Evidence of meeting #22 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 cepa.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Nalaine Morin  Principal, ArrowBlade Consulting Services
Dayna Scott  Associate Professor, Osgoode Hall Law School and the Faculty of Environmental Studies, York University, As an Individual
Clerk of the Committee  Ms. Cynara Corbin

11:50 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Deb Schulte

Thank you very much.

Mr. Aldag.

June 9th, 2016 / 11:50 a.m.

Liberal

John Aldag Liberal Cloverdale—Langley City, BC

I will be sharing some of my time with Mr. Amos, who is going to invite a written submission from our witnesses on a couple of documents.

Very quickly to start with on my part, this is for you, Nalaine. In your comments, you talked about adopting recommendations identified in the CEPA 1999 tool kit published by the AFN. I had a question on that piece.

Simply, could you give us a bit of information on how that was created and if the findings from 1999 still apply to today? Or is there a further round of consultation that needs to be done to gather comments from the Assembly of First Nations as we continue moving forward? Could you give us some thoughts on how that initial piece was developed and the relevance of it for today and moving forward?

11:50 a.m.

Principal, ArrowBlade Consulting Services

Nalaine Morin

The initial piece was developed through a round of consultation. They did acquire information from a number of different sources to develop the summary that they put together.

I believe that what was put together in that submission is still relevant today. From what they've identified, there are a number of restrictions on things like how you consult, the full scope of what constitutes aboriginal traditional knowledge or traditional knowledge, as well as definitions around aboriginal government that really restrict involvement of aboriginal people of Canada in CEPA.

Do I feel there is further consultation that could be done? Yes, I do, because in the time period that I've had to be able to put together my submission, I was unable to reach out to a number of my own constituents to incorporate that into the discussion we're having today.

11:55 a.m.

Liberal

John Aldag Liberal Cloverdale—Langley City, BC

Okay, great, thanks. That's useful and will help us decide who else we may want to talk to as we consult on this.

With that I'll move it over to Mr. Amos for his further comments.

11:55 a.m.

Liberal

William Amos Liberal Pontiac, QC

Thank you; I appreciate that.

There have been two documents circulated to committee members in the past several weeks. One document is from the minister, a discussion paper outlining a series of options to consider in relation to CEPA reform, and the second document I believe is from the Department of the Environment, speaking to the committee recommendations from previous reviews that have been implemented. I just want to put on the public record that I invite all participants in this review to analyze these two documents and to provide public input on these. I recognize that's inviting a huge burden on groups, but it's an invitation more than anything else, and I know there will be experts in the field including colleagues of Ms. Scott, who are quite capable of getting really deep into the weeds. That is effectively what these documents do. They are very deep into the weeds, and really that is what our committee is being called to do.

Is it possible for the committee to make these available to each of the witnesses? Is that something...?

11:55 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Deb Schulte

I think it's public, but let's just make sure.

Are the documents that were presented to us as background just for us?

11:55 a.m.

The Clerk of the Committee Ms. Cynara Corbin

They're not public documents.

11:55 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Deb Schulte

The answer is no.

11:55 a.m.

An hon. member

Not the briefing notes.

11:55 a.m.

The Clerk

The ones from the department are available. They are online. They are on our website.

11:55 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Deb Schulte

That's okay. I understand that they're public, so they're available. They're posted on the website, so you can direct them to our website.

You're nodding, down there. I think you know. You've already looked.

11:55 a.m.

Associate Professor, Osgoode Hall Law School and the Faculty of Environmental Studies, York University, As an Individual

Dr. Dayna Scott

I saw the link yesterday to the discussion paper, but I haven't had a chance to look at it.

11:55 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Deb Schulte

Maybe it's already on Twitter.

11:55 a.m.

NDP

Linda Duncan NDP Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Chair, in responding to Mr. Amos' question, which was really good, here is my question. In addition to referring this matter to this committee, is the department also conferring another committee to engage the views of concerned Canadians?

11:55 a.m.

Liberal

William Amos Liberal Pontiac, QC

I'm not sure I understand the question.

11:55 a.m.

Conservative

Ed Fast Conservative Abbotsford, BC

On a point of order, it's up to witnesses to answer questions.

11:55 a.m.

NDP

Linda Duncan NDP Edmonton Strathcona, AB

He wanted me to review it, so I'm just wanting to find out if there are additional....

11:55 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Deb Schulte

No, what I think he asked was, if there are groups out there that are in the weeds, as we will need to be, who would like to bring forward some information and comments, whether we would be open to those and welcome them. I think that is what—

11:55 a.m.

Liberal

William Amos Liberal Pontiac, QC

Yes, I'm hoping that this committee can be a bit more proactive in ensuring that the public is made aware of this document. I'm not sure that the department is going to do that, but we have a series of witnesses identified as experts, and I know that not all of them will take the time to go through every single document this committee has posted.

11:55 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Deb Schulte

All right, we are kind of off schedule. We all have our connections throughout the whole country, and we can use those to make sure we get that message out, and tell them where to look. We, as a committee, are obviously asking to get all the input we can on this topic, and if somebody would like to come forward, we have been open to receiving recommendations from different groups about who they would like to have come in front of us. We're still open to that, and anything written, obviously, we'll make available. We'll take it as a committee and post it on our witness statements.

11:55 a.m.

Conservative

Jim Eglinski Conservative Yellowhead, AB

Madam Chair, I am somewhat concerned, or maybe I'm misunderstanding you a little bit. I have no problem with this committee's receiving information via a witness coming to us and giving us that information, but I don't think that, as a committee, or as committee members, we should be feeding information out to people. I don't believe that's appropriate.

Noon

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Deb Schulte

The intent is just to make them aware of information that's already posted, all right? There's information posted, such as a document from the department, which they might want to look at and comment on. If they would like to come back or give us some more information on that, we will consider it.

Noon

Liberal

Mike Bossio Liberal Hastings—Lennox and Addington, ON

For clarification, Jim, this is being given to the witnesses. We're not firing it out there to the general public.

Noon

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Deb Schulte

But, Mike, it's a public document and it's out there. If we want to make anyone aware of it, that's our role as parliamentarians.

I think the point is that we are just saying that we are still open to hearing back from people on this subject. If they have dealt with it and looked at the report that's gone out, or that information, and they want to come back to give us some comments on it, I think we are open to that. We're not telling anybody to do anything. We're just leaving the opportunity there.

Noon

Conservative

Jim Eglinski Conservative Yellowhead, AB

I agree, Madam Chair, as long as all of us are aware of what we're putting out, rather than someone independently sending that information forward. If we're going to send it from the committee, we should be in agreement on what we're sending out.