Mr. Speaker, I also want to thank the hon. member for Cowichan—Malahat—Langford for bringing his question to the House today. We know that he shares his concerns in all sincerity and, in my view, makes very important points.
As many members before me have said, no direction was given to federal representatives to justify expanding the Trans Mountain network. No direction was given, period.
In fact, the reality is quite different. Our government insisted that the federal review of the TMX project include broad public consultations and engagement sessions with indigenous peoples. All these sessions and consultations were held in good faith. These principles are at the heart of a healthy democracy. Processes are more effective and decisions are sounder when every voice is heard. That is why our government engaged in the entire review process of the Trans Mountain expansion project.
However, as the hon. member pointed out, we know that the Federal Court ruled that although there have been significant improvements in the way major natural resources projects are reviewed, there remain two areas where these efforts still need to be improved.
First, the National Energy Board should have included the potential impact of marine shipping as part of its review of the TMX project. Second, the Crown failed to adequately discharge its duty to consult with indigenous people. I think it is worth reading what Justice Eleanor Dawson stated in her written decision with respect to both of these issues.
On the first one, the judge said, “I conclude that most of the flaws asserted against the NEB's process and findings are without merit.”
The justice continued, “However, the Board made one critical error. The Board unjustifiably defined the scope of the Project under review not to include Project-related tanker traffic.”
On indigenous engagement, she added, “I also conclude that Canada acted in good faith and selected an appropriate consultation framework.”
We acted in good faith. Where we fell down in our duty to consult was in the stage of engagement known as phase III.
Our government has heard what the court said. We are listening and we are taking action to ensure that we move forward in the right way. That is why the Minister of Natural Resources has announced the first step of our planned response by instructing the NEB to revisit its recommendation on the TMX expansion to take into account the impact of the project's increased marine transportation.
I would also draw the attention of the House to yesterday's decision by the NEB to appoint the panel for this review. We are hoping that the NEB will move efficiently.
The minister has also indicated that additional steps will be announced. I would urge the member opposite to be patient and to wait for those details.