Evidence of meeting #113 for Environment and Sustainable Development in the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site.) The winning word was line.

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
Clerk of the Committee  Mr. Philippe Méla
Brent Parker  Director, Legislative and Regulatory Affairs Division, Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency
Jeff Labonté  Assistant Deputy Minister, Major Projects Management Office, Department of Natural Resources

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

Mike Bossio Liberal Hastings—Lennox and Addington, ON

Once again, Chair, we just spoke to this. This specifies how indigenous knowledge would be considered in decision-making and reconcile this with the need to ensure this knowledge is protected. I think we've already had a discussion around that, so thank you.

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Deb Schulte

Okay. Shall the amendment carry?

11:15 a.m.

Conservative

Ed Fast Conservative Abbotsford, BC

Recorded vote.

(Amendment agreed to: yeas 8; nays 1 [See Minutes of Proceedings])

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Deb Schulte

There's a new version of LIB-21. Does everybody have the new version?

11:20 a.m.

NDP

Linda Duncan NDP Edmonton Strathcona, AB

I have one dated April 27.

11:20 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Deb Schulte

There's additional content that was added, (3.2).

11:20 a.m.

NDP

Linda Duncan NDP Edmonton Strathcona, AB

I don't think I have it.

11:20 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Deb Schulte

Okay, we'll give you the copies.

Mr. Amos.

May 10th, 2018 / 11:20 a.m.

Liberal

William Amos Liberal Pontiac, QC

Thank you, Chair. Obviously this is being brought on the basis of improving the panel reports. We support transparency generally, and I think that improving the reports is going to help us get there. This is one of several amendments in that respect.

This motion in particular is going to help address concerns related to reporting of the impact assessments that the agency undertakes. A lot of this is also about consistency, because the amendment calls for the report that's completed by the agency to include the same elements as those underlined in proposed section 51(d) and includes a requirement for recommendations with respect to mitigation measures and follow-up. I think that's a net improvement to the agency report process, and the public will appreciate the transparency aspect of all of that.

11:20 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Deb Schulte

Ms. Duncan.

11:20 a.m.

NDP

Linda Duncan NDP Edmonton Strathcona, AB

I have a question of clarification. Everywhere else in the bill we refer to “reasons”, and here Mr. Amos has chosen to say “rationale”. Is there a reason why we're using a completely different term here? Does it mean something different?

11:20 a.m.

Liberal

William Amos Liberal Pontiac, QC

I confess I didn't consider the distinction of those two terms. We can ask our legislative experts at justice if they see any distinction between those two terms.

11:20 a.m.

NDP

Linda Duncan NDP Edmonton Strathcona, AB

The old version said “reasons”.

11:20 a.m.

Liberal

William Amos Liberal Pontiac, QC

Is there a sense that there's an inconsistency there that's problematic?

11:20 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Deb Schulte

Go ahead, please.

11:20 a.m.

Jean-Sébastien Rochon Counsel, Department of Justice

Thank you, Madame Chair.

There are none that I can see. “Reasons” and “rationale” can be used interchangeably.

11:20 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Deb Schulte

You see “rationale” and “reasons” to be interchangeable?

11:20 a.m.

Counsel, Department of Justice

Jean-Sébastien Rochon

Yes, we do have reference to “rationale” in regard to review panels, so it is in the act elsewhere and it bears the same meaning.

11:20 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Deb Schulte

Thank you very much.

11:20 a.m.

Liberal

William Amos Liberal Pontiac, QC

With that, I think we're good.

11:20 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Deb Schulte

I think that's clear.

Shall the amendment carry?

11:20 a.m.

Conservative

Ed Fast Conservative Abbotsford, BC

Could we have a recorded vote, Madam Chair?

(Amendment agreed to: yeas 8 ; nays 1 [See Minutes of Proceedings])

11:20 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Deb Schulte

We're moving on to PV-32.

Go ahead, Ms. May.

11:20 a.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Thank you, Madam Chair.

As you can tell, this is not intuitive to read because it talks about replacing lines and other lines. Let me explain the rationale of what this is doing. Again, this is based on advice from West Coast Environmental Law, in this case, dealing with what I think a lot of witnesses certainly agreed was an excess of ministerial discretion.

The exercise of discretion here in proposed section 31 is the minister's discretion to substitute another process and working with another level of jurisdiction. What the amendment that I'm proposing does is to tighten up and provide more guidance to the exercise of ministerial discretion, by removing the words “subject to sections 32 and 33” and instead saying, “if the minister is of the opinion for the process”.

Then, further down, I suggest inserting the conditions that are found in proposed section 33 in a more mandatory fashion. It becomes a condition baked into proposed section 31 on the exercise of the minister's discretion to substitute, so that the project meets the conditions set out in proposed section 33. It's a tightening up of discretion.

11:25 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Deb Schulte

Yes, Mr. Fast.