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ENVI Committee Meeting

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STANDING COMMITTEE ON ENVIRONMENT AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

COMITÉ PERMANENT DE L'ENVIRONNEMENT ET DU DÉVELOPPEMENT DURABLE

EVIDENCE

[Recorded by Electronic Apparatus]

Tuesday, October 30, 2001

• 0907

[English]

The Chair (Mr. Charles Caccia (Davenport, Lib.)): We have a quorum. We can start.

As you know, last week we came to the conclusion that the best time to tackle that monster called clause 34 and surrounding items was to wait for Mr. Mills to be here, which will be tomorrow afternoon.

Today it seems as if we have a clear opportunity to tackle clause 41 and subsequent clauses in the forties.

We welcome to the committee two distinguished colleagues and visitors in the hope that they will come and visit us again: Madam St-Jacques and Mr. Grewal. Please feel at home. This is a very friendly committee and I'm sure you will enjoy our sessions.

(On clause 41—Contents if recovery feasible)

The Chair: The page I would invite you to look at to start with would be page 148. You will find an amendment in the name of Mr. Knutson, but I don't know whether Mr. Knutson is ready to proceed. Perhaps we'll give him a moment to indicate whether he is in a position to move that motion, L-12b, this morning on page 148, which is one of the many amendments to clause 41, and which deals only with one line.

It seems a rather harmless amendment.

Mr. Gar Knutson (Elgin—Middlesex—London, Lib.): Absolutely harmless. The amendment is self-evident. Please support it.

The Chair: Are you moving it?

Mr. Gar Knutson: Yes.

The Chair: All right. The amendment is before us then.

Madam Redman.

Mrs. Karen Redman (Kitchener Centre, Lib.): Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

• 0910

We have no problem with this amendment. We're seeking to make a friendly amendment to add the word “threats”, so it would read “survival of the species and threats to its habitat”, just for further clarity. I don't know if Ms. Wherry wanted to add anything.

Ms. Ruth Wherry (Director, Species at Risk, Canadian Wildlife Service, Environment Canada): We want to add this simply because if we left it the way it was, it would read “and threats to the survival of the habitat”, which would be rather difficult to do, so we'd like to add the words “threats to habitats”, which I believe is what Mr. Knutson was trying to get at.

Mr. Gar Knutson: Thank you.

The Chair: Is the amendment acceptable?

Would you like to read it through in its final form for the benefit of the clerks?

Mr. Gar Knutson: It's “the survival of the species and threats to its habitat that is consistent”.

The Chair: Thank you. The amendment, with a friendly subamendment, is before you. Are you ready for the question?

Mr. David Anderson (Cypress Hills—Grasslands, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Chair, may I ask one question.

The Chair: Yes.

Mr. David Anderson: Does that in any way change how COSEWIC develops recovery plans? Does it add any additional burdens to the work they're doing?

Ms. Ruth Wherry: COSEWIC doesn't do the recovery plans.

The Chair: So the answer is no.

Are you ready for the question?

(Amendment agreed to)

The Chair: Thank you.

Page 149, Mr. Comartin.

Mr. Joe Comartin (Windsor—St. Clair, NDP): Mr. Chair, having just walked in, could we—

The Chair: It's because you touch on lines 15 to 19, whereas the next amendment touches on 16 and 17. I would rather do them in the order that is in the book. We can wait for you.

Mrs. Karen Redman: Mr. Chair.

The Chair: Yes, Madam Redman.

Mrs. Karen Redman: While we're waiting for Mr. Comartin to flip to the appropriate pages, when we look at a cluster of amendments, there are actually several that deal with similar issues. I wonder, and we've done this in the past, if the committee would consider perhaps a discussion and then we could go back to looking at the specific motions. The amendments on page 149, page 150, page 151, and page 152, as well as page 153, which are by Mr. Comartin, Mr. Knutson, two by Mr. Herron, and one by Ms. Kraft Sloan, actually deal with substantively the same issue. Perhaps it would be productive to have a bit of a discussion.

The Chair: All right. Sure.

Mr. Comartin's embraces four lines. If he wants to come in at the end of the discussion, we can invite Mr. Knutson to elaborate briefly on his amendment for lines 16 and 17.

Madam Kraft Sloan.

Mrs. Karen Kraft Sloan (York North, Lib.): Mr. Chair, actually, my amendment on page 152 and Mr. Herron's amendment on page 153 are different amendments. They create a new section and it's a different topic.

The Chair: Yes.

It's doesn't preclude a discussion, does it?

Mrs. Karen Kraft Sloan: Right, but it is not the same.

The Chair: It's not?

Mrs. Karen Kraft Sloan: I'm just pointing out that it's not the same.

Mr. Joe Comartin: Mr. Chair, I'm prepared to go ahead.

The Chair: All right. That would be nice. Thank you.

Mr. Joe Comartin: Essentially what we're all trying to do is get around what is very general wording. I don't know if I'd call it a test, but there's an attempt to set up a test as defined in paragraph 41(1)(c). The wording we're trying to get around there, because we don't find it satisfactory, is “unless it is not possible to do so”. I have such a hard time imagining anybody making a decision based on that type of a test. What we're all attempting to do is to put some scientific basis to the identification of that critical habitat in a more meaningful way.

I would suggest that my wording does it, but I would not have much problem with the rest. We're all striking at the same balance. It's trying to get COSEWIC into putting some scientific basis for this.

The Chair: Your innate humility is interfering with that statement, is it?

• 0915

Mr. Joe Comartin: I am innately humble, Mr. Chair. I have great reason to believe that I should be so, but that's where we're striking it, yes.

The Chair: Fine. Thank you.

Mr. Knutson, would you like to elaborate on yours?

Mr. Gar Knutson: I want to remind the committee that clause 41 lays out the gist of what should be in a recovery strategy. The amendment on page 150 deletes the language “unless it is not possible to do so”. I think that's unnecessary. In my view, Parliament is simply telling the people on the ground to make best efforts to identify critical habitat. I agree in general terms with what Mr. Comartin said. I think we're just trying to tighten up the language.

The Chair: Thank you.

Mr. Herron.

Mr. John Herron (Fundy—Royal, PC/DR): May I defer to Ms. Kraft Sloan for a moment.

The Chair: Madam Kraft Sloan.

Mrs. Karen Kraft Sloan: Did you want to speak with me? I'm sorry, I thought you said “confer with”.

Mr. John Herron: Defer.

Mrs. Karen Kraft Sloan: You're deferring.

Mr. John Herron: Sometimes I confer; we're deferring right now.

Mrs. Karen Kraft Sloan: Mr. Chair, I wanted to point out, in regard to Mr. Comartin's amendment, that this amendment speaks to the work that COSEWIC already does in examining habitat as opposed to critical habitat. This builds on the work that COSEWIC has already done with regard to any of the prior components of the process with regard to a particular species. In many respects it's just following in line with what COSEWIC already does because it's looking at habitat as opposed to critical habitat.

The Chair: You made the point that you were strengthening the language. Would you like to speak on your own?

Mrs. Karen Kraft Sloan: Yes, and I'm not sure he made it entirely the same way I made it.

The Chair: But would you like to speak on your own amendment?

Mrs. Karen Kraft Sloan: Basically my amendment says that if there are gaps in the scientific information, a schedule of studies be put together to identify when this information is going to be put together. It's specifying that a schedule of studies.... It doesn't allow this gap around identifying critical habitat to go unattended. It's saying that if there is a gap in the information, then we need a schedule of studies.

The Chair: Thank you.

Mr. Herron, would you like to explain your two amendments in this?

Mr. John Herron: I'd like to move a friendly amendment to Gar's option, which is on page 150, and rescind mine.

The Chair: Which page are we now doing?

Mr. John Herron: I'd like to move to 150.

The Chair: So you're not discussing your amendments?

Mr. John Herron: I'm not discussing my amendment, because I think Gar's, on page 150, is a better approach than mine.

The Chair: So which one are you withdrawing then?

Mr. John Herron: I'm rescinding 151.

The Chair: You are rescinding 151?

Mr. John Herron: Right.

The Chair: And 153 as well?

Mr. John Herron: No, that's a different line.

The Chair: All right. Then we'll proceed with your suggestion for page 150.

Mr. John Herron: The issue Mr. Comartin raised, and what we're trying to do, is to firm up a commitment to identify habitat. We recognize the issue that sometimes habitat is somewhat of a challenge to identify. Our sentiments may be a little different on that, so I'd like to propose a compromise that we add, after the word “habitat”, “to the extent possible based on the best available scientific information”. So the words being added are “to the extent possible”.

• 0920

The Chair: Thank you. We now must hear whether Mr. Knutson agrees with that suggestion for a subamendment.

Mr. Gar Knutson: That's fine.

The Chair: Madam Redman.

Mrs. Karen Redman: Thank you, Mr. Chair.

All of these amendments, which I thought we were talking about in an overall view, attempt to more clearly define the requirement for identifying critical habitat. The government actually likes Mr. Comartin's and Mr. Herron's amendments. Based on the best available information, including the information provided by COSEWIC, it was our view that this encompassed the intent of both Mr. Comartin's and Mr. Herron's proposed wording and is actually contained in Mr. Knutson's amendment.

We have a difficult time supporting deletion of “unless not possible to do so”. I understand that Mr. Herron is now trying to address that with his new friendly amendment.

I don't know if Ms. Wherry wants to speak to this, or Monsieur Nadeau.

If I could, I would also like to talk about Mrs. Kraft Sloan's and Mr. Herron's amendments because they add a schedule of studies. Mrs. Kraft Sloan has already talked to it and suggested wording. This would provide accountability and transparency in cases where recovery teams are finding it difficult to identify critical habitat and would set a timeline. But again, we would like the wording “if not possible to do so” in the recovery strategy.

I would ask Monsieur Nadeau if he would like to comment on that.

Mr. Simon Nadeau (Head, Endangered Species Recovery, Environment Canada): Yes.

Mr. John Herron: Mr. Chair, just before Mr. Nadeau speaks, I want to be clear that my friendly amendment adds the words “to the extent possible” and strikes out “scientific”.

The Chair: “Based on the best available information”?

Mr. John Herron: Yes.

The Chair: That's important.

Mr. John Herron: I'll be agreeable to that.

The Chair: Is that acceptable to Mr. Knutson?

Mr. Gar Knutson: Sure. The information would would include scientific.

The Chair: Mr. Nadeau, please.

Mr. Simon Nadeau: Thank you, Mr. Chair.

I don't have much to say now because I think most of our concerns have been taken care of. If it's a friendly amendment to page 150, it contains “to the extent possible” and deletes “scientific”. Our problem with that was it excluded aboriginal traditional knowledge and community knowledge. Now it doesn't.

We also like the idea of the schedule of studies so—

The Chair: Well, we now have an overview of the various amendments.

Madam Redman.

Mrs. Karen Redman: Thank you. I neglected to underscore the need, in our view, for “critical habitat” to be part of this discussion. I know Mr. Herron has spoken to it and I wonder if Ms. Wherry would like to speak to that.

Ms. Ruth Wherry: To keeping in the words “critical habitat”?

Mrs. Karen Redman: Yes.

Ms. Ruth Wherry: Well, it's obviously essential to keep in the words “critical habitat” because you're identifying it for the purposes of the later sections that deal with the prohibitions, etc., and those deal with critical habitat. So this is what you're trying to identify for the purposes of those sections.

The Chair: But are you referring to the “critical habitat” reference on lines 15 and 16 or on line 17? Which of the two?

Ms. Ruth Wherry: Actually, the word “critical” is in Mr. Knutson's motion. It's simply not in Mr. Comartin's motion.

The Chair: Done. That helps. Well, we will now proceed in an orderly fashion and ask Mr. Comartin whether he's ready to move his motion so that we can proceed as they are listed in our guide.

Mr. Joe Comartin: May I ask Mr. Knutson a question?

The Chair: Sure.

Mr. Joe Comartin: Did you intend to leave “critical” in?

Mr. Gar Knutson: Well, I'm not changing line 15. I'm talking about my amendment on page 150.

Mr. Joe Comartin: Yes, but I'm asking you if that was intentional on your part or just an oversight.

Mr. Gar Knutson: No. It was intentional.

• 0925

Mr. Joe Comartin: It was intentional on my part, Mr. Chair, to take “critical” out, so I would stand with my motion and move it.

The Chair: Move it is as it stands?

Mr. Joe Comartin: Yes.

The Chair: The motion has been moved. Are there any questions or comments?

(Amendment negatived—[See Minutes of Proceedings])

The Chair: We move now to Mr. Knutson. Would you like for the record to read the amendment as you understand it, please?

Mr. Gar Knutson: I was afraid you were going to ask me that. I have it in front of me.

The Chair: “Habitat to the extent possible”—

Mr. Gar Knutson: It reads:

    habitat to the extent possible, based on the best available information, including the information provided by COSEWIC and examples of

The Chair: Good. Are there any comments or questions?

(Amendment agreed to)

The Chair: Now we move to page 152. Madam Kraft Sloan, would you like to move your motion?

Mrs. Karen Kraft Sloan: Yes, Mr. Chair.

The Chair: Would you like to explain it again?

Mrs. Karen Kraft Sloan: Well, essentially where there are gaps in information that is available regarding the recovery strategy and information on the identification of critical habitat for species, a schedule of studies will be compiled to fill the gaps.

The Chair: Are there any comments or questions?

Madam Redman.

Mrs. Karen Redman: Thank you, Mr. Chair.

I wonder if the mover would accept a friendly amendment that would read “schedule of studies to identify critical habitat where it is not possible to do so in the recovery strategy”.

The Chair: That's quite an amendment.

Mrs. Karen Redman: I would ask Ms. Wherry to speak to it, to give the rationale.

The Chair: Read it again, please.

Mrs. Karen Redman: It reads:

    schedule of studies to identify critical habitat where it is not possible to do so in the recovery strategy;

Mr. John Herron: Mr. Chair, I may have a similar version of that.

Mrs. Karen Redman: If I can just give the rationale for that and ask Ms. Wherry to speak to it, where it says “scientific information”, there's some concern that aboriginal traditional knowledge and community knowledge can be used to identify critical habitat. By saying “scientific knowledge”, we would be precluding those two sources of information.

Mrs. Karen Kraft Sloan: Mr. Chair, why don't we use the same language we used in the previous amendment? Now we're going to have one amendment that relies on a previous amendment that was passed and carried by this committee, including having the government support. Now these two amendments will be inconsistent with each other. So if we could have a review....

Mr. David Anderson: I have a suggestion that we just take out “scientific”.

Mrs. Karen Kraft Sloan: Well, I think what we need to do is make it in line with the previous amendment.

Mrs. Karen Redman: So that is to take “scientific” out.

Mrs. Karen Kraft Sloan: Yes, I don't have a problem taking “scientific” out.

The Chair: It is your amendment, Madam Kraft Sloan.

Is there anyone who wishes to comment on the friendly subamendment by Madam Redman?

Mr. Herron.

Mr. John Herron: I'd like to seek the parliamentary secretary's approval, or thoughts, if we just added “existing” after the word “where” to read “where existing information is inadequate”. We're striking out the word “scientific” and we're adding the word “existing”.

• 0930

Mrs. Karen Kraft Sloan: That's fine.

Mrs. Karen Redman: I guess I would defer to Ms. Wherry. The two suggestions we're balancing is whether to just take “scientific” out, which is what Ms. Kraft Sloan has suggested, or as he's suggesting, take “scientific” out and add “existing” information.

Mr. John Herron: There you go.

The Chair: But in terms of procedure, it seems to me that the amendment to the effect of inserting after the words “studies to identify critical habitat where it is not possible to do so in the recovery strategy” is more than an amendment. It is hard to see that as an amendment. It changes the text considerably, whereas the second amendment, the one to replace “scientific” with “existing” is a subamendment that is within the framework of the amendment itself. So it would be easier to tackle the one proposed by Mr. Herron.

Who wishes to comment?

Mrs. Karen Redman: Ms. Wherry.

Ms. Ruth Wherry: I think there's a bit of difficulty with the words “to fill the gaps”, because we're not exactly sure what that would mean and how you could possibly even interpret that in legislation. That is why we're suggesting just replacing it with “a schedule of studies to identify the critical habitat”, which is what you're trying to do where “existing information” is not there to do so during the recovery strategy.

The Chair: Madam Kraft Sloan, would you like to indicate to the committee how you are adjusting your amendment?

Mrs. Karen Kraft Sloan: Well, I guess—and if you'll forgive me, I'm doing this on the fly—the amendment could then read:

    a schedule of studies to identify critical habitat where existing information is inadequate;

The Chair: All right. You heard the subamendment to the amendment. Are you ready for the question?

Madam Wherry.

Ms. Ruth Wherry: On page 150, as I understood it, the wording that was carried didn't use the word “existing”. I believe it used the word “available”. You might want to be consistent.

The Chair: Yes, on page 150.

Mrs. Karen Kraft Sloan: All right, that's fine.

The Chair: I will read it for you again.

As I understand it, it would read with the subamendment:

    a schedule of studies to identify critical habitat where available information is inadequate;

Do you agree, Madam Kraft Sloan?

The Chair: Mr. Knutson.

Mr. Gar Knutson: Sorry, it's nothing. I'm ready to vote.

The Chair: Are there any comments or questions?

Mr. David Anderson: Actually, I have a question about the content of the motion. That is, how is this going to change things for COSEWIC and the way you do things? Will it delay recovery plans and those kinds of things?

Mr. Simon Nadeau: COSEWIC per se doesn't do recovery. It's the recovery teams that are going to develop the recovery strategy and action plan.

Mr. David Anderson: Who will be doing the studies, then? Won't that come back to you?

Mr. Simon Nadeau: The recovery team or groups working under the supervision of a recovery team will be doing these studies. The recovery team would develop the schedule of study as part of the development of the strategy.

Mr. David Anderson: Okay.

(Amendment as amended agreed to)

The Chair: Thank you.

Then we can move to page 154, the amendment by Mr. Knutson.

• 0935

Mr. Gar Knutson: We are proposing an amendment to paragraph 41(1)(d). I'm just adding additional language.

The way the bill reads now, the recovery plan must include:

    a statement of the population and distribution objectives that will assist the survival and recovery of the species;

I'm asking the committee to add the language:

    and a general description of the research and management activities needed to meet those objectives;

It's just adding a little bit of extra detail.

The Chair: Do you so move?

Mr. Gar Knutson: I so move.

The Chair: Are there any comments on Mr. Knutson's amendment?

Madam Redman?

Mrs. Karen Redman: No.

Mr. David Anderson: We just have a question or a concern about the word “provide”. We felt quite a bit more comfortable with the word “assist” rather than “provide”. We're comfortable with the additional phrase. That's fine. But the word “provide” is too strong.

The Chair: Madam Redman.

Mrs. Karen Redman: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

The government has no problem supporting the inclusion of the reference to research and management, but we also have a problem with the term “provide for”, because no one can guarantee the survival or the recovery of a species. We're more comfortable with the original term “assist”. We think it's more appropriate. I don't know if Ms. Wherry or Monsieur Nadeau would like to comment on it further.

Ms. Ruth Wherry: No.

The Chair: Mr. Knutson is accepting the friendly subamendment from “provide” to “assist”. Thank you.

Is there any further comment?

(Amendment as amended agreed to)

The Chair: Mr. Knutson, on page 155....

Mr. Gar Knutson: This is paragraph 41(1)(d.1). It's new language. It's talking about exactly the same issue as the previous amendment. I'm asking the committee to add language where the recovery plan would include a description of:

      the methods to be used to monitor the recovery of the species and its long-term viability;

The Chair: Are there any comments or questions?

Madam Redman.

Mrs. Karen Redman: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Obviously, monitoring the recovery of a species is very important. A description of the monitoring methodology seems to be best included in an action plan rather than a recovery strategy. The intent of the recovery strategy is really to focus on the broader goals and directions. I would ask Ms. Wherry to comment, but we're wondering if there is perhaps a more appropriate section for this to go in.

Ms. Ruth Wherry: Do you want to handle that?

Mr. Simon Nadeau: Yes, this is actually something that was in Bill C-65, but within the context of recovery plans, which at that time included the recovery strategy and the action plan. It does make sense that this be done, but really, the appropriate level is the action plan where detailed kinds of activities related to recovery will be defined, how they will be done and by what time period, and who will actually do these things. So it's an appropriate type of activity, but activity-level information is more appropriately placed within the action plan.

Mr. Gar Knutson: In what section is that?

An hon. member: That's clause 49.

Mr. Gar Knutson: All right, I'll withdraw it, then, with the understanding that I can present it later.

The Chair: At which point? Could you indicate when?

Mr. Gar Knutson: At paragraph 49(1)(d).

The Chair: Perhaps we may get there today, with some luck; who knows.

We'll go to page 156, an amendment by Mr. Mills, with Mr. Anderson speaking on his behalf.

• 0940

Mr. David Anderson: Mr. Mills' point here was that we're not just at the point of having recovery studies here, but we're already doing recovery planning.

It's important we take into account right now the socio-economic effects it's going to have on the areas involved in the recovery plan. It's important to get this socio-economic aspect in early. If we wait for the action plan, it's probably going to be too late. You need to have cooperation between the people on the ground in order to do a good job of species recovery and we need to take into account the socio-economic aspect of this right from the beginning of the recovery strategy.

One of my main concerns with the bill has been the ability to work effectively with the people who are going to be affected by it. This is an important aspect that needs to be taken into account if you're going to get their cooperation.

The Chair: Madam Redman.

Mrs. Karen Redman: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I would defer to Ms. Wherry or Monsieur Nadeau to perhaps comment on the fact that it's our view the recovery strategy needs to focus on the biological goal.

Mr. Simon Nadeau: The recovery strategy is essentially a scientific document that will guide the development of the action plan, where the specific activities will be laid out. It's really in defining these activities that we will be in a position to evaluate the socio-economic costs and benefits within the action planning process.

We suggest this is actually already covered by paragraph 49(1)(e).

The Chair: Thank you.

Madam Kraft Sloan.

Mrs. Karen Kraft Sloan: I wanted to point out clause 56 to Mr. Anderson, which ensures that it's mandatory for the minister to monitor the implementation of the action plan and assess the report on its implementation and its socio-economic impacts. There's a mandatory requirement for the minister to report on the socio-economic effects of anything that has to do with recovery of species.

This is covered. It's a mandatory requirement in the legislation.

The Chair: Thank you.

Mr. David Anderson: I would suggest that moving that into the action plan is too late in the process. It should be in this recovery strategy; even though it's primarily scientific, it does affect the science on the ground. It affects the people who are involved with it and this needs to be considered early on.

The Chair: Mr. Comartin and Mr. Herron.

Mr. Joe Comartin: I have a question for Mr. Nadeau.

As I understand it, the team that would be put together to do the recovery plan would not have people on it with the technical expertise to take into account the socio-economic....

Am I right or wrong on this?

Mr. Simon Nadeau: Right now the expertise is not there, but when the action plan is developed it will have to be available.

Mr. Joe Comartin: But at the recovery plan stage the expertise would not be there.

Mr. Simon Nadeau: Right now it isn't.

Mr. Joe Comartin: So we would have to augment those teams if this clause goes through.

Mr. Simon Nadeau: Yes, absolutely.

The Chair: I'm sure the committee would not want the chair to embark on another elaboration on the dramatic consequences of the term “socio-economic”, so I will spare you that pleasure.

Mr. Herron, you want to make an intervention.

Mr. John Herron: I'd like to make an intervention. I have an amendment that's very similar to what Mr. Mills' amendment essentially does.

I'd like to remind the committee and even the movers of the amendment of the approach we've had on occasion throughout this debate. We've had amendments some folks might have labelled as more conservation driven than socio-economic driven. Here's where I'm coming from. SARWG, which is composed of environmentalists and industry alike, is in support of an amendment of this nature.

So if this issue is supported here from a socio-economic perspective, I would encourage all individuals to take a look at, on occasions when there's a conservation issue in play, supporting something like what the pulp and paper industry and the Canadian Mining Association were on board with as well, because they're a component of the SARWG coalition.

• 0945

Mr. Chair, Ms. Kraft Sloan is entirely right with respect to the fact that socio-economic implications have to be monitored in clause 56, but why would you want to develop a recovery plan when part of that plan will never be able to be implemented or acted upon because of socio-economic implications?

That's why it's fundamental that they be in at the ground level. This is an amendment supported by industrialists and conservationists alike.

The Chair: Let's address this amendment. Thank you.

Anyone else who wishes to comment? Are you ready for the question?

(Amendment negatived—[See Minutes of Proceedings])

The Chair: Now we can move to Mr. Herron's amendment on page 157.

Mr. John Herron: I would suspect there isn't any more support in the room on this amendment either, so we'll just keep going.

The Chair: It's not moved, thank you.

Now on to amendment 158, also in Mr. Herron's name.

Mr. John Herron: The intent of this amendment is to ensure that there are time limits put in place with respect to developing a recovery plan.

Six months and twelve months, which are the timeframes mentioned in this clause, are significant lengths of time. I come from a corporate background where if you can't measure it, you can't manage it. Actually putting a benchmark in place ensures that we move in a very expeditious fashion. This is supported wholeheartedly by conservationists, and particularly that learned institution, the Sierra Legal Defence Fund.

The Chair: Any comments or questions?

Madam Redman.

Mrs. Karen Redman: Thank you, Mr. Chair.

I would point out that this amendment on page 158 is actually linked to ones appearing on pages 169, 181, 182, and 183. Would it not be more appropriate to defer it until a later time when we could have a more fulsome discussion? We are prepared to speak to it now, but those linkages may make it more germane to have the discussion later.

Mr. John Herron: Sure. So we'll stand it down for the moment. Is that what you're saying?

Mrs. Karen Redman: That would be our suggestion.

Mr. John Herron: I'm on board.

The Chair: So it will be up to you to bring it forward at the appropriate moment, if you will.

Mr. John Herron: Yes, sir.

The Chair: Fine.

On page 159, we have a motion in the name of the member for York North.

Mrs. Karen Kraft Sloan: Thank you, Mr. Chair.

The intent of this motion is to allow for public comment if the minister is contemplating an extinction decision. When we're looking at the minister making extinction decisions, it is only right that the public have an opportunity to comment.

Essentially this adds a subclause:

    (1.1) If the competent minister proposes to make a determination that the recovery of the listed wildlife species is not feasible, he or she must indicate this intention in the public registry, and provide reasons, and allow at least 90 days for public comment before making the determination.

It says the minister must give reasons for an extinction decision as well as allowing for public comment.

The Chair: Madam Redman.

Mrs. Karen Redman: Thank you, Mr. Chair.

I would ask Ms. Wherry to speak to this, but first I would ask the committee to look at clause 43, which is on page 22 of the bill, subclauses (1) and (2), where the recovery strategies.... I can read it for the committee, but I'm sure you are able to read it for yourselves.

• 0950

It says within 60 days after the publication it has to be in the public registry. The second subclause allows for, within 30 days of the expiry period—the reference is subclause (1)—any changes to the recovery strategy; again they may be put in the public registry.

In our view, this is already covered off in another clause. I'd ask Ms. Wherry to speak to the reasons why its recovery is not feasible.

Ms. Ruth Wherry: Actually, I would also add that if you look at subclause 41(2), which also provides that where it's not feasible to do so and the reasons why it is not feasible.... What Ms. Kraft Sloan is looking for is already provided for in the bill. It already has to be in the public registry, as well as the reasons.

To allow at least 90 days is probably taken from Bill C-33. When we introduced Bill C-5, we actually changed that particular clause and made it into a 60- and a 30-day period to add up to 90 days, because, as people pointed out to us, we had not left any time after the comment period if there were to be any changes made in finalizing it. This 90-day period is no longer consistent with the changes made to the other clauses, which are 60 and 30.

The other two points are that these sections already provide for what you're looking for.

The Chair: Ms. Kraft Sloan.

Mrs. Karen Kraft Sloan: Subclause 41(2) says “if the competent minister determines that the recovery of a listed wildlife species is not feasible”. This is after the minister has determined that the recovery is not feasible.

My amendment deals with the minister proposing to make a determination that the recovery is not feasible. So therefore my amendment is different from what is laid out in 41(2) and what is laid out in 43(1) and (2), because this is before the minister actually makes the final decision that recovery is not feasible. As I said earlier, when the minister is contemplating an extinction decision, the public has a right to be involved.

When I was going through my notes yesterday, Mr. Chair, looking at my amendments that might be coming forward in today's meeting, I thought a problem with this amendment might be that it's in the wrong place—it should actually have been in clause 40, a new subclause in clause 40. Unfortunately I asked this morning and clause 40 has already been carried, so I'm not sure I could get unanimous consent to open up clause 40.

Mr. Gar Knutson: I would agree.

Mrs. Karen Kraft Sloan: Gar would agree. So there you have it.

The Chair: Ms. Wherry.

Ms. Ruth Wherry: I wanted to point out that actually subclause 41(2) would still end up...the wording in it would still refer to “proposed”, so when you get to clause 42 and you have the public comment period, it would go in there. The determination would be in that comment period.

Mrs. Karen Kraft Sloan: Mr. Chair, subclause 43(1) is within 60 days after the publication of the proposed recovery strategy.

Yes, of course, it's a proposed recovery strategy, but it's a proposed recovery strategy based on the determination the minister already made that the recovery was not feasible. I'm talking about the minister contemplating an extinction decision. It happens prior to the minister saying the recovery is not feasible.

Ms. Ruth Wherry: But people can still comment on his determination that it's not feasible during the comment period.

Mrs. Karen Kraft Sloan: Yes, that's true, but the minister has already made the decision. At least if there was a comment period prior to the minister making an extinction decision, then the minister may change his or her mind.

Ms. Ruth Wherry: It can still be changed.

The Chair: Any further comments?

• 0955

(Amendment negatived)

The Chair: The amendment on page 160 is from the member for Elgin—Middlesex—London.

Mr. Gar Knutson: This involves removing the words “unless it is not possible to do so”. I would like the civil service to presume that Parliament never asks us to do the impossible. If that's not in the Statutory Instruments Act, I think it should be. We're never going to ask you to do the impossible.

The Chair: That's a good point.

There is deep silence. Madam Redman wants to break the silence.

Mrs. Karen Redman: Thank you, Mr. Chairperson.

While we contemplate the profundity of my colleague's previous statement—

Mr. Gar Knutson: It's not profound.

Mrs. Karen Redman: —we would point out that “unless it is not possible to do so” needs to be there. It doesn't make sense to require identification of a critical habitat and a recovery strategy if it is not possible to do so and certainly within specified timelines. I would ask Monsieur Nadeau to please give his perspective on why this is necessary, or Ms. Wherry.

The Chair: Mr. Nadeau, give us your perspective, please.

Mr. Simon Nadeau: I agree with Mr. Knutson that it's impossible to do the impossible.

I can give a few examples of species where I think we would not be in a position to identify critical habitat. One of these species is the Eskimo curlew, which is an endangered species, but it hasn't been seen in about 10 years. I don't know what area would be critical to that species. Last week we added a requirement to develop recovery strategies for extirpated species. Again these species do not occur any more in Canada, so what areas would be necessary for the recovery of these species is a big unknown, and it would be very difficult if it were possible.

The Chair: Briefly, Mr. Herron.

Mr. John Herron: I have a friendly amendment. It would be consistent with the language we just passed a while ago. Perhaps we could add “to the extent possible”.

Mr. Gar Knutson: That's fine.

The Chair: Please read the subamendment. Would it read “habitat and to the extent possible” or “habitat and to the extent possible the reasons why”?

Mr. John Herron: You have it.

The Chair: Would you mind putting it on the record?

Mr. John Herron: Following “habitat” strike out “unless it is” and insert “to the extent possible”. The rest of the phrase would remain as written.

The Chair: Would you mind reading it all?

Mr. John Herron: Sure. The rest would read “and the reasons why its recovery is not feasible.”

The Chair: Mr. Knutson, are you in agreement?

Mr. Gar Knutson: That's fine.

(Amendment as amended agreed to)

(Clause 41 allowed to stand)

• 1000

(On clause 42—Proposed recovery strategy)

The Chair: Madam Redman, the suggestion has been made that we defer this amendment until we come to clause 130. That's where the schedules are being amended.

Mrs. Karen Redman: We would be agreeable to that. My opening comment was on whether we are all clear on what is in schedule 1. So we would be amenable to that.

The Chair: What do we do with the amendment on page 163, then? We can deal with it, I think. It's in the name of the member for York North. Would you like to present it?

Mrs. Karen Kraft Sloan: Yes, Mr. Chair. The effect of this amendment is to shorten the timeline from one year to six months for the minister to include a proposed recovery strategy in the public registry for an endangered species and from two years to one year for threatened species. It also adds “extirpated species”. We agreed to adding mandatory requirements for extirpated species in recovery strategies. So this just brings in line what the committee has already asked for.

The Chair: So you're shortening the timelines.

Mrs. Karen Kraft Sloan: I'm shortening the timelines and adding “extirpated species”.

The Chair: You heard the amendment.

Madam Redman.

Mrs. Karen Redman: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I would ask Monsieur Nadeau to speak to this. Fundamental to our problem with shortening the timelines is the fact that it could well preclude meaningful consultation in this part of the process for the recovery strategy. But I would ask Monsieur Nadeau to flesh out what our concerns are.

Mr. Simon Nadeau: Actually, the timelines that are in the bill right now are fairly short. For many species for which we've developed recovery plans in the past, it has taken way more time than that for those plans to be developed. Many plans took six or seven years to be developed. If the timelines are so short and we still have to involve all of the stakeholders and governments, it's going to be very difficult, especially for a species that has a broad range and where many jurisdictions would have to be involved. We also need time for enrolling scientists on these recovery teams. The risk is that if we have to do it this quickly, the content and the thinking that goes into the development of these strategies will not be very comprehensive. This document is a key one. It has to be well thought out and give proper consideration to all the science we have so that it guides the development of the action plan. So we want good documents.

The Chair: Madam Kraft Sloan.

Mrs. Karen Kraft Sloan: Mr. Chair, I'd be willing to accept a friendly amendment from the government to remove the reduction in the timelines and just keep in “extirpated species”. The committee just passed an amendment including extirpated species in the recovery strategy, so I think it's important to keep it in line with the work the committee has already done.

[Translation]

The Chair: Madam Scherrer, you have the floor.

Ms. Hélène Scherrer (Louis-Hébert, Lib.): I would just like someone to explain the difference between an endangered and a threatened species. There is a distinction, is there not?

Mr. Simon Nadeau: When we talk about endangered species, this is the last level of risk before extinction.

Ms. Hélène Scherrer: But it remains nevertheless threatened?

Mr. Simon Nadeau: When we say a species is threatened, this is a somewhat lower level of risk of extinction.

Ms. Hélène Scherrer: Do you mean it is both threatened and endangered?

Mr. Simon Nadeau: The different categories defined by COSEWIC are as follows: “endangered species”, “threatened species” and “species of special concern”. The category endangered species is the one most at risk.

Ms. Hélène Scherrer: Very well.

[English]

The Chair: So the amendment as it stands before us focuses only on the inclusion of “extirpated species” in line 15.

(Amendment agreed to—[See Minutes of Proceedings])

• 1005

(Clause 42 allowed to stand)

(Clause 43 agreed to)

(On clause 44—Existing plans)

The Chair: We now move to clause 44, an amendment by the member for York North.

Mrs. Karen Kraft Sloan: Mr. Chair, with your indulgence, I'm going to boldly ask if we could stand this down. I know how much you dislike floating amendments, and I'm afraid I'd have to add a floating amendment to my amendment here. I would like to have time to redraft that for the committee, please.

The Chair: Agreed.

Mrs. Karen Kraft Sloan: Thank you.

(Clause 44 allowed to stand)

(On clause 45—Amendments)

Mr. Gar Knutson: I have a point of order.

The Chair: Yes.

Mr. Gar Knutson: Can't we stand it until tomorrow, or until the end—

Mrs. Karen Kraft Sloan: I'll just draft an amendment and bring it in. We can deal with it tomorrow, if that's helpful.

The Chair: Thank you.

On page 165, we have an amendment in the name of the member for York North.

Mrs. Karen Kraft Sloan: Yes, Mr. Chair.

The effect of this amendment would be to delete subclause 45(2), and in many respects it is linked to an amendment I have on page 182.

The concern here is that timelines for action plans should be specified in the legislation, not left to ministerial discretion. In the recovery strategy, if members turn to paragraph 41(1)(g), it says “a statement of when one or more action plans in relation to the recovery strategy will be completed”, so there is no specification of a timeline for an action plan in the legislation.

Subclause 45(2) allows an amendment relating to time for completing an action plan. It's a requirement that it be included in the public registry. What I'm suggesting here is that there should be statutory guidelines as to the completion of timelines.

The Chair: You may want to add an explanation of page 182 so the committee understands what you are proposing.

Mrs. Karen Kraft Sloan: Okay, let's turn to my amendment on page 182. Perhaps this is consequential then.

The Chair: Madam Redman.

Mrs. Karen Redman: I think Ms. Kraft Sloan makes a good point. I'm wondering if we could defer, stand this one down. We feel it is consequential to the one on page 182, and it's also linked to those on pages 183 and 184. We could deal with it at that time in a comprehensive manner.

The Chair: All right. Is that acceptable to you, Madam Kraft Sloan?

Mrs. Karen Kraft Sloan: Yes.

The Chair: Supreme sacrifice?

Mrs. Karen Kraft Sloan: Supreme sacrifice.

The Chair: We'll stand the amendment on page 165. We'll also stand the one on page 182.

(Clause 45 allowed to stand)

(On clause 46—Reporting)

The Chair: Then we land on page 166, clause 46, an amendment in the name of the member for York North.

Mrs. Karen Kraft Sloan: The very historic riding of York North, Mr. Chair. It is very true, if anyone knows Baldwin and LaFontaine.

Mr. Gar Knutson: All ridings are historic.

Mrs. Karen Kraft Sloan: In their own special way.

Mr. Gar Knutson: Yes.

Mrs. Karen Kraft Sloan: The intent of the amendment on page 166 is to add progress toward meeting its objectives to the reporting requirement. Clause 46 states there is a reporting requirement for the implementation of the recovery strategy, and the amendment on page 166 would suggest that the minister must report not only on the implementation of the recovery strategy, but also on progress toward meeting its objectives, which I think is rather important, particularly when one is concerned about accountability issues and values for Canadian taxpayers. We want to make sure the government is indeed making progress.

• 1010

Also, it would lower the reporting timeline from five to three years, for both the initial and subsequent reports.

The Chair: Thank you.

Are there any comments?

Madam Redman.

Mrs. Karen Redman: Thank you, Mr. Chairperson.

I would ask either Ms. Wherry or M. Nadeau to comment on this, but I'd like to point out that the three-year reporting timeline, in our view, is not feasible. The bill already calls for both annual and five-year reporting on recovery strategies, and this was selected after careful consideration.

I don't know if Ms. Wherry, or—

The Chair: Very briefly, please.

Mr. Simon Nadeau: Yes. There is already a requirement to produce an annual report to Parliament that includes the preparation and implementation of recovery strategies, action plans, and management plans.

The idea under the current clause 46 actually builds upon the current approach in the development of recovery strategies and action plans, which are developed for a five-year period. I would argue that three years is not a long enough period to see results, to see species react to some of our management activities. Five years is a bit more appropriate.

The Chair: Mr. Herron, Madam Kraft Sloan.

Mr. John Herron: I'll defer to Karen.

The Chair: Madam Kraft Sloan.

Mrs. Karen Kraft Sloan: Thank you, Mr. Chair.

I would be happy to take a friendly amendment from the government and delete reference to the reduction of the time period. I do think it is important that within the reporting on the implementation of the recovery strategy, the government details progress toward meeting its objectives.

A voice: So it's five years?

Mrs. Karen Kraft Sloan: Yes, it goes back to five.

The Chair: The amendment would have a subamendment to read “within five years”.

Mrs. Karen Kraft Sloan: What we could do is just say “the implementation of the recovery strategy, and the progress towards meeting its objectives”.

The Chair: We can delete the rest. Everything after the word “within” on the second line would be dropped.

That's the amendment before us.

Are there any further comments or questions? If not, are you ready for the question?

(Amendment agreed to—[See Minutes of Proceedings])

The Chair: Thank you.

On page 167, we have a motion in the name of the member for Red Deer.

Mr. David Anderson: This is simply an amendment for clarity, and it just helps to ensure reporting ceases once the recovery plan expires or a decision is made not to recover a species. Once the recovery plan no longer applies, this allows that to cease.

The Chair: We have the amendment by Mr. Mills. Are there any comments or questions?

Madam Redman.

Mrs. Karen Redman: Thank you, Mr. Chairperson.

I'm just wondering about the use of the word “completed”. A recovery strategy is completed once it's written. We're wondering if it would be considered a friendly amendment by the mover to remove the word “completed”.

The Chair: Which word?

Mrs. Karen Redman: “Completed”. It would read “until the strategy is expired or replaced, the species recovered or recovery is no longer feasible”.

The Chair: “Until the strategy has expired or is replaced”?

Is that acceptable to Mr. Anderson?

Mr. David Anderson: That's acceptable.

The Chair: Are there any further comments or questions?

Are you ready for the question?

• 1015

(Amendment agreed to [See Minutes of Proceedings])

(Clause 46 as amended agreed to)

(On clause 47—Preparation)

The Chair: Yes, Mr. Grewal.

Mr. Gurmant Grewal (Surrey Central, Canadian Alliance): We would like to withdraw our amendment on page 168.

The Chair: The motion on page 168 is withdrawn.

[Translation]

I give the floor to the member for Rosemont—Petite-Patrie.

Mr. Bernard Bigras (Rosemont—Petite-Patrie, BQ): Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

We discussed a short while ago the subject matter of my motion on page 169. As Mrs. Kraft Sloan stated, there is no mention at the present time in the bill, and not specifically in clause 47, of a timeline for preparing action plans. I am aware we have already had this discussion and, if I am not mistaken, Mr. Chairman, we decided to stand Mr. Herron's amendment. We were to discuss this issue when we reached clause 47.

I believe it was during the discussion on Mr. Herron's amendment, on page 158, that it was said that there should be time lines for the development of actions plans. So we believe there is a need to really set a deadline for preparing any action plan and we ask for your support for this amendment.

You will also note, on the one hand, that the amendment has not been signed. On the other hand, I do not know if the English text is grammatically correct, but such is not the case of the French version. This is why I did not sign it, but I could easily table it again today.

[English]

The Chair: If there ever was an example of adopting the precautionary principle, it was Mr. Bigras.

Fine. The motion is before us. Are there any comments or questions?

Madam Redman.

Mrs. Karen Redman: Thank you, Mr. Chairperson.

I would defer to Ms. Wherry to comment on this for M. Nadeau.

Ms. Ruth Wherry: I think this is linked with the other ones we've deferred, regarding timelines for action plans.

The Chair: Which ones?

Ms. Ruth Wherry: They are the ones on pages 181, 182, and 183. In the earlier ones we said we'd do them all together at that time.

The Chair: Mr. Knutson.

Mr. Gar Knutson: Before we agree to defer it, does the government have any opinions on putting in a one-year timeline?

Ms. Ruth Wherry: We have opinions on putting any timelines on action plans, regardless if it's somebody's motion for six months, one year, or two years.

The Chair: Well then, could you come clean and tell us?

Ms. Ruth Wherry: Do you want to do all of them together?

The Chair: You might as well tell us here, at this point.

Mr. Gar Knutson: You're opposed to timelines, I take it.

Ms. Ruth Wherry: Yes.

Mr. Gar Knutson: I suggest—we're going to get into this later—you want language in the bill that says “to the extent possible” because you don't want Parliament to ask you to do the impossible.

• 1020

I shouldn't say “you”. I apologize for that.

I think it's reasonable for Parliament to suggest that action plans shouldn't take forever, and that's why we need timelines. But we're going to have this debate later.

Ms. Ruth Wherry: I can comment on it now, if you want, or we can wait.

The Chair: Yes, please.

Mr. Gar Knutson: I'd like to hear the comments now.

Ms. Ruth Wherry: I would just point out that during the action plan stage, for one thing, there could be more than one action plan, so which action plan would you put your timeline on? There could be several down the road. They could continue to build on each other.

When we do action plans, it is already in the bill that we will do a lot of consultation with all affected people—landowners, resource users, aboriginal peoples. We will do the socio-economic considerations. That will all take, as you can well understand, a certain amount of time.

It might be more appropriate for the scientists, etc., who are doing the recovery action plans and recovery strategies to be more involved in determining when it makes sense to say something's finished as opposed to the bill prescribing it.

[Translation]

The Chair: Mr. Bigras, it is your turn.

Mr. Bernard Bigras: I wonder if it would not be preferable, at this point in time, to set aside these clauses and to revisit them later on. Would it be possible? There is also Mr. Herron's amendment, as I said earlier. The official suggested setting aside for the time being the motions on pages 182 and 183. This would allow us to make up our minds on the importance of including a timeline for action plans.

The Chair: Thank you, Mr. Bigras.

[English]

Mr. Herron.

Mr. John Herron: I have a slightly different approach than the officials may be advocating. I can understand the idea of flexibility, but the public has a problem with governments on most issues because it just seems to take forever to get things done. So if you have a target, meaning an actual timeline, you can request an extension to that timeline and put the reasons for that extension on a public registry. That gives accountability and flexibility, and it also sets a target for us to aim toward. I just think that's a lot better way than leaving it open-ended and not taking action for a myriad of different political reasons.

So when we come to that section, I would recommend to the government side that we adopt amendments that set a target, have a provision to actually have an extension, but require that the reasons for that extension be put in the public registry. That speaks to a lot of accountability and covers your issue on flexibility.

Thanks.

The Chair: It is becoming clearer that we should stand it and deal with this amendment on page 169 when we come to page 182.

Madam Kraft Sloan.

Mrs. Karen Kraft Sloan: What Mr. Herron said is very useful for consideration by the committee members. I appreciate that there are many action plans, or more than one action plan in many cases. There is a lot of good work that has to be done on the ground, and it's important to involve people who are actually going to be doing this work. So you need flexibility built into those timelines and some kind of reporting around them as well. I think Mr. Herron's suggestion is a very good one.

The other concern I have is, as far as I understand, there is no requirement to actually implement an action plan. This is a huge problem. There are no timelines, but there's also no requirement to implement an action plan. People who live on the land and live off the land would probably like to know when this process is actually going to start and how they are going to be engaged in a concrete way, instead of having this possibility hanging over their heads on a regular basis. So I think this clarity needs to built into the act.

The Chair: Thank you.

Madam Redman, please.

• 1025

Mrs. Karen Redman: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. In acknowledging that this may well be deferred, I don't know if we've reached a decision.

Further to some of the comments Ms. Wherry made, species vary, as do the threats to species, and a major concern with putting this timeline on is the fact that it may preclude meaningful consultation with the very people who will make this work on the ground. By limiting the timeline, there is a risk of precluding this consultation and of taking into consideration socio-economic factors, among others. Not only that, it doesn't make sense for politicians to apply a false deadline when these decisions about determining the most effective action plan to be developed are best made by the scientists and practitioners.

The Chair: Thank you.

The concern that is emerging seems to be stronger on the issue of the action plan and whether or not it is mandatory than on timelines. But yes, we agree that we should stand page 169, proposed amendment B-4, and discuss it with one of the two when you come to that point.

Madam Kraft Sloan.

Mrs. Karen Kraft Sloan: Mr. Chair, I just wanted to add that what Mr. Herron has suggested is extremely realistic and that it's not setting up false timelines that can never be reached. It's setting up accountability in the process, and if people want value from their government, they want to know what it is their government is delivering. They want to build accountability into the process, and we've often heard from the government that accountability is an important component of this legislation. Let's build accountability in and also understand what it's like in a case-by-case situation.

Mr. David Anderson: Mr. Chair, just to make a comment, I think Mr. Herron had good suggestions there and they should be considered.

The Chair: Thank you, Mr. Anderson.

We will stand this clause.

(Clause 47 allowed to stand)

(On clause 48—Cooperation with other ministers and governments)

The Chair: We move to page 170 and clause 48. The motion is in the name of the member for Red Deer.

Mr. David Anderson: The way subclause 48(3) reads presently is that:

    an action plan must be prepared in consultation with any landowners and other persons whom the competent minister considers to be directly affected by

We would suggest that this be amended by putting in “landowners, resource users and other persons directly affected by” it. It would remove “whom the competent minister considers” and put “resource owners” in. One of the reasons for this is to broaden consultations. Landowners and just the “persons whom the competent minister considers” are a fairly narrow group of people. We're suggesting that we broaden consultations and make the process a bit more objective, and that's the suggestion for the amendment there.

The Chair: So you are inserting the term “resource users”.

Mr. David Anderson: Yes, the “landowners, resource users and other persons directly affected by, or interested in”.

The Chair: Would this include oil companies, mining companies, the fishing industry, and—

Mr. David Anderson: Yes. Actually I would like to suggest that we change “resource users” to “lessees”, so it would read “landowners, lessees and other persons directly affected by”. We're referring to people who are using the resource or have—

The Chair: So now you're replacing the term “resource users” with “lessees”.

Mr. David Anderson: Yes, “landowners, lessees and other persons directly affected by” the action plan.

The Chair: This could be local businesses but also distant multinationals.

Mr. David Anderson: Yes, or conservation groups; it would be whoever has a lease on the land.

The Chair: Exxon Corporation would be included, and so on.

Madam Kraft Sloan.

Mrs. Karen Kraft Sloan: Mr. Chair, I was wondering if the officials could comment on this amendment, particularly with regard to the deletion of ministerial discretion.

The Chair: Are you on clause 48?

Mrs. Karen Kraft Sloan: Yes, subclause 48(3). The amendment would actually delete ministerial discretion. The subclause would read, if this amendment passed, Mr. Chair:

    To the extent possible, an action plan must be prepared in consultation with any landowners, lessees and other persons directly affected by, or interested in, the action plan, including the government of any other country in which the species is found.

The Chair: While Mr. Anderson is taking note of that, Madame Scherrer, are you ready for the question?

• 1030

Mrs. Karen Redman: Mr. Near wants to comment.

The Chair: Mr. Near.

Mr. David Near (Legal Counsel, Legal Services, Department of Justice): I just wish to point out that by the deletion of “the competent minister” there's no indication as to who makes the determination of who's directly affected. It's necessary to keep in “the competent minister”; otherwise, it's left totally unknown as to who makes that determination.

The Chair: Madame Scherrer.

[Translation]

Ms. Hélène Scherrer: I would simply like to underscore something. In the French version, if you change line 5, the words “ministre compétent” remain. I do not know what the true intent of the author of the amendment was, but in French, the term “ministre compétent” remains.

[English]

The Chair: This fact has been brought to the attention of Mr. Anderson.

Madam Kraft Sloan again.

Mrs. Karen Kraft Sloan: Mr. Anderson, perhaps the intent of Mr. Mills was not to delete “ministerial discretion”. This also falls in line with the discussion we had earlier, particularly a point that was raised by your colleagues. Mr. Bailey, in fact, raised the issue of notification and asked, how are we possibly going to notify every single person who's affected because it's almost impossible to know that?

There was an agreement by everyone on committee that what would happen is that there would be a redrafting of that part. A lot of us were very supportive of notification, myself included, but there was this problem of, how do you do it for every single person? The same sort of idea applies here, and that's why ministerial discretion is important.

Mr. David Anderson: I think ministerial discretion is included in clause 47 and in the beginning of clause 48. We would be willing to leave the words “other persons whom the competent minister considers to be directly affected by” in this.

The Chair: So the English will be in conformity with the French.

Mr. David Anderson: Yes.

The Chair: That takes care of the point raised by Madame Scherrer.

Are there any further...?

Mr. David Anderson: Yes, “lessees” would be the word added to the clause.

The Chair: The term “resource users” would be replaced by the word “lessees”, and the English version would be concurrent with the French version in that “the competent minister” would be included. Are you ready for the question?

Mr. Savoy.

Mr. Andy Savoy (Tobique—Mactaquac, Lib.): I would suggest a possible friendly amendment that would set out an obligation for the minister to develop and publish a notification process that would reach all landowners and other affected landowners and lessees, etc. Would that be acceptable?

Mr. David Anderson: How would the amendment read?

Mr. Andy Savoy: I haven't got the exact wording, but the intent of it would be for the minister to develop and carry out a notification process—I was concerned about this earlier, actually—that would reach all landowners, lessees, and other persons affected directly.

The Chair: Maybe some amendments would have to be very simple. It would have to fit into the spirit and the intent of the amendment. I don't see whether that could be done.

Mr. Near? No?

Mr. Herron.

Mr. John Herron: I would say to Mr. Savoy, through you, Mr. Chair, that we're close to developing some language with respect to the notification process that both sides of the table will be able to live with. We can deal with that aspect later and at this point just deal with the issue of adding “lessee” and keeping ministerial discretion. I think we can have our cake and eat it too at a later date with an amendment the government is prepared to support.

The Chair: Yes, Mr. Laliberte.

Mr. Rick Laliberte (Churchill River, Lib.): I've listened to this land users, landowners, and lessees debate and have looked at the language in this bill. I have a dilemma in that in Saskatchewan the province is changing its administration of traditional land users to a point where forest management leaseholders will be administering the traditional land users. The traditional users are coming off the resource management list for resource management responsibilities in the province. There's quite a debate going on there right now.

For this whole definition of owners and lessees, there's a gap missing in the whole northern region north of surveyed territory and rural municipalities. For anything north of them, there's a huge debate on how you're going to deal with the traditional land users because they're not classed as land users. It's crown land. Also, respecting the lessees, a grey area comes in, because the forest management lease companies will be administering the traditional land use activities of those people, the fishing and the trapping. It's quite a debate of definition there.

• 1035

Mr. David Anderson: I guess my short response to that, not knowing the whole issue Rick is talking about, is that paragraph 48(1)(d) talks about aboriginal organizations needing to be directly consulted. I would hope that would be included in it as well.

The Chair: Are you ready for the question?

(Amendment agreed to—See Minutes of Proceedings)

The Chair: Shall clause 48 carry as amended?

Mr. John Herron: Whoa! We're going to talk about notification at a different time, so can we keep the clause open for the moment?

The Chair: No, we can't. We have no amendments before us.

Mr. John Herron: All right.

May I have just a second, Mr. Chair, please? Okay, sorry.

The Chair: Shall clause 48 as amended carry?

(Clause 48 as amended agreed to)

(On clause 49—Contents)

The Chair: We move to page 171, clause 49, the amendment in the name of the member for Elgin-Middlesex-London.

Mr. Gar Knutson: Thanks very much, Mr. Chair.

I'd like to move this amendment. Section 49 deals with the contents of the action plan. I have a number of amendments dealing with this section.

The initial amendment is fairly simple. It puts in language to tie the action plan and make it consistent with the recovery strategy.

The Chair: Madam Redman.

Mrs. Karen Redman: Thank you, Mr. Chairperson.

We do not believe this amendment is necessary, but more to the point is that the term “consistent”, which invites judicial review, is problematic. I would ask if Mr. Near would like to make some comments on the wording of this amendment?

Mr. David Near: It may appear common sense that the action plan be consistent or follow through on the positions put forward in the recovery strategy. This is just the addition of another subjective test, if you like, in the term “consistent”. There could be an argument brought by litigious parties that the action plan is or is not consistent. It invites judicial review on both sides of the issue, whether it be from the resource sector or environmentalists.

The Chair: Mr. Knutson.

Mr. Gar Knutson: The bill has the language “to the extent possible”; that would invite judicial review. We seem to pull this criterion in rather sporadically. But if the government's not comfortable with this, then I look at it as fairly minor. It's not worthy of a lot of debate.

[Translation]

Mr. Bernard Bigras: It is a lawyer's debate.

[English]

Mr. Gar Knutson: What did he say?

The Chair: “It's a lawyer's debate.”

Mr. Gar Knutson: Right. C'est vrai.

The Chair: So is the amendment being withdrawn?

(Amendment withdrawn)

The Chair: Thank you.

On page 172, we have an amendment in the name of the member for Windsor-St. Clair.

Mr. Joe Comartin: Mr. Chair, we've been through this section. You'll see in the subsequent amendment—I think the next two—it's the same issue we dealt with in, I think, clause 41. Given the result of the vote at that time I would defer to Mr. Knutson and Mr. Herron, who I assume are going to get together again and amend in accordance with how they amended Mr. Knutson's the last time around.

• 1040

Mr. John Herron: We are in cahoots again, I think.

Mr. Joe Comartin: For consistency, I would agree with that approach, even though mine is a better one.

The Chair: Is your amendment withdrawn, Mr. Comartin?

Mr. Joe Comartin: Yes.

The Chair: So it's not moved. Thank you, that's correct. On page 173 we have an amendment standing in the name of Mr. Knutson.

Mr. Gar Knutson: Again, Mr. Chairman, still on clause 49, we were discussing the action plan. The bill says we identify the species' critical habitat. I'm stroking out the language “unless it is not possible to do so” and including “based on the best available scientific information and consistent with the recovery strategy”.

Mr. Herron is going to remove the word “scientific”. I'm just describing what's written here.

The Chair: We did this exercise earlier, didn't we? All right, do you want to remove “scientific”?

Mr. John Herron: Yes.

The Chair: Yes, and we had this discussion earlier on “scientific”. Fine. Are there any further comments?

Mr. John Herron: Could you read it to the extent possible?

The Chair: Would you mind reading it again, Mr. Knutson?

Mr. Gar Knutson: Do you mean the way it will stand now, with Mr. Herron's change?

The Chair: Yes.

Mr. Gar Knutson: We're talking about paragraph (a) of subclause 49(1), which would read:

    (a) an identification of the species' critical habitat, based on the best available information and consistent with the recovery strategy, and examples of activities that are likely to result in its destruction

The Chair: Thank you. You have the amendment before you.

Mrs. Karen Redman: Where is “to the extent possible”?

Mr. Gar Knutson: It was removed.

The Chair: Yes, exactly.

Mr. Gar Knutson: I apologize; I didn't pick that up. I'll start again.

The Chair: After the word “habitat”—do you want to insert it there?

Mr. Gar Knutson: Okay.

The Chair: No, I'm asking.

Mr. Gar Knutson: Sure, yes. So the whole paragraph (a) will read:

    (a) an identification of the species' critical habitat, to the extent possible, based on the best available information and consistent with the recovery strategy, and examples of activities that are likely to result in its destruction.

The Chair: Thank you. Are you ready for the question? Those in favour, please so indicate.

(Amendment agreed to)

The Chair: All right, we move to page 175, an amendment in the name of Mr. Knutson.

Your amendment, Mr. Herron, cannot be moved. Do you understand that? Fine. Mr. Knutson, please.

Mr. Gar Knutson: On page 175, we're still dealing with clause 49.

The Chair: Yes.

Mr. Gar Knutson: I'm making reference to “section 74”, which deals with agreements on harming species or their habitats, and I'm suggesting that perhaps this was overlooked in the drafting. I'd like to hear the government's response.

The Chair: Madam Redman.

Mrs. Karen Redman: Mr. Chair, there was some consideration in our discussion of this, whether this should be allowed to stand and dealt with as part of clause 74, as we've deferred others. But we're prepared to speak to it now if that is the wish of the committee.

The Chair: Mr. Knutson, are you prepared to stand it?

• 1045

Mr. Gar Knutson: Well, I'm just suggesting that clause 74 be included. I'm suggesting it was an oversight that it wasn't, but if the government is just telling me that it wasn't an oversight and it was deliberate not to include clause 74, I'll withdraw it.

An hon. member: Let's hear about it.

Mrs. Karen Redman: In that case, I would ask Ms. Wherry to speak about it.

Ms. Ruth Wherry: It's not exactly clear why clause 74 is referenced here. It doesn't quite make sense, because the purpose of clause 11 and this clause is to protect critical habitat, whereas the purpose of clause 74 is to do agreements that may affect critical habitat. So it's two entirely different things.

Mr. Simon Nadeau: Actually, when the recovery team develop an action plan they're going to want to identify those conservation agreements that should be developed to carry out the activities laid out in the action plan. That's clause 11. That's a proactive type of activity that the recovery team can do. Clause 74 is actually a reactionary thing. It's a reaction to somebody wanting to conduct an activity that could affect the species, so it doesn't really belong here because of that.

Mr. Gar Knutson: Well, again, it's not a point worth debating at length, but I would suggest you include clause 74 agreements as part of your action plan. If you don't see it, that's fine. I'll withdraw it.

The Chair: Madam Kraft Sloan

Mrs. Karen Kraft Sloan: Mr. Comartin and I had made some comments about clause 11. When we had the earlier discussion with the government officials, one of the officials had said conservation agreements are for conservation purposes. I think Mr. Comartin raised the issue that some people's conservation purposes are perhaps different from other people's. Some may have the effect of protecting and recovering species, and some may be less effective, shall we say.

The original wording of subclause 11(2), Mr. Chair, said that the:

    agreement may provide for the taking of conservation measures and any other measures consistent with the purposes of this Act, including

—some of the following measures. I wanted to ask the officials why subclause 11(2) originally said the agreement “may” provide for taking conservation measures.

Ms. Ruth Wherry: Again, clause 11 is referring to conservation agreements to benefit a species or to benefit the critical habitat. It's a different kind of agreement.

Under clause 74, you're referring to a totally different kind of agreement.

Mrs. Karen Kraft Sloan: That wasn't my question. My question was why, under subclause 11(2), the original wording of the bill said the agreement “may” provide for taking of conservation measures. Why was it worded that way?

Mr. David Near: Well, originally, it was our intention to create an agreement that would only benefit the species. As certain members of the committee pointed out when we dealt with clause 11, they wished to clarify that such was in fact the case. I believe wording was added that made it crystal clear that clause 11 agreements were only to benefit the species.

Clause 74 agreements, on the other hand, contemplated a negative impact.

Mrs. Karen Kraft Sloan: I'm sorry, Mr. Chair, my question isn't about the difference between clause 11 and clause 74. My question is not about what happened on the committee.

To clarify this, my question was why, in the original drafting, subclause 11(2) said the agreement “may” provide for taking of conservation measures.

Mr. David Near: It was because we utilized the usual form of providing a minister's authority. We usually use “may”. “Must” and “shall” are unusual. There was nothing more than a drafting style.

Mrs. Karen Kraft Sloan: Well, Mr. Chair, a drafting style like this provides huge discretionary loopholes. We had been assured by the officials when we had this original debate that conservation agreements are for the conservation of species. It's not that they “may” provide conservation measures.

• 1050

I beg to differ with my colleague, Gar Knutson. His amendment to paragraph 49(1)(b), which would add “section 74” is perhaps not important to him or his interpretation of it, but my questions haven't been answered on this sufficiently. I would like this to be stood down until we can have a fuller debate on clause 74 implications. I just have a lot of questions that are still outstanding on this, and I think Mr. Comartin raised some of my concerns as well.

The Chair: What's your wish, Mr. Knutson?

Mr. Gar Knutson: We'll stand it down.

The next one on page 176 can also be allowed to stand.

The Chair: On page 177 is an amendment by Mr. Mills.

Mr. David Anderson: There are a couple of things that will follow if this one is passed. We are suggesting that paragraph 49(1)(d) will become paragraph 49(1)(e), if the two amendments—there's one later here—are passed. Present paragraph 49(1)(e) will become paragraph 49(1)(d). It will read:

    (d) an evaluation of the socio-economic costs of the action plan and the benefits to be derived from its implementation, and an explanation of why, from among the options in the plan, the measures in the plan were chosen.

There are couple of reasons for this amendment. One is that we feel the cost-and-benefit studies that will have to take place should be applied before the statements about measures for implementation. That's the reason for moving it from paragraph 49(1)(e) to 49(1)(d). The second one is that we feel there must be some discussion of how and why a particular path and option is chosen over the other ones. So those are the reasons for setting this amendment forward.

The Chair: Mr. Reed.

Mr. Julian Reed (Halton, Lib.): I have a point of clarification. Mr. Anderson, when you were reading it I thought I heard—and this may be my deteriorating hearing or something—“from its implementation and an explanation of why”.

Mr. David Anderson: Right. The written version says “how” and we're suggesting that word should be “why”, just for clarity. It can be whichever one the committee chooses, but we thought “why” was the clearer way to go there.

The Chair: Your hearing is excellent, Mr. Reed.

It is up to the mover to make the decision, but you must give us an indication.

Mr. David Anderson: I will say “why”, and we're open to discussion of amendment for that.

The Chair: All right.

Madam Redman, do you have any comments?

Mrs. Karen Redman: Just for clarification, it's been moved with the explanation of “why”, as opposed to “how”. Is that correct?

The Chair: The explanation has not been given. It has been accepted as—

Mrs. Karen Redman: As read, which is “why”.

The Chair: It was not read, actually, but was suggested by Mr. Reed.

Mrs. Karen Redman: Sorry, I didn't mean an explanation had been given. I mean it reads “and an explanation of why, from among the options”.

I guess I would just ask, if I could, Mr. Near or Ms. Wherry if they have a comment on that word change.

Ms. Ruth Wherry: The word change makes it certainly a little clearer, but I would still suggest it's an onerous thing. There may be many options and measures that are being considered, and to have to explain why is adding quite an onerous obligation.

Simon, can you build on that?

Mr. Simon Nadeau: Yes. If we had to justify why we decided on a course of action for the research aspect of the plan in relation to the survey techniques, an education awareness plan, management activities, every single element of the action plan, it could become very onerous.

The Chair: Mr. Benoit.

Mr. Leon Benoit (Lakeland, Canadian Alliance): Thank you, Mr. Chair.

• 1055

I think this is a key point. It may be somewhat onerous to carry out this evaluation, but I think it's absolutely essential. You're affecting people's lives in a substantial way. You're affecting the protection of species at risk. It should go without saying that this type of evaluation would be done. It's the least you would expect. I can't state strongly enough that I think it must be a part of this section of the legislation.

The Chair: Thank you.

Are there any further comments?

Mr. David Anderson: I have one comment. I don't think we're asking here that every part of the plan be explained. If you're going to apply a plan, there's a general explanation of why that was chosen, in contrast to something else.

If you're doing good science, it's going to cost a lot of money to do these plans, and there's a good reason why that should have to be justified. This is what we're choosing to do, and here's why we're doing it.

It's really important that we pick the best strategies. If you pick a good one, there shouldn't be a problem explaining why you've chosen that one. That's the reason for the amendment.

The Chair: Thank you, Mr. Anderson.

(Amendment negatived)

The Chair: On page 178 is a motion in the name of Mr. Knutson.

Mr. Gar Knutson: Thank you, Mr. Chair.

I'd like to move this. The key word in my amendment is “when”—when these measures are to take place. Again, it's saying that in the development of an action plan we should add some timelines.

The Chair: Mrs. Redman.

Mrs. Karen Redman: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I'm wondering if the mover would consider a friendly amendment. It would merely add the words “help to”, so it would read:

    taken to implement the recovery strategy, including those that address the threats to the species and those that help to achieve the population and distribution objectives, as well as an indication as to when these measures are to take place;

That's simply because measures are not always able to achieve the objectives. It just adds a little clarity to this amendment.

The Chair: That's on the third line.

Mrs. Karen Redman: That would probably add even more clarity.

Mr. Gar Knutson: Would the rest remain?

Mrs. Karen Redman: Yes.

Mr. Gar Knutson: That's great.

The Chair: The subamendment would apply to the third line, so it would read “that help to achieve”.

Mrs. Karen Redman: Yes.

The Chair: Thank you.

You heard the subamendment and you heard the amendment. Are there any further points?

(Amendment as amended agreed to)

The Chair: Thank you.

• 1100

Mr. Knutson, you were supposed to bring forward an amendment that we stood an hour ago, the one on page 155. Would you like to look at it?

Mr. Gar Knutson: Yes, I remember bringing forward this amendment, and I'd like to move it. The government had indicated they felt it belonged in a later section. I'll accept their counsel on this matter and move it with that proviso.

The Chair: All right, you heard Mr. Knutson's amendment. He is seeking some guidance as to how it should be adapted to the clause before us.

Madam Redman.

Mrs. Karen Redman: Thank you, Mr. Chair. I'm wondering if Ms. Wherry would like to speak to this, now that it's before us.

Ms. Ruth Wherry: I think when we spoke to it earlier, we agreed it made sense to do this, but during the action plan stage.

Mr. Simon Nadeau: It would be after paragraph 49(1)(d), I believe. That's the logical place.

Mr. Gar Knutson: So it would be proposed paragraph 49(1)(d.1)?

Mr. Simon Nadeau: Right.

The Chair: So we understand there is a propensity to insert Mr. Knutson's amendment as written on page 155 after line 25 on page 24.

Mr. Knutson, is that your wish?

Mr. Gar Knutson: I'm sorry, I had more than one person talking to me at the same time.

Just to go back, the general introductory line reads: “An action plan must include, with respect to the area to which the action plan relates”. The proposed paragraph 49(1)(d.1) would say “the methods to be used to monitor the recovery of the species and its long-term viability”.

The Chair: And it would be inserted at what line?

Mr. Gar Knutson: After line 25.

The Chair: What would it be called?

Mr. Gar Knutson: Proposed paragraph 49(1)(d.1).

The Chair: It still retains that connotation? All right. We've heard the adjustments made. This was a major acrobatic feat.

Thank you, Mr. Knutson.

(Amendment agreed to)

The Chair: Now we are on page 180.

Mrs. Karen Redman: Is the amendment on page 179 gone?

The Chair: Yes, it's gone.

Mr. Knutson, you have an amendment on page 180.

Mr. Gar Knutson: I do, and we're still on clause 49.

The Chair: Yes.

Mr. Gar Knutson: If you were to accept my amendment, paragraph 49(1)(e) would read:

    An evaluation of the socio-economic costs of the action plan and the benefits to be derived from its implementation, and the cost of not proceeding with the action plan;

The Chair: That is the principle of the cost of inaction, right?

Mr. Gar Knutson: Yes.

The Chair: This is not a minor consideration.

Madam Redman.

Mrs. Karen Redman: Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Clearly the goal of this entire bill is to avoid the loss of species. Action plans are made to implement the goals, and they're set out in recovery strategies. The recovery strategies will be developed regardless of the cost of not proceeding with the action plan.

Given the current valuation instruments and the limitations of those instruments, there's a tendency to undervalue species. It's our view that this amendment would indeed end up being detrimental to wildlife. I don't know if Ms. Wherry or M. Nadeau would like to comment on this, but in our view this would be counterproductive to the intent of Bill C-5.

• 1105

Ms. Ruth Wherry: Again, I think it would be an extremely difficult thing to do. It's very difficult, as you well know, to assess the value when we're talking about benefits to the environment or benefits to the species. It's very difficult to do that, to come up with any kind of valuation, or the cost of not proceeding with it. There are very limited tools for this type of valuation. Any assessment that would be done would be typically not helpful, and generally it would end up being very low, not the real cost we would want to put on it. But we don't have the valuation tools to do it.

We understand what you're trying to get at, and it's a great philosophical debate. We don't disagree with anything you're saying. We're simply saying the tools to do that don't exist, and we may end up with a very low dollar value. Therefore it would work against us.

The Chair: Thank you, Madam.

Mr. Benoit.

Mr. Leon Benoit: Thank you, Mr. Chair.

I'm a little concerned that in the short time I've been here today what I've heard from the departmental officials is that they really don't seem very concerned about evaluating the costs and benefits of actions that would be taken. That really concerns me. What are we basing action on, then, if we're not basing it on the best information available, some type of evaluation that leads to some determination of the benefit and the cost of going ahead with a certain plan?

The departmental officials have said on two occasions now that they can't really do that. It would be difficult. It wouldn't be very meaningful. We'd have to give it a low cost, and it may be....

Well, what are we basing activities on under this legislation, then?

Ms. Ruth Wherry: We're protecting species—the welfare of the species.

Mr. Leon Benoit: But if you're not doing any kind of evaluation that quantifies things to some extent, what is it based on—on somebody's thoughts on what might protect species?

The Chair: Mr. Benoit, if you read the amendment correctly, you can see that is exactly what is being suggested in the legislation, so what you are advocating is there before you.

Mr. Simon Nadeau: The evaluation has been done by COSEWIC. COSEWIC says if things continue the way they are and we do nothing, the species will become extinct. So the cost of doing nothing is that eventually we'll lose the species. Adding this amendment is going to say the same thing. If we do nothing, if things stay the way they are, the species is likely to become extinct.

Mr. Gar Knutson: I take it from your comments, Mr. Nadeau, you would see this amendment as benign.

Mr. Simon Nadeau: If it was limited to that. But if we had to actually evaluate if we do this activity, it will lead to that, and if we don't do it, it will have this consequence.... It depends on whether it's taken as a whole or has to be subdivided into the different components of the action plan. It then becomes onerous, and I don't really know how you would do it.

Mr. Gar Knutson: It wasn't my intent that it would be onerous. I just thought it would highlight that there is a cost to doing nothing.

The Chair: You can see from 20 years of history in the application of the cost-benefit analysis that the calculation of the cost is fairly easy in comparison to the calculation of the benefits. That is where it becomes extremely difficult. So the amendment by Mr. Knutson would somehow reinforce any efforts being made in the calculation of the benefits at the end of the day. Even so, it would still be sketchy.

But usually, whenever it comes to a calculation of a cost-benefit analysis, the effort becomes blurred because you have to decide whether you take the short term or the long term, and depending on which timeframe you choose, you come up with completely different outcomes. You are lost if you take the short term, and you win if you take the long term, usually.

• 1110

Mr. Reed.

Mr. Julian Reed: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

It seems to me that the staff have explained it very clearly. The cost of not doing some of these things is obvious. The species goes extinct, finito, that's it. So it seems to me that an amendment like this, under those circumstances, becomes redundant.

The Chair: But there may be implications in the food chain or in the viability of a wetland. There may be implications resulting from that loss.

Madame Kraft Sloan.

Mrs. Karen Kraft Sloan: Thank you very much.

I think what the chair has said is very true. It seems to be very easy to say that a species has gone extinct, big deal, who cares, because we're dealing with a society that puts an economic value to everything, and we have often said, it's just a little grub in the soil, so what, who cares? It's a weird little fungus growing on the side of a tree somewhere, so what, who cares? Well, there's a reality there that all of our cultural and material wealth in our society is reliant on our biological wealth, and we do very little to show the linkages.

My second point is that this bill has a huge bias toward the cost and benefit of doing anything in the name of preserving species, but there's nothing on the other side that says, what happens if we don't work to preserve species? It is not simply enough to say that something has gone extinct, so what, who cares? There are huge implications.

If you ask the fisher people out on the east coast, so what, who cares that there's a collapse in the east coast fishing industry, or so what, who cares about the farmers who are finding it more and more difficult to farm their lands out on the prairies because there is a loss of biodiversity, or so what, who cares that the boreal forest has another fifty years...? And we can go on and on. What about the people who are going to earn their living from doing that? So what, who cares?

This bill has a huge bias against the extinction and loss of biodiversity, and any measure that is done to preserve biodiversity, to preserve species, is fraught with all these other things that have to be done. But nothing is done if we decide not to take action.

The Chair: Thank you.

Perhaps committee members should be alerted to the fact that we could have 10 days of fascinating discussion on cost-benefit analysis, and it would certainly be very worthwhile. But this is a loaded item, and I would warn you not to open the lid too much, because we could be here for a long time.

Mr. Benoit.

Mr. Leon Benoit: I'd like to ask the department officials a question.

This amendment would add “and the cost of not proceeding with the action plan”. Is there any case, in fact, when an action plan would not be proceeded with?

Maybe I missed something in this clause. I probably have. I haven't been following this for some time now. But I'm trying to think of a case when, the way this is set up, an action plan wouldn't be followed through on.

The Chair: We agree with your premise, and we hope someone can answer the second part of the question.

Mr. Leon Benoit: If that's the case, that there is no such situation, there's no point in having that amendment, is there?

Mr. David Near: Clause 47 requires that a minister prepare an action plan—

Mr. Leon Benoit: Right.

Mr. David Near: —and further, clause 56 requires that a minister monitor the action plan. So it certainly contemplates that, in all cases, an action plan would be developed and would include a criterion that's set out in the legislation to this point.

Mr. Leon Benoit: Does that mean that an action plan would be proceeded with in all cases? So there is an action plan there in all cases.

• 1115

So, really, this amendment technically doesn't make any sense, then—or would it? Maybe I'm missing something.

The Chair: That is a policy decision that you have to make yourself, Mr. Benoit. Do you believe in the cost of inaction or not?

Mr. Leon Benoit: No, that's not the point at all. I'm asking a technical question here.

The Chair: I'm sorry, that is the point of the amendment before us, because the words “not proceeding with the action plan” are what it implies.

Mr. Comartin, please, and Mr. Tonks after that.

Mr. Leon Benoit: Mr. Chair, if we could allow the department officials to answer these questions rather than the chair, I'd really appreciate that.

The Chair: It's a policy question, Mr. Benoit. It is not a technical issue, it is a policy issue, whether you want to include in your considerations the cost of inaction or whether you think it is not necessary.

Mr. Leon Benoit: I don't agree that that is the issue here.

The Chair: All right.

Mr. Comartin.

Mr. Joe Comartin: Thank you, Mr. Chair.

I want to indicate my support for the motion, taking into account your admonition that we could be here for a number of days if we get into this in detail. I still think the points that Ms. Kraft Sloan has raised are important, and I just want to say that I support them and add to that.

We have to start at some point doing this analysis of what it costs not to follow through on action plans. Even if we are just opening the door with this amendment, it's worth doing.

For instance, there's no assessment being done of cumulative effect. So we may lose one little species over here, and as Ms. Kraft Sloan has suggested, so who cares? That may be the proper response overall from society—not one I would probably go with, but it's possible. But if we lose two or three, what's the cost to our society? We have to start taking that into account. So I think Mr. Knutson's approach in terms of opening the door is an appropriate one, and again I'd indicate that I'd be quite happy to support this amendment.

The Chair: Mr. Tonks.

Mr. Alan Tonks (York South—Weston, Lib.): In an effort to be helpful.... We had amended paragraph 49(1)(e), and I'm not quite sure what the actual wording was, but as it stands, that paragraph says “an evaluation of the socio-economic costs of the action plan and the benefits to be derived”. In other words, there is going to be an action plan. The emphasis is that there is going to be.... But if you were to modify that slightly and say “be derived from its implementation or not”, then it suggests you have done the cost-benefits with respect to an action plan, and at some point there can be a decision not to go ahead, but it has to be justified.

If you do it within the context of that clause, then you're not adding anything at all. You're not suggesting anything in addition has to be done. You are suggesting that something has to be evaluated on the basis of what has been done.

My suggestion would be to add “or not”, and I would ask staff to consider that. So it would read—and as I said, I don't have the wording of your earlier amendment to that clause:

    an evaluation of the socio-economic costs of the action plan and the benefits to be derived from its implementation or not;

The Chair: Are there any further interventions?

Mr. Alan Tonks: I would ask that there be a comment.

The Chair: Madame Redman.

Mrs. Karen Redman: Could we hear from Ms. Wherry?

The Chair: Ms. Wherry.

Ms. Ruth Wherry: Actually, that was rather helpful, because with “an evaluation of the socio-economic costs of the action plan and the benefits to be derived”, I would say, in doing that socio-economic analysis, to the extent possible—what Mr. Knutson's motion is looking for—they're going to do that anyway to the extent they're able to with the tools we have for doing this. That would be my comment.

Mr. Alan Tonks: Okay.

The Chair: But we are debating Mr. Knutson's amendment, and Mr. Knutson has to decide whether to proceed.

Mr. David Anderson: Did Mr. Tonks make a friendly amendment?

The Chair: The amendment by Mr. Tonks affects the text of the bill, not the text of Mr. Knutson's amendment.

Mr. Gar Knutson: I have no difficulty with adding the language “to the extent possible”, because I don't believe in doing the impossible. But that was the gist of what I just heard.

• 1120

The Chair: No, that was not the gist of it. Mr. Tonks' suggestion deals with the amendment as it is in the bill. His amendment would follow the word “implementation” and he would insert the words “or not”, but we are not there at the present time. We are wrestling with the amendment on page 180.

I think I will find it necessary to call it soon unless you come forward with some subamendment to your amendment.

Mr. Tonks, are you suggesting a friendly subamendment to insert the words “or not” after implementation in Mr. Knutson's amendment?

Mr. Alan Tonks: I'm looking for some direction from you, Mr. Chairman. It would appear that's the only way it can be done in terms of a subamendment to Gar's.

My intent, though, was to try—

The Chair: You would stop there. You would stop with the word “not”.

Mr. Alan Tonks: Yes.

The Chair: We have to now consult with Mr. Knutson, but it would delete entirely the second line.

Mr. Gar Knutson: If Mr. Tonks' intent is to end up at the same place where I'm ending up, I would ask him just to support the language as it's written.

I find the phrase—and again, we're into really minor detail—“to be derived from its implementation or not” a little bit choppy, and my colleague here is advising me it doesn't work.

The Chair: May I ask the committee now to gather strength and proceed with the vote. The vote is on Mr. Knutson's amendment as it is on page 180.

(Amendment agreed to—[See Minutes of Proceedings])

Mr. Gar Knutson: Thank you, Canadian Alliance.

The Chair: Mrs. Kraft Sloan, on a point of order.

Mrs. Karen Kraft Sloan: It's a very small request, Mr. Chair.

We're coming into a clause where there are a number of amendments that are fairly similar, although they do differ in degree.

The Chair: We still have another one on clause 49.

Mrs. Karen Kraft Sloan: We have another one? No, this is on clause 49.

Mr. Joe Comartin: That's my amendment, Mr. Chair. They are in the same area.

Mrs. Karen Kraft Sloan: As I understand, they are fairly similar. I'm just wondering if we could have a biological break, because one of mine is involved and I wouldn't want to miss the discussion.

The Chair: People are free to move any time they wish. There's no obligation.

We have a motion by Mr. Comartin, NDP-10. Would you like to comment?

Mr. Joe Comartin: We're trying to decide, Mr. Chair, whether we would ask to have it stood down or deferred, and I see that the discussions are still going on across the table.

Mrs. Karen Kraft Sloan: Mr. Chair—

The Chair: Let's hear from Mr. Comartin, since the motion is in his name, as to what he wishes to do.

Mr. Joe Comartin: Mr. Chair, I'll move my motion and we'll go on to the next three. It probably most appropriately should be in clause 50, in any event.

The Chair: Thank you.

Mr. Joe Comartin: Mr. Chair, I'm asking to have it stood down for now.

• 1125

The Chair: Madam Kraft Sloan.

Mrs. Karen Kraft Sloan: I withdraw my motion in favour of Mr. Herron's motion.

The Chair: Yes, but we are not there yet.

Mrs. Karen Kraft Sloan: I thought Mr. Comartin had withdrawn his.

The Chair: His motion is stood, and we are standing clause 49.

(Clause 49 allowed to stand)

(On clause 50—Public registry)

The Chair: Madam Kraft Sloan, please, on amendment LL-31.

Mrs. Karen Kraft Sloan: I want to stand it.

The Chair: You're standing it?

Mrs. Karen Kraft Sloan: Yes, I'm standing it.

On clause 50, I defer to Mr. Herron.

Mr. John Herron: I think, Mr. Chair, that by deferring to me she is suggesting that we start with my amendment first. Is that acceptable to the chair?

The Chair: All right, fine.

Mr. John Herron: Mr. Chair, my amendment follows the same track that Ms. Kraft Sloan's amendment did as well. I'd like to see if the committee would look at 184—

The Chair: Mr. Herron, would you allow me to interrupt you for a moment and suggest we have a five-minute break.

Mr. John Herron: Yes.

The Chair: Thank you.

• 1126




• 1136

The Chair: All right. Friends, Romans, and countrymen.... In tackling clause 50, we are reminded that we decided earlier this morning to bring forward a motion on page 158, in the name of Mr. Herron; a motion on page 164, in the name of Madame Kraft Sloan; a motion on page 165, also in the name of Madame Kraft Sloan; then finally, a motion on page 169, in the name of Monsieur Bigras.

Then there's also Mr. Comartin's motion, which was stood a moment ago. I believe that comes into play.

So now it requires Solomonic wisdom to decide where to start. I will try to give it a shot by saying that perhaps....

Mrs. Karen Kraft Sloan: Page 164 is not the same.

Mr. John Herron: Is it 183 or 184?

The Chair: All right, so we'll exclude 164. Thank you.

Mrs. Karen Kraft Sloan: Mr. Chair, I understood that when we got to clause 50, I had put my motion aside for Mr. Herron's. So we were going to move to the discussion on Mr. Herron's.

The Chair: Yes, that we are. We are only debating here in what sequence we should deal with motions that were stood earlier. But I still find that Mr. Herron's motion can take precedence over the others because it's at the beginning of the clause.

Mrs. Karen Kraft Sloan: Yes.

The Chair: So I think we can safely proceed with 183. But I would like to get this confirmed by the legals here.

If I made the wrong choice in sequence by proceeding with Mr. Herron's motion on page 183, I will seek unanimous consent to reverse the order a little bit later. But to the best of my knowledge, to our knowledge collectively, we will....

[Translation]

Mr. Bernard Bigras: Mr. Chairman, I would like to say something.

The Chair: Go ahead, Mr. Bigras.

Mr. Bernard Bigras: Mr. Chairman, if it makes it any easier for you, I could withdraw my amendment.

• 1140

The Chair: Oh really? Is it on page 150? What page is it on exactly?

Mr. Bernard Bigras: It is on page 69.

The Chair: Page 69.

[English]

Thank you.

[Translation]

Thank you.

[English]

Yes, that makes it easier.

All right, Mr. Herron, would you like to give it a try?

Mr. John Herron: I'd like to talk about 183 and 184 as a packet, because they represent the sentiment of Mrs. Kraft Sloan's amendment that she has stood down.

Mrs. Karen Kraft Sloan: I would just like a clarification. I didn't stand it down; I have deferred the discussion on mine.

Mr. John Herron: That's right. Thank you.

Essentially what we're advocating here is that the act should set out specific timelines for the completion of the action plan. This is trying to provide accountability in government—if you can't measure it, you can't manage it.

We are also very aware that there are circumstances that may arise that will require an extension in some place. So that's why we're providing a format where an extension may be granted. Limited extensions can be granted, but the reason for granting the extension must be detailed in the public registry. This provides the accountability, the reason the government has moved in that direction.

I refer to my comments I made earlier. If there's one frustration that the Canadian public has with government, it is that the government moves too slowly. It's reticent to actually take action. What this does is set a benchmark to aim at with a provision for an extension. I believe there's a fair amount of consensus in the room for that approach. So I move 183 and 184 at the same time, if I may.

The Chair: Mrs. Redman, would you like to reply?

Mrs. Karen Redman: Thank you, Mr. Chairman, I would, and I would call on Monsieur Nadeau to add specific examples again. But we would go back to the discussion we had earlier and state that in our view, it's not in the best interests of species to build in these timelines because the threats and the action plans to address them will vary. So it's not practical to set these timelines on it.

Again, we may be limiting or precluding meaningful consultation with the people on the land who could make this successful. It doesn't make sense for politicians to set false deadlines when scientists and practitioners can determine the action plans, how they should be developed, and how they should unfold. I would ask Monsieur Nadeau to speak directly to it.

The Chair: Briefly, please.

Mr. Simon Nadeau: I think the difficulty here is that under clauses 41 and 47 you will see that many different action plans can be developed to correspond to a strategy. Some of these plans can be done quickly; others will take more time.

The results of some of these plans will make it necessary to develop other plans, so it actually would be very difficult to develop all plans along the same time horizon. One example would be with the wood bison. The first thing that needed to be done was to actually develop the propagation techniques and so that was the plan for the start.

The second part was to actually develop the release techniques and to create new herds. All these things cannot happen at the same time, or cannot even be figured out at the same time, because one builds upon the other. That's the difficulty we'd be having.

[Translation]

The Chair: Mr. Benoit, you now have the floor.

[English]

Mr. Leon Benoit: Yes, I agree with Mr. Herron's thoughts here. I would propose friendly amendments—just considering what Mr. Nadeau has said—that we lengthen the timelines. On the amendment 183, if we could lengthen six months to a year and a year to two years; the next one, three months to six months to give a little bit more leeway; and then six months to a year...so double the timelines set.

I think it is important to have the timelines in there, but we have to give a practical amount of time for the action to actually take place.

The Chair: All right.

Mr. Reed, Madam Kraft Sloan.

• 1145

Mr. Julian Reed: Thanks, Mr. Chairman.

I think what Mr. Nadeau is trying to say is, what's the gestation period of a wood bison? You can't put a timeline on something when you're doing a recovery program like that. It's virtually impossible. I think that's what Mr. Nadeau is trying to explain.

I can't see the business of creating a timeline when you're dealing with animal species or plant species for that matter. Very often, in order to reproduce a plant it takes a full year to re-propagate. So I can't see the logic of this amendment.

Mr. John Herron: Mr. Chair, on a point of order.

The Chair: There is no point of order in the midst of an intervention. Let him finish.

What's the point of order?

Mr. John Herron: I would say we're not talking to the amendment here. It's because this is about action plans. It's not about the recovery of an entire species. It's about the implementation of a plan. It's different.

The Chair: Madame Kraft Sloan, Madame Scherrer.

Mr. Gar Knutson: It's not a point of order.

Mrs. Karen Kraft Sloan: Mr. Chair, I wanted to follow on what Mr. Herron was saying, that indeed these are action plans themselves. They're not the full implementation of an action plan.

I think while my preference is to move things along in terms of working on a speedier timeline, I also recognize the concerns Mr. Benoit has expressed with regard to the timeline. I don't have a problem.

I think Mr. Benoit's extension changes in the deadlines suggest his desire to have a good, full discussion through the public consultation process. I have always been a strong advocate of access for the public when we are taking these very important decisions. So I think, Mr. Chair, this is a good amendment.

[Translation]

The Chair: Madam Scherrer, please, you now have the floor.

Ms. Hélène Scherrer: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I would like to come back to the arguments put forward and explain why in fact I find it appropriate to put in place a plan.

Contrary to the argument according to which politicians will be indeed stuck if they are forced to fit into a framework, I believe that as soon as you allow for an extension within a realistic plan... I do not want to see us caught up with a six-month or a two-year plan if it is not doable. However, I would really like us to think about a plan that would be doable.

If we demonstrate a will to do something and if we put in place a plan that provides for extensions, then I believe, much to the contrary, that as a politician I would feel very comfortable being in a framework, because it would really demonstrate the will of the government to put something in place, to reevaluate the plan and to extend it if necessary. I really like this framework.

I am however realistic and I would not want to speak for the scientists and say whether or not this should be done within six months, a year or two years. I would like us to very realistically, and taking into account scientific opinion and recognizing all of the various elements, define an action plan and determine how to move it forward. I believe that even politically the government would show its will to move things forward.

[English]

The Chair: Madame Wherry.

Ms. Ruth Wherry: I'd like to comment on what Simon said, that you may have one action plan building on another and another, and does it make any sense to put in a fixed timeline that might not be relevant?

I wanted to add one thing on 41(1)(g), which is the recovery strategy. The recovery strategy provides that it requires that it include a statement of when one or more action plans in relation to the strategy will be completed.

So you have the scientists and the recovery team doing the biological objectives in coming up with a strategy, plus they also have to come up with a statement on the timelines for the action plans.

[Translation]

The Chair: It will now be Mr. Bigras' turn, followed by Mrs. Kraft Sloan.

Mr. Bernard Bigras: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

If I understand correctly, there is a consensus with regard to the enforcement of an action plan. Where we do not perhaps agree is on the possible timelines.

• 1150

First of all, I wish to say that I support the motion moved by my colleagues from the Alliance with regard to the granting of an extension. What we must nevertheless understand is that these timelines apply to the development and application of an action plan and not to the elements within which these actions may be taken. Let me explain.

The only constraint that exists is that with regard to the development of an action plan. That does not mean that the time lines for the different aspects of the action plan can be far off in the distance. One must, and rightly so, consider each of the species.

I therefore believe that there must be an action plan. Furthermore, this action plan must be developed and it must involve timelines. However, the timelines with regard to the measures to be taken for each of the elements contained in the action plan may vary from species to species. This is my belief. It requires an action plan with timelines, and I support the amendments from my Alliance colleague.

[English]

The Chair: Madam Kraft Sloan, briefly, please.

Mrs. Karen Kraft Sloan: In reference to what Madam Wherry said, I made an argument earlier around the deletion of subclause 45(2), because there are no statutory requirements for timelines when it comes to action plans. It's not a process that is as well defined and clarified as we would like. Again, Mr. Benoit's amendment gives adequate opportunity for the completion and extension as well.

The Chair: Mr. Laliberte.

Mr. Rick Laliberte: Yes, I can recognize Mr. Herron's intention. I think he's trying to mirror what clause 42 does to recovery plans, but the only major change—and this is a question maybe to the officials—is under paragraph 49(1)(b), “the measures that are proposed to be taken to protect the species' critical habitat, including the entering into of agreements”. That's where it raises a concern. If we're going to have the minister enter into agreements, is this timeline going to be realistic, because the agreements could be quite...?

The Chair: Would someone like to answer this question?

Madam Wherry.

Ms. Ruth Wherry: I think the action plan would identify the measures, including entering into agreements under clause 11. They don't necessarily have to be all the agreements completed, etc., during that action plan stage.

The Chair: Thank you.

Ms. Ruth Wherry: It would identify some measures for clause 11 that could be considered.

The Chair: Mr. Herron, can we take the vote?

Mr. John Herron: Yes, as amended by Mr. Benoit.

The Chair: You accepted the changes in timelines. Now the deadlines are doubled, is that correct?

Mr. John Herron: Right.

The Chair: So that's understood.

So we'll first take a vote on the amendment on page 183 and I'm told that the vote will apply also to the amendment on page 184.

(Amendment agreed to—[See Minutes of Proceedings])

The Chair: Mr. Tonks.

Mr. Alan Tonks: I would like to have a clarification, Mr. Chair. That was the amendment on the time, Mr. Benoit's amendment, which was to extend the time in the clause to a year. Is that correct?

Mr. Leon Benoit: It was doubling all of them.

Mr. Alan Tonks: Right. But now we have to have the vote on the approval of the clause, do we not?

A voice: No, he accepted the amendment.

The Chair: The friendly subamendment applies to both motions on pages 183 and 184. When I called the vote, I said if the motion on page 183 carries, it would apply also to page 184. However, if you wish to have a vote on page 184, we can have a vote on 184.

• 1155

Mrs. Karen Redman: I believe there's some confusion in that some members felt they were voting on supporting the timelines, albeit as a subamendment, and that there would then be a subsequent vote on both motions.

The Chair: I see. I thought it was accepted by Mr. Herron as a subamendment. But anyway, we can repeat the vote.

The friendly subamendment has been carried. Now I'm asking you to vote on the motion on page 183, which is the substance of the amendment including the doubling of the deadlines.

(Amendment agreed to—[See Minutes of Proceedings])

The Chair: It applies also to page 184.

We stood the amendment on page 158. Mr. Herron, going back to page 158, where there is a motion in your name that applies to clause 41, would you like to move it now?

Mrs. Karen Kraft Sloan: Are we not going to finish this clause, Mr. Chair?

The Chair: Yes, we are in the process of finishing it.

Mrs. Karen Kraft Sloan: Well, I have an amendment upon which I deferred the discussion. I didn't withdraw my amendment; I deferred the discussion to Mr. Herron.

The Chair: All right.

Mrs. Karen Kraft Sloan: I would like to separate my amendment, Mr. Chair.

The Chair: All right. Mr. Herron, we will wait for your answer for your motion on page 158.

Madam Kraft Sloan, what is your intention with the motion on page 182?

Mrs. Karen Kraft Sloan: It is to delete everything prior to proposed subclause 50(3); my new amendment would then be subclause 50(3), which is just a requirement for public consultation. I would add subclause (3) to clause 50.

The Chair: Does it cover the same lines as Mr. Herron's amendment?

Mrs. Karen Kraft Sloan: No, it doesn't; not now.

The Chair: So it is an addition.

Mrs. Karen Kraft Sloan: It's an addition. Within 90 days after—

The Chair: It would be subclause 50(4) then, I suppose, because of Mr. Herron's amendment being subclause 50(3), right?

Mrs. Karen Kraft Sloan: Yes, I do apologize. We had a different numbering system.

The Chair: So do you agree that it will be subclause 50(4)?

Mrs. Karen Kraft Sloan: I just need to read this for a second, please.

Actually, mine deals with a proposed action. You see, my clause 51 amendment dealt with a proposed action plan. Just let me read subclause 50(3).

The Chair: We will leave the numbering to the legislative clerks—

Mrs. Karen Kraft Sloan: That's fine.

The Chair: —so that is not a problem.

But you're moving this motion, on page 182, for the information of the committee, and it deals only with the subclause numbered 50(3), after line 45.

Mrs. Karen Kraft Sloan: So it'll be subclause 50(4).

The Chair: Would you like to present it? Would you like to explain it?

Mrs. Karen Kraft Sloan: Yes. Essentially, within 90 days after the inclusion of a proposed action plan in the public registry, the competent minister must consider the comments received, make any changes to the plan itself, and finalize the action plan by including a copy of it in the public registry.

Mr. David Anderson: Mr. Chair.

The Chair: Yes, Mr. Anderson.

• 1200

Mr. David Anderson: I'd make a request to Mrs. Kraft Sloan that she stand this amendment down so that we can discuss it further and bring it back another day.

Mrs. Karen Kraft Sloan: That's fine.

Mr. David Anderson: Thank you.

The Chair: Until tomorrow?

Mr. David Anderson: I think that would be agreed.

The Chair: To the next sitting of the House.

(Amendment allowed to stand)

(Clause 50 allowed to stand)

The Chair: Mr. Herron, do you have an answer for us on page 158?

Mr. John Herron: Yes. I think page 158 isn't necessary any more in lieu of what we passed on page 184, so we're not moving it.

The Chair: So the motion on page 158 is withdrawn?

Mr. John Herron: Yes.

(On clause 45—Amendments)

The Chair: Thank you.

Madame Kraft Sloan, what is your wish regarding the motion on page 165?

Mrs. Karen Kraft Sloan: Let me look at it, Mr. Chair.

The Chair: It's the deletion of a paragraph in clause 45.

Mrs. Karen Kraft Sloan: I'm not sure. I would seek the advice of legislative counsel in this one. It seems to me that, in some respects, it's consequential to what we just passed, because there's another process for specifying changes, therefore it's not necessary. But on the other hand, because the minister is still putting in changes to the timeline on action plans....

I think it's really consequential and should carry, Mr. Chair. I think you'll have a contradiction in the legislation.

No, wait, this is recovery strategy.

The Chair: Mr. Near, perhaps you can give us some advice here.

Mr. David Near: I would tend to agree with Madam Kraft Sloan that if that remains, it's a conflict with what was passed by the committee.

Mrs. Karen Kraft Sloan: So it carries.

The Chair: I'm told that the chair could rule that page 165 is consequential to pages 182 and 183, which were carried, and that therefore we adopt the motion on page 165.

Mrs. Karen Kraft Sloan: And the government official agrees, Mr. Chair.

The Chair: Yes, we just heard him.

Mrs. Karen Kraft Sloan: Exactly.

We want to point out these points of agreement, don't we, Mr. Herron?

The Chair: So the amendment on page 165 carries.

(Amendment agreed to—[See Minutes of Proceedings])

(Clause 45 as amended agreed to)

Mr. Gar Knutson: On a point of order, what time were you planning to go until?

The Chair: That's a good question. Let's finish this brief cleanup while memories are fresh. It won't be long.

Mr. Gar Knutson: Take your time.

• 1205

The Chair: As a result of Mr. Bigras' decision to withdraw his motion, we can call clause 47.

(Clause 47 agreed to)

The Chair: What about clause 50?

Mr. John Herron: No, we're going to present something for Mr. Mills on clause 50.

The Chair: What happens to your motion now, Mr. Comartin?

Mr. Joe Comartin: I'm not moving it.

The Chair: And there's Mrs. Kraft Sloan's amendment on page 182. Clause 50 as amended stands until tomorrow, hopefully, or at the earliest possible date, and we will stop here at the threshold of clause 51.

It being 12:10 p.m., perhaps people will be glad to adjourn. Thank you.

The meeting is adjourned.

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