to repeal the board restructuring provisions was drafted and submitted to the groups for review. During the review period, the groups had the opportunity to meet with CIRNAC representatives in Yellowknife to talk about the content of the proposal and to ask questions. This was also an opportunity for CIRNAC representatives to determine whether any part of the proposal was unclear or could be improved, based on the feedback they received.

I will not have time to finish, but I do not want to miss this particular point. The only other questions someone could ask that I have not already answered are whether the consultation that was done was serious and, although they were in agreement at the end, whether any changes were made. The answer is yes. I will give an example of two of the changes that were made.

The first was that because of the consultations with the people involved, a court jurisdiction related to a judicial review of administrative monetary penalties, AMPs, was modified in order to ensure consistency with the exclusive jurisdiction of the Northwest Territories Supreme Court under section 32 of the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act.

A second change was that consultation obligations related to the AMPs were added to the bill to ensure consistency with the comprehensive land claim agreements.

The only other thing I think someone might ask is related to the position of national interest and whether this is the only case of that. The answer is no; it is a clause, an idea, that comes up in different legislation. I will give members some examples from the north: the Mackenzie Valley Resource Act, Statutes of Canada 1998, chapter 25, section 130, and the Nunavut Planning and Project Assessment Act, Statutes of Canada 2013, chapter 14, section 2.

Section 94 of the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act provides for the federal minister to refer a proposed project to the Minister of Environment for the purpose of a joint review of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act if it is in the national interest to do so.

The Nunavut Planning and Project Assessment Act also provides for the responsible minister to reject a board decision or to reject or vary recommended terms or conditions if it is in the national interest to do so.

A few close references can also be found in section 51 of the Yukon Act, Statutes of Canada 2002, chapter 7, and in section 57 of the Northwest Territories Act, Statutes of Canada 2014, chapter 2, section 2.

To boil it all down, basically an act was passed that abrogated the land claim and went against a constitutionally protected law of Canada, which we cannot change by just doing another law. Of course, the court found that out and would not let it go ahead. All this bill would do is to put into law what the court had ordered.

Third ReadingMackenzie Valley Resource Management ActGovernment Orders

June 11th, 2019 / 11:50 p.m.
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Liberal

Michael McLeod Liberal Northwest Territories, NT

Mr. Speaker, I want to touch on an issue that comes mostly from industry. I meet quite often with the Chamber of Mines. It attends a lot of the round tables and has very strong opinions on resource development and the economy. So does the Chamber of Commerce. They always talk about the need to address a number of things if the north is going to become more economically secure.

The first thing is to address the issue of cost through infrastructure, mostly transportation infrastructure. The second thing is to sort out and resolve land tenure, compensation and self-governance with the indigenous people. They claim, and I agree with them, that certainty is a big issue and that we should not change the system we have. Everyone is comfortable and familiar with it.

Would the member agree that keeping the system, with the changes in Bill C-88, would give legal certainty to industry and all northerners, including the indigenous governments?

Mackenzie Valley Resource Management ActGovernment Orders

June 11th, 2019 / 11:55 p.m.
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Conservative

Arnold Viersen Conservative Peace River—Westlock, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is my privilege to speak to this bill.

I do not know if members have ever seen a hostage situation where the hostage makes a statement by video conference. We hear that statement and it is interesting because we know the person and that person would never make that statement otherwise. We kind of have that going on here.

We have heard the same statement read over and over again tonight. People say they support the bill. They say that there is a part of the bill that everybody in the Northwest Territories supports and there is a part of the bill that people do not. However, when they say they support it, the good outweighs the bad and therefore they support it.

One of part of the bill that does not fit with the rest is the fact that it would allow for a moratorium to be imposed from on high, from Ottawa, on the north. The moratorium was imposed without any consultation in the north whatsoever. What we have here is the Government of the Northwest Territories in this hostage situation where it either takes the bill or not. The Liberals ran around and got statements of support for the bill, despite there being a poison pill in it that people actually did not like.

When it comes to consultation, the Liberals, if it is to hold something back, if it is to ensure development does not happen, are entirely in favour of consultation. However, if it comes in a place where they are trying to hold something back unilaterally, then they do not have to do the consultation. In the case of putting in more regulations or preventing a pipeline from happening, then they need to have more consultation. However, if they are just going to unilaterally do something that is in that same vein, like a drilling moratorium, then they do not have to consult whatsoever.

It seems to me that the bill is entirely in keeping with the anti-energy agenda of the Liberal government. If it comes to getting a pipeline built, consult and consult. If it comes to imposing a drilling moratorium, or a tanker ban or a shipping ban, do not consult at all, just impose it from on high.

The government's anti-energy agenda is being portrayed loud and clear in Bill C-88. I find it completely disingenuous for the member for Yukon to say that the bill will help attract resource development in the territory. It will not do that whatsoever. He is correct when he says that it brings in regulatory certainty. It does bring in regulatory certainty. It will ensure that companies know that developing in the north sea is not allowed.

Indigenous and Northern AffairsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

May 30th, 2019 / 10:05 a.m.
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Liberal

MaryAnn Mihychuk Liberal Kildonan—St. Paul, MB

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, two reports of the Standing Committee on Indigenous and Northern Affairs.

The first is the 19th report in relation to Bill C-92, an act respecting first nations, Inuit and Métis children, youth and families. The committee has studied the bill and has decided report the bill back to the House with amendments.

With the introduction of Bill C-92, we mark a historic turning point for first nations, Inuit and Métis children and families. Bill C-92 would finally put in law what indigenous peoples across the country have been asking of governments for decades: that their inherent jurisdiction be affirmed so they can decide what is best for their children, their families and their communities. The amendments that we accepted at committee yesterday would strengthen the bill further. We will continue to listen to our partners on this important legislation.

The second is the 20th report in relation to Bill C-88, an act to amend the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act and the Canada Petroleum Resources Act and to make consequential amendments to other acts. The committee has studied the bill and has decided to report the bill back to the House without amendment.

Business of the HouseOral Questions

May 30th, 2019 / 3:10 p.m.
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Waterloo Ontario

Liberal

Bardish Chagger LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Madam Speaker, this afternoon, we will resume debate at report stage of Bill C-93, an act to provide no-cost, expedited record suspensions for simple possession of cannabis. Tomorrow, we will start report stage of Bill C-97, budget implementation act, 2019, No. 1.

Currently, the intention is to have Monday, June 3 and Friday, June 7 as allotted days.

Next week, priority shall be given to Bill C-97, the budget implementation act; Bill C-93, concerning cannabis pardons; Bill C-92, an act respecting first nations, Inuit and Métis children, youth and families; Bill C-88, concerning the Mackenzie Valley; and government business no. 29, the national climate emergency.

We will also give priority to bills coming back from the Senate.

Finally, I would like to mention that following Private Members' Business on Tuesday and Wednesday evening next week, we will have three hours set aside for speeches by members not seeking re-election in the next election.

These are our current intentions, but as we know, things can always change.

Bill C-88—Time Allocation MotionMackenzie Valley Resource Management ActGovernment Orders

April 9th, 2019 / 10:40 a.m.
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Liberal

Bardish Chagger Liberal Waterloo, ON

Madam Speaker, we are debating why we need to put time allocation on this important legislation. We are doing so because the opposition chooses not to find a way forward.

Since the member opposite has done a fairly decent job at misrepresenting the legislation, I will remind Canadians that Bill C-88 responds to concerns raised by indigenous governments and organizations in the Mackenzie Valley, specifically the proposed restructuring of the land and water boards of the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act.

Following the general election in October 2015, Canada committed to exploring ways to address the concerns raised about restructuring provisions. When it comes to these restructuring provisions, conversations took place between different levels of government. The Conservatives were a part of those.

When the Conservatives introduced legislation, they brought in the super board concept. That is why the Conservative government at the time was taken to court. It lost that court case because northerners did not support that approach.

However, northerners support our approach and we believe it should receive swift passage. Unfortunately, we have to move time allocation because the Conservatives will do whatever they can to block the important work that benefits northerners, especially when it comes to this legislation.

Bill C-88—Time Allocation MotionMackenzie Valley Resource Management ActGovernment Orders

April 9th, 2019 / 10:45 a.m.
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Liberal

Bardish Chagger Liberal Waterloo, ON

Madam Speaker, if that member has the permission of her leadership, because I am sure she will not get to speak on her own, she will have plenty of time today to actually debate this important legislation.

When it comes to Bill C-88, it is important to note that it is the result of co-operative, conciliatory discussions that resulted in an agreement to repeal the restructuring provisions in the Northwest Territories Devolution Act. The Government of the Northwest Territories supports these amendments. Indigenous governments and organizations in the Northwest Territories want these amendments. The mining industry that conducts its business in the territory has indicated its support for these changes.

These conversations and discussions have taken place. It is northerners, it is the Northwest Territories, who are asking us to move quickly on this legislation. If that member wants to talk about it, she will have plenty of time today to talk about it. Northerners need action. They need this legislation to go to committee so that we can act. Enough with the talking. Let us move this legislation along. The opposition needs to stop playing games. Let us get to work.

Bill C-88—Time Allocation MotionMackenzie Valley Resource Management ActGovernment Orders

April 9th, 2019 / 10:50 a.m.
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Conservative

Jamie Schmale Conservative Haliburton—Kawartha Lakes—Brock, ON

Madam Speaker, it is unfortunate that we have come to this situation in this place. Bill C-88 is yet another anti-energy policy the Liberals are trying to bring in. They are driving investment out of Canada's north. Just like Bill C-69, Bill C-88 politicizes oil and gas extraction by expanding the power of cabinet to block economic development and add to the increasing levels of red tape, hampering investment in the north.

I was at the AME Roundup in Vancouver a few months ago and spoke with numerous mining professionals and people inside the mining and oil and gas extraction industries. They are quite frustrated with the Liberals' plan to take power from the people of northern Canada, in the Northwest Territories in particular. Making the Northwest Territories basically a part is not a way to solve the issues of economic development in Canada's north.

The people spoke loud and clear at that conference. I would like to hear the Liberals' plan for solving the poverty rates in the Northwest Territories if they are actually hampering the industry that could provide jobs, opportunity and wealth.

Bill C-88—Time Allocation MotionMackenzie Valley Resource Management ActGovernment Orders

April 9th, 2019 / 10:55 a.m.
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Conservative

Colin Carrie Conservative Oshawa, ON

Madam Speaker, I rise frustrated by the responses of the government House leader. She is trying to tell Canadians why we are in this situation right now. The reason we are here is that we have a government that, instead of doing the work it is supposed to be doing, is obsessed with its scandals and selfies.

This government is actually one of the worst functioning governments since the 1920s. The Liberals are not working with anyone. They are not getting any of the legislation that is important to Canadians put through. They are shutting down debate once more on a very important bill.

Regardless of what the House leader is saying, let us look at the facts. Bill C-88 reveals a full rejection of calls from the elected territorial leaders for increased control of their natural resources by giving the federal cabinet the ability to block oil and gas projects. These are key economic activities in the north. This top-down, paternalistic action of the Liberal government would do nothing to reduce poverty in the north.

This is just another sign that the Liberal government is obsessed with what it feels is important: the selfies and the scandals that are going on. Canadians expect us to debate bills in the House, debate them for northerners, so we can get some economic activity and decreased poverty in the north.