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MINUTES OF PROCEEDINGS
 
Meeting No. 35
 
Monday, June 2, 2008
 

The Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development met at 3:33 p.m. this day, in Room 237-C, Centre Block, the Chair, Bob Mills, presiding.

 

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

 

Acting Members present: Thierry St-Cyr for Marcel Lussier.

 

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

 
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.

 
The Committee resumed consideration of the amendment of John Godfrey, — 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.”

 

By unanimous consent, the amendment was allowed to stand.

 

By unanimous consent, Clause 14 was allowed to stand.

 

The Committee reverted to Clause 16 previously stood.

 
John Godfrey moved, — That Bill C-474, in Clause 16, be amended by replacing lines 13 and 14 on page 10 with the following:

“16. (1) The definition “sustainable development strategy” in section 2 of the Auditor General Act is repealed.

(2) The definition “category I department” in section 2 of the Act is replaced by the following:

““category I department” means

(a) any department named in Schedule I to the Financial Administration Act;

(b) any department in respect of which a direction has been made under subsection 11(1) of the Federal Sustainable Development Act; and

(c) any department set out in the Schedule 2 to the Federal Sustainable Development Act.”

 

After debate, the question was put on the amendment of John Godfrey and it was agreed to.

 

Clause 16, as amended, carried.

 

At 4:06 p.m., the sitting was suspended.

At 4:22 p.m., the sitting resumed.

 

The Committee reverted to Clause 17 previously stood.

 

Clause 17 was negatived.

 

On new Clause 17.1,

Mark Warawa moved, — That Bill C-474 be amended by adding after line 23 on page 10 the following new clause:

“17.1 The portion of section 21.1 of the Act before paragraph (a) is replaced by the following:

21.1 In addition to carrying out the functions referred to in subsections 23(3) and (4), the purpose of the Commissioner is to provide sustainable development monitoring and reporting on the progress of category I departments towards sustainable development, which is a continually evolving concept based on the integration of social, economic and environmental concerns, and which may be achieved by, among other things,”

 

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

 

By unanimous consent, Clause 18 previously carried, as amended, was reconsidered.

 

By unanimous consent, it was agreed, — That Clause 18 be re-opened and that the following amendment be removed:

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.”

 
Mark Warawa moved, — 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 Commissioner shall examine the report required under subsection 6.1(2) of the Federal Sustainable Development Act in order to assess the fairness of the information contained in the report with respect to the progress of the federal government in implementing the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy and meeting its targets.

(4) The Commissioner shall include in the report referred to in subsection (2) the results of any assessment conducted under subsection (3) since the last report was laid before the House of Commons under subsection (5).

(5) 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.”

 

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

 

Clause 18, as amended, carried.

 

By unanimous consent, Clause 11 previously carried, as amended, was reconsidered.

 

After debate, by unanimous consent, Clause 11 was allowed to stand.

 

By unanimous consent, the Committee reverted to the consideration of the amendment of John Godfrey previously withdrawn which read as follows:

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.”

 

After debate, the question was put on the amendment of John Godfrey and it was agreed to.

 

The Committee reverted to Clause 11 previously stood.

 
By unanimous consent, the Committee reconsidered the amendment of Mark Warawa previously adopted which read as follows: 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.”

 

On motion of Mark Warawa, it was agreed, — That the amendment be amended in subsection 11(3) by adding the word “not” before the words “named in Schedule 2 of this Act,”

 

The question was put on the amendment of Mark Warawa, as amended, and it was agreed to.

 

Clause 11, as amended, carried.

 

The Committee reverted to Clause 2 previously stood.

 
On motion of John Godfrey, it was agreed, — That Bill C-474, in Clause 2, be amended by replacing line 10 on page 1 with the following:

“appointed under subsection 15.1(1) of the Auditor General Act.”

 
On motion of John Godfrey, it was agreed, — That Bill C-474, in Clause 2, be amended by deleting lines 11 and 12 on page 1.

 
On motion of Mark Warawa, it was agreed, — That Bill C-474, in Clause 2, be amended

(a) by deleting lines 13 and 14 on page 1;

(b) by deleting lines 1 to 9 on page 2;

(c) by deleting lines 10 to 13 on page 2;

(d) by deleting lines 14 to 20 on page 2.

 
On motion of John Godfrey, it was agreed, — That Bill C-474, in Clause 2, be amended by deleting lines 23 to 25 on page 2.

 
On motion of Mark Warawa, it was agreed, — That Bill C-474, in Clause 2, be amended by replacing lines 26 to 30 on page 2 with the following:

““precautionary principle” means the principle that where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, lack of full scientific certainty shall not be used as a reason for postponing cost-effective measures to prevent environmental degradation.”

 

Clause 2, as amended, carried.

 

The Schedule was negatived.

 

On New Schedule,

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

“SCHEDULE 2

(Subsection 11(1))

Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

Agence de promotion économique du Canada atlantique

Canada Border Services Agency

Agence des services frontaliers du Canada

Canada Revenue Agency

Agence du revenu du Canada

Canadian International Development Agency

Agence canadienne de développement international

Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec

Agence de développement économique du Canada pour les régions du Québec

Parks Canada Agency

Agence Parcs Canada

Public Health Agency of Canada

Agence de la santé publique du Canada

 

On Clause 1,

 
On motion of Mark Warawa, it was agreed, — That Bill C-474, in Clause 1, be amended by replacing lines 4 and 5 on page 1 with the following:

1. This Act may be cited as the Federal Sustainable Development Act.

 

Clause 1, as amended, carried.

 

On Title,

 
On motion of Mark Warawa, it was agreed, — That Bill C-474 be amended by replacing the long title on page 1 with the following:

“An Act to require the development and implementation of a Federal Sustainable Development Strategy and the development of goals and targets with respect to sustainable development in Canada, and to make consequential amendments to another Act”

 

The Title, as amended, carried.

 

The Committee reverted to Clause 13.1 previously stood.

 

By unanimous consent, the amendment was withdrawn.

 

The Committee reverted to Clause 14 previously stood.

 

After debate, Clause 14 was negatived.

 

The Bill, as amended, carried.

 

ORDERED, — That the Chair report the Bill, as amended, to the House.

 

ORDERED, — That Bill C-474, as amended, be reprinted for the use of the House at report stage.

 

At 5:30 p.m., the Committee proceeded to sit in camera.

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

It was agreed, — That the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development have three meetings to study Bill C-469, An Act to amend the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (use of phosphorus), that the Committee receive Mr. André, M.P., and officials on June 4, witnesses on June 9, and proceed with the clause by clause on June 11.

 

It was agreed, — That the Committee proceed with its study on oil sands and water on June 16, 2008 and that the Subcommittee on Agenda and Procedure meet to set-up a work plan for June 16th meeting.

 

At 5:33 p.m., the Committee adjourned to the call of the Chair.

 



Normand Radford
Clerk of the Committee

 
 
2008/09/29 10:21 a.m.