Mr. Speaker, I particularly appreciate the first part of the member's question but I do not have time to answer both.
I do not see it as a case of the government putting economic interests before environmental interests. I see it as the government completely missing the boat on the interaction between economic and environmental interests. It is taking a very short-sighted perspective on costs that may be incurred by a project.
We must remember that the whole purpose for an environmental impact assessment is to identify in advance what the major impacts might be so they can be mitigated or avoided and the proponent will pay those costs. That is what the polluter pays principle is all about.
The government is simply telling people that a major project will be going on in their community but that it will not assess it and tough luck if down the line they incur major costs. It is telling people that they will be saddled with the costs because it will not make the proponent do that. In other words, it has completely undermined the whole essence of what environmental assessment is. It has signed on to agreements around the world that it will undertake to do effective environmental assessment, including under the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation.
I hope I have answered the member's question.