Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have the opportunity to respond to the question from the member for Beauport—Limoilou regarding the expansion of the Port of Quebec.
Our government is committed to a robust environmental assessment process. That is why we increased funding opportunities for aboriginal consultations and public participation over the course of the environmental assessment and why we renewed funding for the next five years for these consultations.
The Canadian Environment Assessment Act, 2012 requires federal authorities, such as the Quebec Port Authority, when contemplating a project on federal lands, to first determine whether the project is likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects. If so, the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 prescribes the steps the federal authority must follow before the project can be carried out. If the federal authority determines that no significant adverse environmental effects are likely, the Canadian Environment Assessment Act, 2012 provides that the federal authority can proceed to carry out the project.
Ports, airports, crown corporations, federal departments, and agencies responsible for managing federal lands are best placed to understand these unique environments and to make responsible decisions about projects on their lands. I want to emphasize that this is a legal requirement, and port authorities responsible for federal lands cannot ignore these obligations.
The Quebec Port Authority must look at all environment effects on federal lands that may result from the project. The Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 is very clear on this requirement. Because of similar requirements that date back to 1999, port authorities have extensive experience in assessing projects on their lands. The Quebec Port Authority will bring this expertise to bear on the expansion project.
Port authorities also work co-operatively with other federal experts, such as Environment Canada, and other authorities who may also have a decision to make on a project.
The hon. member has asked for reassurance that the port authority will be transparent. I can assure him that the Port of Quebec is required to report annually to Parliament regarding its activities on federal lands that are subject to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012.
Legislation is in place to hold federal land managers accountable. We are confident that these authorities will continue to make decisions that ensure that the projects on their lands are carried out in a careful and precautionary manner so as to avoid significant adverse environment effects.
In this spirit, the Quebec Port Authority announced a new environmental impact assessment process for all projects carried out on port territory at the beginning of this very year. This is to adhere to best environmental practices and is an integral component of their sustainable development action plan for 2014-15.
In conclusion, I want to assure the House that there are no deficiencies when it comes to the environmental monitoring of projects on federal land.