Evidence of meeting #37 for Environment and Sustainable Development in the 43rd Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was chair.

A video is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Clerk of the Committee  Ms. Angela Crandall
John Moffet  Assistant Deputy Minister, Environmental Protection Branch, Department of the Environment
Vincent Ngan  Director General, Horizontal Policy, Engagement and Coordination, Department of the Environment

4:50 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Francis Scarpaleggia

Thank you.

There aren't any hands, so we'll continue with the vote that was called.

(Clause 12 agreed to: yeas 7; nays 4)

(On clause 13)

We'll go to clause 13 and amendment BQ-13.

Ms. Pauzé, do you want to speak to your amendment?

4:50 p.m.

Bloc

Monique Pauzé Bloc Repentigny, QC

I would first like to tell you that the Bloc Québécois amendment has two parts, (a) and (b). Part (a) of our amendment establishes that the Minister cannot amend targets. Since amendment G-3 was passed, with the wording: “each greenhouse gas emissions target must represent a progression beyond the previous one”, there is no longer any point in removing the word “amending”.

I would add, however, that you told us with pride that amendment G-3 draws its inspiration from what was done in countries such as New Zealand, Norway and the United Kingdom. I would just like us to remember that those countries use 1990 as the reference year, while Canada is using 2005. Canada is disregarding 15 years of pollution. Basically, those other countries are much more ambitious. Canada may be setting a weak target and a low bar: the amendment just says that it “must represent a progression beyond the previous one”. That amendment may not be completely useless, but in my opinion, it doesn't mean a whole lot. So I am not going to move forward with part (a).

However, part (b) of amendment BQ-13 removes a reference to the advisory body. There is actually no reason to refer to that body in the section on public participation. We must try to clearly distinguish between public participation and the role of that body. This is important. In the same spirit, the advisory body does not have to represent the public. The public has 338 elected representatives, their members of Parliament, in other words, us. The advisory body's role is something else. It's a committee of scientists, as we see it, at least.

Clause 13, as it presently stands, puts the advisory body, the provinces, the Indigenous peoples and the interested persons on the same level. In our opinion, an emissions reduction plan is not a matter for public consultation. The advisory body must deal with it. However, we will be proposing subsequent amendments that deal with public participation, Indigenous peoples, the provinces and all the organizations. We will be proposing amendments, each one of which is consequential to the others.

I move amendment BQ-13, part (b), and I invite you to vote for it in order to clearly distinguish the two roles.

4:55 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Francis Scarpaleggia

Thank you, Ms. Pauzé.

Before we move to a vote, I will give Mr. Albas the floor.

But I must advise you, Ms. Pauzé, that if your amendment passes, we cannot deal with amendment PV-20, because the two amend the same line.

4:55 p.m.

Conservative

Brad Redekopp Conservative Saskatoon West, SK

Mr. Chair, can I interrupt you for a second? Your boom is up.

4:55 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Francis Scarpaleggia

Oh, right, Mr. Redekopp.

Before we go to Mr. Albas, I just want to advise committee members, that, if amendment BQ-13 passes, we cannot deal with amendment PV-20, because the two amend the same line.

Mr. Albas, the floor is yours.

4:55 p.m.

Conservative

Dan Albas Conservative Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola, BC

Mr. Chair, as you know, I want to see a good process here. I've already raised some challenges just in terms of the condensed timeline, the fact we didn't hear from a number of witnesses, and the fact we didn't have our briefs fully translated in time for clause-by-clause. We received a few in just the last few days.

I believe in having a strong process. I really also do believe that it's important for members, once they've gone through all the work, to be able to write an amendment after going through those briefs, hearing from constituents and hearing testimony directly from the witnesses. Going through the process of creating an amendment, taking it to the law clerk and having it sent to the clerk is a lot of work, and I know that a lot of MPs, as well as their staff, work very hard to do that.

The question I would have, Mr. Chair, and this would probably go to the legislative clerk, is this: First of all, can MP Pauzé only put forward half an amendment as presented, or does an amendment or subamendment have to be entertained in order for that to happen? Could I get some clarity on that just in terms of good process, Mr. Chair?

4:55 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Francis Scarpaleggia

We can ask the clerk, but I asked the same question.

Madam Pauzé did not introduce part (a), so she doesn't need to get unanimous consent to withdraw it. She basically is just proposing part (b) of the amendment. That's my understanding, but if you want to ask the legislative clerk, then maybe Madam Thivierge could also pipe in on this one.

4:55 p.m.

Conservative

Dan Albas Conservative Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola, BC

Thank you.

4:55 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Francis Scarpaleggia

Madam Thivierge.

4:55 p.m.

Émilie Thivierge

Yes, Madam Pauzé is allowed to change her amendment. Any member who moves an amendment can decide what he or she is moving. Before moving it, she mentioned that she was not going to move part (a), but only part (b). She was allowed to do this.

4:55 p.m.

Conservative

Dan Albas Conservative Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola, BC

Okay, thank you for that, Mr. Chair.

Maybe it was just the translation. When Madam Pauzé framed it, she actually framed the whole amendment. Maybe she can speak to it again, briefly, though, of course. We don't want to take up more time than necessary.

Is it just for the single word that she's proposing the change? If that's the case, I'd like to hear it. Is she just changing one word by this amendment?

5 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Francis Scarpaleggia

Ms. Pauzé, you have the floor.

5 p.m.

Bloc

Monique Pauzé Bloc Repentigny, QC

In amendment BQ-13, part (b), we are removing the reference to the net-zero advisory body. In our view, the body is not intended to be for consultation. It should not be an organization that represents the public. As we see it, it is a committee of scientists, experts and those qualified in all aspects of climate change.

Having that body described in clause 13, which is about public participation, creates confusion. The two types of participation must be separate. Public participation includes everyone, all organizations representing civil society. We, the 338 elected members of Parliament, are part of that public participation, because we represent the public. That is the distinction we make between the advisory body and public participation.

We will be proposing amendments to clause 20, but clause 13 deals with public participation. We don't want the advisory body to be part of the public participation.

5 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Francis Scarpaleggia

Mr. Redekopp.

5 p.m.

Conservative

Brad Redekopp Conservative Saskatoon West, SK

I have a really quick question. This amendment will say, “That Bill C-12, in clause 13, be amended (b) by replacing”....

Is there going to be a (b) in there, and is that a problem? Is that okay, or should the first item in there be (a)? Does that matter? Maybe the clerk could advise me on that.

5 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Francis Scarpaleggia

Yes, please advise us.

5 p.m.

Émilie Thivierge

No, the (b) won't be in the bill itself. Only “Canada” will be there; (b) is only the lead-in that says where the word should be put in the bill.

5 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Francis Scarpaleggia

Okay.

Seeing no hands up, we'll go to a vote on BQ-13.

We are voting on (b) only. Let's make that clear. You've made it clear, Mr. Redekopp.

And again, if BQ-13 is adopted, PV-20 cannot be moved.

(Amendment negatived: nays 10; yeas 1)

5 p.m.

Liberal

Lloyd Longfield Liberal Guelph, ON

Chair, you're muted.

5 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Francis Scarpaleggia

I'm sorry. I was speaking with the legislative clerk.

I just have to consult with the clerk about something and I'll be right back.

5 p.m.

Conservative

Dan Albas Conservative Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola, BC

Okay.

5:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Francis Scarpaleggia

Colleagues, sorry about that.

We're on CPC-12.

We are actually at amendment PV-20, aren't we?

Madam Clerk, is that it?

5:05 p.m.

Conservative

Dan Albas Conservative Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola, BC

No.

5:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Francis Scarpaleggia

I'm sorry.

We're on CPC-12. I'm just a little confused with my papers here. We just did BQ-13.

Go ahead, Mr. Albas.

June 2nd, 2021 / 5:05 p.m.

Conservative

Dan Albas Conservative Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola, BC

Thank you.

I'm really glad that we actually got to have Madam Pauzé speak in regard to clause 13. Clause 13 is very important to me simply because it does talk about public participation. I think that many members here may anticipate what I'm going to say based on other things, but there is a slightly different element to my commentary.

As you know, Mr. Chair, Conservatives have repeatedly said that we believe that climate change is a huge challenge and a collective action issue that needs the Government of Canada to have all hands on deck. That is for sure.

We also know that different parts of the country will be affected differently, which is why we put forward a number of different amendments that allow for greater nuance and clarity on some of the impacts of government policy. We expect that this part of the bill will be very important for two parts.

Number one is that, obviously, public participation is important. Being such a large and diverse country, it's important that there be a flexible instrument to make sure that the government, through the minister in this case, can consult widely and from a great deal of voices, including indigenous, which I think is incredibly important. Many first nations in the Prairies, as well as in the real west—as I refer to British Columbia—have struck revenue deals for their natural resource development and should be able to say through their member of Parliament—and that's where I give credence to Madam Pauzé for acknowledging that members of Parliament also should be considered by the minister—but also hear directly from them or from different communities.

Obviously, each community is slightly different, has different needs and concerns and will be struck differently by different government policies, both provincially and federally. I think it's very important to have.

I'll go to my amendment exactly, Mr. Chair, because I know that's something you would like to know. Perhaps Madam Pauzé might want to support this motion because, again, we're trying to make clause 13 better.

Everyone knows I've been talking about all hands on deck and let's have the Governor in Council rather than an individual minister. That is true, but right in here, I would say at (b), replace, in the English version, line 27 on page 5 with the following:

“and interested persons including any expert the Governor in Council”

Why that's important right now is that we do know that the designated minister on this act by default is Minister Wilkinson as the Minister of Environment and Climate Change. He's already struck an advisory panel of experts, but do you know what, Mr. Chair? We don't believe that the experts that are cited by one minister offer the balance and diversity that this great country offers.

We want to ensure that the Governor in Council can actually draw upon experts as well, because there may be a case where one minister has certain information and another minister brings forward other information that is contrary to what maybe the Minister of the Environment presents to cabinet. There needs to be some independence where they can bring in an expert of their own to cite concerns or to verify the expert testimony that the Minister of the Environment has heard.

Conservatives do believe in public participation. We also do believe, though, that no one minister is going to have the Rolodex of expertise to be able to reliably answer every question that might be raised by the Governor in Council as they execute their duties in order to meet the challenge of climate change. The Governor in Council may have access to expertise that perhaps the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change did not envisage in his—or maybe in the future, her—original memorandum of understanding to cabinet.

Conservatives believe that there needs to be a wider opening for other ministers to bring forward their own thoughts and to have the Governor in Council then seek expert opinion beyond just that Rolodex of one individual minister.

With that, I hope I can get the support. I'm also looking at Mr. Saini, because I know he's a reasonable person and he's constantly asking for data.

That's an important component here. There may be data that a particular expert is unaware of, and that's where having other ministers being able to bring that data, bring that expertise, to the Governor in Council is better for decision-making. That's where I'm hoping I will be able to edge him closer to supporting this position.

Thank you, Mr. Chair.