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Obviously, we're going to have to play it by ear today, but we have with us the sponsor of the bill, Ms. Lenore Zann, MP for Cumberland—Colchester. As well, from the department, we have Laura Farquharson, Silke Neve and Pascal Roberge. We're here to do clause-by-clause on Bill C-230.
I don't think I need to read out the rules of how we conduct ourselves in a committee, especially in a virtual format. I think everyone is familiar with that.
It seems like just yesterday we were doing clause-by-clause. We will start with the fact that we're doing this pursuant to Standing Order 75(1). Pursuant to Standing Order 75(1), consideration of clause 1, the short title, and the preamble is postponed. For obvious reasons, we've gone through this before on Bill C-12.
I call clause 2. I would like to see if we can adopt clause 2.
I would like to inform the members of the committee that the purpose of amendment LIB‑1 is to change the heading. According to the procedural rule, a change to a heading is only possible if there is a change to the text of the bill that would justify the change to the heading.
Amendment LIB‑2 seeks to change the text of the bill that would justify the change to the heading proposed by amendment LIB‑1. Therefore, it makes more sense for us to consider amendment LIB‑2 first. If LIB‑2 is adopted, LIB‑1 will automatically be adopted to reflect the change to the text of the bill.
If I am not mistaken, we are now on clause 3, and I would ask Mr. Longfield to introduce LIB‑2.
I'm pleased to introduce a motion to amend clause 3. The amendment does a few things. It adds a reference to the concept of environmental justice, which is something that's also included in the heading, as you said, but we can go back to that.
It's in line with the amendment we've discussed at committee. We'd ensure that the national strategy promotes efforts to prevent, assess and address environmental racism, and we would provide flexibility to the minister to cooperate or consult with a wide variety of interested stakeholders. The amendment would also provide the government with flexibility in developing the strategy and avoid pre-empting or prejudging the outcome of the work that would be undertaken in the development of the national strategy.
It also removes references to measures that could infringe on provincial jurisdiction or be more appropriately taken up by the provinces. This includes removing the requirement to “assess the administration and enforcement of environmental laws in each province”, as we recognize that jurisdiction over protection of the environment is a shared jurisdiction among the different levels of government.
Thank you. I believe this has been emailed, in both official languages, to the clerk. Hopefully, that's been distributed to committee members.
I would move that after the words “who are interested” we insert the following, “and ensures that it is consistent with the framework for the Government of Canada's implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples”.
I see Ms. Zann's hand as well, but Mr. Chair, just to provide due warning, I have another very simple subamendment that I would like to raise under the same section. Perhaps I could move my second subamendment after we deal with this one.
Ideally, we would like both of the subamendments to carry, but barring a majority vote on both of them, we'd want one or the other to carry, so I think doing them separately is probably our preference.
Mr. Chair, I am referring to the clause under discussion, not to Mr. Bachrach's amendments. Perhaps we should finish the discussion on those amendments, and then I will speak to the Liberal Party amendment.
You can't make a subamendment to a subamendment. In this case, it's two subamendments to the same clause. That boils down to one subamendment, as I understand it.
The legislative clerk has assured me that it is possible to move both of Mr. Bachrach's subamendments. As I understand it, we are not subamending a subamendment. They are two subamendments that deal with two different parts of the same article. If I understand correctly, that is the logic to follow.
I will come back to you on this in a moment.
Mr. Bachrach, we can't distribute it, because it's in one language only, but you can read it and then the interpreters will interpret it and that will suffice.
This is in clause 3, paragraph 3(3)(a), which in the proposed Liberal amendment read “a study that may include”. Our subamendment is to change the word “may” to the word “must”, so that it would read “a study that must include”.
The Bloc Québécois is very happy to see amendment LIB‑2. We will be voting in favour of it. You know how important the jurisdictions of each party, whether Quebec, the provinces or the federal government, are to us. In fact, when we saw the bill, we did not understand how we could submit such an amendment, because there are so many eloquent examples where the federal legislation is much weaker than the Quebec legislation, in our opinion.
I think our witness, Mr. Gaudreault, also talked about this and gave us some examples.
I just want to say that we will be voting in favour of amendment LIB‑2, because, as a priority, Canada needs to look at protecting people from climate change, pollution issues, health impacts, and all of the inequities that characterize its environmental work. But it's not Canada's job to examine what the provinces are doing. The wording of clause 3(3)(d), “assess the administration and enforcement” was exaggerated.
So we are very pleased and will vote in favour of amendment LIB‑2.
Yes. We're talking about the amendment to clause 3, which covers a lot of ground. I'll make some general comments and then try to be quiet for the rest of the vote.
The first one was the addition of the concept of environmental justice, which I understand is more parallel to the legislation in the United States and the work they've done. I'm keen for Ms. Zann's reflections on that, seeing as this is her bill.
The second one was the change to the word “redress”, which featured prominently in the original drafting of the bill. I note that this amendment brings in the wording “to assess, prevent and address environmental racism”, which has a slightly different feel but perhaps captures the spirit of what Ms. Zann originally intended.
If it's in order, I'd love to hear from the sponsor.
I definitely believe including environmental justice is so important. That is at the heart of this bill, but I also think it's so important to use the words “environmental racism”, because that's what it's also about. I think this ties in nicely with changes to CEPA, and it's a perspective that we now need to use when looking at decisions that will impact people and their health.
Therefore, I'm very happy about that, and I was very firm that addressing environmental racism needs to come first, before environmental justice, in that order.
In regard to the other question, my original bill in Nova Scotia, which I tried to get passed four times, was an act addressing environmental racism. I think this title includes all the things that need to be included, and it has a forward-looking view to make sure that, from now on, we don't continue down the same old path we've followed for too many years.
I'm actually quite satisfied with it. Thank you for asking.
It seems to me that Bill C‑15 states that the laws will automatically be consistent with the United Nations Declaration. So is there any point in adopting Mr. Bachrach's amendment, and will we have to bring his amendment back to the table on a regular basis, since it seems to me that Bill C‑15 covers all of that?
Mr. Chair, if I understand Ms. Pauzé correctly, she is asking whether, because C-15 references all other Canadian statutes, it is really necessary to go both directions and have new statutes reference the framework on C-15.
My sense is that, given where C-15 is, and because the co-formation of that framework hasn't taken place yet, it's important in this new legislation that we have a reference to that so that it doesn't get missed.
While it may seem duplicative, I think indigenous rights are important enough that we should make sure that when we're passing legislation we include reference to them, especially a piece of legislation aimed specifically at environmental racism, which affects so many indigenous people.
Once again, I want to emphasize that the Bloc Québécois is very happy to see all these amendments proposed by the Liberal Party, because they allow us to enlarge the lens through which we will see this when we talk about, for example, “members of an Indigenous or racialized community”. So we are including marginalized populations that might simply be disadvantaged, regardless of their colour or race, just disadvantaged.
For us, that's important. We therefore feel that we have been heard.
So we're going to vote in favour of that amendment as well.
I'd like to acknowledge MP Zann and her work on this. It's in the spirit of her work and what's been amended thus far that I present the amendments to the preamble.
The new paragraph acknowledges the need to advance environmental justice and to continue to work to end racism and racial discrimination in all of its forms. In doing so, it's part of a strategy that would allow for a broader national conversation to take place on the ways in which we address environmental inequities that are encountered by communities that face marginalization, including those from racialized or indigenous backgrounds, as well as acknowledging those of certain socio-economic status or gender, and recognizing that these perspectives are often intersectional and overlapping.
The amendment to paragraph 3 acknowledges that environmental policy-making requires an inclusive approach that's non-discriminatory and also must have meaningful engagement and participation of all Canadians, especially communities that are facing marginalization.
Mr. Chair, could I just say a very quick thank you to everybody who supported the bill? To the Bloq Québécois, to the NDP and to all of my Liberal comrades, I want to say thank you so much. This is an historic day on National Indigenous Peoples Day.
As you are aware, we started to debate the motion that I presented in the last meeting about unanimous consent to table the plastics report as written. I think some of my colleagues felt that they needed the weekend to review and look at the report in more detail. As we know, the House rises Wednesday, so if we want to be respectful of the witnesses.... I know it is unusual. There are some minor changes that I might have made, but I think we should all agree that the report was very well done.
The bells are ringing. That means I need unanimous consent to continue our discussion before we go to the vote in the House.
Is there unanimous consent to keep discussing and not go to the House right now, technically speaking, to vote?
In other words, I need unanimous consent to continue this discussion. Otherwise we have to come back after the vote. I'll let you know now; we don't have resources after 5:30, so there's a hard stop at 5:30.
Of course, we know we're coming to the end of our term, and we have a lot of work that's been done on a plastics study, so I'm looking to see if we could perhaps have unanimous consent to table the study as it is written.
I'd caution you not to talk about any motion that was discussed in camera.
What you could do—this is what the clerk has told me—is ask that the committee now start discussing the topic of the plastics report. We could vote on that. There would be no debate. It would be a vote.
If for some reason it were accepted that we should start talking about the plastics study, then the next step would be to move a substantive motion. I think what you have in mind is to say, “Let's adopt the report.”