Mr. Speaker, I first want to address the comment made to the member for Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke. It is not fearmongering and it is not hysteria; it is the fact that the constituents of her riding believe in her, because they know she is going to fight for what they believe in. The fact that she comes to this chamber with such passion is something we can all learn from, because she listens to her constituents and brings their voices to the chamber.
There was a comment made regarding the member for Edmonton Strathcona having a voice at the table. I adore the member for Edmonton Strathcona. Although we are from different parties, she brings so much to the House because of her background. When I sat down with her and we talked, she let me know she felt almost demoralized. That is not her word, but she felt she could not bring anything to the committee because Liberals were not listening. She had so much to bring to that committee, and those voices were not heard. People can say, “We let you sit at the table; we just told you to shut up”, and that is basically what happened here. That is very concerning.
UNDRIP is another thing, and I will allow the NDP members to talk about UNDRIP in this bill. The government says it will vote for something one week, and then the next week it does a total 180°.
I will now speak on Bill C-69, an act to enact the Impact Assessment Act and the Canadian Energy Regulator Act, to amend the Navigation Protection Act, and to make consequential amendments to other acts. I must agree that with that title, we can recognize how large this act is and how many different committees should have been looking at this bill, but instead Liberals sent it to the environment committee, where it got shut down in debate.
There are many concerns being highlighted by the Conservative caucus, informing Canadians about concerns for Canada's economy and the decreased competitiveness in Canada on a number of issues, including reduced taxes on corporations in the U.S. and the $25-a-barrel discount on our oil.
I want to discuss this issue to highlight how it impacts our constituents. I am from the riding of Elgin—Middlesex—London. I am not from a riding that is oceanside and there are not a lot of pipes going through my community, but this bill will impact my community of Elgin—Middlesex—London, so I want to discuss two key items.
In late spring, a bridge collapsed in the village of Port Bruce. This bridge connected the village of Port Bruce to the rest of Aylmer on Highway 73. The first issue was how to rebuild the bridge. We had to look at so many different things, including where we were going to get the money and what we were going to do. There are great people in the municipalities and the country working on this. When the bridge collapsed, one of the first things that came to mind, other than the money, was what the government was going to do with regard to environmental impacts and what kinds of delays the community and council were going to have to deal with.
Having worked with a former MP, I recalled some work I had done with the municipality of Thames Centre back in 2010 on species at risk. We have to understand that there are going to be obstacles, and there was about a 10-month delay in the municipality of Thames Centre because of this. I am very concerned that we will see delays like this when this new legislation proposed by the Liberal government passes. Maybe some things will work and maybe some things are better, but we will never know, because we never got the chance to debate it.
The bridge that collapsed is near the mouth of Catfish Creek and connects the waterways from Catfish Creek to the Great Lakes, specifically Lake Erie. Although I agree with the necessity of environmental assessments, I am concerned that the reconstruction of the bridge will be hampered because of increased bureaucracy, specifically with the passage of Bill C-69. This small community needs support from all levels of government, including the Government of Canada. What will these new timelines do to the government's response and what will the government's involvement be in this project?
Although the government states that what is in the bill would reduce the timelines, we have seen the government's track record and the raft of broken promises. I just do not have it in me to believe that this proposed legislation would create anything but obstacles for our economy and the people who live in Canada. The new planning phase would add an additional 180 days, followed by a 30-day assessment by the minister. There are so many opportunities for both major and minor projects to be slowed down because of this hierarchy and the ministerial and Governor in Council exemptions.
The village of Port Bruce will need a plan. I have reached out to all of the ministers of the government who could impact the reconstruction of this bridge. To date, all of the responses that I have received are basically a bunch of Liberal talking points. I am not seeing assistance. I am not seeing help. Rather, I see the government telling me what it is doing and patting itself on the back and saying that maybe we can go after the gas tax fund. Those are not the kinds of things that we need from the government. I do not really know if people in government understand how smaller municipalities need to work together with all levels of government and how they have to be part of this. They cannot just give us platitudes.
Whether the township and county decide to go with a temporary bridge or go directly toward reconstructing this bridge, I fear that the government will slow things down. The village is a tourist destination and is currently being greatly impacted by the inability of people to take a direct route. We also must be concerned over the inability of the township to adequately provide emergency services. One of the biggest challenges that this community has had is that Highway 73 does not even go there, so we have had neighbouring municipalities get on board to provide those emergency services.
However, we must move forward on our project, and I am totally concerned about what is going to happen in our next phase. Once it decides what it will do, what is the government going to be doing with new red tape approaches, both to the county and to the municipalities?
My second point also focuses on the farmers in my riding and the change to the navigational waters act. For years, I have heard from local farmers about some of the restrictions regarding ditches and things of that sort. We all have different ways of looking at it, but the fact is that we do not have a way of discussing this issue because when we are at committee, debate gets shut down.
For years farmers have been strongly speaking about the restrictions that they have been under, and when in 2012 there were some changes, they applauded the government because they felt that they were not going to be restricted as much. That is positive. When we are trying to work on the economy, we want to make sure that we are working with the stewards of our land and not always against them. I am always concerned with how we are going to make sure we are working forward. I believe in our farmers and I have watched them use responsible methods to improve their applications.
What will this legislation do to impact our local farmers, as well as reconstruction of the bridge? Well, I wish I could tell members more about that, but this bill was rammed through the committee and amendments proposed by all opposition parties were ignored. The government says it is allowing people's voices to be heard, but we know that the moment nine o'clock strikes at committee, committee members can not debate anything further.
We know that the Liberal government put in over 100 of their own recommendations when it came to amendments. Are the Liberals saying that this bill does not need amendments? By having to amend their own bill that many times, I think they have proven to the entire committee and to all Canadians that the bill is flawed.
We may not agree on everything, but the government cut debate. Although we may not agree on everything, the most important part is to listen. As the chair of the status of women committee, I have seen some co-operation when we are talking about amendments and when we are talking about recommendations. When we are all sitting at the table and really trying to do what is best for Canadians, everyone is actually listening. There are opportunities for us to merge. When we are putting in a recommendation, we may take something from the NDP or we may take something from the Liberals and the Conservative Party and merge those thoughts together so that we can all be heard, but Canadian voices have been shut down at committee and in this House when debating this bill.
How are Canadians supposed to know that their voices are being heard when time allocation is being imposed not only on their representatives in this House but also in the committees? How do we know that we are getting what is best for Canadians when the Liberals seem to be listening only to themselves and not listening to some of these amendments?
I agree that Liberals may have some good suggestions but do not think that the Conservatives, the NDP, the Green Party, and the Bloc all have good suggestions. We need to work together.
I see that part of my role as a parliamentarian is to listen. I urge the government to start to listen again. We have seen a lot of problems, but if the government can get off its talking points, maybe we can all do better. I think that is part of the issue: the questions that are being asked are taken back to government talking points. We are not talking about how it is going to impact people. We are not talking how it is going to impact the Trans Mountain pipeline. We are not talking about those things. We are talking about spending $4.5 billion without even seeing how we will get a pipeline built. We know that the government was the obstacle for Kinder Morgan, and now how is it not going to be the obstacle for itself, unless it turns 180° once again?
The government's role is to create a positive atmosphere for businesses to succeed. New taxes, government red tape, and truly poor opportunities for Canadians to speak on legislative changes that engage Canadians are here with this government. I heard the leader of the Greens say that we can do better. With discussions and amendments actually being heard, we can do better. I urge the Liberals to start consulting with all parties.