House of Commons Hansard #431 of the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was deal.

Topics

Bill C-88—Time Allocation MotionMackenzie Valley Resource Management ActGovernment Orders

9 p.m.

Liberal

Carolyn Bennett Liberal Toronto—St. Paul's, ON

Madam Speaker, this bill is a priority for the government and is essential to restoring the legal certainty in resource development in the NWT.

We have had two days of debate on the bill at second reading. The INAN committee heard from a number of panels of witnesses, and we are currently on our second day of debate at third reading. I believe that when this negotiation has taken place with the partners, this is sufficient debate and we need to get on with it and get it passed.

Bill C-88—Time Allocation MotionMackenzie Valley Resource Management ActGovernment Orders

9 p.m.

Liberal

Michael McLeod Liberal Northwest Territories, NT

Madam Speaker, in the previous government, Bill C-15 was created in 2014 with complete disregard for the land claims agreements. The Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act was created through the negotiations of land claims, and it certainly destroyed the trust factor with indigenous people in the Northwest Territories.

I want to ask the member if she would talk a little about how Bill C-88 would re-establish trust with indigenous people in the Northwest Territories, protect their constitutionally protected land claims and self-government agreements and restore legal certainty.

Bill C-88—Time Allocation MotionMackenzie Valley Resource Management ActGovernment Orders

9 p.m.

Liberal

Carolyn Bennett Liberal Toronto—St. Paul's, ON

Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his ongoing leadership in all aspects of the Northwest Territories, and for his advocacy for the indigenous people and the indigenous governments in the Northwest Territories.

I would answer his question by quoting David V. Wright, legal counsel to the Gwich'in Tribal Council, at the INAN committee:

[T]he consultation process on Bill C-88 has actually helped restore some of the trust between Canada and the GTC. That trust would be eroded by any further delay, or at worst, failure to pass this bill in a timely manner.

Bill C-88—Time Allocation MotionMackenzie Valley Resource Management ActGovernment Orders

9 p.m.

Conservative

Arnold Viersen Conservative Peace River—Westlock, AB

Madam Speaker, the consultation on this bill was a joke. The Liberals phoned the Premier of the Northwest Territories 20 minutes before they made the announcement on the moratorium in northern Canada.

The Liberals are holding the Government of the Northwest Territories hostage with this bill, in the fact that they have put in one piece that the Northwest Territories wants and one piece that the Northwest Territories does not want.

Will the minister admit that she is just holding the territories hostage?

Bill C-88—Time Allocation MotionMackenzie Valley Resource Management ActGovernment Orders

9 p.m.

Liberal

Carolyn Bennett Liberal Toronto—St. Paul's, ON

Madam Speaker, I think it would be good if the member actually remembered what Premier McLeod said at committee:

We don't see Bill C-88 as a partisan bill. It ensures that land claim agreements are fully implemented by maintaining the regional boards, and it also has modern amendments with multi-party support.... The Government of the Northwest Territories supports swift passage of Bill C-88. The implications of not proceeding with the bill within the lifetime of this government and retaining the status quo are significant.

Bill C-88—Time Allocation MotionMackenzie Valley Resource Management ActGovernment Orders

June 11th, 2019 / 9 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian NDP New Westminster—Burnaby, BC

Madam Speaker, I am very saddened. Sunny ways are definitely dead. Democracy is dying.

Tonight, we just had an extreme closure motion that even Stephen Harper never brought in. It was an extreme closure motion that did not allow for the right to reply of one opposition member in the entire House. There was a 20-minute closure speech. That was for a bill that has raised real concerns around civil liberties and the fact that we are talking about metadata of innocent Canadians being kept without proper scrutiny.

What we had from the Liberals was a few hours of debate a year ago, and then tonight, closure. It is absolutely unacceptable. Now, with Bill C-88, we are seeing the same thing of bulldozing. Even Stephen Harper did not go this far. Liberals promised, back in 2015, to bring a new tone to the House, to actually work with opposition members, and they have chosen to do the opposite. Why are Liberals bulldozing through legislation that requires proper scrutiny and proper discussion?

Bill C-88—Time Allocation MotionMackenzie Valley Resource Management ActGovernment Orders

9:05 p.m.

Liberal

Carolyn Bennett Liberal Toronto—St. Paul's, ON

Madam Speaker, I am very happy to answer the member's question.

I will just take some of the words out of Premier McLeod and Grand Chief Mackenzie's joint letter: “expeditiously through the legislative process”; Premier McLeod, “swift passage”; Chief Alfonz, “failure to resolve this matter co-operatively”; David Wright, “restoring trust”; and Grand Chief Gladys Norwegian, “will help to restore balance to the way the MVRMA operates and will ensure that the voice of indigenous board members will be heard.”

The indigenous partners, governments, and the Government of the Northwest Territories want this bill, and I do not think that parliamentarians in this room need to be seen to be obstructing that.

Bill C-88—Time Allocation MotionMackenzie Valley Resource Management ActGovernment Orders

9:05 p.m.

Conservative

Pat Kelly Conservative Calgary Rocky Ridge, AB

Madam Speaker, for this minister to say that members of Parliament who wish to debate legislation are obstructing the process demonstrates quite unbelievable arrogance on her part.

Since the minister did not answer the question from the member for Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo or the member for South Okanagan—West Kootenay, I am going to ask the question again.

This has been on the books for 18 months. Why, in the twilight of this Parliament, is the government invoking closure on a bill and claiming it is because the bill needs to be expeditiously passed? What have you been doing for the rest of this Parliament?

Bill C-88—Time Allocation MotionMackenzie Valley Resource Management ActGovernment Orders

9:05 p.m.

NDP

The Assistant Deputy Speaker NDP Carol Hughes

I want to remind the member that he is to address the question directly to the Chair. I can tell him that I have been very busy during this Parliament.

The hon. minister.

Bill C-88—Time Allocation MotionMackenzie Valley Resource Management ActGovernment Orders

9:05 p.m.

Liberal

Carolyn Bennett Liberal Toronto—St. Paul's, ON

Madam Speaker, I too have been very busy during this Parliament, as have all the members in the House. The legislation that this Parliament has been able to bring forth just shows how we have been able to work through this. I believe that the bills that are the result of agreements among partners should hold a very special place in this House in that they are the work of partners coming together.

That means that members have the right to comment on it. However, what we are finding with this bill is that there is huge consensus as to how necessary it is to undo the chaos that the previous government put in place. There were injunctions and legal uncertainty, because the Conservatives did not consult and there was no consensus. We got stuck with a really bad bill that the people of Northwest Territories have had to live with, and now we are fixing it.

Bill C-88—Time Allocation MotionMackenzie Valley Resource Management ActGovernment Orders

9:05 p.m.

Liberal

Mike Bossio Liberal Hastings—Lennox and Addington, ON

Madam Speaker, the opposition members claim that the current regulatory system is complex, costly, unpredictable and time-consuming, and that the merging of the boards is essential for dealing with these issues. However, my understanding is that the merging of these boards landed the whole process in court. It has thrown development in the Northwest Territories into real legal uncertainty. Can you expand on why it is so important to repeal the provisions merging these boards?

Bill C-88—Time Allocation MotionMackenzie Valley Resource Management ActGovernment Orders

9:05 p.m.

NDP

The Assistant Deputy Speaker NDP Carol Hughes

The hon. member knows that he has to address the question to the Chair. I am not going to expand on it. I will let the minister do it, though.

The hon. minister.

Bill C-88—Time Allocation MotionMackenzie Valley Resource Management ActGovernment Orders

9:05 p.m.

Liberal

Carolyn Bennett Liberal Toronto—St. Paul's, ON

Madam Speaker, there are comments coming from the other side that are very unparliamentary.

The regulatory framework in the north is an example of how local decision-making allows good projects to go forward, stops bad projects and sends mediocre projects back to the drawing board. This is exemplary. When those boards were fused, it no longer had the ability to really respond to the local realities.

Grand Chief Gladys Norwegian said that “the proposed amendments [what we are fixing from the previous government] will help to restore balance to the way the MVRMA operates and will ensure that the voice of indigenous board members will be heard.”

This is extraordinarily important. That fusion had never been consulted on. The Conservatives dropped it into the bill at the last moment. It is unacceptable, and that is not the way that we are working in our partnership with indigenous people in this country anymore.

Bill C-88—Time Allocation MotionMackenzie Valley Resource Management ActGovernment Orders

9:10 p.m.

NDP

The Assistant Deputy Speaker NDP Carol Hughes

I want to remind members that even though they may not like what they hear or be in agreement with what they hear, they need to ensure that they respect the rules of the House. Therefore, I would hope that the parliamentary language issue will not be a problem during the debate.

Questions and comments, the hon. member for North Okanagan—Shuswap.

Bill C-88—Time Allocation MotionMackenzie Valley Resource Management ActGovernment Orders

9:10 p.m.

Conservative

Mel Arnold Conservative North Okanagan—Shuswap, BC

Madam Speaker, I have to stand today and say that never has a government spent so much and achieved so little. That is why we end up with this logjam of legislation that the Liberals have not been able to get through in the three and a half years that they have been stumbling along on this.

Talking about consultation, the minister says that the Liberals have done adequate consultation on this. I have to reflect back to the consultation that the government supposedly did on Bill C-68, which we are also debating today, with the Fisheries Act. The Liberals spent over a million dollars providing first nations with the ability to provide briefs to the committee on the review of the Fisheries Act. Those briefs were never provided to the committee for its study on the act.

How can the minister stand there and say that the Liberals have done adequate consultation, when that is an example of how they have not done so?

Bill C-88—Time Allocation MotionMackenzie Valley Resource Management ActGovernment Orders

9:10 p.m.

Liberal

Carolyn Bennett Liberal Toronto—St. Paul's, ON

Madam Speaker, I have said a couple of times here already that when bills and legislation are the result of complete engagement between the partners, indigenous peoples and governments, the territorial government and ourselves, they are agreements that are exciting for us in Parliament to support. They came to the table, came forward with this agreement and there was consensus to do that. This is an exciting chapter as to how we can go forward.

The reason we got into this mess is because the previous government did not consult. It threw this fusion of the boards into legislation at the last possible moment, which resulted in an injunction, legal uncertainty, all of the things that created chaos for resource development in the Northwest Territories. That is what we are fixing today and that is why we need it passed.

Bill C-88—Time Allocation MotionMackenzie Valley Resource Management ActGovernment Orders

9:10 p.m.

NDP

Sheri Benson NDP Saskatoon West, SK

Madam Speaker, what we are discussing tonight is the fact that we do not have an opportunity to hear what the minister has to say, have a good debate and talk about a process that perhaps was very good and was built on consensus. This possibly is very good legislation. However, this is the House. This is Parliament. As parliamentarians, we have a right to review the bill and the government still has a right to bring it forward and talk about it. I may very well find the bill and the consultations good, but what we are talking about right now is closure on that debate. You are denying my right to review that legislation. That is the piece that is offensive to me.

Bill C-88—Time Allocation MotionMackenzie Valley Resource Management ActGovernment Orders

9:10 p.m.

NDP

The Assistant Deputy Speaker NDP Carol Hughes

I want to remind the member for Saskatoon West that she is to address the questions to the Chair and not the individual members.

The hon. minister.

Bill C-88—Time Allocation MotionMackenzie Valley Resource Management ActGovernment Orders

9:10 p.m.

Liberal

Carolyn Bennett Liberal Toronto—St. Paul's, ON

Madam Speaker, it gives me an opportunity to explain that legislation like the YESAA bill for the Yukon or the Anishinabek education agreement are bills that come together because of the real work done by indigenous people who come forward with their best possible plan. Those are very special bills.

The member knows that two days of debate at second reading, going to the INAN or other committees and a second day of debate at third reading is sufficient for these kinds of bills that come together because of agreements with our partners. They need to be passed in order to restore the legal certainty and the vibrant economy in the Northwest Territories.

Bill C-88—Time Allocation MotionMackenzie Valley Resource Management ActGovernment Orders

9:10 p.m.

Conservative

Todd Doherty Conservative Cariboo—Prince George, BC

Madam Speaker, I have the utmost respect for our hon. colleague across the way. However, I have said from the very beginning that there is no plan. If one fails to plan, one plans to fail.

The Liberals have failed first nations with respect to the suicide epidemic that has ravished our first nations in rural communities from coast to coast to coast. They have failed our first nations regarding boil water advisories. They stand here all the time, with their hand on their hearts and the minister wraps herself in an indigenous-flavoured scarf and they say this is their most important priority. I take offence to that.

I have been open and transparent with the House. My wife and children are first nations. The minister has failed our first nations. Time and again, first nations chiefs have come to us, saying the government has not consulted them on many different issues. I have reached out to the minister and she has failed to act.

Does she not feel this is another piece of legislation where the government will go down a path to fail not only Canadians, but first nations communities from coast to coast to coast?

Bill C-88—Time Allocation MotionMackenzie Valley Resource Management ActGovernment Orders

9:15 p.m.

NDP

The Assistant Deputy Speaker NDP Carol Hughes

Before I go to a point of order, I want to remind the member that he may want to correct something. They are not our first nations; they are the indigenous peoples of Canada.

Bill C-88—Time Allocation MotionMackenzie Valley Resource Management ActGovernment Orders

9:15 p.m.

Conservative

Todd Doherty Conservative Cariboo—Prince George, BC

Madam Speaker, as I said, my family is first nations people. My family is first nations.

Bill C-88—Time Allocation MotionMackenzie Valley Resource Management ActGovernment Orders

9:15 p.m.

NDP

The Assistant Deputy Speaker NDP Carol Hughes

That is getting into debate now.

Bill C-88—Time Allocation MotionMackenzie Valley Resource Management ActGovernment Orders

9:15 p.m.

Liberal

Michael McLeod Liberal Northwest Territories, NT

Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I take offence to the fact that the member feels that I, as an indigenous person, belong to him. I also take offence to the comment that because the minister is wearing an indigenous scarf, it is offensive. That is totally wrong and unacceptable. I would ask the member to retract those statements.

Bill C-88—Time Allocation MotionMackenzie Valley Resource Management ActGovernment Orders

9:15 p.m.

NDP

The Assistant Deputy Speaker NDP Carol Hughes

Does the hon. member wish to address this?