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

Sponsor

Dominic LeBlanc  Liberal

Status

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

Summary

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

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

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

Elsewhere

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

Votes

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

Oil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

June 17th, 2019 / 1:40 p.m.
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Conservative

Kelly Block Conservative Carlton Trail—Eagle Creek, SK

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to respond to the government's motion on the Senate amendments to Bill C-48. While I do appreciate the opportunity to speak to the motion, what I do not appreciate, what millions of other Canadians do not appreciate, is that we have to respond to the bill at all.

I want to recap what the bill would do.

First, this legislation was created as a result of a directive in the Prime Minister's mandate letter to the Minister of Transport dated November 2015.

If passed, this legislation would enact an oil tanker moratorium on B.C.'s northwest coast. The proposed moratorium would be in effect from the Canada-U.S. Alaska border to the northern tip of Vancouver Island.

The legislation would prohibit oil tankers carrying crude and persistent oil as cargo from stopping, loading and unloading at ports or marine installations in the moratorium area. Vessels carrying less than 12,500 metric tons of crude oil would be exempted from the moratorium.

I would suggest that this bill is an open, sneering attack on our oil and gas sector, an anti-pipeline bill poorly masquerading as an environment bill.

Environmental legislation is supposed to be based on science. Bill C-48 is not. It is not science but rather politics and ideology that inform this legislation; Liberal ideology that is as damaging to national unity as it is cynical.

Afer reviewing the bill, which included travelling across the country to hear from witnesses from coast to coast, the Senate transport committee recommended that it not proceed. While the Senate as a whole rescued Bill C-48, the Prime Minister should have taken the hint and withdrawn this anti-energy legislation.

Six premiers, including Premier Scott Moe from my province of Saskatchewan, wrote an open letter to the Prime Minister outlining their legitimate concerns about the anti-oil, anti-energy legislation pushed by the Liberal government here in Ottawa, in particular, Bill C-69 and Bill C-48.

The premiers explained the damage that these two pieces of legislation would do to the economy, but more importantly, they warned of the damage this legislation has done and will continue to do to our national unity.

This was not a threat. This was not spiteful. These six premiers were pointing to a real and growing sense of alienation, alienation on a scale not seen since the Prime Minister's father was in office.

Rather than listening to their concerns, the Prime Minister lashed out at the premiers, calling them irresponsible and accusing them of threatening our national unity if they did not get their way.

The premiers are not threatening our national unity. It is in fact the Prime Minister's radical, anti-science, anti-energy agenda that is; but he is refusing to listen.

Since the Prime Minister is refusing to heed these warnings on Bill C-48 and Bill C-69, I am going to take this opportunity to read them into the record now:

Dear Prime Minister,

We are writing on behalf of the Governments of Ontario, New Brunswick, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta and the Northwest Territories. Collectively, our five provinces and territory represent 59 per cent of the Canadian population and 63 per cent of Canada's GDP. We are central to Canada's economy and prosperity, and it is of the utmost importance that you consider our concerns with bills C-69 and C-48.

Canadians across the country are unified in their concern about the economic impacts of the legislation such as it was proposed by the House of Commons. In this form, the damage it would do to the economy, jobs and investment will echo from one coast to the other. Provincial and territorial jurisdiction must be respected. Provinces and territories have clear and sole jurisdiction over the development of their non-renewable natural resources, forestry resources, and the generation and production of electricity. Bill C-69 upsets the balance struck by the constitutional division of powers by ignoring the exclusive provincial powers over projects relating to these resources. The federal government must recognize the exclusive role provinces and territories have over the management of our non-renewable natural resource development or risk creating a Constitutional crisis.

Bill C-69, as originally drafted, would make it virtually impossible to develop critical infrastructure, depriving Canada of much needed investment. According to the C.D. Howe Institute, between 2017 and 2018, the planned investment value of major resource sector projects in Canada plunged by $100 billion – an amount equivalent to 4.5 per cent of Canada’s gross domestic product. To protect Canada’s economic future, we, collectively, cannot afford to overlook the uncertainty and risk to future investment created by Bill C-69.

Our five provinces and territory stand united and strongly urge the government to accept Bill C69 as amended by the Senate, in order to minimize the damage to the Canadian economy. We would encourage the Government of Canada and all members of the House of Commons to accept the full slate of amendments to the bill. The Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment, and Natural Resources heard 38 days of testimony from 277 witnesses including indigenous communities, industry, Premiers, and independent experts. Based on that comprehensive testimony, the committee recommended significant amendments to the bill, which were accepted by the Senate as a whole. We urge you to respect that process, the committee’s expertise, and the Senate’s vote.

If the Senate’s amendments are not respected, the bill should be rejected, as it will present insurmountable roadblocks for major infrastructure projects across the country and will further jeopardize jobs, growth and investor confidence.

Similarly, Bill C-48 threatens investor confidence, and the tanker moratorium discriminates against western Canadian crude products. We were very disappointed that the Senate did not accept the recommendation to the Senate Committee on Transport and Communications that the bill not be reported. We would urge the government to stop pressing for the passage of this bill which will have detrimental effects on national unity and for the Canadian economy as a whole.

Our governments are deeply concerned with the federal government’s disregard, so far, of the concerns raised by our provinces and territory related to these bills. As it stands, the federal government appears indifferent to the economic hardships faced by provinces and territories. Immediate action to refine or eliminate these bills is needed to avoid further alienating provinces and territories and their citizens and focus on uniting the country in support of Canada’s economic prosperity.

Perhaps having heard the letter read aloud, the Prime Minister will acknowledge that it contains no threats, but rather it is an appeal from leaders who have listened to their constituents. The Prime Minister needs to understand that simply saying things louder is not going to make them go away. Shouting will not put food in the stomachs of the laid-off construction workers' children. Chanting talking points will not pay the gas bill in the middle of winter.

If this were the only piece of legislation that the government had introduced, one might argue that this is an overreaction, but it is not just one piece of legislation, it is a targeted, cynical, ongoing political attack of our resource sector. The Prime Minister has filled his cabinet with vocal opponents of the oil sands. In 2012, the now Minister of Democratic Institutions posted a tweet that read: “It's time to landlock Alberta's tar sands - call on BC Premier @christyclarkbc to reject the #Enbridge pipeline now!”

Then there is the President of the Treasury Board who said publicly that the approval of the Trans Mountain extension was deeply disappointing and who celebrated when the Prime Minister killed the northern gateway pipeline project. Here I should pause and point out the ridiculous theatrics surrounding the TMX project.

In 2016, the government approved TMX, yet tomorrow, we are told, the government will decide on whether to approve the project all over again. It is like we are in a terrible remake of Groundhog Day. Meanwhile, not an inch of pipeline has been built since the government nationalized Trans Mountain.

However, it is not only the cabinet that the Prime Minister has filled with anti-oil activists, but senior staff positions as well. Here I quote an article from the March 14 edition of the Financial Post:

Prior to ascending to the most powerful post in the Prime Minister’s Office, from 2008 to 2012 Gerald Butts was president and CEO of World Wildlife Fund Canada...an important Tides campaign partner. Butts would use his new powerful position to bring other former campaigners with him: Marlo Reynolds, chief of staff to the Environment Minister...is past executive director of the Tides-backed Pembina Institute. Zoë Caron, chief of staff to Natural Resource Minister...is also a former WWF Canada official. Sarah Goodman, on the prime minister’s staff, is a former vice-president of Tides Canada. With these anti-oil activists at the epicentre of federal power, it’s no wonder the oil industry, and hundreds of thousands of workers, have plummeted into political and policy purgatory.

Why should we be surprised? The Prime Minister is no friend of the oil sands. The Prime Minister stated that he wants to phase out the oil sands and during the election loudly proclaimed that, “If I am elected Prime Minister, the Northern Gateway Pipeline won't become a reality”.

The Prime Minister has spent his time in office attempting to do just that and he has been willing to trample on not only the rights of the provinces, but the rights of aboriginal peoples as well to get his way. When the Prime Minister used an order in council to cancel the northern gateway pipeline, he stole the future of 30 first nations that would have benefited enormously from it. This very bill is facing a lawsuit from Laxkw'alaams Indian band for unjustly infringing on their rights and titles.

Bill C-48 will prevent the proposed first nations-owned and -operated eagle spirit pipeline project from being built as the proposed route to tidewater ends within the area wherein this bill bans tanker traffic. It was done without any consultation with first nations communities. Again, this should come as no surprise.

Just last week I spoke against another anti-energy bill, Bill C-88. As I said then, C-88 makes a mockery of the government's claim to seriously consult with indigenous and Inuit peoples. Without any consultation with Inuit peoples or the territorial governments, the Prime Minister unilaterally announced a five-year ban on offshore oil and gas development. Not only did the Prime Minister refuse to consult the premiers of the territories, he gave some of them less than an hour's notice that he would be making that announcement.

Does that sound like a Prime Minister who wants to listen, consult and work with aboriginal Canadians? Does it reflect the Prime Minister's declaration that his government's relationship with indigenous peoples is their most important relationship or does it sound like a Prime Minister who says what he believes people want to hear and then does the exact opposite by imposing his own will on them? If he had consulted, this is what he would have heard:

Minister Wally Schumann of the Northwest Territories, on how they found out about the ban and the impact it will have on our north, stated:

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

Councillor Jackie Jacobson of Tuktoyaktuk said:

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

Then 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.”

Mr. Speaker, I note that you are indicating that my time is up. I assume that I will be able to continue at another time.

Bill C-68—Time Allocation MotionFisheries ActGovernment Orders

June 13th, 2019 / 10:50 a.m.
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Liberal

Robert-Falcon Ouellette Liberal Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, in the Senate there are a number of bills that are so important, just like this exact bill here, Bill C-68. There are also Bill C-88, Bill C-91, Bill C-92, Bill C-93, Bill C-391, Bill C-374, Bill C-369 and Bill CC-262. All these bills are being delayed by the Senate because they are taking far too long.

I was wondering if the hon. minister could tell us why the Conservative senators are delaying all these bills, delaying us from doing the job that Canadians have sent us here to do. They gave us a mandate in 2015, after a decade of darkness with the Conservatives, to repair the damage they had done to the environment and to indigenous communities and to make sure we get this job done.

Can the hon. minister talk a little bit about that, please?

Bill C-68—Time Allocation MotionFisheries ActGovernment Orders

June 13th, 2019 / 11:05 a.m.
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NDP

Richard Cannings NDP South Okanagan—West Kootenay, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am generally in favour of this bill, as a biologist working in the country for a very long time. The federal Fisheries Act was often held up as only piece of legislation, certainly in British Columbia, that protected wildlife habitat period. It was very much noticed when the previous Conservative government took away much of those habit protection powers.

However, I want to talk about the pattern of the Liberal government to shut down debate on almost everything. I think this is the 70th time we have had a time allocation or a closure motion. We started off today missing Routine Proceedings and going right to orders of the day because the government was afraid of whatever. I had petitions to present and people may have had private members' bills to propose.

I do not know how many times we have gone to orders of the day, but we are supposed to be debating Bill C-88. Instead we are talking about closure and the shutting down of democracy.

Mackenzie Valley Resource Management ActGovernment Orders

June 13th, 2019 / 1:15 p.m.
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Labrador Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

Yvonne Jones LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Intergovernmental and Northern Affairs and Internal Trade

Madam Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise in the House and speak in support of the third reading of Bill C-88. This bill would amend the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act and the Canada Petroleum Resources Act. These changes have been long awaited by governments, both indigenous and territorial, in the Northwest Territories.

On Monday, we heard colleagues in the House speak to this bill, including the member of Parliament for the Northwest Territories, who worked very closely with indigenous governments, treaty and land claim owners and the Government of the Northwest Territories to ensure that this bill would be in the best interests of the constituents he represents and would meet the standards they have been requesting from the Government of Canada.

I want to applaud the member of Parliament for the Northwest Territories for the great work he has done on Bill C-88 and for ensuring that members in this House on both sides fully understand this bill and the need for the changes being proposed.

Bill C-88 is based on a simple but wise idea, which is that the best way to regulate development along the Mackenzie Valley and in Arctic waters is to balance the interests of industry, the rights of indigenous governments and organizations, and environmental protection. The proposed legislation before us aims to achieve this balance in three ways.

First would be by foster certainty, which is required by industry. As we know, the Northwest Territories is no stranger to industry. It has been home to some of the largest mining developments in Canada and to some substantial energy, oil and gas developments. It is a region of our country that has been very active in engaging with industry.

Second would be by reinstating a mechanism to recognize the rights of indigenous communities to meaningfully influence development decisions. This would allow indigenous communities to have full input, full insight and full decision-making in industry and resource developments that are occurring within their land claim areas. This would allow them to be part of development, to look at the impacts and benefits of development initiatives, and to be true partners in decisions and outcomes.

Third would be by ensuring that scientific evidence on the state of the environment would inform development decisions. The indigenous governments of the Northwest Territories have set up a model that allows them to look at individual projects and their impact on the environment, not just today but for generations to come, and to make decisions based on scientific information. Scientific evidence ensures that decisions are informed, not just from an economic perspective but from an environmental perspective.

As it stands today, the regulatory regime fails to strike this balance. In particular, the regime currently in place fails to provide clarity, predictability for proponents who are investing, and respect for the rights of indigenous communities in that region and in the north. In large part, that is because of the Northwest Territories Devolution Act, which was endorsed by this House in 2015, and which I, too, voted for. However, it was subsequently challenged by a court order, which led the Supreme Court of the Northwest Territories to effectively suspend key provisions of the act. This ruling caused uncertainty in the regulatory regime for the Mackenzie Valley, and as many of my colleagues have already stated, that uncertainty has not been good for business.

I voted for the bill in 2015, even though it contained clauses that would eradicate the treaty rights of indigenous people in the Northwest Territories. We knew it was wrong. We fought hard to change the bill. We proposed amendment after amendment, but the Harper government would have none of it. It accepted no amendments to the bill that would ensure the rights of indigenous people.

We were left to make a choice. Do we support the devolution of the Northwest Territories, which needed to happen and was long overdue, or do we not support it because of these clauses? We supported the bill but said that when we formed government, we would reverse the negative legislation in the bill that eradicated the rights of indigenous people and did not uphold the environmental and economic responsibilities that should be upheld in any major development. We made a commitment to the people of the Northwest Territories that when we formed government, we would change the legislation to reflect what they wanted. That is what we are doing today.

Over the last couple of years, we have worked very closely with indigenous governments in the Northwest Territories, its member of Parliament and the Government of the Northwest Territories to get this legislation right and change the injustices caused by the Harper government and imposed on people in the Northwest Territories. Today we are removing them.

We would be allowing companies that want to invest in the Northwest Territories through major resource development projects to have certainty. This would ensure that there would be no unforseen impacts for them and would ensure that they would know the climate in which they are investing and the process expected of them.

We would allow indigenous governments, which have had land claims, treaty rights and self-government agreements for many decades, to take back control of their own lands and to make decisions in the best interests of their people for generations to come, and to do so in a systematic and scientific way that looks at all the impacts and benefits. This would allow these indigenous governments to not only have a choice about whether a project went forward but to have the opportunity to partner with investors and resource development companies. Everyone can benefit when they work together.

That is the kind of relationship we have promoted right across Canada with indigenous groups, territorial and provincial governments, investors, resource development agencies and others.

Today we would legislate the changes we committed to in 2015 regarding the Northwest Territories. We know that the legislation would achieve the balance we are trying to establish in three ways. I have already outlined them in my speech.

I want to take a few minutes to talk about how Bill C-88 would restore certainty in the regulatory regime, which was a key aspect of the Northwest Territories Devolution Act. The act eliminated regional boards mandated to review proposed development projects that were likely to impact the traditional lands of three particular indigenous groups: the Tlicho, the Gwich’in and the Sahtu. Their rights were eradicated, and the impact on their lands and treaty agreements forced on them, by the Harper government.

Today we would be giving the Tlicho, the Gwich’in and the Sahtu the right to make decisions about their own lands. They could look at the impact on their traditional lands, their way of life and their environmental footprint and at how their people can benefit from development projects.

It is just common sense, so why would any government want to take that away from indigenous groups in Canada? We saw only a few years ago that the former Harper government had no shame when removing rights from indigenous groups and indigenous governments. That is exactly what it did to the Tlicho, the Gwich'in and the Sahtu in the Northwest Territories. They had spent years working and negotiating with the federal government and territorial government. Generations of elders never lived to see the day they reached self-government agreements in their own lands.

When they finally did, it was an opportunity for them. That opportunity was eroded by the Harper government overnight with one piece of legislation that said that it would now tell them how they were going to regulate resource development in their traditional lands and in the Northwest Territories.

We made a commitment then that if we ever formed government, we would reverse those changes, and that is exactly what we are doing today. Each of those communities concluded comprehensive land claim agreements. Doing so in this country guaranteed them a role on land and water boards and a mandate to review and make decisions on development projects on or near traditional lands. Parliament reviewed and endorsed each one of these agreements and authorized the establishment of the regional boards.

Bill C-88 proposes to reverse the board restructuring and reintroduce the other provisions that were suspended by the Supreme Court decision. These indigenous groups in the Northwest Territories knew that their rights were violated by the Harper government. They knew that what was happening was the epitome of colonization. That is why they fought in the courts. They went to the Supreme Court to argue their case, to say that they had negotiated these rights, that they were inherent rights, that they had treaty agreements and that no government should have the right to impose upon them the way the former government did.

The Supreme Court decision outlined several things that needed to happen to restore confidence in the regime, particularly among indigenous people and proponents and investors in resource development in the Northwest Territories.

The proposed legislation would build confidence in another way. It would clarify the processes and expectations for all parties involved in the regulatory regime. I happen to live in the north, and I represent a riding that is very engaged in resource development, the mining industry and the energy sector in particular. I also know that with every one of those development projects, there are major investments and major commitments. There is nothing better in moving forward on a project than knowing what all the expectations are of all the parties involved and knowing what the process is and what is expected of companies before they put a shovel in the ground. Those things are important.

The party opposite will say that Liberals are too engaged in regulating, restricting and putting too many demands around the environmental component. However, large-scale industries that care about the people where they want to develop want to do what is right. They want to ensure that their environmental footprint is as small as it can be. They want to have the support of the indigenous people and the communities in which they are investing. They want to have strong partnerships to ensure that their development projects are not interrupted by protests or by unforeseen regulations and can move forward and are sustainable. That is why many of these companies, and many I have known personally over the years, are happy to sign impact benefit agreements.

These companies are happy to work with indigenous governments to hire indigenous workers, to ensure that benefits accrue to their communities and to ensure that environmental concerns that indigenous and non-indigenous people have with development in their areas are going to be listened to and dealt with. These companies want to address those issues up front. They do not want to plow into communities and put pressure on them to do things. They do not want to rule what is going to happen. They want to operate in partnership, too.

It is the party opposite that has the idea that these companies are not interested because they have to follow regulatory regimes or look at what the environmental implications are. Very few companies would take that approach, and I am so proud that in this country there are companies investing heavily in resource development that really care about the footprint they leave behind for the environment and the people who live there. Those are the companies that are successful and that Canadians hold up as examples of how resource development partnerships work with communities and indigenous people in Canada. We should be very proud of that. We should not be trying to change how we do that through legislation and impose regulations on people because we think they should do it this way or that way.

People should understand that in the previous legislation by the Harper government, Conservatives wanted to get rid of the regulatory boards of the Gwich'in, the Sahtu and the other groups in the Northwest Territories. They wanted one megaboard to deal with all these issues. They even hired a consultant by the name of McCrank. When Mr. McCrank testified at committee, I sat in that day. One of the questions asked of him was where he came up with the idea that we should get rid of the regulatory boards in the Northwest Territories, that indigenous groups should no longer have control over what is happening on their own lands, their own regulatory boards or negotiating their own deals, and that we would infringe upon them and implement a super regulatory board in the Northwest Territories for the Mackenzie Valley.

When he was asked where that idea came from, he did not know. He did not know where that idea came from or who suggested it to him, but he wrote it in a report as a strong recommendation, and the Harper government at the time said it would run with it, yet everyone in the Northwest Territories, including the three aboriginal groups and the territorial government, knew this was not the right approach and wanted to stop it. This is what is happening today.

We are restoring confidence to the people in the Northwest Territories. Under this act, we would also make changes to the petroleum regulatory board. A moratorium would be implemented that would allow the reissuing of licences for oil and gas development in the Northwest Territories. This moratorium would be revisited every five years. As we know, there were no new applications for licences, no investment was being made. There was no projection for oil and gas, and there was no body to manage oil and gas development in the Northwest Territories to ensure there would be benefits to that region.

It is not like Atlantic Canada, which has oil and gas agreements that pay royalties to the provinces. There are agreements in Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Quebec. When the Northwest Territories asked the former government for that agreement, the answer was no. It did not want to pay royalties to the indigenous groups or the territorial government on oil and gas. We are working with them to get it right, and that is why this bill is important today.

Mackenzie Valley Resource Management ActGovernment Orders

June 13th, 2019 / 1:40 p.m.
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Conservative

Todd Doherty Conservative Cariboo—Prince George, BC

Madam Speaker, what is sad is that the term “reconciliation” has become a buzzword under the government. I take this to heart.

Many members know I have stood in the House, time and again, and have said that my wife and children are first nations. It is troubling for me when some members stand in the House, put their hands on their hearts and say that it is in the best interests of reconciliation, not just with respect to Bill C-88 but also Bills C-69, C-48, C-68 as well as the surf clam scam that took place earlier in this session.

The only part I will agree with in the hon. parliamentary secretary's intervention was when at she said there was enough blame to go around. Nobody should be pointing fingers, saying one group is better than another group. Reconciliation is about creating a path forward. It is not about pitting a first nation against a first nation or a first nation against a non-first nation. It is about how we walk together moving forward.

What I am about to say is not related to all members on both sides of the House. Some members truly understand this. However, time and again some Liberals will stand in the House and say that they support reconciliation or that this is all about reconciliation. Then a heavy-handed policy comes down or words are said, which we call “bozo eruptions”, and there is regret afterward.

I will go back to how we started the spring session. The first female indigenous Attorney General in our country spoke truth to power, and we saw what happened to her.

Bill C-88 is interesting, because it looks to reverse the incredible work our previous government did in putting together Bill C-15.

I will read a quote from our hon. colleague across the way when she voted for Bill C-15. She stated:

As Liberals, we want to see the Northwest Territories have the kind of independence it has sought. We want it to have the ability to make decisions regarding the environment, resource development, business management, growth, and opportunity, which arise within their own lands.

The parliamentary secretary has offered a lot of excuses today as to why she voted for it, such as she was tricked or voted for it for a specific reason. It is easy for members to stand after the fact and say, “I could have, would have, should have” or “This is the reason; my arm was twisted.” However, if we do not stand for something, we will fall for anything. That is what we have seen with the government taking up the eco-warrior agenda to pay back for the 2015 election. That is why we have Bills C-68, C-69, C-48 and C-88.

The parliamentary secretary wants to talk about how Bill C-88 would empower our first nations. Let me offer the House a few quotes.

Mr. Merven Gruben, the mayor of the Hamlet of Tuktoyaktuk, stated:

Tuk has long been an oil and gas town. Since the first oil boom, or the whalers hunting whales in the late 1800 and early 1900s, we have grown up side by side with industry. We have not had any bad environmental effects from the oil and gas work in our region, and we have benefited from the jobs, training and business opportunities that have been available when the industry has worked in Tuk and throughout the north, the entire region.

Never in 100-plus years has the economy of our region, and the whole north, looked so bleak for the oil and gas industry, and for economic development, generally. All the tree huggers and green people are happy, but come and take a look. Come and see what you're doing to our people. The government has turned our region into a social assistance state. We are Inuvialuit who are proud people and who like to work and look after ourselves, not depend on welfare.

I thank God we worked very closely with the Harper government and had the all-weather highway built into Tuk. It opened in November 2017, if some of you haven't heard, and now we are learning to work with tourism. We all know that's not the money and work that we were used to in the oil and gas days that we liked.

He further states:

Nobody's going to be going up and doing any exploration or work up there.

We were really looking forward to this. There was a $1.2-billion deal here that Imperial Oil and BP did not that far out of Tuk, and we were looking forward to them exploring that and possibly drilling, because we have the all-weather highway there. What better place to be located?

The Hon. Bob McLeod, the premier from the Northwest Territories, said that the moratorium was “result of eco-colonialism”.

I speak of the moratorium. The Liberals want to talk about all the work they are doing in standing up for the north and the indigenous peoples in the north. It was just before Christmas when Prime Minister travelled to Washington, D.C. to make the announcement with the then United State President, Barack Obama. There had been zero consultation with northerners, despite consistent rhetoric about consulting with Canada's indigenous peoples. Prior to decision making, the resolution was made unilaterally from the Prime Minister's Office.

The indigenous peoples and the people from the Northwest Territories had about an hour's notice with that. Wally Schumann, the Ministry of Industry, Tourism and Investment, Minister of Infrastructure for the Northwest Territories, stated:

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

Merven Gruben said:

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...

Our hon. colleague, the parliamentary secretary, in response and to pre-empt my speech, called us the government on the other side. We are the government in waiting. We will be government in October. She said that the guys across the way would criticize the Liberals for caring too much about the environment. That is incorrect. We criticize them because they put the priorities of the environmental groups like Tides, World Wildlife Fund and like Greenpeace ahead of the local stakeholder, the indigenous peoples who are saying that they are tired of being poster boys for these eco-groups.

If my colleagues do not believe me, I will read some quotes.

Calvin Helin, chair of Eagle Spirit Chiefs Council, said “What the chiefs are starting to see a lot now is that there is a lot of underhanded tactics and where certain people are paid in communities and they are used as spokespersons.” He also said, “Essentially (they are) puppets and props for environmental groups to kill resource development” and “It’s outrageous and people should be upset about that…the chiefs are....”

Also, Stephen Buffalo, president and CO of the Indian Resource Council said, “Since his government was elected in 2015, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has repeatedly—

Mackenzie Valley Resource Management ActGovernment Orders

June 13th, 2019 / 1:55 p.m.
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Conservative

Todd Doherty Conservative Cariboo—Prince George, BC

Madam Speaker, I am merely reading a quote from a concerned indigenous leader, who the Liberals say stand up for. Clearly they do not, which is probably why they take offence.

Stephen Buffalo, president and CEO of the Indian Resource Council, said:

Since his government was elected in 2015, [the] Prime Minister...has repeatedly spoken about his personal commitment to a new relationship with Indigenous people in Canada. In action, however, he has clearly privileged those Indigenous peoples, our friends and relatives, whose perspective aligns with the more radical environmental movement.

Stephen Buffalo also said:

When pipeline opponents use the courts to slow or stop pipelines, they undermine our businesses, eliminate jobs in our communities and reduce the amount of money flowing to our governments.

Why do I bring that up? Over the last four years, time and again the Liberals have stood and have said that only they no better. They point fingers and say that a certain government did this or that and that they know the NDP will not do this. The Liberals had four years, and Canadians are now learning that it was all just talk; all show, no go.

Bill C-88 is nothing more than an all talk, all show and no go type of bill. It is shameful to have bills such as Bill C-69, Bill C-48 and Bill C-88.

Bill C-88 would give the minister the authority to shut down the north and essentially turn it into a park, taking away any economic opportunity for indigenous peoples and those who live there. That is the worry.

Members can sit here and listen to all the talking points of the Liberals, but the reality is that they are being disingenuous. They will stand here, as I said earlier, with their hands on their hearts and say that it is all about reconciliation. We know that it is the opposite because they have proven it time and again.

In the 2015 election, on day 10, the member for Papineau, who is now the Prime Minister, told Canadians that he would not resort to such parliamentary tricks as omnibus bills. He told Canadians that he would balance the budget by 2019. He also told Canadians that he would let the debate reign. What did he mean? It means that he would not invoke closure or time allocation on bills.

I remind those in the House, in the gallery as well as those listening that this is your House. You have elected the 338 members of Parliament to be your voice. When the government invokes closure, it silences your voice. It is silencing the electors who elected the opposition.

Business of the HouseOral Questions

June 13th, 2019 / 3:15 p.m.
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Waterloo Ontario

Liberal

Bardish Chagger LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate and acknowledge the opposition House leader's new-found respect and regard for the environment. It probably means the Conservatives will be coming out with a plan soon. We have been waiting for it for well over a year now.

In answer to her question, this afternoon we will begin debate on the Senate amendments to Bill C-58, an act to amend the Access to Information Act. This evening we will resume debate on the Senate amendments to Bill C-69, the environmental assessment legislation. We will then return to Bill C-88, the Mackenzie Valley bill.

Tomorrow we will resume debate on the Senate amendments to Bill C-68, an act to amend the Fisheries Act. We expect to receive some bills from the Senate, so if we have time, I would like one of those debates to start.

Next week, priority will be given to bills coming back to us from the Senate, or we may have an opportunity to continue to debate the motion referred to by the House Leader of the Official Opposition.

Personally, I am reassured to hear that the Conservatives want to talk about the environment. Perhaps they will also share their plan with Canadians.

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

June 11th, 2019 / 8:55 p.m.
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Conservative

Cathy McLeod Conservative Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo, BC

Mr. Speaker, this is an expression that I think should apply here: that the government's lack of planning and good House management does not constitute an emergency on our part.

This particular government was aware. It introduced Bill C-88 months ago. The Liberals have rarely brought it up for debate, and now they want to shut it down in the last couple of days of Parliament. It is a piece of legislation that deserves an opportunity for appropriate debate.

Again, they have had it on the Order Paper for over 18 months, and finally they bring it up in the last week. I would like the minister to explain what happened to the last year and a half when we could have been debating this legislation.

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

June 11th, 2019 / 9 p.m.
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NDP

Peter Julian NDP New Westminster—Burnaby, BC

Madam Speaker, I am very saddened. Sunny ways are definitely dead. Democracy is dying.

Tonight, we just had an extreme closure motion that even Stephen Harper never brought in. It was an extreme closure motion that did not allow for the right to reply of one opposition member in the entire House. There was a 20-minute closure speech. That was for a bill that has raised real concerns around civil liberties and the fact that we are talking about metadata of innocent Canadians being kept without proper scrutiny.

What we had from the Liberals was a few hours of debate a year ago, and then tonight, closure. It is absolutely unacceptable. Now, with Bill C-88, we are seeing the same thing of bulldozing. Even Stephen Harper did not go this far. Liberals promised, back in 2015, to bring a new tone to the House, to actually work with opposition members, and they have chosen to do the opposite. Why are Liberals bulldozing through legislation that requires proper scrutiny and proper discussion?

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

June 11th, 2019 / 9:15 p.m.
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Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Madam Speaker, as is not uncommon for me, I find myself somewhat in the middle on this. I deeply object to this very harsh time limitation on the debate of Bill C-88. At the same time, I was here in the 41st Parliament and I did work against the legislation. It was clear at the time to be disrespectful and a violation of treaty rights to create a so-called superboard without consultation in violation of treaties.

After the decision of the Northwest Territories Supreme Court, which suspended the creation of the superboard, this legislation is almost a no-brainer. It is required that we get rid of the legislation from the 41st Parliament that ignored the treaty rights of indigenous people, but it deserves proper and full consideration in this Parliament.

Therefore, I object to the proceeding we are going through tonight, although I do support the legislation. I also do not believe it is inappropriate for any woman or man in this place to choose first nations designs to promote first nations designers. I find that level of debate really demeans this place.

We are here to promote reconciliation, democracy and respect for each other. The way we conduct ourselves in this place would make any indigenous person wonder if he or she wants to actually join this country or find a way to avoid reconciliation and go back to pre-colonial times, without the burden of the way we conduct ourselves in this place.

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

June 11th, 2019 / 9:25 p.m.
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Liberal

Carolyn Bennett Liberal Toronto—St. Paul's, ON

Madam Speaker, I would like to reassure the member that face-to-face consultations with the officials from three territorial governments, representatives from the Inuvialuit and Inuit organizations, as well as the existing oil and gas rights holders were launched in March 2017 and concluded in July. The consultations allowed Canada to take stock in stakeholder interests, plans and a vision for future oil and gas exploration and development in the Arctic offshore.

All parties affirmed the strategic economic value to the north from oil and gas development in the Arctic offshore and supported the measure in Bill C-88 to authorize the Governor in Council to issue a prohibition order to freeze the terms of the existing licences in the Beaufort Sea for the duration of the moratorium so the clock would stop and their licences would restart when the moratorium was lifted.

Third ReadingMackenzie Valley Resource Management ActGovernment Orders

June 11th, 2019 / 10:05 p.m.
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Liberal

Michael McLeod Liberal Northwest Territories, NT

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate being able to use the rest of my time on Bill C-88, which would amend the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act and the Canada Petroleum Resources Act.

This is a very important piece of legislation in my riding of Northwest Territories. The Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act is the legislation that defines our unique system of land and water management in Mackenzie Valley, which is most of the Northwest Territories.

I had left off yesterday discussing the previous amendments made in 2014 to the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act. The current amendments would not only fix the terribly thought out board amalgamation amendments of the previous government, but would also reintroduce all of the other proposed improvements to and modernization of the act that were halted with the NWT Supreme Court injunction.

These amendments were initially brought in by the members opposite, so I really cannot understand why they would be against Bill C-88. It must be their resistance to getting rid of the superboard and affirming the importance of the regional panels as set out in the constitutionally protected land claim agreements.

Other amendments in Bill C-88 clarify board composition when special representatives are added to the boards and provide for board member term extensions to allow for the completion of ongoing proceedings.

The amendments also allow for the creation of an enforceable development certificate scheme to clarify expectations for developers and enforcement agencies, following the environmental assessment. The development certificate amendment process provides for the reconsideration of specific elements of a project rather than having to undergo a full project environmental assessment for technological or environmental changes. Regional study provisions, if employed, would simply add valuable information to the regional data centre that could help inform responsible development.

The regulation-making authorities for administrative monetary penalties and cost recovery are also proposed in this bill and are consistent with modern-day approaches to resource management in other parts of the country. All northern partners, including industry groups, would be involved in the development of these regulations, which would provide further clarity on expectations, roles and responsibilities.

As we all know, there are those across the aisle who seem to not want to have a robust, inclusive and effective regulatory process in the Northwest Territories. The resulting ill-informed and cherry-picking amendments to the MVRMA were brought in by the previous Conservative government in 2014. The Conservatives' goal was to move decisions away from regional community members and restructure the land and water boards with a complete disregard for land claim agreements. As history has shown, the Supreme Court of the Northwest Territories had a problem with that.

Indigenous governments have settled land claims. Canada and the NWT government worked very long and hard to conclude these agreements. They cannot be ignored for expediency, for political gain and pandering to interest groups. As we have seen in this case, and we will see in the future if required, if any level of government thinks it can just set them aside when convenient, it will end up before the courts and will not like the outcome.

Bill C-88 is not just about keeping decision-making in the hands of those who know best, the indigenous and northern people; it is also about targeted improvements to the regime as a whole. These amendments do both.

I thank everyone here today for their continued support. Hopefully, we will see some new supporters here today. These amendments would right past wrongs and certainly improve the regulatory system in the north.

I certainly want to highlight the initial work that the Tlicho government has done to spearhead the court challenge of the ill-conceived Conservative amendments back in 2014, which stopped the superboard from ever being created in the first place. Their successful injunction at the Supreme Court of the Northwest Territories suspended those flawed provisions from being enacted.

Finally, I would like to thank the Minister of Intergovernmental and Northern Affairs for bringing them forward. I wish him well and look forward to seeing and working with him in the future.

Third ReadingMackenzie Valley Resource Management ActGovernment Orders

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

Michael McLeod Liberal Northwest Territories, NT

Mr. Speaker, I would like to correct the hon. member. There are not only two parts to this piece of legislation. There are actually three. The first part is referring to the superboard. The second part contains the eight regulatory items that were brought forward by the previous Conservative government that I think everybody agreed to and were focused on. When the bill came forward it had the superboard attachment. In Bill C-88, we have a further piece which is the Canadian Petroleum Resources Act. I believe that is the part the member is referring to.

We heard loud and clear from the Premier of the Northwest Territories when he appeared as a witness in front of the indigenous affairs committee. The member was chairing the meeting so she was there when he said he appreciated how well the negotiations were going. There are negotiations that are happening with the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation and the Government of the Northwest Territories and the federal government that will bring oversight and co-management abilities on the Beaufort Sea. This is a piece that was ignored by the previous Conservative government. The Conservative government would not put the Beaufort Sea discussions on the table.

I find it very surprising when members are concerned about how we react to the discussions on the Beaufort Sea when the previous Conservative government would not include it. Neither would it include the Norman Wells oil fields, two cash cows that generate revenue. They were left out. They were not part of the deal. The Conservative government would not let them put these items on the table, but our government has.

Third ReadingMackenzie Valley Resource Management ActGovernment Orders

June 11th, 2019 / 10:15 p.m.
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NDP

Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

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

He probably already knows that the NDP will be supporting Bill C-88, which fixes some of the mistakes made by the previous government.

We agree on the broad principles and the fact that the people of the Northwest Territories should have the right to manage their own affairs and govern themselves when it comes to assessments and respect for the environment.

I do, however, have one simple question. My colleague, and all other members of the Liberal government, voted to support the bill that states that we must respect and include the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in every piece of Canadian legislation. Unfortunately, it has not been included in Bill C-88. I would like to know why.

Third ReadingMackenzie Valley Resource Management ActGovernment Orders

June 11th, 2019 / 10:15 p.m.
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Liberal

Michael McLeod Liberal Northwest Territories, NT

Mr. Speaker, it took many years to get to the point where the management and decision-making around resource development in the Northwest Territories could be agreed to in the form of the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act. The government of the day agreed to it, signed on to it, only to renege a couple of years later, saying it was going to make changes, while not consulting with anybody. A consultant was brought in from Alberta, a consultant who specialized in oil and gas and knew nothing about land claims or self-government or any kind of legislation in that area.

I think it shattered the trust of all the indigenous people who were involved with the Mackenzie Valley resource management boards and also the people who were involved in the creation of the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act. It has taken a long time. People wonder why it has taken so long to bring Bill C-88 back to the table. We had to deal with the trust factor. We had to convince indigenous people that we were serious and that we were not going to do what the previous government did, and that we were going to sort out all the issues before we got here.

Now, every indigenous government that has a role in the Mackenzie Valley boards supports this legislation. They have taken out ads in newspapers stating that they support it. The Government of Northwest Territories supports it. Industry supports it. It provides reassurance that they know the process and everybody is comfortable with it.

Third ReadingMackenzie Valley Resource Management ActGovernment Orders

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

Michael McLeod Liberal Northwest Territories, NT

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

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

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

Third ReadingMackenzie Valley Resource Management ActGovernment Orders

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

Kevin Waugh Conservative Saskatoon—Grasswood, SK

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The chamber wrote to us as follows:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Third ReadingMackenzie Valley Resource Management ActGovernment Orders

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

Kevin Waugh Conservative Saskatoon—Grasswood, SK

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

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

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

Third ReadingMackenzie Valley Resource Management ActGovernment Orders

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

Mike Bossio Liberal Hastings—Lennox and Addington, ON

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Third ReadingMackenzie Valley Resource Management ActGovernment Orders

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

Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

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

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

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

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

Third ReadingMackenzie Valley Resource Management ActGovernment Orders

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

Mike Bossio Liberal Hastings—Lennox and Addington, ON

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

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

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

Third ReadingMackenzie Valley Resource Management ActGovernment Orders

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

Larry Bagnell Liberal Yukon, YT

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chief Alfonz Nitsiza, from the Tlicho Government, said:

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

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

Finally, Premier McLeod said:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Third ReadingMackenzie Valley Resource Management ActGovernment Orders

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

Michael McLeod Liberal Northwest Territories, NT

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

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

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

Mackenzie Valley Resource Management ActGovernment Orders

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

Arnold Viersen Conservative Peace River—Westlock, AB

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Indigenous and Northern AffairsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

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

MaryAnn Mihychuk Liberal Kildonan—St. Paul, MB

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

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

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

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

Business of the HouseOral Questions

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

Liberal

Bardish Chagger LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bardish Chagger Liberal Waterloo, ON

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bardish Chagger Liberal Waterloo, ON

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

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

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

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

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

Jamie Schmale Conservative Haliburton—Kawartha Lakes—Brock, ON

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

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

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

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

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

Colin Carrie Conservative Oshawa, ON

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

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

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

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

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

April 9th, 2019 / 11 a.m.
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Conservative

Jamie Schmale Conservative Haliburton—Kawartha Lakes—Brock, ON

Madam Speaker, as we are hearing from the Liberals, every issue they are having is always somebody else's fault, whether it is Omar Khadr's $10.5-million payment, the SNC-Lavalin scandal, the Prime Minister's disastrous trip to India or the failure to get the Trans Mountain pipeline built, or any pipeline for that matter. It is always somebody else's fault.

However, I will speak to Bill C-88, which, I want to point out for the member opposite, repeals the restructuring of the four land and water boards, which the member opposite said very emphatically that she is against, and reintroduces regulatory provisions that were included in the Conservative government's Bill C-15. I would like to remind this House and the member opposite that when Bill C-15 was debated in the previous Parliament, Liberals, including the Prime Minister, voted in favour of the restructuring.

The current Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Intergovernmental and Northern Affairs and Internal Trade, speaking to Conservative Bill C-15 on February 11, 2014, stated, “As Liberals, we want to see the Northwest Territories have the kind of independence it has sought.”

Why does the Liberals' tone change now? Why all of a sudden are they against giving the north the power to control its own destiny and providing jobs, opportunity and wealth to make the north strong again?

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

April 9th, 2019 / 11:05 a.m.
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Liberal

Bardish Chagger Liberal Waterloo, ON

Madam Speaker, it is important to note that Bill C-88 is the result of co-operative conciliatory discussions that resulted in an agreement to repeal the restructuring provisions of the Northwest Territories Devolution Act. The member is correct when he said the Conservative government did important work when it came to this matter. However, what the member seems to forget is that it tried to go further by restructuring a system that was already working. It put forward measures that would create this concept of superboards, which northerners and the people in the Northwest Territories were opposed to. However, because it was trying to diminish environmental assessments and whatever else, it figured it would sneak a couple of these things in.

Therefore, the Conservative government was taken to court. When it was taken to court, it actually lost that case. This is something that happened not that long ago, and this legislation responds to it. I hope the member understands that because the previous government tried to sneak in a couple of extra points, it was taken to court and lost. It lost in court because that was the wrong thing to do. We are correcting that wrong.

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

April 9th, 2019 / 11:05 a.m.
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Liberal

Bardish Chagger Liberal Waterloo, ON

Madam Speaker, I do not want to say anything, because it feels like the member is offended by anything I comment on or say. I will tell the member that I have not attacked or commented on any individual member of this place. Members choose to do their own work. They represent their constituents no differently from how I represent mine.

What we are debating right now is the use of time allocation to advance Bill C-88. We are using time allocation because we have not been able to find a way forward.

The member needs to be proposed to, it turns out, but he is more than able to provide me insights as to how much time is needed. The previous House leader was able to communicate for her team and provide us a way forward. I know this member has come back into this role. I acknowledge that he is new to this role this time, I guess, and I will definitely do a better job at providing proposals with respect to a way forward. I will take that as feedback from the member.

However, when it comes to this legislation, it will go to committee. The committee will be able to scrutinize and study this legislation, and the amendments will definitely be considered. The minister responsible and members will definitely have their opportunity to debate them. I am sure there will be a fruitful discussion.

I thank the member for his great question.

Second ReadingMackenzie Valley Resource Management ActGovernment Orders

April 9th, 2019 / 11:50 a.m.
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Conservative

Jamie Schmale Conservative Haliburton—Kawartha Lakes—Brock, ON

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.

The bill would make two amendments to the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act of 1998, and I will refer to this in my speech going forward as MVRMA. Part A reverses provisions that would have consolidated the Mackenzie Valley land and water boards into one. These provisions were introduced by the former Conservative government within Bill C-15, Northwest Territories Devolution Act of 2014.

Part B would amend the Canada Petroleum Resources Act to allow the Governor in Council to issue orders, when in the national interest, to prohibit oil and gas activities, and freezes the terms of existing licences to prevent them from expiring during a moratorium.

Bill C-88 is yet another Liberal anti-energy policy in a long list of policies from the government that are driving energy investments out of Canada, costing Canadian workers their jobs and increasing poverty rates in the north.

First, I will speak to part A of the bill, the section that reverses the previous government's initiative to consolidate for the devolution of governance of the Northwest Territories, wherein the federal government transferred control of the territories' land and resources to the Northwest Territories government.

Part of that plan sought to restructure the four Mackenzie Valley land and water boards into a single consolidated superboard, with the intent to streamline regulatory processes and enable responsible resource development. For the reasons why this was proposed under Bill C-15, we have to turn back the clock nearly seven years earlier when, in 2007, then-minister of Indian affairs and northern development, the hon. Chuck Strahl commissioned a report on improving regulatory and environmental assessment regimes in Canada's north.

The consolidation of the Mackenzie Valley land and water boards into one entity was a key recommendation, which would address the complexity and capacity issues by making more efficient use of expenditures and administrative resources, and allow for administrative practices to be understandable and consistent.

Furthermore, during debates in the House in 2013 and 2014, the then-minister of aboriginal affairs and northern development, Bernard Valcourt and the member for Chilliwack—Hope, or as it was known back then, Chilliwack—Fraser Canyon, pointed out that the restructured board was included in the final version of the modern land claim agreements.

The proposed changes were not acceptable to everyone, and two indigenous groups, the Tlicho Government and Sahtu Secretariat, filed for an injunction with the Northwest Territories' Supreme Court to suspend the related provisions.

They argued that the federal government did not have the authority to abolish the Mackenzie Valley regulatory regime without consultation with affected indigenous communities. I should point out that, at the time, Liberal members of Parliament voted in favour of Bill C-15 when it was debated in Parliament, including the Prime Minister.

The report commissioned by the then-minister of Indian affairs and northern development was never meant to diminish the influence that indigenous people have on resource management in the north. Rather, it was meant to allow for this influence in a practical way, while at the same time enabling responsible resource development through an effective regulatory system.

This brings us back to today and the bill currently before us. As previously mentioned Bill C-88 would repeal the restructuring of the four land and water boards but also reintroduce regulatory provisions that were included in the previous Conservative government's Bill C-15.

These provisions have been redrafted to function under the current four-board structure and provide for the following: an administrative monetary penalty scheme that will provide inspectors with additional tools to enforce compliance with permits and licences under the MVRMA; an enforceable development certificate scheme following environmental assessments and environmental impact reviews; the development of regulations respecting consultation, which are intended to help clarify the procedural roles and responsibilities respecting indigenous consultation; clarification of requirements for equal proportions of nominees from government and indigenous governments and organizations; a 10-day pause period between a board's preliminary screening decision and the issuance of an authorization to allow for other bodies under the MVRMA to refer a project to an environmental assessment; regional studies that provide the minister with the discretion to appoint committees or individuals to study the effects of existing and future development on a regional basis; the authority to develop cost-recovery regulations that would provide the federal government with the ability to recover costs associated with proceedings; and the extension of a board member's term during a proceeding to ensure board quorum is maintained until the conclusion of an application decision.

These are good regulations and I am glad to see that the current government is continuing on with that and did not throw away these provisions.

The Liberals will say that Bill C-88 is about consultation, however, under part 2 is where the real motivation for Bill C-88 becomes evident.

Part 2 is simply the Liberals' plan to further politicize the regulatory and environmental processes for resource extraction in Canada's north by giving cabinet sweeping powers to stop projects based on its so-called national interest. So much for the comments from the parliamentary secretary to the minister of indigenous and northern affairs, who, on speaking to the Conservatives' Bill C-15 on February 11, 2014, said:

As Liberals, we want to see the Northwest Territories have the kind of independence it has sought. We want it to have the ability to make decisions regarding the environment, resource development, business management, growth, and opportunity, which arise within their own lands.

I would agree with that.

Bill C-88 exposes the Liberals' full rejection of calls from elected territorial leaders for increased control of their natural resources. The Liberals have demonstrated disregard for those who speak truth to power, they have demonstrated contempt for indigenous peoples advocating for the health and welfare of their children and now they are adding indifference for northern Canadians' interests to their long litany of groups marginalized by the Liberal government.

The Conservatives strongly criticized the Liberals for a moratorium on offshore oil and gas development in the Beaufort Sea, an announcement made in December 2016, in Washington, D.C. by the prime minister, an announcement, I might add, where territorial leaders were given less than an hour's notice. The Liberal government's top-down maternalistic approach to northerners must end. It does nothing to reduce poverty in remote and northern regions of Canada.

Like Bill C-69, the no-more pipelines bill before it, Bill C-88 politicizes oil and gas extraction by expanding the powers of cabinet to block economic development and adds to the increasing levels of red tape proponents must face before they can get shovels into the ground. Like Bill C-68, the convoluted navigable waters bill before it, Bill C-88 adds ambiguity and massive uncertainty in an already turbulent investment climate. Like Bill C-48, the tanker ban bill before it, Bill C-88 aims to kill high-quality, high-paying jobs for Canadians and their families who work in the oil and gas-related industries.

We know the Prime Minister's real motivation. He spelled it out for us at a Peterborough, Ontario town hall in January 2017, when he clearly stated that he and his government needed to phase out the oil and gas industry in Canada. The Prime Minister's plan to phase out the energy industry has been carried out with surgical precision to date.

The Liberals' job-killing carbon tax is already costing Canadian jobs. Companies repeatedly mention that the carbon tax is the reason they are investing in jobs and projects in the United States over Canada. The Liberals new methane regulations could end refining in Canada by adding tens of billions of dollars of cost to an industry that is already in crisis.

The Liberals introduced their interim review process for oil and gas projects in January 2016, which killed energy east, the 15,000 middle-class jobs it would have created and the nearly $55 billion it would have injected into the New Brunswick and Canadian economies, a review process which delayed the Trans Mountain expansion reviews by six months and added upstream admissions to the review process.

The Liberal cabinet imposed a B.C. north shore tanker ban within months of forming government, with no consultation or scientific evidence to support it. The Liberals cancelled the oil and gas exploration drilling tax credits during a major downturn in the oil and gas sector, which caused the complete collapse of drilling in Canada. The Liberals' proposed fuel standard will equate to a carbon tax of $228 per tonne of fuel according to their own analysis.

When the Prime Minister vetoed the northern gateway pipeline, he killed benefit agreements between the project and 31 first nations, worth about $2 billion. The unprecedented policy will apply not to just transportation fuels but to all industries, including steel production, heating for commercial buildings and home heating fuels like natural gas.

All this is destroying energy jobs and investment from coast to coast to coast. Now, with Bill C-88, we add another coast, the northern coast.

The Liberals love to champion the Prime Minister's personal commitment to a new relationship with indigenous people through new disclosure and friendly policies. They will, no doubt, due so again with Bill C-88.

This is what some organizations and people have to say, with respect to the Prime Minister's so-called commitment:

Stephen Buffalo, the president and CEO of the Indian Resource Council, in the National Post, October 19, 2018 stated:

...the government of Canada appears to consult primarily with people and organizations that share its views...It pays much less attention to other Indigenous groups, equally concerned about environmental sustainability, who seek a more balanced approach to resource development.

Here is another quote from that article:

The policies of the [Prime Minister's] government are systematically constraining the freedom and economic opportunities of the oil- and gas-producing Indigenous peoples of Canada. We are not asking for more from government. We are actually asking for less government intervention

Roy Fox, chief of the Kainaiwa first nation, in The Globe and Mail, December 10, 2018 stated:

While the Kainaiwa [nation] continue to fight against high unemployment, as well as the social destructiveness and health challenges such as addiction and other issues that often accompany poverty, my band’s royalties have recently been cut by more than half. Furthermore, all drilling has been cancelled because of high price differentials – the enormous gap between what we get on a barrel of oil in comparison to the benchmark price – which has limited employment opportunities on our lands.

Chief Fox continued:

...it’d be an understatement to say the policies proposed within Bills C-69 and C-48 are damaging our position by restricting access and reducing our ability to survive as a community....I and the majority of Treaty 7 chiefs strongly oppose the bill for its likely devastating impact on our ability to support our community members, as it would make it virtually impossible for my nation to fully benefit from the development of our energy resources.

I can continue to read quotes. However, we here on this side of the aisle are deeply disappointed that the Prime Minister, who campaigned on a promise of reconciliation with indigenous communities, blatantly would allow and choose to deny our 31 first nations and Métis communities their constitutionally-protected right to economic development.

This is from the Aboriginal Equity Partners:

We see today's announcement as evidence of the government's unwillingness to follow through on the Prime Minister's promise.

The Government of Canada could have demonstrated its commitment by working with us as environmental stewards of the land and water to enhance marine safety. All 31 AEP plus the other affected communities should have been consulted directly and individually in order to meet the Federal Government's duty to consult.

I have said this many times in my speech. It is time to stop politicizing these projects. Bill C-88 politicizes oil and gas development in the far north by providing the cabinet in Ottawa the unilateral power to shut down oil and gas development without consulting the people it affects directly.

I want to point to a few “key facts” from NRCAN's website. It states that in 2017, Canada’s energy sector directly employed more than 276,000 people and indirectly supported over 624,000 jobs; Canada’s energy sector accounts for almost 11% of nominal Gross Domestic Product (GDP); government revenues from energy were $10.3 billion in 2016; more than $650 million was spent on energy research, development, and deployment by governments in 2016-17; and Canada is the sixth largest energy producer, the fifth largest net exporter, and the eighth largest consumer

Just last week, in The Globe and Mail, David McKay, the president and CEO of the Royal Bank of Canada, stated:

History has placed Canada at a crossroads. No other country of 37 million people has access to more natural resources – and the brainpower to convert those resources into sustainable growth for a stronger society.

And yet, Canada is at risk of taking the wrong turn at the crossroads because some believe there are only two paths: one for economic growth, and the other for environment.

We’re seeing this dilemma play out in Canada’s energy transition as we struggle to reconcile competing ideas.

We aspire to help the world meet its energy needs and move to ever-cleaner fuel sources. We aim to reduce our carbon footprint. We want Indigenous reconciliation and long-term partnership. And we hope to maintain the standard of living we have come to enjoy.

But without a balanced approach to harnessing our energy future, all of this is at risk.

We need to take a third path--one that will help us develop our natural resources, invest in clean technologies and ensure a prosperous Canada....

But we’re reaching a critical time in our country’s history.

As our resources sector copes with a growing crisis, we worry that Canada is not setting up our energy industry for growth and success in a changing world.

When I travel abroad, and proudly talk up our country, too many investors tell me they feel Canada's door is closed when it comes to energy. We need to change that impression immediately, because these investors are backing up their words with action.

According to a recent study from the C.D. Howe Institute, Canada has lost $100-billion in potential investment in oil and gas in the past two years.

We can’t forget that energy is not only part of the economic fabric of Canada, it also funds our social needs. The sector has contributed $90-billion to government revenues over the past five years, which covers about 10 per cent of what the country spends on health care, according to RBC Economics.

And if we squander our huge advantage and cede the dividends to other countries, we’ll also risk losing the opportunity to help combat the most daunting challenge of all – climate change.

The article ends with the following charge to government:

We can’t stay at a crossroads.

It’s time for Canada to pull together on a plan – one that re-energizes our place in the world.

The Conservatives have long viewed the north as a key driver of economic activity for Canada for decades to come. The Liberals, however, view the north as a place to create huge swaths of protected land and shut down economic activity.

Bill C-88 appears to be based in a desire to win votes in major urban centres rather than reduce poverty in remote regions of Canada. Northerners face the unique challenges of living in the north with resilience and fortitude. They want to create jobs and economic opportunities for their families. They deserve a government that has their backs.

We are at a crossroads and it is time for Canada to pull together a plan. The Conservatives are up to that challenge. We look forward to unveiling our plan and growing the economy in the next election for voters to decide for themselves who really has the best interests of Canadians.

Second ReadingMackenzie Valley Resource Management ActGovernment Orders

April 9th, 2019 / 12:10 p.m.
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NDP

Linda Duncan NDP Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, one of the important aspects of Bill C-88 is that it would restore the four water and land co-management boards, which were established by a negotiated agreement between the federal and territorial governments and the first nations of the north, but the Tlicho and Sahtu people went to court and had that bill struck down.

What is important and significant is that the land claim and self-government agreements are now modern treaties entrenched in the Constitution.

Could the member tell us how his party rationalizes arguing against the Constitution of Canada in saying that the boards should not be restored?

Second ReadingMackenzie Valley Resource Management ActGovernment Orders

April 9th, 2019 / 12:15 p.m.
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Conservative

Jamie Schmale Conservative Haliburton—Kawartha Lakes—Brock, ON

Mr. Speaker, I agree that Bill C-88 is yet another anti-energy policy from the government. It is driving investment out of Canada. It is taking potential opportunities away from those in the north who want a path forward, a path to prosperity by harnessing resources in a very responsible manner, something in which Canada is a world leader. If people in the north are asking for more power to define their future, to create their own path, that is something we should be doing, rather than having an Ottawa-knows-best approach.

I was at the AME Roundup in Vancouver a few months ago. It is a very large mining conference, although not as big as PDAC in Toronto. When we spoke with people in the north, that was the number one issue they were talking about. These were not mining people from big companies; they were juniors, start-ups, people in the middle, all talking about the fact that there is great potential in the north for responsible resource development, but they do not feel that making the north a park, basically, is a way to do that or to create jobs, wealth and opportunity.

We should be listening to those people.

Second ReadingMackenzie Valley Resource Management ActGovernment Orders

April 9th, 2019 / 12:20 p.m.
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Fredericton New Brunswick

Liberal

Matt DeCourcey LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Immigration

Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time this afternoon with the member for Winnipeg Centre, but first let me acknowledge that we are here on the traditional unceded territory of the Algonquin people.

I stand in support 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.

The proposed legislation now before us would modernize the regulatory regime that governs resource development in the Northwest Territories.

The central goal of Canada's approach to regulating resource development in the north has been to realize a project's full potential value while minimizing and mitigating any negative environmental, social and economic impacts. To achieve this goal, regulatory regimes across Canada include measures to assess proposed projects and to track the progress and performance of approved projects.

Environmental impact is a key consideration throughout all phases. In general, and particularly in the north, environmental impact is defined as any effect on land, water, air or any other component of the environment, as well as on wildlife harvesting.

The assessment includes any effect on the social and cultural environment or on heritage resources.

The northern regime has long been ahead of the southern environmental assessment regime in this respect. In the north, regulatory regimes are notably different from those in the rest of Canada, for several reasons. The most significant reason is that many northern indigenous people have concluded land claim agreements with the Government of Canada, and these agreements have created a robust system through which indigenous governments have a meaningful role in processes to review and license proposed resource development projects, have representation on boards, and have a strong voice in the process from the beginning to the end. This is reconciliation in action.

The Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act is part of the legal framework for resource development in the north. The act authorizes a unique regulatory regime that references a series of comprehensive land claim and self-government agreements with indigenous groups, including the Gwich'in, Sahtu Dene and Tlicho.

The regime features an integrated and coordinated system of boards and ensures indigenous representation. The result is co-management. The Government of Canada, the Government of the Northwest Territories and indigenous governments all participate in reviews of and final decisions about proposed projects.

In recent decades, the north has experienced unprecedented change, and the pace of change continues to accelerate. Territorial governments have acquired new authorities under devolution, for example, and diamond mining has generated billions of dollars in revenues and created thousands of jobs. As well, the impacts of climate change have been greater in the north and have accelerated more quickly there than anywhere else in the world. Given these realities, the regulatory regime governing resource development in the north must evolve to keep pace, and this is the main impetus for Bill C-88.

About eight years ago, the Government of Canada began a process to modernize the regulatory regime at the same time as it moved to devolve greater authorities to the Northwest Territories. In 2014, Canada enacted the Northwest Territories Devolution Act. Along with authorizing devolution, this act also made important changes to the regulatory regime. One of these changes was the amalgamation of four existing boards into a single entity, the Mackenzie Valley Land and Water Board.

Almost immediately, the Tlicho government and Sahtu Secretariat Incorporated launched court actions against Canada. The lawsuits claimed that amalgamation violated land claim agreements. The Supreme Court of the Northwest Territories granted an injunction, which effectively halted amalgamation and prevented the implementation of several elements of the regulatory regime. Bill C-88 proposes to repeal amalgamation, which would resolve the litigation and support Canada's commitment to reconciliation with indigenous peoples.

Bill C-88 would also authorize a series of policy elements that the court injunction also blocked. These elements include development certificates and an enforcement scheme for part 5 of the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act. They also include regional studies, extensions of the terms of board members, regulation-making authorities related to consultations, a 10-day pause in the environmental impact assessment process, and a requirement to give proper notice of government inspections of Gwich'in- and Sahtu-owned land.

Together the changes proposed in the legislation now before us would significantly strengthen the regulatory regime in the north. They would ensure that the assessment of environmental impacts would remain paramount in both the review of proposed projects and the monitoring of approved projects. The changes would also ensure that any contravention of a regulation could result in a stiff penalty, such as a large fine, and possibly, incarceration. Bill C-88 would also ensure that indigenous governments would continue to participate meaningfully in reviews of and decisions about development projects in the north.

Another aspect of Bill C-88 aims to further strengthen environmental protection in the Arctic through the Canada Petroleum Resources Act. As my hon. colleagues can appreciate, Canada's Arctic features some of the most fragile ecosystems in the world. Two years ago, the Prime Minister committed to stepping up Canada's efforts to protect Arctic ecosystems. In particular, he called for a ban on any new Arctic offshore resource exploration and extraction. Rather than set a deadline for the moratorium, the Government of Canada committed to reviewing it every five years. The review will focus on an assessment of the latest climate and marine sciences.

Along with imposing a moratorium, the Government of Canada began a series of consultations with territorial and northern indigenous governments and the holders of offshore oil and gas rights in Arctic waters to discuss their interests. A central focus of these consultations was how best to balance environmental and economic concerns and how to protect the offshore environment while pursuing safe, responsible activities that create jobs and economic opportunities in northern indigenous economies. The result of these consultations are the proposed amendments before us in Bill C-88.

First, to complement the moratorium on new licences, the amendments would allow the Government of Canada to ban any oil and gas exploration or development activities under 11 existing exploration and significant discovery licences in the Beaufort Sea.

The amendments would also fix a problem that came to light regarding the plan for a science-based review every five years. Some oil and gas rights in the Arctic offshore will begin to expire before the completion of the next review period. With a ban on activity in the Arctic offshore, these rights suddenly lost all their value. The discussions identified a solution, that being a freeze on the terms of existing rights for the duration of the moratorium. Bill C-88 would authorize this solution.

Canada's regulatory regime is among the best in the world, because it continually seeks to strike an appropriate balance between economic, environmental and social concerns. Key to this ability is the careful and thorough assessment of potential project impacts. An effective regulatory regime makes it possible to foster both economic activity and environmental protection.

The legislation now before us aims to achieve this goal in the north, and I urge my hon. colleagues to endorse Bill C-88 at second reading.

Second ReadingMackenzie Valley Resource Management ActGovernment Orders

April 9th, 2019 / 12:30 p.m.
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Liberal

Matt DeCourcey Liberal Fredericton, NB

Mr. Speaker, I am always happy to talk about the priorities of this government, those priorities being helping middle-class Canadians and growing the Canadian economy; lifting thousands of Canadians out of poverty; fighting climate change in a meaningful way; and advancing the most important relationship for this government, that being the relationship with indigenous peoples.

Every time we have brought forth measures to grow the economy and support middle-class Canadians, the Conservatives have opposed them. Every time we have brought forth measures to help lift 825,000 Canadians out of poverty, the Conservatives have opposed them.

We have a plan to fight climate change. What do the Conservatives have? They have an unsolicited, unethical mass texting campaign. That is not a climate change plan.

Every time we bring forward investments and measures to advance reconciliation in this country, including in Bill C-88, the Conservatives oppose them.

Our priorities, our plan and our results are clear to Canadians. Why do the Conservatives continue to oppose them?

Second ReadingMackenzie Valley Resource Management ActGovernment Orders

April 9th, 2019 / 12:35 p.m.
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Liberal

Robert-Falcon Ouellette Liberal Winnipeg Centre, MB

Niwakoma cuntik Tansai Nemeaytane Atawapamtikok.

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to express my support for Bill C-88. I also acknowledge that we are here on the traditional territory of the Algonquin people.

This important bill proposes to improve the regulatory regime that governs resource development in the Northwest Territories. Equally important, in my view, is the contribution Bill C-88 would make to reconciliation with indigenous peoples.

Throughout much of this country's history, indigenous peoples have been actively prevented from contributing fully to and benefiting equally from the social and economic prosperity that so many of us take for granted. Reconciliation and a renewed relationship with indigenous peoples will help create the conditions needed to close the socio-economic gap that persists between indigenous and non-indigenous Canadians.

Today we have an opportunity to right some of the wrongs of the past and to unlock economic growth for indigenous peoples and all Canadians. We have a chance to create an environment that supports self-determination. This will not only be good for indigenous peoples but will be good for all of Canada.

The National Indigenous Economic Development Board has estimated that engaging indigenous people in the economy at the same rate as non-indigenous people would boost Canada's GDP by 1.5% and create almost $28 billion in economic growth. Several others have suggested that the number is actually much higher.

Reconciliation is a multi-faceted undertaking that ultimately must involve and engage all people in Canada, indigenous and non-indigenous alike. At the personal level, it involves confronting and erasing all prejudice, embracing fresh ideas and throwing out those racist ideas of the past. For the Government of Canada, it involves sweeping changes to legislation, policies and how we approach policy.

Allow me to quote the Prime Minister's description of the challenge facing Canada. He stated:

Reconciliation calls upon us all to confront our past and commit to charting a brighter, more inclusive future. We must acknowledge that centuries of colonial practices have denied the inherent rights of Indigenous Peoples. The recognition and implementation of Indigenous rights will chart a new way forward for our Government to work with First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Peoples and to undo decades of mistrust, poverty, broken promises, and injustices.

The legislation now before us would support reconciliation in a clear and unequivocal way by re-establishing the land and water boards in a manner requested by indigenous communities themselves. The boards would enable three indigenous communities in the Northwest Territories, the Gwich'in, the Sahtu and the Tlicho, to influence resource development in their traditional territories in a direct and meaningful way.

Four years ago, Parliament endorsed legislation to restructure the regulatory regime governing resource development in the Northwest Territories. Part of this plan involved the amalgamation of four boards into a single entity, the Mackenzie Valley Land and Water Board.

Soon after the plan became law, the Tlicho Government and the Sahtu Secretariat Incorporated launched court actions against the Government of Canada. Both indigenous governments challenged Canada's authority to unilaterally eliminate boards that had been legally authorized years earlier. A 1992 comprehensive land claims agreement had established the Gwich'in Land and Water Board, which was given effect by the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act in 1998, for instance. In 2003, the Tlicho land claims and self-government agreement had authorized the creation of the Wek'èezhìi Land and Water Board.

The court challenges effectively put a halt to some of the restructuring measures included in the 2014 legislation under the Harper regime. The new Government of Canada agreed to work in co-operation with northern indigenous communities, including the plaintiffs in the court actions, to resolve the impasse and to restructure the regulatory regime in a way that would meet the needs of all concerned.

Representatives of indigenous groups, the Government of Northwest Territories and industry met with federal officials. The meetings inspired the Government of Canada to draft a legislative proposal and to share the draft with all interested parties.

This collaborative effort not only exemplifies the spirit of reconciliation but also illustrates reconciliation in action. It is “reconciliaction”, and it abides by the principles respecting the Government of Canada's relationship with indigenous peoples established last year. For instance, principle 1 states, “The Government of Canada recognizes that all relations with Indigenous peoples need to be based on the recognition and implementation of their right to self-determination, including the inherent right of self-government.”

Principle 5 states, “The Government of Canada recognizes that treaties, agreements, and other constructive arrangements between Indigenous peoples and the Crown have been and are intended to be acts of reconciliation based on mutual recognition and respect.”

Following this approach soon produced a negotiated solution. We sat down and we negotiated. It is a solution articulated today in Bill C-88. However, to fully appreciate the value of the solution requires an understanding of how it came into being. This was not a case of the Government of Canada imposing its will on others. In fact, the bill before us incorporates the suggestions made by the negotiators representing other groups, including indigenous governments. They were central to this.

One change to the original draft legislation proposal relates to court jurisdiction for judicial reviews of administrative monetary penalties imposed under the regulatory regime. The change ensures consistency with exclusive jurisdiction of the Northwest Territories' Supreme Court under section 32 of the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act. A second modification to the original draft legislation aims to ensure consistency with comprehensive land claims agreements. New language was added to clarify consultation obligations related to administrative monetary penalties.

Is it not exciting to talk about administrative monetary penalties? These changes came about because the parties negotiated as equals in an atmosphere of mutual respect and mutual recognition of rights and responsibilities.

Should Bill C-88 become law, if it can make its way through this Parliament, its effects would also foster reconciliation. This is because co-management is central to the regulatory regime envisioned in the legislation now before us. Boards comprised of members nominated by northern indigenous governments and the governments of the Northwest Territories and Canada would render decisions about proposed development projects. Board decisions are legally binding on all parties, including developers. This means that northern indigenous governments would be fully able to exercise their right to self-determination.

The onus has long been on indigenous peoples to prove that their rights exist. For too long, indigenous communities have had to fight to exercise their rights. This is why reconciliation absolutely requires the Government of Canada, on behalf of all Canadians, to base all of its relations with indigenous peoples on the recognition and the implementation of existing rights.

On one level, Bill C-88 would repeal the amalgamation of land and water boards in the Northwest Territories. It would also modernize the regulatory regime governing resource development in the region. On a higher level, Bill C-88 would foster reconciliation with indigenous peoples across Canada. It would demonstrate to indigenous communities across the country that the Government of Canada is committed to reconciliation.

Hon. members of this chamber, the people's House, have an opportunity to show their commitment to reconciliation, and I encourage all of them to join me in supporting Bill C-88.

Second ReadingMackenzie Valley Resource Management ActGovernment Orders

April 9th, 2019 / 12:45 p.m.
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Liberal

Robert-Falcon Ouellette Liberal Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, my understanding is that all indigenous governments were involved in negotiating this agreement with Bill C-88, as well as the Northwest Territories government. It has the support of all of these governments because they will be at the table.

Obviously, governments can take actions to try to negate the rights of indigenous peoples. It depends on the government of the day. However, I know that the inherent policy of this government is to work with indigenous peoples. It is not to negate their rights, but to work with them in a collaborative approach.

Perhaps future governments of Canada will move forward in a different manner and try to negate those rights. However, I know that our government is committed to working with indigenous peoples.

Second ReadingMackenzie Valley Resource Management ActGovernment Orders

April 9th, 2019 / 12:45 p.m.
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NDP

Linda Duncan NDP Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, I listened with great interest to the words of the hon. member on the other side about the need for new measures to show that the government is sincere about reconciliation and about honouring the rights and interests of indigenous peoples.

Surely, then, the member would support the amendment we are calling for, to actually entrench the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in the bill. Of course that would deliver on the Prime Minister's promise, from quite some time ago, that he would in fact take action on all 93 of the calls to action by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. One of those calls to action is exactly that. It is to move forward and entrench those rights in the UN declaration in all federal laws going forward.

Is the member willing to accept that amendment and entrench the United Nations declaration in Bill C-88?

Second ReadingMackenzie Valley Resource Management ActGovernment Orders

April 9th, 2019 / 12:50 p.m.
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Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to be able to join the debate on Bill C-88.

I would like to tell my friend from Winnipeg Centre that I certainly support the bill. I worked in the House along with the former member for Northwest Territories, Dennis Bevington, who was mentioned earlier in debate, and we miss his voice here, to try to stop the changes that were made in 2014.

I think returning to the status quo, while laudable, is not as good as taking a step forward while we have the chance. Would the hon. member for Winnipeg Centre reconsider? The bill is certainly consistent with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, but the bill does not commit Canada to exercise its rights in respect of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Second ReadingMackenzie Valley Resource Management ActGovernment Orders

April 9th, 2019 / 12:50 p.m.
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Liberal

Robert-Falcon Ouellette Liberal Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, I disagree with the hon. member.

This is giving life to UNDRIP in an actual bill before Parliament, Bill C-88. It ensures that UNDRIP is fully respected. UNDRIP, in Bill C-262, is a document that governs all of the Canadian government, ensuring all policies and laws come into accordance with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and also with an annual report. I remember putting forward a private member's bill of my own that would require reporting to the House of Commons on an annual basis.

Nonetheless, I still believe that the bill is a good way forward. It was negotiated in full accordance with all the indigenous peoples concerned by the bill. That is what we call respect. That is what we call self-determination: sitting down, having a conversation, talking. That is how we make treaties.

The difficult part will come in the future when we need to make sure that these treaties are respected. That involves the government of the day and making sure that we have a good government that will respect those rights into the future.

Second ReadingMackenzie Valley Resource Management ActGovernment Orders

April 9th, 2019 / 12:50 p.m.
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Conservative

Shannon Stubbs Conservative Lakeland, AB

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak to Bill C-88, another Liberal anti-resource development policy that is driving investment and businesses out of Canada, costing Canadian workers their jobs, costing indigenous people jobs and undermining their aspirations, work and their hopes for self-sufficiency, and increasing poverty rates in the north and in rural and remote regions.

Like the Liberals' no more pipelines Bill C-69, their Arctic offshore drilling ban, and their oil shipping ban bills, Bill C-48 and Bill C-86, Bill C-88 would further politicize resource development by expanding the powers of the cabinet to unilaterally block economic development and would add to the mountain of red tape proponents must overcome before they can get shovels in the ground.

The bill is also a full rejection of calls from elected territorial leaders for increased control over the development of natural resources in their territories and would cede more power and control to the federal government. Bill C-88 would reverse Conservative measures to devolve power to the territories and puts new powers in the hands of the federal cabinet. The Liberals clearly believe that Ottawa knows best.

At the AME Roundup in Vancouver in January, I was in a room full of northerners who were unanimous in their opposition to the Liberal government's “one big park” agenda for the north. There were elected officials, Inuit business leaders and corporate executives with decades of experience working with first nations in resource development in the north.

In Canada, it can take 20 years to get from the discovery of a mineral deposit to a functioning mine. The challenge in the north is that most of the mines are in the final decade of production and no new mines are in the approvals process. Resource projects and communities and residents in the north have to overcome big challenges: geography, climate, distance, access to land and a lack of services and infrastructure in the many remote and rural regions in which these projects are located. The north will pay for the Liberals' mistakes with the loss of an entire generation's economic advancement as mining completely leaves the region.

The previous Conservative government rightly viewed the north as essential to Canada's sovereignty, as a key area at stake in global security and as a place of real potential for significant economic activities today and for decades to come. Conservatives know resource development is often the only source of jobs and business potential in remote and northern regions where they are already scarce.

The Liberals meanwhile are arbitrarily creating huge swaths of protected land with little consultation. The regulatory uncertainty caused by their many bills and policies is making capital harder to access. These actions are challenging meaningful engagement and relationships with first nations in the north, including the Inuit, indigenous people and Métis communities. The Liberals' top-down paternalistic actions rob northerners of opportunities and of decision-making authority and do nothing to reduce poverty in remote northern regions of Canada.

Conservatives, by contrast, have sought to devolve power over and ownership of natural resources to the territories, enabling and empowering their abilities and their authority to manage and benefit from their rich and diverse natural resource opportunities.

In 2007, Neil McCrank was commissioned to write a report on improving the regulatory and environmental assessment regimes in Canada's north. That report, “Road to Improvement”, found the regulatory process in the Northwest Territories at the time was complex, costly, unpredictable and time-consuming. The merging of the three boards into one was a key recommendation. The report said that 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.

Importantly, the report also said that this was not meant to diminish or reduce the influence that aboriginal people have on resource management in the north; rather, it was meant as an attempt to allow for this influence in a practical way, while at the same time enabling responsible resource development.

The option to merge the three separate indigenous boards into the single unified board was also included as an available option in the three modern land claim agreements signed with the first nations in the Northwest Territories.

In 2013, the previous Conservative government introduced Bill C-15 to implement that approach. That bill received overwhelming support in the House. We would not know it from the heckling across the aisle, but including from the Liberal Party. The Liberals and the NDP voted for the bill at the final stage in the House of Commons, but now the Liberals have decided to reverse it, to return to the job-killing overly complex and disjointed “Ottawa knows best” approach, setting back the hopes and aspirations of northern communities that are desperate for natural resource jobs.

It is a myth that indigenous communities, particularly in the north, are opposed to natural resource development. This myth is perpetuated by the Liberal left and elected politicians even in this House of Commons. Indigenous leaders are speaking out against anti-resource activists and in favour of the many benefits and potential for their communities. Bob McLeod, premier of the Northwest Territories, said:

All too often...[indigenous people] are only valued as responsible stewards of their land if they choose not to touch it. This is eco-colonialism.

He went on to say:

...it is oppressive and irresponsible to assume that Indigenous northerners do not support resource development.

PJ Akeeagok of Qikiqtani Inuit Association said, “Absolutely we want to participate in these industries. There’s some real exciting benefits that are out there.” Lee Qammaniq, a heavy equipment operator at Baffinland's Mary River mine, says, “I'm doing it so [my son] can have a better life.”

That ideological and heavy-handed “one big park” agenda in the north is being implemented often without consulting northerners on the use of the land around them. It is threatening the way of life of many Inuit and indigenous communities.

A little farther south, Isaac Laboucan-Avirom, chief of the Woodland Cree First Nation, says:

It frustrates me, as a first nations individual, when I have to almost beg for monies when we're living in one of the most resource-rich countries in the world. Why should our people be living in third-class or second-class communities when we are surrounded by natural resources that go into paving our roads, putting in rec centres, and so on?

In northern Saskatchewan, English River chief Marie Black, speaks about mining for many across the country in her direct assessment, saying, “It is very, very important that we go ahead and work with industry. This is for jobs.”

So many indigenous leaders are speaking out. They are leading the fight, really, about the importance of resource development to their communities to meet their needs right now and for future generations. They are fighting against the layers of Liberal anti-resource development policies and laws that violate their abilities to make decisions about their resources on and around their lands and about which they were not consulted by the Liberals in the first place.

Indigenous communities support sustainable and responsible natural resources development in their territories because it offers a real path to self-sufficiency and a real opportunity for actual economic reconciliation. It damages reconciliation when politicians make promises they do not keep, set expectations and then do not deliver, or pass laws in the apparent best interests of indigenous Canadians without actually fully consulting them.

There is no stronger example of the patriarchal, patronizing and quite frankly colonial approach of the current Liberals than their treatment of first nations who want to develop, provide services, and supply and transport oil and gas. When this Liberal Prime Minister vetoed the northern gateway pipeline, he killed benefit agreements between the project and 31 first nations that were worth $2 billion. Those 31 first nations said:

We are deeply disappointed that a Prime Minister who campaigned on a promise of reconciliation with Indigenous communities would now blatantly choose to deny our 31 First Nations and Métis communities of our constitutionally protected right to economic development.

The Liberals' shipping ban, Bill C-48, is opposed by more than 30 first nations in B.C. and in Alberta because it would kill economic opportunities for their communities. Chief Isaac Laboucan-Avirom says, “What I don't understand about this tanker moratorium is that there's no other tanker moratorium on other coastlines in Canada. You have oil coming in from Saudi Arabia, up and down the St. Lawrence River right now.”

Gary Alexcee, deputy chief of Eagle Spirit Energy Holding Ltd., said:

With no consultation, the B.C. first nations groups have been cut off economically with no opportunity to even sit down with the government to further negotiate Bill C-48. If that's going to be passed, then I would say we might as well throw up our hands and let the government come and put blankets on us that are infected with smallpox so we can go away. That's what this bill means to us.

He went on to say:

Today, the way it sits, we have nothing but handouts that are not even enough to have the future growth of first nations in our communities of British Columbia.

Then, there is the targeted northern offshore drilling ban, incredibly announced in southern Canada by this Prime Minister without any real consultation with the most directly impacted indigenous communities, their elected leaders or indigenous-owned businesses.

Duane Smith, chair and CEO of the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation, says:

We are sitting on nine trillion cubic feet of gas and it doesn't make sense for the community to truck in its energy source from 2,000 kilometres away when we should be developing these.

Northwest Territories premier, Bob McLeod, said, “It feels like a step backward.” He went on:

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.

He confirmed that this Prime Minister only informed him about the decision two hours before he made the announcement.

Nunavut's former premier, Peter Taptuna, has said, “We have been promised by Ottawa that they would consult and make decisions based on meaningful discussion. So far that hasn't happened.”

Even Liberal Yukon Premier Sandy Silver, whose territory is not affected by the bans, sided with his northern counterparts, saying, “When you have unilateral decisions being made in any topic on considerations that affect the North, you need to have northerners in those conversations.”

There was also, of course, the announcement made in Washington, D.C. that a large portion of Canada's territories will be prohibited from development, again with minimal or no consultation with actual northerners.

The mayor of Tuktoyaktuk recently said at a House of Commons committee:

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.

He specifically took issue with matters addressed by the bill, saying, “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.”

The Liberal approach to the north is not empowering first nations. It is trapping the Inuit and indigenous people of the north in poverty by blocking their best opportunities for jobs, for government revenues and for social services to deal with all the needs that colleagues here are raising in this debate, for healthy living and to help make life more affordable.

Northerners know that Bill C-88 would add another roadblock to resource development on top of the Liberals' “no more pipelines” Bill C-69.

While co-management of the assessment process limits some of the damage of Bill C-69, this legislation would still have a significant impact on resource development in the north. Whether it is changes to the navigable waters act, falling investment dollars in natural resource projects across Canada or limited essential services, equipment and expertise to develop projects in the north, this flawed legislation would damage the north.

Dozens of indigenous communities, along with the National Coalition of Chiefs, the Indian Resource Council, the Eagle Spirit Chiefs Council, Alberta's Assembly of Treaty Chiefs and the majority of Treaty 7 first nations, as well as hundreds of indigenous companies, are joining premiers and industry leaders in opposing Bill C-69.

Experts in indigenous law and rights are clear. Bill C-69 does nothing concrete to improve indigenous consultation, either by expanding the scope of indigenous rights or by practically increasing the measures, expectations and standards for the Crown's duty to consult. In fact, it actually weakens indigenous voices in the assessment process by removing the standing test and opening up project reviews to literally anyone, anywhere, instead of focusing on input from locally impacted Canadian citizens, indigenous communities, and subject matter and technical experts.

Mark Wittrup, vice-president of environmental and regulatory affairs at Clifton Associates, has said, “The proposed [impact assessment] process will create significant delays, missed opportunities and likely impact those that need that economic development the most: northern and Indigenous communities.”

Indigenous leaders have also noticed. Roy Fox, chief of the Blood Tribe first nation and a former CEO of the Indian Resource Council, has said, “I don't have any confidence in Bill C-69. I am fearful, and I am confident, that it will keep my people in poverty.”

Stephen Buffalo, the president and CEO of the Indian Resource Council, which currently represents more than 100 indigenous oil and gas developers, has said, “Indigenous communities are on the verge of a major economic breakthrough, one that finally allows Indigenous people to share in Canada's economic prosperity. Bill C-69 will stop this progress in its tracks.”

The more than 30 first nations in the Eagle Spirit Chiefs Council say they will take the government to court over C-69, because the bill could make it “impossible to complete a project” and because the removal of the standing test could lead to foreign interests “overriding the interests of aboriginal title holders” in Canada.

Bill C-88 is yet another example of the Liberals' pattern of adding red tape and roadblocks to resource development, which is something a Conservative government will reverse to help northern indigenous communities, all northerners and all Canadians get ahead.

The future of mining in Canada is very much related to opening up the north. Conservatives know how crucial infrastructure is to this ambition, as it can cost up to six times more to explore, and two and a half times more to build mines in remote regions. The Liberal-imposed carbon tax will hike the already expensive cost of living and cost of operations in the north even higher.

The Conservative Party has long believed that this means giving northerners the autonomy to make decisions based on their priorities and to benefit from those decisions the same way the provinces do.

In natural resources, mining is one of the areas where first nations are the most active, having secured 455 agreements in the sector between 2000 and 2017, often including priority training, hiring and subcontracting commitments. In 2016, indigenous people working in the mining sector had a median income twice as high as workers in their communities overall and nearly twice as high as that of non-indigenous people as a whole.

The problem is that mines are currently in the later years of their productive life, and there are no new mines in the approvals process. By reverting to the old, convoluted impact assessment and approvals process, the Liberals are reintroducing a major barrier to proposing and then actually completing projects in the Northwest Territories. Therefore, as I said before, the north will pay for Liberal mistakes with the loss of an entire generation's economic advancement as mining completely leaves the north.

However, there is hope. Conservatives will work to cut unnecessary red tape to bring investment and jobs back to Canada, while maintaining, enhancing and protecting Canada's reputation. Our reputation is second to none as a global leader in environmental standards, performance, and community and indigenous consultation for responsible resource development.

Conservatives know the reality is that when a resource project gets shut down in Canada, the most regulated and environmentally responsible major resource producer in the world, all it means is that the money, the businesses and the jobs go to countries with lower environmental, civil and human rights protections and standards.

The world needs more Canadian resource development, not less of it. Canada can and must still protect the environment while getting to a “yes” on major projects. When approval is given, the projects must be able to get built. Instead of turning the north into one big park, the Liberals should listen to northern first nations and hear their call for empowerment to develop their natural resources in a responsible and sustainable way.

This bill represents a major regression in the ability of northerners to manage their own natural resources to the benefit of their communities and in the best interests of the entire country. This legislation is yet another example of the Liberal government believing it knows better than local communities, indigenous communities, regions and provinces, resource developers and private sector proponents.

Conservatives will work to reverse these damaging legislative changes, eliminate the roadblocks that the Liberals are putting in the path of northern resource projects and of indigenous communities, and help northern Canadians and all Canadians get ahead.

Second ReadingMackenzie Valley Resource Management ActGovernment Orders

April 9th, 2019 / 1:10 p.m.
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Conservative

Shannon Stubbs Conservative Lakeland, AB

Mr. Speaker, we are challenging this piece of legislation because in part 2 it gives unprecedented and unilateral power to the federal cabinet to do exactly the opposite of what the member is talking about, by completely unilaterally blocking and banning economic oil and gas development in these territories.

This is the challenge of the Liberals, who constantly say they believe a bunch of things and are putting forward this suite of policies and different legislation. They are probably well intentioned, but the outcome, consequences and the way it actually works defeat the very objectives they said they stood for in the first place.

That is the same with Bill C-88. Members cannot really, in good conscience, stand up here and pretend that this legislation gives further authority to indigenous communities in the north and to territorial leaders, while right in the legislation is an unprecedented granting of power to the federal cabinet to make unilateral decisions that will destroy economic development in those regions.

Second ReadingMackenzie Valley Resource Management ActGovernment Orders

April 9th, 2019 / 1:20 p.m.
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Liberal

Nick Whalen Liberal St. John's East, NL

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today on the traditional territory of the Algonquin people in support of a bill that proposes to strike a more appropriate balance between environmental protection, social responsibility and economic development in Canada's north. As my hon. colleagues recognize, Canada is blessed with an abundance of natural resources, and throughout Canada's history these resources have been a cornerstone of the economy.

While the national economy grows ever more diverse thanks to the rise of other sectors, resource development remains crucial to our national prosperity. Resource development projects create jobs and export sales and stimulate technological innovation. Tempering these benefits, however, are the environmental and social impacts of resource extraction and development. These include pollution, destruction of ecosystems and changes in the fabric of communities and traditional indigenous ways.

Throughout much of our nation's history, while we relied on resource development for prosperity and growth, we often failed to appreciate and take into account its long-term environmental and social consequences. To strike a better balance between economic and environmental concerns, Canada has developed a unique regulatory regime that governs resource development projects in the north, a regime that is co-managed with indigenous partners.

The regime requires that proposed projects undergo stringent reviews of anticipated impacts. This regulatory regime helps to ensure that resource projects maximize potential economic benefits and minimize potential environmental impacts. In this way, the regime restores public confidence and creates certainty and predictability, which are so important in industry, and it sets the foundation for a sustainable and long-term natural resource industry in the north.

I am going to take the opportunity now to advise that I will be splitting my time with the parliamentary secretary, the member for Acadie—Bathurst.

To maintain an appropriate balance between these concerns, the regulatory regime evolves continually as Canada evolves and as our understanding of the environment and of resource development deepens. In the north in particular, the settlement of modern land claims has enabled the creation of unique systems of governance in co-operation with our indigenous partners.

Through the amendments proposed in Bill C-88, our government has established a clear path forward in managing land, water and natural resources in the Mackenzie Valley, one that respects indigenous inhabitants and is fair and equitable to industry. These amendments strengthen trust and provide certainty, and they provide an effective approach to natural resource co-management. They also support a modern regulatory regime that is stable, predictable, coordinated and balanced.

Bill C-88 responds to the concerns raised by indigenous governments and organizations in the Mackenzie Valley about the provisions of the 2014 Northwest Territories Devolution Act. That act devolved the administration and control of public lands and waters to the Government of the Northwest Territories and also made other amendments to the Mackenzie Valley Resources Management Act.

Those 2014 amendments to the Mackenzie Valley Resources Management Act included provisions to amalgamate the regional land and water boards in the Mackenzie Valley into a single board. While the government of the day argued that an amalgamated board structure would provide clarity and certainty to the regulatory regime in the Mackenzie Valley, the opposite occurred.

Instead of bringing certainty, the proposed amalgamated boards led to court challenges by indigenous organizations. Indigenous groups argued that their authorities in land and water management, guaranteed by their land claims and self-government agreements, were not being respected, and that their land and water boards could not be unilaterally abolished by the federal government.

A court injunction in February of 2015 halted the provisions of section 253(2) of the Northwest Territories Devolution Act, the section that included restructuring of the land and water boards. The injunction also affected important policy measures that are central to the regulatory regime, such as the use of development certificates and their enforcement scheme and inspection notice requirements on Gwich'in and Sahtu lands.

So much for bringing certainty to the regulatory regime. Stakeholders agree that the 2014 legislation has done the opposite; it creates a climate of uncertainty and discourages the responsible development of the Mackenzie Valley's natural resources.

The Government of Canada is committed to exploring ways to fix the restructuring provisions, resolve the legal proceedings and renew the government's relationship with indigenous peoples in the Northwest Territories.

Bill C-88 is the product of productive discussions with indigenous governments and organizations, the Government of the Northwest Territories, resource co-management boards, industry and other stakeholders. Input received has been carefully considered and helped shape the bill.

If passed, Bill C-88 will undo the controversial land restructuring provisions and reintroduce important regulatory improvement provisions from the Northwest Territories Devolution Act that did not come into force due to the court injunctions. Bill C-88 provides certainty to proponents, and it supports a modern-day regime that balances environmental, social and economic well-being.

My understanding is that the Government of the Northwest Territories supports the amendments proposed in Bill C-88, contrary to what the opposition has said. Indigenous governments and organizations in the Northwest Territories also want these amendments. The mining industry that conducts its business in the territory is not opposed to the board restructuring amendments, and supports anything that provides greater clarity and certainty in the regulatory process and gets us through these injunctions.

Companies with commercial interests in the north also understand the importance of protecting the unique arctic environment, while pursuing safe, responsible development, which creates jobs and economic growth right in the northern communities from whence the resources come.

Bill C-88 proposes to improve the regulatory regime in the north through a series of amendments informed by several important developments. These include the court challenges I mentioned earlier, as well as the accelerated impacts of climate change in the Arctic and the Government of Canada's commitment to foster reconciliation between indigenous peoples and the Crown.

The amendments proposed in Bill C-88 would increase predictability, consistency and timeliness of regulatory reviews in the north, while strengthening environmental protections. Northerners deserve a fully functional, modernized regulatory regime that meets their particular needs, the kind of regime that promotes growth and prosperity while at the same time safeguards the fragile northern ecosystem, the kind of regime that strikes the appropriate balance between economic and environmental concerns.

Bill C-88 would provide the clarity and certainty that the regulatory process needs in order to encourage industry investment in resource development in the Mackenzie River valley. I call upon all members of the House to support Bill C-88, which will enable us to balance the development of untapped economic potential in the north with strong partnerships and sound environmental stewardship.

One of the main issues that has arisen in my conversations with oil and gas companies around uncertainty, and I know the opposition shadow minister raised this point, actually relates to the uncertainty that arises out of the courts. The biggest fear of companies that have proposed to invest billions of dollars in resource development and extraction is that the courts will impose some type of an injunction late into their process, creating a great amount of uncertainty as to whether or not their capital can be effectively deployed. This is exactly what happened with TMX. It is exactly what happened with the previous 2014 legislation that this bill hopes to amend. It is the greatest source of risk that our government is trying to fend off.

Although some members of the House suggest that these injunctions occurred on our watch and, therefore, must be our fault, the exact opposite is the case. The injunction arose in the cases that I just mentioned from decisions that were made by the previous government and its failure to properly consult, to take indigenous concerns into account, to abide by our constitutional commitments and to abide by the duty to accommodate.

This is what so much of our focus has been on for the last four years, to get our environmental regulatory regime back in line with our constitutional and economic commitments, to help make sure indigenous communities thrive. In this particular instance, we have the right balance and we know we do because the groups that have brought forward the injunction are in favour of the changes.

Second ReadingMackenzie Valley Resource Management ActGovernment Orders

April 9th, 2019 / 1:30 p.m.
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NDP

Marjolaine Boutin-Sweet NDP Hochelaga, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am so pleased to see that Bill C-88 is revisiting the principle of self-determination of indigenous peoples. However, the concept of self-determination of indigenous peoples applies to many other areas, including housing, for example.

The minister responsible for housing put forward a housing strategy over a year ago, but we still do not have a targeted housing strategy for indigenous people. I would argue that self-determination should form the foundation of that strategy.

I would like to know whether my colleague would commit to putting some pressure on his colleague, the minister responsible for housing, first, to bring forward a targeted housing strategy for indigenous people, and second, to ensure that strategy is squarely based on self-determination.

Second ReadingMackenzie Valley Resource Management ActGovernment Orders

April 9th, 2019 / 1:35 p.m.
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Acadie—Bathurst New Brunswick

Liberal

Serge Cormier LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today in support of Bill C-88.

The Government of Canada, 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. By working directly with indigenous governments and stakeholders on developing this bill, we can respond to concerns that are raised and ensure that the rights of indigenous peoples are respected. This process has helped create a law that will benefit all Canadians.

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

Our indigenous partners have made their views quite clear. The Tlicho government and the Sahtu Secretariat Incorporated applied to the courts in 2014 and 2015 respectively for protection of their rights in accordance with their individual land claim and self-government agreements. The bill we are debating today corrects those problems 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 indigenous 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. The text of the bill was communicated to these groups to get their feedback, and several meetings were held to respond to their concerns.

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.

Canada recognizes that the previous legislation was drafted without enough consultation. This 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.

Bringing together stakeholders is the key to developing effective policies and practices. Our government 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 manner and gets rid of any possible uncertainty regarding natural resources.

In March 2018, 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 governments.

Consultation and engagement with stakeholders on Bill C-88 began in February 2017. A draft bill was distributed to participants for an eight-week review, during which two meetings were held in Yellowknife. At these meetings, departmental representatives from the former department of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada explained the content of the proposal and the accommodation measures in response to the participants' comments.

Throughout the consultation process, changes to the draft bill were clearly communicated to give stakeholders the opportunity to express their opinion.

By engaging stakeholders, we were able to address all concerns as they were raised. With our innovative approach to drafting this bill, we are improving how our government makes decisions, gathers information, and engages with different stakeholders. Today's bill reflects that process.

If passed, the proposed amendments would contribute to the efficient, predictable and coherent management and use of land, water and natural resources in the Mackenzie Valley. By charting a clearer course for governments and organizations with respect to natural resource management, industry will no longer have to contend with potential uncertainty that hinders its ability to invest in northern Canada.

This legislation will enhance economic opportunities and growth while protecting the environment for future generations. It addresses concerns expressed by indigenous organizations and governments and is consistent with constitutionally protected land claim and self-government agreements. It recognizes the importance of indigenous peoples' active participation in the co-management of natural resources and protects their right to oversee the future of their lands.

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 invite my hon. colleagues to support it.

We will achieve reconciliation with indigenous peoples. We will work closely with indigenous peoples and all other stakeholders, whether from industry or other levels of government. It is a priority for our government, always has been, and we will stay the course and continue our work.

Second ReadingMackenzie Valley Resource Management ActGovernment Orders

April 9th, 2019 / 1:45 p.m.
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Conservative

Michelle Rempel Conservative Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, I want to be very clear about the government's instincts. When it comes to many pieces of legislation, the Liberals' instincts are wrong. Their instinct is to manage to bureaucrats and to the wealthiest few in this country.

I want to walk people who are watching through Bill C-88 as an example of why this is the case and also compare it to something that just happened in the last 24 hours that proves that the government really does not care about the environment but does care about bettering the interests of the Liberals' corporate donors and the wealthy companies in this country.

Part 2 of bill C-88 would amend the Canada Petroleum Resources Act to allow the Governor in Council to issue orders, when in the national interest, to prohibit oil and gas activities and freeze the terms of existing licences to prevent them from expanding during a moratorium. For those who are watching, what that means is that like Bill C-69, the no more pipelines act, the government is introducing yet another piece of legislation that would allow the cabinet or the Liberal Party of Canada to interfere politically in the review process, or essentially in the economy, in a way that is not positive.

What do I mean by that? Part of what we have seen in terms of the economic downturn in Canada, when it comes to the natural resources sector, and what we will hear from anyone who wants to look at Canada as a potential place to invest, is that the Liberal government, led by the Prime Minister, has made it uncertain and unstable for people to invest in Canada because of pieces of legislation like this.

If we were sitting around a board table or were a small business trying to decide whether to make an investment, one of the questions we would ask is what the government was going to do with regard to regulations or whether a project was going to go forward. What the government has done with bills like part 2 of Bill C-88, which we are discussing today, and Bill C-69 is say that it would politically interfere in their decision and make a decision that would be in the Liberals' best interests politically, whatever they might be. That would not help investment in Canada. That would not help protect the environment.

Liberals might say that this would help protect the environment, but it would not. All it would do is create an environment of uncertainty so that people could not and would not invest in natural resources projects in Canada. It is a convenient way for them to kick the can down the road.

Rather than standing up and saying that as a government, as a political party, this is what the Liberals' vision is for natural resource development in Canada, they are saying, “Maybe we will do something at some point. Why don't you invest? However, we may pull that football away through legal provisions” such as the one they are introducing in the bill. That is why it is important for Canadians to pay attention to this.

With regard to protecting the environment and perhaps protecting average Canadians, we saw something remarkable happen yesterday. The environment minister not only signed off on $12 million worth of taxpayer money going to one of the wealthiest companies in Canada, Loblaws, to buy new fridges, she also staged a taxpayer-funded announcement at a Loblaws store. Twelve million dollars of taxpayer funds went to a company that makes hundreds of millions of dollars a year to buy fridges, and then tax dollars were used for the minister to get a photo opportunity for doing that.

One could argue that Loblaws is a very successful company. If everyone is so committed to protecting the environment, why could Loblaws not just buy those fridges itself? Why was the government's policy instinct not to incent the company, either through regulations or tax credits or something that would be better for everyone in the country and would put everyone on a level playing field? Why was the Liberals' instinct to give money to this company, which can afford lobbyists to fill out very complicated grant applications? Why was it the Liberals' instinct to give money to a wealthy company that could have done this itself instead of something that would have evened the playing field for all Canadians and incentivized business?

I like to call it “reverse Robin Hood”. The Prime Minister has a really great track record of doing everything possible to take money away from Canadians. It includes this announcement and the SNC-Lavalin scandal and things like the carbon tax, which will never reduce greenhouse gas emissions, as well as giving opportunities to wealthy companies that have lobbyists.

I believe in the economy. I believe that we should create an opportunity for companies to thrive. What I do not believe is that the government should be using tax dollars to pay for fridges for a company that has done three things that I will describe.

First, it makes hundreds of millions of dollars of net profit every year. It made about $3 billion in net revenue and $800 million in net profit last year. It is doing okay. I think can afford a few fridges.

Then this company was involved for years in a price-fixing scheme on bread that by all accounts impacted poor people in Canada the most.

Also, early last year, reports broke that this company was involved in a fight with the Canada Revenue Agency over $400 million in claims over a bogus offshore account. That was a CBC headline.

What was the minister thinking? I know what she was thinking. I would like to chalk it up to incompetence, but when we look at SNC-Lavalin and this announcement, it is not as if she signed this accidentally. It was not, “Oh, no; I accidentally signed this.” She scheduled a funding announcement for it. She took pictures with somebody.

When I talked about this issue yesterday, somebody named Amanda from Lundar, Manitoba, wrote to my office to say that the dairy cooler in the family grocery store she owns in her community had broken and that she cannot afford to replace it. She said she just cannot afford it. She asked why the government is so out of touch that it thinks the right thing to do is to give $12 million to a big company that makes hundreds of millions of dollars and then increase her taxes to pay for it. That shows how out of touch the government is.

The government has no desire to fix the environment. It is like the Prime Minister saying he is a feminist. Now he is saying he is fixing the environment, but he is finding ways to give money to Loblaws.

Loblaws should be concerned. Loblaws should know better. In terms of any brand credit that Loblaws gets from this, I know the company is managing profit and loss for their shareholders, but did the board members think this was a good idea? Come on. There is $12 million for new freezers when that company made $800 million in profit. Why should Amanda have to go without a dairy freezer—

Mackenzie Valley Resource Management ActGovernment Orders

April 9th, 2019 / 3:30 p.m.
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NDP

Linda Duncan NDP Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Madam Speaker, I wish to focus my comments on the first part of Bill C-88, the amendments to the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act. However, I cannot resist adding that contrary to the remarks the hon. member just made, it was the Harper government that took the power away from the National Energy Board to make the final decision of nay or yea for a pipeline and gave it to the cabinet, so the statement lacks a certain level of credibility.

Forty-five years ago, the federal government commissioned Judge Thomas Berger to lead an inquiry to investigate the social, environmental and economic impacts of a proposed gas pipeline that would run through the Yukon and the Mackenzie River Valley of the Northwest Territories. The Berger inquiry set the bar for proper consultation with communities, in particular with indigenous communities, on proposed major energy projects.

Justice Berger heard testimony from diverse groups with an interest in the pipeline. The inquiry was notable for the voice it gave to aboriginal people, whose traditional territory the pipeline was intended to traverse.

Berger travelled extensively in the north in preparation for and during the hearings, visiting all 35 communities along the Mackenzie River Valley, as well as other cities across Canada, to gauge public reaction. In his travels, he met with Dene, Inuit, Métis and non-aboriginal residents. He heard from experts. He held community meetings across the Northwest Territories and Yukon. This played an important role in shaping his views.

Sadly, despite my request, no similar community-level process was agreed to by the parliamentary committee on review of Bill C-69.

For the first time, intervenor funding was provided to aboriginal communities to ensure their voices would be heard. This inspired many of us to pursue similar rights and open processes for energy reviews in my province of Alberta and before the NEB. My Canadian environmental bill of rights, Bill C-438, is premised on these same basic rights and principles.

The commission recommended that no pipeline be built through northern Yukon and that a pipeline through the Mackenzie Valley should be delayed for 10 years.

His report's first volume, entitled “Northern Frontier, Northern Homeland”, highlighted the fact that while the Mackenzie Valley could be the site of the biggest project in the history of free enterprise, it was also home to many people whose lives would be immeasurably changed by the pipeline.

Berger was quoted as saying this:

The North is a frontier, but it is a homeland too, the homeland of the Dene, Inuit and Métis, as it is also the home of the white people who live there. And it is a heritage, a unique environment that we are called upon to preserve for all Canadians.

The commission found no significant economic benefit to northerners from the pipeline. The report was prescient in concluding that large-sale projects based on non-renewable energy sources rarely provide long-term employment and that those locals who did find work during construction could only find low-skill, low-wage positions.

In addition, Berger feared that the pipeline development would undermine local economies, which relied on hunting, fishing and trapping, possibly even increasing economic hardship. Berger ultimately found that the economy of the region would not be harmed by not building the pipeline.

The commission believed that the pipeline process had not taken native culture seriously and that any development needed to conform to the wishes of those who lived there.

Berger predicted that the social consequences of the pipeline would not only be serious; they would be devastating. The commission was particularly concerned about the role of indigenous peoples in development plans. At the time the report was released, there were several ongoing negotiations over native land claims in the area. Berger suggested that the pipeline construction be delayed until those claims were settled.

The commission found that the local population would not accept development activity without some control. In addition, land claims were part of a broader native rights issue that needed to be settled between the government and the first nations.

In Berger's view, rapid development in the north would preclude settlement of these important issues due to the influx of non-native populations and growing business interests.

The north today bears little resemblance to the north of Berger's time. The land is the same and the resources are still there, but the people of the north have changed. Most land claims have been settled. For many, the traditional ways of life have waned, and indigenous peoples are seizing control of their own destinies. Many who fought so fiercely against the Mackenzie Valley pipeline now favour building one, or building other developments, including a highway, but on their own terms, which include making sure the benefits flow to their communities over the long term.

In the previous Parliament, the Conservatives tacked on to a devolution bill regressive measures that directly contradicted any of the lessons of the Berger inquiry. Those measures also undermined rights within the constitutionally entrenched land claims and self-government agreements or modern treaties. These first nation final agreements provide that those communities most impacted by developments must have a direct voice.

The Conservatives' Bill C-15, contrary to the wish of northerners, eliminated four regional land and water co-management boards created under carefully negotiated first nation final agreements. Lawsuits successfully filed by the Tlicho and Sahtu First Nations succeeded in stopping these measures.

The bill before us, Bill C-88, restores the co-management boards, providing more effective voices for first nations in the development reviews and approvals. However, as my colleague, the MP for South Okanagan—West Kootenay, has pointed out, Bill C-88 could fully recognize and strengthen indigenous rights by entrenching the UNDRIP in this proposed law.

A few years back, I had the honour of attending a Dene gathering in Fort Providence with my former colleague, Dennis Bevington, the then Northwest Territories member of Parliament. I heard first-hand concerns from northerners about an oil spill that was discovered on the land by indigenous hunters and their struggle to receive the necessary assistance to monitor the cleanup of the disaster, so the struggle continues to have a true voice.

However, I also experienced the joy of seeing the mighty Mackenzie River running along the shores of Fort Providence, a magnificent transboundary river basin relied upon by many communities that have long deserved a greater voice in decision-making.

I look forward to supporting the bill before us.

Mackenzie Valley Resource Management ActGovernment Orders

April 9th, 2019 / 3:40 p.m.
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Liberal

Larry Bagnell Liberal Yukon, YT

Madam Speaker, I stand today on the traditional unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishinabe people to express my support for Bill C-88, which proposes to modernize the regulatory regime governing resource development projects in the north.

Before I start, one of the last Conservative speakers said the decision should be made in the north. The northern governments—the Sahtu, the Gwich'in, the Tlicho, the Government of the Northwest Territories—are all in agreement with this legislation. I assume that unless they are going to contradict their own speaker, the Conservatives will be supporting this bill, which leaves the decisions in the north as they were negotiated in the constitutionally protected land claims.

The key reason I support the legislation now before us has to do with the proposed enforcement system. As my colleagues know, the effectiveness of any regulatory regime depends largely on the quality of its enforcement system. As it stands today, the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act lacks an effective enforcement system when it comes to assessments of environmental impacts.

While the amendments to the Northwest Territories Devolution Act did create an enforcement system, the court challenges initiated by northern indigenous groups on the decimation of their boards effectively eliminated it. Bill C-88 would amend the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act to establish an enforcement system based on development certificates.

A development certificate is a form of authorization, a permission slip of sorts. For a project to proceed, an environmental assessment body must first issue a development certificate to the proponent. The Nunavut Planning and Project Assessment Act follows a similar approach.

Under such a system, that environmental assessment body can include specific mitigation measures in the development certificate. The proponent might be authorized to drive heavy vehicles only on frozen winter roads, for instance, or be banned from designated areas during the time of year when caribou typically birth and nurse their calves, which I wish the Trump administration would do in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Under Bill C-88, the Mackenzie Valley Environmental Impact Review Board would be authorized to issue development certificates listing mitigation measures within the jurisdiction of the responsible ministers. After completing an environmental assessment or environmental impact review, the board would issue a certificate to the proponent.

Under the enforcement system envisioned in Bill C-88, it would be a violation to proceed with a project without a valid certificate or to contravene the conditions of a certificate. These and other violations could lead to an administrative monetary penalty, or AMP. An AMP is a fine imposed by an inspector. It is a civil sanction imposed through an administrative process, rather than a criminal sentence imposed by a court.

Bill C-88 would amend the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act to provide all the necessary and appropriate authorities for AMPs and associated regulations. The regulations would specify penalty amounts, as well as the method of calculating penalties for each type of violation. The amendments also specify the maximum fine would be $25,000 for individuals and $100,000 for organizations. A violation that continues for multiple days would be subject to a separate AMP for each day. I am convinced that the threat of such potentially large fines would promote compliance with the proposed legislation.

There are many advantages to an enforcement system based on development certificates. The threat of a hefty fine removes the potential financial benefit of non-compliance, for instance. By imposing particular restrictions on a project through a development certificate, the system helps regulators to achieve particular goals, such as environmental protection. Civil sanctions such as AMPs tend to be more efficient than criminal prosecutions, which can be lengthy and expensive undertakings.

The enforcement system proposed in Bill C-88 is consistent with those authorized in other federal legislation, including the Environmental Violations Administrative Monetary Penalties Act, the National Energy Board Act and the Nuclear Safety and Control Act.

Another worthwhile feature of the proposed enforcement system is that it features many effective checks and balances. Development certificates, for example, could not include measures within the jurisdiction of a designated regulatory agency, such as the National Energy Board or the Tlicho government. Anyone issued an AMP could seek to have the notice investigated by an official review body. The review would determine whether the penalty was issued in accordance with the regulations, whether the person committed the violation, or both.

For violations related to part 5 of the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act, which pertains to environmental assessment, the federal minister would be empowered to act as a review body. For violations related to part 3 of the act, which deals with land and water management, the board that issued the original authorization would serve as the review body. If a violation was related to an activity that did not involve an authorization, the board responsible for the region where the violation occurred would serve as the review body.

The enforcement system would also include a reconsideration process. A proponent could request an adjustment to a development certificate to address changing circumstances, ineffective or unclear project conditions or new technologies. Reconsideration would be limited to the area of change and to any effects the change may have had on the project. The proponent would not be required to complete another full environmental assessment, and the original decision to authorize the project could not be challenged under reconsideration.

Inspection is another important aspect of the proposed enforcement system. Qualified persons, such as federal or territorial officers, would be authorized under the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act to inspect projects for compliance with the conditions of development certificates. The inspectors would have broad authority to enter and examine premises. They could also prohibit or limit access to premises. If an inspection uncovered evidence of an activity that contravened part 5 of the act, the inspector could issue an order to cease the activity and to mitigate the effects of the activity.

To deter proponents from interfering with the work of inspectors, this part of the enforcement system would include more stringent measures. Rather than civil sanctions, violators would be subject to criminal prosecution. It would be a criminal offence to obstruct inspectors, for instance, or to knowingly provide them with false or misleading information. It would be an offence to carry out development without the proper authority or to contravene an order to cease an activity.

Offenders would face stiff penalties. Conviction for a first offence, for example, could lead to a fine of up to $250,000 and a one-year prison sentence. The maximum fine for subsequent offences would rise to $500,000. This part of the enforcement system would also feature important checks and balances. For instance, an action could not be subject to both an AMP and a criminal sanction.

As my hon. colleagues can now appreciate, the legislation before us envisions an effective enforcement system. Proponents would be required to abide by specific conditions set out in development certificates. To promote compliance, the system would include sanctions corresponding to the seriousness of a violation or offence. As well, the system would incorporate a series of checks and balances to prevent potential abuses of process.

I am convinced that such an enforcement system would enable northerners to maximize the potential benefits of resource development and to minimize the potential environmental impacts. I will vote in favour of Bill C-88 at second reading, and I urge my hon. colleagues to do the same.

The years involved in negotiating these settlements, land claims and self-government settlements are a remarkable testament to parliamentarians and to Canada. These agreements are working very well. As I said previously, one of my greatest moments in Parliament was to get the Tlicho land claims and self-government agreement through Parliament.

We have to maintain the honour of the Crown, maintain respect for those constitutionally protected agreements and make sure that we do not pass legislation that would infringe on those agreements.

Mackenzie Valley Resource Management ActGovernment Orders

April 9th, 2019 / 3:55 p.m.
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Ville-Marie—Le Sud-Ouest—Île-des-Soeurs Québec

Liberal

Marc Miller LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations

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.

First, I want to congratulate the hon. member for Yukon on his fine speech and thank him for his support for a region of this country that I rarely get to visit. I also want to thank the member for Northwest Territories, who is also a very strong advocate for that region. Goodness knows that they have approached me as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations with many requests. I am well aware of how passionately these two individuals advocate in favour of that beautiful part of our country, which is so rarely visited by most Canadians. I would like to take this opportunity to encourage all my fellow members to visit the far north. It is a beautiful place that reinforces and reminds us what it means to be Canadian.

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 changes proposed 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. It is impossible to accurately predict today what kind of regional study will be most beneficial 10 or 20 years from now. That said, regional studies can generate valuable environmental and socio-economic information about the potential impacts of a proposed project. The Northwest Territories' regulatory boards would definitely find that kind of information 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. For example, the 1992 version of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act referred directly to regional studies. 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 can 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. That is very important.

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. By referring to regional studies, the boards would be better able to properly review complex data that exceed the technical expertise of their members. Regional studies can also be used to gather and analyze baseline data, which is not part of the boards' responsibility.

The 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.

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

April 9th, 2019 / 4:10 p.m.
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Conservative

Mel Arnold Conservative North Okanagan—Shuswap, BC

Madam Speaker, it is an honour to 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.

I say it is an honour, but I really question that when I take a look at what this bill is proposing to do. I say “proposing” because I hope we can make changes to it. What we see in this bill is what we have seen in other bills and in actions by the government. Basically, they are anti-resource actions.

The first action we saw on this was in November 2015, barely a month into the government's hopefully very short reign, when the Prime Minister decided to shut down the northern gateway project that would have taken oil resources from northern Alberta to tidewater. Rather than working with the challenges that were identified in that project, the Prime Minister decided, basically unilaterally, without debate in the House and without any criticism of his actions, to shut that down.

People in the north were looking forward to those jobs. People in ports and people right across the country could have benefited from those jobs. However, the Prime Minister made the decision almost single-handedly. Was it single-handedly, or was it a decision by his senior advisers? There was certainly very little input or debate in this House on that decision.

Next was the energy east pipeline, which would have taken high-quality Canadian products, produced and refined in Canada, to meet the fuel needs of eastern Canada. However, instead of allowing that project to proceed, the Prime Minister canned it as well.

Where are we now? We are still bringing in billions of dollars' worth of foreign oil. This foreign oil is produced in countries with lower environmental standards than we have in Canada, with lower human rights standards than we have in Canada and with lower technologies than we have in Canada.

That is the type of choice the Prime Minister and the government have been making. They have been penalizing Canadian resource workers and the companies and businesses that supply the resource sector from right across the country.

A lot of people think that the only jobs affected are those in Alberta or those in the oil sands projects, but those jobs stretch far further than that. I live in the North Okanagan—Shuswap, the south central part of British Columbia, a long way from the Alberta oil sands, but it is very close for some of the businesses and workers in my communities. I visited a machine shop that builds the highest-quality parts and pieces for the oil sector, everything from pipefittings to brackets and attachments used in the oil sector.

When I visited that machine shop and talked to the managers and people there, the pride they took in the quality of products they built, because of the technology that is developed out of the resource sector in Canada, was second to none. They manufacture and machine to a higher quality than anywhere else in the world, and it is because of one thing. It is because we have a strong resource sector in Canada.

They have seen their technology work. They have continuously improved on it. They have decided to go into a niche market of only looking at that top-end, high-quality, high environmental standard, high safety standard product, because there are people and businesses all over the world competing for the 20-year-old technology that is used in some of those countries I just referred to, which have lower environmental standards, lower human rights standards and lower worker safety standards.

The government continues to penalize Canadians for being innovative, for being creative and for taking the risk. They sometimes risk millions of dollars, their personal investments and their family homes to build a business or an industry that is reliant on the Canadian resource sector.

This bill is another step in that direction. The government is taking what we had done in a previous government in reducing the size of bureaucracy, making it easier for projects to move forward still with our the same high environmental standards. Now the Liberals are splitting it up, making it so that a major project like the Mackenzie Valley pipeline would have to go through multiple individual steps all the way through. The bill would do that kind of thing. As I mentioned, Bill C-88 is similar to many other bills in some other ways.

I am very familiar with Bill C-55, the Oceans Act, and the unilateral power that that bill would give to the minister, the unilateral power to shut down activities in an area, regardless of whether there would be scientific evidence as to the effects or not. Bill C-68 does much the same thing.

Bill C-69, which has been referred to as the “never do anything ever again” bill, is now in the Senate, I believe.

Those bills would give unprecedented unilateral power to ministers to make a decision to shut down activities without it being based on science, without it being based on debate.

The other one, which we saw for the first time, was in Bill C-68, the Fisheries Act. There is a paragraph in there that says that the minister on making decisions on a project must consider the intersection of sex and gender into his decision-making process. We saw that clause and it baffled us. What does that mean in a Fisheries Act bill? We also have to wonder what it means in a resource act bill.

The briefing that we received, to summarize and really simplify it, meant that any project moving forward had to look at the impact of outside workers coming into a community, for example, the impact of growth in the community, the impact of, as I said, sex and gender in the project. That did not seem too bad, all in itself, until the Prime Minister actually was questioned on it and started referring to resource and construction workers as a threat to communities. I believe he called them “dangerous” and said that they could present a danger to those communities. We heard the outcry from people in communities where they had seen the benefits of those projects. They absolutely could not believe those construction workers could be considered a threat.

We see this trend continuing, with the government attempting to shut down anything that resembles a major resource project. Those projects are going to be needed if Canada is to continue to prosper and thrive as we move forward. We know countries with strong economies create the best environmental conditions and protect their environments better than others. However, the government seems to want to take away anything that would allow benefits and prosperity in our country. We have seen it in the government's previous budgets, in which it attempted to attack small business or attack family farms and the succession planning of small business to pass their family businesses and farms on to their family members. It would cost them as much as four times higher to sell the family farm to a family member than to a total stranger or a foreign entity. It is an absolutely atrocious attack on small business and family farms.

Mackenzie Valley Resource Management ActGovernment Orders

April 9th, 2019 / 4:25 p.m.
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Liberal

Darrell Samson Liberal Sackville—Preston—Chezzetcook, NS

Madam Speaker, I am pleased 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. I would like to acknowledge that we are gathered on the traditional lands of the Algonquin people.

The bill before us today would not only resolve the litigation resulting from the attempt to amalgamate land and water boards in 2014, but also improve the regulatory regime. The Northwest Territories Devolution Act made a number of changes to the Mackenzie Valley Resources Management Act, which provides the legislative framework for the regulatory regime.

One of the changes was to amalgamate the Northwest Territories' four land and water boards into a single entity. Two indigenous governments challenged the amalgamation in court, and the Supreme Court of the Northwest Territories granted an injunction that halted amalgamation and other changes designed to make the regulatory regime more effective.

As my hon. colleagues know, in order to work effectively, a regulatory regime must continually earn the trust of project proponents and the general public. It does that by working in a steady, fair, reliable and predictable manner.

This description applies to the resource development regime in the Northwest Territories. The current four-board structure works wonderfully. However, there is always room for improvement. This bill ensures that the current structure will be maintained and adds improvements that were proposed over four years ago.

In reality, the changes proposed in Bill C-88 seek to make the regime more fair, reliable, predictable and efficient. It clearly serves the interests of northerners and all Canadians.

One example of how the changes will improve the regime relates to the members of the boards responsible for reviewing proposed projects.

There are five boards in all: the Mackenzie Valley Environmental Impact Review Board, the Sahtu Land and Water Board, the Gwich’in Land and Water Board, the Wek'èezhìi Land and Water Board and the Mackenzie Valley Land and Water Board. One or more of these boards can be authorized to conduct a regulatory review, depending on the nature and location of the proposed project.

The Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act sets out the quorum required for some of the boards' activities. For example, a board cannot issue a permit unless it has the minimum number of members. That is completely appropriate because the boards' decisions often have significant consequences. To ensure that the five boards always make sound decisions, each one is made up of members from various backgrounds with different perspectives. This diversity is one of the boards' greatest assets. It helps them consider every nuance from different angles.

The members' diversity also fosters strong public trust in the boards' decisions. Naturally, in some cases, a member may not be able to participate in certain board activities because of illness or some other legitimate reason, but that should be the exception, not the rule.

The Government of Canada realizes it can be difficult for northern boards to maintain a quorum, partly because of how hard it is to recruit and retain members with the necessary experience and expertise.

To help the boards overcome this challenge, Bill C-88 would authorize them to extend the terms of individual members if the term expires during a review. That would help guarantee that the boards maintain a quorum throughout the reviews.

The bill states that the board must request the extension at least two months before the day on which the member's term expires. The request must be submitted to the minister. The temporary extension of the board member's term will end when the review that is in progress at the time of the request is concluded.

The Northwest Territories' five regulatory boards are responsible for conducting complex reviews that often include hearings, scientific reports and economic forecasts. The reviews can take months to complete. It is common for new information and perspectives to emerge during a review. Board members who have been continuously involved in a review are better equipped to understand and contextualize new information and perspectives.

The five boards make decisions that can have a profound impact not only on ecosystems, but also on local and national communities. Given the magnitude of these decisions, the boards need to be part of a modern, functional regulatory regime.

Not only does Bill C-88 propose a mechanism to support continuity, but it also makes a number of other improvements to the regulatory regime. The bill currently before the House establishes an efficient inspection and enforcement system. Under that system, proponents would be required to abide by the conditions imposed by a board when it approves a project following an environmental assessment. These conditions would be clearly set out in a document called a development certificate.

To ensure that proponents are fulfilling their obligations, inspectors would be authorized to carry out activities like site visits. Proponents who do not use valid development certificates, who fail to comply with the conditions set out in the certificate or who interfere with the work of inspectors could face stiff penalties, including fines and imprisonment.

As my hon. colleagues must understand by now, Bill C-88 proposes a long list of measures that will considerably improve the regulatory regime in the Northwest Territories. The bill currently before the House makes improvements to a regime that is already functional and efficient. Such a regime will help maintain the respect and trust of Canadians, proponents and investors. It will help ensure that resource development projects strike an appropriate balance between economic, social and environmental goals. For all these reasons, Bill C-88 deserves the support of the House.

Mackenzie Valley Resource Management ActGovernment Orders

April 9th, 2019 / 4:40 p.m.
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Saint Boniface—Saint Vital Manitoba

Liberal

Dan Vandal LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Indigenous Services

Madam Speaker, I am thankful for the opportunity to speak on this traditional Algonquin territory to explain my support 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.

The legislation before us proposes to strike a more appropriate balance between economic development and environmental protection in Canada's north.

As my hon. colleagues recognize, Canada is blessed with an abundance of valuable natural resources, vast forests as well as deposits of minerals, oil and gas. Throughout our history, these resources have been the cornerstones of the economy and while the national economy grows ever more diverse thanks to the rise of other sectors, resource development remains crucial to national prosperity.

Resource development projects create jobs, generate export sales and stimulate technological innovation. Tempering these benefits, however, are the environmental and the social impacts of resource extraction and development. These include pollution, destruction of ecosystems and changes in the fabric of communities and traditional indigenous ways. Throughout much of our nation's history, while we relied on resource development for our prosperity and growth, we often failed to appreciate and to take into account its long-term environmental and social consequences. Thankfully, this view is no longer prevalent.

To strike a better balance between economic and environmental concerns, Canada has developed a unique regulatory regime that governs resource development projects in the north, a regime that is co-managed with indigenous partners. The regime requires that proposed projects undergo stringent reviews of anticipated impacts. Review processes are structured for fairness, transparency, effectiveness and to consider traditional knowledge. Members of the public, along with stakeholder groups, are encouraged to participate in project reviews and the decisions of review boards are published for everyone to see.

The regulatory regime helps to ensure that resource projects maximize potential economic benefits and minimize potential environmental impacts. In this way, it restores public confidence, creates certainty and predictability, which are so important to industry, and sets the foundation for a sustainable and long-term natural resource industry in the north.

To maintain an appropriate balance between these concerns, the regulatory regime evolves continually as our country evolves and as our understanding of the environment and of resource development deepens. In the north in particular, the settlement of modern land claims has enabled the creation of unique systems of governance in co-operation with indigenous partners.

The proposed legislation now before us lays out a series of amendments to the regulatory regime that governs resource development in the Northwest Territories. The roots of Bill C-88 stretch back to a series of amendments made to the regulatory regime in 2014. Some of the amendments provoked indigenous communities in the Northwest Territories to initiate court actions against the Government of Canada. The Tlicho Government and Sahtu Secretariat Incorporated filed similar court challenges that effectively put a halt to some of the 2014 amendments.

Since 2015, the Government of Canada has launched a concerted effort to address the concerns that had provoked indigenous communities to initiate court actions. The primary issue is the amalgamation of four regional land and water boards into a single entity: the Mackenzie Valley Land and Water Board. To resolve this issue, representatives of the Government of Canada consulted with indigenous groups, the Government of the Northwest Territories and industry. The Government of Canada then drafted a legislative proposal, shared it with all interested partners and made changes to it in response to the feedback we received. The proposed legislation now before us is the product of this co-operative conciliatory process.

Among other changes, Bill C-88 would end amalgamation, reinstate the regional land and water boards and effectively end the court challenges.

The proposed legislation would promote reconciliation with indigenous peoples, a key priority for this country.

The proposed legislation now before us would also resolve a different problem created by the court challenges related to board amalgamation. To simplify a complex story, the court challenges effectively put a halt not only to amalgamation but to several policy measures that were central to the regulatory regime. These included the use of development certificates and the necessary enforcement scheme, inspector notice requirements on Gwich'in and Sahtu lands and other measures. Bill C-88 would reinstate these measures through specific amendments to the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act.

Another effect of Bill C-88 would be to further strengthen environmental protections in the Arctic, home to some of the world's most fragile ecosystems. The effects of climate change are more evident in the Arctic and appear to be progressing more quickly than anywhere else.

In 2016, Canada agreed to take a series of actions to better protect the Arctic. Chief among these was a moratorium on the issuance of new oil and gas rights in Canada's Arctic offshore region, subject to a five-year, science-based review. To ensure the appropriateness of these actions, the Government of Canada initiated year-long consultations with territorial and northern indigenous governments and with existing Arctic offshore oil and gas rights holders to discuss their interests. These consultations highlighted the importance of protecting the Arctic's unique offshore environment while pursuing safe, responsible activities that create jobs and economic opportunities in northern indigenous economies.

The consultations featured many discussions about how best to balance environmental and economic concerns. The result of the consultations was the series of amendments before us in Bill C-88 concerning the Canada Petroleum Resources Act.

First, to complement the moratorium on the issuance of new licences, which our Prime Minister announced in 2018, the amendments would allow us to prohibit any oil and gas exploration or development activities under existing exploration and significant discovery licences in the Arctic offshore.

Furthermore, the proposed amendments would fix a gap in the current legislative regime regarding existing licences and the five-year, science-based review. The legislation as it now stands does not allow licences to be suspended to allow for the review to unfold as required. In fact, some existing Arctic offshore oil and gas rights will begin to expire before the next review period is over. Bill C-88 proposes to resolve this issue by allowing the government to preserve existing rights until the review is completed. At that point, we would have a better understanding of the next steps for Arctic offshore oil and gas.

These amendments would be fair to the existing rights holders and would produce an effective compromise. The scientific research could be completed without any pressure associated with existing oil and gas activity in the region, while existing oil and gas rights could not expire in the meantime.

Bill C-88 proposes to improve the regulatory regime in the north through a series of amendments informed by several important developments, including court challenges, the accelerated impact of climate change in the Arctic and the opportunity to foster reconciliation between indigenous peoples and the Government of Canada. The amendments proposed in Bill C-88 would increase the predictability, consistency and timeliness of regulatory reviews in the north while strengthening environmental protections.

Northerners deserve a fully functional modernized regulatory regime that meets their particular needs, the kind of regime that promotes growth and prosperity while safeguarding fragile ecosystems, the kind of regime that strikes an appropriate balance between economic and environmental concerns.

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April 9th, 2019 / 4:55 p.m.
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NDP

Sheri Benson NDP Saskatoon West, SK

Madam Speaker, I think my colleague and I would both agree that the people of the Northwest Territories know best how their resources should be used and managed. I agree with his assessment of what happened with the previous Conservative government. It ignored the spirit, intent and the word of constitutionally protected land claims and self-government agreements. It failed to listen, and it has led to lengthy legal battles.

Generally we support Bill C-88. At the same time, there is an important opportunity here for the government to put into action the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Although it is not included in the bill, I would like to hear my hon. colleague's comments about his support for including the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in this bill.

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April 9th, 2019 / 4:55 p.m.
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Conservative

Luc Berthold Conservative Mégantic—L'Érable, QC

Madam Speaker, it is my turn to rise in the House 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, at second reading. This bill was introduced by the Minister of Intergovernmental and Northern Affairs and Internal Trade on November 8, 2018.

Before I begin, I would like to say that I have never had the opportunity to visit these northern territories, but I have made two trips to Nunavik, in Quebec's far north. Once someone goes to these areas and speaks with the people who live in Canada's far north, they gain a completely different view, a different perspective, of northerners' potential and desire for self-determination, their desire to take charge of their land. During my two visits, I felt that the people in this area truly wanted to look after their own affairs and contribute to Canada's social and economic development in their own way. They want to be a part of this great big country that we share.

The bill consists of two parts. Part 1 amends the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act. It repeals the provisions that would consolidate the Mackenzie Valley land and water boards into a single board. Those provisions were introduced by the previous Conservative government in Bill C-15. Part 2 amends the Canada Petroleum Resources Act to allow the Governor in Council to issue orders to prohibit oil and gas activities, freeze the terms of existing licences and prevent them from expiring during a moratorium, if it is in the national interest to do so.

Part 1 undoes what the Conservatives did, and part 2 announces that the Liberal government is going to make things worse. That is what I get from Bill C-88. Overall, what I get from Bill C-88 is that it is a Liberal anti-energy policy that will drive even more energy investments out of Canada. It will cost Canadian workers their jobs, and that certainly will not help improve the quality of life of residents of northern Canada. Bill C-88 reveals a full rejection of calls from elected territorial leaders for increased control of their natural resources.

The previous government believed the north would be a key economic driver for decades to come. Other Arctic nations, such as China and Russia, are exploring similar opportunities. Unfortunately, the Liberal government decided to take a different tack.

I was mayor of Thetford Mines for seven years. My community has grappled with major problems. It was an asbestos mining community where companies dug up white gold, as it was known then, for years. We see asbestos in an entirely different light now. For years, we were exploited by outsiders who came into our community and left nothing but deep scars, from mountains of tailings to infrastructure that still mars the landscape. We wish we had had a say in all of those projects. We wish we could have played a role and worked with the people who operated the mines. We could have influenced how it was done, and we definitely could have told them where to put the massive piles of tailings, how to dispose of it all, and how to improve our people's quality of life.

In some territories, when one is elected to represent a community, the more control that territory has over its own affairs, the more one can contribute, the more decisions are made at the local level, and the more one understands the impact of decisions. Unfortunately, in this case, just before Christmas 2016, the Liberal government cavalierly decided to force the territories to do things its way.

During a trip to Washington, the Prime Minister took the opportunity to announce a moratorium. There was no consultation with people in the north, despite the same old tune from the Liberals that consultation is important. Despite the countless consultations that were held in this case, the Liberal government did not feel obliged to consult the people of the north. The decision was made unilaterally by the Prime Minister's Office. Then we learn that the leaders of these territories were informed just one hour before the government announced important changes that would affect them.

I will quote the leaders of the affected communities. The Premier of the Northwest Territories published a red alert for a national emergency debate on the future of the Northwest Territories. He said that the promises of the north are fading and the dreams of northerners are dying as we watch a resurgence of colonialism. Whether we are talking about ill-conceived ways to fund social programs or new, disconcerting restrictions on their economic development, he says, their spirit and energy are being eroded.

Then, he said that staying in the middle class or trying to join it is becoming a distant dream for many. He says that means that northerners, through their democratically elected government, have to have the power to determine their own destiny and that we can no longer allow the bureaucrats and governments in Ottawa to make the decisions. He says that decisions concerning the north have to be made in the north. He says that unilateral decisions made by the federal government without consultation to impose a moratorium on offshore oil and gas development in the Arctic is just an example of how their economic self-determination is thwarted in Ottawa.

The Premier of the Northwest Territories was rather quick to respond.

In an interview on national television on December 22, 2016, another premier, the Premier of Nunavut, said that they want to get to a point where they can make their own determination of their priorities, and the way to do that, he said, is by gaining meaningful revenue from resource development. Meanwhile, when one potential revenue source is taken off the table, it puts them back at practically square one, where Ottawa will make the decisions for them.

Those statements are rather clear. These are not extremists who wanted to attack the government. They just wanted to be consulted on important decisions related to natural resource development on their lands. It is important to hear those messages and act accordingly. When the government is making these kinds of decisions, it is even more important to avoid concentrating too much power within one office, in other words, the Prime Minister's Office. This helps ensure that decisions are not made for purely political reasons. That is unfortunately what happens when the PMO is given so much decision-making power that a moratorium can be imposed without having to consult.

On October 22, 2018, the mayor of Tuktoyaktuk said the following to the Standing Committee on Indigenous and Northern Affairs:

I was talking to [the Liberal member 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...[We don't just want to sell] trinkets and T-shirts and that kind of stuff.

Those messages are clear. I hope that the government will listen to elected officials from these territories and reconsider Bill C-88.

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April 9th, 2019 / 5:05 p.m.
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Conservative

Luc Berthold Conservative Mégantic—L'Érable, QC

Madam Speaker, I appreciate my colleague's question.

I think that everyone involved should have a say on the future of their territory and on natural resource development. Bill C-88 calls for exactly that; it would let those involved decide.

However, in Bill C-88, some decisions are already made without consultation with these same governments and are inconsistent with what they want. This is what we want to avoid.

The government cannot do things and then say it will consult these governments for everything else. Unfortunately this is what happened with Bill C-88. This is unfortunate and is why we cannot agree with or adopt a bill like this. In retrospect, it is easy to support something when you have not been consulted and then pick up the pieces afterwards.

This is quite unfortunate for elected officials in these territories, which is why we will stand with them on this matter.

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April 9th, 2019 / 5:10 p.m.
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Liberal

William Amos Liberal Pontiac, QC

Madam Speaker, I am very pleased to rise today in support of a bill that would make a positive difference in the relationship between indigenous peoples and the Crown. In starting my speech, I acknowledge that I stand here on traditional unceded Algonquin territory.

Today we are holding a second reading debate on Bill C-88, an act to amend the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act and the Canada Petroleum Resources Act. I will use the time allotted to me to speak about the amendments to both of these and to speak a bit about the issue of Arctic offshore oil exploration.

First, I want to start with some context around the Mackenzie Valley. To understand the mess that we are fixing right now, one has to rewind the clock, back to the 1970s.

In 1974, the federal government, under the Right Hon. Pierre Elliott Trudeau, appointed Justice Thomas Berger of the Supreme Court of British Columbia to hold hearings into a proposed natural gas pipeline down the Mackenzie Valley.

At that time, the Dene and the Inuvialuit were asserting their claims to these traditional lands. The Berger Inquiry broke with tradition by hearing evidence, offered not merely by the pipeline companies but also by residents in more than 30 small communities in the Northwest Territories.

The Berger Inquiry heard from over 1,000 indigenous people in seven languages and over 500 southern voices were there as well to give their opinions. The process was groundbreaking. The federal government funded research by indigenous, environmental and community groups. Justice Berger enabled media participation that brought Canadians from far and wide, from coast to coast to coast, into the proceeding.

In May 1977, Berger recommended that, for environmental reasons, no pipeline should ever be built along the northern coastal plains. Although Berger concluded that an environmentally sound pipeline could be built through the Mackenzie Valley, he urged a 10-year moratorium on pipeline construction in the region to allow time to settle indigenous land claims. Ottawa, the federal government, endorsed his recommendations.

This concluded in the delaying of any construction on the pipeline in the Mackenzie Valley and was seen as a turning point in indigenous Canadian relations. In amassing over 40,000 pages of documentation, it also provided a unique and comprehensive window into the Dene and Inuvialuit political resurgence of the 1970s. There would be no turning back on consultations with indigenous people after this inquiry; the precedent was set.

Public sympathy and interest in both indigenous and environmental concerns were heightened as a result of the Berger Inquiry. It was a watershed event for reconciliation. It allowed first nations to speak about their history, their issues related to the land, their culture and the impacts that the southern man's projects would have on their communities.

What we have learned from the Berger Inquiry of the 1970s is that when we consult with indigenous people, we take a first step toward our commitment to reconciliation. We learned lessons that ultimately led to regional land claims agreements and the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act of 1998.

The 1998 Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act put in place an integrated system for the co-management of the land and waters in the Mackenzie Valley in the Northwest Territories. This act established two boards with jurisdiction over the entire valley, namely the Mackenzie Valley Land and Water Board and the Mackenzie Valley Environmental Impact Review Board.

Three regional land and water boards were created for the Gwich'in settlement area, the Sahtu settlement area and the Tlicho settlement area, pursuant to the Gwich'in, the Sahtu Dene and Metis and the Tlicho land claim agreements, which conferred on these boards the responsibility for issuing land use permits and water licensing.

Fast forward to 2014, when the Harper administration passed the Northwest Territories Devolution Act, it consolidated four indigenous regulatory boards into one, without their agreement, and in so doing, stifled the voices of indigenous people. It flew in the face of lessons learned through the Berger Inquiry, where we learned of the importance of indigenous people's voices, of incorporating indigenous communities in governance processes.

That is why our government's Bill C-88 is so important. We are fixing the mess of the previous Harper administration.

That is why our government's bill, Bill C-88, is so important. We are fixing the mess of the Harper administration.

The Northwest Territories Devolution Act, the infamous Bill C-15 introduced by the Harper government, transferred land and water management to the Government of the Northwest Territories and amended three existing acts, including the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act. It included the restructuring of the land and water boards and the elimination of regional boards.

The Tlicho government was totally against those changes and filed a statement of claim before the Supreme Court of the Northwest Territories, stating that the Harper government had no right to unilaterally abolish the Wek'èezhìi Land and Water Board because such action would go against its land claims agreement and right to self-government. It added that consultation had been inadequate and that the act violated constitutional promises made to that first nation.

The Tlicho government and Sahtu Secretariat Incorporated sought injunctions in July 2014 and February 2015 respectively in order to maintain their respective water boards until the major issues in their statements could be resolved.

I will cite the court decision on the injunction, because it is just so damning and clearly indicates why we had to come and clean up the mess. It says:

The Tlicho government has raised a reasonable possibility that Canada has overstepped the bounds of what it is permitted to do under the Tlicho Agreement. ...there is a reasonable likelihood the Tlicho Government will suffer...irreparable losses...as a result of a breach of a constitutionally protected right. ...irreparable harm could result from the breach of a constitutionally protected right. This is particularly so where the legislation...will have the effect of dismantling and disrupting existing infrastructure which will then have to be rebuilt.

The court granted an injunction suspending the application of subsection 253(2) of the Northwest Territories Devolution Act, which would have brought into effect the provisions related to the restructuring and other regulatory amendments.

In November 2015, the newly appointed Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs, the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, began discussions with indigenous organizations and governments in the Northwest Territories in order to make the legislative changes needed to resolve this issue. The amendments to the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act are the result of those discussions and discussions with other regional stakeholders.

We have learned from the past that an effective regulatory body and thorough consultation processes are necessary to consider the needs of those directly impacted by these projects. Transparent and thorough consultation also promotes sound decision-making, and it ultimately will help create better projects that will deliver more benefits to regional communities and to the workers.

This is why Bill C-88 seeks to consult with rights holders and northern indigenous governments when it comes to oil and gas projects in the northern offshore, by making consequential amendments to the Canada Petroleum Resources Act, or CPRA.

I will provide some context on the history of Canada's Arctic offshore oil and gas issue. Oil spills in offshore regions across the world have underlined the importance of a precautionary approach when operating in fragile marine ecological environments. The BP blowout in the Gulf of Mexico put Canada on alert, and Arctic offshore as a possibility was, and still is, seen in that light. We are aware of the vulnerabilities of any marine ecosystem to a potential blowout, and this is especially true for the unique and fragile marine ecology of the Beaufort Sea.

Canadians can be proud that our Liberal government collaborated with the Obama administration to establish a moratorium on Arctic offshore drilling and the issuance of more licences on the basis of the precautionary principle and of science and traditional knowledge.

We know that oil and gas exploration has been part of the northwest economy for many years, so much so that it is part of the 1984 Inuvialuit Final Agreement and the 1993 Nunavut Land Claims Agreement. However, at the same time, we know that northerners and southerners, indigenous and non-indigenous peoples, and all Canadians can agree that a catastrophic blowout in the deep water of the Beaufort Sea could cripple the Inuvialuit way of living and their future prospects. This is another reason this bill is important.

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April 9th, 2019 / 5:25 p.m.
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Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to have an opportunity to speak to Bill C-88. Despite the use of time allocation, I appreciate that the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons earlier today said she would make efforts to give me a chance to speak and has done so. Even with abbreviated debate, I am therefore able to speak to this legislation.

I am also able to speak to what happened to this legislation when the Northwest Territories Devolution Act was brought forward in the 41st Parliament in 2014. It was something everyone wanted to support, but there were many measures with that act that were offensive to the foundational principles of self-government and respect for treaties.

In fact, the Mackenzie Valley Land and Water Board, the Gwich'in Land and Water Board, the Sahtu Land and Water Board and the Wek’eezhii Tlicho Land and Water Board, all of which were the result of treaty negotiations between the Crown and those nations, were callously, carelessly, disrespectfully and completely violated with the notion that we could replace them with something described as more efficient.

I protested those changes at the time, as did the previous NDP member of Parliament for the Northwest Territories, Dennis Bevington. We tried quite hard to persuade the 41st Parliament that it was wrong to change the law in this way.

Subsequent to the changes being made, a number of the boards that were impacted went to court to challenge what had just happened. The notion of a superboard was deeply offensive to the principle that had been there, which was that the land and water boards represented fifty-fifty decision-making between first nations and the federal government. It would have reduced the self-government that the Northwest Territories Devolution Act was supposed to respect. It would have taken away rights and reduced the scope of review by those various boards.

Earlier today in debate I heard a Conservative member say that Bill C-88 was another effort by the Liberal government to interfere with development, to thwart development and to drive investment away from Canada.

I am saddened by that kind of commentary. I agree with a number of criticisms of the Liberal government. There are a lot of measures being taken that I find far short of what is required, particularly when looking at the climate crisis, and far short of what is required when looking at the need for thorough environmental assessment. There was a commitment in the election to undo the damage that had been done by the Harper administration in a number of areas, and so far the Liberal government has done really well in some areas and less well in others.

It did extremely well in undoing discriminatory legislation towards trade unions, and that was done relatively quickly by the former member of cabinet responsible for labour issues.

The Liberal government did an extremely good job on a piece of legislation that is still before the Senate, Bill C-68, to repair the Fisheries Act. Bill C-68 not only repairs the damage that was done by the previous prime minister and his government and not only brings back protections for fish habitat. It also expands and improves other protections for habitat. It is an extremely important piece of legislation and I hope it passes quickly.

It is also complementary to a piece of legislation that I hope will be passed here. Earlier today in the House, the hon. member for Avalon, the chair of the fisheries committee, presented the report, and Bill S-203 is now back before the House. I hope we move to report stage and third reading expeditiously.

Bill C-68, which I am referencing, is also complementary in saying that we are now going to ban the taking of cetaceans into captivity in Canadian waters.

Again, all of these bills speak to undoing the damage done by the previous government, but Bill C-68 goes beyond that with more progressive measures.

Unfortunately, Bill C-69 is also before the Senate. I hope it will be amended and sent back here quickly. The Minister of Transport did an excellent job of repairing the former Navigable Waters Protection Act. There are some innovative changes to energy regulations. Unfortunately, the middle piece of legislation in that omnibus bill, the one on environmental review, does not undo the damage of the previous government, but rather keeps it in place.

However, this legislation is excellent in that it would actually undo the damage the previous government had done. It would set back in place the integrity of self-government, of decisions for land and water boards that reflect the negotiations under self-government agreements and treaties. Now that we are debating this bill at second reading, I would certainly like to see this bill in committee so that it could receive one or two additional amendments.

As was mentioned on the floor of the House earlier today when we started second reading debate of Bill C-88, given the content, the context and the need to take a step further and be more progressive than merely repairing, we should say that this bill operates under the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. That would be a very welcome amendment and, assuming this bill gets to committee and we are in a position to put forward amendments during clause-by-clause consideration, it is one that the committee can expect to hear from the Green Party.

I certainly support this bill, including the provisions to allow moratoria on drilling to affect such decisions based on evidence. I do hope the bill passes. I would like to see it pass with an amendment to ensure that it operates under the terms of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

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December 3rd, 2018 / noon
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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.

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

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:

...is 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

NDP

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

Liberal

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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December 3rd, 2018 / 3:30 p.m.
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Conservative

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.

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December 3rd, 2018 / 3:45 p.m.
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Liberal

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.

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December 3rd, 2018 / 4 p.m.
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Liberal

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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

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.
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Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

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.
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Conservative

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.
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Conservative

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.

Mackenzie Valley Resource Management ActGovernment Orders

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

Mark Strahl Conservative Chilliwack—Hope, BC

Madam Speaker, it is always good to speak in the House and on an issue about which I am passionate, northern Canada.

Bill C-15, which we have heard referenced a number of times, was legislation of which I was very proud to have been a part. I was part of the Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development. We spent a lot of quality time in the Northwest Territories talking to people about making government work better for the people of the Northwest Territories. That is what Bill C-15 did. It devolved powers from Ottawa to the territories, something for which the Northwest Territories had been fighting and asking for decades. That is what our government delivered.

This bill, Bill C-88, basically formalizes in law one of the most egregious slaps in the face I think I have ever witnessed as an elected representative.

The Prime Minister went to Washington, D.C., to see his friend Barack Obama off. He had already termed out. He was in the lame duck portion of his presidency. The Prime Minister decided that it would be a good going away present to put a moratorium on oil and gas drilling in the Beaufort Sea in the Northwest Territories and he did it without consulting.

The current government likes to talk about consulting with indigenous people. However, when the rubber hits the road, it could not care less what the indigenous people of the country think unless it goes along with its preconceived notion of what it wants to do as a government. We saw that with the moratorium. We saw it as well with the northern gateway pipeline, where the Aboriginal Equity Partners, a group of 31 indigenous communities, had a $2 billion opportunity staring them in the face. The Prime Minister and the Liberal government shut that down with the stroke of a pen. Again, they did it from Ottawa.

When it comes to the Liberals, Ottawa always knows best and when it comes to indigenous peoples and the Liberals, Ottawa always knows best. We saw that with the moratorium and the northern gateway pipeline. They feel they have no obligation to consult when it comes to the economic opportunities they rip away from indigenous communities. They ripped away opportunities from the Aboriginal Equity Partners. They again ripped away opportunities from northerners with this moratorium.

The member for Northwest Territories said that there was no oil and gas development happening there. Is that any surprise? Why would any company invest its hard-earned dollars in a jurisdiction when a government, with 20 minutes notice, can shut the whole thing down? In the case of the northern gateway pipeline, there was three-quarters of a billion dollars of private company investment and the government shut it down with the stroke of a pen, ripping away $2 billion of economic opportunity from a group of aboriginal communities in a region of the country that has very little other economic opportunity.

What was the reaction from the northerners when this was done? The Northwest Territories premier, Bob McLeod, said very clearly, “The promise of the North is fading and the dreams of northerners are dying as we see a re-emergence of colonialism.” He was talking about the approach of the Prime Minister and the government, with its colonial approach, shutting down development because it would play well with Barack Obama, the green lobby and southern Canada. They did not care at all what the reality would be in the north.

The premier also stated, “We shouldn't have to stop our own development so the rest of Canada can feel better.” He went on to say, “We need jobs. We need work. You want us to leave the North because we can't work there. You want us to live in a large park. That's essentially what's happened.”

The Premier of the Northwest Territories gets exactly what the Prime Minister is trying to do, which is to make the Northwest Territories, Canada's north in general, Nunavut and Yukon, into a great protected space, where Ottawa will just keep sending up the money and the northerners will not have the ability to control their own natural resources and destiny. That is what Bill C-15 did. It gave control of the north to those who lived there, to the northerners. It brought into line the regulatory processes and regime with what was happening in the rest of Canada.

In a way, I guess Bill C-88 would do the same thing. The Liberal government brought in Bill C-69, which will devastate and kill resource development in this country. Everyone in the industry says so. Everyone in oil and gas knows that Bill C-69 will devastate them. The entire province of Alberta, from the NDP to the United Conservative Party and all points in between are saying that Bill C-69 has to be removed. The government must repeal Bill C-69, or at least pause it.

The Liberals say, “We know best. We are the federal government.” Here in Ottawa, in their wisdom, even though the price of oil is now down to $10 a barrel, a price differential of $50 between a barrel on the world market and what Albertan oil companies can sell it for, in their wisdom the Liberals say that is not a problem and that their hearts go out to them.

With Bill C-88, they are saying that since Bill C-69 devastated the resource economy in the rest of Canada, they need to partner it with legislation specific to the north, which would be Bill C-88, and would prevent oil and gas development in that region. What these Liberals do not seem to understand is that when capital investment is driven away, it does not simply turn around on a dime and come back when the moratorium might be lifted some day in the future.

It is the same as we have seen in Alberta. When these companies pack up and leave, when they are driven out of the country by government policies, as they have been by the Liberal government, they do not simply turn around and come back with their billions of dollars and tens of thousands of jobs on a whim. It will take decades to repair the damage the government has done in three short years. It will take decades to build back the capacity and investor confidence that has evaporated since the Liberal government has taken office.

Why has it evaporated? The government has taken the processes in place and politicized them for its own gains. The Liberals have said, “We do not care that the National Energy Board has conducted an independent two-year long, $750-million investigation of the northern gateway pipeline, with 209 conditions placed upon it. We do not care about that because we know best. We are going to cancel that pipeline. We are going to make it impossible for the energy east pipeline to go ahead. We are going to buy the Trans Mountain pipeline, just park it and see what happens in a few years after the next election.”

Companies have abandoned this country in the billions of dollars and in the tens of thousands of workers. This legislation is just another example of that sort of philosophy where Ottawa knows best. The government certainly thinks it knows best when it comes to indigenous communities. Bob McLeod and many others in the north have said to the government, “We earn our living with oil and gas revenues. We work in these industries, and you are taking away opportunity from our people.” However, the Liberal government does not believe it needs to talk to those people who actually support resource development. It believes it only needs to talk to people who support the Liberal government's agenda.

When I hear the Prime Minister say that there is no relationship more important than that with Canada's indigenous people, his record proves it is simply untrue. With certain indigenous people, the ones who agree with him, he is very into maintaining that relationship. However, for those who disagree with the Prime Minister, or those who have an agenda and want to pursue economic development for their people, the Prime Minister does not have to consult with them, because Ottawa knows best. That is what this legislation is, an Ottawa-knows-best, made-in-southern-Canada solution for northerners.

It is unlike our previous government, which wanted to see the north thrive. We wanted to promote northern sovereignty. We wanted to promote devolution of powers to northerners because they know best how to govern themselves. They do not need a prime minister going down to Washington, D.C., to tell them how to do it.

We will proudly vote against this legislation, and when we form government in 2019, we will work to rebuild the damage the Liberal government has done in this country.

Mackenzie Valley Resource Management ActGovernment Orders

December 3rd, 2018 / 5:35 p.m.
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Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, it is somewhat discouraging to hear the comments of my colleague across the way. Bill C-88 is before us today in good part because of the reaction to Bill C-15. When Stephen Harper was the prime minister of Canada, he completely disregarded what was being told to him regarding how best to manage land and water resources. Stephen Harper came up with his own way, and his way did not work. That is why we have Bill C-88 today.

Now the member opposite is convincing us as to why we have to ensure that the Conservatives do not get power again in the future. All they are saying today is that they want to go back to the Stephen Harper days. It is as if Stephen Harper has not even left the chamber. Stephen Harper is alive and well behind those curtains, possibly.

Why would the Conservative Party continue to follow Stephen Harper when we know Stephen Harper was wrong on this and even a court said so?

Mackenzie Valley Resource Management ActGovernment Orders

December 3rd, 2018 / 5:40 p.m.
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Liberal

Mark Gerretsen Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise today in the House to talk about Bill C-88, its effects and what it proposes to do in strengthening the relationship that we have with the locals who would be impacted by the legislation in the Northwest Territories.

I would also like to say that it is an honour to stand here recognizing that we are on the traditional territory of the Algonquin people. I am proud to support a bill that would strengthen the relationship between Canada and its indigenous peoples.

Today, we begin 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. I will use my time to focus primarily on the 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 as anywhere else that we are seeing. Scientists now predict that the north will be ice-free by 2040 as opposed to what they originally predicted which was 2100.

Climate change is having a profound impact on Canada's Arctic and the northern and indigenous peoples and communities. While some of the effects 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 lifestyles such as hunting and fishing.

It goes without saying that we are continually hearing more and more rhetoric coming from the Conservatives and the alt-right about how climate change is something that we cannot control and is something that we do not have the ability to really do anything about, that we just have to kind of accept it. There are those who now believe that climate change might actually be happening, but there is a whole host of others on the right who still do not accept it as reality. This is despite the fact that 99% of scientists are saying our climate is changing and a number almost equivalent to that are saying that mankind is creating that impact on our environment and it is only mankind that can actually stop it and reverse it.

To those who would suggest that climate change is something that we cannot control or that we should not believe the 97% of scientists who say it is man-made, I would offer to them if 97% of scientists or doctors came forward and said that someone had cancer, my guess is that most people would probably accept that and react in a way that they would do something about the diagnosis that they received.

It goes without saying that I am very puzzled that we are unable to exercise the same kind of judgment when we talk about climate change and the fact that there is such a worldwide cry out there with respect to what we need to be doing and doing now and acting now and changing our habits immediately so that we can have a lasting impact.

These changes are re-framing Canada's approach to the future development of Arctic offshore oil and gas in three ways.

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

Two, climate change is altering the northern environment with more unpredictability in weather, ice and ocean behaviour. We need to better understand all of the factors influencing risks for workers and wildlife.

Three, 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 the reconciliation with indigenous peoples in the north.

I will take the opportunity now to comment briefly on the past 10 years. In the last couple of weeks, I have brought up the past government and its 10 years in power and how it was unable to accomplish anything when it came to our national resource development, in particular oil.

It is not because I do not think the Conservatives had the right intentions. They wanted to develop the resources, but their approach went in a direction that made it virtually impossible for them to develop those resources and get them to new markets.

Stephen Harper did a very good job of touting how the oil industry was going to be a super economic powerhouse for Canada and that we would distribute oil to free markets by getting it to access points for delivery to those markets. The problem is that in the process of doing that, he continually bullied his way through when dealing with environmental movements, climate change experts and indigenous communities throughout the country. He continually and systematically did things, such as bringing in Bill C-15, that were held up because they were dragged through the courts and because various other measures were taken to slow down the government's ability to open up our resources to new markets.

Essentially, while Stephen Harper was touting that this was going to be the next biggest thing in the Canadian economy, he was painting a huge target on the back of the industry, because he was undermining all of the processes and various players that would contribute to the discussion and the regulations to be developed in a responsible way. Our government, however, is doing the latter. That is what we saw with the moratorium and the legislation that came out of it. There was a massive amount of consultation with indigenous communities, and with respect to science and the rule of law, so that when something actually comes into play and new opportunities to explore natural resources occur, it can be done in a responsible way that respects the processes and the various players involved. That is something that Stephen Harper failed to do, but this government is doing it, and that why there is progress.

I respect the fact that the Conservatives are upset time and time again about the economy and how resources are being delivered and with the new approach of our government. Quite frankly, if I had been in their position for 10 years of inaction and then started to see real, tangible change happen in a way that would positively impact our economy and our relationships with scientists and indigenous communities, yes, I would be upset too if I were in their position, because they were unable to do anything about it and now they are seeing that there might be a process to move forward on this. What is their default reaction? It is to be obstructionist. They come here and tout that the way this is being handled is not going to produce any tangible results, but I guess time will tell.

Seven years from now, when we Liberals get to the end of our 10-year run, matching their 10-year run, we will have an opportunity to look back and see how effective we were over a 10-year period versus how effective they were. I would add that after 10 years, we will likely go for another 10 after that in an encore performance, so to speak, because the Canadian people understand it. They buy it and believe in the processes we are putting in place. They believe that a government should not to bully its way through various processes in government but make sure that it is consulting and bringing all players together, which is what this bill attempts to do and has done to get here.

I am aware of the importance of oil and gas activities to the economic prosperity and the social well-being of Canada. We recognize the important potential they have to strengthen Canada's economy in the north. 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 they were consistent with our climate and environmental goals. At least we have something to measure that against because we are taking the initiative to say what our plan is as it relates to the environment.

The Conservatives are going to complain about this all day long, saying that we have to do more to open the oil and gas sector, that we have to continue to make sure we can exploit the resources that we have, but at the same time, they have absolutely nothing to say when it comes to how they are going to protect the environment. As a matter of fact, their leader was asked that at the beginning of 2018, and he said they would be bringing forward their plan really soon. It has been almost 12 months since, and they still have virtually no plan.

I hear members of the Conservative Party laughing at this and heckling. They can put my rhetoric, if they claim that is what it is, to sleep by just standing up when the time comes in about nine minutes and tell us their plan for the environment. What would they do to properly protect the environment? I would—

Mackenzie Valley Resource Management ActGovernment Orders

December 3rd, 2018 / 5:55 p.m.
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Liberal

Mark Gerretsen Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Mr. Speaker, thank you for sticking up for me there. Do not worry. I have to deal with it all the time, so I am completely content with it. However, I do respect your desire to maintain decorum in the chamber.

As I was saying, I would absolutely love to hear what the Conservative plan is when it comes to the environment. I know that they want to “protect it” because that sounds really good and makes them feel good, but why do they not tell us what they are going to do to protect our environment? I can almost guarantee that they will not. In seven or eight minutes from now when it is time for them to get up and ask questions, they will stand up, but they will not tell us what they are going to do to protect our environment, other than not to worry because their leader has a plan.

I have laid out what the Prime Minister has done to bring forward safety and environmental standards when making these decisions. We have to respect the fact that these are important decisions. By strengthening and modernizing our regulatory regime, we can ensure as a government that these principles underpin resource development in the north.

The bill's proposed amendments to the Canada Petroleum Resources Act Act and the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act are part of this modernization. This is not the first time we have come before the chamber to do this. It has happened in the past while debating 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 said that we needed robust processes in place that would protect our rich natural environment, respect the rights and interests of indigenous peoples and support a strong Canadian natural resources sector

This bill before the House today aims to do the same thing: to protect the environment, respect indigenous rights and support the natural resources economy. It will also provide the foundation for partnership and future collaboration. We know we can do all of these things if we take the right approach, which I previously talked about and the government is committed to doing in so many different processes than just this bill.

I will now speak more briefly to the Canada Petroleum Resources Act and what the proposed amendments would do to it. In short, they would allow us to carefully assess the prospects of Arctic offshore resource development in the context of a changing environment, and 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 and allows for a thorough evaluation of the current science around climate change and the 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, which is an indigenous principle meaning that actions should be taken only 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 our grandchildren.

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

Budgets 2016 and 2017 provided over $220 million for new programs under the pan-Canadian framework. To date, these investments have supported hundreds of projects in northern 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 peoples participate in policy discussions on climate change. This bill is consistent with critical efforts to understand, mitigate and adapt to climate change. The point is that when dealing with the Arctic, we are dealing with societies as well as ecosystems.

Taking a step back, with no proposed amendments in the bill, enables us to look at the big picture including our interconnectedness and vulnerability as humans in a rapidly changing world. This is why I support Bill C-88 as it relates to the Canada Petroleum Resources Act, and I encourage all members to do the same.

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December 3rd, 2018 / 6:05 p.m.
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Liberal

Mark Gerretsen Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the attempt to inform me about what a particular member in the House said five years ago. I am not exactly sure that it relates to the content of what I had to say.

However, I will say that Bill C-15, which was brought in by Stephen Harper, was found by the courts to have significant flaws with it.

What this government has done with this particular piece of legislation is do the proper consultation from a scientific perspective and from a relationship perspective with indigenous communities. It has gone through the processes to make sure that everything is done properly so that when we do come back to the table it is done in a way that we are not bullying our way through particular industries or groups, and that it is done in a consultative way with everybody. That is exactly what we are seeing in the results of Bill C-88 today.

Mackenzie Valley Resource Management ActGovernment Orders

December 3rd, 2018 / 6:05 p.m.
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Yvonne Jones Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Intergovernmental and Northern Affairs and Internal Trade, Lib.

Mr. Speaker, I am happy to rise and ask a question of my colleague with regard to Bill C-88, and thank him for his support and endorsement of the bill.

It is evident what is happening in the House. The Conservatives realize that in passing the devolution agreement for the Northwest Territories, which all Canadians supported at the time and support today, they had also passed legislation that was unilaterally supported by the Conservative Harper government. It was imposed upon indigenous people in the Northwest Territories and the indigenous government. Since that day, they have been asking that this legislation be amended, and went to the court to do so. They won their case in the court, but even then the Conservative Harper government continued to appeal that decision.

I know my colleague will agree, but for the record, I would like to ask him if the process that our government has taken in removing this from the courts, a process of dialogue and respect for indigenous people, is the right process.

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December 3rd, 2018 / 6:10 p.m.
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Liberal

Lloyd Longfield Liberal Guelph, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to begin by acknowledging that we are on the traditional unceded territory of the Algonquin people.

I am very proud to join my colleagues and speak in full support of Bill C-88. The Prime Minister has stated that no relationship is more important to our government and, indeed, to Canada than the one with our indigenous peoples. I am proud of what we have done to make this commitment real, and that we are continuing to strive to fulfill it with bills such as the one that we have before us today.

Our government is dedicated to a renewed relationship with indigenous peoples in the true spirit of reconciliation, but this requires real work. One of the key elements in achieving true reconciliation is meaningful consultation. Canada is committed to following the principles laid out by the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Furthermore, our Constitution protects indigenous and treaty rights. When those rights may be impacted, Canada must engage in consultation with indigenous peoples. This is not an option. It is a legal obligation. That is only the starting point.

We have reached a moment in our country's history where we are making deep foundational changes to the way that we approach our relationships with indigenous peoples. These changes must be reflected in legislation that we enact here in this place. The only way forward to build a better future for all is by working together in the spirit of respect, recognition of rights, collaboration and partnership.

We are committed to restoring trust and further strengthening our relationship with our indigenous partners in the Northwest Territories by supporting the integrated co-management regime for land and waters in the Mackenzie Valley. That is what we are discussing tonight.

We needed to restore this trust after the previous government ignored their duty to consult, and were therefore found to have violated their obligations as partners. We need to ensure that the management of our natural resources is done in a way that respects the inherent and treaty rights of indigenous peoples.

Through Bill C-88, we can ensure sustainable resource development while at the same time also protecting the long-term health and well-being of the environment. This proposed legislation was created in the spirit of reconciliation, meant to help to renew the relationship between the Crown and indigenous peoples in the Northwest Territories through mutual respect and co-operation.

It is our responsibility to foster and support meaningful consultation with indigenous peoples in order to reach consensus with governments, with industry, and in fact with all Canadians.

This is not always a quick or an easy process, but we cannot, under any circumstances, repeat the harmful mistakes of the past, and that past goes back a long way. For centuries, indigenous people were ostracized and excluded from decision-making processes. Indigenous governments, leaders and communities did not have a say in what happened to their people or their traditional territories. We need to change that.

This disturbing legacy has held indigenous people back for far too long. It has excluded them from fully engaging in Canada's economy and sharing in the abundance of our country's wealth, both our natural wealth and our economic wealth. This bill is a small step to give indigenous groups their voices back.

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

The amendments proposed by the bill respect the integrity of the land claim agreements that the Government of Canada and the Government of the Northwest Territories entered into with 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. This has been stated by the courts. We also heard from them that this directly contravened their land claims agreements, which include the creation and management of these boards.

Reconciliation is not an empty word to our government. Action must follow words to move forward and work toward real and lasting positive change in the relationship between Canada and our indigenous peoples.

The bill proposes to reverse board restructuring and to reintroduce the other regulatory amendments. Simply put, indigenous peoples have the right to oversee how their lands are used and to share in the wealth. These amendments would result in a better process for all parties involved. They would remove uncertainty for groups from the mining, oil and gas industries and other investors wanting to begin new projects in these areas.

Businesses need certainty to move forward. They do not need to know that things are going to change on the road ahead. We need to do the work up front to make sure that all areas are covered.

Bill C-88 would integrate the perspectives of indigenous peoples in the future uses of land and water on their territories. It would include and incorporate indigenous views and perspectives in any decision-making on land and resources.

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

The Gwich'in, Sahtu and Wek'èezhii made it clear that they wanted their voices heard and their rights acknowledged and respected. The bill would ensure that they would continue to have a say in what happens to the lands and water they preside over and have presided over for centuries.

True reconciliation cannot occur until indigenous governments and organizations are fully included in the management of land and resources in the north. We need to bring the voices of indigenous people into this process 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 would ensure that the unique perspective of indigenous organizations, leaders and communities were heard and listened to. I urge all my colleagues today to recognize the importance of incorporating an indigenous perspective in the future decision-making of our natural resources sector and to support this important legislation.

It is a new way of looking at things. We are changing the order of how we work together with indigenous people, and that really involves a new way of approaching legislation, such as we see in Bill C-88. It also includes some painful redoing of legislation that did not meet the mark of our future relationship or respect the rights of indigenous people.

That is where we find ourselves today. Bill C-88 would take us down a new road with our northern indigenous neighbours. It is a road that is going to be good for them, good for us and good for the land we all share.