Thank you very much, Madam Chair.
Thanks to Ms. Young for taking some questions.
First of all, maybe for your own interest and benefit and that of the other members, do any of the members here know the history of why changes were made by the previous government to the Navigable Waters Protection Act? I was chair of the rural caucus at the time, and we had a number of groups, organizations, and individuals approach us wanting those changes, and probably the first one was SARM, the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities. Madam Chair, one of your staff here was in the room and used to live in Huron County in Ontario, just southwest of my own riding. We had multiple requests from farmers there because of the problems with the act. The changes were brought about in consultation and with suggestions from a lot of groups out there. They weren't just brought in unilaterally, and I think with all due respect, if the government were to spend as much time listening to those groups and figuring out why we made the changes instead of just wanting to change everything that the previous government brought in, I think it would be more valuable.
I'm not going to pretend that any piece of legislation is perfect, but I can tell you it's a lot better than it was. There were cases, I can tell you, one not very far from my own farm. I am a beef farmer in my other life, and there was no common sense or urgency. When farmers are wanting to get on the fields either to put a crop in or to take it off, the last thing they need is a bureaucracy that doesn't work. I can tell you that the bureaucracy behind the Navigable Waters Act didn't give a damn—pardon my French—as far as getting the job done was concerned and making decisions, and farmers and rural municipalities across this country suffered because of it.
Having said that, to the minister, what kind of specific changes is this government hung up on changing, and where did those complaints come from? Was it people who thought that the changes in it were actually a detriment to the environment and what have you, because I can tell you that it was not the intent and I don't believe anything in the bill took waters, actual navigable waters, out of protection. And I want to ask Ms. Higgens too to comment on that. That wasn't the intent and I don't believe it to be. I'd like to know where that consultation is coming from, what national organizations or what have you. Ms. Higgens, could you comment on that and Ms. Young as well?