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

5:55 p.m.

Conservative

Dan Albas Conservative Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola, BC

I have it on page 42 in the English copy.

5:55 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Francis Scarpaleggia

Yes. It's on page 42. Thank you, Mr. Albas. That helps.

On page 42, in the right column, part (b.1) reads as follows:changements climatiques ont été prises en compte dans le plan;

There's a grammar mistake. In fact, the word “prises” should be in the masculine to agree with “engagements internationaux”, which is in the masculin plural. So the letters “e” and “s” at the end of the word need to be removed.

I am asking for unanimous consent to remove these two letters from the word “prises”, so that it reads as follows:changements climatiques ont été pris en compte dans le plan;

5:55 p.m.

Conservative

Dan Albas Conservative Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola, BC

Yes. I think that's reasonable, Mr. Chair.

5:55 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Francis Scarpaleggia

Okay. So I have unanimous consent? Perfect.

I'm a little bit upset with Ms. Pauzé for not catching this mistake. Normally, she finds all the glitches.

This makes it a little easier for us. We'll continue.

5:55 p.m.

Conservative

Dan Albas Conservative Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola, BC

Let's not discourage her.

5:55 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Francis Scarpaleggia

We'll now move on to amendment NDP‑4.

Before I give Mr. Bachrach time to present amendment NDP‑4, I should clarify, based on the note, that if amendment NDP‑4 is defeated, amendment G‑14 becomes moot. There would be an inconsistency.

Mr. Bachrach, you have the floor.

5:55 p.m.

NDP

Taylor Bachrach NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

I'm pleased to bring forward this amendment on behalf of Ms. Collins. I believe it's fairly self-explanatory. There are pieces that I will highlight. This amendment speaks to the role of the net-zero advisory body.

The first piece I would bring to the committee's attention is the word “independent” under subclause 20(1), “to provide the Minister with independent advice”. I believe this speaks to some of the conversation we've had in today's meeting around the independence of the committee.

Secondly, this amendment seeks to specify that the advisory body will provide advice respecting “greenhouse gas emissions targets” as well as “greenhouse gas emissions reduction plans”.

Lastly, it adds a line about engagement activities being part of the advisory body's mandate.

I believe the rest is fairly self-explanatory. I'll yield the floor.

5:55 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Francis Scarpaleggia

Mr. Albas.

5:55 p.m.

Conservative

Dan Albas Conservative Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola, BC

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

I certainly appreciate Mr. Bachrach's holding a lot of duty on this in terms of taking someone else's amendments forward. It's never easy to parachute into a process, but he has done very well thus far.

I'm just going to ask questions of Mr. Moffet again.

Mr. Moffet, you said earlier that the word “independent” didn't have a legal term, and that the committee itself was already quasi-independent just because it's a committee that operates on its own. When we had witnesses come to this committee—and I'm sure you listened to much of the testimony—many of them were citing jurisdictions such as the United Kingdom, which has an independent body that operates. Is this the same thing as what they have in the U.K.?

5:55 p.m.

Assistant Deputy Minister, Environmental Protection Branch, Department of the Environment

John Moffet

There are a couple of things.

First of all, I didn't suggest that the term “independent” has no legal meaning. I think I was trying to say that the committee established under section 20 is authorized to provide advice without influence from the minister. This amendment would emphasize that function.

The second part of your question was around the United Kingdom. I think it's worth noting that in fact the U.K. statute, the Climate Change Act 2008, does not actually use either of the terms “independent” or “expert” in establishing its committee. Its committee has been established that way and has functioned that way.

I think what we see in the bill, and in particular as potentially clarified through this amendment, is that the advisory body to be established under this bill would have a function largely similar to what has been in the United Kingdom for the past number of years.

6 p.m.

Conservative

Dan Albas Conservative Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola, BC

If their climate change accountability legislation does not refer to “independent”, why is there such a vast disparity, Mr. Moffet, between what witnesses have been calling for and what the government has presented in Bill C‑12? Does adding Madam Collins's amendment harmonize it or do you think that is already there without this amendment?

6 p.m.

Assistant Deputy Minister, Environmental Protection Branch, Department of the Environment

John Moffet

I'm not sure what the question was. You were asking why there is a disparity?

6 p.m.

Conservative

Dan Albas Conservative Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola, BC

Yes.

6 p.m.

Assistant Deputy Minister, Environmental Protection Branch, Department of the Environment

John Moffet

I think that's an issue for—

6 p.m.

Conservative

Dan Albas Conservative Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola, BC

You made the statement that the legislation in the U.K. did not include the term “independent”, yet we had witness after witness come and say that this is not the U.K. Why is there the disparity between what people were asking for and this particular bill?

6 p.m.

Assistant Deputy Minister, Environmental Protection Branch, Department of the Environment

John Moffet

I think you're asking me to speculate about what was on witnesses' minds. I'm not here to do that.

6 p.m.

Conservative

Dan Albas Conservative Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola, BC

You've raised a question in my mind just simply by saying that the legislation doesn't include the term “independent”. I'm just wondering what the big difference is. I would hope that you as an expert for the government would be able to answer the question.

6 p.m.

Assistant Deputy Minister, Environmental Protection Branch, Department of the Environment

John Moffet

What's the difference between what?

6 p.m.

Conservative

Dan Albas Conservative Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola, BC

I mean between what the U.K. has and what is presented here in Bill C‑12, because I want to know whether or not the amendment Madam Collins has moved actually moves closer to a model like that.

6 p.m.

Assistant Deputy Minister, Environmental Protection Branch, Department of the Environment

John Moffet

It emphasizes the independent role of the committee.

6 p.m.

Conservative

Dan Albas Conservative Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola, BC

Okay, but again, you said that “independent” is not mentioned in the U.K. legislation. Does that mean it doesn't move us any closer to that?

June 7th, 2021 / 6 p.m.

Assistant Deputy Minister, Environmental Protection Branch, Department of the Environment

John Moffet

I think you're asking me to speculate on the way the committee will function under this legislation.

6 p.m.

Conservative

Dan Albas Conservative Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola, BC

I would imagine that you would have an understanding of how the committee will operate.

6 p.m.

Assistant Deputy Minister, Environmental Protection Branch, Department of the Environment

John Moffet

Mr. Chair, I think that the line of questioning is inappropriate for officials.

6 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Francis Scarpaleggia

Okay.