Madam Speaker, I rise today to speak to Bill C-269. Ultimately, the government opposes the bill for multiple reasons, including because it would actually reduce environmental protection. The bill would negatively impact current federal, provincial and territorial collaborations on waste water, it would impose significant financial and practical challenges on all levels of government and it would be redundant and could actually weaken existing federal pollution prevention powers.
Our government is committed to protecting and managing water quality in our rivers, lakes and oceans. We recognize the critical importance of removing raw sewage from our waterways to keep our environment clean and healthy. That is why our government is already implementing a robust and effective approach for addressing waste-water pollution, an approach that is achieving results.
This approach implements the national waste-water strategy that was developed after 10 years of extensive negotiation, co-operation and agreement with provincial and territorial partners. Under this strategy, municipalities and indigenous communities are working hard to build and upgrade important public infrastructure that can safely address significant sources of pollution and protect the environment using predictable and achievable timelines.
In contrast, the bill would impose an arbitrary and unachievable five-year timeline for communities to conduct additional work, while incurring significant new costs, only to address the least significant source of pollution, such as maintenance or storm-water releases. The bill would jeopardize the current national strategy by unilaterally imposing unanticipated requirements upon our provincial and territorial partners, risking a decade of close collaboration and negotiation.
At a time when we are focused on critical national issues such as dealing with COVID, economic recovery, charting a path forward toward a net-zero future, this bill would put significant pressures on federal-provincial—