Madam Speaker, I rise to speak to Bill C-222. In the summary of the document for the bill, it states:
This enactment amends the Expropriation Act to provide that the power of the Governor in Council to waive the requirement for a public hearing in respect of an objection to the intended expropriation of an interest in land or immovable real right may not be exercised in certain circumstances.
Further on in the bill, the Expropriation Act cites two examples of where that right to waive the requirement for the public hearing may not be exercised. It is in “restoring historical natural habitats or addressing, directly or indirectly, climate variability.” That, in essence, is the bill before us this evening.
I have enormous respect for the member for Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke. I disagree with her vehemently on many issues, but I certainly respect her hard work in the House of Commons. She is one of the deans of the Conservative caucus. That being said, I will not be supporting this bill.
I am going to cite the two reasons given in the Expropriation Act for why there should be an inability for the Governor in Council to waive the public hearing requirement. The first, as I mentioned earlier, is the restoring of historical natural habitats.
The origin of this is of course the devastating floods that took place in 2017 and 2019 in Renfrew County. I think all of our sympathies and thoughts are with the many people in that region who suffered losses during that time. Hundreds of homes were damaged and many were destroyed. The 2017 and 2019 floods were absolutely devastating for the region.
That is why this legislation purports to waive the Governor in Council's ability to override public consultations. When we look at the reasons behind the flooding, often cited as a result of IJC actions, we can actually see that there is a difference between what is promoted by the bill and what actually happened on the ground.
Doug McNeil wrote an independent review of the 2019 flood events in Ontario. This was commissioned by a Conservative government. A Conservative member of course would agree with the recommendations and the conclusions in that regard.
Doug McNeil said, “some believe that the International Joint Commission’s (IJC) operation...has a negative impact on...Ottawa River flooding.” He goes on to cite in the report that was filed with the Conservative government that the IJC actions had absolutely no bearing on flows of the Ottawa River. There are indeed, though, things that had an impact on those devastating floods. They are cited in the report as climate change and impacts of a changing climate. Those are cited repeatedly in McNeil's reports.
The first item that is cited in the Expropriation Act simply does not hold water, if members can excuse a pun in that sense. The reality is that the IJG, very clearly from the report of the Conservative government, did not have an impact of the devastating floods that impacted so many people in Renfrew County and in other areas.
There is a second item that is cited in the bill and that is climate variability. Climate variability, as members are well aware, is not the same as the climate change crisis and the climate emergency that the House has already ruled on and that we are currently in. I will come back to that in just a second.
The member, who I respect but who disagree with vehemently, has stated in reports that she has actually filed with her local riding that there are alarmist claims about man-made global warming. These are scientific facts about the impacts of climate change and the impacts of the climate emergency. The good people of Renfrew County are not immune from the climate emergency we are seeing around the planet.
As I cited earlier, we saw two devastating floods that impacted hundreds of homes and hundreds of homeowners in the area around Renfrew County in 2017 and 2019.
In British Columbia, in two of the last four summer seasons, we have literally not seen the sky. The impact of forest fires due to climate change completely shrouded the Lower Mainland of British Columbia. When I was a child, I can remember incredibly blue skies throughout the summer in the Lower Mainland of B.C. This has been impacted by climate change. The reality is that climate change has not just had an impact on the quality of life for the people of Renfrew County or the people of British Columbia. We have seen the devastating impacts of climate change around the world. These are undeniable. We cannot talk about climate variability. We cannot make, as the member has said, alarmist claims about man-made global warming. The climate emergency is upon us. People around the world are living with it, and people around the world are saying that governments need to step up now to stop the climate emergency. They need to step up and make the transition to clean energy.
The impacts of two of the last four flood seasons in Renfrew County are very similar to impacts of two of the last four summers on the Lower Mainland of British Columbia. Many other regions of Canada can cite similar impacts. This summer we saw the western United States ablaze. The impact of that smoke was even felt in southern British Columbia. The many forest fires that were ravaging the western United States, because of the impacts of climate change, blew that smoke right into the Salish Sea, the Lower Mainland and southern Vancouver Island as well.
We know that those impacts are being felt. We know that the economic impacts are also being increasingly felt. The cost to the Canadian economy this year will be $5 billion. We know that amount is going to increase each and every year. Within a couple of decades, projections say that the cost to the Canadian economy from climate change will be $50 billion a year.
We have to take action. I would suggest it is not by adopting Bill C-222, which talks about climate variability, but it is actually by taking action to help people in Renfrew County and to help people across Canada and around the world. That means we have to stop the incredible support of $12 billion that is given to the oil and gas sector. Canada now is in a very sad race with Saudi Arabia, in terms of the egregious amount of support that is given to oil and gas CEOs, yet we have not seen any investments made for energy workers. I am part of the energy sector. I came out of the Shellburn Oil Refinery in Burnaby, British Columbia, so I have worked in the oil and gas sector. There have been no provisions made, either by the Conservative governments in Alberta and Saskatchewan or by the federal government, to actually transition energy workers from the fossil fuels that are helping to provoke climate change to clean energy that would help to address the climate emergency and bring down the egregious levels of greenhouse gas emissions we are seeing literally burning our planet.
Those are the actions, and that is the kind of bill, that I would certainly be willing to support. These would tackle the efforts that many people are undertaking around the world to address the climate emergency. That is what I would be prepared to support. That would be something that would address the concerns of the very good people of Renfrew County. I know the area well and I know they understand that there is a climate emergency and that our governments, both provincial and federal, have to take action. I will be voting against Bill C-222. I believe that we need to take action in the climate emergency, and I hope that we will see further private members' legislation that will actually address something that the government at the moment seems unwilling to address.