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

This bill was last introduced in the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session, which ended in September 2019.


Dominic LeBlanc  Liberal


This bill has received Royal Assent and is now law.


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.


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


June 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

Mackenzie Valley Resource Management ActGovernment Orders

December 3rd, 2018 / noon
See context

Yvonne Jones Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Intergovernmental and Northern Affairs and Internal Trade, Lib.

Mr. Speaker, I rise today mindful that we are on the traditional unceded territory of the Algonquin people.

I am honoured to begin the debate at second 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. This bill clarifies the legislative and regulatory framework for the development of key regions of Canada's north, the Mackenzie Valley and the offshore areas of the Arctic Ocean and the Beaufort Sea. These regions have vast economic potential but they are also environmentally sensitive. Moreover, these regions have sustained indigenous people and communities who have lived in the north since time immemorial. Those communities, their organizations and governments have a right to a say in how the region is developed.

The bill before us addresses two different acts of Parliament that affect resource development in the north: the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act and the Canada Petroleum Resources Act.

Let me begin with the amendments to the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act. I remind the House that in March 2014, the Northwest Territories Devolution Act transferred control of public lands and waters in the Northwest Territories to the territorial government. It is that government that now makes decisions on resource development. It receives 50% of resource revenue within the specific annual limit.

We know the abysmal track record of the Conservatives when it came to respecting and honouring indigenous rights and supporting the people of the north. That act was the perfect example. In 2014, through Bill C-15, the Northwest Territories Devolution Act, the Harper government completely changed the land and water board structure without adequate consultation and in complete ignorance of indigenous rights. Those changes became very controversial within the region as the current member for Northwest Territories knows well. Through many conversations, consultations and meetings, there were many good points brought forward by people in that area.

The Harper government removed three regulatory authorities: the Gwich’in Land and Water Board, the Sahtu Land and Water Board and the Wek'èezhìi Land and Water Board. The Mackenzie Valley Land and Water Board was to remain as a single consolidated land and water board for the Mackenzie Valley. That was what the Conservative government wanted but it is not what the indigenous governments wanted. The indigenous governments and organizations correctly argued that their authorities in land and water management are guaranteed by their land claims and by their self-government agreements and they should be honoured. The Conservative government could not unilaterally abolish their land and water boards. This was just another sad example of the Harper government's tendency to trample on the rights of indigenous people.

In February 2015, the Northwest Territories Supreme Court issued an injunction that halted the provisions that included the restructuring of the land and water boards. The injunction preserved the existing regulatory processes until the court could provide further instruction. At the same time, other measures included in section 253(2) were affected, including a regulation-making authority for cost recovery and consultation, administrative monetary penalties, development certificates, regional studies and the terms of board members. The Conservatives appealed the injunction in March 2015. We heard from stakeholders that that situation not only created mistrust on the part of indigenous governments and organizations toward the Canadian government, but it also created uncertainty that discouraged the responsible development of the region's resources.

In the fall of 2015, in order to better put us on a path to reconciliation and economic development, the then minister of indigenous and northern affairs met with indigenous governments and organizations in the Northwest Territories to find a way forward. The minister announced that she had directed the department to pause its appeal and start the exploratory discussions.

Rather than taking this fight and continuing it in the courts, our goal has been to work with indigenous governments and organizations to identify potential solutions. In the summer of 2016, the minister met with indigenous governments and organizations, and in September 2016, she wrote to the relevant parties to officially begin a formal consultation process. The consultations have been thorough and effective. They have included indigenous governments, organizations, the Government of the Northwest Territories and industry. This is the way to move forward on matters affecting resource development in Canada's north.

The Conservatives' attempt to unilaterally change the regulatory regime set the relationship with the Northwest Territories and indigenous people back by many years. However, with this bill, we are getting back on track and we are working with them to move forward.

The bill removes the board amalgamation provisions and confirms the continuation of the Sahtu, Gwich'in and Wek'èezhìi land and water boards with the jurisdiction to regulate land and water use in their management regions. These regional boards will also continue to be panels of the Mackenzie Valley Land and Water Board. The Mackenzie Valley Land and Water Board will continue to have jurisdiction for the regulation of land and water, including the insurance of land use permits and water licences in the area of the Mackenzie Valley where land claims have not been settled and for transboundary projects.

In effect, this bill repeals the provisions of the Conservatives that challenged the rights of indigenous governing bodies under their comprehensive land claim agreements. Other provisions of the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act that were included in the Northwest Territories Devolution Act but were halted by the court injunction will also be reintroduced in this bill.

Specifically, the bill provides for the Governor in Council to make regulations pertaining to cost recovery to indigenous consultation. Development certificates will set out the conditions under which a project can proceed. Administrative monetary penalties can now be established through regulations for violations relating to these certificates. Provisions will allow the establishment of committees for the conduct of regional studies. The bill also provides for the extension of the terms of board members to allow them to complete a proceeding that is under way. This will ensure there is continuity in the process and in the decision-making.

We are setting out a positive way forward for the development of the Mackenzie Valley. It is a way forward that acknowledges the rights of indigenous governments and organizations and will provide certainty to industry. When we listen to northerners when developing policies that affect them, great things are possible and it leads the way to better prosperity for all people in the north.

The second part of this bill involves the Canada Petroleum Resources Act which governs the drilling of oil and gas that takes place offshore in the Arctic. Those offshore drilling operations face a number of technical and logical challenges, including a short operating season and sea ice. We do not yet have the technology to resolve these challenges, but I have confidence that there will be technological solutions that will enable offshore drilling to be undertaken safely in the future.

To get to these solutions, we must be guided by the knowledge of the nature of the challenges. That knowledge will be shaped by science, including both marine science and climate science. We need evidence for effective decision-making that will help us reach the goal of responsible resource development. This science is still in its early stages. The technology will eventually follow. In the meantime, we must take steps to protect a sensitive and vulnerable environment in the Beaufort Sea and the Arctic Ocean.

In December 2016, the Prime Minister announced a moratorium on new offshore drilling in our Arctic waters. The moratorium will be tested every five years through a science-based review. This review, undertaken in collaboration with our northern partners, will provide evidence that will guide future oil and gas activity.

The bill before us would complement the 2016 moratorium and protect the interests of licence holders by freezing the terms of their licences for the duration of the prohibition on oil and gas activity. The licences will not expire during the moratorium. This will allow us to preserve the existing rights until the five-year science-based review is completed. At that point, we will have a better understanding of strategic plans and potential decisions in collaboration with our northern partners, indigenous governments and the governments of the north.

I am pleased to inform the House that the companies that currently hold the existing oil and gas rights and our northern partners have been supportive of responsible development of the Arctic offshore and the strategic path forward. They understand the importance of protecting the unique Arctic environment while pursuing safe, responsible oil and gas activities, activities that create jobs and economic growth in northern indigenous communities. They appreciate the importance of the science-based review in establishing future decisions on Arctic offshore development.

These amendments are fair to existing rights holders and allow us to go forward with a serious review of the science in order to better understand the potential impacts and benefits of oil and gas extraction in the Beaufort Sea. This is sound, sustainable management and is consistent with what our government is already doing regarding science in the north.

The bill before us ensures that indigenous governments and organizations will have a strong voice in the development of resources in their territories. Our goal is to put in place a robust regime that will protect Canada's rich natural environment. It will support a resilient resource sector and at the same time respect the rights and interests of indigenous people.

This bill is part of an ongoing journey toward meaningful reconciliation with indigenous peoples and the protection of our lands and waters. In this way, we are able to foster economic opportunities and growth and protect the environment for future generations.

I urge all hon. members to join me in supporting this bill and supporting the wishes, hopes and aspirations of those who live in Canada's north.

Mackenzie Valley Resource Management ActGovernment Orders

December 3rd, 2018 / 12:25 p.m.
See context


Cathy McLeod Conservative Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak 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.

Before I get into the details of the bill, it is important to look at the context with respect to what has been happening over the past three years and what is starting to be a real pattern of the Liberal government. The decisions it makes consistently increase red tape and bureaucracy, and are mostly anti-resource development. This bill is no different.

I would like to talk about a few areas to show the context, which will then show that this follows a pattern that adds to what is becoming an increasing concern in the country, and that is the ability to move our natural resources forward.

When the Prime Minister took office, there were three private companies willing to invest more than $30 billion to build three nation-building pipelines that would have generated tens of thousands of jobs and billions in economic opportunity. The Prime Minister and his cabinet killed two and put the Trans Mountain expansion on life support. Bill C-69 would block all future pipelines.

In addition, the government has made a number of arbitrary decisions regarding natural resource development, with absolutely no consultation with those impacted. Today, we only need to look at what is happening in Alberta with the hundreds of thousands of job losses. Who has ever heard of a premier having to decrease the production of a needed resource throughout the country and the world because we simply cannot get resources to the market? This is because of the government's failure.

The northern gateway project was approved by the former government in June 2014. It had a number of conditions on it, just like the current Trans Mountain project does.

In November 2015, just one month after being elected, the Prime Minister killed the project without hesitation. It was subject to a court challenge. When we did finally hear what came out of that court challenge, to be frank, it was nothing that could not be overcome. We could have dealt with that.

The court decision told the Prime Minister to engage in consultation in a more appropriate and balanced way. The court really gave what I would call a recipe for perhaps fixing some problems with the process.

Did he wait for the court decision? No. He went out and killed it flat. With this approved pipeline, he did not wait for a court decision or wait to see how it could move forward. He decided that he did not want that one.

I think we are all pretty aware of the Trans Mountain pipeline. It has been moving along for many years. We know that many first nations support it and hope to see it go through, as they see enormous opportunities for their communities. Of course, others are against it.

What happened in this case? When the Liberals came to government, they decided they had to have an additional consultation process. However, did they follow the directions of the court in the northern gateway decision in which the court was very clear about what the government had to do to do consultations properly? Apparently not. When the court decision came down, we learned otherwise. To be frank, it was much to my surprise, because the Liberals talked about how well they were consulting and that they were putting this additional process in place. The court said that the Liberals did not do the job. What they did was send a note-taker and not a decision-maker.

The fact that the Liberals did not consult properly on the Trans Mountain pipeline is strictly on their laps, as they had very clear guidance from the northern gateway decision and they did not do what they needed to do. They should be ashamed of themselves. Had they done a proper process, they likely would not have had to buy the pipeline, the pipeline would be in construction right now and we would be in a lot better place as a country. With respect to the Trans Mountain pipeline, the blame for where we are on that pipeline lies strictly on the laps of the Liberals.

I also want to note, in spite of what people say, that the courts have said the process was okay, so it has nothing to do with environmental legislation by the previous government or with anything the Conservatives had put in place. It was the Liberals' execution of a flawed process.

Energy east was another one. The former Liberal MP who is now the mayor of Montreal was very opposed to it. I am not sure of all the pieces that went into the Liberals' decision-making, but all of a sudden, the downstream and upstream emissions of energy east had to be measured. As people have rightfully asked, has that happened for the tankers coming down the St. Lawrence from Saudi Arabia and Venezuela? Did that happen with the bailout for Bombardier?

The Liberals created regulatory barriers. Trans Mountain hung on for a long time before it finally said no go. I think Energy east saw the writing on the wall, knowing that the government was not going to be its friend and create an environment to get the work done. It could see the new rules coming into place, so it walked. What a double standard. Canadians who extract energy in an environmentally sound and environmentally friendly way have had standards applied to their ability to move oil through a pipeline that no other country in the world imposes on companies in terms of upstream and downstream emissions.

Next on the plate is Bill C-69. A number of former Liberals are very open about their concerns about Bill C-69. Martha Hall Findlay, a very respected former Liberal MP, said in a recent Globe and Mail article that the new environmental legislation, Bill C-69, “is the antithesis of what this regulatory reform effort hopes to achieve.... [I]n its 392 pages, the word 'competitiveness' appears only twice. Neither the word 'economy' nor the phrase 'economic growth' appear at all.” We have new environmental legislation that most people call the no-more-pipeline bill.

Martha Hall Findlay went on to note that this bill would create enormous uncertainty, more red tape and increased court challenges, and not only in the energy sector but in all other infrastructure in Canada for years to come. I do not know if members are starting to see a pattern: the Liberals have killed pipelines and put in legislation preventing new pipelines from being built. I am not sure why the process with Trans Mountain was not proper; it should have been. Everyone knew what they had to do, but they did not.

Another piece of legislation that is focused on killing opportunities in this country is the tanker moratorium, Bill C-48. The government loves to talk about how it consults, consults and consults, but it only consults to get the answer it wants. There was a large group of first nations that had a huge opportunity with the Eagle Spirit pipeline that would go through its territory. It had plans, it was moving along, everything was in place, and all a sudden Bill C-48, the tanker moratorium, put its dreams and hopes to rest for a while. The interesting thing is that there was no consultation at all. There was no notice about this tanker ban, so how can there be consultation when the government does not want to do something, but vice-versa when it wants to do something?

Now I will get into the details of Bill C-88. In 2016, there was an oil and gas moratorium in the Beaufort Sea, and the interesting thing about that announcement was that for most people in Canada, it came out of nowhere. The Prime Minister did not even have the respect to hold conversations with the territorial premiers and the people most impacted. He made the announcement down in Washington, D.C., along with an “Oh, by the way” phone call 20 minutes before announcing this measure that would impact those communities. That is absolutely shameful. The Prime Minister announced a moratorium on all oil and gas development in the Beaufort Sea when he was down in the United States with President Obama at the time.

I want to read a few quotes by the community leaders subsequently. The Northwest Territories premier Bob McLeod issued a “red alert...for urgent national debate on the future of the Northwest Territories”. He wrote:

The promise of the North is fading and the dreams of northerners are dying as we see a re-emergence of colonialism....

Whether it be ill conceived ways of funding social programs, or new and perplexing restrictions on our economic development, our spirit and energy are being sapped.

That is a very different from what we just heard from the parliamentary secretary when she talked about the previous government. It is her government. Did she hear those words from the premier? He said, “our spirit and our energy are being sapped”.

Mr. McLeod further wrote:

Staying in or trying to join the middle class will become a distant dream for many....

This means that northerners, through their democratically elected government, need to have the power to determine their own fates and the practice of decisions being made by bureaucrats and governments in Ottawa must come to an end. Decisions about the North should be made in the North. The unilateral decision by the federal government, made without consultation, to impose a moratorium on arctic offshore oil and gas development is but one example of our economic self-determination being thwarted by Ottawa.

Then Nunavut premier, Peter Taptuna, told the CBC on December 22, 2016:

We do want to be getting to a state where we can make our own determination of our priorities, and the way to do that is gain meaningful revenue from resource development. And at the same time, when one potential source of revenue is taken off the table, it puts us back at practically Square 1 where Ottawa will make the decisions for us.

Merven Gruben, the mayor of Tuktoyaktuk, told the indigenous and northern affairs committee on October 22, 2018:

I was talking to [the Liberal MP for the Northwest Territories]...and he said, “Yes, Merven, we should be doing something. We should be helping you guys.”

I agree the Liberals should be helping us. They shut down our offshore gasification and put a moratorium right across the whole freaking Arctic without even consulting us. They never said a word to us.

We're proud people who like to work for a living. We're not used to getting social assistance and that kind of stuff. Now we're getting tourists coming up, but that's small change compared to when you work in oil and gas and you're used to that kind of living. Our people are used to that. We [don't want to be just] selling trinkets and T-shirts.

To go to the actual bill, what we can see is that in spite of the lofty words by the parliamentary secretary, there has been a real lack of consultation on issues that are very important to northerners.

Part A would amend the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act to reverse provisions that would have consolidated the Mackenzie Valley land and water boards into one. These provisions, of course, were introduced by the former Conservative government with Bill C-15, the Northwest Territories devolution act. Part B, of course, would amend the the Canada Petroleum Resources Act.

As I have already noted, this is another anti-energy policy from the Liberal government that is driving investment out of Canada, costing Canadian workers their jobs and increasing poverty rates in the north. Like Bill C-69 before it, Bill C-88 would politicize oil and gas extraction by expanding the powers of cabinet to block economic development, and would add to increasing red tape that proponents must face before even getting shovels in the ground. Further, Bill C-88 reveals a full rejection of the calls by elected territorial leaders for much of the self-autonomy they desire.

We used to look at the north as being an opportunity to be a key economic driver for decades to come. Other Arctic nations, including China and Russia, are exploring possibilities. This could be something that is very important for our sovereignty.

Meanwhile, the Liberals are creating great swaths of protected land. I want to know why that change was originally made to the water and land boards.

In 2007, Neil McCrank was commissioned to write a report on improving the regulatory and environmental assessment regimes in Canada's north. As outlined in the McCrank report, entitled, “The Road to Improvement”, the current regulatory process in the Northwest Territories is complex, costly, unpredictable and time-consuming. The merging of the three boards into one was a key recommendation. Part of the report stated:

This approach would address the complexity and the capacity issues inherent to the current model by making more efficient use of expenditures and administrative resources. It would also allow for administrative practices to be understandable and consistent.

If these recommendations on restructuring and improvements are implemented, the regulatory systems in the North will be able to ensure orderly and responsible development of its resources.

Regarding the move to consolidate the boards, the report went on to state: not meant to diminish or reduce the influence that Aboriginal people have on resource management in the North. Rather, it is meant as an attempt to allow for this influence in a practical way, while at the same time enabling responsible resource development...

I want to note that it was Bill C-15, which the Liberals and NDP voted for, that included that component. It was supported on all sides of the House. It was also included as an available option in the three modern land claim agreements. Bill C-15 looked to streamline the regulatory process and to place time limits on reviews and provide consistency. It was never meant to impact impact indigenous communities and their ability to make decisions. It was to streamline the regulatory process, place time limits on reviews and consolidate federal decision-making.

Certainly, I see this component of the bill as a move backward rather than forward. At this point, it would appear that all of the communities involved want to move in this direction. I believe that is unfortunate. The model I wish they would have worked toward would have been a much more positive one in doing the work they needed to do.

The final part is the drilling moratorium, which is perhaps the most troublesome. It would allow the federal cabinet to prohibit oil and gas activity in the Northwest Territories or offshore of Nunavut if it were in the national interest. This is a much broader power than currently exists in the act, which only allows Canada to prohibit that activity for safety or environmental reasons, or social problems of a serious nature.

I note that the licences set to expire during the five-year moratorium would not be affected, which is seen as somewhat positive by the people holding those licences. However, I suppose if we have a moratorium forever, it really does not matter if one's licence is on hold forever, because it would not be helpful in the long run.

In conclusion, what we have here is perhaps not on the scale of Bill C-69 or some of the other things the government has done, but it just adds to the government's habit, whenever it deals with the natural resource industry, of tending to make it more complicated and of driving businesses away rather than doing what Canada needs, especially right now, which is bringing business to us.

Mackenzie Valley Resource Management ActGovernment Orders

December 3rd, 2018 / 12:55 p.m.
See context


Richard Cannings NDP South Okanagan—West Kootenay, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am happy to rise to speak to Bill C-88, an act to amend the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act and the Canada Petroleum Resources Act. I would like to start by saying that the overall position of the NDP on this bill is that northerners know best how to manage their own resources. We will be supporting this bill at second reading but feel there are some areas where important improvements could be made.

This bill is part of a series of measures the Canadian government has made over the past half-century or so to bring more democracy to the north and end the colonial style of government that has been in place since Confederation. It seems, though, that every step forward has some steps backward and this bill perhaps is no exception. This is a bit of an omnibus bill.

I just want to point out that although the member for Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo mentioned that the NDP and Liberals voted for Bill C-15, that was because it was an omnibus bill on the devolution of power to the Northwest Territories. We were all in favour of the bill and then the former Conservative government tacked on that poison pill which cut down indigenous rights. We supported it, even though we had concerns about that last part of it.

This is a bit of an omnibus bill. It sets out to do two different things. First, it would repeal parts of Bill C-15, the Northwest Territories Devolution Act, which was passed in the last Parliament and, second, it would bring into force an announced a moratorium on oil and gas exploration and development in offshore waters in the Canadian Arctic. Bill C-15, passed in 2014, was a bit of an omnibus bill. The bulk of that bill dealt with the devolution of powers from the federal government to territorial government. The general public opinion in the north was that this was a great thing. It was reversing the tide of colonialism and giving back more powers to northerners to manage their own affairs.

However, the second part of Bill C-15 went back on that, eliminating four regional land and water boards and replacing them with a single super board. Those four boards were created out of land claims agreements and negotiations with various first nations in the Mackenzie Valley area and the new super board significantly reduced the input that those first nations would have on resource management decisions.

Since 1967, much of the political history of the Northwest Territories has been one of de-colonialization through the devolution of powers from the federal government, and there have been four settled land claims in the Northwest Territories since then.

First, the lnuvialuit agreement covers the northern part of the Mackenzie Delta, the Beaufort Sea region and the Northwest Territories portion of the Arctic Archipelago. The region is outside the areas covered in the regional land and water boards covered in Bill C-88 but does bear on the second part of the offshore oil and gas exploration.

Second, the Gwich'in agreement covers the southern portion of the Mackenzie Delta and the northern part of the Mackenzie Mountains.

Third, the Sahtu Dene and Métis agreement covers the region around Great Bear Lake and the adjacent Mackenzie Mountains.

Fourth, the Salt River Treaty Land Entitlement covers an area near the town of Fort Smith, Northwest Territories. This agreement does not involve the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act.

There are two more agreements in place now in the Northwest Territories: the Deline self-government agreement for a community covered by the Sahtu agreement, and the Tlicho land, resources and self-government agreement covering the area north of Great Slave Lake.

These agreements are modern-day treaties that create and confirm indigenous rights and are protected by section 35 of the Constitution. The Gwich'in, Sahtu and Tlicho agreements contain provision for the creation of a system of co-management boards enacted by the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act. On each of these boards, there are four members and a chair. Two of the four members are nominated or appointed by the Gwich'in, Sahtu or Tlicho, so that they have an equal partnership in those decisions.

In parts of the Northwest Territories where there is no settled land claim, the main board created by the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act, the Mackenzie Valley Land and Water Board, is in operation. In the lnuvialuit Settlement Region, the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency conducts environmental assessments.

On December 3, 2013, the Harper government introduced Bill C-15, which was primarily meant to implement the provisions in the Northwest Territories Lands and Resources Devolution Agreement. However, as I mentioned, it contained this poison pill in the form of changes to the land and water co-management boards created by the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act.

The Harper bill eliminated the regional boards in favour of a single superboard consisting of 10 members and a chair. Bill C-15 also changed the process by which members of the single board were appointed and only provided for a single representative from the Gwich'in, Sahtu and Tlicho. These groups went from having an equal partnership, two of four members, to only having one in 10 members on this superboard. These changes were wildly and widely unpopular in the Northwest Territories and contrary to the wishes of northerners, as reported by a consultation process launched by the Conservatives prior to bringing forward Bill C-15.

The member previously mentioned the McCrank report. There was a consultation process about that report, but the first nations, when told about these options, said not to do this and that they did not like it. It is not consultation if we just tell first nations what is going to happen. We have to try to make accommodation, and that is exactly what did not happen here. I have some quotes about what first nations and Métis groups thought of this.

Jake Heron from the Métis Nation said that it's very frustrating when you're at the table and you think you're involved, only to find out that your interests are not being considered seriously.

Bob Bromley, an MLA in the Northwest Territories said, “The federal government's proposal to collapse the regional land water boards into one big board is disturbing, unnecessary and possibly unconstitutional.” He also said that a single board “does nothing to meet the real problem: failure of implementation.”

Dennis Bevington, a former MP for the Northwest Territories said, “I don't think that's fair to the people that went into the devolution agreement, people like the Tlicho who agreed to the devolution deal because it had some separation from the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act. I think it's inappropriate.”

Bill C-15 received royal assent on March 25, 2014. Shortly afterward, the Tlicho and Sahtu launched lawsuits asking for declarations of portions of the devolution act to have no force or effect and an interim injunction to stop the Government of Canada from taking steps to implement those provisions of Bill C-15 that affected the regional board structure for the Mackenzie Valley. On February 27, 2015, the Supreme Court of the Northwest Territories granted that injunction to the Tlicho. The federal government immediately began appeal proceedings to lift the injunction, but with the defeat of the Harper government, Canada began consultations with Northwest Territories indigenous governments and the Government of the Northwest Territories. The result is Bill C-88 before us today, which would reverse those changes to the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act.

Last night, I happened to be sitting next to Grace Blake on the plane flying from Toronto to Ottawa. She is a Gwich'in leader from Tsiigehtchic. She was very happy to hear that Bill C-88 would keep the land and water boards in place. I think her feelings are representative of most residents of the Northwest Territories.

A representative from the Tlicho, Ryan Fequet, said, “The current land and water boards' composition reflects 50-50 decision-making between first nations and the federal government, and I think the superboard's proposed structure would have changed that, and that's why various parties voiced their concerns.”

I will now go to the second part of Bill C-88, which deals with the Canada Petroleum Resources Act.

As other members have mentioned, this began back in late 2016 when the Prime Minister was meeting with President Barack Obama and they both gave what was called the United States-Canada joint Arctic leaders' statement. In that, Barack Obama said that the U.S. is designating “the vast majority of U.S. waters in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas as indefinitely off limits to offshore oil and gas leasing.”

At the same time, it seemed that Canada felt obliged to designate all Arctic Canadian waters as indefinitely off limits to future offshore Arctic oil and gas licensing, to be reviewed every five years through a climate and marine science-based life-cycle assessment. The Prime Minister made this decision without properly consulting any form of government in the north. As was mentioned, he gave everybody a phone call 20 minutes before the fact.

Northwest Territories Premier Bob McLeod reacted by issuing a red alert calling for an urgent national debate on the future of the Northwest Territories and saying that the Prime Minister's announcement was the re-emergence of colonialism.

He added:

We spent a lot of time negotiating a devolution agreement, and we thought the days were gone when we'd have unilateral decisions made about the North in some faraway place like Ottawa, and that northerners would be making the decisions about issues that affected northerners.

In response to the Prime Minister's unilateral action, the Premier of Nunavut, Peter Taptuna, stated:

We do want to be getting to a state where we can make our own determination of our priorities, and the way to do that is gain meaningful revenue from resource development.

And at the same time, when one potential source of revenue is taken off the table, it puts us back at practically Square 1 where Ottawa will make the decisions for us.

The Inuvialuit Regional Corporation also raised concerns. Duane Smith, the CEO, stated:

There was a total lack of consultation prior to the imposition of the moratorium. This and the subsequent changes to key legislation impacting our marine areas are actions inconsistent with the way the Crown is required to engage with its Indigenous counterparts.

I happened to talk to Mr. Smith about this subject when I was at the Generation Energy Forum meetings in Winnipeg in October 2017, a year later, and he was still hopping mad about this.

In response to the concerns of northerners, Canada began a consultation process and agreed in October 2018 to begin talks with the territorial governments and the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation to reach a co-management and revenue-sharing agreement. Meanwhile, the current oil and gas development moratorium remains in place, to be reviewed in 2021.

Now I would like to speak to how this bill could be improved.

For one thing, despite the fact that the government supported my colleague's private member's bill on putting the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples into every appropriate legislation that the government produces, there is no mention of that at all in this bill. Again, I talked to first nations leaders and they are very frustrated with the government over all the talk and no action in that regard.

The second place that it could be improved, and I will mention this a little later, is through a real commitment for intervenor funding in the review processes that this bill puts forward. There is no mention of that and it is a critical part of any proper consultation.

Outside this bill there are still so many more important areas that the government could be taking action on, such as with respect to first nations drinking water. Seventy-three per cent of drinking water systems are considered at high or medium risk, according to the Parliamentary Budget Officer.

With respect to indigenous housing, estimates from the First Nations Financial Management Board pegged the housing infrastructure gap on reserve at between $3 billion and $5 billion. This was the main thing mentioned to me by Grace who was sitting next to me on the plane last night. Her concern is housing, housing, housing.

With respect to indigenous schooling, whether we look at physical infrastructure, teachers or dropout rates, critical gaps remain. Less than a quarter of indigenous students who started grade 9 went on to finish high school. We really have to step up the game and fix these gaps.

The government has to stop fighting indigenous people in court. Currently, there are thousands of court cases going on between Canada and indigenous people, including 528 specific land claims and 70 comprehensive land claims.

The government has to fix the high cost of food in the north by replacing the nutrition north program with one that actually assists northerners in affording nutritious foods.

It should settle the two outstanding land resource and self-government processes in the Northwest Territories with the Dehcho and the Akaitcho.

I want to finish by mentioning a process that really brought northern resource management issues, and specifically management issues in the Mackenzie Valley, to the attention of southerners and radically changed the way northerners took control of their resource decisions. That was the Mackenzie Valley inquiry, or the Berger inquiry, as it is popularly known. It began with pipeline plans in the early 1970s to bring oil and gas from Prudhoe Bay in Alaska, across the north, over the Yukon to the Mackenzie Valley, as well as two separate plans for pipelines down the Mackenzie Valley into Alberta. The Liberal government at the time commissioned Justice Thomas Berger to create an inquiry that would look into the situation and figure out what northerners wanted, what the impacts of those projects would be on the north and how the government should best proceed.

Justice Berger started in 1974. He travelled to every community in the area, 35 communities, in the affected region. Everyone who wanted to testify was heard. Several days were usually spent in each community. For instance, in Old Crow, in the Gwich'in territory in northern Yukon, 81 people out of a population of 250 testified, many in the Gwich'in language. Five other languages made up the testimony from the other communities. Anyone who wanted to speak was heard carefully and respectfully.

The Berger inquiry also set the standard for intervenor funding. I mentioned that earlier. That money is used to allow concerned citizens to travel and speak at hearings. In 1977, Justice Berger released his findings. He found that the environmental impacts of a pipeline across the Arctic slope of the Yukon would be too great to justify the benefits. Instead, he recommended much of that area be protected from development.

Therefore, in 1984, Ivvavik National Park was created in the Inuvialuit settlement region. In 1995, Vuntut National Park was created in the Gwich'in area of northern Yukon. I had the pleasure and the privilege of visiting those areas.

In 1983, I spent the summer doing biological surveys in the Old Crow area and spent 10 days on Herschel Island, just off the coast of the Beaufort Sea. It was a wonderful time on Herschel. Liz Mackenzie and her two daughters were the only permanent residents there. They were Inuvialuit. They kept us well fed with bannock and fresh Arctic char. I rafted down the Firth River in 1995. I saw muskox and caribou. The porcupine caribou herd calves along the Arctic coast of Alaska and migrates through this area. It is because of those protections that the porcupine herd is literally one of the only caribou herds in Canada still doing well these days. Most caribou herds are declining drastically.

As for the Mackenzie Valley pipeline, Justice Berger pointed out that land claims negotiations were just taking place in the Mackenzie watershed, so he placed a 10-year moratorium on any decision in that region to allow those agreements to be finished. The Berger inquiry is really the gold standard of consultation in Canada. If anyone in the government is interested in what good, proper consultation looks like, this is it. People were heard and accommodations were made.

If we look at the leaders of today in Northwest Territories, many of those leaders began their career by being inspired by leading their people in the Berger inquiry. In an article Ian Waddell wrote on this, he mentioned a few of those names. There was Nellie Cournoyea, who worked for the committee on the original people's entitlement, the Inuvialuit group. She later became the premier of Northwest Territories. Dave Porter, who used to carry equipment for the CBC crew, became a great aboriginal leader in Yukon. Jim Antoine, then the young chief of the Fort Simpson Dene became the premier of Northwest Territories. Georges Erasmus, who appeared before the inquiry for the Indian Brotherhood of the Northwest Territories, later the Dene Nation, became the head chief of the Assembly of First Nations, and on and on.

I will finish by saying that northerners, regardless of descent, overwhelmingly support land, resource and self-government agreements and the co-management processes created by them. Northerners see these processes as de-colonialism. Resource extraction is the only viable form of economic development available to northerners, and while they want strong environmental protections for any resource development, northerners want to be equal partners in making these decisions.

We support Bill C-88, and we support this process of the devolution of powers to territorial and indigenous governments They must continue to eliminate colonialism within our country.

Mackenzie Valley Resource Management ActGovernment Orders

December 3rd, 2018 / 1:30 p.m.
See context


Michael McLeod Liberal Northwest Territories, NT

Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for Glengarry—Prescott—Russell.

I am very proud to join my colleagues to speak in full support of Bill C-88 today. The Prime Minister stated that no relationship is more important to our government and Canada than the one with indigenous peoples. I am proud that we made that commitment and that we continue to strive to fulfill it.

The bill before us today is an important part of this commitment to me and my constituents in the Northwest Territories. The Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act was originally passed in 1998. It provides for the establishment of an integrated system of land and water management for the Mackenzie Valley through a series of co-management boards, at which the Dene, Métis, territorial and federal governments share input and decision-making. Although the MVRMA was passed in 1998, the discussions on this type of land and water management system began in the early 1980s during the negotiations of the Sahtu Dene and Metis Comprehensive Land Claim Agreement.

Regional land claim and self-governing regions in the NWT have boards, also called panels, that review and make recommendations about their lands. Unfortunately, regardless of the system that was in place after years of negotiation, a system that was working well and gave the indigenous people the right to oversee how their lands were used, the previous government decided to cut these boards out of the process. I am glad they were not successful.

First, the Tlicho government filed an injunction, later joined by the Sahtu Secretariat. The Supreme Court of the Northwest Territories agreed and granted this injunction, so here it sits. These previous amendments were never brought into force and the regional boards continue to operate efficiently and effectively, as intended.

Our government is dedicated to a renewed relationship with indigenous peoples in the spirit of reconciliation. One of the key elements in achieving true reconciliation is meaningful consultation. That requires real work. We are committed to restoring trust and further strengthening our relationship with indigenous partners in the Northwest Territories by supporting the integrated co-management regime for lands and waters in the Mackenzie Valley.

We need to ensure that the management of our natural resources is done in a way that respects the inherent and treaty rights of the indigenous people. Through Bill C-88, we can ensure sustainable resource development while also protecting the long-term health and well-being of the environment. This proposed legislation was created in a spirit of reconciliation meant to help renew the relationship between the Crown and indigenous peoples in the Northwest Territories through mutual respect and co-operation.

Bill C-88 is a direct response to the concerns of the indigenous governments and organizations respecting the legislative and regulatory framework flowing from their constitutionally protected land claims and self-government agreements. While the previous government ignored these concerns, we know that by working together we can reach a better result.

The amendments proposed by this bill respect the integrity of the land claim agreements the Government of Canada and the Government of the Northwest Territories entered into in good faith. We have heard loud and clear from our indigenous partners that the dissolution of the Gwich'in, Sahtu and Tlicho land and water boards by the previous Conservative government denied indigenous groups their hard-won rights. We have also heard from them that it directly contravened their land claim agreements, which included the creation and management of these boards. Reconciliation is not an empty word to our government.

Actions must follow words in order to move forward and work toward real, lasting and positive change in the relationship between Canada and indigenous peoples. The bill before us today proposes to reverse the board restructuring and reintroduce the other regulatory amendments that have also been on hold. Simply put, indigenous people have the right to oversee how their lands are used, and also to share in the wealth.

Bill C-88 would integrate the perspectives of indigenous people into the future usage of lands and water on their territories by including and incorporating indigenous views and perspectives into the decision-making regarding land and resources.

We must work together to improve the quality of life of indigenous peoples in Canada, and key to achieving this goal is indigenous control over indigenous lands. In order to protect the integrity of land claim agreements and treaty rights, the importance of engagement and consultation must be respected.

The Gwich'in, Sahtu and Tlicho stood up and made it clear that they wanted their voices heard and their rights acknowledged and respected. This bill will ensure that they continue to have a say in what happens to the lands and water they preside over.

I mentioned earlier that there are other amendments in this bill besides those aimed at fixing the restructuring part that has been on hold the past four or so years, so not all of the previous government's amendments were off base. However, they are all tangled up in their restructuring error.

This bill reintroduces these amendments. There are regional studies, board term provisions and new regulatory authorities, to name a few. The amendment to the Canadian Petroleum Resources Act would enable the science-based review currently under way in the Beaufort Sea to be completed without interruption, while at the same time preventing the existing oil and gas rights in the Arctic offshore from expiring before the conclusion of the review. After a one-year consultation with existing rights holders, territorial governments and indigenous governments, everyone agreed on the importance of protecting the unique Arctic offshore environment while pursuing responsible oil and gas activity.

True reconciliation cannot occur until indigenous governments and organizations are fully included in the management of lands and resources in the north. We need to bring the voices of indigenous people into the process in order to have a broader and more complete view of the future of Canada's natural resources. As the Prime Minister has said, “Together, we can build a world where the rights of Indigenous peoples are respected, where their voices are honoured, and where their communities thrive.”

The bill we are debating today will ensure that the unique perspectives of indigenous governments, leaders and communities will be heard and listened to. I urge all of my colleagues today to recognize the importance of incorporating an indigenous perspective into the future decision-making of our natural resources sector and to support this important legislation.

Mackenzie Valley Resource Management ActGovernment Orders

December 3rd, 2018 / 1:40 p.m.
See context


Francis Drouin Liberal Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to be here today to show my support for Bill C-88, while acknowledging that we are gathering on the unceded traditional territory of the Algonquin people.

Our government is taking a new approach. We are currently conducting extensive consultations with indigenous governments and organizations as well as other key stakeholders on issues that will affect them. This process has helped create a law from which all Canadians can benefit.

Bill C-88 amends the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act in direct response to concerns expressed by indigenous groups affected by the previous piece of legislation as well as comments from key stakeholders.

Our indigenous partners have made their opinions quite clear. The Tlicho government and Sahtu Secretariat Incorporated applied to the courts in 2014 and 2015 respectively to defend their rights in accordance with their individual land claim and self-government agreements.

The bill we are debating today corrects the problems caused by the Conservatives and responds directly to the concerns expressed by indigenous governments and organizations. As part of the ongoing reconciliation process, the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations asked departmental officials to initiate an ongoing dialogue with indigenous organizations and governments in the Northwest Territories to address their concerns.

On September 23, 2016, the minister sent letters to indigenous groups and stakeholders launching consultations on the draft bill to amend the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act in order to address these issues.

Bill C-88 is the result of consultations with indigenous organizations and governments in the Mackenzie Valley, transboundary organizations and governments, resource co-management boards and oil and gas industry organizations.

In addition to indigenous organizations and governments, Canada consulted the Government of the Northwest Territories. Our government also consulted members of the mining and gas and oil industries, including the NWT & Nunavut Chamber of Mines, the Mining Association of Canada, the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada and the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers.

Ongoing consultations over the long term with key stakeholders have provided Canada with invaluable insight into the practical nature of the bill before us today. The comments from our partners provided unique perspectives and useful guidance which, in the end, led to the drafting of this bill. That is why proper consultation is important.

Canada recognizes that the Conservatives' legislation was drafted without enough consultation. That is why the Government of Canada ensured that the voices of indigenous groups, the government of the Northwest Territories, and industry representatives were heard at every stage of the process—from initial discussions through to drafting and review. Bringing together stakeholders is the key to developing effective policies and practices. The Government of Canada is holding extensive consultations in order to create processes that satisfy the needs of all parties. That ensures that the final product serves everyone in a positive and productive manner and gets rid of any possible uncertainty regarding natural resources.

In March, the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations met with industry groups to better understand their opinion on developing and co-managing resources in the North. Industry plays a major role in creating a stronger and better relationship with governments and indigenous organizations when it comes to protecting, managing and developing Canada's natural resources.

In order to truly make progress on the path to reconciliation with indigenous peoples, industry must be taken into consideration as a key strategic partner alongside all levels of government. By bringing together all the stakeholders, every concern will be addressed as it is raised.

If passed, the amendments this bill makes will contribute to the more efficient, predictable and consistent use and management of land, water and natural resources in the Mackenzie Valley. With the creation of a clearer path for governments and organizations in terms of natural resource management, industry will no longer face the potential uncertainty that hinders its ability to invest in northern Canada.

This law will enhance economic opportunities and growth while protecting the environment for future generations. It addresses concerns expressed by indigenous organizations and governments and respects the framework flowing from their constitutionally protected land claim and self-government agreements. It recognizes the importance of having indigenous peoples actively participate in the co-management of natural resources and of protecting their right to monitor the future of their territory.

The environment, the economy and reconciliation go hand in hand. We need to create a more effective system for everyone, and that is exactly what Bill C-88 accomplishes. I encourage my hon. colleagues to support it.

Mackenzie Valley Resource Management ActGovernment Orders

December 3rd, 2018 / 1:50 p.m.
See context


Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure for me to rise to begin my remarks on Bill C-88.

I will be sharing my time with my colleague for Yellowhead.

Bill C-88 speaks to the general context in which we think about oil and gas development in Canada. It speaks to the framework that the government has put in place that allows or does not allow important projects to go forward. I will speak in more general terms about some of those issues during the five minutes I have before question period. After question period, I will continue and speak more specifically about some of the issues that are dealt with directly in Bill C-88.

I am pleased to represent an oil and gas riding. We have something called the “industrial heartland”. We benefit, in particular, from the downstream refining and upgrading component to the energy sector. However, we have many people from our riding who are involved in the direct extraction of our energy resources as well.

Sometimes we hear points made in the House that somehow we should choose between the issue of getting pipelines developed or getting value-added processing done in Canada. People in my community, which is a hub of value-added processing, are very supportive of pipeline development as well. It is not an either/or. In fact, we can do both at the same time. Indeed, we need infrastructure to get our resources to market. At the same time, we are very supportive of policy proposals that facilitate greater energy-related manufacturing and otherwise taking place within Canada.

Under the previous government, we saw four pipelines get built and a number of other projects were in process at the time when there was a change in government. What was the current government's approach when it came to developing vital energy resources? First, it directly killed the northern gateway pipeline project and passed a tanker exclusion bill that sought to make the export of our energy resources from northern B.C. impossible. Even if there were to be a new project proposed that went through all the consultation requirements, that still would be unable to succeed because of Bill C-48.

The government piled all sorts of new conditions on the energy east pipeline project, which led to a decision not to proceed with it. However, let us be very clear. It was the Liberal government changing the rules in the middle of a process, adding additional conditions, that prevented that from going forward. Of course, we have seen its failure thus far with respect to the Trans Mountain pipeline as well. This is really having a chilling effect on development.

I look forward to continuing my remarks after question period.

Mackenzie Valley Resource Management ActGovernment Orders

December 3rd, 2018 / 3:30 p.m.
See context


Jim Eglinski Conservative Yellowhead, AB

Madam Speaker, here we are again with another anti-energy policy from the current Liberal government that is driving energy investment out of Canada, costing Canadian workers their jobs and significantly increasing poverty in certain regions, especially in the north.

I am speaking to Bill C-88, because I am concerned that the changes it would make would politicize oil and gas extraction by expanding the powers of this Liberal government to block economic development. It would take local control and environmental stewardship away from the aboriginal people of the region and would inhibit local, territorial governments from doing what is best for the people of the area. I am speaking of the Mackenzie Delta.

I see that my friend across the way is smiling, because he is very proud of the region he has grown up in.

Bill C-88 is not just another Liberal anti-energy bill, like Bill C-48, Bill C-69 and Bill C-86. These bills could block all future pipelines, giving the government the authority to unilaterally shut down natural resource development. It is now systematically going after the Northwest Territories, as it has done with our western provinces.

Only a few people get to visit the Mackenzie Delta or travel the pristine waters of the Mackenzie River. Those who do find it breathtaking, due to its vast biological and ecological formations.

When Sir Alexander Mackenzie travelled the Mackenzie River in 1789, he was astonished by its sparse population and the pristine beauty of the region. As members may know, the river was named after him. That is for a few of my Liberal colleagues across the way, except for the member for the Northwest Territories.

I count myself fortunate, no, I should say I count myself blessed and lucky, to have been able to travel from the start of the Peace and Athabasca rivers, which are the headwaters of the Mackenzie River, and I have followed it as it flows, leading to the Beaufort Sea in the north. This pristine area, rich in ecological wealth, covers an area of just under two million square kilometres, and its drainage basin encompasses one-fifth of Canada. This is the second-largest river in North America, next to the Mississippi River.

Oil and gas have been part of this region since 1921. There are also mines of uranium, gold, diamond, lead and zinc in the area. During World War II, a pipeline was built from Norman Wells to Whitehorse, in Yukon. It carried crucial petroleum products needed during World War II and helped Canada and the United States build the Alaska Highway, which significantly helped Canada during the war. It is called the Canol Pipeline, and it still exists today.

At a very young age, I personally met and was inspired by one of Canada's great leaders. That was Mr. John Diefenbaker, whose statue sits at the rear of this building. He was a leader of great wisdom and vision who led our country to where it is today. I remember he once said, “I see a new Canada—a Canada of the North.” This is what he thought of and envisioned. He spoke of giving the people of northern Canada the right to develop their resources, protect their environment and maintain and develop strong economies in the region. Diefenbaker saw the need for the people of the north to do this, not the Government of Canada.

One of Canada's leading novelists of the same era, Hugh MacLennan, a Liberal visionary, noted at the time that by 2061, the Mackenzie Delta would have three million people living along the banks and shores of the river and that people's pockets would be full of money from the wealth of the region. He said there would be at least two universities built in the Mackenzie Delta area.

That Liberal's prediction was wrong, and the actions of my Liberal friends across the way from me are also wrong.

There are roughly 10,000 people living along the Mackenzie River Delta, in places like Wrigley, Tulita, Norman Wells, Fort Good Hope, Fort McPherson, Inuvik, Aklavik and Tuktoyaktuk. I have been to those communities and I know the people.

There are 68 aboriginal groups that also live in this region. I have had the pleasure and honour of gathering and socializing with them to discuss their issues. We used to gather at the Petitot River. I have been there a number of times. To me, they are the real stewards of the land, not organizations like CPAWS, the David Suzuki Foundation or others that have the ear of the environment minister. The aboriginal groups are the real Canadian environmentalists and the real stewards of the land.

Recently, Merven Gruben, the mayor of Tuktoyaktuk, testified at the committee on indigenous and northern affairs. He said that the Liberal government should be helping northern communities. Instead, it shut down the offshore gasification and put a moratorium right across the whole Arctic without even consulting communities. He also said that people in his town like to work for a living and are not used to getting social assistance. Now, all they are getting are the few tourists coming up the new highway. That makes for small change compared to when they worked in the oil and gas sector.

They are the people of the Mackenzie River Delta. Our Conservative government gave them the power to manage their resources in a true, healthy and respectful manner that only the people of the region can do. This was done through Bill C-15, which created the Northwest Territories Devolution Act of 2014.

Our former Conservative government viewed the north as a key driver of economic activity for decades to come, but this Liberal government is arbitrarily creating huge swaths of protected land with little or no consultation with aboriginal communities, while other Arctic nations are exploring possibilities within their respective areas.

Bill C-88 reveals a full rejection of calls from elected territorial leaders for the increased control of their natural resources. It consists of two parts. Part A would amend the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act of 1998. Part B would amend the Canada Petroleum Resources Act to allow the Governor in Council to issue orders. That scares me.

What about the provisions that were introduced by the former Conservative government within Bill C-15's Northwest Territories Devolution Act? Bill C-88 would reverse these changes, even though Liberal MPs voted in favour of Bill C-15 when it was debated in Parliament, including the Prime Minister.

Now the Liberals want to reverse the former government's proposal to consolidate the four land and water boards in the Mackenzie Valley into one. I believe this is so that they can take control. The creation of a single board was a key recommendation that would address “complexity and capacity issues by making more efficient use of expenditures and administrative resources” and would allow for administrative practices to be “understandable and consistent”. When Bill C-15 was debated in the House of Commons in 2013 and 2014, the restructured board was included in the final version of the modern land claim agreements.

The Liberals would further politicize the regulatory and environmental processes for resource extraction in Canada's north by giving cabinet sweeping powers to stop projects on the basis of “national interest”. This reveals a rejection of calls from northerners for increased control of their national resources.

The Liberal government should leave the people of northern Canada with their resources and let them be their own environmentalists and stewards of the land. They know it the best.

Mackenzie Valley Resource Management ActGovernment Orders

December 3rd, 2018 / 3:45 p.m.
See context


Greg Fergus Liberal Hull—Aylmer, QC

Madam Speaker, thank you for giving me the opportunity to express my support for Bill C-88 and explain why I approved it at second reading stage. Before I go on, I want to tell you that I will be sharing my time with the hon. member for St. Catharines.

I would like to use my time to draw the attention of my hon. colleagues to the authorization of regional studies. Although this may be a lesser-known aspect of Bill C-88, regional studies should have a significant and positive impact on the review process at the core of the regulatory regime governing resource development in Canada's north.

The proposed changes in the bill before us would allow the Minister of Intergovernmental and Northern Affairs and Internal Trade to establish committees to conduct regional studies. These studies could take very diverse forms. They could, for example, be as narrow as a documentary analysis or as broad as in-depth research to create databases on a body of water or a land mass. The relevant text of the proposed bill is purposely broad in order to allow for a variety of scopes and activities.

One of the reasons why the bill uses non-specific language is that science and scientific knowledge are expanding and becoming increasingly sophisticated. Today, it is impossible to accurately predict what kind of regional study will be most beneficial ten or twenty years from now. That said, regional studies can generate valuable environmental and socio-economic information on the potential impacts of a proposed project. This would definitely be information that the Northwest Territories' regulatory boards would find useful.

Although the proposed bill does not specify the form, scope, or subject of the studies, it clearly sets out what these studies and committees are not. Regional studies are not a substitute for the regulatory boards, for example, or any of the roles these boards play in the regulatory regime.

The bill also states that a committee has no other role than what is set out in its terms of reference. Asking a committee to undertake a study essentially means hiring an expert or consultant to prepare a report. Under this bill, regional studies would be subject to the general principles of the integrated co-management regulatory regime authorized by the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act.

The value of including regional studies in environmental impact assessments has long been recognized. Under subsection 16(1), proponents had to consider the cumulative environmental effects of their projects, while section 16(2) emphasized the role and value of regional studies, outside the scope of the act, in considering cumulative effects. Parliament repealed the act in 2012, replacing it with a new version that explicitly authorizes the minister of the environment to establish committees to conduct regional studies. Regional studies also feature prominently in a 2009 publication issued by the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment.

The publication, which is entitled “Regional Strategic Environmental Assessment in Canada: Principles and Guidelines”, lists the benefits of regional studies. These include analyzing, identifying and managing cumulative environmental effects at a more appropriate, regional scale.

According to this publication, regional studies can also contribute to the discussion of alternative sustainable future scenarios and key environmental goals and objectives for a region.

Studies save time and resources by avoiding environmental effects early on, rather than mitigating cumulative effects much further down the line. Regional studies establish regional environmental targets, limits and thresholds against which to monitor and evaluate subsequent development and management actions. In this way, studies support effective project-based performance assessment. Lastly, the publication suggests that regional studies can provide an early indication of public interest in regional environmental issues.

It is clear that the value of regional studies to environmental impact assessments is increasingly being recognized. Many regulatory regimes in Canada use them as a way to collect environmental data and analyze environmental effects. Besides the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, provisions authorizing regional studies also appear in section 5 of Saskatchewan's Environmental Assessment Act and section 112 of the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Act.

Many other jurisdictions in Canada incorporate regional studies into impact assessments, even though those studies are not explicitly mentioned in the legislative measure in question. The simple truth is that regional studies are becoming increasingly popular because they are useful. They can provide accurate, up-to-date, relevant data. They are versatile and can be adapted to specific, practical circumstances. For example, a regional study may analyze potential impacts from the perspective of an ecosystem or region as a whole, rather than solely from the perspective of a particular project. Regional studies can provide necessary baseline data from which to analyze the impact of future development projects. These studies can also help to determine environmental thresholds. Ultimately, the reliable data and analyses generated by regional studies help board members make well-informed decisions.

By authorizing regional studies, Bill C-88 will make this valuable tool available to regulatory boards in the Northwest Territories. The studies can be used to support project reviews and potentially speed up environmental assessments and environmental impact reviews.

Our government is committed to maintaining strong legislation that protects Canada's rich natural environment, respects the rights and interests of indigenous peoples and supports Canada's resilient natural resources sector. Bill C-88 makes a number of significant improvements to the system.

In addition to authorizing the use of regional studies, the bill restores the regional land and water boards and creates a law enforcement system comprising inspections and revised penalties. Other changes will allow the boards to request extensions of their members' terms and enact regulations governing how governments and proponents consult indigenous peoples during the process to issue licences and permits and the environmental impact assessment process under the law. All these improvements will strengthen northerners' ability to maximize the benefits of resource projects while minimizing their negative impact.

In closing, the bill before us deserves the support of the House. I encourage my hon. colleagues to join me in supporting Bill C-88 at second reading.

Mackenzie Valley Resource Management ActGovernment Orders

December 3rd, 2018 / 4 p.m.
See context


Chris Bittle Liberal St. Catharines, ON

Madam Speaker, today, as we begin second reading debate on 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, I will use my time to focus on the proposed amendments to the Canada Petroleum Resources Act.

The north is seeing the effects of climate change in a more significant and faster way than the rest of Canada. In fact, climate change in the north is occurring at twice the global rate. Scientists now predict that the north will be ice-free by 2040, rather than the previous prediction of 2100.

Climate change is having a profound impact on Canada's Arctic, as well as northern and indigenous peoples and communities. While some of the impacts of climate change, such as melting sea ice, are creating economic opportunities, they are also creating new health and safety risks for northerners and negatively affecting core traditional northern lifestyles, such as hunting and fishing. These changes are reframing Canada's approach to future development of Arctic offshore oil and gas in three ways.

First, climate change is changing the ecology and distribution of marine species, which requires us to have a better understanding of what the risks are.

Second, climate change is altering the northern environment, with more unpredictability in weather and ice and ocean behaviour, and we need a better understanding of all the factors influencing risks for workers and wildlife.

Third, we have to be sure that activities will be pursued responsibly. We want to strike the appropriate balance between economic opportunities and environmental protection. Development must be done in a way that respects and strengthens reconciliation with indigenous peoples in the north.

I am aware of the importance of oil and gas activities to economic prosperity and social well-being in Canada. We recognize the important potential these activities have to strengthen Canada's northern economy. However, acting in haste would be irresponsible and could cause permanent damage to our oceans and communities.

In 2016, the Prime Minister affirmed that commercial activities in the Arctic would occur only if the highest safety and environmental standards were met and if these were consistent with our climate and environmental goals. These are important principles. As a government, by strengthening and modernizing our regulatory regime, we can ensure that these principles underpin resource development in the north.

The bill's proposed amendments to the Canada Petroleum Resources Act and to the Mackenzie Valley Resources Management Act are part of this modernization.

This is not the first time we have come to this chamber with legislation to help northerners. In the late fall of 2017, we brought forward Bill C-17, an act to amend the Yukon Environmental and Socio-Economic Assessment Act. During third reading debate, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs said that we needed a robust process in place to protect our rich natural environment, respect the rights and interests of indigenous peoples and support a strong Canadian natural resources sector.

The bill before the House today aims to do the same thing, namely, to protect the environment, respect indigenous rights, and support the natural resources economy. The bill would also provide the foundation for partnership and future collaboration. We know we can do all of these things, if we take the right approach.

I will now speak more specifically to the Canada Petroleum Resources Act and what the proposed amendments in the bill would do to it. In short, the amendments would allow us to carefully assess the prospects of Arctic offshore resource development in the context of a changing environment. They would enable the government to freeze existing licences held by companies wanting to explore for oil and gas in the Beaufort Sea. This change complements the halt to the issuance of new licenses announced in 2016. This would allow for a thorough evaluation of the current science around climate change and effects on oceans so that we can best determine the next steps for Arctic offshore oil and gas.

The Government of Canada will undertake this review with our northern partners, including Arctic indigenous groups and territorial governments. This means that any decisions will be steered by those most affected.

This approach supports seven-generation thinking. This indigenous principle means that actions should only be taken when we have thought through the consequences for people seven generations into the future. This is critical in the context of climate change and the kind of planet we are going to leave to our grandchildren.

On that note, I want to take a moment and reaffirm our government's commitment to the pan-Canadian framework on clean growth and climate change. This means our government will support and collaborate with indigenous and northern communities and territorial governments as they take action on climate change.

Budget 2016 and budget 2017 provided over $220 million for new programs under the pan-Canadian framework. To date, these investments have supported hundreds of projects in the north and indigenous communities for marine life monitoring studies, coastal erosion and glacial melt impact assessments and initiatives for communities to explore wind and solar power alternatives to offset the use of diesel fuel. The funding is also being used to help indigenous people participate in policy discussions on climate change.

The bill is consistent with these critical efforts to understand, mitigate and adapt to climate change. It is a question of deepening our understanding of the Arctic ecosystem and of the people who call the Arctic home.

Sheila Watt-Cloutier, former international chair of the Inuit Circumpolar Council, has pointed out the importance of seeing the human aspect of effects of climate change in the north. In her book, aptly named The Right to Be Cold, she writes that she has been struck by the tight focus on wildlife instead of human life in the Arctic. She goes on to describe watching a montage about climate change in the Arctic produced by non-northerners. She relates that the photographs were impersonal, showing images of droughts, melting glaciers, coastal erosion and polar bears. She said that there was not a human face in sight.

The point is that when dealing with the Arctic, we are dealing with societies as well as ecosystems. Taking a step back, the proposed amendments in the bill enable us to look at the big picture, including our interconnectedness and vulnerability as humans in a rapidly changing world.

That is why I support Bill C-88 as it relates to the Canada Petroleum Resources Act and encourage all members to do the same.

Mackenzie Valley Resource Management ActGovernment Orders

December 3rd, 2018 / 4:15 p.m.
See context


Arnold Viersen Conservative Peace River—Westlock, AB

Madam Speaker, I would like to begin this debate by quoting the premier of the Northwest Territories when the Prime Minister, in 2016, as part of a Joint Arctic leaders' statement, declared that the Beaufort Sea would be a national park essentially and that there would be no more drilling. This meant that any infrastructure there would now be landlocked and any infrastructure that had been invested in would now be stopped and be held up from being developed.

The premier of the Northwest Territories said that they would end up “living in a park.” That is precisely what the Prime Minister and his principal secretary Gerald Butts would like to see, that all of Canada become a national park, with no economy happening whatsoever.

I will be sharing my time with the member for Fort McMurray—Cold Lake.

Bill C-88 lays out the legal framework for the drilling moratorium. It is part of an ongoing trend we see from the government. Canadians are welcome to live in Canada provided they do not do anything to touch the environment. Again, in the Northwest Territories, this is a record. However, we are seeing a trend.

The Prime Minister has pounded his fists on the table, saying that he will get the Trans Mountain pipeline built. However, when it comes to every other energy project in the country, he has done everything in his power to undermine it. It all started with Bill C-48, the tanker moratorium on the west coast. This effectively killed the northern gateway pipeline. It is part of a larger trend.

In Bill C-68, we see the reversal of the changes we made to the Navigable Waters Protection Act, making it easier for municipalities to develop their regions by putting culverts in and pipelines across streams. Those kinds of things were important changes we had made to make life easier for the people who live beyond Ottawa and Toronto, yet we see the government of today definitely reversing that.

There is also Bill C-69, what we are calling the no more pipelines bill that overhauls the regulatory process for pipelines.

We had a great regulatory framework to build pipelines. Under the Conservative government, we built four pipelines, approved northern gateway and other pipelines. What is really frustrating is that the Liberals went around saying that the public had no confidence in the process, which was completely false. It had been tested significantly by the court. Now that they are in power, they feel the need to overhaul it entirely so it will have to be tested by the court again.

We see that again with Bill C-69, putting the livelihoods of many workers in the oil patch at risk. It is putting the livelihoods of many people who live north of the 55th parallel at risk. We would like to see the government change its ways regarding this.

Bill C-88 is part of a strategy to keep oil in the ground. Therefore, we would definitely like to see it pull this bill back and Bill C-69 in particular.

Over the weekend, there was much to be said about the back-to-work legislation the House imposed on the Canada Post workers. Just yesterday I saw a carton on Facebook about two oil field workers. One of the workers said, “I wish Ottawa would legislate us back to work.” This bill would legislate them out of work.

The Beaufort Sea has vast oil reserves that have been explored. There are millions of dollars in infrastructure sitting up there, which has been basically been abandoned because of the drilling moratorium.

We need to ensure that Canada can work and be prosperous again. We have to ensure that our natural resources, whether oil in the Beaufort Sea, diamond mines in the Northwest Territories, or gold mines in the Yukon, can be developed and can bring prosperity for all of Canada.

One of the major things we know about in northern Canada is the carbon tax and how that will affect northerners in particular. We hear the Liberals talking all the time about Canada being a carbon intensive economy. If we looked outside this morning, we would see that it was snowing, and we typically have snow for six to nine months out of the year, depending on where one lives in Canada. That means the temperature is below freezing for that length of time in the year, so we need to warm things up. We need to make sure our houses stay warm. I enjoy a warm shower every morning. Those things require energy. Not only does Canada require energy, but the world requires energy as well. What better place to get our energy than right here in Canada? However, when we bring in a drilling moratorium in the Beaufort Sea or introduce a carbon tax or table Bill C-69, we limit the development of our natural resources and we then import the energy we need from other jurisdictions that do not have the environmental regulatory framework we have. We do not allow our economy to flourish so it can bring prosperity to some parts of the country that could really use it.

It is important that we develop our resources, including resources in the Beaufort Sea. We know that a large amount of money has been invested in developing that part of the world, and to just bar its development, through government regulation into the future, seems shortsighted and pandering on the world stage to forces outside of Canada.

The announcement in 2016 shows to some degree that the joint Arctic leaders' statement did not take into account the Canadian perspective whatsoever. It was pandering to an international audience. The Prime Minister only had the decency to phone the premier 20 minutes before he made the announcement. That left the territories scrambling. When I was up in the Northwest Territories, one of the things they often said was to let them keep their own royalty revenues. Allowing them to keep the royalty revenues now, when they are unable to develop anything, will not help the situation whatsoever.

With that, I ask the Liberals to reconsider the bill, to reconsider the drilling moratorium in the Beaufort Sea, to reconsider Bill C-69 and Bill C-48, and ensure that we can get development of our natural resources back on the table, bringing prosperity to all Canadians and all Albertans.

Mackenzie Valley Resource Management ActGovernment Orders

December 3rd, 2018 / 4:25 p.m.
See context


Arnold Viersen Conservative Peace River—Westlock, AB

Madam Speaker, that is exactly what the entire thrust of my speech was. Bill C-88 imposes a drilling moratorium in the Beaufort Sea from Ottawa. That is precisely what the member seems not to want, yet he is standing and saying that is not the case.

He talks about royalties, but if there is no drilling going on, there will be no royalties. I ask the member for the Northwest Territories to stand and defend the interests of the people of the Northwest Territories. The resources being developed would bring improvement to the quality of life in the Northwest Territories, if we can get some of our resources to market.

Mackenzie Valley Resource Management ActGovernment Orders

December 3rd, 2018 / 4:25 p.m.
See context


David Yurdiga Conservative Fort McMurray—Cold Lake, AB

Madam Speaker, Bill C-88 would have a negative effect on Canadians in northern communities, who are already struggling to survive. When will enough be enough? Northerners are struggling to access basic resources like affordable groceries, water, high-speed Internet, safe roads and health care. Why is the Liberal government making life even harder for northern Canadians by restricting some of the largest sectors in the north, Canadian energy and, indirectly, the mining industry?

I regret to inform the House that Bill C-88 would repeal and reverse the land and water board restructuring changes the Conservatives passed in the Northwest Territories Devolution Act. It would also further polarize and politicize the regulatory and environmental process for resource extraction in Canada's north by giving the Liberal cabinet ultimate power to stop projects as it suits its political agenda. Northerners deserve increased autonomy over their natural resources sector. The Liberal government needs to stop meddling in the affairs of the north for its own gain.

Bill C-88 is an unnecessary and paternalistic blockade of oil and gas development in the Arctic and other northern regions. I must say that Bill C-88 fails on all fronts. It fails to respect workers in the oil and gas sector, fails to protect investments in the development of remote areas, fails to protect Canadian aboriginal communities on the path to reconciliation and, most disturbingly, fails to give northern communities the autonomy they deserve.

Bill C-88 would be particularly hard on the oil and gas sector. The government's failure to get key energy projects completed and to invest in the north is threatening expansion of the oil and gas sector, putting tens of thousands of good-paying, high-quality jobs at risk. While big American oil companies are getting discounts of over $100 million a day on Canadian oil, Canadian oil still needs to reach international markets.

Bill C-88 is yet another anti-energy policy, making getting and keeping jobs in one of Canada's largest economic industries nearly impossible. Canada's Conservatives will continue to fight for Canada's resource sector and the hard-working Canadians whose livelihoods depend on energy. They can count on us to stand up against a government determined to phase out their jobs.

On another note, Bill C-88 fails to take into consideration economic development in remote indigenous and non-indigenous communities in the north. The north is a key driver of economic activity in Canada. There is no doubt that Canada's north should be treated with the respect it deserves. Conservatives know that economic prosperity in the north does not mean ruining landscapes or harming the environment. Economic investment in the north means finding jobs for Canadians in some of the most remote areas of our country, it means economic prosperity for our economy as a whole and, most importantly, economic investment in the north means food on the table for thousands of Canadian families currently struggling to get by.

The Liberal government is hiking taxes on over 90% of middle-class families in the north. Despite the government's lavish spending, Canadian northerners are no further ahead. We need to promote effective investments in important areas in the north, such as health care, housing and quality drinking water. It is also important to spend money that translates into tangible results for northern Canadians.

Bill C-88 is nothing more than a ploy to win votes in urban centres rather than actually reduce poverty in the northern regions of Canada. We need to put Canadians first, not politicians and their concealed agendas. We need a government that will take the right steps to create sustainable economic opportunities for northerners in Canada. It is time that we started investing properly in the north so we can reap the rewards of economic prosperity for decades to come.

Bill C-88 also fails to adequately support the economic needs of indigenous peoples in Canada. It would significantly impact Canada's northern indigenous populations. Representing a rural riding with a large indigenous population, I know that the rights and sovereignty of Canada's indigenous people must be respected. We must work collaboratively with the indigenous populations in the north to put forward policies that make real and measurable improvements in the lives of Canada's indigenous people.

The Liberals failed to take the necessary steps to create sustainable economic opportunities for indigenous people in remote communities. By cancelling key energy projects, delaying offshore oil and gas projects in the Arctic for five years and imposing out-of-control taxes on rural populations, the future for Canada's northern indigenous populations is not looking bright.

Conservatives support advancing the process of reconciliation but also realize there is no lasting reconciliation between the Canadian government and indigenous populations without economic reconciliation. We must empower indigenous communities through job opportunities, industry and economic growth, rather than take valuable opportunities away.

Last but not least, northerners deserve a greater say in their own regional affairs. Canadians do not want Big Brother. The government needs to establish a plan to both respect northern sovereignty and promote economic prosperity in the north. The Liberal government's plan to impose restrictions on the northern economy will have serious long-term effects on the people living in remote communities.

We need to give autonomy back to people living in the north. Political elites in Ottawa should not get the final say on what energy projects get approved and which energy projects get denied. We need to consult workers and other stakeholders in the north before deciding to scrap potentially valuable energy projects. If we take away northerners' voices on these issues, the communities that can least afford these dangerous polices will be the ones most impacted.

Looking to the future, we need a government that will respect the autonomy of the north, provide economic opportunities for Canada's indigenous populations, invest in northern economic prosperity and protect Canada's oil and gas workers.

Conservatives do not support Bill C-88 and the Liberal government's anti-energy policies. Together, we should change this legislation to better support Canadian industry in the north, and protect the livelihoods of the tens of thousands of workers in northern Canada.

The Northwest Territories has vast underdeveloped oil and gas reserves. It is estimated that the Northwest Territories potentially hold as much as 37% of Canada's marketable light crude oil resources and 35% of its marketable natural gas resources. Like Bill C-69, Bill C-88 will have Ottawa pick the winners and losers. Even if northern industries jump through all the hoops and meet all the criteria, Ottawa can simply say, “No, game over.”

We should have Canadian oil in every refinery in Canada, and jobs for Canadians, not for Saudi Arabia, and support made, produced and manufactured in Canada.

The Liberal government record is shameful. It killed northern gateway by putting a tanker ban on the west coast. Then it created a moratorium on offshore oil and gas development in the Beaufort Sea, an announcement made in December 2016 without even consulting northerners.

The government killed energy east by changing the environmental assessment process almost monthly and then added upstream and downstream emissions, which is not applied to any other industry in the world. The list goes on.

Mackenzie Valley Resource Management ActGovernment Orders

December 3rd, 2018 / 4:40 p.m.
See context

Winnipeg North Manitoba


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

Madam Speaker, it is always a pleasure to rise and address the many issues that come before the House, and this bill is yet another good example of legislation that has been well done.

At the end of the day, members will see there is wide support for the legislation in the communities that are most impacted. More than that, I would suggest that Canadians as a whole have confidence in this government's ability to manage our resources in a fair fashion that sees the national interest served, that the environment is addressed and ensures that consultations take place, whether they are with indigenous people, provincial or territorial governments or organizations. We take this responsibility very seriously. In fact, we have seen ministers of the Crown make a great deal of effort in reaching out to the many different communities and to stakeholders. Ultimately, it allows us to put together the type of legislation that we have.

If there is one single aspect of this legislation that we need to make note of, it would likely be how Bill C-88 would fix a problem that was created by Stephen Harper a number of years ago when the government at the time brought in Bill C-15. Members from both sides of the House have referred to Bill C-15.

I had the opportunity to address the bill a number of years ago when I was on the opposition benches. If memory serves me correctly, I was somewhat critical of the inability of Stephen Harper's government to work with the different stakeholders, and I would put a special emphasis on indigenous people. I remember talking with my colleague from the north, the member for Yukon, about this particular issue when the Conservatives were making some of these changes. I remember how passionate he was as a northerner, and also as an elected official in recognizing the harm that was being caused.

Fast forward to today, and as I listened to my colleague from the Northwest Territories speak to the legislation, I have a better understanding of how he and his family have been long-time advocates for the issues in the Northwest Territories, which could be broadened to include northern Canada. One cannot help but be inspired by the level of dedication and strong sense of commitment to ensure that what we are doing is moving us forward in the right direction. This is why I thought it was important to listen to the member for Northwest Territories, as he has a great deal of knowledge on such an important issue.

The Prime Minister talked a great deal, even before the last national election, about the issue of indigenous people, and ensuring that they are enabled to provide the strong and healthy leadership we know they are very capable of and to ensure that they are sitting at the table. The Prime Minister often talks about the importance of that relationship.

I have listened to the questions and comments coming from the Conservatives. However, I can see within the questions and comments from my colleague and friend from the Northwest Territories his caring attitude in regard to what was done and what it is that this legislation is attempting to undo.

Let me be a bit more specific. Bill C-15 says that we have these land and water management boards that were responsible for different geographical areas. Through Bill C-15, the Conservatives wanted to get rid of those boards in favour of one super board.

If that had been an honest reflection of what was being pushed for by the affected communities, I suspect there would have been more sympathy toward at least that very aspect of Bill C-15. There was a great deal of resistance to the bill. There are communities today that feel fairly positive about the way Bill C-88 would reverse that aspect of Bill C-15.

I wanted to highlight that for the simple reason that at the end of the day we want there to be a sense of fairness among the different decision-makers. By recognizing the important role that not one so-called super board would play but that those local, decentralized boards would play is a positive step forward.

It might take some time to work over some of the issues as a result of the actions taken by the Stephen Harper Conservatives at the time but we have to recognize that Bill C-88 is a move forward in the right direction.

I had the opportunity to do a bit of research thanks to Google maps just to get a sense of the Mackenzie Valley. It is a huge area. The basin that feeds into the Mackenzie River is probably larger than the land mass of most countries around the world. We are talking about a significant amount of land and waterways. I understand it begins in Fort Providence, where my colleague from Northwest Territories calls home nowadays, which is really the southern beginning of the valley.

Even though I have never had the pleasure to visit that area, I have seen, as I am sure all members have seen, documentaries and films, through which I got a fairly good sense of everything that the Northwest Territories has to offer. From what I have seen, that mass of land and water is most impressive.

The Prime Minister decided that we needed that moratorium. It is interesting to note that the Conservative member who spoke before me asked about the national interest. I would suggest that the moratorium was in the national interest. Not only was it in the interest of the Northwest Territories but it was in the national interest.

Canadians genuinely are concerned about their environment. They are concerned about how we draw resources out of the environment and transport them.

Canadians understand and appreciate that the people who really know the area the best are the people who call that area home. They really have the experience and the knowledge to ensure that the types of decisions being made take our environment into consideration.

Dealing with things of this nature has to factor in indigenous people and other stakeholders. I am quite pleased with the way the government has said that we want to make sure that the types of consultations that were required were going to be done, and that is why it has taken as long as it has to come before the House. There is so much to lose if we do not do this right. I look to those leaders in the Northwest Territories to provide strong leadership on this front.

I do not question how important it is to protect our environment, but I also know how important it is that we continue to develop our communities, economically in particular, and how that economic growth benefits people who live in the northwest or live in northern Canada but also benefits everyone in Canada.

I will go back to that concept of the national interest. There are many Canadians who travel to the north periodically, whether for tourism or other reasons. Tourism in the area, my colleagues from the north will tell us, has fantastic potential for growth and that is one of the reasons we want to protect our harbour and the environment. I suspect that there is a growing demand for workers from down south to be able to be able to fulfill some of that potential for growth into the future. In fact, I was talking to my friend from Yukon. He was telling me how the Filipino community is starting to grow up north.

A big part of economic development is to ensure that the government has the financial resources to provide the types of programs that we have heard about today, whether it is health care, education, training programs or protection of our environment. All of these take money and one of the ways we can accrue the financial resources to provide those types of services to Canadians is through the development of our natural resources.

Let there be no doubt that there is a great deal of development potential in Canada's north. If we work with others and look for the leadership of those who are living in the communities, we can actually manage that development in such a way that everyone wins. This is something that as a government we have demonstrated that we are committed to doing. I could give tangible examples.

Conservative after Conservative have stood up today in their place and been critical of this government's inability to get a pipeline to the Pacific Ocean for markets out in that area, looking at China and beyond. However, what the Conservatives do not tell us is that this government, in managing both the environment and the economy and working collaboratively with the stakeholders, in particular indigenous people and provincial governments, was able to accomplish something that Stephen Harper could not accomplish in 10 years.

For the first time in many years, we now have the potential to see a pipeline that will deliver our commodity to other regions of the world, outside the United States. Some of my Conservative colleagues are snickering at that comment, but that is the reality. Even today, the Minister of Natural Resources made reference to the fact that when Stephen Harper became prime minister, over 99% of our oil commodity was being sold into the United States. After being the prime minister for 10 years, the Conservatives had failed Canadians, failed Albertans and they did not materialize, as this government did materialize, in a very real and tangible way.

The Conservatives are critical and ask about the national interest. I would suggest that is a very good example of why we bought the pipeline. I am very proud that we have a government that is committed to ensuring that we manage our natural resources and the many different commodities that we have.

The government is not prepared to forsake the environment, to forsake the importance of having individuals living in those communities engaged, and that is what I like about Bill C-88. It reinforces the importance of that, and it does it primarily through getting rid of the one aspect of Bill C-15 that was so poorly received by the communities directly affected. That is one of the reasons why I suspect that this legislation will get support from all political entities within the chamber, with one possible exception. I should not say the possible exception, I understand the Conservatives will be opposing the legislation.

However, I do believe there is better understanding coming from the other parties in the House. I believe that if the Conservatives would start listening a little more to what Canadians have to say about a series of important public issues, they, too, might be more inclined to recognize the merits of Bill C-88 and get behind the legislation itself.

I want to highlight a couple of other issues that I think are important to recognize. There is a cost recovery component to the legislation, where the bill includes a regulation making authority for cost recovery. This would allow cost recovery from proponents on major development proposals undergoing environmental impact assessments, as well as ensuring a water licensing process undertaken by a land and water board. The issue of cost recovery has been talked about a great deal over the years, and I thought it had received fairly wide support from all sides of the House.

There are administrative monetary penalties within the legislation. The bill proposes a scheme for administrative monetary penalties through regulations, including the power to designate the offences under the act that may be considered violations. The determination of the penalty amounts for each violation, the maximum amount for these penalties would be $25,000 for individuals and $100,000 for organizations.

I want to also recognize that the legislation provides some certainty for industries, which is also very important, given the moratorium that was put in place. However, let us recognize that the moratorium was a good thing for Canada. It was a very good thing.

At the end of the day, this is a government that takes our environment seriously, unlike the Conservatives. This is a government that understands the importance of the development of our natural resources, and it is a government that recognizes the importance of working with people.

Mackenzie Valley Resource Management ActGovernment Orders

December 3rd, 2018 / 5:10 p.m.
See context


Kevin Waugh Conservative Saskatoon—Grasswood, SK

Madam Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the hon. member for Chilliwack—Hope.

As always, I am honoured to represent the constituents of Saskatoon—Grasswood today in the House as we speak to Bill C-88.

As members may or may not know, I am a member of the indigenous and northern affairs committee, and on October 15 of this year, we undertook a study on northern infrastructure projects and strategies. At the meetings we have heard from federal government officials as well as from territorial and local government officials. We have also heard from indigenous groups and a variety of stakeholder groups. We have learned many interesting things, but the one common theme in all the testimony we have heard for months is that there is a real need for infrastructure in the north. People in the north do not need more rules. People in the north do not need more regulations, and people in the north do not need moratoriums. What they do need is infrastructure.

The members opposite will argue, and we have heard this all day, that Bill C-88 is a remake of a piece of Conservative legislation that received royal assent in 2014 and then faced a court challenge. Bill C-88 still incorporates many of the changes the Conservative legislation made with respect to new environmental enforcement powers and requiring project proponents to cover the cost of the review process. However, it did not carry the weight of a carbon tax, which the current government wants to bring to northern Canada.

The concern from industry, obviously, about the added carbon tax cost and all the new federal environmental red tape, combined with the lack of infrastructure, is that it already costs a lot more to develop a project in the north compared to any temperate location. With the new Liberal regulatory costs, the high business taxes, the carbon tax that is coming in and charging for the cost of the review process, we might as well take out an ad in Bloomberg News saying, “Canada's north is definitely closed for business.”

This is not an overreaction. Let me share some of the testimony from Brendan Marshall, vice-president of economic and northern affairs for the Mining Association of Canada. He said:

Currently, domestic legislative and regulatory processes with implications for project permitting and costs persist, while recent supply chain failures have damaged Canada's reputation as a reliable trade partner. Further, recent tax reform in the U.S. has significantly enhanced that jurisdiction's investment competitiveness over Canada's.

We certainly have echoed that for the past number of months. The tax changes made in the United States are eating corporate Canada. Mr. Marshall continued:

The impact of this uncertainty has been felt by Canada's mining industry, where investment has dropped more than 50%, or $68 billion, since 2014, amid a strong price rebound for many commodities over the last three years.

I will read a few more quotes from evidence at our committee meetings in the last month or two. The hon. Wally Schumann, Minister of Industry, Tourism and Investment and Minister of Infrastructure for the Government of the Northwest Territories, said in our meeting:

The Northwest Territories is home to many of the minerals that will fuel the global green economy, including cobalt, gold, lithium...and rare earth elements. Alongside our mineral resources, our territory has significant energy power potential. As we continue our shift to low-carbon alternatives, our hydro development has the potential to meet market needs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions....

Despite our enormous economic potential and strong indigenous partners, the Northwest Territories is still hindered, in that we still require much of the basic infrastructure that already exists in southern jurisdictions. This includes roads to which many of our communities do not have access. In partnership with Canada, we need to continue to build territorial and community infrastructure to support healthy and prosperous communities and to lower the cost of living [that we are seeing today in northern Canada].

However, Bill C-88 would not provide any of that. Merven Gruben, the mayor of the hamlet of Tuktoyaktuk, said:

It's kind of déjà vu. In 2012, I was invited to come here and speak to a panel as well. I think it was just about the same people, or the same panel. We did such a good presentation in the fall of 2012, that in February 2013 our friend Mr. Flaherty—rest in peace—announced in the budget that we were going to get $199 million for our highway. That was the beginning of our Tuk-Inuvik highway. I don't know why we call it Tuk-Inuvik highway. I like to call it the highway to Tuk. It's just the finishing off of the Dempster Highway, the Diefenbaker highway. That's what it should be, the road to resources.

Anyway, we got this highway built, and unbelievably, this year we had 5,000 people come to Tuk—5,000 tourists. On a good year, we maybe get about 2,500....It's just a total game-changer.

Mr. Gruben went on to say:

We're proud people who like to work for a living. We're not used to getting social assistance and that kind of stuff. Now we're getting tourists coming up, but that's small change compared to when you work in oil and gas and you're used to that kind of living. Our people are used to that. We're not used to selling trinkets and T-shirts and that kind of stuff....We're sitting on trillions of cubic feet of natural gas. It's right under our feet, yet we're shipping diesel and gasoline from far away.

This just does not make any sense at all.

As I mentioned earlier, one of the more troubling aspects of the bill is, specifically, the proposed amendments to the CPRA, which will authorize the Governor in Council to issue an order when, in the national interest, prohibiting existing exploration licence and significant discovery licence holders from carrying out any oil and gas activities.

What company would invest its shareholders' money to develop an oil or gas deposit when there is a possibility that the government could come in at any time and shut it down? What exactly do we mean by the “national interest”? There is no explanation. Perhaps an example or two of what the Liberals mean by that would certainly clarify it.

The mandate letter of the sponsor of the bill reads in part:

As Minister of Intergovernmental and Northern Affairs and Internal Trade, your goal will be to implement national commitments and priorities that depend on strong relationships with other orders of government, creating good middle class jobs, growing the economy, and advocating for and achieving improved trade between provinces and territories. You will also work to address the needs and priorities of Northerners.

Bill C-88 certainly stifles the creation of good, middle-class jobs. It would not grow the economy at all. It certainly would not address the needs and priorities of northern Canadians. It is going to be very difficult for the residents of the north to attract resource development companies when they do not have the needed infrastructure, and the onerous tax burdens and regulatory hoops they have to jump through.

We have talked in committee about infrastructure in northern aboriginal communities. We have talked about transportation, energy and telecommunications. On transportation alone, due to the lack of efficient transportation systems, costly workarounds must be developed.

The government must know that it really cannot have it both ways. It cannot attract investment in Canada, in particular in the north, where its penchant for taxes and onerous rules and regulations live on. We have seen this time and again in the country. Now northern Canada is feeling the wrath of the Liberals.

Mackenzie Valley Resource Management ActGovernment Orders

December 3rd, 2018 / 5:25 p.m.
See context


Kevin Waugh Conservative Saskatoon—Grasswood, SK

Madam Speaker, I want to thank the hon. member for the invitation. Unfortunately, tonight we have some votes in the House of Commons, so we cannot make the reception, but we will be there tomorrow on behalf of the Conservative Party.

It is interesting, because when we look at Bill C-88, it consists of two parts. Part 1 would amend the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act, which was initially passed under the Chrétien Liberals back in 1998, 20 years ago. Of course it was amended by our former Conservative government within Bill C-15, for which the Liberals, who were third party back in 2014, voted.