Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I apologize in advance for my connection today. I'm experiencing the same Rogers challenges and difficulties that many people connecting in the GTA are. If I drop off, I'll simply cede my time to the chair.
My question is basically twofold. It starts with what I've perceived as the mischaracterization of what free, prior and informed consent is and will be. Initially, a few meetings ago, FPIC was characterized as a veto. We've kind of gotten past that a bit, which is good. We're making progress.
After that, we got to the point with the other side saying, oh, advance disclosure is the status quo; it's totally adequate and has always worked, and why would we change it? Again, that's not something I agree with, but it seems as though we're past that point now as well.
Most recently, including at today's meeting, the question is, don't we just need a definition of this ambiguous term, “free, prior and informed consent”? I disagree. I don't think it's ambiguous. It's very clear what it is, and it implies partnership, involvement and engagement rather than just telling somebody in advance what's going to happen.
In addition to that, more recently we've heard that since there are a variety of valid concerns and, not surprisingly, a lack of total unanimity on the final product of what this will look like and how it should be implemented, it lacked the adequate amount of consultation with community and industry.
My question, therefore, has two parts. One, is the definition of FPIC necessary, or does it already exist? Two, is total unanimity ever a reasonable ambition worthy of pursuing throughout these consultations?
I'd start with Madam Sargent.