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MINUTES OF PROCEEDINGS
 
Meeting No. 33
 
Monday, May 26, 2008
 

The Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development met at 3:49 p.m. this day, in Room 269, West Block, the Vice-Chair, Geoff Regan, presiding.

 

Members of the Committee present: Bernard Bigras, Nathan Cullen, Hon. John Godfrey, Luc Harvey, Marcel Lussier, David J. McGuinty, Hon. Geoff Regan, Francis Scarpaleggia, Maurice Vellacott, Mark Warawa and Jeff Watson.

 

Acting Members present: Brian Jean for Bob Mills.

 

In attendance: Library of Parliament: Sam Banks, Analyst; Tim Williams, Analyst. House of Commons: Joann Garbig, Legislative Clerk; Marie-Andrée Roy, Parliamentary Counsel (Legislation).

 
The Committee proceeded to the consideration of matters related to Committee business.
 

On motion of Nathan Cullen, it was agreed, — That the Committee consider the Main Estimates 2008-2009 and invite the following to appear before it on May 28, 2008:

- The Associate Deputy Minister of Environment Canada (supported by his officials);

- The President of the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy (supported by his officials);

- The Chief Executive Officer of Parks Canada Agency (supported by officials); and

- The President of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (supported by officials); and

That a total of twenty minutes be alloted for presentations.

 

It was agreed, — That the Committee meet to consider Bill C-474, An Act to require the development and implementation of a National Sustainable Development Strategy, the reporting of progress against a standard set of environmental indicators and the appointment of an independent Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development accountable to Parliament, and to adopt specific goals with respect to sustainable development in Canada, and to make consequential amendments to another Act, either on Thursday, May 29, 2008 or Monday June 2, 2008 and that the Committee commence consideration of Bill C-469, An Act to amend the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (use of phosphorus), on Monday June 2, 2008 after completion of the consideration of Bill C-474.

 
Pursuant to the Order of Reference of Wednesday, February 13, 2008, the Committee resumed consideration of Bill C-474, An Act to require the development and implementation of a National Sustainable Development Strategy, the reporting of progress against a standard set of environmental indicators and the appointment of an independent Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development accountable to Parliament, and to adopt specific goals with respect to sustainable development in Canada, and to make consequential amendments to another Act.
 

The Committee resumed its clause-by-clause study of the Bill.

 

By unanimous consent, Clause 8 previously carried, as amended, was reconsidered.

 

By unanimous consent, it was agreed, — That Clause 8 be re-opened and that the following amendment be removed:

That Bill C-474, in Clause 8, be amended by adding after line 14 on page 6 the following:

“(4) The Minister shall at the same time submit the draft of the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy to the Commissioner for review and comment, including as to whether the targets and implementation strategies can be assessed, for which the Minister shall allow a period of not less than 120 days.”.

 
On motion of John Godfrey, it was agreed, — That Bill C-474, in Clause 8, be amended by adding after line 14 on page 6 the following:

“(4) The Minister shall at the same time submit the draft of the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy to the Commissioner for review and comment as to whether the targets and implementation strategies can be assessed, for which the Minister shall allow a period of not less than 120 days.”

 

Clause 8, as amended, carried.

 

After debate, by unanimous consent, Clause 10 was allowed to stand.

 

At 4:26 p.m., the sitting was suspended.

At 4:31 p.m., the sitting resumed.

 

On Clause 11,

Mark Warawa moved, — That Bill C-474, in Clause 11, be amended by replacing lines 1 to 16 on page 7 with the following:

“11. (1) Each Minister presiding over a department named in schedule I to the Financial Administration Act, or an agency named in schedule 2 of this act shall cause the department or agency to prepare a sustainable development strategy containing objectives and plans for the department or agency that complies with and contributes to the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy, appropriate to the department or agency's mandate and shall cause the strategy to be laid before the House of Commons within one year after the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy is tabled in that House under Section 9.

(2) A minister to whom subsection (1) applies shall cause the department's sustainable development strategy to be updated at least once every three years and shall cause each updated strategy to be laid before the House of Commons on any of the next 15 days on which that House is sitting after the strategy is updated.

(3) The Governor in Council may, on the recommendation of a minister presiding over a department not named in Schedule I to the Financial Administration Act, or agency named in Schedule 2 of this Act, direct that the requirements of subsections (1) and (2) apply in respect of the department or agencies.

(4) The governor in Council may, on the recommendation of the Minister, make regulations prescribing the form in which sustainable development strategies are to be prepared and the information required to be contained in them.”

 

After debate, the question was put on the amendment of Mark Warawa and it was agreed to.

 
Bernard Bigras moved, — That Bill C-474, in Clause 11, be amended by adding after line 16 on page 7 the following:

“(1.1) When developing the Departmental Sustainable Development Strategy, the responsible minister shall comply with The Cabinet Directive on the Environmental Assessment of Policy, Plan and Program Proposals, as amended from time to time, published by the Privy Council Office and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency.”

 

After debate, the question was put on the amendment of Bernard Bigras and it was negatived on division.

 

Clause 11, as amended, carried on division.

 

By unanimous consent, the Committee reverted to Clause 10 previously stood.

 

Clause 10 was negatived.

 

On Clause 12,

John Godfrey moved, — That Bill C-474, in Clause 12, be amended by replacing lines 17 and 18 on page 7 with the following:

“12. Performance agreements of senior officials in departments shall include provisions”

 

After debate, the question was put on the amendment and the result of the vote was announced: YEAS: 5; NAYS: 5.

Whereupon, the Chair voted in the negative.

Accordingly, the amendment was negatived.

 
On motion of Mark Warawa, it was agreed, — That Bill C-474, in Clause 12, be amended by replacing line 20 on page 7 with the following:

the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy

 

The question was put on Clause 12, as amended, and the result of the vote was announced: YEAS: 5; NAYS: 5.

Whereupon, the Chair voted in the affirmative.

Accordingly, Clause 12, as amended, carried.

 

After debate, Clause 13 was negatived.

 

After debate, by unanimous consent, Clause 14 was allowed to stand.

 

Clause 15 carried.

 

On new Clause 15.1,

John Godfrey moved, — That Bill C-474 be amended by adding after line 12 on page 10 the following new clause:

“TRANSITIONAL PROVISION

15.1 The directions made under subsection 24(3) of the Auditor General Act, as this subsection read immediately before the coming into force of section 19 of this Act, remain in force and are deemed to have been made under subsection 11(3) of this Act.”

 

At 5:28 p.m., the sitting was suspended.

At 5:36 p.m., the sitting resumed.

 

After debate, by unanimous consent, the amendment was withdrawn.

 

By unanimous consent, Clause 16 was allowed to stand.

 

By unanimous consent, Clause 17 was allowed to stand.

 

On Clause 18,

 
On motion of Mark Warawa, it was agreed, — That Bill C-474, in Clause 18, be amended by replacing lines 24 and 25 on page 10 with the following:

18. Section 23 of the Act is replaced by the following:

23. (1) The Commissioner shall make any examinations and inquiries that the Commissioner considers necessary in order to monitor

(a) the extent to which category I departments have contributed to meeting the targets set out in the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy and have met the objectives, and implemented the plans, set out in their own sustainable development strategies laid before the House of Commons under section 11 of the Federal Sustainable Development Act; and

(b) the replies by Ministers required by subsection 22(3).

(2) The Commissioner shall, on behalf of the Auditor General, report annually to the House of Commons concerning anything that the Commissioner considers should be brought to the attention of that House in relation to environmental and other aspects of sustainable development, including

(a) the extent to which category I departments have contributed to meeting the targets set out in the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy and have met the objectives, and implemented the plans, set out in their own sustainable development strategies laid before that House under section 11 of the Federal Sustainable Development Act;

(b) the number of petitions recorded as required by subsection 22(1), the subject matter of the petitions and their status; and

(c) the exercising of the authority of the Governor in Council under subsections 11(3) and (4) of the Federal Sustainable Development Act.

(3) The report required by subsection (2) shall be submitted to the Speaker of the House of Commons and shall be laid before that House by the Speaker on any of the next 15 days on which that House is sitting after the Speaker receives it.

 

Clause 18, as amended, carried.

 

On Clause 18.1,

 
On motion of Mark Warawa, it was agreed, — That Bill C-474 be amended by adding after line 25 on page 10 the following new clause:

18.1 Section 24 of the Act is repealed.

 

On Clause 18.2,

 
On motion of John Godfrey, it was agreed, — That Bill C-474 be amended by adding after line 25 on page 10 the following new clause:

“18.2 The schedule to the Act is repealed.”

 

By unanimous consent, the Committee reverted to Clause 5 previously stood.

 
On motion of Mark Warawa, it was agreed, — That Bill C-474, in Clause 5, be amended by replacing the heading before line 6 on page 3 and line 6 on page 3 to line 13 on page 4 with the following:

BASIC PRINCIPLE

5. The Government of Canada accepts the basic principle that sustainable development is based on an ecologically efficient use of natural, social and economic resources and acknowledges the need to integrate environmental, economic and social factors in the making of all decisions by government.

 
On motion of Mark Warawa, it was agreed, — That Bill C-474, in Clause 5, be amended by deleting lines 15 to 35 on page 3 and lines 1 to 13 on page 4.

 

Clause 5, as amended, carried.

 

By unanimous consent, the Committee reverted to Clause 14 previously stood.

 
John Godfrey moved, — That Bill C-474 be amended by adding after line 16 on page 9 the following new clause:

“13.1 (1) The Commissioner shall examine the report referred to in section 6 to assess the fairness of the information contained in the report with respect to the Government of Canada’s progress in implementing the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy and meeting its targets.

(2) The Commissioner shall prepare and table a report to Parliament every three years setting out

(a) the results of the assessment the Commissioner made pursuant to subsection (1); and

(b) observations and recommendations on any other matters that the Commissioner considers relevant.”

Debate arose thereon.

 

At 5:55 p.m., the sitting was suspended.

At 6:27 p.m., the sitting resumed.

 

At 6:31 p.m., the Committee adjourned to the call of the Chair.

 



Normand Radford
Clerk of the Committee

 
 
2008/06/03 5:00 p.m.