An Act to amend the Aeronautics Act, the Fishing and Recreational Harbours Act and other Acts (application of provincial law)

This bill was last introduced in the 43rd Parliament, 2nd Session, which ended in August 2021.

This bill was previously introduced in the 43rd Parliament, 1st Session.


Mario Simard  Bloc

Introduced as a private member’s bill. (These don’t often become law.)


Second reading (House), as of Feb. 27, 2020
(This bill did not become law.)


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

This enactment amends certain acts to subordinate the exercise of certain powers to the applicable provincial laws concerning land use and development and environmental protection.


All sorts of information on this bill is available at LEGISinfo, an excellent resource from the Library of Parliament. You can also read the full text of the bill.


Feb. 24, 2021 Failed 2nd reading of Bill C-225, An Act to amend the Aeronautics Act, the Fishing and Recreational Harbours Act and other Acts (application of provincial law)

Strengthening Environmental Protection for a Healthier Canada ActGovernment Orders

October 24th, 2022 / 5:30 p.m.
See context


Mario Simard Bloc Jonquière, QC

Madam Speaker, first I want to congratulate my colleague, who is now the environment critic. That is a big file, so bravo.

I was listening to him earlier and I was reminded of Bill C-225, which I introduced in 2020 and which gave Quebec precedence with respect to environmental assessments. My Conservative colleagues' penchant for oil is rather troubling. If there were ever an oil or gas pipeline project that did not suit Quebec, I wonder whether my colleague would agree that Quebec's prerogative should be respected.

Earlier he said that he had confidence in Quebec and in Quebec's legislation regarding the third link. I remember a Conservative project involving an energy corridor. Should that energy corridor be subject to Quebec's environmental assessments? If that did not work, would my colleague agree that Quebec's rules and laws take precedence over—

June 16th, 2021 / 4:15 p.m.
See context

Sylvain Gaudreault Member of the National Assembly of Québec for Jonquière, As an Individual

Good afternoon. I am delighted to be appearing before a parliamentary committee in another legislature, the Parliament of Canada. This is a first for me. I want to send my regards to my counterparts in the House of Commons. I recognize a few faces, mainly people I've met on parliamentary missions.

I'll start by telling you a bit about myself. I have been the member for Jonquière since 2007. Under the Parti Québécois government, I was the Minister of Transport and the Minister of Municipal Affairs, Regions and Land Occupancy. I am currently the third opposition group critic both for the environment and the fight against climate change, and for energy. As you can appreciate, I was very interested in Bill C‑230, the legislation brought forward by Ms. Zann. Why? Because I am realizing that, in Quebec, as well as in the rest of Canada, environmental discrimination based on social inequality is prevalent. In some cases, those environmental issues even reinforce social inequalities.

Here are a few examples. In Rouyn‑Noranda, the Horne smelter produces copper and emits a staggering amount of arsenic into the adjacent neighbourhood, Notre‑Dame, which is home to people with lower incomes. Historically, it's a poorer neighbourhood, a working-class community.

Another example is the east end of Montreal, where many parcels of land are contaminated. Similarly, it is a poorer part of the city than, say, the west end.

The situation is the same next door in the historic Hochelaga-Maisonneuve neighbourhood, where air quality is poor because of the Port of Montreal.

In central Quebec, asbestos mines have led to significant health issues for minors.

It is unacceptable that, to this day, many remote indigenous communities all over Canada do not have access to clean drinking water.

Those examples illustrate how environmental issues tied to social inequality affect communities everywhere. I recognize the disparity in the environmental impacts affecting poor versus wealthy populations. That is why we need to act to remove social inequalities or inequities. We must never stop fighting socially motivated environmental inequalities.

However, Bill C‑230 does not fix the problem, as far as I'm concerned.

First, clause 2 does not contain a definition of “environmental racism”.

Second, social inequalities involve a wide range of areas, from education and health care to economic development and natural resource development. Historically and under the Constitution, all of those areas fall exclusively within provincial jurisdiction. To overcome social inequalities, action must be taken in education, health care, economic development and, of course, natural resource development.

The main problem lies in paragraph 3(3)(d), which reads as follows: “assess the administration and enforcement of environmental laws in each province”. That could be a very far-reaching undertaking, something that is unacceptable to Quebec. Even the premier, François Legault, has previously asked the federal government for full jurisdiction over the environment. Quebec alone should determine which environmental projects are carried out within its borders. Paragraph (d) of subclause 3(3) could leave the door wide open to infringement of Quebec's environmental jurisdiction.

Twice, in both the former and current legislatures of the National Assembly of Québec, I brought forward Bill 391, An Act to amend the Environment Quality Act in order to assert the primacy of Québec's jurisdiction in this area. Introduced on May 30, 2019, the bill is entirely in keeping with Bill C‑225, the legislation introduced by the other member for Jonquière, the one who sits in your Parliament.

In conclusion, I believe Bill C‑230 should be defeated, ideally, or substantially amended. I urge you to take into account the fact that the provinces have jurisdiction over the environment.

National Strategy to Redress Environmental Racism ActPrivate Members' Business

March 23rd, 2021 / 6:05 p.m.
See context


Sébastien Lemire Bloc Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

Madam Speaker, the Bloc Québécois does not support Bill C-230 because, although the Bloc Québécois believes in a cleaner and fairer world, this bill is unfortunately a direct attack on Quebec's environmental sovereignty.

The Bloc Québécois is fully aware that there are disparities in living standards in Quebec and Canada. We are very concerned about that and have been for a long time. Our political agendas are already full of proposals that seek to make Quebec a cleaner and fairer nation.

It gives me great pleasure to say that, when it comes to environmental and social policies, Quebec sets an example for the whole world in the way it protects its land and its plant and animal life and the way it fights social inequality.

Although the Bloc Québécois does not support Bill C-230, we do support government efforts to work in concert with indigenous nations, the Government of Quebec and the other governments of Canada to counter the inequities experienced by our minority communities in their relationship with the environment.

We know that an important part of reconciliation with indigenous peoples involves joint initiatives to make Quebec and Canada cleaner and more just. Living conditions for some people and in some communities in Quebec and Canada with respect to the environment are unacceptable, and governments must uphold their responsibilities in this regard. Access to drinking water comes to mind.

Top of mind are our first nations, Métis and Inuit friends. The shame of the profound and indescribable harm done to them by the federal government's laws and decisions dating back to 1867 endures to this day. The federal government's misdeeds haunt us painfully and unremittingly.

It is difficult for indigenous peoples of Quebec and Canada to heal the wounds that the Government of Canada inflicted on them and, incomprehensibly, continues to inflict on them. Unbelievably, the Indian Act is still with us.

Nevertheless, there is hope, because we are all working on a relationship based on recognition, respect and co-operation. There is hope because the Bloc Québécois is working and fighting to make Quebec a country founded on mutual recognition with indigenous nations, a country in which all citizens are equal and everyone reaps the benefits of social and environmental justice.

While there are increasingly well substantiated links between rising pollution levels and various diseases and developmental disabilities, I would still like to take this opportunity to highlight the longer-term implications of environmental inequities, particularly for the different regions of Quebec. These repercussions are very real. One need only compare the populations of the two sides, west and east, of Montreal Island. Life expectancy on the east side, which is more francophone and very multicultural, is 10 years lower than that on the West Island. That is a sad reality.

Putting people's quality of life and health at risk puts the development and sustainability of our communities at risk. If we want to avoid environmentally risky industrial projects, we must create mechanisms that ensure the safety and health of citizens. We also need to be mindful of the support that must be provided to organizations that combat some of the negative effects of industrial projects. These elements have been increasingly well documented, and we know that the quality of the environment affects the physical and cognitive development of individuals. For example, there are statistics pointing to a higher incidence of pervasive development disorders.

April 2 is World Autism Awareness Day. I want to take a moment to acknowledge the painstaking and ground-breaking work of Mohamed Ghoul and his team. I have a huge amount of respect for Mohamed and Lucie Beauregard and the organization they run. They work very hard to help people with autism integrate into society, primarily through music. APPROSH is a clinical psychosocial intervention program developed by Mr. Ghoul for young people and adults who have neurodevelopmental disorders, such as autism.

Mr. Ghoul has been developing his training program for years and running the Maison-école des artistes autistes & le monde, a place for people with autism to come together and learn. Mr. Ghoul has been recognized around the world for his work, but his programs have been left out of Canada's federal programs. I am mentioning him today because it is important to think big and think about the potential impacts on the well-being of Quebeckers.

Let us come back to Bill C‑230. In order to establish a national strategy to repair the harm caused by what our colleague from Cumberland—Colchester calls environmental racism, this bill provides that the Minister of the Environment consult with representatives from provincial governments, municipal governments, indigenous communities and other communities affected, as well as any other person or entity affected. The purpose would be to gather information and statistics on the location of environmental hazards and the health problems in the most affected communities.

The Bloc Québécois has no problem with everything to that point. However, Bill C‑230 is problematic in that it stipulates that the Government of Canada will assess the administration and enforcement of environmental laws in Quebec. We categorically oppose that because when it comes to the environment, the laws and regulations of the municipalities of Quebec and the Government of Quebec have to apply in Quebec, even though the environment is a shared responsibility. That is indisputable.

What is more, the Bloc Québécois, through my colleague the hon. member for Jonquière, introduced Bill C‑225, an act to amend the Aeronautics Act, the Fishing and Recreational Harbours Act and other acts with regard to the application of provincial law. We wanted the Government of Quebec to have priority, even total sovereignty, on matters of environmental protection on our national territory, but the other political parties opposed us.

We also introduced another bill, and it too was rejected by a majority of the members of this Parliament. It was in response to another bill that lacked scope and restrictions introduced by the Liberals who, in theory, want us to try to achieve their greenhouse gas reduction targets under the Paris Agreement. We introduced Bill C‑215, an act respecting Canada’s fulfillment of its greenhouse gas emissions reduction obligations, sponsored by my hon. colleague for Avignon—La Mitis—Matane—Matapédia. This bill wanted to provide the means and some teeth to ensure that the Liberal government met its own commitments on fighting climate change, but it was rejected.

The House of Commons is in no position to lecture Quebeckers about the environment because the parliamentarians of the other political parties are incapable of turning their words into coherent action while respecting provincial jurisdictions. Why is Ottawa again attempting to impose its will to the detriment of the state of Quebec? Furthermore, I would venture to say that for some time Canada has sullied Quebec's exemplary environmental reputation. Therefore, we are saying no to Bill C‑230 primarily because Quebec's social policies are not within the jurisdiction of the federal government.

Furthermore, Quebec does not need any lessons from the Canadian government on social policies. A quick look at the history of Quebec and Canada shows how Quebec has long had forward-thinking and high quality social policies that have even been copied by the governments of other Canadian provinces and territories. This is a credit to Quebec, and we are always proud to see our Canadian friends open up to our way of doing things and our way of building a more just society.

In closing, there is no doubt in the minds of Bloc Québécois members that Bill C‑230, an act respecting the development of a national strategy to redress environmental racism, is nothing more than another attempt at federal interference, much like the ones we in the Bloc are accustomed to opposing day after day in most of the legislation introduced in the House of Commons. With Bill C‑230, the federal government would no longer be content with disrespecting Quebec's environmental laws. It would assume the right to assess the administration and enforcement of environmental laws in each province. The idea of joint consultations with indigenous nations, Quebec City and Ottawa is certainly a good intention, but it must end with just consultations.

The Bloc Québécois will not allow the federal government to infringe on areas under the jurisdiction of Quebec and its municipalities. I would like to remind all members of this Parliament that Quebec's territory belongs to Quebec, and it is up to the Government of Quebec and Quebeckers to protect it as they see fit. Once again, Bill C-230 clearly proves that a federal government that seeks to centralize authority has no respect for Quebec's sovereignty and jurisdictions. It is important to remind members of that. It bears repeating over and over because the federal government does not seem to want to hear it: it is up to the Government of Quebec to enforce its own laws, period.

I will close with brief editorial note. A survey was presented this morning that clearly illustrates how the federal government wants to impose an energy corridor that would run through Abitibi-Témiscamingue, the Gazoduq project. The government wanted to move western Canadian oil through Quebec with energy east, but that project was rejected. It is now trying to move the project somewhere else, where it would affect a population that is perhaps more vulnerable and less involved, the population in northern Quebec, in Abitibi-Témiscamingue, in my riding. However, the people of Quebec do not support that project, and I would like the House to take note of that.

Aeronautics ActPrivate Members' Business

February 24th, 2021 / 6:55 p.m.
See context


The Assistant Deputy Speaker NDP Carol Hughes

Pursuant to order made on Monday, January 25, 2021, the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the motion at second reading stage of Bill C-225 under Private Members' Business.

The House resumed from February 23 consideration of the motion that Bill C-225, An Act to amend the Aeronautics Act, the Fishing and Recreational Harbours Act and other Acts (application of provincial law), be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Aeronautics ActPrivate Members' Business

February 23rd, 2021 / 6 p.m.
See context


Alexis Brunelle-Duceppe Bloc Lac-Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am extremely pleased to speak in the House today to the bill introduced by my colleague and friend the hon. member for Jonquière.

Almost everyone thinks the environment is important. In fact, the environment means as much to people as apple pie. I think everyone likes apple pie, therefore everyone likes the environment.

Since we have limited time to debate I will get to the point. The environment is a jurisdiction that is exclusive to Quebec and the provinces. Again, I want to reiterate that time is limited because it seems clear to me that the government would rather waste time than take action while we still can. Our window of time to deal with the environment is getting smaller by the day. Instead of taking real action, the government is still wondering about the possibility of a pan-Canadian framework. In fact, however, the governments of Quebec and most of the provinces are already taking action.

The federal government, regardless of its political stripe, has a poor track record in this regard. For example, rather than analyzing the risks associated with offshore oil drilling, the Liberal government chose to approve such activity. The same is true of a large number of other projects. However, we are not fooled. If the Liberals really cared about the environment and thought it was important to act, they would have done so a long time ago.

It is crystal clear to me that we need to protect the environment, but the best way of doing that is not to greenwash the government's record with lip service. Instead, we need to take the tools that exist in Quebec and the provinces and apply them to federal projects. We also need to listen to scientists, the very people that the Liberals keep saying over and over that they rely on when making decisions.

It is 2021. We are past the point of asking all these questions that scientists have already asked and answered. My colleagues who are listening may have good intentions and may still believe their government's claims of environmentalism. However, I am telling the House that, if there were oil in Lac Saint-Jean, the government would surely come up with a good reason to extract it.

That is why it is especially true that no one is better placed than Quebec and the provinces to deal with environmental issues. Not only does each province have its own environmental ministry with competent expert scientists, but they are also responsible for managing natural resources, water resources and other resources within their borders. That is why the federal government should start by respecting Quebec and provincial environmental laws. It needs to respect the jurisdictions set out in our Constitution, which have been clear for over 150 years.

It is significant that a sovereignist is the one reminding the government of the basics of federalism.

With the House's permission, I would like to make a suggestion. A few weeks ago, during the debate on the Canada water agency, I pointed out that the Bloc Québécois introduced Bill C-225, sponsored by the eminent member for Jonquière, on Quebec's environmental sovereignty. What I am saying today is practically copy-paste, because instead of analyzing federal laws, Bill C-225 would amend them and make them more effective. I will therefore vote in favour.

Let us be pragmatic for a minute. If we admit that it is important to protect the environment, we also have to admit that it is urgent. If it is urgent, let us choose the fastest, most effective way possible. In our case, that is the rules made by Quebec and the provinces because they are the toughest and they already exist.

Logically, if my colleagues behave in accordance with their desire to protect the environment, they will agree with me that the federal government should make sure its own infrastructure and laws respect the provinces' and municipalities' rules instead of squabbling with them over jurisdiction and always trying to decide who should be making the laws. It is simple: Provincial legislators should be responsible for everything related to the environment because that is what they are there for.

There is another question we must ask ourselves: Who do we work for? I want to remind the House who I work for and why I am here. I work for my constituents, for the people of Lac-Saint-Jean. When it comes to the environment, I work for my children's generation in particular. I work for young people who, as recently as a few weeks ago, were telling me that they are sick of the bureaucratic quagmire and tired of the federal government stalling on everything and accomplishing nothing. What is the point of sitting around a table wondering how to put out a fire when the firefighters are outside with the hoses and nozzles?

Being responsible parliamentarians also means delegating certain aspects to our Quebec provincial counterparts when the time is right, instead of always ignoring their existence or considering them inferior. Now is the time.

Where is the federal government's credibility in relation to multinationals when it authorizes offshore drilling? Where is the federal government's credibility in relation to riverside communities when it allows pipelines and trains to spill into those rivers? Where is the federal government's credibility in relation to municipalities struggling to provide safe drinking water to their residents when the feds cannot provide safe drinking water to indigenous communities? Where is the federal government's credibility in relation to endangered marine mammals when it allows the marine industry to regulate itself? Where is the federal government's credibility, full stop? We are still looking for an answer.

In North America and around the world, there is only one government that is looking after its environment properly and that has credibility, and that is Quebec. Quebec is committed to preserving its collective treasures. It does not do so by waffling, but by taking action. For example, integrated watershed-based management allows Quebec to plan measures for the protection and use of water resources. The Government of Quebec achieved that by focusing on collaboration between all decision-makers, users and civil society. This did not happen by holding a brainstorming session 25 years later about how to delegate jurisdictions that do not belong to us.

The proof that Quebec and the provinces are managing very well without the federal government is that when watersheds straddle the Canada or U.S. border, Quebec collaborates and establishes agreements, such as the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Sustainable Water Resources Agreement. The federal government should respect that.

To tackle climate change, Quebec includes measures to foster the conservation and protection of water resources and the resilience of ecosystems and associated species. The federal government should respect that.

When other countries want to build a dam, they turn to Hydro-Québec and its expertise. The federal government should respect that.

We should look to the provinces for inspiration. As federal legislators, we should be creating legislation that reinforces provincial jurisdictions.

If the House passes the bill introduced by my colleague from Jonquière, Quebec's laws concerning land development and environmental protection will apply across all of Quebec, regardless of jurisdiction. This means that airport developers' privileges will not be put ahead of Quebec's Act respecting the preservation of agricultural land and agricultural activities or municipal bylaws. It also means that telecommunications giants will have to come to an agreement with municipalities and respect the wishes of local residents when putting up their towers and antennas. As with all other similar projects, infrastructure under federal jurisdiction will be subject to the assessment process of the Bureau d'audiences publiques sur l'environnement du Québec, or BAPE, and other provincial assessment processes. Developers will require a certificate of authorization from these governments before going ahead. Federal government property will have to comply with development plans and municipal bylaws adopted by local authorities, on top of providing better environmental protections and more cohesive land development.

Bill C-225 will establish legal certainty for developers, residents and environmental protection groups. It will settle the many legal disputes over shared jurisdictions. If the federal minister authorized a project that violated a provincial law, the minister would be violating a federal law. This would resolve the issue of jurisdictional disputes and it would save time and money.

I hope this helped clear things up for many a member of the House. Once again, I thank the member for Jonquière for this very important bill.

Aeronautics ActPrivate Members' Business

February 23rd, 2021 / 5:50 p.m.
See context


Taylor Bachrach NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak today to Bill C-225, introduced by the member for Jonquière. A similar bill, Bill C-392, was put forward by the Bloc in a previous Parliament by the member for Repentigny.

Bill C-225 would amend seven acts to require infrastructure projects currently within federal jurisdiction to be subject to provincial laws and municipal bylaws concerning land use and environmental protection. This would affect infrastructure ranging from airports, ports and harbours through to telecommunications infrastructure such as radio masts and cell towers. It would also impact any project funded through the Canada Infrastructure Bank and federal property administered by the National Capital Commission in Ottawa and Gatineau.

The NDP supports co-operative federalism. We believe that decision-making should be multilateral, reflecting the unique values and perspectives of provinces and local communities. We made it clear to Canadians in the last election that we would work to limit the federal government's unilateralism and promote mutual respect between levels of government. When it comes to big infrastructure projects, we believe that social licence must be a key requirement before projects proceed. A co-operative approach between different levels of government would mean better policies. Canadians are better served when the federal government is listening and respecting provinces and municipalities.

This bill raises other important questions concerning federalism in Canada. While there will always be projects that are in the national interest, federal jurisdiction over areas such as airports, ports and communications towers too often means that local values and concerns are not given adequate weight in federal assessment and decision-making. At worst, these processes can be perceived as a rubber stamp for projects the federal government already intends to approve, projects that overlook the work of community leaders who seek to protect the environment or conserve important aspects of a community or region.

New Democrats believe in empowering local communities to have a stronger say concerning development that affects them. After all, communities and residents live with the long-term impacts of infrastructure projects. It is only right that we ensure their voices are heard in the decision-making process. By putting the onus on the federal government to meet the bar set by provincial laws and local bylaws, this bill would give a greater voice to the orders of government closest to the people and, as such, we believe it deserves further study at committee.

This bill would not render federal projects impossible. Rather, it would set a high standard for the government to prove that there was a true national interest required to override local laws. It is not reasonable to assume that, because the federal government is the proponent, a project is automatically in the national interest.

For projects that truly are essential to Canada's interests as a country, the well-established legal principle of paramountcy, which holds that when federal and provincial laws are found to be in conflict federal law prevails, could be used as a last resort. It should not be assumed that local people cannot understand or appreciate the national interest. After all, it is local people who make up our country. Likewise, both local and provincial governments have an interest in the well-being and prosperity of the nation as a whole and are able to consider these factors when crafting their laws and bylaws.

We have seen that the Liberal government's centralizing approach to major infrastructure decisions fails to account for regional perspectives and has furthered divisions between provinces. Too often we see federal decisions imposed on communities without giving them a say. From cellphone towers to new aerodromes on farm land, we need a government that engages with communities in a more meaningful way.

The Liberals keep saying that we need to respect the division of powers in Canada, but perhaps we should better think of federalism as a balance of powers and not a division, one in which the voices and ideas of local leaders are just as valid as the views of Ottawa. This bill could help resolve these tensions by ensuring that development plans and municipal regulations adopted by local authorities are better respected by the federal government.

I must say it is a bit unclear why this bill includes reference to all projects funded by the Canada Infrastructure Bank, since it seems that the vast majority of the projects funded by the CIB should already be subject to provincial and local legislation and regulations. Perhaps this is something that could be clarified should this bill make it to committee.

It is not that we do not have serious concerns about the Canada Infrastructure Bank. Of particular relevance to this discussion about respecting local needs is the CIB’s insistence on public-private partnerships that emphasize the returns of private investors over the long-term needs of communities. We support the notion that CIB-funded projects should respect local and provincial legislation; however, it is unclear why this would not otherwise be the case.

Just as the rationale for including CIB-funded projects is somewhat unclear in this Bill, so is the exclusion of pipelines, which were included in the bill’s previous iteration. Recent pipeline proposals clearly demonstrate the failure of the federal government to adequately address the concerns and values of other orders of government. The federal government can hardly claim that Northern Gateway and Trans Mountain were approved through a harmonious process that respected all three orders of government. The government approved Northern Gateway despite opposition from over a dozen local governments in British Columbia and many first nations up and down the B.C. coast.

The Trans Mountain Expansion project was thrown out by the Federal Court of Appeal, because it found that the federal government’s consultations were woefully inadequate and that it failed to consider the environmental impact of increased marine traffic in the Salish Sea. Not only did a second run at consultation fail to meet the expectations of many communities and first nations, the federal government then fought in court B.C.'s attempts to legislate environmental protections that would prevent oil spills from damaging the environment. It is indeed difficult for the government to claim it has satisfied local and provincial concerns regarding TMX.

In the cases of both Northern Gateway and Trans Mountain, the federal government announced its support for what it claimed were projects in the national interest before the assessment processes were finalized. With the federal government acting as both booster and arbiter, the concerns of communities, first nations and even provincial governments did not stand a chance of influencing the inevitable outcome.

To conclude, Bill C-225 poses interesting ideas that would help rebalance federalism to better reflect the perspectives of regions and provinces. It would empower local communities by giving them a say on infrastructure projects that would have been unilaterally imposed on them in the past, and it would force the federal government to do a better job of considering the environmental impacts of infrastructure projects before it approved them.

There remain some outstanding questions raised by this legislation that deserve further study. Analysis from the Library of Parliament suggests that this bill would be legally viable as the courts would likely interpret it as incorporating, by reference, provincial laws into federal statutes. This is a legislative technique that is frequently used and accepted in jurisprudence, and we believe this idea merits further study at committee.

I look forward to debating these ideas in the future, and I thank the member for Jonquière for bringing forward this bill.

Aeronautics ActPrivate Members' Business

February 23rd, 2021 / 5:30 p.m.
See context

Winnipeg North Manitoba


Kevin Lamoureux LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the President of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada and to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, Bill C-225 is a bill that causes a great deal of concern, as it would amend certain acts to subordinate the exercise of certain powers to the applicable provincial laws concerning land use, development and environmental protections. This concerns me greatly, and I suspect it concerns anyone who feels that the Government of Canada should play a strong role in land development or anything of that nature.

The off-loading of powers is what I find interesting. I believe it is a member from the Bloc who has brought the bill forward, and I think it embodies the principle of what the Bloc is trying to do in the House of Commons, which is to decentralize the national government. In essence, it would take away anything the government does with one exception, which is, of course, to give money. If the Bloc has to participate in Canadian Confederation, it would be quite happy if the only role for the Canadian government would be to provide money to individual provinces, or at the very least to the Province of Quebec. In fairness to the people who might want to follow this debate, that would give a sense of why the Bloc has proposed the legislation before us.

In essence, the federal government does play a role, and we saw that with Bill C-69, which we introduced a couple of years back. It shows that the federal government does have a role when it comes to issues such as land, our environment and the mutual benefits of ensuring that there is a proper process in place to protect the interests of the nation.

I believe that in essence it has been working quite well. We have seen provincial governments, municipal governments and the national government working together on numerous projects, and there is a great deal of consultation that takes place. I think in terms of things like projects that are proposed for funding by Canada's infrastructure programs and provisions to incorporate provincial legislation by reference in Canada. We could talk about the Canada Marine Act. There is also a good-neighbour policy for federal real property. All of this is critically important. We need to recognize, at least from my perspective, that the national government plays a role in a wide variety of areas of jurisdiction, and there is an expectation from Canadians that we live up to our jurisdictional responsibilities.

I have not heard anyone in my political career talk about what the Bloc would hope to accomplish with this piece of legislation. However, I often hear from constituents who talk to me about how the federal government should be fulfilling its responsibilities in the many areas where we have jurisdictional control, and the best example I can use is health care.

Often we will talk about the federal government having a role in health care. There is some irony here. If we take a look at it, the Bloc will say that it does not want Ottawa in this but the province, and yet it is Ottawa's jurisdictional responsibility. The Bloc will say that it does not want Ottawa there, but on the other hand, when it is a provincial jurisdiction, it will again say that it does not want Ottawa to interfere because it is a provincial jurisdiction.

There are areas of cooperation where Ottawa may have the primary jurisdiction but there still is an obligation, at least in part, to work with other jurisdictions, whether provincial, municipal or indigenous. There are all sorts of ways in which Ottawa can cooperate with the areas in which it ultimately has jurisdictional responsibility.

Equally, I think, the reverse applies, with the best example being health care. There are a couple of debates we have been having during the pandemic and the bill we just finished discussing. Both of them are related to health care and the importance of the national government playing a role. One of them was with regard to long-term standards, while the other was with regard to assisted dying legislation and that area of mental health. I can talk about what I believe the majority of my constituents would like to see: a national pharmacare program.

All of those things I just cited can only be done to the benefit of all Canadians, no matter where they live, if we have the two levels of government prepared to work together. It is important that we recognize jurisdictional responsibility, as this government has done. When it comes to health care, we will do that. When it comes to the issue of land usage and our environment, we do not tell the provinces or the municipalities that that aspect is completely or 100% federal jurisdiction and that we do not need to hear from them at all on it. We continue to work with the different levels of government because we are in a confederation. Canadians expect us to be working in partnership with the different levels of government.

I would not say that the Bloc has a hidden agenda, but it is an agenda that is not healthy for the Canadian confederation, for those who see the value of living in the best country in the world, and those who are so proud of the French factor that we really identify with and have a great deal of pride about, like I especially do. We are appealing for governments to work together on the important issues that Canadians want us to work cooperatively on. Even if a government has primary jurisdictional responsibility, it should still work with the different levels of government for the benefit of all Canadians.

The House resumed from November 30, 2020, consideration of the motion that Bill C-225, An Act to amend the Aeronautics Act, the Fishing and Recreational Harbours Act and other Acts (application of provincial law), be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Instruction to the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable DevelopmentPrivate Members' Business

January 27th, 2021 / 7:50 p.m.
See context


Alexis Brunelle-Duceppe Bloc Lac-Saint-Jean, QC

Madam Speaker, that is a real shame because I had a 10-minute speech prepared.

Everyone thinks water is important. More people agree on that than on apple pie. I am drinking some water tonight, in fact. Everyone likes water, including my hon. colleague from Lac-Saint-Louis. He likes water so much that he wants Parliament to take time, lots of time, to study a whole bunch of freshwater issues.

Our time here this evening, mine in particular, is limited, so I will get straight to the point: Quebec and the provinces have exclusive jurisdiction over freshwater resources.

I really want to emphasize the fact that our time is limited, because it is pretty clear to me that the government would like us to run out the clock before the election. It would be convenient to tie up the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development by telling it to study the fresh water issue instead of taking real action on the environment. Better still, instead of analyzing the risks associated with the offshore oil drilling that the Liberal government chose to approve, the committee would be focusing on what the provinces are doing and then telling them what they should be doing.

We are not fooled. If the hon. member for Lac-Saint-Louis and the Liberals had the same concern for salt water as they do for fresh water, they would be extremely surprised. It is crystal clear to me that we must protect water now. The best way to do that is not by undertaking a vast pre-election study in order to greenwash the government's record. The best way to do it is to listen to the scientists, the very ones that the Liberals keep saying over and over that they rely on to make decisions.

Fine words and studies are all well and good, but it is 2021. We are past the point of asking all these questions that scientists have already asked and answered. My colleague may have very good intentions for our waterways and may even still believe his government's claims of environmentalism. However, whether or not we set up a Canada water agency, if there were oil in Lake Saint-Louis, this government would dream up a good reason to extract it.

No one is better placed than Quebec and the provinces to deal with environmental issues relating to water or just environmental issues in general. Not only does each province have its own environmental ministry with competent expert scientists, but they are responsible for managing water resources within their borders.

I have some advice for the Liberals. They should start by respecting Quebec and provincial environmental laws before trying yet again to encroach on other governments' area of jurisdiction. This Parliament can regulate the fisheries, shipping and navigation. That has been clear for over 150 years.

What my colleague seems to want is for Canada to become an armchair quarterback who criticizes everything the players do on the field. I am sorry, but that is not how this country is supposed to work. Once again, a sovereignist is forced to remind the government of the basics of federalism. We should be keeping track of how often this happens.

I would like to suggest something, if I may. The Bloc Québécois, and more specifically, the eminent and outstanding member for Jonquière, who also happens to be a great guy, introduced a bill on Quebec's environmental sovereignty, Bill C-225. Unlike Motion No. 34, Bill C-225 does not analyze federal laws, but rather amends them. Let us be pragmatic for a moment. Anyone who acknowledges the importance of protecting the environment must also acknowledge that it is urgent. If it is so urgent, let us choose the fastest and most effective means of doing so, if they exist. In our case, Quebec and the provinces have the strictest rules, and they already exist.

Logically speaking, if the member for Lac-Saint-Louis and his colleagues are consistent, they will have to agree that, when it comes to its own infrastructure, the federal government should respect provincial regulations and municipal bylaws instead of getting into jurisdictional squabbles.

I think people know me well enough by now to guess what I am about to say. Who do we work for? I will tell you who I work for and why I am here. I work for my constituents back home in Lac-Saint-Jean. On environmental matters specifically, I am working for my children's generation. I am working for young people who, just this afternoon, were telling me that they are sick of all the red tape. Young people are sick of the federal government slowing everything down and accomplishing nothing. What is the point—

Instruction to the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable DevelopmentPrivate Members' Business

January 27th, 2021 / 7:10 p.m.
See context


Mario Simard Bloc Jonquière, QC

Madam Speaker, today I spent some time rereading Motion No. 34.

As an observer of Canadian politics, I was reminded that centralization at the expense of the provinces never works in the Canadian federation. Attempts at centralization are often rationalized by the argument that Ottawa knows best, and that was what pushed me to get involved in politics and stand up for the interests of Quebec. Today's motion is in the same vein, in that it is a direct infringement on provincial jurisdictions. This aspect is particularly troubling to me, and I will come back to it later.

In addition to the infringement on provincial jurisdictions, the motion would paralyze the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development for 10 meetings, which is a big deal. I do not know about you, Madam Speaker, but I think I speak for most parliamentarians when I say that we can smell a hint of impending elections in the air. We would be paralyzing the committee for 10 meetings for a bill that is not clear in its intentions. We do not really know what the mandate of the Canadian water agency would be. The committee would be tied up for 10 meetings even though there are many other things it should be looking at first, such as our climate change proposal. I think the committee would be more interested in studying climate change than in this infringement on provincial jurisdiction over fresh water.

My first question is this: Does this subject justify paralyzing the committee for 10 meetings? I do not think so. That is why I will vote against this motion, and I hope my party will do likewise because we have received the signal.

Another subject that should be examined in committee is the recovery, which will eventually happen. The recovery plan the government is currently proposing focuses on two main areas of activity. The first is the electrification of transportation, which, as everyone knows, will help Ontario's automotive sector. The second is fossil fuels, including the ridiculous announcement we heard recently regarding the production of hydrogen from oil and gas. It seems to me, then, that by tying up the committee with this motion, we will not be able to focus on the critical issue of possible green stimulus measures that could be introduced.

On the face of it, I do not see how, in the short time available to us, we could devote 10 meetings to the fresh water issue without slowing down the work of the committee, which is much more urgent.

Last summer, I had the opportunity to visit many watershed organizations in my riding. Quebec is home to many such organizations. Some that come to mind include my friends from Lac Kénogami and my friends from Lac Labrecque. These people all told me that their biggest hurdle is the fact that the Canadian Navigable Waters Act is a federal piece of legislation. For example, navigation speeds must be federally approved. These people are having a hard time putting standards in place because the federal government is sluggish and reluctant to act. When it comes to legitimate concerns about the protection of the shorelines of several lakes in Quebec, we cannot legislate because that falls under federal jurisdiction.

My fear is that if this motion is adopted, another layer of bureaucracy will be added and many boaters and people who believe in the management of their waterways will lose a significant portion of them. This remains to be seen as well.

The issue of traffic management was raised several times as was water quality. The proposed motion does not enlighten us as to how we could control water quality.

A few years ago, Quebec had to deal with the major problem of blue-green algae. I am not an expert, but, as I understand it, a significant contributor to the problem was shoreline erosion. The federal government did practically nothing about this. If we add another layer of bureaucracy, I believe that the problem would only worsen.

People living in the area have legitimate concerns and already feel excluded by navigation laws. We see these kinds of concerns emerging and they are not being addressed by the federal government. My fear is that the motion will add another layer of bureaucracy.

Also, the work of the committee would practically come to a halt for 10 meetings in what is likely, if we are being an honest, a pre-election context. I think this is a very bad idea and ill-advised.

Moreover, I introduced Bill C-225, which seeks to ensure that what happens in Quebec is governed by the Government of Quebec. I think that this environmental sovereignty, in the current context and from a climate change perspective, is absolutely essential. Quebec has demonstrated its freshwater management capabilities. We have the institutions we need to have our local fresh water, in our territory, managed by Quebeckers. It should be noted that Quebec has 3% of the world's renewable fresh water. That is significant. Several organizations have already been established. I was talking earlier about watershed organizations, but there are also cross-border watershed organizations and we have the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact. These measures are already in place. I do not see how we could harmonize what the Government of Quebec has already done with the proposed motion.

In summary, this problem brings to mind the federal government's political agenda. This is what happened with long-term care homes for seniors. The federal government wants to establish national criteria and implement Canada-wide policies, but this approach often ignores communities' concerns. The federal government's track record on the environment since the beginning of this Parliament has not been good. We only have to think of the pipelines and the recent example with Trans Mountain. Is this motion intended to be just smoke and mirrors? Talking about fresh water and freshwater regulations sounds good, but that is ultimately difficult to enforce. I simply do not think the committee has the time to study this kind of motion. I urge my Liberal and Conservative friends to look at this motion before us and perhaps set it aside.

National Strategy to Redress Environmental Racism ActPrivate Members' Business

December 8th, 2020 / 7 p.m.
See context


Monique Pauzé Bloc Repentigny, QC

Mr. Speaker, before getting into the Bloc Québécois's reasons for not supporting this bill, I want to emphasize a few points.

First, we recognize that problems related to geographical disparities affect people's standard of living and their access to a quality environment. Second, we are concerned about the fact that newcomers and indigenous communities are more directly affected by these disparities. Last, we fully support government measures to rectify inequalities experienced by the entire population vis-à-vis the environment.

However, Bill C-230's provisions create a lot of problems, starting with a direct attack on the environmental sovereignty of Quebec and the provinces. It will therefore come as no surprise that the Bloc Québécois will oppose anything that undermines Quebec legislation and its jurisdiction. Also, it is not at all clear that the federal government would have the constitutional authority to implement the measures proposed in this bill.

That is not all. As my colleague just outlined, there is no definition. As we understand it, there is no definition of environmental racism. When a new concept is introduced into a law, especially when it comes from a very specific theory, it must be clearly defined. In society and in academia, the meaning of concepts may change over time, but the meaning within the law must always be clear, known and recognized.

For instance, Bill C-230 makes extensive use of the word “race”. We understand the hon. member's anti-racist and anti-discriminatory intent, and we are not in any way questioning that intent. However, we do have some concerns. The sociological construction of race from such a perspective is not a process on which there is scientific or social consensus.

This concept, yet another one that comes to us from the United States, is based on the analysis of a relationship between the social, that is, the classes, gender and race, and nature. Some folks might remember the film Erin Brockovich. It was about a woman fighting an industry, but she was talking about financial precariousness. Today her struggle continues in Greece, but she is still talking about poverty.

Ingrid Waldron, a professor and author who has high hopes for Bill C-230, looks at the real and important issue of environmental discrimination through the lens of race and colour. I do not want to contradict Dr. Waldron, but we must recognize that environmental injustice, which disproportionately affects minority communities, is more in line with a fundamentally anti-capitalist ideology.

Furthermore, in her research she addresses the conditions that fuel environmental racism:

The combination of sociopolitical factors that enables environmental racism include poverty, lack of political power and representation, lack of protection and enforcement, and neoliberal policy reform.

She does recognize that there are many vulnerability factors. Why talk about racism, then?

The term “systemic racism” is politically and theoretically charged. If we are to have an open debate, we must not be already attached to restrictive theoretical premises influenced by sociological approaches that are firmly rooted in activism. As my colleagues know, I was a teacher and a union president. I am well versed in activism. I will be the first to say that it is important. However, activism must not be the motivation for introducing a bill in Parliament.

Dr. Waldron cites the inequalities between minority languages, including indigenous languages, of course, and the majority language of English as one of the factors contributing to the environmental burden:

While some provinces and territories have “environmental bills of rights” and legal frameworks for addressing environmental rights, gaps remain in areas related to federal jurisdiction.

Here we are. There certainly are gaps.

Last week, I spoke to Bill C-225 introduced by my colleague from Jonquière. The public engagement I was referring to and the social movements that lead to political battles have the desired impact on government action. These battles are often quite distinct from one another depending on the realities experienced.

However, the legislator faces an entirely different challenge. The legislator's responsibility is to make laws that serve justice, of course, but that must apply to all citizens. A good policy is a universal policy. It serves the common good and applies to the entire population. Moreover, universal public policies also end up dismantling inequality structures and discriminatory practices. Choosing the parameter or the lens of race to look at an intersectional phenomenon such as environmental discrimination seems inappropriate in a legislative context.

Quebec's Commission des droits de la personne et de la jeunesse has ruled on the matter as follows:

The idea that socio-economic, cultural and political differences between groups of individuals can be based entirely or in part on biological and genetic disparities has been widely rejected by most researchers in the social sciences.

The commission added that, in its view, the relationship between the social sciences and the notion of race is a dangerous one.

Canada needs to do some soul-searching, given the reality of the work described by Dr. Waldron, if only with respect to indigenous peoples and the unacceptable conditions that exist in far too many communities across Canada.

It is hard, very hard in fact, to explain how Bill C-230 can include a provision that puts “the administration and enforcement of environmental laws in each province” back into the hands of the federal government, when we have clear examples of the federal government demonstrating its indifference to the legislative mechanisms that are already in place in other administrations. That once again brings me back to Bill C-225, which we debated last week, and to the sad reality of the undue precedence federal legislation takes over environmental concerns and provincial laws.

Canadian laws are much more permissive than Quebec's laws when it comes to environmental protection, and yet they take precedence over Quebec's laws. We will not give the federal government another opportunity to have even more precedence over the provinces. It already has too much. Canada needs to examine its priorities when it comes to protecting its population from climate change, pollution-related issues, health impacts and all of the inequality that permeates its environmental action. Yes, the federal government needs to address the gaps that Dr. Waldron referred to.

Like her, I call on members to think about the sad legacy of neo-liberal policies, those that adversely affect the welfare state. We need to be firm in our legislative intentions of looking out for and eliminating discrimination, but we must do so from a perspective of unity, not division. Take, for example, pay equity, gender equality, universal access to life-sustaining resources, such as drinking water in indigenous communities, and access to justice. In short, we must continue to always fight to ensure that we stop the divide from growing.

I want to remind members that the right to live in a healthy environment has been enshrined in a multitude of constitutions and national charters. The member noted it in her introduction. Why could we not consider the same thing in Canada, that is, including the right to a healthy environment alongside other fundamental legal guarantees, regardless of our biology, the community to which we belong, our socio-economic status or where we live?

Would this be another argument for discussing the Constitution? We are ready.

Aeronautics ActPrivate Members' Business

November 30th, 2020 / 11:55 a.m.
See context


Monique Pauzé Bloc Repentigny, QC

Mr. Speaker, my colleague from Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie should not worry. The Bloc Québécois is still against the pipelines that are being shoved down our throats. We were unable to do so in January, so we are waiting for committee stage to insert that missing part back into Bill C-225.

This bill is close to my heart, and I thank the member for Jonquière for introducing it.

The Bloc Québécois has introduced this bill, which is at the heart of our political commitments here, because we believe it is imperative that Quebeckers feel at home on the land that is historically and constitutionally ours. Sovereignty certainly does factor into our objective as a nation, as a people, but it also refers to a power that trumps all others.

When federal laws contradict Quebec's legislative provisions and run counter to our collective interests, to the detriment of the population and the environment we need to protect, we have the duty to act. Quebec belongs to its citizens. Land occupancy, use, development and protection are essentially governed by Quebec and municipal laws and regulations. No one can argue that, and it applies to both Quebec and the other provinces. We, the elected members of the Bloc Québécois, represent Quebecers’ interests, and that is why we are debating Bill C-225 today.

The current legal structure gives the federal government precedence over the legal and regulatory framework of Quebec and its municipalities. This precedence is unjustified, and it undermines the legal powers and responsibilities of the Quebec government, which is working tirelessly to support land development and environmental issues. There is a great deal of infrastructure and many activities under federal jurisdiction. As my colleague said, those include wharves, ports, airports, telecommunications, federal properties and railways. The Department of Transport is anything but a model in this respect. They would be unable to deal with any of these sectors without the help of the Quebec government.

Our body of laws and regulations is being undermined in these sectors, and our people truly understand why Bill C-225 is so important. What it addresses has an impact on their quality of life, their physical environment and their perception of what it means to live together in a democratic space such as ours, and that is what is so sorely lacking. Companies under federal jurisdiction encounter few obstacles. In the last Parliament, I took a good look at the projects that people were unhappy with, and the situation is no better now. By maintaining its provisions, the federal legislator is showing its contempt for the people of Quebec and their laws, through which they want to have a say on what happens in Quebec.

Although the Quebec Act Respecting the Preservation of Agricultural Land and Agricultural Activities, the Union des producteurs agricoles and the municipalities were against the construction of aerodromes, the Supreme Court ruled in 2010 that such projects could go ahead. We could also talk about the construction of telecommunications towers in some municipalities. No one can make me believe that mayors and other elected officials did not contact several members of the House to tell them that building a telecommunications tower in such a location was ridiculous and to ask them to intervene. I am certain that almost everyone here got a call like that.

There are also projects, including the one in the Port of Quebec, that pollute and have a measurable negative impact on air quality. That impact is being felt by the population of Limoilou. These projects can go ahead. In every case, a superior or supreme court rules in favour of federal legislation. In the case of IMTT-Québec, the company in the Port of Quebec, the Superior Court ruled that Quebec's environmental protection act did not apply. When a company runs afoul of Quebec law, it does not worry too much about the fine because the courts are there to protect it. In every case, the rulings are handed down in federal courts by judges appointed by the federal government.

Given everything surrounding the appointment of federal judges, I will simply say that it is not enough to render a decision under the law. There must be the appearance of justice.

With respect to the provisions addressed in Bill C-225, it is clear that the shared jurisdiction over environment and land development is never even considered by federal courts.

The Quebec government has fought a number of battles over the years, because every citizens group that tried to mobilize was stonewalled by the federal government. We need to put a stop to companies under federal jurisdiction being allowed to do whatever they want without complying with Quebec's laws and regulations. Land development is an arduous task. It does not always turn out perfectly, but the people who devote their time to it do so within a framework that takes our population and our laws into account. Quebec has all the necessary mechanisms to oversee, guide and evaluate every aspect of a given project.

However, when these mechanisms are treated with contempt, when municipal bylaws, for example, become ineffective and legislation is called into question, people can become cynical, disinterested and even angry. Yes, people get angry. Fortunately, this anger is often channelled into mobilization, where protest becomes a force for change. In different regions of Canada, especially in Quebec, people have protested against many projects that threatened and are still threatening their land and their environment.

We are close enough to the people to know what affects them the most, and the laws are miles away from what the people want. The federal government needs to review the imposed hierarchy so that activities under its jurisdiction take into account what Quebeckers want and need. Quebeckers certainly do not need to see Ottawa's imperialist policy giving carte blanche to projects that break our laws and regulations.

On this subject, as spokesperson for the environment, I must point out that the Quebec government believes that its environmental and land development laws must apply at all times. Quebec's National Assembly has unanimously called for this many times. In Quebec, this issue is not only a political one. Municipalities, environmental groups, unions, the Union des producteurs agricoles and many more want the same thing: projects that obey the laws at every level. This will strengthen our democracy, and certainly better protect the environment.

This is 2020. The climate emergency motion was voted on in the last Parliament. The motion was tabled by the Liberal government. I think we need to review the order of priorities. We spoke earlier of 1867 and 1982. I will say it again: This is the 21st century and the climate emergency requires that we change our focus.

Land management and development and environmental protection must become the factors on which decisions to authorize projects under federal jurisdiction are based. I have often said that environmental protection is a cross-cutting issue. It affects all sectors.

The government with the most stringent legislation should have precedence. This should satisfy the parliamentary secretary, who was saying that federal laws would no longer hold. Effectively, the toughest law would prevail. In this case, Quebec's environmental protection laws are stricter than those of the federal government. In fact, federal laws are too permissive. Restrictive legislation can protect the common good.

Instead of strengthening its legislation, the federal government is catering to the private sector, and these companies can do whatever they want. There is no community building, and corporate individualism is encouraged.

We want to protect our people, our land, our living environments, our industrial, social and cultural fabric, and our environment. Members from Quebec, regardless of their affiliation, will see that there is a consensus on Bill C-225.

Aeronautics ActPrivate Members' Business

November 30th, 2020 / 11:45 a.m.
See context


Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am happy to have this opportunity to participate in the debate on a bill that we have already seen in virtually the same form, as the member for Jonquière noted. It is almost identical to the bill introduced by the member for Repentigny in the previous Parliament. I will come back to the “almost” part because there is something important hidden here.

I would stress that the NDP was among those who supported that bill. We certainly intend to continue doing so because we recognize that Quebec is a nation, which should have a direct and practical impact on the decision-making process. Moreover, we believe that this bill will support a better decision-making process and greater respect for local communities, regional perspectives and decisions that have already been made by democratic institutions and organizations, such as the provinces and municipalities too.

As we have seen in the past, when a project does not have social licence—the Liberals talked about this in 2015 but have never done anything about it—it causes tremendous tensions within certain regions and certain communities, which end up quite angry that they did not have a say on a tower being erected, the use of an airport, or the activities of a company in a fishing harbour or a commercial harbour, for example.

We want a process that is more harmonious and respectful of all the players in the regions and that is why we in the NDP fully support the spirit of the bill introduced today. We represent people at the federal level, but these very people are also citizens of the provinces and municipalities.

Today's bill would ensure that the federal government complies with provincial legislation and, accordingly, with municipal regulations. We think this co-operative approach between the different levels of government will bring about better decisions that will better serve people instead of steamrolling over them. We call that multilateral decision-making.

I think that this bill needs to be seen from the perspective of working together, of having a dialogue and listening. The parliamentary secretary to the government House leader was also talking about listening, dialogue and collaboration. However, he then said that the Liberals are completely against this bill. That is entirely contradictory of the Liberals.

The Conservatives also opposed a similar bill in the last Parliament. I am close to falling off my chair here because it appears that the Conservatives, who claim to champion respect for the provinces and autonomy, once again oppose this bill. I do not understand. The Leader of the Opposition will have to explain to Quebeckers why he refuses to take into account provincial legislation or decisions made by certain municipalities. It is too bad, because doing so would reduce a lot of the tension we have seen in the past in relation to certain decisions and projects.

There are still some things about the bill I want to explain, so I will talk quickly. Incorporating provincial laws into federal laws can be done through the technique of incorporation by reference. This has been used in the past, so it can be done. There is a real possibility that this bill could be used and applied, but how this incorporation will be interpreted is not yet clear. What will be the actual consequences? If this bill is studied in committee, as we hope it will be, those are the kinds of questions we in the NDP would want clarification on, as there are still some grey areas.

That said, the member for Jonquière is quite right to point out that this bill is almost identical to the previous bill introduced by his colleague from Repentigny.

I am shocked by that because it goes completely against the Bloc Québécois's claims that they are champions of the environment, as the member for Jonquière said in his speech a few minutes ago.

The previous bill, which was introduced by the member for Repentigny, made very clear reference to the National Energy Board Act. That law was amended and is now called the Canadian Energy Regulator Act, but there is no mention of it in Bill C-225, which was introduced by the member for Jonquière. Why, all of a sudden, does the Bloc Québécois no longer seem to want provincial laws or municipal decisions to apply to oil and gas pipelines?

People in British Columbia and Quebec are very concerned about various projects. I am thinking of Trans Mountain, Energy East and GNL Québec's gas pipeline project in Saguenay.

I would like to know whether the member for Jonquière simply forgot about GNL Québec's project. I, too, will be very generous. Either the Bloc members did not copy and paste properly and dropped the ball, or they left that part out on purpose because it is in their interest to not say too much about GNL Québec's gas pipeline project. Is this a way for the Bloc Québécois to dismiss this issue and continue to quietly support a gas pipeline project like GNL Québec's while giving the company a little wink and a nod?

The NDP is extremely concerned about this. We do not think that this was an oversight. We believe that this might have been intentional for various reasons and that is worrisome because GNL Québec's gas pipeline project will produce massive amounts of greenhouse gas emissions and methane, which is 83 or 84 times more potent than CO2 as a greenhouse gas. That is extremely problematic.

Over the past five to 10 years, we have seen that there is a consensus against shale gas production in Quebec. When development projects were proposed in Quebec, there was a public outcry against them.

In short, this bill proposes greater citizen engagement in granting projects social licence, except for anything to do with oil and gas pipelines. The NDP finds that a little troubling, because we feel that the Bloc Québécois is talking out of both sides of its mouth and is double-dealing.

Shale gas extraction in the west or northern Ontario contributes to our production of carbon and our collective carbon footprint, and this runs counter to our Paris Agreement targets.

If the bill goes to committee, I hope we will be able to make this amendment and go back to the bill introduced by the member for Repentigny, which included all regulations concerning pipelines. These regulations have now suddenly disappeared. I also hope that the Bloc Québécois will admit that the GNL Québec project is a bad project. It is smoke and mirrors. It would increase our carbon footprint and also create a tremendous amount of marine traffic in the Saguenay River Fjord, a habitat of the belugas, which is currently an endangered species. This will have very important repercussions for their ability to continue to survive in this environment.

I think we need structuring projects that create jobs, but in light of the crisis we have been facing for many years, we must ensure that everything is done through a climate accountability lens. Greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise in spite of the pandemic. This was reported in Le Devoir this week or recently.

The right thing to do is to make job-creating investments, but in renewable energy projects. I think there is huge potential there, in Quebec, or in Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean, especially with respect to forestry waste. Biomass can have many uses, and these are some very exciting projects.

We find this very exciting and we will support Bill C-225 at second reading. However, we have a lot of questions about the disappearance of the pipeline provision.

Aeronautics ActPrivate Members' Business

November 30th, 2020 / 11:30 a.m.
See context


Stephanie Kusie Conservative Calgary Midnapore, AB

Mr. Speaker, I thank the Bloc Québécois member. I am sure he worked hard to draft and introduce Bill C-225.

We should ask ourselves two very important things every time we look at a piece of legislation at this point in history. First, this is a time to come together as one nation. When we review legislation, we have to consider whether the legislation promotes the good of Canada. Second, and this is very important with the fall economic statement coming out later today, this is a time to build the economy.

Every time we review a piece of legislation in the House we should be asking if it brings Canada together and if it will further Canada's economy. This is not just because of the fall economic statement, but as we emerge from the pandemic and start to consider how we will do vaccine procurement and distribution, we have to think about these things.

I want to go over Bill C-225 briefly for those listening who may not be aware of what it proposes.

The bill would amend six federal acts. It would change legislation regarding land use and development and environmental protection. The Bloc is very motivated to put forward this legislation for two reasons. First, the Supreme Court sided with the federal government in numerous court cases where federal jurisdiction overrode provincial jurisdiction. The Bloc is looking for more provincial power. Second, several of these cases actually originated in the Province of Quebec. For these two reasons, Bloc members are very motivated to change this legislation.

In my observation, Conservatives are concerned because of potential jurisdictional disputes. We think that more cases would have to go before the courts. It is not good to tie up the courts because of discrepancies between two pieces of legislation or determining which one takes precedence in which situation.

As well, we are very concerned that some sections of the bill could be considered unconstitutional. It is surprising to me that the Bloc would put something forward that would be deemed unconstitutional, considering how hard the party fights for the principle of the two founding peoples of the nation and, in particular, the province of Quebec. However, I would say how good both my leader and my colleagues from Quebec have been regarding the modernization of the Official Languages Act. I had the pleasure of sitting on the official languages committee for a brief period of time. When it comes to the Constitution, I would expect the Bloc to consider it.

For those who are not aware, my leader was on Tout le monde en parle yesterday. If members did not have an opportunity to see him, I would suggest they watch it.

Going back to my main points, it is time to come together as a nation and build the economy.

There are concerns that the bill before us could have negative economic implications, as it may deter private investment and infrastructure projects because of additional red tape. Provinces could amend their legislation on land use and environmental protection to block federal projects. Also, and this is very relevant to me as a member of Parliament from Alberta, the bill could block federal economic development projects, such as the Trans Mountain pipeline or other infrastructure projects.

In a time when we are looking to come out of the pandemic united, we really need to think about legislation that will be nation-building. I would certainly count on my colleagues from Quebec to support infrastructure projects all across Canada, as I would, as a member of Parliament from Alberta, support any projects that are in the national interest of Canada. I think it is very important that we all take this into consideration as parliamentarians for Canada. We really have to think about the effects of legislation such as Bill C-69 and Bill C-48 and the way they so negatively impacted the natural resources sector here in Alberta.

People have to put themselves in other people's shoes. If legislation such as this bill were to come across that another province could potentially have the possibility to impact an infrastructure project that would be of benefit to Quebec, I do not think that they would like to see that any more than we do, as members of Parliament from Alberta who see the potential of this happening to us. More importantly, at this time, I think we really have to question what legislation like this would do.

This is the time to build this economy. This bill would create more insecurity around investment in Canada at this time. I will hand it to the Prime Minister and his cabinet, who have done a masterful job of driving away investment from Alberta, the Prairies and the entire energy sector to the detriment of Canada. We are all suffering as we come out of this pandemic with the trillion-dollar debt that we have in front of us; the hundreds of billions of dollars of deficit that we have. We really need to come together as a nation to think about how we are economically going to respond to this. The Prime Minister and his cabinet just do not seem to get that when one part of the nation benefits, the entire nation benefits. I would ask my Bloc colleague to consider this at this time as well.

With that, I ask Canadians to really listen to the fall economic statement today. I really hope we do not see what we saw in the Speech from the Throne, which was a complete disappointment with more poor ideas based upon ideology as opposed to real, solid ideas to build the economy going forward. That is what I am expecting more of today.

When Canadians are listening to the fall economic statement today, I want them to ask themselves three questions:

Number one, will this improve the economy? Listen to what they are saying. Will it improve the economy for Canada? Goodness knows, we need that coming out of this pandemic.

Number two, will this protect my job if I have a job? Is there anything in the fall economic statement to protect my job? I am in a place where I have seen so many people lose their jobs. There is another round of layoffs coming from a major employer, Imperial, this week here in Alberta. It is terrible to hear about. Again, I completely blame the Liberal government for this, for its investment-destroying legislation. I do believe this bill will add to that.

Number three, will this fall economic statement create more jobs?

Will this improve the economy? Will this protect my job? Will this create more jobs? Those are the three things that Canadians have to be asking themselves. At the end of the day, I believe that Canadians have to ask their parliamentarian and government if they are taking actions and passing legislation to support the country and economy or taking actions and passing legislation that is destroying the economy, which is essentially destroying Canada. That is what is happening bit by bit.

This is the time to come together as a nation. This is the time to build the economy. The Liberal government has not done this and Bill C-225 does not do this either.