Mr. Speaker, it is always a pleasure to work with the member opposite who represents Abbotsford. I have enjoyed many positive moments on our standing committee and have great respect for the work he does.
With all due respect, I would refer the member to an opinion editorial that I had published in The Globe and Mail in 2012, where I laid out the critique of the previous government's changes to navigation law in Canada. When the changes were made, Canadians' ability to navigate was still protected by the common law, but most of their statutory rights previously protected by Transport Canada were stripped away. The statutory protections for navigation were stripped away, leaving the public with common law protections only.
I take the point that there is a distinction to be drawn between navigation protections and environmental protections. That is an absolutely valid point to make. However there is no doubt that in past, environmental assessment laws, which Canadian waters were subject to prior to the previous government, the required navigational permitting triggered an environmental assessment. That is how it used to work. The Conservative government stripped all of that away, so we needed to find a new way to bring back navigation protections and a robust impact assessment regime. That is what Bill C-69 seeks to achieve.