An Act to amend the Canada National Parks Act (Ojibway National Urban Park of Canada)


Brian Masse  NDP

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


Third reading (House), as of Feb. 8, 2023

Subscribe to a feed (what's a feed?) of speeches and votes in the House related to Bill C-248.


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

This enactment amends the Canada National Parks Act to establish Ojibway National Urban Park of Canada.


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.


June 8, 2022 Passed 2nd reading of Bill C-248, An Act to amend the Canada National Parks Act (Ojibway National Urban Park of Canada)

Canada National Parks ActPrivate Members' Business

February 8th, 2023 / 7:50 p.m.
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Irek Kusmierczyk Liberal Windsor—Tecumseh, ON

Mr. Speaker, that is an excellent point of order and well taken.

The Parks Canada process is the best path forward for one major reason. It prioritizes, from the very start, community consultation with our community and also with indigenous communities like Caldwell and Walpole Island, which have historic ties to Ojibway.

Consultation with first nations from the start on the design of the Ojibway national urban park is especially important, not only because Canada has a constitutional duty to consult with indigenous communities on the creation of national parks, but because Ojibway provides a genuine opportunity to strengthen our relationship with indigenous peoples and advance reconciliation.

Imagine an innovative made-in-Windsor model where indigenous communities and environmental groups co-design an Ojibway national urban park and share stewardship of an Ojibway national urban park. Imagine a process that allows other community groups to have a real voice in the design of an Ojibway national urban park. In the spirit of Black History Month, we want to hear from the Amherstburg Freedom Museum or the Essex County Black Historical Research Society, to connect Ojibway to the story of the Underground Railroad.

Again, I want to recognize my colleague, the MP for Windsor West, for being a passionate champion of Ojibway all these years. His contribution to this work cannot be overstated.

However, Bill C-248 bypasses community consultation, falls short of our duty to consult with first nations and creates a duplicate process that could jeopardize the progress and partnerships already developed by Parks Canada.

Here are some of the most significant concerns I have with Bill C-248

Canada National Parks ActPrivate Members' Business

February 8th, 2023 / 7:40 p.m.
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Windsor—Tecumseh Ontario


Irek Kusmierczyk LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Employment

Mr. Speaker, I rise to speak to Bill C-248, an act to amend the Canada National Parks Act. I want to begin by acknowledging that the land I represent is the ancestral and unceded territory of the Three Fires Confederacy of first nations, the Ojibwa, the Odawa, and the Potawatomi.

I share my colleague's enthusiasm for the creation of an Ojibway national urban park, and I recognize his long-standing advocacy. Both of us recognize that Ojibway is a precious gem, unlike any other. Compared to, say, Rouge National Urban Park in Toronto, Ojibway is a postage stamp of land, but in its 300 hectares, Ojibway contains rare Carolinian forest and tall-grass prairie, and it has the most biodiversity in all of Canada, including hundreds of plants, reptiles, insects and wildlife.

When I first got elected in 2019, my first meeting with the Prime Minister's Office on Parliament Hill was about the creation of an Ojibway national urban park. Not quite two years later, I joined the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development at Ojibway, in addition to dozens and dozens of local community partners, to announce our government's commitment to create seven new national urban parks, among them Ojibway. It was a historic day. Parks Canada was put in charge of creating an Ojibway national urban park, which makes sense, since Parks Canada has over 100 years of experience building national parks. We trust the experts. Since that day, Parks Canada has been busy putting in the work to make Ojibway national urban park a reality.

I will walk members through the Parks Canada process, which I support, and the real measurable progress we have already made to building an Ojibway national urban park.

Last year, we established a local partnership committee to oversee the process of creating an Ojibway national urban park. Parks Canada provided the City of Windsor with $600,000 to begin consultations and the groundwork to carry out a joint work plan with Parks Canada. Windsor's city council voted unanimously in favour of this process. We brokered an agreement between the Windsor Port Authority, Transport Canada, and Environment and Climate Change Canada to transfer Ojibway Shores to Parks Canada for inclusion into an Ojibway national urban park.

I am proud to say that we will have some even better news to share with our community in short order on the transfer of Ojibway Shores. Ojibway Shores is the last piece of natural habitat on the shores of the Detroit River. It is priceless. It is beyond value, and our community fought tooth and nail to keep it safe from bulldozers. Now, through the Parks Canada process that is under way, we will protect Ojibway Shores forever.

In December, Parks Canada began a series of open houses and pop-up workshops to engage residents of our community, listen to our community members and get local feedback on the design of an Ojibway national urban park. What I mean by that is the design of not just the footprint of Ojibway national urban park, but the design of how Ojibway national urban park would be managed.

Most important, we are in the process as we speak of working toward a collaboration agreement with our indigenous partners, Caldwell first nation and Walpole Island first nation. Two weeks ago, I had a chance to meet with Chief Mary Duckworth and members of Caldwell first nation to talk about the Parks Canada process of building an Ojibway national urban park. What I heard is support for a Parks Canada process that envisions Caldwell first nation being not only co-designers of an Ojibway national urban park, but also co-managers and co-stewards. In that way, the Parks Canada process is not just about creating an Ojibway national urban park, it is also about taking concrete steps on the path to reconciliation with our indigenous partners.

The work of building an Ojibway national urban park is already being done. Ojibway national urban park is already being constructed, much like we see the construction of the Gordie Howe international bridge, right next door, moving forward. The Parks Canada process is the best path forward for one major reason, and that is that it prioritizes, from the very start, community consultation with our community and with indigenous communities such as Caldwell—

Canada National Parks ActPrivate Members' Business

February 8th, 2023 / 7:30 p.m.
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Richard Cannings NDP South Okanagan—West Kootenay, BC

Mr. Speaker, first of all, I would like to thank the member for Louis-Saint-Laurent for his speech because at the very end he mentioned Alexander Graham Bell and Baddeck. That is the historic site from which the plane took off in February 1909. I just have to say it was my grandmother's cousin who was piloting that plane. His name was J.A.D. McCurdy. I wanted to get that in there, as I am proud of that heritage, and I am glad the member brought it up here in the House.

I am also proud to rise to speak to Bill C-248 here this evening. It is a bill that would create Ojibway national urban park near Windsor, Ontario, and it was put forward by the wonderful member for Windsor West, who has been working so hard and passionately on this for a decade now. I did speak to this bill when it was at second reading some time ago, but I would like to go over that ground again and really dive into why the bill is so important and why Ojibway national urban park is such an important initiative that we need to get done.

This proposal would combine lands that are owned by all levels of government, the federal government, the provincial government and the City of Windsor, and combine them into a really priceless package that would protect an endangered ecosystem that is unique in Canada. That is why this should be a national park. It is a small area. It is only 900 acres, or something like that, but it is so important from the national perspective and from the environmental perspective, that it would really be a fabulous addition to our national park system.

I would also like to thank the member for Windsor West, as I mentioned before, for inviting me down to Windsor a few years ago to visit this area. I had never been to Windsor. It was great to tour around the city and see the urban sprawl of Detroit right there across the river. It is such a vibrant place.

I toured the Ojibway Shores area, where the member told me all these stories, and each story was about the battles he had been through to protect this important area from various plans for development. He brought the community together, and he brought Caldwell first nation, other community groups, naturalist groups, biologists and even developers together to say it would be such a wonderful addition to not just the local area, but also to Canada.

We were there on a beautiful day in September. We hiked along some of the trails through beautiful grasslands. The big bluestem grass was full of the late summer flowers, such as asters and other beautiful flowers. There were birds, of course. That is my thing. I am always looking for rare birds, and there are a lot of birds there. We walked through the groves of oaks. This is kind of a savannah habitat. We saw a lot of people enjoying these trails. It was clear that this was a popular place for the locals to come on the weekends, get out of the urban habitats and enjoy nature.

I think that has even amplified since the pandemic. We have seen a huge increase. I have not been back to Ojibway Shores, but around my home, there has been a tremendous increase in the number of people getting out on trails and enjoying nature, just because people have discovered that. They had nowhere else to go during the pandemic, and suddenly they have discovered that here in Canada we all live in beautiful places. Ojibway Shores is one of those places, and this area would protect three really important ecosystems: the tallgrass prairie; the oak savannah, as I mentioned; and the Carolinian forest.

In my previous life, as some members know, I was a biologist, and a lot of the work I did in that career was centred around endangered ecosystems and species at risk.

There are four ecosystems in this country that are consistently listed as the most endangered. There are the Garry oak savannahs of southern Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands in British Columbia. We have the desert grasslands in the South Okanagan area of British Columbia, which is where I come from, my home habitat. There is the Carolinian forest of southern Ontario, which is a deciduous forest. They are found throughout the eastern United States and squeak into Canada in southern Ontario. There is the tall grass prairie in southern Manitoba and parts of southern Ontario as well. The Ojibway national urban park would protect two of these important ecosystems, the tall grass prairie and the Carolinian forest.

We do not often think of Ontario as a prairie province, but it once had extensive tall grass prairies. Those have been largely wiped out over the last two centuries through agriculture and urban development. Only about 1% of these habitats still exist. In Ontario, there are only three areas larger than a few acres that represent this habitat. One of those is Ojibway Shores.

Endangered ecosystems, almost by definition, are home to a lot of species at risk. That is what makes them species at risk: Their ecosystems are endangered. There are almost 200 rare and endangered species in Ojibway Shores. There is no other area in Ontario that would come close to that length of a list for endangered and rare species, and only one or two areas in Canada would come close. One, as I mentioned before, is my home habitat in the desert grasslands of the Okanagan.

There are endangered plant communities. There are endangered insect communities. We do not know a lot about some of these things. I would just say in passing that one thing the government could do is spend a bit of money doing an inventory and a survey of some of our endangered species. We might find them in a lot more places or we might find that they are truly endangered. It would be a good investment.

In a previous speech, I mentioned the beautiful damselfly, the giant spreadwing, which is found in Canada only in Ojibway Shores. That is the only place it is known. There are also endangered reptiles, like the Massasauga rattlesnake. In my hometown, we have rattlesnakes that are threatened as well. Here, the Massasauga rattlesnake is found in a small population that is 300 kilometres away from the next population. It is isolated and endangered. There is the bobwhite quail, a really iconic species of small game bird that is found in Canada only in extreme southwestern Ontario. It used to be in Ojibway Shores. Now it is found only in Walpole Island, which is nearby. If we protect these areas, then we can talk about bringing some of these species back, but we need to protect them first.

This is not an area like Banff, Jasper, Kluane or Ivvavik, which are big, wild parks. This is an urban national park that is special. It is built in a mosaic of properties that are close to Windsor. It would be an integral part of that urban population. We have to make sure those properties connect habitats correctly so these species can thrive even in the small areas. We have a similar proposal in the South Okanagan to create a national park in a similar area, a mosaic of different lands.

Once again, I want to thank the member for Windsor West for his work on this. I congratulate him for all his effort and I hope everyone here joins us in voting for this very important bill.

Canada National Parks ActPrivate Members' Business

February 8th, 2023 / 6:50 p.m.
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Brian Masse NDP Windsor West, ON

moved that the bill be read the third time and passed.

Madam Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise here on Bill C-248. I thank all the members in the House for getting it here. In particular, I thank the Conservative Party, the Bloc Québécois, the Green Party and also two Liberal members who supported it.

We have tried to work with the government on this, and I will get into that later. Unfortunately, to date, it has not joined us, but we shall see. I have tried to use this place as constructively as possible, especially given the fact that Canadians have shown they want us to work together. Unfortunately, the government has not done so at this time.

I will reference a quote on the Parks Canada website, which I think dismantles some of the government's objections to this private member's bill. It is key to our democracy. When one thinks about the work that goes into private member's business, it does not matter where one is from and what the legislation is about. It is our right to be heard, and it is our right to change our Canada outside of the partisan envelope.

I got lucky in being picked to be put up high on the Order Paper for this bill. I could not think of something stronger to put forward. I have been trying to push for a new border crossing in Windsor. My first public meeting as a city councillor was for a new public border in 1998 at Marlborough Public School. The proposed legislation that I have today is for a property next to it that goes along that entire border process that would create a national urban park for all of Canada. It would protect 200 of Canada's 500 endangered species. It is supported universally by groups.

I will read from a Facebook post by the government's own Department of Environment. On June 23, 2022, the Parliament of Canada posted the following on its Facebook page:

Did you know that national parks are created through Acts of Parliament?

On this day in 1887, Parliament passed the Rocky Mountain Parks Act, which established what is now Banff as the first national park in Canada.

Today, there are 48 national parks. They are found in every Canadian province and territory.

The Parliament of Canada acknowledged in its post, on the anniversary of this law for Banff, that national parks are created by acts of Parliament. It is very helpful today, because now the government insists it wants to go through some process that is still being drafted to deal with this issue. However, what we have done is a responsible, accountable, transparent and inclusive process for this legislation. This legislation is going to amend the Canada National Parks Act.

That is how every single national park has been created. This is how we could go about fixing a situation in Windsor. It is an opportunity to provide some restoration with regard to reconciliation. One of the most important partners that we have in this process is Caldwell First Nation.

I will help citizens picture this area. Where I am from, in southern Ontario, the Detroit River runs right through our city, but there is also a connection of the lake system for the Great Lakes.

What has happened is that, unfortunately, we have done what a lot of places have done. We chopped, milled and cut down all the trees. We moved in with agriculture and manufacturing. It has left very little green space. However, because of our location and our temperate environment, we have Carolinian forests that provide a refuge for species at risk. That includes trees and fauna, amphibians, the Massasauga rattler and others that are endangered. Similar to many other places in the country, we are fighting to get these green spaces back.

There is a unique element of this process that needs to be put to the test. This is all public land. There is no private land. The government will say now, out of desperation, that some of it is private property, but it has not provided any geographical evidence about those locations. We would want to get those things out anyway.

It is important to note that we are unifying public lands through this process. There is no position whatsoever that we want, other than to be able to work with the City of Windsor, which supports this bill, and to be able to work with Caldwell First Nation, which supports this bill. The Province of Ontario just passed a motion in the legislature about this bill. On top of that, we have several environmental groups that have all shown support for this bill. It is truly grassroots. It comes from the fact that we have these endangered species that need a better level of protection than they get through the hodgepodge system we have now.

One thing we did fight for along this area of the Detroit River, as it extends into other parts of the city along that front, is the shoreline that the Windsor Port Authority still has not transferred over. I want to remind all members of Parliament that port authorities are the creations of Parliament under the Marine Transportation Security Act and are no different from Canada Post or anything else. They operate through regulation, but it is the people's land.

It was that area that some developers tried to bulldoze and clear-cut. Fortunately, I was working with one of the developers in the area who tried to get involved in the project. I called the person up and said, “Do you realize what is happening? Do you realize what you are going to be part of?” That person took out their position in support of the project at their own cost, and the property has now been saved for the future. It is supposed to be transferred, but we are still waiting for that to happen.

There is no time to wait when we think about the property I am talking about. When the Gordie Howe bridge, which is next to it, is built, 40,000 vehicles per day could potentially traverse it, with up to 10,000 transport trucks per day, and we do not have environmental assessments on how that is going to take place. The Gordie Howe bridge is a large piece of infrastructure that crosses two and a half kilometres of the Detroit River and onto the territory of the Caldwell First Nation. Chief Duckworth, who has been to Ottawa with me several times, has appeared at press conferences and is basically a mentor in many respects.

Caldwell First Nation is part of the restitution with this country. When it fought with the British, it was promised the Point Pelee area. After that, its members were burned out of their properties, went through a long process and finally have a good settlement now. They are setting up a proper reserve and are doing very well with other types of initiatives. They are the land stewards of this area. This is one of the good-news stories.

Members of the Caldwell First Nation have stood shoulder to shoulder with us during this process. In fact, they were the first group I brought down here when I was trying to save Ojibway Shores to see if they had interest in the property. At that time, they did not because they wanted to go toward Leamington, which is next to Point Pelee, and they have that land now. The beautiful part of this story is that despite being forced out in the past, they are now co-managers of Point Pelee National Park. They will also be co-managers of the park that we are proposing here. This story highlights what we should be doing right.

Chief Duckworth, who has been very good on this, said this at committee: “We know that we need a legislative framework in order to make this national park happen, and I am here to support the hard work that's been done and the hard work going forward.” Members of the Caldwell First Nation sent several letters, which have gone to all members in this chamber. Again, they have showed a path forward.

Across the Detroit River, the Wyandot community is also supporting this bill, and I will get into this a bit because it is international. The Wyandot community, another aboriginal organization, has sent in a letter of support for this.

I want to point out that a private member's bill can be done in a non-partisan way. The member for Essex has been terrific on this and has been supportive in the past. We have seen members come and go, and one of the previous members, Jeff Watson, whom I used to work with and who was from the Conservative Party, supported this. Even though we may not have always seen things the same, we knew how to work on local interests.

The current member for Essex said this:

This is a very unique opportunity for the folks of Essex. I've said it before and I'll say it again. We are somewhat landlocked in Windsor-Essex, in that we're surrounded by three bodies of water. I've spoken extensively with Mayor Dilkens, the mayor of Windsor; Mayor Bondy, the mayor of LaSalle; and Mr. Watson, the previous member of Parliament. We've done our due diligence. Everybody says this is a fantastic thing to do.

The member has also brought up an issue that I think gets under-reported, which is about mental health and getting out to other spaces. I want to thank the member for Essex for that, because sometimes we lose some of the other lenses we view things through. That is why it has been important for me to have this type of support.

I also want to thank the Bloc Québécois for making sure that this is understood as a very unique project that really defines our area. What many people do not know is that Sandwich Town, which is right next to this area, is the oldest European settlement west of Montreal with a francophone culture that is still part of its rich vibrancy. In fact, the Detroit River, with its first nations and the French settlements, had a seigneurial system where farming came up. We have a number of French names throughout the city system, which run north to south, and after the British came, British names ran east to west. We have this combination, but the francophone culture is very strong. In fact, a new hub centre is a couple of blocks from my house, so the language is going strong with some of our new Canadians who are by this area.

This is a social justice issue in many respects, because if we amend the National Parks Act as we want to, it will give it the same stature as Point Pelee and other parks, and it deserves it because of the hundreds of endangered species. On top of that, the area it is next to, as I referenced, Sandwich Towne, has been one of the poorest places in Canada in many respects with child poverty and single mothers. We have dealt with a series of different poverty issues over the years because the international border and Matty Moroun, a private American billionaire who passed away and whose son owns the property now, caused a lot of interesting and very difficult problems over a number of years, including buying and boarding up homes. Why this is important is that we need to do this right.

When we fought to get the Gordie Howe bridge, there were those who said we should twin the Ambassador Bridge. Even the Prime Minister gave them an order in council to do that a few years ago and let a billionaire family have its way with Canada. We said “no” to that. OMERS, one of the largest pension funds, wanted to run a truck route through my riding. We said “no” to that.

What did we do? We fought for the right thing, which is a brand new public crossing. It was a compromise we got, which is now the Gordie Howe bridge, that will provide economic security for all of us, as well as environmental advantages. The same battle is happening right here.

We said we were open to amendments. I worked with the minister after the Liberals voted against it. We had meetings and several different things. They went to committee with those amendments, and one of their own Liberal members ruled the minister's amendments out of order. I was asked by the Liberals in the morning what happened. I said that, first, their parliamentary secretary and others were not there and, second, I did not know, and that they have to figure out what is going on in their own party. In 20 years, I have never seen a minister's own amendments ruled out by a member of the minister's own party. That was something I cannot explain.

We want Liberals to be there. That is why I agreed with the amendments and we worked with them. I want to put that in the past because this is so important for our future. Time is of the essence. What clearly came out of the committee hearings with the different departments is that they admitted that eventually they might have to adopt my process because theirs is still in draft and they do not know what they are doing.

We are not going on about the other urban parks out there. They are being proposed as a rubber-stamp way of going about the different areas. What we are saying is that, as they are figuring that out, we have a unique thing in the Windsor-Detroit region on the environment and the land that we are looking to consolidate that is crystal clear and can move forward. We have limited time because of the Gordie Howe bridge coming in and there have been no environmental assessments for this.

The importance of this is clear and evident. I have a letter from John Hartig, one of the primary environmental people in the Michigan area. He wrote, “Benefits of a National Urban Park in Windsor”. Another title was, “Detroit's Benefits of a National Urban Park in Windsor”. It talks about the park. It talks about how it will celebrate history, enhance cross-border trail tourism, become a destination of choice, reap economic benefits, strengthen transboundary conservation benefits and help change the perception of our area.

There are many benefits to this park system. I want to revisit the fact that the way to legally create national urban parks right now in Canada is through changing the Parliament of Canada Act. Why the Liberals would want us to have something less than that, I do not know, but these endangered species and the people need this type of protection, and we are following that due process.

As I have noted, the City of Windsor supports this, the mayor and city council. Councillor Fred Francis appeared at committee and talked about it, as did the Wildlands League. Thank goodness for its work, which is CPAWS. It has done amazing work. Unifor was at the environment committee so we had the unions involved, as well as Wildlife Preservation Canada; Citizens Environment Alliance; Essex County Field Naturalists' Club; Green Unmah, a youth activist group; Friends of Ojibway Prairie; and Save Ojibway. Local residents have put in thousands of petitions.

The area that we propose is part of the traditional territory of the Three Fires Confederacy of first nations. That includes the Ojibway, Odawa and Potawatomi. They did everything right for our community in what they were asked for back in the War of 1812. Now they are part of this partnership and the full consultation and respect for consultation is in the Canada National Parks Act. That is why Bill C-248 goes forward with solidarity, because it is the right thing, for the right place, for the right people.

The House proceeded to the consideration of Bill C-248, An Act to amend the Canada National Parks Act (Ojibway National Urban Park of Canada), as reported (without amendment) from the committee.

Environment and Sustainable DevelopmentCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

November 17th, 2022 / 10:05 a.m.
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Francis Scarpaleggia Liberal Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the sixth report of the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development in relation to Bill C-248, An Act to amend the Canada National Parks Act (Ojibway National Urban Park of Canada).

The committee has studied the bill and has decided to report the bill back to the House without amendment.

November 15th, 2022 / 4:55 p.m.
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The Chair Liberal Francis Scarpaleggia

Okay, can we proceed to a vote on the bill? I don't think we've done that. We've voted on the title.

Shall the bill carry?

(Bill C-248 agreed to: yeas 6; nays 5)

Shall the chair report the bill to the House?

November 15th, 2022 / 4 p.m.
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The Chair Liberal Francis Scarpaleggia

Thank you, Mr. Weiler.

You'll be interested to know that I have an opinion on this proposed amendment as well.

Bill C-248 enacts the new Ojibway national urban park of Canada by way of geographical descriptions. The amendment seeks to add a power to the Governor in Council to alter the boundaries of the park by order in council and also to provide for a coming into force of the bill, conditional to certain events happening, both of which are new concepts not envisioned in the bill.

As House of Commons Procedure and Practice, third edition, states on page 770, “An amendment to a bill that was referred to a committee after second reading is out of order if it is beyond the scope and principle of the bill.”

That's the first thing.

If we go to pages 773 and 774 of House of Commons Procedure and Practice, third edition, we'll see the following: “An amendment intended to alter the coming into force clause of a bill, making it conditional, is out of order since it exceeds the scope of the bill and attempts to introduce a new question into it.”

In the opinion of the chair, for the reasons stated above, the amendment brings two new concepts foreign to the bill. Therefore, the amendment is inadmissible.

As I understand it, we now go to the title of the bill.

Shall the title carry?

(Title agreed to: yeas 11; nays 0)

November 15th, 2022 / 3:45 p.m.
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The Chair Liberal Francis Scarpaleggia

That's what I'll do.

Bill C-248 enacts the new Ojibway national urban park of Canada act by way of geographical descriptions.

The amendment we're talking about here, LIB-1, seeks to apply section 8—involving the creation of an advisory committee—and section 22—involving incorporation by reference and regulations—of the Rouge National Urban Park Act to the provisions of Bill C-248. These would be new concepts that are not envisioned in the bill.

As page 770 of House of Commons Procedure and Practice, third edition, states, “an amendment to a bill that was referred to committee after second reading is out of order if it is beyond the scope and principle of the bill.”

Therefore, in the opinion of the chair, and for the above-mentioned reasons, the amendment is a new concept that is beyond the scope of the bill. Therefore, I rule the amendment inadmissible.

I don't see anybody. Again, it's hard for me to see if someone in the room has their hand up. I don't see anyone on screen with their hand up.

Mr. Bachrach, go ahead.

November 15th, 2022 / 3:45 p.m.
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Patrick Weiler Liberal West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country, BC

Sure. I have two amendments.

The first one I would like to propose was shared with the committee previously. It falls under the reference 12053664.

It is that Bill C-248 be amended by adding before line 4 on page 1 the following new clause:

0.1 The Canada National Parks Act is amended by adding the following after section 38:

38.1(1) Sections 8 and 22 of the Rouge National Urban Park Act apply in respect of the Ojibway National Urban Park of Canada with any modifications that the circumstances require.

(2) In the event of a conflict between section 8 or section 22 of the Rouge National Urban Park Act as they apply to the Ojibway National Urban Park Act of Canada and this Act, the provisions of this Act shall prevail.

That's the text itself.

The importance of this is that the amendment would amend the bill to reference specific provisions of the Rouge Act to apply to this bill. Those include establishing an advisory committee and having incorporation, by reference, of different levels of government laws and bylaws that would still apply in the park.

November 15th, 2022 / 3:40 p.m.
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The Chair Liberal Francis Scarpaleggia

I don't have the gavel, but we will start.

Welcome to meeting number 36 of the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development. Today we're dealing with Bill C-248, an act to amend the Canada National Parks Act, Ojibway national urban park of Canada, which was referred to us on June 8, 2022. More specifically, we are doing clause-by-clause today.

Replacing Ms. Collins, we have Mr. Bachrach. It's nice to have you back with us, Mr. Bachrach.

We have Mr. Benzen replacing Mr. Kitchen; we have Mr. Lewis replacing Mr. Kurek; and we have Madame Vignola replacing Madame Pauzé.

As witnesses, we have the sponsor of the bill, Brian Masse, MP for Windsor West; and from Parks Canada, Andrew Campbell, senior vice-president of operations, and Caroline Macintosh, executive director of the protected areas establishment branch.

I think that covers all the niceties. Unless I'm missing something, I guess we can go straight into clause-by-clause.

We have two proposed amendments. These are Liberal-1 and Liberal-2. I don't know who will be proposing these amendments. I await a proposer.

October 28th, 2022 / 2:45 p.m.
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City Councillor, Ward 1, City of Windsor

Fred Francis

But that also included legislation, right? Moving forward with Bill C-248 removes all that ambiguity, and it moves us forward to where we all want to go without any ambiguity. Everyone knows what's going on, how it's going to play out and what it will look like for decades to come.

October 28th, 2022 / 2:40 p.m.
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Leah Taylor Roy Liberal Aurora—Oak Ridges—Richmond Hill, ON

Thank you very much, Mr. Chair, and thank you to all the witnesses for being here today.

It sounds like everyone is in favour of establishing this Ojibway national park and it sounds like it will be absolutely amazing.

The major question is, how do we establish it? Do we proceed with Bill C-248, and then do due diligence and work out management plans, and so on, or do we wait and have that due diligence and some of the other work done first, and then establish it?

One of the things about Bill C-248 that concerns me is that it's adding this under the Canada National Parks Act, and in that act there are currently no urban parks. The Rouge National Urban Park has a separate act, the Rouge National Urban Park Act. I'm wondering if you have any thoughts on the flexibility or the ability to make changes and to deal with some of these issues.

There are really two things I'd like you to comment on. Since the park is going to be established by Parks Canada either way, why would we not work out the co-management plan as happened with the Rouge National Urban Park and look at some of these due diligence issues prior to.... It's almost like putting the cart before the horse. Why would we want to do it this way as opposed to the other way, when there's clearly been a commitment to establish six new urban parks, and we have the example of the Rouge National Urban Park that was established?

Perhaps you can comment on that.

Mr. Francis, I know the City of Windsor has been working with Parks Canada already on the process that was set in place by Parks Canada. Why is that not a good process? Why do you want to do it through Bill C-248, instead of following through on the process that you're working on currently?

October 28th, 2022 / 2:40 p.m.
See context

City Councillor, Ward 1, City of Windsor

Fred Francis

Yes. The City of Windsor supports Bill C-248 because we understand what that entails, and we believe it's more concrete. Our fear and our concern is that the City of Windsor will receive a national urban park in name and name only, and nothing much will change. You'll still have federal, municipal and provincial ownership of the separate pieces of land. With legislation, we know we don't get that. We know it will be taken on by the stewardship of Parks Canada.

That's why we're advocating Bill C-248. Our fear is that otherwise we will get a national park in the form of a media release and a media release only.

October 28th, 2022 / 2:35 p.m.
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Board Member, The Friends of Ojibway Prairie

Mike Fisher

I'll say on behalf of Friends of Ojibway Prairie that it's an excellent question and something that we all weigh, because we're looking at two processes and are trying to find synergies between the two to make this happen the way we all want.

We're certainly acknowledging the work Parks Canada is doing with the City of Windsor to identify those lands, and the work that is being done through Bill C-248 to make it happen and happen quickly. We're hopeful that through the amendment process there may be ways to create some sort of collaboration there so that it's not two independent processes working on these things. There might be some collaboration so that we can make this happen quickly and also maximize the footprint for the park.