Mr. Speaker, I do not think I have enough time to tackle every part of this loosely put together bill, but I am going to attempt to target as much as I can.
Right off the bat, one of the things that would happen under the bill is that the Liberals would change the National Energy Board, which was created in 1959 by Prime Minister Diefenbaker. It was totally made a fool by Pierre Trudeau. He wrecked the energy industry in Alberta and the west for a generation, and Junior is about to do it for three generations. It would change the name of it to the Canadian energy regulator act as well, just to try to get rid of that family's connection to it. No inches or miles of pipeline are going to be built because of this bill. It is, “Let us wash it down, get a new face, and pretend that none of the other ever happened.”
I am going to get into the navigable waters act in a bit, but everything the government does has everything to do with virtue-signalling and nothing to do with reality or getting things done. I can give all kinds of examples.
On the Firearms Act, what did the Liberals do? They bragged during the election, and every chance they have had since, that they were going to tackle gang crime and illegal firearms. What did they do? They brought out a bill that sends a virtue signal to all Canadians who hate firearms and want to get rid of them totally, and they pretend that they are tackling gang crime and illegal firearms. It would do nothing. It would tackle law-abiding firearms owners.
Another example is that they want to send signals to environmentalists, tree squeezers. They lied to the veterans and said that they would give them everything they wanted, and then all of a sudden, they said that they were asking too much and that the government could not do that.
The reason I am mentioning this is that there is a trend here. It is all about virtue. It is not about actually doing anything.
We have to go back in history. When the environmental approval process was changed by the previous government, one of the worst examples was the Mackenzie Valley pipeline. For some 25 to 30 years, we kept leading companies along, saying we would do this or that. It was set up to basically fail. Why would any government, why would any person, want to take our companies, which want to invest in industry, whether it is the oil industry or whatever, and tie them up in a process that is made for the objector and tie them up for years?
The previous government made a process that was still a thorough approval process, but there were timelines. Do not drag companies along for years and years. Give them a timeline. If we have to tell them no, tell them no, but do not lead them along for 25 to 30 years, as happened with the Mackenzie Valley pipeline, because that is not good for anything. Aboriginal communities up there were banking on money that would have flowed to them from that job. Their hopes that were built up for 25 years or more went totally gone down the drain, and I do not mean that as a pun.
There was a 180-day planning phase. Ministerial discretion was put in and also veto power. Again, that was put in after going through the process that basically said it was done. Say yes or say no, but do not lead them along.
Why should Canadians trust this new system? It is obviously catering to different groups. It goes back to that virtue signal. There is always a process where intervenors can get in and have their say. Of course, that is a good thing. However, what the government has done with the changes it has put in is that we now have to accept all foreign intervenors. Why in the world would any government want to add that? This is about a Canadian project, not a pan-world project. To allow foreign intervenors or foreign money is totally unacceptable.
If anyone has any doubt about why this is not going to work or whether it will make things worse than they already are, all we have to do is look at the recent Kinder Morgan decision. The government created a climate so bad that Kinder Morgan basically said, “Why in the world would we take our shareholders' money and invest it in this project?” I totally get that. Why would it? It never asked any government for one red cent. However, to save face, or to tie this thing up for many more years, what did the government do? It reached into my pocket, and my kids' and grandkids' and all the members' pockets as well, to pull out $4.5 billion to give to a company that paid $550 million for that pipeline. I have to mention that it is a 65-year-old pipeline. Now that $4.5 billion of taxpayers' money is going to be spent somewhere in the United States, where it will be able to create some industry and generate some income on that investment. That is all taxpayers' money.
Under this bill, it is only going to get worse. We have not seen the tip of the iceberg. It is a trend that is certainly not going to change with this bill.
I want to talk a bit about what stakeholders are saying about this legislation.
The Canadian Environmental Law Association stated:
...Bill C-69 perpetuates the much-criticized political decision-making model found in CEAA 2012.
Unless the proposed Impact Assessment Act is substantially revised as it proceeds through Parliament, [the association] concludes that the new EA process will not restore public trust or ensure credible, participatory and science-based decision-making.
That science-based decision-making is something we should think a lot about.
The Canadian Energy Association stated:
CEPA is very concerned with the scope of the proposed new Impact Assessment process. From the outset, CEPA has stated that individual project reviews are not the appropriate place to resolve broad policy issues, such as climate change, which should be part of a Pan-Canadian Framework. Including these policy issues adds a new element of subjectivity that could continue to politicize the assessment process.
The Mining Association of Canada stated:
At first glance, the draft legislation introduces a range of new concepts related to timelines and costs, which depending on how they are implemented, could adversely impact the industry’s competitiveness and growth prospects.
I have more, which I will not get into. However, I want to touch on the Navigable Waters Protection Act.
The changes to the Navigable Waters Protection Act came about a number of years ago when the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities, SARM, came to the rural caucus I happened to chair at the time. That in itself is not significant, other than that I know the history of this act. I thought navigable waters, and the way DFO's overzealous officials handled them, was just a rural Ontario problem. It turns out it was right across Canada. SARM is the one that deserves credit for initiating the changes to that act. I am very proud of it and how the changes went.
Waterways we can float our grandkids' or kids' little rubber duckies down maybe for a couple of days of the year in the spring were deemed to be something we could paddle a canoe down. We got rid of that in the changes.
I know I am running out of time. We fixed the process.
Now the cost is going to be unbelievable, and it is not going to be good for Canadians.