Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House to once again defend the interests of my constituents in Drummond, and across Canada, regarding the environment. It is a topic that is very important to me and to them as well.
I am rising to speak to Bill S-6, An Act to amend the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Act and the Nunavut Waters and Nunavut Surface Rights Tribunal Act.
To begin, I would like to say that we will be opposing this bill at every stage, as my NDP colleagues have articulated so well already. This bill is poorly put together, it is biased in terms of consultations and it does not meet the needs of Yukoners. However, it is a very important piece of legislation, and I think Yukoners will keep that in mind during the next election.
Looking carefully at the bill, it is clear that it will dismantle the entire environmental assessment process. I will explain that a bit later. However, it is very concerning, once again. The Conservatives have a bad reputation when it comes to the environment, and unfortunately this is no different. They are systematically dismantling our environmental protections.
As I was saying, the Yukon first nations were not adequately consulted, as my colleague from Gaspésie—Les Îles-de-la-Madeleine clearly explained. There are major gaps in this regard. The people of the Yukon are upset about this bill.
This bill is very troubling because it will allow the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development to give binding policy direction to the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Board.
In other words, we are handing the minister every opportunity to set policy direction for the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Board. We know about all the mishaps that have occurred over the past few years when it comes to environmental assessments and diminished environmental protections. That is not all.
As if that were not enough, this bill will also establish mandatory maximum timelines for the assessments and allow the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development to download his responsibility. What is more, it will be possible to create broad exemptions in terms of enforcement of the law and project renewals. We can just imagine all the flaws in this bill.
Since we are talking about the environment, this week marks the beginning of the UN climate change conference in Lima, Peru. This has come up a lot in the House of Commons, including during question period, because we want to show that the Conservative government is weakening environmental protections. It is definitely not doing its job in this area.
Furthermore, ever since this government came to power, opposition members have no longer been included in Canadian delegations. The Conservatives seem to believe that there is only one vision of Canada—theirs.
Of course, that vision does not represent all Canadians; quite the contrary. As everyone knows, only 40% of Canadians voted for this government. However, because of the imbalance in our democratic system, that equals 55% of members, but we plan to correct that in the next election.
It is also important to understand that we asked the Minister of the Environment to hold some information sessions so that people could better understand this government's position since it withdrew from the Kyoto protocol, but to no avail.
There was an announcement of $300 million—