Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I would simply point out that as parliamentarians and as members of this committee, we have a responsibility to thoroughly vet the legislation that comes before us. In the one and a half meetings we've had so far—we've had only one and a half meetings on this—we have heard significant feedback that there are huge challenges with this piece of legislation as it stands. I took notes as we went. I listened to every single one of them. I want to share some of those with you.
The bill sponsor himself, Mr. Davidson, acknowledged that he was rushed in drafting this bill, as he drew number five in the PMB lottery. He told us:
Understand that I was probably as shocked as you that I drew number five in the PMB...and had to get this bill drafted quickly with the House of Commons. That was actually a bit of a chore, and meeting with witnesses, all at the beginning of COVID.
We heard from other witnesses as well—the Basel Action Network, the Chemistry Industry Association of Canada, the David Suzuki Foundation, the Recycling Council of Ontario—and we just finished hearing from government officials, all of whom raised significant concerns with the bill as it's currently drafted.
James Puckett of the Basel Action Network raised concerns that this bill will not be effective in addressing the root problem. He said:
In fact...the biggest global problem, which Mr. Davidson and others hope to address with this bill, will not be addressed, because the bill currently only looks at exports for final disposal, which is landfilling or incineration. The bill currently does not address the heart of the problem, which is exports for recycling.
Bob Masterson, the president and CEO of the Chemistry Industry Association of Canada, raised important considerations about the redundancy and technical issues with the bill. He said:
On many levels, Bill C-204 is redundant to those requirements, and at the same time it adds confusion. On the list of plastic wastes, we include things like ethylene, which is a feedstock. It's not a plastic waste.
He said there is no definition.
MP Davidson gave a nice definition of “final disposal”, but [that is not] in the bill itself. There's a lack of process that will allow for the continued movement of post-consumer materials, specifically between Canada, the United States and other OECD countries.
He said this would frustrate the circular economy.
Jo-Anne St. Godard with the Recycling Council of Ontario raised important considerations around transparency. She said:
...I think the spirit here is to get more transparency on what it is we are collecting and sending to other shores, and certainly that is similar to what we should be doing domestically as well. Under the guise of recycling...not all recyclable material is in fact recycled. We need traceability from points of generation through to final disposition. An outright ban...is not really [going to get] at the heart of the issue, which that is no matter what we are generating or how we are generating it or where it is actually managed, we need to have a line of sight on what that is to ensure that the materials are managed to the highest end uses, and also under very strict human and health protections.
It is my strong view, colleagues, that this committee needs to hear from additional witnesses before we can reasonably be in a position to move to clause-by-clause consideration of the bill and send it back for report stage.
I'd like to add that we just heard from department officials about their serious concerns relating to international trade, to our international agreements and to how this bill as it currently stands actually puts us at odds with many of those international agreements that we've signed on to.
With that said, I strongly encourage all my colleagues, from the NDP, the Bloc and the Conservatives, to consider giving more time to this bill. It could be as soon as two weeks from now, at our next constituency week, our off sitting week. For those of you who think that this is being booted down the road and that we don't want to see this move forward, it could be as soon as that—perhaps sooner, if the chair can tell us there's an opening.
Committee members need to do their due diligence on this to try to better address the issues that have been raised by witness after witness from the private sector, the government side and not-for-profit environmental organizations.
Thank you, Mr. Chair.