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

6:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Francis Scarpaleggia

Seeing no hands, the vote is called.

(Amendment negatived: nays 7; yeas 4)

We now go to PV-26. It's Ms. May's amendment, but based on our previous conversation at committee, I don't believe she'll be speaking to it.

Am I correct, Ms. May?

6:10 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Yes.

I sent you a few other examples of where chairs have removed my amendments at my request, but I respect that the clerk of this committee has taken a different interpretation.

6:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Francis Scarpaleggia

Okay, I will look into that.

I'm sorry. I'm not checking my emails. I'm very much just trying to stay on top of this process.

You won't be speaking to the amendment, but Mr. Albas will.

6:10 p.m.

Conservative

Dan Albas Conservative Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola, BC

Yes.

Briefly, PV-26 says that Bill C-12, in clause 20, is amended by replacing line 15 on page 8 with the following:

reference of the expert advisory body.

6:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Francis Scarpaleggia

Okay, I don't see any hands up. Therefore, the vote is called.

(Amendment negatived: nays 10; yeas 1)

6:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Francis Scarpaleggia

We go now to BQ-19. I will just note that if BQ-19 is adopted, G-13 cannot be moved, as they amend the same line.

Madam Pauzé.

6:10 p.m.

Bloc

Monique Pauzé Bloc Repentigny, QC

Amendment BQ‑19 would be consistent with what we were talking about earlier about the independent expert committee. I would remind you that it's important for us to get the role, mission and make‑up of the committee right. Right now, we're using the government's definitions, which haven't changed.

I won't propose the amendment because it would ultimately serve no purpose.

6:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Francis Scarpaleggia

Okay.

Mr. Albas, your hand is raised, but there is no amendment to debate.

6:15 p.m.

Conservative

Dan Albas Conservative Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola, BC

Are we not debating BQ-19?

6:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Francis Scarpaleggia

No, because Madame Pauzé did not table it.

6:15 p.m.

Conservative

Dan Albas Conservative Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola, BC

All right. I'm sorry. I just wanted to make sure I'm on the right page.

Thank you.

6:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Francis Scarpaleggia

For G-13, we go to Mr. Baker.

6:15 p.m.

Liberal

Yvan Baker Liberal Etobicoke Centre, ON

I was not going to move this one, but I can move it. Let me see.

Mr. Chair, I am introducing this amendment to add new language to subclause 20(2) of the Canadian net-zero emissions accountability act to require the Minister of the Environment to publish the advisory body's terms of reference and amendments made to them. This strengthens the act by increasing transparency in the process.

6:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Francis Scarpaleggia

Thank you.

Mr. Albas.

6:15 p.m.

Conservative

Dan Albas Conservative Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola, BC

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

I certainly appreciate MP Baker for moving this amendment. As I've said a number of times, Conservatives believe that climate change is a real threat that must be dealt with. Bill C-12 is one step towards some of the goals towards that, Mr. Chair. We did come to this committee with 19 amendments that we feel would improve the legislation, despite not supporting it at second reading. Those reasons are well documented.

I will say, though, that we came prepared to support other parties to make sure that the bill was improved where we felt there was a reasonable amendment that was clear and that was in the public interest. This meets the criteria, so like we did with Mr. Saini's amendment, we will support this because we do believe that the public needs to have more transparency when it comes to the work of this government and the work of the advisory body.

I'm going to just round it out by saying that Conservatives will support reasonable amendments. It's unfortunate that other parties such as the government and the NDP have chosen, it seems, to ignore anyone else's ideas but their own, but that's something I can't help, Mr. Chair. We, as the Conservative Party, believe that if a good idea comes forward, it should be supported.

Maybe that's enough to say on this, Mr. Chair. I'll let other members speak to it.

6:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Francis Scarpaleggia

Mr. Redekopp.

6:15 p.m.

Conservative

Brad Redekopp Conservative Saskatoon West, SK

I just want to clarify one quick thing. When Mr. Baker introduced this, I believe he said clause 22. I'm reading it and it's clause 20. If you could just please clarify—

6:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Francis Scarpaleggia

I have clause 20 as well.

6:15 p.m.

Liberal

Yvan Baker Liberal Etobicoke Centre, ON

It's subclause 20(2).

6:15 p.m.

Conservative

Brad Redekopp Conservative Saskatoon West, SK

Okay, maybe that's why I was confused.

6:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Francis Scarpaleggia

On G-13, I don't see any hands up. The vote is called.

(Amendment agreed to: yeas 11; nays 0 [See Minutes of Proceedings])

6:20 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Francis Scarpaleggia

It's unanimous. That's great.

On BQ-20, we have Madame Pauzé.

6:20 p.m.

Bloc

Monique Pauzé Bloc Repentigny, QC

I'm going to ask to change “comité d'experts indépendant”, which was not adopted, to “comité consultatif”, since that's the term that was chosen. Unless NDP‑4 has changed that a bit.

In any event, it is the “Groupe consultatif pour la carbonneutralité”. That's what should be changed in amendment BQ‑20.

May I present my amendment, Mr. Chair?

6:20 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Francis Scarpaleggia

Yes, you may.

June 7th, 2021 / 6:20 p.m.

Bloc

Monique Pauzé Bloc Repentigny, QC

As I said when I introduced amendment BQ‑18, there is a whole. Here, we are talking about the mandate of the famous advisory committee. We are adding important clarifications about the mandate of this committee, details that are essential and complementary to the mandate that would be given by the minister.

It was agreed that the mandate in Bill C‑12 are quite imprecise and changeable at will.

That's why we want to add some important clarifications. We want to make clear that the committee must have access to the information and analytical resources of the federal government. We need to make it easier for it to do its job and to access data and information so that it can be efficient and function optimally.

I told you earlier about the five elements that experts in the United Kingdom consider critical to the success of any climate legislation. Earlier, you voted against one of those elements, but I'm trying again with others.

Together, these elements are beneficial to the exercise. We are talking about the full independence of the committee, which you don't want. We're talking about the fact that the committee has to have a consistent budget that flows from its mission; it has to produce an annual report on the status of the targets. It's a question of democracy. Citizens need to know where we're going.

Other elements mentioned by the U.K. experts include the fact that the committee must receive a mandatory response from the government for each report it tables. It has to be involved in setting the carbon budget. So we're talking about targets that are set well in advance. Finally, it must also provide advice, and providing advice is not the same as making recommendations. I said this earlier about amendment NDP‑4.

We see how important words are. The “interim ... objective”, as the NDP called for, is not a target. A “summary of [the] ... most recent ... inventory” is not a report. These are words that weaken the bill, but they are the ones that were chosen.

Our amendment clearly sets out what is expected of this committee. Currently, clause 20 is worded far too flexibly. The minister has an entire department at his disposal and several competent officials to advise him. However, the committee in question must be—I repeat—independent. It isn't being asked to provide independent advice, but rather to be independent. It must have a mission and mandate that is directly applicable to the purpose of Bill C‑12. Every element of this amendment supports that need.

I would, of course, expect government members to keep their word about their repeated desire to improve the bill and, as Mr. Albas and Ms. May have noted, to work with “the” opposition parties. Collaborative approaches may speed up the process, but I want to remind NDP members of their strong positions, repeated in the House and before our committee by Ms. Collins.

We must be consistent in our political action. The government has been criticized for saying one thing and the opposite. I am asking the committee member, who no doubt recognizes himself, to support this amendment, which is consistent with what his party has said it wants in this bill. He has said it to his constituents, he has said it to the public, and he has said it in speeches in the House. I would like to know that this member isn't repeating the behaviour that he himself has criticized the government for.