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View Bruce Hyer Profile
GP (ON)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
One of the key principles underlying responsible parliamentary government is that the House of Commons holds the power of the purse. This amendment that we're proposing will make the tabling of a budget with financial information mandatory to give MPs time to assess the budget before the beginning of the fiscal year. With the public relations brochures we get from time to time in the form of economic action plans, which are devoid of detailed accounting, and with budgets tabled in April instead of February and March, this government has eroded parliamentarians' ability to perform their duty in holding the government accountable on spending.
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
View Bruce Hyer Profile
GP (ON)
Thank you.
We can't have or we shouldn't have a government that's afraid to borrow to build the infrastructure we need because it's worried about the penalties that might occur. This amendment will make it so this legislation is careful not to restrict borrowing for prudent capital investment.
Thank you.
View Bruce Hyer Profile
GP (ON)
Thank you.
This amendment deletes the clauses within the bill that will allow for secret evidence as well as evidence inadmissible in a Canadian court of law. It also requires an appellant to be informed of the minister's case against them, not just “reasonably informed”.
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
View Bruce Hyer Profile
GP (ON)
Thank you.
This amendment appoints a special advocate to be present whenever an appellant and their counsel can't be present due to issues of national security. This is the scheme from security certificates. In my opinion, these secret trials are unjust, but at least a special advocate would make things a bit more fair.
View Bruce Hyer Profile
GP (ON)
Again, this amendment deletes the clauses within the bill that allow for secret evidence and for decisions to be made based on evidence that neither the opponent nor the counsel has even seen.
It also requires the opponent to be actually informed of the minister's case, and not just “reasonably informed”.
View Bruce Hyer Profile
GP (ON)
This amendment appoints a special advocate to be present whenever an appellant and their counsel cannot be present due to issues of national security. If we have enough information to revoke somebody's passport, we should have enough to look into charges of laying a recognizance without conditions. A special advocate would at least make sure that the person accused who can't defend themselves has someone looking out for them.
View Bruce Hyer Profile
GP (ON)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
There are very good reasons for and against extending privilege to patent agents. However, this needs to happen in a separate intellectual property bill, partly because it's extremely controversial. In the meantime, things could be clearer if these common law principles were present here. This amendment seeks to incorporate the elements of the Wigmore test.
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
View Bruce Hyer Profile
GP (ON)
This one will be very short.
This amendment would do exactly the same thing as PV-14 but for trademark agents. I should perhaps use that bit of extra time to explain the Wigmore test. It was summarized by the Supreme Court in 1991, in the Gruenke case:
The Wigmore test as to whether or not a communications is privileged requires that: (1) the communications must originate in a confidence that they will not be disclosed; (2) this element of confidentiality must be essential to the full and satisfactory maintenance of the relation between the parties; (3) the relation must be one which in the opinion of the community ought to be [diligently] fostered; and (4) the injury...to the relation by the disclosure of the communications must be greater than the benefit thereby gained for the correct disposal of litigation.
Thank you.
View Bruce Hyer Profile
GP (ON)
Together is fine. It makes sense, they do the same thing.
This bill changes the years of copyright for a song recording, not a song, but a recording from 50 years to an astounding 70 years. The big three foreign record companies lobbied the Prime Minister directly for this, and this came hidden here in this omnibus budget bill with no study or consultation.
Our amendments will change it back to 50 years, still very long, but more reasonable. Numerous studies in Europe have shown that extending the copyright for sound recordings does not benefit artists at all, but does benefit the big record labels. The artists quite often don't hold the copyright for the sound recording, while they do for the actual song, which goes for 50 years after death.
Thank you.
View Bruce Hyer Profile
GP (ON)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
This amendment seeks to do two things, as recommended by James Haga, VP of Engineers without Borders. The first is poverty reduction, and specifically that Canada's development goals should be at the very heart of the development finance initiative's, DFI's, core mandate. Second, DFIs' investments should complement but be quite distinct from Canada's official development assistance.
Thank you.
View Bruce Hyer Profile
GP (ON)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
This amendment doesn't have anything to say about pay or non-pay, and it's very simple and straightforward. It emphasizes part of the point that Mr. Rankin was making, that on this point alone legislation would be better than regulation and make it certain.
This amendment will make sections 247.1 to 247.4 of the Canada Labour Code applicable to federal interns, and these are the sexual harassment provisions only.
View Bruce Hyer Profile
GP (ON)
Thank you very much.
I'll start with amendment PV-27. We have serious and deep reservations on two major points. The first is the potential for such a service to unintentionally place what is now wholly legislative jurisdiction, the protection of parliamentary privilege, into the hands of the executive.
The second is the job security—
View Bruce Hyer Profile
GP (ON)
Sorry. I stand corrected. Thank you very much.
This amendment would undo the change proposed by Bill C-59 to expand the maximum natural gas exportation licence to 40 years from the current maximum which is 25. Recognizing the importance of responsible and sustainable resource development, this change would mean that all stakeholders would get fewer opportunities to revisit projects that had previously received approval, depending on their positive or negative impact on the environment and economies of the communities that they affect.
As West Coast Environmental Law, a B.C. environmental law advocacy group that opposes the change, says, “It is quite possible that something thought to be a good idea today may not be in 25 years' time with the advent of climate change, economic shifts, increasingly harmed environment, and other potentially unforeseen alterations to the landscape. By lengthening the maximum term of licencing we're removing our ability to revisit these important questions and continue to ensure that our decisions are working to the advantage of everyone.”
Thank you.
View Bruce Hyer Profile
GP (ON)
You have to listen to a few words again.
We have serious and deep reservations on two major points here: the first is the potential for such a service to unintentionally place what is now wholly legislative jurisdiction, that being the protection of parliamentary privilege, into the hands of the executive; the second is the job security of the men and women of the current House and Senate parliamentary protective services.
That's it.
View Bruce Hyer Profile
GP (ON)
No, I'm sorry, that is not it. I'll be quick with the other part.
This amendment would remove the language that could have implied that the Minister of Public Safety would be on equal footing with the Speakers in determining the terms and conditions of the arrangement whereby the RCMP will supply security services. It must be clear that the Speakers are wholly responsible for the terms of the deal, with the minister playing a consultative role only. “For greater certainty” clauses have no statutory impact, and the language in the operative section must be clear.
This amendment seeks to reduce any ambiguity about whom this new director will be accountable to. As the director will remain an active member of the RCMP under this act, it must be made clear that the Commissioner of the RCMP may take no actions to interfere with the role and duties of the director that may exist under the RCMP Act. While we don't presume that any responsible commissioner would take those actions, we must as legislators ensure that no commissioner could take any actions that would constitute breaches of our sacred and important parliamentary privilege.
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
View Bruce Hyer Profile
GP (ON)
In my nomenclature, we would be going to.... I thought amendment PV-28 was the same as amendment PV-27, and I thought that amendments PV-29 and PV-30 were together.
View Bruce Hyer Profile
GP (ON)
Yes, please.
With the Mounties poised to provide security services in the precinct, it's important to recognize that some conflicts may arise out of this new security arrangement. One of our particular concerns is the matter of the execution of search warrants in the parliamentary precinct, which has been a topic of much debate historically in this place. We recommend that it be stated clearly in this act that the Speaker be guided by precedent on this matter to ensure that it be the Speaker and/or Speakers who is or are solely responsible to protect the powers, privileges, rights, and immunities of Parliament.
View Bruce Hyer Profile
GP (ON)
Mr. Chair, this amendment seeks to address some of the concerns raised by one of the witnesses from the House of Commons security services. That witness testified to the public safety committee that, while the motion passed in the House of Commons and the Senate guaranteed “continued employment”, this bill only guarantees that the day following the services' establishment, they will be transferred to the new service. It does not address the nature and length of their continued employment.
Given their long record of important service to this place, and in particular during the events of October 22, we hope that this amendment will reflect their concerns, and reassert and confirm this House's commitment to their continued employment.
View Bruce Hyer Profile
GP (ON)
Quebec's private sector privacy law was found to be inadequate by the EU, and countries are considering moving the World Anti-Doping Agency, WADA, from Montreal.
PIPEDA, the federal private sector privacy law, has been found by the European Union to be adequate. However, the federal government can't simply place WADA under its jurisdiction due to the Constitution.
The government is free to amend legislation, but it's not free to ignore our Constitution. Simply stating that WADA is now subject to PIPEDA is subject to challenge, because to do so calls into question the constitutional foundation of the entire law. If PIPEDA applies to non-commercial activities, it needs a different constitutional basis. By encroaching on provincial powers, in this case seeking to impose a federal law where a provincial Quebec law already applies, the government is proposing to solve one problem by creating a much bigger problem.
The Privacy Commissioner has raised the same concerns.
This amendment is to recognize that the government cannot simply legislate this agency into its jurisdiction, because constitutionally it belongs to the province.
View Bruce Hyer Profile
GP (ON)
Part 3, division 15, section 168 of Bill C-59 would create a non-exhaustive, open-ended list of applications subject to collection of personal biometric information for “verification purposes”.
Our amendment seeks to point out how much Bill C-59 opens up the possibility for collecting biometrics, and to point out the possibility of mission creep, as the Canadian Civil Liberties Association called it in the Senate committee.
The government could easily use this as a grab for the personal and private information of anyone coming into Canada, and use it for virtually any purpose. In fact, the Prime Minister is announcing today that all people requiring visas will need to give their biometrics. There are some legitimate reasons to collect biometrics, but we need to be cautious and need to be transparent.
This change within Bill C-59 came as a surprise and after no serious public study. We feel this is potentially quite dangerous. Thank you.
View Bruce Hyer Profile
GP (ON)
Thank you.
A centralized database can often be easily hacked. When you combine this massive collection of personal information with the information sharing provisions of Bill C-51, what will prevent Citizenship and Immigration from sharing all the personal information they're collecting with many or all other departments?
Biometrics contain extremely sensitive and personal information. We have received no information about how this enormous database will be structured, or what kind of privacy protections it will have.
We're concerned about mission creep. It's a big concern. Biometrics are intrusive.
This amendment will seek to ensure that the legal standards, values, and rights established in Canadian privacy law for the treatment of personal information are not eroded, and that any sharing of personal information with other jurisdictions or states complies fully with Canadian standards of protection.
View Bruce Hyer Profile
GP (ON)
This amendment was a suggestion by immigration lawyer Richard Kurland in the citizenship and immigration committee on May 28. We concur with his opinion. We need to place some limits on what can be shared with the RCMP.
Mr. Kurland said the following in committee:
The way it's stated biometric can be collected and then at some point-in-time related personal information is on the table. As the committee members, I'm sure, well know family composition forms are part of the immigration process. Their equivalent for temporary status is also part of the visa process and that means that your family tree and all the personal information in immigration databases can go out the door to the RCMP and travel to points abroad.
View Bruce Hyer Profile
GP (ON)
May I converse with my staff for a moment?
We're not certain we understand the question, never mind the answer. Maybe he could repeat his question; I'll try.
View Bruce Hyer Profile
GP (ON)
I think we can probably do them together.
View Bruce Hyer Profile
GP (ON)
First, regarding PV-40, Bill C-59 brings in the possibility of automated decision-making. We could have a computer making decisions about who gets to come to Canada. This raises many questions, but it's hidden in this huge budget bill so we haven't been able to ask those questions.
PV-40 and PV-42 delete this section that allows incorporation by reference of these regulations related to the electronic administration of the act. Incorporation by reference means regulations could change over time when external bodies decide to revise those documents that have been incorporated by reference, and Parliament would have no further oversight role. These external changes would become law automatically with no further action required from the Canadian state, or from Parliament.
We feel this is not only not transparent but also downright undemocratic.
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
View Bruce Hyer Profile
GP (ON)
What this amendment is trying to fix is surprising. This amendment seeks to make it so that as veterans age, they don't see a decrease in the funding they receive from the government. It appears that currently in Bill C-59, when veterans reach the age of 65, they will actually receive less money, which makes no sense, as they're looking at increased costs of health care as they age, as we all age.
Thank you.
View Bruce Hyer Profile
GP (ON)
Yes. It makes sense to put them together.
Starting with PV-46, this amendment seeks to include those veterans who are suffering PTSD by eliminating the requirement for immediacy in symptoms. PTSD often manifests long after the incident that caused the initial trauma. This problem was brought forth to us by the Canadian Legion, including Branch 5 right in my own riding of Thunder Bay—Superior North.
Moving to PV-48, this is the same as PV-46, as well as accounting for the event of multiple incidences that cause injury. For example, PTSD is caused by exposure to extreme violence and repeated violence over a period of time.
View Bruce Hyer Profile
GP (ON)
This is on PV-50. This is a quote from Brent Rathgeber's blog:
Amazingly, Division 18 of Part 3 amends the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act to state that they do not apply to records and copies of records that were destroyed under the Ending the Long-gun Registry Act. This provision is made retroactive to October 25, 2011 (the day on which the Ending the Long-gun Registry Act was introduced into Parliament).
This is quite extraordinary. It is alleged that while Parliament was debating ending the long gun registry, the RCMP proactively began destroying documents. If this provision passes, the RCMP members would be immune from prosecution based on the retroactive enforcement provision.
According to Mr. Rathgeber he was and still is totally opposed to the long-gun registry, but this disregard and disrespect for Parliament is infuriating.
This amendment changes the date for coming into force to the date of royal assent, instead of first reading.
Bill C-59 tries to make anyone who destroys the records from the long-gun registry immune from prosecution. This amendment adds “the lawful“ to only make those who did it legally be immune. It also deletes the section granting immunity to people who destroyed the records between first reading and royal assent. On this one, Mr. Rathgeber and I are in agreement.
View Bruce Hyer Profile
GP (ON)
I have a suggestion, Mr. Chair, and that is that I speak to PV-54, PV-56, and PV-58 briefly all at once and then you can deal with them as you see appropriate.
The Chair: Okay.
Mr. Bruce Hyer: Building on what Mr. Brison said, it's very clear to me and the Green Party of Canada that, whether it's based on ideology or some sort of strategy, the government is trying to pick a fight with unions.
Our amendments try to deal with getting around the incredible anti-labour position taken here, which is attempting to circumvent unions and our obligations under the Public Service Labour Relations Act. Incredibly, Bill C-59 imposes the government's bargaining position on public service unions before they ever even have the chance to sit down and negotiate.
It's not the right thing to do. It's not the smart thing to do. I really hope the government will rethink this part of the bill.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
Thank you.
My first amendment, Mr. Chair, is an attempt to improve the definition for definitional purposes. The committee will remember the evidence and testimony of the Canadian Bar Association. Their concern was that the way this definition of polygamy has been drafted, it could, rather than protect women, go against Canada's obligation to protect the human rights of all women, particularly those who have been forced or coerced to comply with certain cultural practices against their will.
The CBA concluded that the “inadmissibility provisions could also harm children of polygamous unions, by removing their parent(s) from Canada, removing the children themselves from Canada, and infringing their rights under international law.”
The amendment proposed here by the Green Party is to make sure that women who are forced into polygamous marriages are not punished by exempting them from the application of this ground for inadmissibility.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I hope it would be considered acceptable to you as chair if I speak to all three at the same time, because they work as a package. I know they go out of other clauses, but I think it would be more efficient, if that's all right with you.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
Oh no, that's all right. I'll do it in one or one and a half.
I just want to make one brief point. I really wonder if the drafters have considered—which I don't have in an amendment at this point—what “free and enlightened consent” will mean for two people. I note parenthetically that this could save Britney Spears all kinds of trouble if she tried to get married in Canada. In any case, I find that this is a new definition for contracting marriage, and I wonder if it will cause us trouble down the road.
With these amendments, PV-2, PV-3 and PV-4, I am trying to get to the same issue that Mr. McCallum just put forward, which is that there were a lot of witnesses before the committee, including UNICEF and the Canadian Bar Association, who said that we really don't know what the proper age might be in order to provide clarity and protection for young people and to ensure that they are not forced into marriages.
The reason I'd like to present all three at once is that they work together. The idea is to create some time, as this bill is coming into force, within which the government can do further consultations and study to figure out the best federally mandated minimum age of marriage in order to pursue further “evidence-informed analysis, and consultative processes with children and youth and other relevant stakeholders...to determine what course of action will best serve the best interests of Canada's children and youth”. That was a citation from the UNICEF brief.
The way the three amendments work together is essentially to put the same provision that you find in the bill now at a different point in the act so the entry into force can be postponed to allow this section to be clarified.
With that, Mr. Chair, I conclude presentations on three of my amendments at once.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
The intention here.... It's a convoluted way to try to create space for the minimum age for marriage to be consulted upon before being nailed down in this law. The further amendment extends the period of time for coming into force. The three work together as a package. One by itself wouldn't make sense.
(Amendment negatived [See Minutes of Proceedings])
(Clauses 4 to 6 inclusive agreed to)
(On clause 7)
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
Mr. Chair, this deals with a very controversial part of this bill, as all members of the committee will know.
Let me confess that I find the zero tolerance for barbaric cultural practices act strange to begin with, in that it basically makes illegal a lot of things that Canadians know to be illegal, such as killing in any form. It's already illegal. Making an honour killing illegal and saying we certainly want to thump our desks about that, to me, is more gimmickry than law-making, but in going forward with gimmickry, one shouldn't do damage to fundamental legal principles, such as access to the defence of provocation.
You did know from the evidence of the Canadian Bar Association and particular members of the bar.... Mr. Michael Spratt, a partner at Abergel Goldstein, spoke very forcefully, as you'll recall, about the risks with the way this section now works, where the allegation in some of the testimony, even from the minister, was that it was common practice to try to use the defence of provocation to reduce the severity of the crime from first degree murder to manslaughter on the part of someone who conducts an honour killing. This was described by Mr. Spratt as “reckless mischaracterization”.
We have not seen the defence of provocation succeed in honour killings, ever. We've seen it attempted only three times. The risk here is that in shutting this down, essentially shutting the door on a straw man, we might actually make it more difficult to have access to such a defence in cases when we would want to.
That's why my amendment puts forward a deletion.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
People don't always know what “PV” stands for. It stands for “Parti vert”.
This again is an amendment suggested by the evidence of UNICEF. The amendment is to clause 9 of the bill, but changes the act in proposed sections 293.1 and 293.2 and expands the scope of offence and criminality to those who participate, celebrate, or aid in any way at this event. The concern of UNICEF, of course, and I'll just quote from their brief:
If a child can be forced into marriage, they can also be forced into celebrating, aiding, or participating in a forced marriage. We recommend that children and youth be exempt from the measures set out in the proposed new sections 293.1 and 293.2 of the Criminal Code, and the proposed amendments to subsection 14(2) of the Youth Criminal Justice Act.
What my two-part amendment does is exactly as UNICEF suggested. I've inserted a minimum age into proposed section 293.1 where there wasn't a minimum age before, and I've changed the minimum age in proposed section 293.2 from 16 years to 18 years in an attempt to protect children from being inadvertently scooped up in criminality by participating in a larger family event for which one cannot imagine that they should have any criminal consequences.
Protecting children is the goal of my last amendment.
View Bruce Hyer Profile
GP (ON)
Thanks very much, Mr. Wallace. I'll be Mr. Hyer today, with no “d”. There is no “d”.
View Bruce Hyer Profile
GP (ON)
Amendment PV-1 removes the quote “if a law enforcement animal is killed in the commission of the offence”, etc. The intention of our amendment is to remove the mandatory minimum sentence for this bill. The Green Party is against mandatory minimums, both in principle and in practical practice.
View Bruce Hyer Profile
GP (ON)
Oh, yes. Let me refer to my brains—
View Bruce Hyer Profile
GP (ON)
Thank you very much, Mr. Wallace.
This amendment changes the wording in Bill C-35 in clause 2 from “shall” to “may”, as you see, and it adds the words:events, if the court considers it to be necessary for the proper administration of justice.
Why? This bill would introduce a mandatory consecutive sentence, a practice opposed by many experts in the legal field. Mandatory consecutive sentences are simply bad judicial policy, according to the Canadian Bar Association and others.
As the Canadian Bar Association has pointed out, judges are required anyway to abide by the general principle of proportionality in sentencing, an impossible task if they're also required to impose mandatory minimum sentences. The combination of mandatory minimums and mandatory consecutive sentences is particularly worrisome and seriously threatens judicial discretion.
View Bruce Hyer Profile
GP (ON)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
This amendment removes the words “if a law enforcement animal is killed in the commission of the offence, to a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of six months; or”. The intention of our amendment is to remove the mandatory minimum sentence that this bill introduced. The Green Party is against mandatory minimums on principle and in practice. They subvert judicial discretion, they lead to crowded prisons, and they lead to skyrocketing costs that are inevitably devolved to the cash-strapped provinces. As the Canadian Bar Association has noted quite extensively, they're neither fair nor are they effective judicial policy.
According to the Canadian Bar Association's previous analysis of Bill C-26, the tougher penalties for child predators act, mandatory minimums do not advance the goal of deterrence according to very fair international social science research on the matter. The most dangerous or horrific offenders are already subject to stiff sentences because of the nature of their crimes, and mandatory minimums disproportionately impact minority groups, particularly aboriginal communities, which are already overrepresented in the criminal justice system. I have certainly observed in my own riding of Thunder Bay—Superior North how even now aboriginals are very seriously punished and overrepresented in serving jail terms.
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I'm here, as the committee members will remember, due to a motion passed by this committee that deprives me of my rights at report stage by offering the opportunity to appear before the committee. Not to put too fine a point on it, that was something I found to be less than satisfactory, but I comply with your motion.
The first amendment that I'm presenting today is in relation to the definition of “ground disturbance”. The committee will recall evidence from those involved, particularly Union des producteurs agricoles, that the cultivation of less than 45 centimetres below the surface of the ground could impede the planting of alfalfa which has occurred over quite a long period of time. Their belief is that they did not have a problem with the presence of pipelines in areas where they were cultivating alfalfa to depths of more than 45 centimetres. So they believe this proposed paragraph should be deleted from this legislation to avoid unnecessary conflict between agricultural producers and the pipelines as now defined as a “ground disturbance” under the definition section found at page 2.
I hope that's clear.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
It's a small technical point, Mr. Chair, but I'm not a private member, and in this context “PV” has been chosen by the House of Commons to designate “Parti Vert”. I think they didn't want us confused with the “G” that stands for government—until the day that Greens are the government, and then the G will work perfectly. So for now, “Parti Vert” is the reason we have the “PV”.
I'm sorry for the interruption.
The amendment I've suggested here is in recognition of a lot of the testimony—the committee will remember it—on the concern that the act not denigrate from first nations' rights. The way my amendment would slot in is that on page 2, in the spot just above the proposed subsection 3(3), we would insert this paragraph, numbered as subsection 3(2). It speaks for itself:
For greater certainty, nothing in this Act shall be construed so as to abrogate or derogate from the protection provided for existing aboriginal or treaty rights of the aboriginal peoples of Canada by the recognition and affirmation of those rights in section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982.
So it's a “for greater certainty” clause. I believe it speaks for itself, but it would go a long way to ensure that first nations did not have the concerns, which were expressed before this committee, that the bill would denigrate and abrogate from their rights.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
I don't believe I'm in a position to request it one way or the other. My motions are deemed to have been tabled, and I'm not a member of the committee, but I appreciate your asking.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
In this amendment, what we're attempting to do again is to ensure that the way in which the bill is interpreted and applied will not be negative for first nations' rights.
The Assembly of First Nations' evidence before this committee was that they were concerned that aboriginal treaty rights are not included as factors for which the board may order a company to take measures under the section. The Assembly of First Nations is recommending that the National Energy Board be empowered to make orders to recognize, protect, and implement aboriginal and treaty rights.
That will be accomplished through the insertion at the end of subsection 48(1.1) of a paragraph (c), “the protection, recognition and implementation of aboriginal and treaty rights”, giving the National Energy Board the ability to order a company to take measures in respect of those considerations that are critical for the Government of Canada to ensure that first nations' treaty rights are protected by those dealing with pipelines in their territory.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Again, this is a real life situation where I think the drafters weren't sufficiently cognizant of the ways in which the language could offend first nations. While that was not the intent of the language, what they've forgotten is that when you're on that territory and you're dealing with an abandoned pipeline, the authorities that are being exercised under proposed subsection 48(1.2) down to the end of that subsection end up creating a situation in which first nations could find themselves prohibited from doing things on their territory that would otherwise make sense, such as if they found themselves making contact with an abandoned pipeline. The authorities that would then be exercised against a first nation would actually be contrary to the constitution as well as numerous other potential treaty laws, depending on where the pipeline is found and what the status of that first nations territory is, whether under treaty, recognition of title, or still in the process of a recognition of title.
So, since the current subsections 48(1.1) and 48(1.2) authorize a company or any third party to “take any action or measure that they consider necessary” to protect an abandoned pipeline, it could set up a situation of conflict which is completely unnecessary.
Therefore, the effect of this amendment, PV-4, would be to eliminate the three clauses that would have that unintended effect.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
We're on to PV-5. Sorry about that, Mr. Chair. I got caught.
This is to page 6, and I hope it doesn't get too confusing. This is again the same point of unintended consequences. And I agree, it is difficult when we are concerned about an issue for unintended consequences for first nations. I think this one may be sufficiently narrow that some of my colleagues in other parties can support it because what we're suggesting is that the references to “make contact with” should be referred to as “substantially interfere with”, because at this point, on page 6, when you get to clause 16 what it suggests is that:
No person shall, without the Board’s leave, make contact with, alter or remove an abandoned pipeline.
Given the proximity of abandoned pipelines to first nations territory, “make contact with” might not be something that was really intended by the drafters. So I'm suggesting language that's more to the point, which is to replace the words “make contact with” with “substantially interfere with”. That's Green Party amendment five.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
What I'll do, Mr. Chair, is try to make it succinct.
You may in fact be given to psychic powers, since you've announced that amendment PV-6 was already defeated before I started, but I'll plow into it as if there's some opportunity for it to pass. I will make it as succinct as possible, because it is complicated.
The effect of these various changes, found through pages 6 to 13, is to change proposed new section 48.12 so as to remove the liability limit for no fault and instead institute unlimited absolute liability. It removes all later references to a limit on liability and removes the minimum of 250,000 barrels a day.
As amended, after all the separate little changes that you see on the page for Green Party amendment PV-6, proposed subsection 48.12(1) would read:
If an unintended or uncontrolled release from a pipeline of oil, gas or any other commodity occurs, the company that is authorized under this act to construct or operate that pipeline is liable for
—and at that point you go straight to resuming the text as found at the top of page 7 of the bill—
(a) all actual loss or damage
etc.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
In this I'd be replacing, as you see, a few lines. The effect is to insert the concept that an aboriginal governing body would become a category of entity that could be reimbursed for reasonably incurring expenses in relation to a release.
As things now are listed, the only entities eligible to receive reimbursement for expenses that were reasonably incurred because of a release would be Her Majesty in right of Canada or a province, and then it includes “or any other person”. But “person” doesn't seem to incorporate the notion of a first nation. That's why the amendment reads “aboriginal governing body” and then “or any other person”.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I'm in a sort of limbo situation as I'm not a member of the committee, but this is my amendment, so I just wanted to put on the record that I find Linda Duncan's amendment friendly. I think she's also further fortified the argument for why the main amendment should carry, which is that when you list the province, list the federal government, and list a person, you could be excluding a first nation and a municipality. I appreciate the amendment.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
In four years of putting forward amendments, Mr. Chair, this is a first. Thank you very much to my friends across the way. Thank you.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
No, listen, it took four years and I remained hopeful.
The next amendment gets to the issue of a question that I'm sure this committee has heard a great deal about. I certainly know from witnesses that you have heard that it is important to have legislation recommend environmental damage. The use of the words “non-use value” is recommended by a number of the witnesses you had before you, but I'm particularly going to cite the evidence of Professor Olszynski from the University of Calgary Law School. I'll quote from his evidence:
My first recommendation is that the third category of loss under the civil liability provisions be amended to refer simply to environmental damages.....coupled with an additional subsection defining environmental damages, as is the case in the sentencing provisions.
It would not only simplify the section and ensure its comprehensiveness, but it is also necessary to correct what appears to be an error in the current bill. That is the effect of my amendment.
There is one other part of my amendment that deals with another part of Professor Olszynski's testimony, which is that the Governor in Council should be required within a certain timeframe, or at least authorized, to make the regulation setting out a process for environmental damage assessment.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
This is found on page 8 of the bill. This amendment deals with a section that actually removes access to Fisheries Act measurements of damages. Currently, proposed subsection 48.12(8) says:
The costs and expenses that are recovered by Her Majesty in right of Canada or a province under this section are not recoverable under subsection 42(1) of the Fisheries Act.
The question is, why would we limit liability under this bill? They would be otherwise recoverable under the Fisheries Act. The recommendation is to delete this section and to allow the recovery of damages under the Fisheries Act, leaving them recoverable under subsection 42(1).
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
Linda Duncan can help me with this too, because in my understanding of the Fisheries Act damages are recoverable for more than commercial fisherman and damages are recoverable for damage under section 42.1.
It's not in conflict. We don't create a conflict for proposed subsection 48.12(7) by deleting proposed subsection 48.12(8). Rather, by continuing with the latter, it doesn't seem to me that there's any reason why damages should not be recoverable under subsection 42.1 under the Fisheries Act. Deleting proposed subsection 48.12(8) doesn't create any statutory interpretation problems with proposed subsection 48.12(7). The fact that they're also liable under any other act is no reason to remove access to section 42.1 of the Fisheries Act; it doesn't create a conflict, if you see what I'm saying.
So why take away the access to damages under section 42.1 of the Fisheries Act, which has been used as, Ms. Duncan says, for a very long time and as a pretty meaningful measure for environmental protection?
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