I suppose as the tabler of the bill I probably should explain the section.
Mr. Chair, as is the case with all bills providing judicial remedies, normally the right of action is provided and then, for the purpose of clarification, the declaratory relief is provided. In drafting this bill, I reviewed other environmental statutes, including the Canadian Environmental Protection Act. Particularly because this provision, the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, would allow citizens to bring actions against the Government of Canada, it was appropriate that those remedies be relevant to bringing an action against the government. For example, that could include Public Works, the Department of Transportation, or the Department of National Defence.
In my experience as the chief of enforcement and in my experience over 40 years of working in enforcement agencies, the government has taken a complete transition in its opinion. Back as recently as 1989, the Department of Justice was of the belief that no actions could be brought against the crown because it was absurd that if you imposed a penalty, then the penalty simply is imposed and goes back into the government. But a change of opinion moved forward and the Department of Justice then decided it was very appropriate, because in all environmental statutes, pretty well all federal statutes, at the very beginning of that statute is a statement that the crown is bound, and therefore it is possible that actions can be brought against individual government agencies and individual officials in a department, including the ministers of departments.
So it's very important then that the kind of relief be specified and made relevant. In section 19, the type of relief that is specified is...rather than specifying that the crown would have to post a certain amount of money and so forth, I found it more relevant to—for example, if you go to paragraph 19(1)(e) “order the defendant to restore or rehabilitate any part of the environment”, well, in fact those kinds of orders have been issued against airport authorities, against the Department of National Defence, against Public Works when they're building facilities and they have impacted the environment. Similarly, it is more relevant to grant an injunction against some government authority proceeding with a development that hadn't been properly environmentally assessed or didn't have the proper approvals.
One important provision that we've added in, paragraph 19(1)(g), is to order the defendant to prepare a plan for or present proof of compliance with the order. Over time, enforcement agencies, not just in this country but in other countries, including the United States, Mexico, and around the world, in collaborating through the International Network for Environmental Compliance and Enforcement, have found that what's most important is to be putting in a lot of work on enforcement compliance strategies and plans and, where there are violators, requiring them to do specified actions to come into compliance. So a number of those kinds of provisions are included in here to make this a very pragmatic, constructive measure.
I think that's probably all I want to present. I'm happy to take questions.