Evidence of meeting #38 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 amendment.

A video is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

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

6:25 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Francis Scarpaleggia

Yes, it wasn't already moved, so there's nothing else.

6:25 p.m.

Conservative

Dan Albas Conservative Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola, BC

I think it would be cleaner with an amendment formally, and I'd be happy to do a “unanimous consent” motion to that, because I do think the process needs to be followed. If the legislative clerk says there's no process, it's just interesting that I had to type in and send in a subamendment. I just want to have a similar process for each one, Mr. Chair. That's all.

6:25 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Francis Scarpaleggia

Had you already moved your original amendment and were amending it?

6:25 p.m.

Conservative

Dan Albas Conservative Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola, BC

No. I did a subamendment to, I believe, Mr. Saini's amendment. I was asked to send it in.

6:25 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Francis Scarpaleggia

That's different—

6:30 p.m.

Conservative

Dan Albas Conservative Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola, BC

Okay. No, if you say that's different and that's how we're going to treat it, that's fine.

6:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Francis Scarpaleggia

—because basically, Madam Pauzé is tabling it with “le Groupe consultatif pour la carboneutralité”. The motion is not already there, and somebody's amending it. She's tabling it. It's not written up that way, I understand, but when she tabled it she made sure to make us understand that the way she's tabling it is with “le Groupe consultatif pour la carboneutralité”.

Is that correct, Madam Thivierge? Is this how it works?

6:30 p.m.

Legislative Clerk

Émilie Thivierge

Yes, that's correct.

6:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Francis Scarpaleggia

Okay.

6:30 p.m.

Conservative

Dan Albas Conservative Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola, BC

That wasn't clear to me, Mr. Chair.

Now I understand because you've explain it. Thank you.

6:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Francis Scarpaleggia

Okay, thank you.

6:30 p.m.

Conservative

Brad Redekopp Conservative Saskatoon West, SK

Just for perfect clarity, that occurs in subclause 20(3) and also down at the bottom in subclause 20(4)—in two places in this amendment.

6:30 p.m.

Legislative Clerk

6:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Francis Scarpaleggia

That's right. Thank you.

I see no hands up, so the vote is—

6:30 p.m.

Conservative

Dan Albas Conservative Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola, BC

Thank you for that, Mr. Chair. It helps us to know what we're voting on. I appreciate it.

6:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Francis Scarpaleggia

Thank you. It's my pleasure.

We're voting on BQ-20 now.

(Amendment negatived: nays 10; yeas 1 [See Minutes of Proceedings])

6:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Francis Scarpaleggia

We will now vote on clause 20 as amended.

Are there any comments from committee members?

Seeing no hands, we'll go to the vote.

6:30 p.m.

Conservative

Cathy McLeod Conservative Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo, BC

Mr. Chair—just for clarity—you said clause 21, or it was interpreted as clause 21. I believe the vote is on clause 20.

6:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Francis Scarpaleggia

Yes, it is on clause 20. I'm sorry. The words are stuck together on my paper. It's on clause 20.

We've done all these amendments. Therefore, we're voting on clause 20 as amended, not clause 21. The words are stuck together. We're voting on clause 20 as amended.

Does that answer your question, Ms. McLeod? Yes. Okay.

There are no hands up, and the vote is called.

(Clause 20 as amended agreed to: yeas 7; nays 4)

(On clause 21)

6:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Francis Scarpaleggia

We now go to CPC-17.

Is it Mr. Albas who's presenting it?

6:30 p.m.

Conservative

Dan Albas Conservative Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola, BC

I believe Mr. Jeneroux wanted to speak to this one. I will maybe follow him.

6:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Francis Scarpaleggia

Mr. Jeneroux, go ahead.

6:30 p.m.

Conservative

Matt Jeneroux Conservative Edmonton Riverbend, AB

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

This amendment comes with great fanfare, so I want to be the one to speak to it. I apologize to all the other amendments that were made by other committee members previous to this, but this really is the pinnacle amendment that I know we're all looking forward to.

Perhaps you were stopped at a grocery store this weekend by people saying, “What about CPC-17?” I apologize on behalf of all the people who pulled you aside.

This amendment is rather simple in nature. Basically, we look at the advisory body, and it has 15 members, but they're all appointed by the Minister of Environment. Now think about if you're the Minister of Environment. You're sitting back, and you've gotten through maybe member five. Maybe you've really pushed yourself and gotten to member six. Then you think, “I have to go and do this nine more times and figure out nine more members to put on this advisory body.” Why not ease Minister Wilkinson's workload? Why not share the membership load with other ministers, perhaps Minister Freeland, Minister Champagne...? What Minister Wilkinson would appreciate this committee doing and saying is, “Go and spend that extra time with your kids. Spend the time with your wife. Go out on a boat. You live in Vancouver for crying out loud. Enjoy the time, Minister, and let's give that extra workload to these other three departments.”

How we've worded it.... We've given three positions for the Minister of Finance to submit, three positions for the Minister of Industry and then three positions for the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations to submit . This still leaves Minister Wilkinson with his six members that he'll likely be able to find, but it also frees him up to do those extracurricular activities with his family. Again, I think he would send us all personal thank-you notes if we allowed him to do something like that.

If you will also recall, Mr. Chair, this was recommended by our friends at the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and CAPP, as well, to make sure it's a well-rounded and well-balanced committee.

With that, I turn it to my esteemed committee members to hopefully, again, lighten the load of Minister Wilkinson. He already has to go through the entire bill here after this. Give him these nine members for someone else to pick at the end of the day.

With that, I'll turn it back to you, Mr. Chair.

6:35 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Francis Scarpaleggia

That's very thoughtful, Mr. Jeneroux.

Mr. Albas, please go ahead.

June 7th, 2021 / 6:35 p.m.

Conservative

Dan Albas Conservative Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola, BC

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

I certainly appreciate Mr. Jeneroux thinking so generously of Minister Wilkinson, wanting to give him a bit more time. North Vancouver is lovely at this time of year when it isn't raining, and that's not often.

That being said, I will point out that there has been a lot of discussion about the need to have more independence of the committee.

One of the ways you can do that is by putting a bit of distance between who appoints them. When you make all the committee members.... They have to receive their appointment from one minister. Again, for the purposes of this bill, by default, it designates the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, thus, why Mr. Jeneroux was fixated on helping Minister Wilkinson.

By creating several different roles, or by appointing to this advisory board, that creates more independence, because the further away.... You have multiple different ministers that would make suggestions. As I've said earlier, each minister, typically, has a rolodex. Again, asking for six members, I'm sure Minister Wilkinson wouldn't have any difficulty with that as he's already come up with 15.

We should make sure we include indigenous persons by amending paragraph 21(1)(c) with “three, on the recommendation of the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations”. This is something that I will give MP McLeod 100% credit for. She asked a number of questions. We didn't have any indigenous witnesses, though my understanding is that there are some briefs alluding to it. This would ensure that indigenous persons across the country, who are known specifically to the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, would be able to nominate those imminent persons. They would contribute indigenous knowledge as laid out by the act in the definitions.

We have a thriving clean-tech sector that oftentimes doesn't necessarily run in lockstep with the Minister of Environment and Climate Change. In fact, the Minister of Industry probably has more discussions with clean-tech firms in places like Waterloo and other innovation centres that are just starting up. That minister would also be able to put forward other people.

There is other expertise. It's been cited that some people believe there should be economists on this. I'm sure the Minister of Finance also has, in her rolodex, very worthy persons that would be able to contribute.

We believe this is an all-hands-on-deck issue dealing with climate change. We think there would be more independence by lightening the load of Minister Wilkinson , in this case, as Mr. Jeneroux has pointed out.

As he said, we had witnesses who came to committee and asked for this. Of course, the way the Governor in Council works, as you are probably well aware, Mr. Chair, is that the Governor in Council meets but it does need a recommendation from a minister to start a discussion.

That's why we believe in naming, specifically, not just theMinister of Environment, who would get six members, but the Minister of Industry, the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and the Minister of Finance. We believe you would end up with a much more diverse panel. It would create a sense of more independence. As I've said, it breaks down those silos. It brings different people to the fore. It would make for a much more diverse panel. In that case, they would be more cross-disciplinary, which is important in dealing with a multi-faceted issue such as climate change.

I would ask all honourable members to contribute to making the bill stronger. This is one of the best recommendations that we've brought forward. For those who call themselves business Liberals or blue Liberals, I would hope they would say that having one minister with one perspective, through their own personal rolodex or that of their staff, is too limiting.

The bill could be seriously improved by having other ministers, who are also capable and run into these distinguished Canadians when they do their round tables and consultations, find the right people to fit this important role.

With that, I would ask all honourable members to consider this. Again, I think that one of the biggest challenges in our politics is that it is not so much a matter of whether an idea is good or not, but of who proposes it. That is something we see in Ottawa too much. If a Conservative raises an idea, it might be good or bad based on who is watching and vice versa. If a minister of the Crown rises with a particular idea, then the opposition might oppose it just because it's that person.

I'm really counting on the committee work we do, Mr. Chair, which is far less partisan than, let's say, the average question period. We can actually dig down into the process or into our committee. I grant it that this committee process has been rather truncated and I don't think it has led to the best outcome. One way we can actually prove me wrong is by supporting Mr. Jeneroux and his motion, with the added benefit of a little bit more family time for Minister Wilkinson.