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House of Commons Emblem

Standing Committee on Natural Resources



Monday, February 26, 2024

[Recorded by Electronic Apparatus]



     I call this meeting to order.
    Welcome to meeting number 87 of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Natural Resources.
    Pursuant to the order of reference of Tuesday, October 17, 2023, and the adopted motion of Wednesday, December 13, 2023, the committee is resuming consideration of Bill C-49, an act to amend the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Atlantic Accord Implementation Act and the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Resources Accord Implementation Act and to make consequential amendments to other acts.
    Since today's meeting is taking place in a hybrid format, I would like to make a few comments for the benefit of members and witnesses.
    Please wait until I recognize you by name before speaking. For those participating by video conference, click on the microphone icon to activate your mic. Please mute yourself when you are not speaking. For interpretation, for those on Zoom, you have the choice, at the bottom of your screen, of floor, English or French. For those in the room, you can use the earpiece and select the desired channel.
    Although this room is equipped with a powerful audio system, feedback events can occur. These can be extremely harmful to interpreters and cause serious injuries. The most common cause of sound feedback is an earpiece worn too close to the microphone. We therefore ask all participants to exercise a high degree of caution when handling the earpieces, especially when your microphone or your neighbour's microphone is turned on. In order to prevent incidents and safeguard the hearing health of interpreters, I invite participants to ensure they speak into the microphone that their headset is plugged into and to avoid manipulating the earbuds by placing them on the table, away from the microphone, when they are not in use.
    I will remind you that all comments should be addressed through the chair. Additionally, screenshots or photos of your screen are not permitted.
    In accordance with our routine motion, I am informing the committee that all remote participants have completed their required connection tests in advance of the meeting.
    I would like to provide members of the committee with some instructions and a few comments on how the committee will proceed with the clause-by-clause consideration of Bill C-49. As the name indicates, this is an examination of all the clauses in the order in which they appear in the bill. I will call each clause successively. Each clause is subject to debate and a vote. If there is an amendment to the clause in question, I will recognize the member proposing it, who may explain it. The amendment will then be open for debate. When no further members wish to intervene, the amendment will be voted on.
    Amendments will be considered in the order in which they appear in the bill or in the package that each member has received from the clerk. Members should note that amendments must be submitted in writing to the clerk of the committee.
    The chair will go slowly to allow members to follow the proceedings properly. Amendments have been given a number in the top right corner to indicate which party submitted them. There is no need for a seconder to move an amendment. Once it is moved, you will need unanimous consent to withdraw it.
    During debate on an amendment, members are permitted to move subamendments. These subamendments must be submitted in writing. They do not require the approval of the mover of the amendment. Only one subamendment may be considered at a time, and that subamendment cannot be amended. When a subamendment is moved to an amendment, it is voted on first. Then another subamendment may be moved, or the committee may consider the main amendment and vote on it.
    Once every clause has been voted on, the committee will vote on the title and the bill itself. An order to reprint the bill may be required if amendments are adopted so that the House has a proper copy for use at report stage.
    Finally, the committee will have to order the chair to report the bill to the House. The report contains only the text of any adopted amendments, as well as an indication of any deleted clauses.
    We have a few witnesses today to answer your questions.
    From the Department of Justice, we have Jean-Nicolas Bustros, counsel, and Jean-François Roman, legal counsel.
    From the Department of Natural Resources, we have Annette Tobin, director; Lauren Knowles, deputy director; Cheryl McNeil, deputy director, by video conference; and Daniel Morin, senior legislative and policy adviser, renewable and electrical energy division.
     We also have the legislative clerks from the House of Commons, Dancella Boyi and Émilie Thivierge.
    Before the chair calls clause 1, there is an amendment, on pages 1 and 2 of the package, seeking to introduce a preamble to the bill.
    Monsieur Simard, would you like to move BQ-1?



    Go ahead, please.


    Thank you, Mr. Chair.
    I want to quickly come back to something that has been raised by some witnesses, namely, that Bill C‑49 isn't necessarily part of the energy transition. For many stakeholders, the energy transition is about putting low‑carbon energy ahead of fossil fuels. However, there is no clear indication of that in the bill.
    We would therefore benefit from including a short text in the preamble that would enable us to both give the bill an intent, that is to say to be part of the energy transition, and to meet Canada's commitments with respect to meeting emissions reduction targets. We could also talk about reforming certain oil and gas frameworks.
    I will read you the proposed text:
    Whereas Canada has ratified the Paris Agreement, done in Paris on December 12, 2015, which entered into force in 2016;

    Whereas the goal of the Paris Agreement is to keep the increase in global mean temperature to well below 2oC above pre‑industrial levels and pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5oC above pre‑industrial levels;

    Whereas the Government of Canada has committed to achieving and even exceeding the target for 2030 in its nationally determined contribution communicated in accordance with the Paris Agreement;

    Whereas the Government of Canada has committed to achieving net‑zero carbon emissions by 2050;

    Whereas the Canadian Net‑Zero Emissions Accountability Act entrenches the commitment to achieve net‑zero carbon emissions by 2050 in Canadian law;

    Whereas, in December 2022, the 15th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity, known as “COP15”, adopted the Kunming‑Montreal Biodiversity Framework;

    Whereas Canada has committed to halting and reversing biodiversity loss by 2030;

    Whereas marine petroleum exploration and exploitation projects pose a direct and indirect threat to marine biodiversity;

    Whereas the oil and gas production sectors are the largest emitters of greenhouse gases in Canada;

    Whereas, in order to cap and reduce the greenhouse gas emissions of the oil and gas production sectors, their total production must gradually decline;

    Whereas, in order to reach net‑zero carbon emissions, states must cease making new investments in petroleum research and production;

    Whereas the first step in the energy transition is to stop approving new petroleum exploitation projects;

    If we added this text to the preamble, we could resolve a major problem that makes me reluctant to support Bill C‑49, namely, the fact that, as part of the transition, fossil fuels are being treated the same as renewable energy.
    In the amendments we've proposed, this reading will come up again and again. It was also shared by many witnesses we've heard from, including Normand Mousseau of the Trottier Energy Institute, who is probably the most credible person in Quebec, if not Canada, when it comes to the energy transition.



     Thank you, Monsieur Simard.
    The amendment seeks to add a preamble to the bill, but as House of Commons Procedure and Practice, third edition, states on page 774, “if the bill is without a preamble, the committee may not introduce one.”
    Bill C-49 is without a preamble. Therefore, I rule the amendment inadmissible.
    There is no debate on this. It is inadmissible. We can move forward to the next item.
    No amendments have been submitted for clauses 1 to 6. Do we have unanimous consent to group them for the vote?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    Mr. Chair, before we get into it, I think that, for clarity's sake, maybe we should do a recorded vote. I'm good with grouping them together and having a recorded vote on all of them. When we get to the final vote on each clause, at the very least, I think having a recorded vote would be helpful, just so we're all clear on what exactly we're doing and what is happening.


    Fair enough.
    Shall clauses 1 to 6 carry?
    (Clauses 1 to 6 inclusive agreed to: yeas 10; nays 1)
    (On clause 7)
    The Chair: We will now go to clause 7, for which there is amendment CPC-1.
    Do we have a mover for amendment CPC-1?
    Go ahead, Mr. Patzer.
    Thank you.
    I move that Bill C-49, in clause 7, be amended by replacing line 2 on page 4 with the following:
section 5(1), section 29.1, subsection 41(7),
    That's it.
    Thank you, Mr. Patzer.
    Mr. Aldag, go ahead.
    Just for the record, I'd like to indicate that I will not be supporting this motion. By way of brief explanation, my understanding is that the purpose of clause 7 is to ensure that the provincial minister is consulted with respect to and must approve any regulations that are made under the accord acts.
    The removal proposed under CPC-1 would allow the federal government to unilaterally make these prohibition regulations, and that's very contrary to the spirit of the legislation. The clause has been negotiated with and agreed to by the provinces. My understanding is that the provinces would not support this, and therefore we will not be supporting it.
    I'll leave my comments at that.
    Thank you, Mr. Aldag.
    Shall amendment CPC-1 carry?
    (Amendment negatived: nays 7; yeas 4)
    (Clause 7 agreed to: yeas 6; nays 5)
     There are no amendments submitted to clauses 8 to 10. Do we have unanimous consent to group them for the vote?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    The Chair: Shall clauses 8 to 10 carry?
    (Clauses 8 to 10 inclusive agreed to: yeas 10; nays 1)
    The Chair: Next, we have a new clause, clause 10.1.
    Mr. Simard, would you like to move BQ-2?



    The new section 10.1 would read:

    10.1 Section 10 of the Act is amended by adding the following after subsection (2):

    (2.1) When appointing members under subsection (2), the Federal Government is to take into consideration the need for members who have knowledge, experience or expertise related to offshore renewable energy technologies and their environmental impacts.
    This amendment is easily explained by the fact that the regulator, whose witnesses we've heard from, said itself that it didn't have expertise in renewable energy projects. I find it hard to see how the planning and assessment process can be carried out completely without appropriate expertise. This assessment process could even be compromised. It would be quite normal to specify that the people who are going to do the analysis have the skills to do it.


    Thank you, Mr. Simard.
    I'll now go to Ms. Dabrusin.
    Thank you, Mr. Chair.
    I will be opposing this amendment.
    There are many factors that might come into play when considering amendments, including the protection of the environment, but there are other considerations that may need to be considered. This clause has not been considered with the provinces, so it's unlikely that they would want us to be stepping into this territory without having their agreement.
    On that basis, I will be opposing this amendment.
    Thank you, Ms. Dabrusin.
    We will now go to Mr. Angus.
    For me, what's really important in the legislation is the obligation to consult indigenous people over their historical land rights. To erase that and put in so-called experts.... The real experts on land are indigenous people, and we can never forget that.
    Thank you.


    May I add something quickly, Mr. Chair?


    Mr. Simard, go ahead.


    I find it quite interesting that my colleague Ms. Dabrusin is putting respect for provincial jurisdictions first here, which isn’t always the case with the Liberal Party.
    I still think it's important to point out the following question: How can we carry out analyses if we don't ensure that we have the people with the necessary expertise to do them?
    I think there's something out of place there. I'll leave it up to my colleagues to vote on this amendment, but I still think there's something wrong.
    A public decision‑maker wants to make decisions with the best possible information. I think that, within the legislative framework, we must also ensure that projects are assessed by people who have the skills to assess them. Still, I find it rather odd to reject this amendment.


     Thank you.
    I don't see any other hands for debate.
    We will now proceed to the vote on BQ-2.
    (Amendment negatived: nays 6; yeas 5)
    (Clause 11 agreed to: yeas 10; nays 1)
    (On clause 12)
    Monsieur Simard, would you like to move BQ-3?



    As I said in my preamble, the purpose of our amendments is to bring Bill C‑49 closer to transition. In the idea of transition, there's also the obligation to take into account changes that are quite rapid in terms of climate change.
    Proposed new section 17.01 reads as follows:
17.01 Every five years after this section comes into force, the Federal Minister shall cause to be undertaken a review of the duties and functions that this Act confers or imposes on the Regulator to ensure those duties and functions allow for

(a) meeting Canada's commitments to gradually reduce petroleum‑related activities and its national greenhouse gas emissions targets for the milestone years set out in the Canadian Net‑Zero Emissions Accountability Act; and

(b) conserving Canada's biodiversity and achieving the targets set out in the Kunming‑Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework and any national biodiversity strategy.
    As I said in my introduction, the climate situation is changing. Canada's progress towards its targets—as we know and have seen on many occasions—is uncertain. So I think the regulator's targets should be reviewed every five years. That would be a good mechanism to ensure that we can keep up with the reality of climate change.


    Thank you.
    We will now go to Ms. Jones.
    Thank you, Mr. Chair.
    While I appreciate the intent of the amendment that has been brought forward by my colleague, the objective of Bill C-49 is to expand the duties of the regulator to regulate offshore renewable energy. It's not to impose a duty on the independent regulator to reduce petroleum activity. I think it's really beyond the scope of what the provinces expected, asked for and negotiated with the federal government. I would think that they would likely not support this type of amendment or motion.
    For those reasons, I am opposed to it.
    Thank you, Ms. Jones.
    Go ahead, Mr. Angus.
     Yes, I made a mistake. I thought we were on this motion the last time I spoke.
     With the issue of indigenous rights being ignored and being taken out by the bill, I could not go back and tell anybody how we took out indigenous rights.
     I respect what my colleague is bringing forward, and I might have voted for it if it had been written with that respect in mind, but it isn't, so I can't support it.
    I don't see any other hands, so we'll proceed to a vote.
    (Amendment negatived: nays 10; yeas 1)
    The Chair: That is defeated. We will now go CPC-2.
     Is there a member who would like to move CPC-2?
    Mr. Patzer, go ahead.


    I move that Bill C-49, in clause 12, be amended by adding after line 13 on page 5 the following:
17.2 His Majesty in right of Canada or in right of the Province may rely on the Regulator for the purposes of consulting with the Indigenous peoples of Canada respecting any potential adverse impact of a change to a work or activity in the offshore area on existing Aboriginal and treaty rights recognized and affirmed by section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982 and the Regulator may, on behalf of His Majesty, if appropriate, accommodate any adverse impacts on those rights.
    Thank you, Mr. Patzer.
    We'll now go to Mr. Aldag.
    I have just a brief comment on this one. In my opinion—and I think my colleagues will support me, hopefully—I found this amendment to be repetitive and not required. If we look back to clause 12, proposed section 17.1 already stipulates that governments can “rely on the Regulator for the purposes of consulting”, and therefore this clause is not needed. I'll be voting against it.
    Thank you.
    Thank you.
    Mr. Angus.
    Thank you.
    I'm very interested in it, but I do see that it does say in proposed section 17.1 that:
the Regulator may, on behalf of His Majesty, if appropriate, accommodate any adverse impacts on those rights.
    I'm just wondering if we could maybe get an opinion from our esteemed panel here on whether or not what's covered under proposed section 17.1 would cover what's being proposed for 17.2.
     Mr. Chair, we think the wording in proposed section 17.1 is broad enough to cover the situation that is proposed under 17.2, and it's not necessary to repeat that element in the bill.
    Thank you.
    Mr. Patzer.
    Yes, I recognize that a lot of the text is the same, but there's just the one element of a change to a word. Even if there is a change to something after the fact, would the wording of 17.1 still encompass that?
    We'll now proceed to a vote.
    Shall CPC-2 carry?
    (Amendment negatived: nays 7; yeas 4)
    (Clause 12 agreed to: yeas 10; nays 1)
    The Chair: As there are no amendments submitted for clauses 13 to 17, do we have unanimous consent to group them for the vote?
    We don't have unanimous consent.
    Please call the vote.
    (Clause 13 agreed to: yeas 10; nays 1)
    (Clause 14 agreed to: yeas 10; nays 1)
    (Clause 15 agreed to: yeas 6; nays 5)
    (Clause 16 agreed to: yeas 10; nays 1)
    (Clause 17 agreed to: yeas 6; nays 5)
    (On clause 18)
    The Chair: We'll go to BQ-4 on clause 18.
     Monsieur Simard, would you like to move it?



     Yes, Mr. Chair.
    I'll pick up what I was saying earlier about the transition.
    I believe that schedules for reducing oil and gas production should be put in place as the clean offshore wind industry grows. Hence our proposal to add the following text:
30.1 (1) Within 12 months after the day on which this section comes into force, the Regulator shall submit to the Federal Minister and the Provincial Minister a strategic plan for making decisions related to petroleum and offshore renewable energy.

(2) The purpose of the strategic plan is to ensure, among other things,

(a) the consistency of the decisions with Canada's commitments to gradually reduce petroleum‑related activities and with its national greenhouse gas emissions targets for the milestone years set out in the Canadian Net‑Zero Emissions Accountability Act; and

(b) the conservation of Canada's biodiversity and the achievement of the targets set out in the Kunming‑Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework and any national biodiversity strategy.

(3) Before January 31 in each milestone year set out in the Canadian Net‑Zero Emissions Accountability Act, the Regulator shall prepare an updated strategic plan and submit it to the Federal Minister and the Provincial Minister.
    As I was saying, this aligns with the idea of a transition, but also with the commitments made by the Canadian government.


     Thank you, Monsieur Simard.
    Ms. Jones, go ahead.
    Thank you, Mr. Chair.
    I feel strongly that it's the responsibility of the governments to make strategic decisions regarding the pace and scale of offshore development for both petroleum and renewable energy. I also feel that it's not the responsibility of the regulator to do this. It's a broader policy objective and commitment. It really goes beyond the scope of what was negotiated with the provinces.
    I am opposed to this motion.


    Thank you, Ms. Jones.
    We'll now proceed to the vote on BQ-4.
    (Amendment negatived: nays 9; yeas 2)
    (Clause 18 agreed to: yeas 10; nays 1)
    The Chair: We have a point of order.
    Yes. It's just a brief point of order for clarification.
     When we're adding an amendment to a particular clause, shouldn't we be looking at all the amendments before we actually deal with the clause in its entirety?
    If you're adding an amendment to the existing clause 18, that's fine. You can do that. It's what we did earlier.
    However, 18.1 is a new clause. It's a stand-alone. It's separate from clause 18.
    Okay. That's the way we vote on it.
    Thank you.
    We will now proceed to BQ-5 and new clause 18.1.
    Go ahead, Monsieur Simard.


    In response to some of the testimony, and with a view to minimizing conflict between the parties involved in the decision‑making process, we're proposing the following new clause:
18.1 Section 31 of the Act is amended by adding the following after subsection (1):

(1.1) The Regulator shall give public notice, in a manner that it considers advisable, of any fundamental decision referred to in subsection (1) as soon as practicable after notifying the Federal Minister and Provincial Minister of that decision.
    This amendment reflects some of the testimony heard in our meetings regarding conflicts over use.


     I'll go to Ms. Jones, and then I'll go to you, Mr. Angus.
    Go ahead, Ms. Jones.


    Thank you, Mr. Chair.
    The accord acts.... That information has to be posted in the Canada Gazette. That is already public record. The offshore regulators are committed to operating transparently, and the results of their decisions must be published once they're ratified, so I really don't think it's necessary to have that particular amendment.
    Thank you, Ms. Jones.
    We'll now go to Mr. Angus.
    Thank you.
    Again, I may ask our expert panel here, but my understanding is that decisions made by the regulator have to be public. These are not done in secret. Is that the standard operating procedure for decisions from the regulator?
     Indeed, the accord acts prescribe when certain decisions made by the regulator—fundamental decisions—have to be made public, and it follows once ministers have ratified the decision.
    Okay. Thank you.
    Thank you.
    Mr. Patzer.
    Would these be things that are typically gazetted, then, as far as changes are concerned, or would these be something separate in terms of the type of notice that is given?
    In the accord acts, there are three or four instances—I'm looking at my colleagues here who can confirm that—where they prescribe that once the decision has been ratified by ministers, it would have to be published in the Canada Gazette.
    The launch of a call for bids is one of those instances. It isn't all fundamental decisions, but the practice by the boards is that once the decision is ratified by ministers, they would post that decision on their website.
    Go ahead, Mr. Falk.
    This would actually capture a little bit more that needs to be publicly disclosed, because you said that it isn't all fundamental decisions that are currently included.
    I think they are published on their website.
    I'm sorry. Maybe I'm not completely appreciating the question or the differentiation.
    You just made a comment that not all fundamental decisions are publicly disclosed.
    No, I'm sorry. They're all publicly disclosed. In some instances prescribed in the act, they're published in the Canada Gazette, so they would be gazetted plus posted on the board's website. However, there are other decisions that the act doesn't require to be gazetted, and they are published on the board's website.
    Okay. Thank you.
    Thank you.
    We'll go back to Mr. Patzer, and then to Mr. Simard.
    I guess my question is more for Mr. Simard.
    Is the intent to broaden what is deemed...or just how many things are considered fundamental? Are you trying to get more things listed as fundamental? What's the intent? Could you just explain the intent behind it again?
    Thank you, Mr. Patzer.
    We'll go to Mr. Simard.


    I'll respond to my colleague with a question.
    You said that regulators already publish major decisions in keeping with the accord acts.
    However, are they required to do so?
    Could the government decide on its own not to publish certain major decisions?


    In my experience—in what I have seen in working in this space—fundamental decisions that come to ministers for ratification always get posted to the board's website following those decisions.


    I'll be more specific.
    Do any provisions of Bill C‑49 require the minister to do this?


    For the minister to do it...? I'm sorry. It's the regulator.


    I meant the department or regulator.


    Yes, I'm sorry.
    Maybe I'll turn to my colleague here. I don't know if the act sets that out somewhere or not.
     We don't change anything in the act in this regard.



     Does the current legislation specifically include a requirement to publish this type of decision? If not, then the government isn't required to do so. Maybe it will, but it doesn't have to.
    Major decisions are made by the regulators and ratified by the ministers. It's actually the regulator that must publish the decisions. The Canada‑Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Resources Accord Implementation Act, unlike the Canada‑Newfoundland and Labrador Atlantic Accord Implementation Act, includes a requirement to publish when the minister suspends or opposes major decisions. However, that's all the legislation currently sets out.
    When the minister opposes or suspends a decision, the regulator must publish it.
    In the case of the Canada‑Nova Scotia accord, yes.
    There isn't any provision of this kind in the other accord.
    Conversely, if the minister doesn't suspend or oppose a decision, there's no requirement to publish it under the legislation.
    There you go. This confirms what I've been saying.


    Thank you, Mr. Simard.
    I will now go to Mr. Angus, and then Mr. Patzer.
    Thank you.
    I'm ready to move on.
    It's a regulator that reports to the government to say they've made a decision. At the end of the day, it's a regulator doing this. We haven't heard of a situation in which the minister has said they want the regulator to keep quiet. If the feds oppose something, the province has a veto, so we have checks and balances. This is an independent regulator. I haven't seen evidence that the federal government could tell the regulator to keep quiet. My colleagues could attempt to really ensure transparency, but I just don't see that this is a reality we have to worry about.
    I'm ready to vote.
    Thank you, Mr. Angus.
    We'll go to Mr. Patzer.
    Maybe it's because they're not publishing those notices, Charlie.
    I'm just wondering, do you guys have a definition handy to really hone in on what a fundamental decision actually is? If you have to submit it as a brief afterwards, that's fine, but if you have it handy right now, that would probably be helpful too.
    We're certainly happy to submit it. It is set out in the act.
     Jean-François, I don't know if you know off the top of your head what constitutes a fundamental decision.
    It is not defined as such, but what is considered a fundamental decision is any situation in which the federal and provincial ministers must approve the decision that was made by the board.
     I wasn't completely clear. Once a decision has been ratified by both ministers, then the board has a statutory obligation to publish the decision that was ratified. Your motion is proposing


to publish a notice stating that a decision has been submitted to the minister for approval. There isn't any requirement of this nature. The department is responsible for publishing a notice.


    Thank you, Mr. Patzer.
    Mr. Falk, go ahead.
    If I understand correctly, this amendment would compel that public notice be given on any fundamental decision, and even though it might be happening today, this would ensure that it would continue to happen, that the public would be made aware of any fundamental decisions and that there would be full disclosure and transparency.
    Thank you.
    We'll now proceed to the vote.
    Shall amendment BQ-5 carry?
    (Amendment negatived: nays 6; yeas 5)
    The Chair: We'll now go to amendment CPC-3. Do we have a member who would like to move it?
    Mr. Patzer, go ahead.
    This amendment would add after line 11 on page 7:
18.1 The Act is amended by adding the following after section 31:
31.1 Decisions of the Regulator respecting offshore petroleum projects and offshore renewable energy projects must be made no later than two years after it begins its review of the project.
    One thing we hear regularly is that extended timelines and a lack of certainty for investors and proponents who want to build, regardless of technology, are of paramount concern to them. They want to see more certainty. I think prescribing a two-year window would give a decent amount of time to do the review, and it would definitely put a target date on it, so there would be some certainty for investors. I think it's a good idea to put more certainty on it, because otherwise people are going to go build in friendlier waters. Pardon my pun.


     Thank you, Mr. Patzer.
    We'll now go to Mr. Aldag.
    The issue that I have, and that I think my colleagues would have, relates to the arbitrary nature of the two-year timeline that's being imposed in this amendment. When we put in a specific timeline like two years, it could hinder the regulator's ability to make certain decisions or to investigate perhaps safety and environmental issues.
    I also think there could be unintended, or perhaps even intended, consequences of creating a risk that the projects not go forward if the regulators don't meet that two-year timeline. There could be mitigating circumstances. Ones that come to mind are market conditions, supply chain issues and other such delays. It would extend that. Having that hard two-year timeline would create an even greater risk to projects.
    For that reason, I won't be supporting this amendment.
    Thank you, Mr. Aldag.
    Shall CPC-3 carry?
    (Amendment negatived: nays 7; yeas 4)
     (On clause 19)
    The Chair: We'll now proceed to CPC-4.
    Do we have a member who would like to move it?
    Mr. Patzer, go ahead.
    I move to amend clause 19 by adding, after line 19 on page 7, the following:
(1.1) The Regulator shall include with the recommendation a plan that sets out
(a) the impact of the project on fish, birds and the environment;
(b) the process for decommissioning and disposing of the project; and
(c) the site remediation to be done when the project's life cycle ends.
    Once again, I think this is providing certainty for the region in which these projects will be built. It's just to make sure there's no collateral damage, I guess, for lack of a better term, when the project is done or when it's past its timeline. It's to make sure there are no breakdowns that are simply falling into the ocean and not being cleaned up.
    Thank you, Mr. Patzer.
    We'll go to Mr. Aldag, and then Mr. Angus.
    Thank you.
    I would start off by saying that there are aspects of this that could be supported in the intent of the amendment, but ultimately I'll have to oppose it. There are some very clear reasons for that.
    I'll start with the implementation, which has to be done as part of the regulatory review process and future proposed regulations under part 3 of the act that will impose specific requirements on project proponents related to safety and environmental protection. There's that piece. The regulator wouldn't be required to provide a recommendation on the subject matter at this stage of the process, given that there would not yet be a proposed project. That's my understanding. This section of the act pertains to the issuance of submerged land licences prior to formal project proposals being submitted to the regulator for review and authorization and prior to information being available respecting that specific impacts be based on future project design in chosen technologies.
    It's a good intent, but it's the wrong place in the process. For that reason, I won't be supporting it.
    Thank you.
    I'll go to Mr. Angus.
    Thank you.
    I don't know offshore wind specifically, but I know that in mining you can't get a mine approved without a closure plan, without passing the environmental on groundwater, certainly. I think offshore there will be the issue of fish and birds, given that you'll be dealing with wind projects.
     I would ask our esteemed panel here about the regulator. To approve a project now, I would imagine it has to go through an environmental review that includes fish and habitat. Is that part of the process, or do they just approve projects?


    That is correct. The regulator, as part of these amendments for offshore renewable energy projects, would review project authorizations and applications. Those applications would include a lot more detail on the scope of the project—the intent, the size, the technologies used, the location—and a lot of the requirements over the life cycle of the project to address such things as decommissioning and disposing of the projects.
    There are specific plans that need to be submitted to the regulator and reviewed by the regulator on these matters as the project moves forward through the regulatory review process and throughout the life cycle.
     Could I follow up on that? They are different but they are similar, and if you're going to be building big platforms, whether for wind or for a new oil project, you have to have a plan to decommission that platform.
    Is this already something that's within their purview and expertise? We're not introducing something they don't know how to do. This is what they do.
    Yes, absolutely.
    Okay. Thank you.
    Thank you, Mr. Angus.
     We'll now go to Mr. Patzer.
    To create a vivid image for my colleagues across the table here, if we were able to travel for the IRA study to some of the areas we were thinking of going to, we would see the impacts when wind projects aren't cleaned up. When you drive through some of those valleys, you see nacelles hanging off the sides of towers. You see half a blade hanging off a rotor. You see crazy sights and things like that, which aren't being cleaned up and taken care of, and they become safety hazards.
    I think this provides some extra certainty to make sure that it's expressly written in here to make sure that does not happen in our offshore as it is already happening in the North American context. I am stating it's in the United States where I've seen that. I'm not saying this is happening in Canada, but I'm making sure that we don't have that problem offshore, as we've seen it in other places around the world onshore.
    Thank you, Mr. Patzer.
    We'll now proceed to the vote. Shall CPC-4 carry?
    (Amendment negatived: nays 6; yeas 5)
    The Chair: We will now proceed to CPC-5. Do we have a member who would like to move this?
    Mr. Patzer, go ahead.
    I move that clause 19 be amended by adding after line 34 on page 7 the following:
(5) Any evaluation of offshore renewable energy projects should be done similarly to evaluations of offshore petroleum projects.
    Thank you, Mr. Patzer.
    Mr. Aldag, go ahead.
     In this case, I would like to indicate that in the drafting of the bill and in the contents we see before us, the expertise of the offshore regulators and their very sound regulatory practices have been pulled into the language of the bill, but it also makes the necessary changes to reflect the specific needs of offshore renewables.
     The regulator has the same mandate to evaluate all aspects of safety and the environment that I talked about previously—the environmental protection of proposed projects—as it does for petroleum projects, while recognizing that the technologies will be different.
    Again, the essence of the opposition to this piece is that the contents of the bill as stated already address what's being proposed in this amendment.


    Thank you, Mr. Aldag.
    Mr. Angus.
    I'm interested but concerned, given that we haven't been briefed on how these structures will be built. I don't know if they are similar. There are similarities, but there are going to be differences. What I want to know is that the regulator has the authority to do the job necessary. I'm worried about prescribing that it has to be similar to how the offshore oil is done.
    With offshore oil, they have many years. They know what they're doing. What we're seeing with offshore wind is that they could be very different processes. I'm not sure of that, but I'm worried about prescribing it into legislation.
     I think if we're going to trust the regulator to do the job, we have to trust that the regulator has the expertise to decide how similar and how different those reviews are going to be.
     We'll now proceed to the vote. Shall CPC-5 carry?
    (Amendment negatived: nays 7; yeas 4)
    The Chair: We'll now go to BQ-6.
    Monsieur Simard? No?
    Okay. We will not go to BQ-6. We will pass that.
     Why are we skipping BQ-6?
    We're skipping it because it hasn't been presented or moved by the member.
    Oh, I see.
    Shall clause 19 carry?
    (Clause 19 agreed to: yeas 6; nays 5)
     I have a point of order, Mr. Chair. I just want to get some clarification either from you, Mr. Chair, or from our legislative clerks.
     I noticed that last time we tried getting unanimous consent to lump some clauses, it was given a no. It is the ability of members not to agree to that. I wonder if there might be wording that.... Instead of an all-or-nothing clause, I wonder if we might see if there are any clauses that members would like to vote on separately from that grouping. I noticed that there were some that all voted in favour of or that people didn't want to speak to. Therefore, instead of having just all-or-nothing lumping together, I wonder if we could call perhaps that clauses 20 to 27 be lumped, unless anybody wants to pull out a specific clause to vote on separately.
    I'm not sure if that can be done procedurally, but some lumping, some grouping, could be a way of helping us move forward, if that is allowed.
    Thank you for that, Mr. Aldag.
    We have a point of order from Mr. Small.
    Mr. Small, go ahead.
    Mr. Chair, can we suspend for just a couple of minutes while we discuss this, please?


    Sure. We will suspend.



     We are back.
    There are no amendments submitted for clauses 20 to 27. Do we have unanimous consent to group them for the vote?
    No, we do not. Okay. We will proceed to the votes.
    (Clauses 20 to 27 inclusive agreed to: yeas 10; nays 1)


     (On clause 28)
    The Chair: We'll proceed to clause 28 and BQ-7.
    Monsieur Simard.


    As you probably know, there have been many references to Canada's obligation to stop moving forward with new oil and gas exploration or development projects if it wants to meet its GHG reduction targets. The Quebec government has legislated to that effect. There won't be any oil and gas development in Quebec.
    We heard testimony here along these lines from the Ecology Action Centre, Marine Renewables Canada and SeaBlue Canada.
    We're proposing to amend clause 28 as follows:
(a) by replacing line 4 on page 12 with the following:

(a) the continuation of

(b) by adding after line 9 on page 12 the following:

(2) In respect of any portion of the offshore area, it is prohibited to commence any new work or activity relating to the drilling for petroleum after this section comes into force.
    I think that this aligns with the testimony shared with the committee. This would help the government remain more consistent with its commitments in the fight against climate change.



    Thank you.
    I'm going to Ms. Jones, and then to Mr. Patzer.
    Go ahead, Ms. Jones.
    Thank you, Mr. Chair.
    Obviously, the intention of Bill C-49 is not and never was to cease oil and gas activity. It's to ensure that we develop the offshore renewable energy sector. A clause in the agreement has already been negotiated and agreed upon by the provinces, so I oppose the motion.
    Thank you, Ms. Jones.
    We'll now go to Mr. Patzer.
    Thank you very much.
    I think the provinces should be allowed to decide what their future is. If they want to do more offshore oil and gas development and exploration, they should be able to do that, so I am opposed to this particular amendment.
    Mr. Chair, would it be okay for me to move my motion that I gave notice of on Friday? I want to take care of it really quickly, if the committee will indulge me for a couple of minutes. I move:
That, given that,
a) According to Statistics Canada: “In Saskatchewan, the collection of the carbon levy ceased in January 2024—
    I'm sorry, Mr. Patzer. Because we're already in a clause right now, you can't move it.
    Okay. Thank you. I will end there, then.
    Would you like to speak on the clause?
    I already made my comments on the clause. That's why I was wondering, since I was done with that, if I would be able to comment on my motion.
     Is there a point in this meeting when I can move this?
     We are back to debate on BQ-7. After we vote on BQ-7, I can acknowledge you, Mr. Patzer.
    Shall BQ-7 carry?
    (Amendment negatived: nays 9; yeas 2)


    That is defeated.


     Mr. Chair, before Mr. Patzer moves his motion, I have a question about the Standing Orders.
    I gather from the Standing Orders that, during clause‑by‑clause consideration of a bill, a motion can't be moved unless it relates specifically to a clause of the bill. Mr. Patzer must be able to show that his motion relates specifically to a clause of the bill. If he can't, technically, he shouldn't be able to move his motion.
    Can anyone clarify this for me?


    Thank you, Monsieur Simard.
    As I've been advised by the clerk, if proper notice was given, the member can move a motion.
    Mr. Angus, go ahead.
    I just wanted to be on the list after Mr. Patzer.
    I will now go to Mr. Patzer.
     Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
     I guess I will just get straight to it. I move the motion that was submitted on Friday:
That, given that,
a) According to Statistics Canada: “In Saskatchewan, the collection of the carbon levy ceased in January 2024, contributing to the province's year-over-year price decline of natural gas (-26.6%).”; and
b) Saskatchewan's inflation rate dropped to 1.9%, a full percentage point below the national inflation rate,
The committee call on the Liberal government to immediately axe the carbon tax.
    Given that this deals with a provincial matter, I think I would have support from Mr. Simard, in that provincial jurisdiction is a common theme for him.
    I think it's imperative that we send the message to the House on behalf of this committee, especially since we heard testimony.... Well, we saw in the Order Paper question, and we've seen repeatedly, that the government doesn't actually track any emissions reductions from the carbon tax. Therefore, it is abundantly clear that it is not an emissions reduction scheme. It's just simply a tax and redistribution scheme.
    Therefore, I think it would be good for this committee to really send a strong message that we support the resource sector and the development of the resource sector. Also, I think it would be great for the folks who pay their gas bills, their power utility bills, their fuel bills and their home heating bills to see that this committee takes the affordability crisis seriously.
     It would also be for people who want to invest in Saskatchewan, in Alberta and in Newfoundland in the offshore that removing this unnecessary tax that is.... It removes a competitive advantage that Canada has. I think it would be important for us to send that note.
    Also, seeing that the House did pass Bill C-234 previously, I think it would be good to just be consistent with that theme, and I think that this motion would allow us to do that. I think the proof is in the pudding here when we look at what Statistics Canada has to say about the price decline on natural gas for ratepayers but also about what it did to inflation in Saskatchewan, which is now below the 2% target that the Bank of Canada set out.
     Also, the CPI went down 0.1%, which is the first time it has actually trended downward since May 2020. I think that's a key factor, as well—seeing the impact it actually does have on consumers and seeing that the needle is moving in the right direction in Saskatchewan when it comes to affordability by simply axing the tax.
    I think it would send a good message to people if the committee would just approve this quick, simple motion. We can send it to the House, and I think that would be a good, quick little report from this committee.
    I don't think I have too much more to say. I think we have a good piece of legislation ahead of us. Obviously, we have some issues with Bill C-49 that we still wish the government would address. However, overall, it's important to my good colleague from Newfoundland and Labrador, here, for his province to do some things that they want.
    With that, I think I will wrap up my remarks.


    Thank you, Mr. Patzer.
    Now we'll go to Mr. Angus.
    Thank you for that.
    Thank you to my colleague for defending the people of Saskatchewan.
    My focus right now is making sure that we get this offshore wind accord settled. I've spoken to many people in Newfoundland and Labrador and in Nova Scotia who expect us to get it done. Therefore, I bring forward a motion to adjourn debate.
     We are voting on the motion to adjourn debate.
    (Motion agreed to: yeas 7; nays 4)
    The Chair: We'll now go back to clause 28.
    (Clauses 28 and 29 agreed to: yeas 6; nays 5)
    (On clause 30)
    The Chair: We are on clause 30 and amendment BQ‑8.
    Mr. Simard, go ahead.


    Amendment BQ‑8 aligns with what I've been saying all along.
    If we want to shift towards a low‑carbon economy, we can start by putting a stop to new development projects. A logical way to implement the energy transition would be to stop issuing new licences.
    My proposed amendment would add the following to clause 30, after line 24 on page 16:
(1.1) Despite subsection (1), no exploration licence or production licence is to be issued after this subsection comes into force.
    If we want to remain consistent with our greenhouse gas reduction targets and commitments, we need to take this step.


    Thank you, Mr. Simard.
    I'll go to Mr. Patzer and then to Ms. Jones.
    Mr. Patzer, go ahead.
    Thank you, Mr. Chair.
    Resource development is the jurisdiction of the province. It's not up to the feds to tell the province what to do. I think we'll be voting against this amendment for the sole reason that natural resource development is the jurisdiction of the province.


    Thank you, Mr. Patzer.
    We'll now go to Ms. Jones.
    Thank you, Mr. Chair.
    I agree with that, and I also want to reiterate once again that as much as my colleague Mr. Simard would like to see this bill cease all oil and gas activity, that is not the intent of Bill C-49. It really is to ensure the development of renewable energy in Newfoundland and Labrador and in Nova Scotia. I will oppose the motion.
    Thank you.
    We'll now proceed. Shall BQ‑8 carry?
    (Amendment negatived: nays 9; yeas 2)
    (Clause 30 agreed to: yeas 10; nays 1)
    (On clause 31)
    The Chair: We'll now move to clause 31 and BQ-9.
    Monsieur Simard, go ahead.


     Since I'm passionate about meeting the government's targets in the fight against climate change, I'm proposing a similar amendment to prevent any new oil and gas projects.
    It would amend clause 31 by adding the following:
(1.1) A call for bids shall not be made after this subsection comes into force.
    No new licences could be issued.


     Thank you, Monsieur Simard.
    I have Ms. Jones next.
    Thank you, Mr. Chair.
    For the same reasons that I opposed the last amendment, I oppose this amendment. That is not the intent of the bill. The intent is to develop offshore renewable energy in the Atlantic region.
    I'll be opposing the motion.
    Shall BQ-9 carry?
    (Amendment negatived: nays 10; yeas 1)
    (Clauses 31 to 33 inclusive agreed to: yeas 10; nays 1)
    (On clause 34)
    The Chair: We're now on BQ-10.
    BQ-10 could only be moved if BQ-8 were adopted, since it would create a subsection. BQ-8 was not adopted.
    We will proceed.
    (Clause 34 agreed to: yeas 10; nays 1)
    The Chair: There were no amendments submitted for clauses 35 to 37. Do we have unanimous consent to group them in a vote?


    We do not have unanimous consent.
    We will proceed to the votes.
    (Clauses 35 to 37 inclusive agreed to: yeas 10; nays 1)
    (On clause 38)
    The Chair: We will now move to clause 38 and CPC-6. Do we have a member who would like to move it?
    Mr. Small, please go ahead.
    Thank you, Mr. Chair.
    I move that Bill C-49, in clause 38, be amended by adding after line 26 on page 20 the following:
89.1 The Regulator may make a call for bids only in relation to an area that has been identified for potential development following a regional assessment conducted under section 138.017 that
(a) was conducted less than five years prior to the call for bids;
(b) included a study of the regional and cumulative impacts of development of the type and quantity that is to be proposed under the call; and
(c) included all the prescribed information and prescribed studies.
    Also, after line 21 on page 21, it would add the following:
(4) The call for bids shall also include a description of the area’s suitability for development.
    Thank you, Mr. Chair.


    Thank you, Mr. Small.
    Mr. Aldag, go ahead.
    Thank you.
    I'd like to start by saying that in one aspect, I agree with the intent of the amendment, but I'm unable to support it in the way it has been presented.
    I'd begin by noting that the federal and provincial governments recognize, through their actions, the importance of regional and strategic assessments. This is why they are currently conducting a regional assessment for offshore wind in advance of a future call for bids for both the Canada-Newfoundland and the Canada-Nova Scotia offshore areas. This is why the regulators have conducted strategic environmental assessments in advance of a petroleum call for bids.
    The real concern here is that this amendment, if accepted, would require that the comprehensive regional assessments currently being undertaken be redone. When we hear from the Conservatives about wanting certainty and clarity, this would completely undo any work and cause huge delays. That is a huge problem that goes well beyond the intent of the bill. The bill includes amendments that would provide the offshore regulators with the authority to conduct regional and strategic assessments prior to a call for bids, but these authorities aren't intended to be prescriptive, and it's unlikely that the provinces would support this action as presented in this motion.
    I would also note, based on some comments we heard previously, that the Conservatives, under previous governments, have taken actions such as this, which created duplicative processes. They added red tape and increased the approval times in Newfoundland's offshore to 900 days. Our government has gotten that down to 90 days. It's not appropriate to reintroduce renewable energy-killing requirements that are already in place under other processes.
    For those reasons, we're going to be opposing this amendment.
     Thank you, Mr. Aldag.
    I will go to Ms. Jones.
    Thank you, Mr. Chair.
     I don't really have much to add to what Mr. Aldag has said, but I do want to make sure I'm on the record. We already know that there is a regional assessment process for offshore wind. We also know that any projects that are to go ahead have to undergo impact assessment and fall under the Impact Assessment Act. Really, I know where Mr. Small is trying to go here, but the safeguards are already in the bill as it relates to the assessment process prior to any development of renewable energy.
    Thank you.
    Thank you, Ms. Jones.
    Mr. Small.
    Thank you, Mr. Chair.
    With all due respect to MP Aldag, Minister O'Regan misled this committee in saying that they reduced the 900 days to 90 days, when in fact the 90 days are the maximum length of time to approve an exploration permit. They're insinuating that the length of time for a development project to be—
    I'd ask you to pause for a second. We have a point of order.
    Go ahead on a point of order, Ms. Dabrusin.
    First of all, we're doing a clause-by-clause and not a general debate, but beyond that, it's unparliamentary to be saying that the minister has “misled” this committee. At this point we're not taking further evidence on this, and I hear the person across speaking about intentional misleading. None of that is the way we should be discussing this in clause-by-clause.
    Mr. Chair—
    Thank you, Ms. Dabrusin.
    On the point of order, colleagues, I would just ask you to make sure that we are not using language that's saying that something was said that may have not been said and using words that could also mean something else. I would ask colleagues to focus on Bill C-49 and what we're discussing today on the motion and to try to keep our attention and focus there.
    Mr. Small, you had the floor before the point of order. I'm going to go back to you.


    Back to Mr. Aldag's comments, these regional assessments are non-binding. We heard testimony by Katie Power that these regional assessments will have no impact on this bill and that they're just basically people giving their opinions.
     On another point, the provinces also heard the testimony that was given here, and if it goes back there, if this bill gets in their legislatures and gets in their committees and they ignore the stakeholder testimony.... They're going to hear the exact same testimony that we heard here from fishing industry stakeholders, and I can assure Mr. Aldag that the provincial government in Newfoundland and Labrador is going to listen to these stakeholders if they want to get elected again. I'm sure that amendments will be made at the provincial level, because they take the fishing industry seriously back in Newfoundland and Labrador, versus some of the attitude I've seen around this table.
    Thank you.
    Thank you, Mr. Small.
    We'll now go to Mr. Angus.
    Well, I'm fascinated that my Conservative friends want the federal government now to be able to establish rules.
     It says that before any bids can go out, there has to be an environmental assessment done first. Now, I come from mining country. If we had followed these rules and said that the federal government is going to impose in northern Ontario that you can't do any staking unless you've had a prior environmental assessment, there wouldn't be a single prospecting operation anywhere, because what happens is that the bids go out—in the north, it would be prospecting claims—then they get reviewed and then they go to an assessment. You go to the assessment because you have a potential project. You can't say that a whole area has to have a prior review first, before you can go for any bids.
    I think what they're saying is that we're going to override the board, we're going to override the provinces and we're going to send the message to anybody who wants to invest to get out of town, because it's not going to happen. I think they're cutting off their nose to spite their face.
    Thank you, Mr. Angus.
    I'll go back to Mr. Small.
    Mr. Chair, I find it rather rich that my colleague Mr. Angus is not in agreement with this amendment, which was brought about based on testimony from FFAW-Unifor. I'm quite shocked that he's not supporting those very people. Over the years, the NDP had a great relationship with Unifor, and now he's here in this committee and he's going against a recommendation that was developed out of testimony that was presented by Unifor. It's unbelievable, Mr. Chair.
     Thank you, Mr. Small.
    We'll go back to Mr. Angus.
    I'm interested now, so if my Conservative colleagues will agree to impose on any oil and gas development in Alberta and Saskatchewan that it has to have a prior environmental bid—
    I have a point of order, Mr. Chair.
    —then maybe, but they can't pick and choose. They can't pick and choose precedent. They can't say, “We're going to screw over any kind of renewable energy in Newfoundland and Labrador.”
    If we're going to say that there's going to be prior necessity for any reviews, then that seems to be like the national energy project in the 1980s. If they're willing to include Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia in that, then that's fairness. We just have to clarify.
    Thank you, Mr. Angus.
    Mr. Small, go ahead.
    I have a point of order, Mr. Chair.
    Mr. Angus has gone off topic here. This bill is about wind energy in the ocean, and amendments to the original Atlantic Accord that are all about destroying offshore oil and gas in Newfoundland and Labrador and in Nova Scotia. It has nothing.... Absolutely nowhere is onshore development of oil and gas mentioned in Bill C-49.
    I don't know why he's hanging up.... He's wasting time and trying to cut down an amendment that FFAW-Unifor desperately wants so that their stakeholders, the people they represent, have a say in this process. It's absolutely disgusting, and it's an utter insult to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador, the way he's getting on over there.


    Thank you, Mr. Small.
    I have a point of order.
    It is 5:30. Are we not supposed to adjourn at 5:30?
    I'm just going to go to Ms. Dabrusin, and hopefully that's it.
    Ms. Dabrusin, go ahead.
    I was just hoping that we could—maybe when we go into our next meeting—keep the conversation focused on the clause-by-clause and not take any personal potshots at each other. It doesn't help us to keep it going along.
    I'm just asking if we can take that into consideration when we're speaking about things. We may feel very strongly about it, but let's just keep to the subject matter.
    Thank you, Ms. Dabrusin.
    With that, colleagues, we've worked hard over the last two hours, so let's make sure we keep working together.
    I'll call the vote. Shall CPC-6 carry?
    (Amendment negatived: nays 7; yeas 4)
    The Chair: Thank you, colleagues. That is our time for today's meeting.
    Is there agreement of the committee to adjourn?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    The Chair: The meeting is adjourned.
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