Madam Speaker, introducing legislation is an important step in the life of a member of Parliament. I want to recognize the member for her work, but I have to say that the Bloc Québécois will not be supporting Bill C-222 because we are in a climate crisis, because it threatens diversity and because the destruction of natural environments causes flooding. What we should be talking about today is the climate commitment that is needed.
We are debating Bill C-222 today. The member for Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke has introduced a bill that reflects an ideology involving climate change denial. In our view, the bill is somewhat out of touch with reality. It seeks to eliminate any potential expropriation, even if reality and environmental emergencies were to require it.
This is an attempt to deny reality. Climate change is having geographic repercussions on populated areas. In these circumstances, this bill aims to eliminate the flexibility of the current legislation when it comes to acting in cases of emergency.
The appropriation phenomenon is legally guided by the federal and provincial governments. Not only would Bill C-222 undermine Quebec's civil law, but it would also put the private good above the common good. What is worse, it denies the existence of climate-related disasters. I will not repeat the examples that were given at first reading and that my colleague from Avignon—La Mitis—Matane—Matapédia also raised earlier today regarding the people of Sainte-Marthe-sur-le-Lac and Rigaud, Quebec. Obviously, some properties were built on flood planes and they will flood again in the coming years.
Let us look at the facts. A study by Nature Communications projects that rising sea levels will threaten the homes of over 300 million people in the next 30 years. Quebec and Canada will be no exception, like it or not.
How can we deliberately turn a blind eye to the common good when action must be taken to protect the population or because of a climate or environmental emergency?
In passing, I want to speak out against something that a Conservative member said at first reading, when he went so far as compare the ability to take action under extraordinary circumstances related to environmental protection and climate change to 20th-century communism. It is rather unbelievable to hear that sort of thing in the House.
Although the right to property is not enshrined in the Canadian Constitution as it is in the United States, it is in no way compromised, inadequately protected, weakened or challenged, as Bill C-222 suggested. Whether it is the Civil Code of Quebec or the common law tradition in force in the provinces, expropriation takes place in accordance with the level of jurisdiction. In Quebec, the right to property is clearly enshrined in the Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms and in section 147 of the Quebec Civil Code.
Preventing the government from categorizing a situation as urgent and ordering an expropriation related to environmental protection or climate change is incomprehensible in this day and age. A balance must be struck between individual rights and the protection of citizens and the common good because there must be protection for both the public interest and the people.
In this vast country, could our geographic reality be any different? Let us consider that. If we were experiencing more tsunamis, if cliffs were crumbling, if landslides were burying homes and creating climate refugees, would Bill C-222 have been introduced in the House? Simply put, this bill suggests that climate change cannot cause disasters that justify an urgent response. We have to be clear about what we mean by “urgent”.
I urge some members of the official opposition to take a closer look at the work of experts who have been documenting the coastal risks associated with climate disturbances for decades.
Will they keep up that rhetoric when the residents of the Pacific coast and the Atlantic coast are experiencing serious consequences? We oppose the bill not out of any desire to please environmentalists, as some have suggested, but rather because we recognize the climate reality that has been rigorously documented by scientists around the world.
Lastly, I would like to add my voice to that of my colleague and really emphasize that when it comes to possible disguised expropriations and claims related to a trade agreement, the Expropriation Act deals only with the acquisition of property by the state and has nothing to do with environmental regulations. In CUSMA, or NAFTA 2.0 as it is sometimes called, the chapter that would have allowed an American investor to sue the government no longer exists.
In closing, I would like to ask the following questions: How is removing climate-related elements from the special circumstances category in the Expropriation Act an act of modernization? How is denying scientific discoveries an act of modernization? How is creating a conflict between property owners and the federal government on the issue of expropriation in the event of an environmental emergency an act of modernization?
The Bloc Québécois works to defend the interests of Quebeckers, our areas of jurisdiction and the robustness of our legislation. We will always work to protect our own.
The day when the Pacific and Atlantic coastal regions suffer the geographic and meteorological impacts of climate change, the public will be happy and reassured to have government help. Will they have federal representatives to look after them? I hope so.