Evidence of meeting #11 for Indigenous and Northern Affairs in the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was crowder's.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

John Dempsey  Director, Policy, Indian Oil and Gas Canada, Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development
Karl Jacques  Senior Counsel, Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

9:05 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Bruce Stanton

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. Today, we are holding the 11th meeting of the Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development.

Pursuant to the order of reference of Friday, February 13, 2009, the committee is going to study C-5, An Act to amend the Indian Oil and Gas Act.

This morning we are in consideration of clause-by-clause for Bill C-5.

We welcome back Karl Jacques and John Dempsey, from the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, for their help and assistance throughout the course of this morning. You know that we have certainly considered testimony from several witnesses and organizations to help us with consideration of this bill.

At this point we will proceed to consideration of clauses 1 and 2.

(Clauses 1 and 2 agreed to)

(On clause 3)

There has been an amendment circulated for clause 3. I think members have it. It's on a single page, and it's in respect of proposed subsection 28(1). This would be an addition to the bill. It would be after line 13, on page 21.

It should be noted that this amendment, which has been proposed by Monsieur Bélanger, is nearly identical to Ms. Crowder's amendment. Members, if we adopt the first motion by Mr. Bélanger, that would essentially negate the second motion by Ms. Crowder.

Ms. Crowder.

9:05 a.m.

NDP

Jean Crowder NDP Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Sorry, Mr. Chair, I actually think my motion is different, in that it has different reporting requirements.

Did the committee get a copy of my motion?

9:05 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Bruce Stanton

Yes, as far as I understand.

9:05 a.m.

NDP

Jean Crowder NDP Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

I think that's an important consideration, when we're looking at the two motions.

9:05 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Bruce Stanton

Because Mr. Bélanger's motion is before us first, the text of Ms. Crowder's motion could be considered by the committee as a subamendment to Mr. Bélanger's motion. That would be the proper way to proceed. Both of the amendments put forward are on the same topic, but there are differences in Ms. Crowder's proposed amendment. That's the way we would have to proceed.

At this point, Ms. Crowder, I don't know whether you're proposing the subamendment to Monsieur Bélanger's amendment.

9:05 a.m.

NDP

Jean Crowder NDP Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

I would like to propose a subamendment, but I don't have a copy of my amendment with me.

Could I have a copy of my amendment?

9:05 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Bruce Stanton

We can certainly do that, by all means.

Do members have the text of Ms. Crowder's amendment?

Monsieur Lemay.

9:05 a.m.

Bloc

Marc Lemay Bloc Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

At first glance, Ms. Crowder's amendment is more complete than Mr. Bélanger's. If I am not mistaken, Ms. Crowder's seems to respond a little more to what the First Nations who came to meet with us two weeks ago wanted.

Perhaps Mr. Bélanger could tell us if he sees a difference between the two or if Ms. Crowder's amendment is more complete than his. In my opinion, Ms. Crowder's goes a little further and better accommodates what the Stoney Nakoda First Nation wanted.

9:05 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Bruce Stanton

Mr. Bélanger.

9:05 a.m.

Liberal

Mauril Bélanger Liberal Ottawa—Vanier, ON

Mr. Chair,

I have two things, if I may.

Is this motion moved? If it is not moved, I will move it so that it will be duly on the floor before us.

9:05 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Bruce Stanton

It is. We consider it to be on the floor, and at this stage....

9:05 a.m.

Liberal

Mauril Bélanger Liberal Ottawa—Vanier, ON

Thank you.

I agree with Madame Crowder that there are substantial differences between the one I put forward and the one she's put forward. I'll let her talk about hers, because it deals with other matters entirely.

So you can deal with it either as a subamendment, as proposed, or just as a substitute motion and holus-bolus replace it. Then we either carry it or defeat it, and then we go back to the original motion, Mr. Chairman. But that's your call. You're the chair.

I'm not sure I'll support what Madame Crowder is proposing, in that it calls for certain things in there that are.... Well, I'll wait until she explains it.

What I'm asking follows up on the series of questions I asked throughout the few hearings we had. I have a concern, as a legislator, that we are granting authority here to the executive to basically enlarge the catchment area to include all provincial legislation and regulation that flows from that legislation. I think it behoves us, as legislators and as the agent of oversight for the government, to have a sense of what that actually does accomplish, if anything.

Not wanting to stand in the way of the work that had been done to arrive at the legislation before us, I thought I'd rather put an amendment demanding that the executive report annually on what indeed it has caught by virtue of the authority we are ceding to it, for one thing. Second, it would ask that it define any variations from province to province that might indeed be significant for future considerations of this committee or other committees.

That's the essence: putting an imposition on the government, on the executive, to report to Parliament periodically, on an annual basis, as to how it has used the authority we have ceded to it.

9:10 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Bruce Stanton

Thank you.

Ms. Crowder.

9:10 a.m.

NDP

Jean Crowder NDP Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

I would propose that we actually substitute my motion for Monsieur Bélanger's, and then if my motion is defeated, we can come back to Monsieur Bélanger's.

I believe mine is more extensive, and it reflects the concerns I heard raised from witnesses who came before committee, in terms of wanting some oversight over the regulatory process. Although there is a “trust-me” element regarding regulation, as well as, I believe, a letter of comfort that came from the minister, we have no assurance or guarantee that future governments will honour that letter of comfort. That's why I would argue quite strongly that there should be some oversight, and that's why the regulations were proposed in there.

I used two years. I know that's certainly something that's been used by other committees in other reports to Parliament. Two years is a reasonable period of time in which to see a legislative process unfold and to see some action. So that's the extent of the proposal there.

9:10 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Bruce Stanton

We can't simply substitute it. Mr. Bélanger's motion came to us first, so we'll hear it. If there is unanimous consent of the committee to stand Mr. Bélanger's motion aside for consideration of Ms. Crowder's motion, then we could go to Ms. Crowder's motion first.

Is there unanimous consent to do so? Of course you understand that if we consider and adopt Ms. Crowder's motion, then just the opposite of what I first explained would occur. It would really negate Mr. Bélanger's motion. Do you understand?

9:10 a.m.

Liberal

Mauril Bélanger Liberal Ottawa—Vanier, ON

That's not necessarily the case, Mr. Chairman.

9:10 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Bruce Stanton

We've explained that if there is unanimous consent of the committee to go to consideration of Ms. Crowder's motion at this point, we can do that.

Is there unanimous consent?

9:10 a.m.

Liberal

Mauril Bélanger Liberal Ottawa—Vanier, ON

Mr. Chairman, I am prepared to give unanimous consent. But if indeed we do adopt her motion, there could still be room for amendments to her motion.

9:10 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Bruce Stanton

Absolutely. C'est correct.

9:10 a.m.

Liberal

Mauril Bélanger Liberal Ottawa—Vanier, ON

In that case, you'd have consent.

Thank you.

9:10 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Bruce Stanton

Is there unanimous consent to consider Ms. Crowder's motion first?

9:10 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

9:10 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Bruce Stanton

Okay. We'll continue, then, with consideration of Ms. Crowder's amendment.

Ms. Crowder.

9:10 a.m.

NDP

Jean Crowder NDP Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Mr. Chair, I have already spoken to it. The Stoney Nakoda came to the committee late in the day, but they presented sufficient evidence, and certainly Chief Buffalo raised some concerns as well. In terms of process, part of our responsibilities as legislators is to oversee the legislative and regulatory process. That's why my amendment is proposed as it is.

9:10 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Bruce Stanton

Are there speakers on the amendment?

Mr. Duncan.