Evidence of meeting #112 for Environment and Sustainable Development in the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was agency.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Jean-Sébastien Rochon  Counsel, Department of Justice
Christine Loth-Bown  Vice-President, Policy Development Sector, Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency
Brent Parker  Director, Legislative and Regulatory Affairs Division, Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency
Olivier Champagne  Legislative Clerk, House of Commons

4:20 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Deb Schulte

It's a recorded vote.

(Amendment negatived: nays 8; yeas 1)

4:20 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Deb Schulte

We move on now to amendment PV-8.

Ms. May.

4:20 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Madam Chair, this amendment is one that was recommended by the Assembly of First Nations. It's quite critical to understand the impact of the words that are currently found on page 9 in proposed paragraph 6(1)(e), which deals with the

coordinated action between federal and provincial governments, and the federal government and Indigenous governing bodies

The draft that we have for first reading qualifies the words “Indigenous governing bodies” with the words “that are jurisdictions”. The impact of that is to provide that those first nations that are allowed to participate in more coordinated action with the federal government are only those that have entered into agreements as outlined. The existing definition of “jurisdiction” would restrict the indigenous governing bodies that were allowed to enter into agreements.

In accordance with the Assembly of First Nations' recommendations, therefore, my amendment removes the words “that are jurisdictions” so that this paragraph (e) would read, in lines 25 and 26:

federal government and Indigenous governing bodies with respect to impact assessments;

Then it goes on to paragraph (f).

4:20 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Deb Schulte

Okay, I think that's clear.

Shall the amendment carry?

4:20 p.m.

Conservative

Ed Fast Conservative Abbotsford, BC

Let's do a recorded vote.

4:20 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Deb Schulte

It's a recorded vote.

(Amendment negatived: nays 8; yeas 1)

We are on amendment PV-9.

4:20 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

This is another recommendation from the Assembly of First Nations. Commendably, this bill deals with indigenous knowledge, traditional knowledge, and so on, and with giving recognition and respect to that kind of information as being important to impact assessment.

As we heard from testimony from the Assembly of First Nations, it is important to recognize that in communication and co-operation with indigenous peoples there be respect for sensitive information.

To give you an idea of this, quite often when working with indigenous communities there can be areas that are known for medicinal plants. They are specific areas that are culturally and often spiritually important. Once located and identified in communication with governments, indigenous peoples and their governments have reason to be concerned that those particular sensitive areas and that information could lead to the destruction of these particular sites or intrusion into the gathering of medicinal plants by indigenous people.

That's just one example to explain why this amendment that I'm proposing inserts the language “while protecting sensitive information” into the bill's phrase “cooperation with Indigenous peoples”.

4:20 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Deb Schulte

Just so that I understand, line 31 on page 9 at the moment says, “to ensure respect for the rights of the Indigenous peoples of Canada”, and you want to change that to “protect the rights of the Indigenous—

4:20 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Oh, wait, have I—?

4:20 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Deb Schulte

Oh, I'm on the wrong one. I'm sorry. I'm getting ahead of myself.

4:20 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

It's okay. I can imagine and can only sympathize with your enthusiasm for my next amendment.

4:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

4:20 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Deb Schulte

Thank you.

Now that I'm on the right page, Ed, would you like to make a comment on the amendment?

4:20 p.m.

Conservative

Ed Fast Conservative Abbotsford, BC

Yes, I want to make a comment.

Is it Ms. May's intention for the sensitive information to be available to proponents of projects, or would this be withheld from them?

4:20 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

The intention in doing an impact assessment, I would assume—well, I'm not assuming, if you're entering into a mispurpose of the act—is, in this proposed paragraph 6(1)(f):

to promote communication and co-operation with Indigenous peoples of Canada with respect to impact assessments;

It's clear that what we want to do is also protect sensitive information. I can't imagine that, in that context—this is guidance in the purpose of the act, so in the context of an impact assessment— this information would be known to the proponent, but they would also have to regard it as sensitive information and protect it from publication.

It's guidance in the purpose. I think it would be a matter of co-operation and discussion in each instance with each indigenous governing body.

4:25 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Deb Schulte

Mr. Amos.

May 9th, 2018 / 4:25 p.m.

Liberal

William Amos Liberal Pontiac, QC

We don't support this amendment, but we appreciate the direction that Ms. May is attempting to bring us in terms of ensuring the appropriate use and protection of indigenous knowledge in all acts in the bill.

There are a bunch of relevant government member motions that either have been brought or will be brought, in particular, amendment LIB-4, which provides a definition of indigenous knowledge, and amendments LIB-20, LIB-38, and LIB-39, which require reports to set out how indigenous knowledge is used and also ensure that this knowledge is protected.

Amendments LIB-63, LIB-125, and LIB-88 would require that, before indigenous knowledge is disclosed, the minister will consult the person or entity who provided it as well as the person or entity to whom it would be disclosed—this is going, a bit, to Mr. Fast's comment.

Amendments LIB-65, LIB-126, and LIB-89 would allow for conditions on the disclosure of indigenous knowledge in light of consultations with the person or entity who provided it, as well as the person or entity to whom it would be disclosed.

That's all on top of the number of motions to change terminologies in the bill from “traditional” to “indigenous” knowledge. We're confident, as government members, that we're engaging on this indigenous knowledge issue in a comprehensive manner and we're confident that it's going to be incorporated appropriately.

4:25 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Deb Schulte

Okay.

4:25 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Madam Chair, may I comment?

4:25 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Deb Schulte

Very quickly.

4:25 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

I would just say to Liberal members of the committee that inserting this language in the purpose section—since we don't know how your amendments will go later on—should buttress your arguments when we get to your amendments, because it's all very consistent and takes nothing away from yours, but anchors it in the act.

Thank you.

4:25 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Deb Schulte

Shall the amendment carry?

4:25 p.m.

Conservative

Ed Fast Conservative Abbotsford, BC

Let's have a recorded vote.

4:25 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Deb Schulte

We'll have a recorded vote.

(Amendment negatived: nays 5; yeas 4 [See Minutes of Proceedings])

Now we're on to the one that I thought we were on—

4:25 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

I am edging up here on the score. We've gone from one NDP to getting three Conservative votes. Now, on this next one, I'm sure we're going to get everybody, because we're in this friendly area called Mr. Rogers' neighbourhood. I'm moving into it here.