Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order relating to allegations made in this House by the member for Outremont during question period on June 1, 2010.
During question period, the member for Outremont posed a question. I will not repeat the entirety of the question, but he concluded by saying:
If the minister truly believes that Canadians want less environmental protection, why does he not have the courage to remove environmental assessments from Bill C-9, the dumpster bill, and submit it to a vote?
I rose to respond to that question, and I said, just for reference, if I might:
[E]very year for the last 10 years the premiers and The Council of the Federation--
I began. At that point, the member for Outremont began yelling words that were taken to be:
Liar. I was one of those ministers. You're lying.
I carried on to say:
[The Council of the Federation] have called for a streamlining of the federal environmental assessment process. The External Advisory Committee on Smart Regulation called for the same changes
And I carried on to quote from the Commissioner of the Environment.
The member for Outremont, when asked by the Speaker to withdraw his remarks, replied:
I withdraw the words, but I will repeat them outside of this chamber, because what I said is true: he misled the House.
I want the record to be absolutely clear, and I think in response to the submissions I am making it is appropriate to ask the hon. member to completely withdraw the comments that he made.
If I might be generous in my comments, it would seem that he felt I was implying that he had in some way, as a former minister of a provincial government, voted in favour of changing our environmental assessment.
That is absolutely not what I said. In fact, I did not make any reference to the member for Outremont in relation to this issue in the House, or anywhere else for that matter.
What I said and what is the fact is that the premiers and the Council of the Federation have called for a streamlining of the federal environmental assessment process. The point that I was making to the House was that over the last decade, premiers, the Council of the Federation, have consistently made recommendations to the federal government to make changes to the federal environmental assessment process.
This is fully substantiated by a host of documents, which I am prepared to table in both official languages, in the House here today. I would be happy to take the step of doing that.
I refer, first, to an April 2000 report, which is 10 years ago, entitled the “Canadian Environmental Assessment Act Five Year Review--Provincial and Territorial Input”, recommendations for “changes to certain provisions and aspects of the implementation of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act”, including “cooperative scoping” and “delegation to the province”.
I will table that in the House.
I will also table an excerpted portion of the September 2004 report of the External Advisory Committee on Smart Regulation. I will not quote from that at this point, but I will table that document.
I will table a document of October 2006, a letter from the Council of the Federation chair, Premier Williams, to the Prime Minister, requesting, substantially, these changes.
I will table a letter from October 2006 from the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment, their official communiqué asking for these changes.
I will table an August 2007 Council of the Federation shared vision document, which identified deficiencies and called for changes.
I will table a January 2009 first ministers communiqué, asking for the cutting of red tape on infrastructure projects.
I will table a June 2009 western premiers communiqué, which said substantially the same thing.
I will table the fall of 2009 report of the Commissioner of Environmental Sustainability.
And in closing, I will table the October 2009 Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment communiqué and the January 2010 letter from Premier Campbell to the Prime Minister advocating these changes.
All of these substantiate precisely what I said in question period, that there have been requests from premiers and from the Council of the Federation, from the smart regulator, and from the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment to make the very changes that have been incorporated into the budget implementation act.
I ask the hon. member to withdraw his comment.