Evidence of meeting #64 for Fisheries and Oceans in the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was area.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Sharon Ehaloak  Executive Director, Nunavut Planning Commission
Jonathan Savoy  Manager of Implementation, Nunavut Planning Commission
Brian Clark  Environmental Advisor, Registered Professional Biologist, Pacific NorthWest LNG
Chris Wellstood  Director, Marine Operations and Security, Harbour Master, Vancouver Fraser Port Authority
Eli Enns  Regional Coordinator, North America, Indigenous Peoples' and Community Conserved Territories and Areas Consortium

9:15 a.m.

Executive Director, Nunavut Planning Commission

9:15 a.m.

Liberal

Ken Hardie Liberal Fleetwood—Port Kells, BC

It is. Okay.

You say that protection is needed. From your description so far, given that most of the activity there is centred around the people who live there, what do you need protection from?

9:15 a.m.

Manager of Implementation, Nunavut Planning Commission

Jonathan Savoy

We have heard concerns regarding activities such as oil and gas exploration, seismic testing. In our discussions with communities, we've heard concerns about cruise ships and tourism disturbing marine mammals in particular. Those would be two examples that we're aware of.

9:15 a.m.

Liberal

Ken Hardie Liberal Fleetwood—Port Kells, BC

All right.

So with natural resource extraction, is there a consensus in your community about whether or not that is a good thing for the local economy, or whether it needs to be totally banished? Or are you somewhere in-between?

9:20 a.m.

Executive Director, Nunavut Planning Commission

Sharon Ehaloak

Thank you for the question, Ken.

Nunavut wants sustainable development that respects the culture and the wildlife and the need for protection so that the harvesting can be sustained. So they're looking for a balance.

9:20 a.m.

Liberal

Ken Hardie Liberal Fleetwood—Port Kells, BC

Okay, fair enough.

Mr. Clark, you mentioned the lack of baseline science. One of the things that impressed us in our visit last week, including to Prince Rupert, was the amount of science and research that is actually being conducted by all sorts of people who don't know what everybody else is up to.

Did you get that same sense?

9:20 a.m.

Environmental Advisor, Registered Professional Biologist, Pacific NorthWest LNG

Brian Clark

I don't have a sense of a lot of significant work being done in applied science, insofar as how projects could affect habitat is concerned. There may be science out there, I understand, in a lot of the offshore stuff, but frankly the information available on Chatham Sound itself in terms of habitat down 200 metres, that sort of thing, is pretty scarce. It's certainly not enough to make a determination on any subsurface activity, unless you go out and study it yourself.

So the baseline is not there and, as a result, proponents are asked to provide two or three years with a baseline before they move on.

9:20 a.m.

Liberal

Ken Hardie Liberal Fleetwood—Port Kells, BC

In some of the changes to the Fisheries Act about five, six, or seven years ago, there was I believe a swing in focus away from biodiversity to the commercial fishery. The commercial fishery and the maintenance of that was considered to be the prime objective. Is that the basis of any of the work your company has done? Has your work been mainly focused on the commercial fishery as opposed to biodiversity?

9:20 a.m.

Environmental Advisor, Registered Professional Biologist, Pacific NorthWest LNG

Brian Clark

No.

DFO, Fisheries and Oceans, asked us to study all the fish, all the age classes, all the habitats in Chatham Sound, because they all contribute to the commercial, recreational, and aboriginal fisheries. So you can say they just target those fisheries, but they depend on everything else out there. So we study everything.

9:20 a.m.

Liberal

Ken Hardie Liberal Fleetwood—Port Kells, BC

Mr. Enns, one of the things that impressed us about the approach in the far north was the consensus model that you mentioned, that people treat each other with a great deal of respect and things happen on a consensus basis. However, we found, certainly in discussing the issues on the west coast, that consensus would be more difficult to achieve there, because not everybody at the table has precisely the same interests. You have the ceremonial food and social fishery, but you also have the commercial fishery, and I take it that your first nations groups are involved in the commercial fishery as well.

So when those at the table don't share a common interest, how can we go forward? How would you go forward with the various groups and interests? Some of them have competing land claims with you. How would you suggest government go forward? What should we be thinking about to bring some resolution to this?

9:20 a.m.

Regional Coordinator, North America, Indigenous Peoples' and Community Conserved Territories and Areas Consortium

Eli Enns

Yes. Where I'm from in Clayoquot, we're living with a 300-year plan that was cast in 1914.

9:20 a.m.

Liberal

Ken Hardie Liberal Fleetwood—Port Kells, BC

By whom?

9:20 a.m.

Regional Coordinator, North America, Indigenous Peoples' and Community Conserved Territories and Areas Consortium

Eli Enns

By Eddy Joseph, Jimmy Jim, Wickaninnish, and Muchnik. They are our Ha’wiih, our hereditary chiefs, and they have the responsibility of creating long-term planning processes. Currently, we're living within a 300-year time horizon that was forecast by them, but we also have started to generate a 500-year plan.

These plans allow us to do two things. One is to reach down and touch the bedrock jurisdiction in this country. The bedrock jurisdiction is the Constitution. I listened to a recent talk by John Ralston Saul at the University of Victoria, where he spoke about how the Constitution is the most broken law in Canada.

9:25 a.m.

Liberal

Ken Hardie Liberal Fleetwood—Port Kells, BC

But do you—

9:25 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Scott Simms

I'm sorry, Mr. Hardie, but I'm going to have to cut it there. Seven minutes is our maximum. You will get time throughout if you want to continue that thought.

Mr. Doherty, go ahead for seven minutes, please.

June 6th, 2017 / 9:25 a.m.

Conservative

Todd Doherty Conservative Cariboo—Prince George, BC

Thank you.

I want to say thanks to all of our guests here today for providing their testimony.

I'm not quite sure how to say your last name. I don't want to mispronounce it.

9:25 a.m.

Executive Director, Nunavut Planning Commission

Sharon Ehaloak

It is “EH-ha-lo-ak”—but it's easier to say “EL-oh-ak”.

9:25 a.m.

Conservative

Todd Doherty Conservative Cariboo—Prince George, BC

All right, I will probably....

Is it all right if I call you Sharon?

9:25 a.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

9:25 a.m.

Executive Director, Nunavut Planning Commission

Sharon Ehaloak

Yes, Mr. Doherty.

9:25 a.m.

Conservative

Todd Doherty Conservative Cariboo—Prince George, BC

You can call me Todd.

I really appreciate your presentation. The document that you've provided for our committee, I think, is probably one of the best-thought-out ones we've seen to this point. I do have questions concerning it.

Do you feel that your planning commission has been consulted enough over this process?

9:25 a.m.

Executive Director, Nunavut Planning Commission

Sharon Ehaloak

That's a difficult question to answer. Consultation has a varying threshold in the north. The commission takes consultation very seriously.

I believe that the departments have made good efforts to work with the commission, and Canada has given the commission good submissions. There are varying strengths within the parties, other parties, that affect the signatory of the land use plan. The capacity funding and the ability to deliver are throughout all our organizations, so—

9:25 a.m.

Conservative

Todd Doherty Conservative Cariboo—Prince George, BC

I ask this because your premier is on record, in December, as saying that Ottawa's decisions are, in some form or fashion, negatively impacting Nunavut's future economic prosperity. Would you agree with that?

9:25 a.m.

Executive Director, Nunavut Planning Commission

Sharon Ehaloak

I have no comment on that. The commission has a mandate for land use plans, and while the government is a signatory—

9:25 a.m.

Conservative

Todd Doherty Conservative Cariboo—Prince George, BC

Okay. I'll go to the next question then.

With regard to your paragraph 5, that “the ecological components of interest are effectively conserved”, your assertion or comment here today is that in the land use plan that is being developed by your commission—and I believe that was in Mr. Savoy's testimony—you would like the Government of Canada to use this as part of its planning, moving forward, and to use this towards the target. Is that correct?