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Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word was projects.

Last in Parliament September 2021, as Liberal MP for Ottawa Centre (Ontario)

Won her last election, in 2019, with 49% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Business of Supply January 28th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for her congratulations. I am certainly honoured to be in this position.

However, I would correct one thing. The interim principles apply to all projects that are under review under the environmental assessment process. Therefore, they go beyond the two pipeline projects.

In terms of our relationship with indigenous peoples, we have been very clear. We believe in a nation-to-nation relationship based on respect. We understand our obligations to consult and, where applicable, accommodate.

We will be undergoing a full review of the environmental assessment process. We absolutely agree that the major changes made by the Conservative Party through omnibus bills were simply not acceptable to Canadians. We know that in the 21st century, if we want to get natural resources to market, we need to ensure that it is done in a responsible and sustainable way.

Business of Supply January 28th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, unfortunately, we heard from indigenous leaders that the changes that were made to the environmental assessments had a direct impact on the ability of indigenous people to provide comments about the environmental assessment project for particular processes. That is why we are committed to rebuilding the confidence of Canadians, ensuring that indigenous peoples have the ability to work collaboratively, and provide real consultation and real input in the environmental assessment processes.

Business of Supply January 28th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I would like to inform you that I will be splitting my time with the member for Thérèse-De Blainville.

I welcome this opportunity to speak to a motion put forward by the hon. member for Portage—Lisgar. The motion is timely. It comes during a week when the Prime Minister clearly outlined the government's role in looking out for Canada's best interests during pipeline reviews rather than acting as a cheerleader.

The motion comes a day after the Minister of Natural Resources and I announced an interim approach and specific measures to immediately strengthen environmental assessments in advance of a review of environmental assessment processes.

I am certain that MPs would like to know how we reached this point. First, I will provide some context.

The federal system for project reviews, including energy projects and pipelines, includes environmental assessments, consultation of aboriginal groups and decisions on issuance of permits.

This system is important for protecting the environment and the safety of Canadians. Meaningful consultations with indigenous peoples are essential. The process must consider the views and concerns expressed by Canadians and affected communities. Achieving these objectives is important for the economy and the environment.

In 2012, omnibus budget legislation, Bill C-38 and Bill C-45, significantly changed the system for project reviews by replacing the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act with CEAA 2012, amending the National Energy Board Act and Fisheries Act, and amending and renaming the Navigation Protection Act. For such important legislation, Parliament did not spend long examining the bills: three months for the first bill and two months for the second one. This motion speaks to important issues that have been affected by the changes made in 2012.

We know that natural resources projects play a vital role in our economy and we recognize how important job creation and economic growth are to Canadians. We believe that it is important and essential to rebuild Canadians' trust in our environmental assessment processes. That is the only way to get resources to market responsibly in the 21st century.

The fact that the Minister of Environment and Climate Change and the Minister of Natural Resources are working together on this sends an important message. It indicates that a healthy environment and a strong economy go hand in hand.

We know that natural resources projects play a vital role in our economy and that they create jobs for Canadians and grow our economy. We also know that in 2016, projects will only get done if they are done sustainably and responsibly. We believe it is important and essential to rebuild Canadians' trust in our environmental assessment processes. We need to take into account the views and concerns of Canadians, respect the rights and interests of indigenous peoples, and support our natural resources sector. That is the only way to get resources to market responsibly in the 21st century.

Yesterday, we made the first steps toward that goal. The principles we announced will allow the government to make better evidence-based decisions on major projects. These principles will apply to projects currently undergoing a federal environmental assessment until legislated changes can be implemented.

The principles that we announced yesterday will allow the government to make better evidence-based decisions on major projects. These principles will apply to projects currently undergoing a federal environmental assessment until legislated changes can be implemented.

The principles are clear. They were part of our platform last fall. Canadians gave us a clear mandate to implement them. Yesterday, we delivered on that mandate. Our goal is to restore robust oversight and thorough environmental assessments of areas under federal jurisdiction while also working with provinces and territories to avoid duplication. Our goal is also to ensure that decisions are based on science, facts, and evidence and serve the public's interests. They are also to provide ways for Canadians to express their views and opportunities for experts to meaningfully participate; and they will require project advocates to choose the best technologies available to reduce environmental impacts.

With these goals in mind, we will be engaging Canadians through an open, inclusive, and respectful review of environmental processes. However a review will take time. Any proposals for legislative change arising out of the review will have to be carefully considered by Parliament. This raises the question of what to do with projects currently undergoing environmental assessments.

Yesterday, we announced the interim approach, including clear principles that the government will follow to make better decisions on major projects. These principles are based on the fact that protecting the environment and growing the economy are not incompatible goals. In fact, our future success depends on us doing both of those things.

The principles are clear. They were part of our platform last fall. Canadians gave us a clear mandate to implement them. Our interim principles are, first, no project review will return to square one; second, decisions will be based on science and evidence, including information on climate change and traditional knowledge of indigenous peoples; third, decisions will be informed by consultation and input from Canadians, including indigenous peoples and affected communities.

Consultation is, and will continue to be, a driving force of our government in how we approach environmental assessments. As the Prime Minister has said, there is no relationship more important to our government than the one with indigenous peoples. It is time for a renewed nation-to-nation relationship, based on recognition of rights, respect, co-operation, and partnership.

The principles underscore our commitment to work in partnership with indigenous people and to ensure that their rights and interests are respected. Greenhouse gas emissions must also be taken into account in decision making. Addressing climate change is a key priority for the Government of Canada.

Gathering evidence and facts on greenhouse gas emissions from a variety of sources, including environmental assessment, will further help inform our national climate change plan. At the same time, the private sector has a role to play as a source of dynamic innovation for greener and cleaner technology and practices. Environmental assessments can help promote this innovation. After all, the goal of environmental assessments is to improve the way projects are designed, built, and operated.

I want to emphasize that the interim approach released yesterday and our commitment to review environmental assessment processes are actions that I believe will help restore public trust in environmental assessment processes and the decisions that result.

Canadians voted for a government that understands that the economy and the environment go hand in hand. Yesterday, we gave business people the certainty they need to plan and build and grow, and we provided Canadians with the reassurance they want that their environment will be protected.

In 2016, that is the responsible thing to do and the only way we will ensure both our collective prosperity and our future. I am very pleased to read some reviews of yesterday's announcement of interim principles. Adam Scott of Environmental Defence said that to have all of the material in hand when making the decision will make for a better and higher-quality, informed decision.

Shannon Phillips, Alberta environment minister, said that she and I have had ongoing conversations about our role with respect to climate leadership; the importance of access to tidewater. She said we have in our initial meeting talked about environmental assessment processes, and so there have been conversations along the way. She said the federal government works productively and collaboratively with them, and they appreciate that respectful relationship.

Mark Cooper, TransCanada spokesman, said:

We support a strong and clear regulatory framework that helps Canadians see our commitment to building and operating oil and gas pipelines in the safest and most environmentally sound way possible.

The Environment January 27th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to rise in this House today to report on the historic agreement that was reached by more than 195 countries at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris this past December.

I would like to start with a tribute to a great Canadian, Maurice Strong, who passed away three days before the start of COP21. Maurice Strong had a big impact on international environmental policy. He did not see borders in the world. He saw a world in which resources were the legacy of all humanity. His leadership, determination and vision helped guide and inspire us while we were in Paris.

For the first time ever in history, all of the world's major economies, both developed and developing, acknowledged the threat posed by climate change. One hundred and ninety-five countries reached an ambitious and balanced agreement to fight climate change. This was the first time that all countries pledged to do their part to address climate change.

This agreement is a significant step forward. Canadians can be very proud of the instrumental role Canada played in reaching this historic climate agreement.

Climate change is real, climate change is happening now, and it is the challenge of our generation. Canadians know this. Across our country Canadians can see the real impacts of climate change: from forest fires in British Columbia, to flooding in Alberta, to coastal erosion on Prince Edward Island, to melting ice in the north. The signs are there. This is real. Warmer winters are limiting access to winter roads, which isolates a number of communities and negatively affects their quality of life. Wildlife habits are changing, which has a big impact on the traditional ways of life of hunters. This is why our government is determined to address this challenge through concrete actions here at home.

In Paris, Canada presented a united front and demonstrated a willingness to move forward and to be an active, global leader in tackling climate change. Indeed, our delegation in Paris included provincial and territorial premiers, mayors, and indigenous leaders. It also included young Canadians, environmental NGOs, entrepreneurs, and investors. Our delegation included members from both sides of this House. We must now use the spirit of co-operation to move forward with our commitments to fight climate change.

We now have the incredible opportunity to build a more sustainable economy. Fighting climate change is not only about reducing carbon emissions, it is also about building the clean economy of the future. We must now seize this opportunity.

We can and we will fight climate change without sacrificing growth and prosperity. Our global push toward a low carbon economy will produce new innovations and new companies, new growth and new prosperity.

Canada is blessed with abundant invaluable natural resources. From energy and metals to minerals and forests, our natural resources are and will always be vital to Canada's economy.

In the 21st century, the future of our economy and of our prosperity must be built on the principle that the economy and the environment go hand in hand.

We are also blessed with great minds and tremendous motivation to do better, to lead the world with new and innovative thinking. The more we develop technology and demonstrate ingenuity in the natural resources sector, the more diverse and stable our economy will be. Now is the time to innovative, to invest and to grow our communities in ways that help both current and future generations of Canadians, while tackling pollution.

The world economies are shifting toward cleaner more sustainable growth and Canada must keep up to stay competitive on the world stage. There is a significant potential market to export Canadian clean technology and knowledge, and the demand will only increase. In India alone, clean growth will require investments of $2.5 trillion.

Indeed, there are huge opportunities to be harnessed. This is why the Prime Minister and I and other colleagues were at the World Economic Forum last week, promoting Canada and Canadian businesses and working hard to attract new investments to Canada.

The Government of Canada will double its investment in clean technology over the next five years. These strategic investments will help us to both tackle climate change and create good, middle class jobs. By investing in green infrastructure projects, we will grow our economy in a sustainable way, while protecting our communities from the worst impacts of climate change.

We have high ambitions for Canada and much work needs to be done. I am, however, extremely encouraged by the leadership of our provinces and territories. In Canada, they have been at the forefront of the fight against climate change and moving forward, our actions will build on provincial initiatives.

The federal government is now determined to work in close collaboration with our provinces and territories as well as our indigenous peoples. Canadians voted for a government that understands that the economy and the environment go hand in hand. In 2016, that is a responsible thing to do and the only way we will ensure both our collective prosperity and our future.

The Environment January 26th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I met with the commissioner, as did my colleague, Minister Carr.

The National Energy Board told us that it accepts the report's conclusions and is working on implementing solutions.

The Environment January 26th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, one of the commitments we made as a government is to rebuild the trust of Canadians in the environmental assessment process. That is the only responsible way to bring our resources to market in the 20th century. That is what we will do.

The Environment January 26th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to answer my first question as representative of the residents of Ottawa Centre.

We are committed to rebuilding the trust of Canadians in the environmental assessment process, trust that was lost under the previous Conservative government. As part of that, we will be informing our decisions through consultations with Canadians. We will be basing our decisions on evidence and science, in consultation with indigenous people, and with input from the public. We will also be considering the impact of climate change.