House of Commons Hansard #363 of the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was north.


The House resumed from October 29 consideration of the motion.

The EnvironmentPrivate Members' Business

11:05 a.m.


Rachel Blaney NDP North Island—Powell River, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to be speaking to Motion No. 151, which addresses an important issue for the people in my riding of North Island—Powell River, and that is plastics and the impact they have on the waters that sustain our communities across Canada and across the world.

I am also very pleased to be speaking to this motion because the member for Courtenay—Alberni also happens to be my neighbour. I am very proud of the work he has done in this place. I am very proud that he brought forward this very important initiative. It is basic to the people we serve in both our ridings.

Mr. Speaker, I hope you will indulge me. On December 1, it was my grandson's birthday. I would like to take this opportunity to wish him a very happy birthday. As all members in the House know, we do not get to be with our family members nearly as much as we would like, so I just want to make sure he knows that his grandmother is thinking of him at this important time for him.

When I think about plastics and the impact they are having on all the waterways across the world, I cannot help but think of all our grandchildren and the impacts plastics will have on them in the future if we do not address this in a meaningful way.

The statistics are distressing. This is something I hope everyone in the House is taking time to learn about and understand. Twenty million tonnes of debris enter the world's oceans every year. On average, in every square kilometre of ocean globally, there are 18,000 pieces of plastic. Eighty per cent of all plastics in the ocean come from land-based sources. Ninety per cent of the plastics found in the ocean are microplastics. Ninety-five per cent of single-use plastics are used only once and discarded. In fact, if we do not take some serious action by 2050, there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish if this trend continues. That is something I think every Canadian, and I hope every person on the planet, will seriously start to look at and address in a meaningful way.

We know that every year plastic litter kills more than one million seabirds and 100,000 marine mammals, and there are so many more realities that face communities across the world.

The people of North Island—Powell River are working as hard as they can every day to address these issues. I can tell stories about doing my own beach walks with my family, carting tires off the beach and finding very small bits of plastic and trying to find as much space in our pockets to carry all that debris off the beach. However, what is really amazing is the amount of work people in my riding are doing every single year to combat this. I will mention a few. I want to be respectful. I do not know what everyone is doing. I have a huge riding. However, I want to acknowledge those I do know.

We have dive clubs that do marine cleanups. They dive right into the water and clean out debris. They include Top Island Econauts and the Campbell River Tide Rippers. The OrcaLab and Parks Canada partner every year to do a cleanup around Robson Bight (Michael Bigg) Ecological Reserve, which is an orca rubbing beach. There are several of them.

Surfrider Vancouver Island does cleanups in remote locations in our region. The great Canadian shoreline cleanup is an event during which many community organizations and schools get out and clean beaches across the riding.

The Living Oceans society does many cleanups in its region. In 2017 I spent a week on a remote beach in my riding, Grant Bay, and added to the collection, the big pile on the beach, that Living Oceans Society cleans up every year. It is amazing to see huge pieces of styrofoam, tires and plastic. It is just heartbreaking to see this on the beach, but everyone who comes to those beaches collects it and piles it all up, and then it is removed.

The Sierra Club has hosted several beach cleanups I have had the privilege of participating in. The Tyee Club does a big cleanup in the Campbell River estuary. Project Watershed does estuary stewardship in the Comox Valley. The community cleanup in Port Hardy collects garbage from everywhere across the community.

I happened to attend the beach cleanup this past October by the Saratoga and Miracle Beach Residents' Association. I was very impressed by the young people, the students from Miracle Beach Elementary School, who showed up and helped clean up the beach.

I want to be clear. With a lot of these beach cleanups, not only are people out there cleaning up the beach and picking up every piece of plastic they can find but they are calculating it. I have been out there in the rain with a plastic bag over my piece of paper. We are picking up things, and then we are marking, “cigarette butts”, “small pieces of plastic”, “rope”, “tires”, “cups” and so forth, just so we have a better understanding of the beach and what is happening. It is disheartening sometimes to see how much people just toss out and how much work it takes for people to come behind and clean up.

I want to also acknowledge that many people clean up the beaches in their own personal time. I heard a story of one woman who, for the past 15 years, has been cleaning up the beach in her area almost every single day. This is important work. It is something the people of North Island—Powell River really believe in, because we live on the ocean. We live close to our waterways, our lakes, our streams and our rivers in our communities, and we know that they produce so much for us. They feed our communities. They also bring a lot of tourism revenue and important work into our area. We just want them to be healthy, because the healthiness of our waterways is the healthiness of our people.

When I look at the work I have done in those communities with those community organizations, I appreciate the work they continue to do. They take the time to go out. They calculate and give statistics back to us so that we know what is happening on our beaches and what is getting into our water.

If we look at the text of this motion, it is asking for meaningful action. So many people in my riding and across Canada are saying that they want to see meaningful action. They do not want to hear more sound bites. They want to see things moving forward.

This motion asks the government to “work with provinces, municipalities and indigenous communities to develop a national strategy to combat plastic pollution in and around aquatic environments”. It is about a collaborative approach and working with all levels of government so that we can provide the support that is needed and make sure that there are resources for these organizations that work so hard.

I remember one time being on Quadra Island doing a beach cleanup, and there was one of those huge boxes for garbage. It was almost completely full of styrofoam. It was debris from a lot of different industries and different things that are happening in the ocean. When they were in big chunks, that was fabulous. However, when we went through the actual sand on the beach, we were finding small pieces. These small, broken-down pieces getting into the water is something we should all be concerned about. We want to see a reduction.

This motion also asks for regulations with respect to a reduction in use to make sure that we are doing less harm. We want to make sure that there is a reduction in the consumer and industrial use of single-use plastics, including, but not limited to, things we see on the beach, including plastic bags, bottles, straws, tableware, foam, cigarette filters and beverage containers. I now carry around with me a stainless steel straw so I do not have to use any plastic straws when I go out. I try to be attentive and make sure that I do not use those things that are for a one-time use, because the potential impact on our environment is just too strong.

The last thing I feel people need to know about this motion is that it asks for community-led projects to clean up plastics and debris on shores, banks, beaches and other aquatic areas. It also asks for education and outreach campaigns on the root causes and negative environmental effects of plastic pollution in and around bodies of water.

In the communities I represent, the work is being done, but largely by volunteers. I think that is fantastic. I think it shows the commitment of the community. However, we need to educate people more. We need to let them know the potential harm when they toss away a cigarette butt or a plastic lid from a cup or when they do not take the time to put their litter and recycling where it should be.

I appreciate that the current government has moved forward with the ocean plastics charter with the G7. I think that was a great step forward. However, what I hear again and again in my riding is that people want to see action, not just words. This motion speaks to having a plan, to working collaboratively and to making sure that things happen. Therefore, I hope we take the next step. I hope everyone in this House supports this very meaningful motion and that we start to take action to make sure that our beaches and waterways are as clean as they possible can be in this changing world we live in.

The EnvironmentPrivate Members' Business

11:10 a.m.

Sean Casey Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, Lib.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for Courtenay—Alberni for his continued interest in combatting plastic pollution in our waterways and oceans.

Our government shares the hon. member's concerns about the negative impacts of plastic waste and marine litter on the environment, and the Liberals will be supporting the motion.

As we all know, plastics play an important role in society due to their low cost, unrivalled functionality and durability. However, the negative impacts of plastic waste and pollution in our environment are undeniable. Plastics do not belong in our waters or scattered around our land.

We subscribe to the view that plastics that leave the economy as waste represent a loss of resources and value. The Ellen MacArthur Foundation estimates that between $80 billion and $120 billion worth of plastic packaging alone is lost from the global economy every year.

Plastic production continues to grow, with about a 620% increase in growth since 1975, outpacing most manufactured materials. If current consumption, production and disposal rates continue, about 12 billion tonnes of plastic will be lost to landfills or the environment by 2050. In Canada, in 2014, approximately 90% of plastic waste was lost with only about 11% recycled. It is estimated that about 8,000 kilograms of our own plastic waste ends up as marine litter every year.

With a growing economy and population, nationally and globally, we need to think differently about how we design, produce, recover and use plastics. A high point of our G7 presidency was the release of the Ocean Plastics Charter in June 2018. The charter has since been endorsed by 11 governments and 19 businesses and organizations worldwide, all committing to move toward a more resource-efficient and sustainable approach to plastics that will reduce plastic waste and marine litter.

The charter includes ambitious targets and actions along the entire life cycle of plastics, from sustainable design, production and collection to management, as well as actions to advance education, research, innovation, new technologies and on-the-ground improvements.

Actions to meet the charter targets need to happen on two fronts: internationally and domestically. Internationally, we continue to advance policy discussions and research in international fora so that our efforts are amplified along with others. For instance, we joined the United Nations Clean Seas campaign and pledged, with numerous others, to take action on marine litter. We participate in the United Nations Global Partnership on Marine Litter. We also contributed to the recently adopted guidance on fishing gear from of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

Canada also recently joined the Global Ghost Gear Initiative to tackle lost fishing gear, and we are working on scientific methods to detect plastics in dredged materials from ocean disposal sites.

We need to innovate and embrace solutions across the entire plastics value chain and change our entire system to one with no waste. I am very pleased to note that Canada will be hosting the World Circular Economy Forum in 2020. This will offer a great opportunity to showcase Canadian progress on plastics while fostering dialogue on moving Canada and the world toward a circular economy for all materials, including plastics. To achieve this, we are working together with a broad range of stakeholders: industry, academia and civil society.

Through the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment, we are working with provinces and territories to implement the newly launched CCME strategy on zero plastic waste. The next step is to develop a Canada-wide action plan to eliminate plastic waste, reduce marine litter and use a circular economy lens to address plastics throughout the value chain. The action plan will provide a platform for collaboration among different levels of government, industry and other stakeholders.

Industry and Canadians have signalled they are ready to make the necessary changes. This means making plastic design and production more sustainable; improving collection, management systems and infrastructure; adopting a more sustainable lifestyle and creating awareness of environmentally sound alternatives and good practices; continuing to improve on our understanding of the issue and solutions through research and innovation; and finally, taking action to capture and remove the plastic litter that is already covering shorelines and our near-shore waters.

To propel the full range of Canadian industry to action, we recently launched the Canadian plastics innovation challenge. The challenge will accelerate innovation in our country by providing over $12 million to Canadian innovators, entrepreneurs and businesses to tackle plastic challenges in seven key areas: separation of mixed plastics; food packaging; plastic wastes from construction activities; removal and management of ghost fishing gear and marine debris; improved compost ability of bioplastics; recycling of glass fibre-reinforced plastic; and sustainable fishing and aquaculture gear.

The federal government is also leading by example. We have committed to divert at least 75% of the plastic waste from government operations by 2030. This will be accomplished through changing our own practices as well as in the procurement of more sustainable plastic products such as those that are reusable, recyclable, repairable or are made with recycled plastic content.

This adds to other federal efforts, including pollution prevention legislation, such as our phased ban on microbeads in toiletries that came into effect this year; investments in waste and waste-water infrastructure to prevent debris from entering the environment; and raising awareness through public engagement and education.

With respect to increasing awareness and community action among Canadians, in September we collaborated with five NGOs and launched an ocean plastics education kit for students and teachers to increase awareness of marine plastic litter and empower youth to develop solutions and take action.

On Earth Day, we launched the Canadian dialogue on plastic waste. We heard from more than 1,900 Canadians about their views on ways to reduce plastic waste and pollution. We posted a summary of what we heard on our website. Participants across the country recognized the need to take prompt action on this issue and that no one solution would do the trick.

We have supported community projects as well as national conservation initiatives. The Government of Canada is a partner with the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup that removes plastic litter and collects citizen science data.

We are working with the United States and Mexico, through the Commission of Environmental Cooperation, to implement a pilot project in the Salish Sea watershed in British Columbia. The project will engage local decision-makers and the community to identify local plastic waste and litter challenges and implement small scale solutions.

We also continue to advance science to support action on plastics. We also conduct and support research on the plastics economy in Canada and the impacts of plastic pollution in aquatic environments and fauna.

This month, we hosted two scientific workshops with international and national experts to help inform our plastics science agenda. We discussed the state of current science on the effects of plastics in the environment, identified knowledge gaps and prioritized areas where we could take concerted action to strengthen our science. Strong science is the foundation of effective decision-making.

We look forward to continuing action in these areas and working with partners in Canada and abroad to move to a circular plastics economy, one without plastic waste.

We recognize that achieving a zero plastic waste future that is protective of the environment is multi-faceted. There is no one solution.

To address the issue of plastic waste and its pollution, actions are required at each stage of the plastic life cycle. All levels of government, from municipalities to national governments, as well as industry, civil society and citizens have a role to play.

The Government of Canada will continue to support action by these players and through its own efforts in sound science, research and development, funding, regulation and other policy levers to keep plastic waste in the economy and out of the environment.

This is why today we will support the motion put forward by the member for Courtenay—Alberni.

The EnvironmentPrivate Members' Business

11:25 a.m.


Karine Trudel NDP Jonquière, QC

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to debate my colleague from Courtenay—Alberni's Motion No. 151, which proposes a national strategy to combat plastic pollution and was moved in response to the federal government's inaction when, in November 2016, a ship lost 35 containers in the Pacific Ocean that eventually washed up on the shores of British Columbia. That kind of ecological disaster should be a wake-up call for us all.

Around the world, oceans are drowning in plastic. Globally, a garbage truckload of plastic enters our oceans every minute. This year, 20 million tonnes of plastic waste will end up in our waterways. Ninety-five percent of the time, single-use plastics, such as straws, containers, utensils and grocery bags, are used just once and then tossed in the trash, where they take at least 200 years to decompose in the environment. These objects break down into tiny particles that marine animals, such as the fish we eat, end up consuming. Plastic pollution contaminates our coastlines, destroys our ecosystem and threatens the health of our fellow citizens.

The NDP is appalled at the federal government's failure to develop a plastic waste management strategy. Compared to many other countries, Canada looks pretty bad. Every year, our waterways spew tonnes of waste that is harmful to marine biodiversity, but the rest of the world understands the importance of addressing this crisis. Canada is lagging behind. Over 40 countries and states around the world, such as California, Australia, France, China, the United Kingdom, Kenya and Rwanda, have already adopted measures to ban or tax plastic packaging and other polluting plastics.

In Quebec, more than 500 artists, scientists, and community leaders have signed the Pact for the Transition, committing to do what they can as individuals to reduce their environmental footprint. They are calling on governments to match their efforts by also committing to act responsibly. One of the commitments is to reduce plastic consumption by choosing, among other things, products with the least packaging.

Some cities in Quebec, like Saguenay, in my riding of Jonquière, have already set up systems for recycling plastic bags. In the Saguenay region, many salvage and recycling depots have popped up to deal with plastic waste and other materials. The Saguenay sorting centre collects as much as four tonnes of plastic a week, diverting more than 500 tonnes of waste from the landfill. The City of Saguenay also does an agricultural plastics clean-up, which consists in gathering the plastic film used by the farmers who participate. More than a hundred farmers are registered for the agricultural plastics collection program run by the sorting centre.

These are the kinds of measures we need to support in order to start a movement that catches on at both the national and local levels. We currently recycle only 11% of our waste. Unless something changes, by 2050 the oceans could have more plastic than fish. We therefore need to do a lot more, and this motion lays out what to do.

Not only is this necessary, but it also presents an opportunity to innovate and create jobs as part of a green transition. Many volunteers across the country have decided to dedicate their time and effort to improving the environment. Last summer one of my constituents from Saguenay, Keaven Roberge, decided to clean up the banks of the Chicoutimi River, which is located in my riding, Jonquière. I am ashamed to have to tell him that his efforts will not be financially supported and that the federal government does not share his goals. Keaven takes a very realistic approach to this issue, which really sums up the situation. He says that the problem belongs to everyone and to no one at the same time. Everyone supports better waste management practices for the environment, but no one wants to take the lead.

Let me give another good example of environmental consciousness in Arvida in my riding. This week, Vanessa Gauthier is opening a new self-service shop called La Réserve, where customers can buy bulk products with zero waste, since they bring their own containers to fill. At the entrance, there will be a self-service scale where customers can weigh their containers so that they pay only for the product they buy.

La Réserve will be selling a variety of products in bulk, including dry and liquid food products and household and body care products. Ms. Gauthier plans to offer alternative solutions to disposables as well as cloth containers and bags for bulk items. There will also be a section with basic materials for making homemade cleaning products and cosmetics. The goal is to really minimize consumption as much as possible and to use as little plastic as possible.

The Liberal government's track record is troubling and shows that the government does not care enough about this major issue. Its $1.5-billion oceans protection plan does not include any funding to reduce plastic or debris in our oceans. In fact, the plan makes no mention of the word “plastic” at all. The current public policy for managing plastics is totally inadequate to deal with what our waterways are dumping into our oceans. Eight percent of the world's water flow passes through Canada, which means that any pollution we put into our rivers and waterways pollutes our oceans.

For a long time, waterways were seen as a practical way of getting rid of waste. Some waterways were used extensively and even excessively because of their ability to assimilate waste. The majority of industrial, municipal, farming and mining waste can be reduced at the source. Our country has the longest coastline in the world. It is our responsibility to take strict and effective measures to reduce plastic pollution in aquatic environments.

However, last June's ocean plastics charter did not include any binding measures. The Prime Minister may well brag about taking “an important step towards achieving a life cycle economy, in which all plastics would be recycled and repurposed”, but we need to engage and guide everyone. This has to be a general movement. Canadians are not so naive as to believe that a charter that is only three pages long will result in any action by polluting industries to help the environment. Motion No. 151 is exactly what the Prime Minister promised four years ago. This hypocrisy cannot continue. We desperately need political solutions and that is what Motion No. 151 proposes.

The first measure consists of regulations aimed at reducing consumer and industrial use of single use plastics, such as bags and plastic straws. Our plastics economy follows a linear model. We produce plastic, use it briefly and then throw it away. Approximately 95% of plastic objects are only used once and then are no longer of any use to the economy, taking several years, even centuries, to decompose in the environment. This pollution has already had catastrophic effects on our ecosystem. In fact, 85% of marine birds have already ingested plastic and this number will increase to 99% by 2050.

The Liberals are forcing taxpayers to pay for things that are harmful to the environment and health rather than funding less costly, alternative solutions.

People have been waiting too long for the proposed national strategy and partnerships with municipalities. No one here can deny that the situation is alarming. The IPCC forecasts released on October 8 are catastrophic. The Paris Agreement is also not enough. If we do not take any action, the impacts on health and food security, water supply and the economy will only increase.

Denying that this is urgent is denying our future generations a safe and prosperous future.

The EnvironmentPrivate Members' Business

11:35 a.m.


Francis Scarpaleggia Liberal Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am very happy to rise in the House to discuss the motion this morning. As my colleague said, the government will support the motion.

Indeed, in the 1950s and 1960s, there was a major chapter of the industrial revolution, one could say, around the petrochemicals industry, as we began developing plastics technology and flooding the market with products made of plastic. In fact, as I think has been mentioned, the production of plastic products has outpaced that of almost every other material since then.

To quote Erik Solheim, the former head of UN Environment, “Plastic is a miracle material. Thanks to plastics, countless lives have been saved in the health sector, the growth of clean energy from wind turbines and solar panels has been greatly facilitated, and safe food storage has been revolutionized.”

However, there is a disturbing flip side to this, which has also been mentioned by others in this debate. I will give a few examples of my own. Roughly nine million tonnes of plastic are entering the Great Lakes annually. Plastic packaging accounts for nearly half of all plastic waste globally, much of it thrown away within just a few minutes of first use. America, Japan and the EU are the world's largest producers of plastic packaging waste per capita. Only 9% of the nine billion tonnes of plastic the world has ever produced has been recycled. Finally, if current consumption patterns and waste management practices continue, by 2050 there will be around 12 billion tonnes of plastic litter in landfills and the environment.

Plastic pollution is an environmental price we are paying for the miracle of petrochemicals. It is a monumental challenge for us all. This is nothing new, though. When it comes to the environment, all the challenges are monumental.

Still, there is hope. To paraphrase Erik Solheim, former executive director of the United Nations Environment Programme, the good news is that a growing number of governments are taking action on plastics pollution and demonstrating that all countries, whether rich or poor, can do their part and become environmental leaders.

Take Rwanda, for example. Rwanda is obviously not a rich country, but it took the whole world by surprise in 2006 when it banned plastic bags.

All countries can take meaningful steps to help the environment.

Motion No. 151 brings attention to Canada's own commitment to, and progress in, addressing the scourge of plastics pollution. The motion calls on the government to combat plastic pollution in and around aquatic environments, specifically through regulations to reduce the industrial use of microplastics and consumer and industrial use of single-use plastics, including presumably though CEPA's priority substances list. Secondly, the motion calls for annual funding for community-led projects and education and outreach campaigns. Some of these community initiatives have been mentioned during this debate.

My rising today to speak to this motion is in large part because of my ongoing interest in water policy, an interest that goes back to when I was first elected. I believe that water is our overarching, overriding environmental priority. What I mean is that water encompasses two of the world's biggest headline environmental issues, namely climate change, which brings more frequent and intense flooding and drought; and secondly, chemical pollution, which impacts human as well as environmental health, and spreads with water flow. Taken together, these two issues relate to water quantity and quality, respectively.

When I think of water, two wise quotes come to mind. The first is “Water is the first principle of everything.” This is attributed to Thales of Miletus. The second is from Rachel Carson, who said, “In an age when man has forgotten his origins and is blind to his most essential needs for survival, water along with other resources has become the victim of his indifference.”

Water policy is multi-faceted, and Motion No. 151 addresses one of the many important aspects of water policy. It is complex not only because it is multi-faceted, but also because it is multi-jurisdictional. The question of controlling plastic pollution points to this jurisdictional complexity, as so many levels of government must be involved, including at the international level, if we are to make meaningful progress on this issue.

Our government has already taken important steps to address the scourge of plastic pollution in water. At the most recent G7 meeting in Charlevoix, Canada was the force behind the ocean plastics charter. The charter commits Canada, France, Germany, Italy, the U.K. and the EU to broadly take a life-cycle management approach to plastics, including working toward increased recycling and related public education efforts, as well as investing in research to find alternatives to currently used plastics, like organic water bottles, that do not harm the environment. I recently saw an example of a water bottle that completely biodegrades, and maybe that is the future when it comes to bottled water. The charter commits the signatories to investing in research and developing, for example, technologies to remove plastics and microplastics from waste water and sewage sludge.

Clearly, plastic pollution is not only about oceans. It is also about fresh water as fresh water carries pollution, including plastics, into the oceans. This realization has led to initiatives like NextWave, a non-governmental coalition founded by companies, including Dell, and an environmental group called Lonely Whale, which employs people living in coastal regions to collect discarded plastic within 30 miles of waterways to prevent it from making its way to the sea. So far, NextWave has focused on two types of plastic commonly found in marine environments, nylon 6 and polypropylene.

Recently, HP announced it would be joining the NextWave coalition. In fact, since 2016, HP has been working with locals in Haiti to collect a total 550,000 pounds of plastic, which the the company has since used to create ink cartridges.

Among other things, the ocean plastics charter calls for direct government action to reduce the use of microplastics. I think the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard has mentioned that our government has banned the manufacture, import and sale of most toiletries that contain microbeads. This ban took effect July 1, and all are banned, with the exception of those contained in natural health products and over-the-counter drugs. However, as of July 1, 2019, the ban will include natural health products and non-prescription drugs.

However, in our multi-jurisdictional nation, progress on many public policy issues requires collaboration among the federal, provincial and territorial governments. That is why two Fridays ago, Canada's federal, provincial and territorial environment ministers agreed to work collectively toward a common goal of zero plastic waste through a Canada-wide strategy on zero plastic waste that aligns with the ocean plastics charter. As stated in the joint communiqué of the ministers, “Protecting our terrestrial and aquatic environment from plastic pollution is imperative for the health of freshwater ecosystems, and is also important as the water and litter flow directly into oceans."

Finally, let us not forget the need for action at the grassroots level. Other speakers in this debate have mentioned the many initiatives involving citizens who voluntarily group together to clean up the shoreline. At this point, I would like to give a shout-out to members of the Lac-Saint-Louis youth council, and other young people, who came out with me this past September 8 to look for plastic debris along the shores of the St. Lawrence River in the southwest corner of my riding. I am speaking specifically of Harrison Kirshner, Malik Dahel, Melissa Potten and Philippe Guay.

Fortunately, our municipal governments are doing a good job of keeping the shoreline clean, but, nonetheless, we did find some items of plastic, such as plastic bags, plastic bottles, polystyrene and cigarette filters. If everyone works together, governments, NGOs, industry, and if citizens engage, I believe we will make some important progress tackling this terrible scourge.

The EnvironmentPrivate Members' Business

11:45 a.m.


Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise today to speak to Motion No. 151, put forward by my friend from Courtenay—Alberni. I must say it is good to see an environmental measure that brings together members of the House from all parties. This is something that we can all agree is a problem; there is no debate about that. We also appreciate that the motion brought forward by my colleague proposes that we work through this issue in a constructive way. There are many things I like about the motion: It is nice to see an environmental measure that is not being used to propose a new tax, but instead tackles the problem head on. I appreciate this measure and I will be proud to join the rest of my Conservative colleagues in supporting Motion No. 151. In the context of that debate, I want to make a few observations. It may be one of the only times we agree in this Parliament, but we will see.

The first observation I will make is that Canadians should be aware of some of the health effects we see associated with certain components of plastics. I was very proud that it was our previous Conservative government that took the step of banning BPA in baby bottles. We were one of the first countries to do so in recognition of some of the emerging scientific research suggesting there were problems associated with BPA exposure. We recognized that people can be exposed to it, perhaps through certain household products and through plastic pollution in the environment.

On BPA specifically, I was reading a study that came out in 2014. It was a literature review of 91 studies that found BPA to be associated with negative human health outcomes, particularly behavioural issues in children, and also problems in adult reproductive function. I will quote from another study: “BPA alters male reproductive function in humans. These investigations revealed that men occupationally exposed to BPA had high blood/urinary BPA levels, and abnormal semen parameters. BPA-exposed men also showed reduced libido”.

Some of these health problems we see associated with BPA were stated in another study: “High levels of BPA have recently been correlated with obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, polycystic ovarian disease or low sperm count.” This paper also mentions the ability of BPA to make certain cancer cell lines grow. Various studies in prominent medical journals are emerging that suggest there are adverse health outcomes associated with BPA exposure. That is why I was proud of the world-leading steps taken by the previous government around BPA exposure.

This is something that requires our ongoing engagement with how certain components in plastic products need to be studied further because there may be health impacts associated with them that we need to be aware of and seek to minimize. That is one of the issues that is provoked by discussion of this motion, which again is something that I commend to the consideration of a committee of the House as we go forward.

Whenever we debate these kinds of measures in the House, it is important to observe that so much of the most effective response we see to environmental challenges comes not from the level of state action, but from individual action. There is a role for the government, absolutely, but it is a matter of the choices that individuals make when they choose to be as responsible as they can be with the products they consume, with the ways they reuse certain things, with seeking materials they can use multiple times, and trying to make sure that things are disposed of responsibly. That dimension of individual responsibility comes to mind when we think about limiting ocean plastics, and the roles that we can all play are certainly important and top of mind. As we talk about the response from government, let us not forget the response that comes from individuals as well.

Another point I want to make about how we respond to plastic pollution and ocean plastics is that it is worthwhile for us, as we proceed down this road of studying this issue, to reflect on the magnitude of the challenge we face from ocean plastic pollution, reflect on the different sources of that pollution and try to work collaboratively with other countries to target the main sources of that plastic pollution.

I read an interesting article by a think tank called the Frontier Centre for Public Policy. It examines the proportions of plastic pollution that we see in the ocean. Yes, all of us should seek to do better in terms of what we dispose of and the way we dispose of it. There are some striking numbers with regard to the floating patch in the Pacific Ocean that is full of plastic garbage. The article says:

According to a recent study of its contents in the open-source academic journal Scientific Reports...46 per cent of it was discarded fishing nets. A further substantial portion is related fishing industry items such as floats, ropes, baskets, traps and crates. And another 20 per cent is junk washed away from Japan’s shores during the 2011 tsunami....

The vast bulk of floating plastic waste in the Pacific is the product of commercial fishing – primarily the Asian fishing industry. Another huge chunk arises from the aftermath of a massive natural disaster.

We look at what steps we can take, but we also look at those substantial contributors to the challenge. Maybe my colleague from Courtenay—Alberni will have thoughts on how we can provide support and engagement around improving some of those fishing practices in other countries that may be substantially contributing to the challenges that we face from plastic pollution. We should not be narrowly focusing on one piece of this.

One of the things I appreciate about the motion is it does speak to engaging this problem in a holistic way, not just looking at perhaps one specific and potentially small contributor to the problem, but instead thinking about the various components that contribute to plastic pollution. It would seem logical to me that we start from two places. We start with thinking about what we can do. We also look at the biggest contributors to that challenge and whether we can attack those biggest contributors and then work our way back from that. Some of that may involve us looking for opportunities to build partnerships with other countries where we see some of that particular risk exposure.

Again to recap, we are dealing with Motion No. 151 from my colleague from Courtenay—Alberni that asks us to engage in a more pointed and serious way with the issue of plastic pollution. We know this is a big problem, a growing problem, that 20 million tonnes of debris enter the world's oceans every year and on average there are 18,000 pieces of plastic floating in every square kilometre of ocean globally. Some 80% of all plastic in the ocean comes from land-based sources. We know that when plastic is in the ocean, it breaks down, and it can affect marine life and it can also affect human health.

I have read some studies from various medical journals looking at some of the impacts associated with plastic exposure. I have spoken about how the previous government was engaged with this issue. It took steps to ban BPA in baby bottles. Perhaps this is an area where we can do more to study the impact of certain components in plastic that may be having a health impact and look to change the sources of those materials that are used and consider the impact on human health from doing so. When we have these different items in the ocean breaking down, it causes significant problems for marine life as well as potentially for human health.

I have one other factoid I will put out for my colleagues from British Columbia. A study found that returning adult B.C. salmon can ingest up to 90 pieces of plastic each day, so this has a big impact throughout the food chain.

I appreciate that the House is coming together on this motion and I hope that it will lead to further action from the government to respond to these challenges we face together.

The EnvironmentPrivate Members' Business

11:55 a.m.


The Deputy Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

Resuming debate.

Accordingly, I invite the hon. member for Courtenay—Alberni for his right of reply. The hon. member has up to five minutes.

The hon. member for Courtenay—Alberni.

The EnvironmentPrivate Members' Business

11:55 a.m.


Gord Johns NDP Courtenay—Alberni, BC

Mr. Speaker, we have heard, time and time again, that a garbage truck of plastic is entering our oceans and our waterways every minute, globally. In fact, here in Canada, we produce more garbage per person than any other country in the developed world.

Today, a CBC article on my motion said:

Scientists with the Vancouver Aquarium say the average Canadian uses up to four times their body weight in throw away plastics every year. Enough of it is ending up in oceans, lakes and rivers that plastic is being found in shellfish and even drinking water.

Every year, 10,000 metric tons of plastic end up in the Great Lakes alone. Single-use plastics affect us all, and we now have an opportunity to act. These are alarming statistics, and I know that members on all sides of the aisle are hearing from their constituents that we need to act.

On the weekend the member from Victoria introduced me to 16-year-old Anastasia Castro of Saanich, an amazing young environmental activist, who along with friends has launched "Kids for a plastic free Canada.” She is part of the new generation of environmental stewards who are taking on the serious issue of marine debris and plastics entering our aquifers and our oceans.

Due to the hard work of incredibly dedicated Canadians like Anastasia, the crisis of marine plastic pollution has reached the national stage. Unfortunately, action on the issue has been slow-moving.

This is only the second piece of legislation around plastic, the first being from the member for Windsor West and Megan Leslie, the former member for Halifax, who introduced their motion on banning microbeads in 2015.

When I first rose in this House, following the Hanjin container spill off the coast of my riding on Vancouver Island, we only heard platitudes from the government in response to calls for action to support the hundreds of volunteers who had taken to the beaches to recover tonnes of styrofoam and marine debris. I congratulate the government for its statements of good intentions, and for its pledges and promises along with those of other G7 nations. I want to recognize the limited actions that have been taken in recent months by the government.

Having said that, we need to go further and faster. When we tried to find support for communities struggling to respond to the crisis on our coastline, senior officials told us that there is a legislative and regulatory void and they were sorry, but no help was forthcoming.

This motion seeks to fill that void through the seven steps set out by the University of Victoria's Environmental Law Centre. The proposed regulatory action is aimed at reducing plastic debris discharge from stormwater outfalls, industrial use of microplastics, and consumer and industrial use of single-use plastics. The programmatic proposals include the provision of permanent, dedicated and annual funding for the cleanup of derelict fishing gear; community-led projects to clean up plastics and debris on shores, banks, beaches and other aquatic peripheries; and education and outreach campaigns on the root causes and negative environmental effects of plastic pollution in and around all bodies of water.

This motion is the product of hard work by dozens of environmental organizations, educational institutions, churches, businesses and corporations. In particular, I want to thank Surfrider Pacific Rim and Clayoquot Clean Up, Communities Protecting our Coast, the Association of Denman Island Marine Stewards, Ocean Legacy, the T. Buck Suzuki Foundation, Vancouver lsland coastal communities, the Union of British Columbia coastal municipalities, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, and community champions who monitor and clean our beaches and coastlines without any support from our federal government. I want to thank Margaret Atwood, who supported my motion.

I want to thank the tens of thousands of everyday Canadians who have signed petitions, knocked on doors and, in other various forms, have supported this motion. I want to thank all members of this House from all political parties who have chosen to stand in support of our precious marine environment, committing to supporting this motion, and especially the government today for finally coming forward to support this motion.

I have talked to people from across this country, and because of this campaign, we have given people hope, people who were feeling hopeless. By demonstrating our commitment to cleaning our oceans and waterways by voting for this motion, we as parliamentarians are bolstering this renewed optimism.

I am reminded of Tommy Douglas. I am also reminded of Jack Layton, who famously said, “Don't let them tell you it can't be done.” Coastal people and Canadians have been listening to these words, and we have the opportunity, the love, hope and courage that Jack Layton spoke of and embodied, to tackle this issue, and leave a better Canada for future generations.

The EnvironmentPrivate Members' Business



The Deputy Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

The question is on the motion.

Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

The EnvironmentPrivate Members' Business


Some hon. members



The EnvironmentPrivate Members' Business



The Deputy Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.

The EnvironmentPrivate Members' Business


Some hon. members


The EnvironmentPrivate Members' Business



The Deputy Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

All those opposed will please say nay.

The EnvironmentPrivate Members' Business


Some hon. members


The EnvironmentPrivate Members' Business



The Deputy Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

In my opinion the yeas have it.

And five or more members having risen:

Pursuant to order made Thursday, November 29, the recorded division stands deferred until Wednesday, December 5, immediately after proceedings on the supply bill.

Mackenzie Valley Resource Management ActGovernment Orders



Mackenzie Valley Resource Management ActGovernment Orders


Yvonne Jones Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Intergovernmental and Northern Affairs and Internal Trade, Lib.

Mr. Speaker, I rise today mindful that we are on the traditional unceded territory of the Algonquin people.

I am honoured to begin the debate at second reading of Bill C-88, an act to amend the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act and the Canada Petroleum Resources Act and to make consequential amendments to other acts. This bill clarifies the legislative and regulatory framework for the development of key regions of Canada's north, the Mackenzie Valley and the offshore areas of the Arctic Ocean and the Beaufort Sea. These regions have vast economic potential but they are also environmentally sensitive. Moreover, these regions have sustained indigenous people and communities who have lived in the north since time immemorial. Those communities, their organizations and governments have a right to a say in how the region is developed.

The bill before us addresses two different acts of Parliament that affect resource development in the north: the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act and the Canada Petroleum Resources Act.

Let me begin with the amendments to the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act. I remind the House that in March 2014, the Northwest Territories Devolution Act transferred control of public lands and waters in the Northwest Territories to the territorial government. It is that government that now makes decisions on resource development. It receives 50% of resource revenue within the specific annual limit.

We know the abysmal track record of the Conservatives when it came to respecting and honouring indigenous rights and supporting the people of the north. That act was the perfect example. In 2014, through Bill C-15, the Northwest Territories Devolution Act, the Harper government completely changed the land and water board structure without adequate consultation and in complete ignorance of indigenous rights. Those changes became very controversial within the region as the current member for Northwest Territories knows well. Through many conversations, consultations and meetings, there were many good points brought forward by people in that area.

The Harper government removed three regulatory authorities: the Gwich’in Land and Water Board, the Sahtu Land and Water Board and the Wek'èezhìi Land and Water Board. The Mackenzie Valley Land and Water Board was to remain as a single consolidated land and water board for the Mackenzie Valley. That was what the Conservative government wanted but it is not what the indigenous governments wanted. The indigenous governments and organizations correctly argued that their authorities in land and water management are guaranteed by their land claims and by their self-government agreements and they should be honoured. The Conservative government could not unilaterally abolish their land and water boards. This was just another sad example of the Harper government's tendency to trample on the rights of indigenous people.

In February 2015, the Northwest Territories Supreme Court issued an injunction that halted the provisions that included the restructuring of the land and water boards. The injunction preserved the existing regulatory processes until the court could provide further instruction. At the same time, other measures included in section 253(2) were affected, including a regulation-making authority for cost recovery and consultation, administrative monetary penalties, development certificates, regional studies and the terms of board members. The Conservatives appealed the injunction in March 2015. We heard from stakeholders that that situation not only created mistrust on the part of indigenous governments and organizations toward the Canadian government, but it also created uncertainty that discouraged the responsible development of the region's resources.

In the fall of 2015, in order to better put us on a path to reconciliation and economic development, the then minister of indigenous and northern affairs met with indigenous governments and organizations in the Northwest Territories to find a way forward. The minister announced that she had directed the department to pause its appeal and start the exploratory discussions.

Rather than taking this fight and continuing it in the courts, our goal has been to work with indigenous governments and organizations to identify potential solutions. In the summer of 2016, the minister met with indigenous governments and organizations, and in September 2016, she wrote to the relevant parties to officially begin a formal consultation process. The consultations have been thorough and effective. They have included indigenous governments, organizations, the Government of the Northwest Territories and industry. This is the way to move forward on matters affecting resource development in Canada's north.

The Conservatives' attempt to unilaterally change the regulatory regime set the relationship with the Northwest Territories and indigenous people back by many years. However, with this bill, we are getting back on track and we are working with them to move forward.

The bill removes the board amalgamation provisions and confirms the continuation of the Sahtu, Gwich'in and Wek'èezhìi land and water boards with the jurisdiction to regulate land and water use in their management regions. These regional boards will also continue to be panels of the Mackenzie Valley Land and Water Board. The Mackenzie Valley Land and Water Board will continue to have jurisdiction for the regulation of land and water, including the insurance of land use permits and water licences in the area of the Mackenzie Valley where land claims have not been settled and for transboundary projects.

In effect, this bill repeals the provisions of the Conservatives that challenged the rights of indigenous governing bodies under their comprehensive land claim agreements. Other provisions of the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act that were included in the Northwest Territories Devolution Act but were halted by the court injunction will also be reintroduced in this bill.

Specifically, the bill provides for the Governor in Council to make regulations pertaining to cost recovery to indigenous consultation. Development certificates will set out the conditions under which a project can proceed. Administrative monetary penalties can now be established through regulations for violations relating to these certificates. Provisions will allow the establishment of committees for the conduct of regional studies. The bill also provides for the extension of the terms of board members to allow them to complete a proceeding that is under way. This will ensure there is continuity in the process and in the decision-making.

We are setting out a positive way forward for the development of the Mackenzie Valley. It is a way forward that acknowledges the rights of indigenous governments and organizations and will provide certainty to industry. When we listen to northerners when developing policies that affect them, great things are possible and it leads the way to better prosperity for all people in the north.

The second part of this bill involves the Canada Petroleum Resources Act which governs the drilling of oil and gas that takes place offshore in the Arctic. Those offshore drilling operations face a number of technical and logical challenges, including a short operating season and sea ice. We do not yet have the technology to resolve these challenges, but I have confidence that there will be technological solutions that will enable offshore drilling to be undertaken safely in the future.

To get to these solutions, we must be guided by the knowledge of the nature of the challenges. That knowledge will be shaped by science, including both marine science and climate science. We need evidence for effective decision-making that will help us reach the goal of responsible resource development. This science is still in its early stages. The technology will eventually follow. In the meantime, we must take steps to protect a sensitive and vulnerable environment in the Beaufort Sea and the Arctic Ocean.

In December 2016, the Prime Minister announced a moratorium on new offshore drilling in our Arctic waters. The moratorium will be tested every five years through a science-based review. This review, undertaken in collaboration with our northern partners, will provide evidence that will guide future oil and gas activity.

The bill before us would complement the 2016 moratorium and protect the interests of licence holders by freezing the terms of their licences for the duration of the prohibition on oil and gas activity. The licences will not expire during the moratorium. This will allow us to preserve the existing rights until the five-year science-based review is completed. At that point, we will have a better understanding of strategic plans and potential decisions in collaboration with our northern partners, indigenous governments and the governments of the north.

I am pleased to inform the House that the companies that currently hold the existing oil and gas rights and our northern partners have been supportive of responsible development of the Arctic offshore and the strategic path forward. They understand the importance of protecting the unique Arctic environment while pursuing safe, responsible oil and gas activities, activities that create jobs and economic growth in northern indigenous communities. They appreciate the importance of the science-based review in establishing future decisions on Arctic offshore development.

These amendments are fair to existing rights holders and allow us to go forward with a serious review of the science in order to better understand the potential impacts and benefits of oil and gas extraction in the Beaufort Sea. This is sound, sustainable management and is consistent with what our government is already doing regarding science in the north.

The bill before us ensures that indigenous governments and organizations will have a strong voice in the development of resources in their territories. Our goal is to put in place a robust regime that will protect Canada's rich natural environment. It will support a resilient resource sector and at the same time respect the rights and interests of indigenous people.

This bill is part of an ongoing journey toward meaningful reconciliation with indigenous peoples and the protection of our lands and waters. In this way, we are able to foster economic opportunities and growth and protect the environment for future generations.

I urge all hon. members to join me in supporting this bill and supporting the wishes, hopes and aspirations of those who live in Canada's north.

Mackenzie Valley Resource Management ActGovernment Orders

12:15 p.m.


Cathy McLeod Conservative Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo, BC

Mr. Speaker, I listened to my colleague's speech with great interest.

I am going to focus on part 1 of the bill, which is with respect to the land and water boards. The devolution agreement allowed for them to be collapsed into one. The land agreements with the different communities actually allowed for this to happen. It was not contradicted within it. She might know that this came out of the McCrank report, who looked at what was happening and said that the regulatory process in the Northwest Territories was complex, costly, unpredictable and time-consuming and that certainly, this would allow for a more efficient use of expenditures and to allow administrative practices to be more understandable and consistent.

It sounds like she supports going back to the old system and it sounds like it has support from the communities up there. However, I think it is important for her to recognize what the implications are going to be. I think the McCrank report stated it very clearly.

Mackenzie Valley Resource Management ActGovernment Orders

12:15 p.m.

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Intergovernmental and Northern Affairs and Internal Trade, Lib.

Yvonne Jones

Mr. Speaker, when I came to politics in 2013, what I remember very clearly were the early meetings I had with groups in the Northwest Territories with regard to the bill and the changes the Conservative government was pushing forward.

At that time, aboriginal governments and many others across the Northwest Territories were pushing back, but the Harper government was not listening. That government was unilaterally making changes with regard to how resource development would occur in the Northwest Territories without accepting the wishes, the understanding or even having further discussions with aboriginal governments at that time. That was the reason they sought the court injunction.

In making these changes, we have been able to build a relationship and a partnership with aboriginal governments to do what they feel is necessary and what is supported by the industry and by the Government of the Northwest Territories.

Mackenzie Valley Resource Management ActGovernment Orders

12:20 p.m.


Richard Cannings NDP South Okanagan—West Kootenay, BC

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the parliamentary secretary's comments about the need for consultation and the need for input from first nations and other regional groups in making decisions around natural resource industries in the north.

Part of this bill is a reaction to a moratorium that was placed on resource extraction offshore in the Arctic and was made without any consultation at all.

Could the member tell us why the Prime Minister would think this was a good idea when that relationship. which is so important to him. called for consultation? I have heard from leaders across the north and I have talked to the Inuvialuit leader. One of the leaders said that they were hopping mad when this moratorium was put in place.

Mackenzie Valley Resource Management ActGovernment Orders

12:20 p.m.

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Intergovernmental and Northern Affairs and Internal Trade, Lib.

Yvonne Jones

Mr. Speaker, it is fair to say that when it comes to the development of oil and gas in the Beaufort Sea and the Arctic, a lot of work has to be done on the technical side and with the logistical challenges that exist in that area, including the short operating season and ice conditions. Recently, when I was in the Inuvialuit region, I had the opportunity to have this discussion with people there as well as many others across the north.

One thing that northerners can agree on is that we need to have the technology in place to resolve the challenges when it comes to enabling offshore drilling and we need to ensure we can do that safely in the future. The goal of everyone in the north is to ensure we get this right and we do it properly.

That is why there is a process in place between the federal government and territorial governments so we look at this carefully and move forward together.

Mackenzie Valley Resource Management ActGovernment Orders

12:20 p.m.


Leona Alleslev Conservative Aurora—Oak Ridges—Richmond Hill, ON

Mr. Speaker, this past weekend, the Liberal government imposed sanctions on Saudi Arabia in response to the Jamal Khashoggi affair.

Canada gets over $20 billion in oil from Saudi Arabia, yet the government has put a moratorium on northern Canadian oil.

Could my hon. colleague provide some insight into what would happen if Saudi Arabia were to cut off the $20 billion-worth of oil it gives to Canada when Canada is not in a position, as a result of this moratorium, to be energy secure?

Mackenzie Valley Resource Management ActGovernment Orders

12:20 p.m.

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Intergovernmental and Northern Affairs and Internal Trade, Lib.

Yvonne Jones

Mr. Speaker, this government is committed to offshore oil and gas development. It is committed to ensuring there is a pipeline that would allow the export of oil and gas around the world and build that industry within Canada.

However, we will also ensure that whatever we do, whatever investments we make, whatever developments occur within the oil and gas industry are done in the best interests of not only the people in our country, but also done in the best interests of our environment. We will take the time to ensure that offshore drilling in the Arctic and Beaufort Sea is done safely and properly in the future. That is the responsible thing to do and it is supported by many in the country.

When it comes to further oil and gas development, we are the one government that has stood up in the country to ensure we get a pipeline built so we can get oil and gas to market and continue to build on that industry for Canadians.

Mackenzie Valley Resource Management ActGovernment Orders

12:25 p.m.


Michael McLeod Liberal Northwest Territories, NT

Mr. Speaker, I remember when the decision was made many years ago. The leaders from the Northwest Territories were outraged. The Tlicho chiefs were very upset. The grand chief of the day, Eddie Erasmus, said, “We are Canada’s treaty partner. We thought the days of the government in Ottawa thinking it ‘knows best’ about our lands, resources and future were over when we signed the Tlicho Agreement. We won’t go back to the day....”

Many leaders felt betrayed when the agreement was breached by this decision. They felt their constitutional rights were breached. The agreement was supposed to be protected by the Constitution.

Could the member explain how something like this could happen when the an agreement is supposed to be protected by the Constitution?

Mackenzie Valley Resource Management ActGovernment Orders

12:25 p.m.

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Intergovernmental and Northern Affairs and Internal Trade, Lib.

Yvonne Jones

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member for Northwest Territories. Every opportunity he has, in the House and outside, he stands to speak for the people of the north and the people of the Northwest Territories.

I know he has lived with the unrest around the decision made by the Harper government in 2013-14. Not only was it a unilateral decision that was imposed on the people of the Northwest Territories and aboriginal governments, it was a change of legislation that really gave no respect to the land claims that had been settled with indigenous people in that area.

We are a government that is looking at reconciliation with indigenous people all across Canada. That means working together. That means overcoming the challenges that were there in the past and moving forward with a new direction. I am happy to say that we respect indigenous governments. We respect the land claim agreements and we will work with them for the best interests of the people in their jurisdictions.