The reason I have brought forward this amendment to line 17 on page 4 is that under “Mandate” right now, the provision for the advisory council is that they can only advise the minister on matters that she asks them to advise her on. I am of the view that it is too narrow, unless others of my amendments are accepted. This is the only provision in the entire act that makes any provision whatsoever for consultation.
If the consultation is going to be limited simply to this hand-picked advisory group that the minister appoints, it would be advisable to broaden the scope to add, “including matters referred to it”. That allows them to suggest to her, from time to time, matters that they want to pursue or that she might want to consider.
We took a look at other advisory committees. Under the Species at Risk Act, for example, it isn't limited to just what the minister asks them to advise her on; it's wide open. It just simply says, “advise the Minister on the administration of this act”. They don't have to wait for the minister to say, “I want you to look into this.” It's the same with the Agricultural and Rural Development Act and other acts in which advisory bodies are appointed.
I'm simply giving them a little wider ambit when they come together or they choose to come together.
It's a wide diversity of people. The minister bent over backwards to have more indigenous people. In fact, when the minister introduced the bill, she said, “Indigenous peoples, communities, provinces, territories, and Canadians expect to be heard when it comes to the economy and the environment” and that the government wants to maintain an ongoing conversation.
That's why I've suggested adding that in. Obviously, how much they can communicate will be limited, because the Conservatives are proposing limiting the reimbursement.
I thought it was very important to leave that open. She probably wasn't intentionally trying to limit them, but the way the wording is right now, they would not be mandated to consider anything except what the minister refers to them.