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I will speak briefly about each of the amendments, since the ones I'm presenting are basically the same as those presented in the context of Bill C-227 and have been discussed. Since a new wording of this bill has been presented, I'd be out of my mind if I didn't try to push it a little further.
We all know that Bill C-344 is largely inspired by a similar Ontario bill. Although it is inspired by it, it stops very shortly after the starting point.
In proposing these amendments, I am trying to give a little more importance to this bill, which contains four or five clauses and is interesting in spirit, but which gives the minister the power to require an assessment of the local benefits without making him do so. That seems a little contradictory to me.
NDP amendment 1 proposes adding this paragraph to clause 1:
(1.1) Before awarding a contract for the construction, maintenance or repair of public works, federal real property or federal immovables, the Minister shall consult the public in order to assess the local need for community benefits.
Remember that the bill only deals with buildings that are financed or belong to the federal government. If we want to promote local benefits, the least we can do is go to the communities and ask them what their needs are, which could be filled by this bill once it's passed. This could be taken into account in a possible call for tenders.
That's 0-2. I'll try to be more convincing, but since I've already presented these amendments, I won't believe in miracles.
We are proposing that, to be more specific, clause 1 be amended by adding the following after line 17:
(2.01) The Minister shall, before awarding a contract for the construction, maintenance or repair of public works, federal real property or federal immovables, require bidders on the proposal to provide information on the measures considered to:
Then, it describes what those measures would be:
(a) reduce the environmental impact of the work, property or immovable;
(b) ensure respect for the biological diversity and ecological integrity of the surrounding ecosystems and contribute to their maintenance; and
(c) ensure that the work, property or immovable is adapted to the effects of climate change.
During the study of Bill C-227, the committee wisely insisted that environmental issues be added to the elements it had to consider. That is exactly what NDP-3 is about.
In my opinion, the importance we are placing on the milieu, the environment and climate change is better defined by this addition than by clause 1 of Bill C-344.
Zero out of three. It's almost torture, but I'll try my luck again.
The amendment reads as follows:
That Bill C-344, in Clause 1, be amended by adding after line 17 on page I the following:
“(2.1) The information to be provided must specify:
The current clause doesn't specify anything. But I humbly submit to this committee that we could include in the bill guidelines that would allow us to better measure the achievement of our objectives when the time comes for the report. I'll continue:
(a) the number of apprentices the bidder plans to employ, broken down by trade;
(b) the measures that he or she intends to implement to help these apprentices complete their training under the apprenticeship contracts; and
(c) the measures that he or she intends to take to increase the employment opportunities for apprentices who are women, Aboriginal persons, newcomers, at-risk youth, veterans or local residents or for apprentices who belong to any other prescribed category of persons.”
You can see that, through each of these amendments, we are trying to go beyond the intent. Right now, with all the amendments that have been rejected, the bill is a road paved with good intentions where no obligations are required. As a result, there can be no results. There may be some, but we aren't giving ourselves the means to ensure it.
Madam Chair, if I understand correctly, this is my last attempt.
Here is the fifth proposed amendment:
That Bill C-344, in Clause 1, be amended by. replacing line 3 on page 2 with the following:
“construction, maintenance or repair projects containing the following information:
(a) the number of apprentices employed for these projects, broken down by the number of women, Aboriginal persons, newcomers, at-risk youth, veterans and local residents; and
(b) a summary of the observations made by the communities and the public about the bidders' efforts to respect their commitments regarding the employment and training of apprentices.”
We are at the report stage. As my colleagues can see, the proposed amendment is consistent with the previous requests for amendments, which unfortunately were rejected.
It seems to me that when we get to the end of the process, if we also have a tool that allows us to properly evaluate what we wanted to do and the results we achieved, we could not only be aware of a mixed success or a lack of success, but also ensure that the next proposals are even more precise and clear.
I just took a comment that Mr. Aubin made during NDP-4, I think, with respect to being a bit more specific and digging a bit deeper into the weeds. When I really look at NDP-1, I think it may do that, and therefore suffice for the other motions that were put forward.
Madam Chair, Mr. Aubin made a comment, I think it was on amendment NDP-4, that he wanted to dig a bit deeper into the weeds with respect to being more definitive on a lot of this, or parts or aspects of this motion.
I am really looking at NDP-1. It speaks about the triple bottom line, which is the social, economic, and environmental benefits. This motion may present itself to different projects. I think that it may in fact accomplish what he has been looking for—to dig a bit deeper into the weeds—with respect to amendments 2, 3, 4, and 5.
I don't want to speak for all members, but, personally, I would be willing to go back to that, Madam Chair, and support the NDP's intention there as it relates to defining social, economic, and environmental benefits as part of proposed subsection 20.1(1.1).
I was going to say that Mr. Badawey isn't playing with a full deck here. In fact, I think you are actually working off some old notes here, Vance, because the NDP-1 that you are referring to here isn't the same as the NDP-1 that was passed out.
NDP-1, I think, was something Mr. Aubin looked at or brought forward when it was Bill C-227, when it said “benefit means a social, economic or environmental benefit”. If Mr. Aubin had that note from the first one and was to present that as an amendment, I think he would find that it would be adopted.
Basically, Mr. Hardie is right. This is an old document that I'm working from. I'm asking Mr. Aubin if in fact that's what he would want to do, based on the old document that I'm reading from right now.
Madam Chair, if, after Mr. Badawey has reviewed clause 1 of Bill C-344, he has a specific amendment that he wishes to move, perhaps he could move that amendment so that we're all working off the same page.
The bill has carried. Thank you all very much for that.
Now, one other piece of business that the clerk is insisting we talk about is Bill C-64. Since it was officially sent to us, according to the clerk, she would like us to be thinking about the witnesses for Bill C-64, which we will at some point have to deal with.
Madam Chair, I would like to suggest that we call, as an individual, former MP John Weston, who proposed this in the last Parliament. He has worked long and hard on this file, so it would be good to hear his perspective on this particular piece of legislation.
The clerk is asking, though, that we use the extra time to think about the witness list, since we're not going to be meeting next week or Thursday, and submit them to the clerk by January 15.
How many meetings are we going to have on Bill C-64? Can we not wait until we see what it looks like? Okay. Does anybody have any idea of the number of meetings? I don't know how big the bill is. I haven't seen it.