Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Joining me are my colleagues Richard Arseneault, Andrew Ferguson and Mary Anne Strong.
As you know, we tabled our Status Report last week. It included 14 chapters, five of which showed satisfactory progress and nine of which showed unsatisfactory progress.
We have provided to the committee, in both official languages, the summary of last week's Status Report, which I presented during the in-camera briefing on March 6. I understand that this document will be appended to the minutes of this meeting. I would normally repeat this presentation this afternoon, but time does not permit.
I am here to offer suggestions, at the chair's invitation, for topics from our Status Report that the committee might consider appropriate for future hearings.
As you know, our audits have revealed that two of Canada's fundamental tools for good environmental management are broken, and that both, in our view, need to be fixed. I am referring to the sustainable development strategies, which we reported on last October, and to the strategic environmental assessments, which we reported on last week. Both of these tools would benefit greatly from the introduction of an overarching government plan or strategy for dealing with environment and sustainable development issues, along the lines suggested by Bill C-474 that we discussed on Monday.
Under the circumstances, the committee might consider holding a hearing to flush out what's being done to review and hopefully to strengthen both the sustainable development strategy and the strategic environmental assessment processes. Environment Canada and the other departments and agencies with which they are working could discuss the review of the sustainable development strategy process that is now under way. The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency and related entities could speak to the review of the strategic environmental assessment process. The purpose of such a hearing would be to monitor and encourage government as these reviews are carried out and to help ensure that they consider the need for an overarching government-wide plan or strategy.
A second hearing could focus on contaminated sites where satisfactory progress is being made and on contrasting this with areas of concern in the Great Lakes where progress is unsatisfactory.
The purpose would be to explore, with Environment Canada, the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, and possibly Infrastructure Canada, the possibility of applying lessons learned in dealing with contaminated sites to areas of concern.
A third hearing might look at the greening of government operations. Public Works and Government Services Canada, together with Environment Canada, could be invited to explain what they intend to do in future years to strengthen this area.
Finally, a fourth hearing might focus on invasive aquatic species. Witnesses could be the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and also Transport Canada.
Mr. Chair, these are four suggestions that the committee may wish to consider as it develops topics for future hearings. Obviously, we would be delighted to discuss any other topics from our Status Report that the committee considers appropriate for a hearing.
Mr. Chairman, that concludes my brief opening statement. We would be very pleased to answer any questions the committee may have.