Interventions in the House of Commons
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View Bardish Chagger Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Bardish Chagger Profile
2019-06-19 21:56 [p.29445]
Mr. Speaker, there have been discussions among the parties, and I think if you seek it, you will find unanimous consent for the following motion.
I move:
That, notwithstanding any Standing or Special Order or usual practice of the House:
(a) the motion respecting the Senate Amendments to Bill C-91, An Act respecting Indigenous Languages, be deemed adopted;
(b) the motion respecting the Senate Amendments to Bill C-92, An Act respecting First Nations, Inuit and Métis children, youth and families, be deemed adopted;
(c) Bill C-98, An Act to amend the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Act and the Canada Border Services Agency Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts, be deemed to have been concurred in at the report stage, and deemed read a third time and passed;
(d) Bill C-101, An Act to amend the Customs Tariff and the Canadian International Trade Tribunal Act, be deemed to have been concurred in at the report stage, and deemed read a third time and passed on division; and
(e) when the House adjourns on Thursday, June 20, 2019, it shall stand adjourned until Monday, September 16, 2019, provided that, for the purposes of any Standing Order, it shall be deemed to have been adjourned pursuant to Standing Order 28 and be deemed to have sat on Friday, June 21, 2019.
View Yvonne Jones Profile
Lib. (NL)
View Yvonne Jones Profile
2019-06-13 13:15 [p.29050]
Madam Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise in the House and speak in support of the third reading of Bill C-88. This bill would amend the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act and the Canada Petroleum Resources Act. These changes have been long awaited by governments, both indigenous and territorial, in the Northwest Territories.
On Monday, we heard colleagues in the House speak to this bill, including the member of Parliament for the Northwest Territories, who worked very closely with indigenous governments, treaty and land claim owners and the Government of the Northwest Territories to ensure that this bill would be in the best interests of the constituents he represents and would meet the standards they have been requesting from the Government of Canada.
I want to applaud the member of Parliament for the Northwest Territories for the great work he has done on Bill C-88 and for ensuring that members in this House on both sides fully understand this bill and the need for the changes being proposed.
Bill C-88 is based on a simple but wise idea, which is that the best way to regulate development along the Mackenzie Valley and in Arctic waters is to balance the interests of industry, the rights of indigenous governments and organizations, and environmental protection. The proposed legislation before us aims to achieve this balance in three ways.
First would be by foster certainty, which is required by industry. As we know, the Northwest Territories is no stranger to industry. It has been home to some of the largest mining developments in Canada and to some substantial energy, oil and gas developments. It is a region of our country that has been very active in engaging with industry.
Second would be by reinstating a mechanism to recognize the rights of indigenous communities to meaningfully influence development decisions. This would allow indigenous communities to have full input, full insight and full decision-making in industry and resource developments that are occurring within their land claim areas. This would allow them to be part of development, to look at the impacts and benefits of development initiatives, and to be true partners in decisions and outcomes.
Third would be by ensuring that scientific evidence on the state of the environment would inform development decisions. The indigenous governments of the Northwest Territories have set up a model that allows them to look at individual projects and their impact on the environment, not just today but for generations to come, and to make decisions based on scientific information. Scientific evidence ensures that decisions are informed, not just from an economic perspective but from an environmental perspective.
As it stands today, the regulatory regime fails to strike this balance. In particular, the regime currently in place fails to provide clarity, predictability for proponents who are investing, and respect for the rights of indigenous communities in that region and in the north. In large part, that is because of the Northwest Territories Devolution Act, which was endorsed by this House in 2015, and which I, too, voted for. However, it was subsequently challenged by a court order, which led the Supreme Court of the Northwest Territories to effectively suspend key provisions of the act. This ruling caused uncertainty in the regulatory regime for the Mackenzie Valley, and as many of my colleagues have already stated, that uncertainty has not been good for business.
I voted for the bill in 2015, even though it contained clauses that would eradicate the treaty rights of indigenous people in the Northwest Territories. We knew it was wrong. We fought hard to change the bill. We proposed amendment after amendment, but the Harper government would have none of it. It accepted no amendments to the bill that would ensure the rights of indigenous people.
We were left to make a choice. Do we support the devolution of the Northwest Territories, which needed to happen and was long overdue, or do we not support it because of these clauses? We supported the bill but said that when we formed government, we would reverse the negative legislation in the bill that eradicated the rights of indigenous people and did not uphold the environmental and economic responsibilities that should be upheld in any major development. We made a commitment to the people of the Northwest Territories that when we formed government, we would change the legislation to reflect what they wanted. That is what we are doing today.
Over the last couple of years, we have worked very closely with indigenous governments in the Northwest Territories, its member of Parliament and the Government of the Northwest Territories to get this legislation right and change the injustices caused by the Harper government and imposed on people in the Northwest Territories. Today we are removing them.
We would be allowing companies that want to invest in the Northwest Territories through major resource development projects to have certainty. This would ensure that there would be no unforseen impacts for them and would ensure that they would know the climate in which they are investing and the process expected of them.
We would allow indigenous governments, which have had land claims, treaty rights and self-government agreements for many decades, to take back control of their own lands and to make decisions in the best interests of their people for generations to come, and to do so in a systematic and scientific way that looks at all the impacts and benefits. This would allow these indigenous governments to not only have a choice about whether a project went forward but to have the opportunity to partner with investors and resource development companies. Everyone can benefit when they work together.
That is the kind of relationship we have promoted right across Canada with indigenous groups, territorial and provincial governments, investors, resource development agencies and others.
Today we would legislate the changes we committed to in 2015 regarding the Northwest Territories. We know that the legislation would achieve the balance we are trying to establish in three ways. I have already outlined them in my speech.
I want to take a few minutes to talk about how Bill C-88 would restore certainty in the regulatory regime, which was a key aspect of the Northwest Territories Devolution Act. The act eliminated regional boards mandated to review proposed development projects that were likely to impact the traditional lands of three particular indigenous groups: the Tlicho, the Gwich’in and the Sahtu. Their rights were eradicated, and the impact on their lands and treaty agreements forced on them, by the Harper government.
Today we would be giving the Tlicho, the Gwich’in and the Sahtu the right to make decisions about their own lands. They could look at the impact on their traditional lands, their way of life and their environmental footprint and at how their people can benefit from development projects.
It is just common sense, so why would any government want to take that away from indigenous groups in Canada? We saw only a few years ago that the former Harper government had no shame when removing rights from indigenous groups and indigenous governments. That is exactly what it did to the Tlicho, the Gwich'in and the Sahtu in the Northwest Territories. They had spent years working and negotiating with the federal government and territorial government. Generations of elders never lived to see the day they reached self-government agreements in their own lands.
When they finally did, it was an opportunity for them. That opportunity was eroded by the Harper government overnight with one piece of legislation that said that it would now tell them how they were going to regulate resource development in their traditional lands and in the Northwest Territories.
We made a commitment then that if we ever formed government, we would reverse those changes, and that is exactly what we are doing today. Each of those communities concluded comprehensive land claim agreements. Doing so in this country guaranteed them a role on land and water boards and a mandate to review and make decisions on development projects on or near traditional lands. Parliament reviewed and endorsed each one of these agreements and authorized the establishment of the regional boards.
Bill C-88 proposes to reverse the board restructuring and reintroduce the other provisions that were suspended by the Supreme Court decision. These indigenous groups in the Northwest Territories knew that their rights were violated by the Harper government. They knew that what was happening was the epitome of colonization. That is why they fought in the courts. They went to the Supreme Court to argue their case, to say that they had negotiated these rights, that they were inherent rights, that they had treaty agreements and that no government should have the right to impose upon them the way the former government did.
The Supreme Court decision outlined several things that needed to happen to restore confidence in the regime, particularly among indigenous people and proponents and investors in resource development in the Northwest Territories.
The proposed legislation would build confidence in another way. It would clarify the processes and expectations for all parties involved in the regulatory regime. I happen to live in the north, and I represent a riding that is very engaged in resource development, the mining industry and the energy sector in particular. I also know that with every one of those development projects, there are major investments and major commitments. There is nothing better in moving forward on a project than knowing what all the expectations are of all the parties involved and knowing what the process is and what is expected of companies before they put a shovel in the ground. Those things are important.
The party opposite will say that Liberals are too engaged in regulating, restricting and putting too many demands around the environmental component. However, large-scale industries that care about the people where they want to develop want to do what is right. They want to ensure that their environmental footprint is as small as it can be. They want to have the support of the indigenous people and the communities in which they are investing. They want to have strong partnerships to ensure that their development projects are not interrupted by protests or by unforeseen regulations and can move forward and are sustainable. That is why many of these companies, and many I have known personally over the years, are happy to sign impact benefit agreements.
These companies are happy to work with indigenous governments to hire indigenous workers, to ensure that benefits accrue to their communities and to ensure that environmental concerns that indigenous and non-indigenous people have with development in their areas are going to be listened to and dealt with. These companies want to address those issues up front. They do not want to plow into communities and put pressure on them to do things. They do not want to rule what is going to happen. They want to operate in partnership, too.
It is the party opposite that has the idea that these companies are not interested because they have to follow regulatory regimes or look at what the environmental implications are. Very few companies would take that approach, and I am so proud that in this country there are companies investing heavily in resource development that really care about the footprint they leave behind for the environment and the people who live there. Those are the companies that are successful and that Canadians hold up as examples of how resource development partnerships work with communities and indigenous people in Canada. We should be very proud of that. We should not be trying to change how we do that through legislation and impose regulations on people because we think they should do it this way or that way.
People should understand that in the previous legislation by the Harper government, Conservatives wanted to get rid of the regulatory boards of the Gwich'in, the Sahtu and the other groups in the Northwest Territories. They wanted one megaboard to deal with all these issues. They even hired a consultant by the name of McCrank. When Mr. McCrank testified at committee, I sat in that day. One of the questions asked of him was where he came up with the idea that we should get rid of the regulatory boards in the Northwest Territories, that indigenous groups should no longer have control over what is happening on their own lands, their own regulatory boards or negotiating their own deals, and that we would infringe upon them and implement a super regulatory board in the Northwest Territories for the Mackenzie Valley.
When he was asked where that idea came from, he did not know. He did not know where that idea came from or who suggested it to him, but he wrote it in a report as a strong recommendation, and the Harper government at the time said it would run with it, yet everyone in the Northwest Territories, including the three aboriginal groups and the territorial government, knew this was not the right approach and wanted to stop it. This is what is happening today.
We are restoring confidence to the people in the Northwest Territories. Under this act, we would also make changes to the petroleum regulatory board. A moratorium would be implemented that would allow the reissuing of licences for oil and gas development in the Northwest Territories. This moratorium would be revisited every five years. As we know, there were no new applications for licences, no investment was being made. There was no projection for oil and gas, and there was no body to manage oil and gas development in the Northwest Territories to ensure there would be benefits to that region.
It is not like Atlantic Canada, which has oil and gas agreements that pay royalties to the provinces. There are agreements in Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Quebec. When the Northwest Territories asked the former government for that agreement, the answer was no. It did not want to pay royalties to the indigenous groups or the territorial government on oil and gas. We are working with them to get it right, and that is why this bill is important today.
View Larry Bagnell Profile
Lib. (YT)
View Larry Bagnell Profile
2019-06-11 23:26 [p.28977]
Mr. Speaker, first I want to acknowledge that we are on the traditional territory of the Algonquin Anishinabe people.
I have a speech, but I think I will start by trying to answer questions and concerns that have been brought up. If I do that, then members could vote unanimously for this bill.
The first thing members have been asking is why there are only five more hours to debate this bill. For a lot of bills, that would be a valid question, but at this particular time we have had Conservative after Conservative getting up and not talking about the bill. We heard a lot about Bill C-48, Bill S-6, a letter from premiers not related to this bill, Bill C-15 and a northern moratorium.
I have been here awhile, and last night I witnessed an amazing situation. One of the Conservative speakers, in a 10-minute slot to speak on this bill, spent nine and a half minutes talking before they got to the bill, and then answering three questions by not referring to anything in the bill.
If the public wonders why Parliament has decided to call time allocation on this bill, it is obviously because the Conservatives have nothing more to say. We have heard the same arguments over and over again, and they are not valid. I will go through them one by one right now.
I am not sure why a party would want to stretch out a debate on a terrible injustice that it has caused, and it has done this a number of times. It is strange. Why would they want to put that in the light? Why would they not want to fix that injustice by supporting this bill? One of the members mentioned that he was not here at the time that it happened, so in good justice, he could support the bill.
People have asked what we have been doing for the last four years and why we did not debate this bill earlier. Some of the people in the House now have actually asked this question. This Liberal government has passed something like 85 bills. I think some members' constituents would like to ask them where they have been while these very important 85 bills were being discussed and debated.
One bill in particular was in the exact same situation as this one. It was Bill C-17. Again, the previous government had unlawfully, either technically or in spirit, abrogated a modern treaty, a constitutionally protected treaty, and tried to pass a law that got around it. That was certainly disrespectful.
Some may ask why Liberals did not get more things done, and a good example was what happened when Bill C-17, related to the treaty, was ready to pass. There was a grand chief, chiefs and aboriginal people here in the galleries. It cost thousands of dollars for them to get here from the Yukon. What did the Conservatives do at that time? They called a dilatory motion that the next speaker be allowed to speak, and then the bill could not be done. Some members ask why things are not done, yet they continue to do tricks like that.
This particular bill broke a constitutionally protected treaty, as I said earlier, a land claim. The members opposite have asked—and it is a good question for the ones who were not here before—why Liberals voted for that bill. This question has been brought up a number of times. The reason is that the part of the bill in which the law was broken in spirit or in technicality was snuck in in a much larger devolution bill.
The devolution bill transferred the remaining federal powers to the territorial government. That was a tremendous move, and that is why the party supported that initiative. Unfortunately, even though the people affected by this wanted this taken out and some parliamentarians tried to get it out, the Conservatives pushed ahead with the bill, and that is why the other parties voted for it.
Another concern the Conservatives have noted a number of times is that there are two parts to the bill. I think the member for Northwest Territories corrected them and said there are three parts. Nevertheless, they said there is part 1 and part 2, and there was no consultation regarding part 2. That is not true at all. When we consulted, we consulted with all the local governments involved regarding the entire bill, both part 1 and part 2. Shortly, I will read to members some of the things they said, because the opposition has suggested they did not support both parts of the bill.
The bill concerns the Sahtu, the Gwich’in and the Tlicho. When the Tlicho signed its constitutionally protected land claim and its self-government agreement, I was parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Indigenous Affairs. At that time, unfortunately, we had to fight against the Conservatives to get that agreement signed. At least the Conservatives can now make peace with that wrongdoing of the past and support the bill.
I will read some comments of support, because the Conservatives have said that indigenous groups did not support part 2 or the bill.
Grand Chief George Mackenzie, from the Tlicho Government, said, “We urge the community to move swiftly and decisively to ensure that Bill C-88 comes into force during the current session of Parliament.”
David Wright is legal counsel to the Gwich'in Tribal Council. I say to David, drin gwiinzih shalakat. He said the following at the INAN committee:
If Bill C-88 is not passed, not only will Canada not have fulfilled its commitment to Northwest Territories indigenous communities, but these communities will be forced back into time-consuming, expensive, acrimonious litigation, all adversely affecting that treaty relationship and the broader reconciliation project. Further, this would generate regulatory uncertainty that benefits no one....
I know the Conservatives have spoken against uncertainty in the past, so that is another reason for them to support the bill.
Premier McLeod and Grand Chief George Mackenzie, in a joint letter, said:
[W]e are hopeful that Bill C-88 will proceed expeditiously through the legislative process and receive Royal Assent [in this Parliament].... The negative implications of the status quo are significant.
Mervin Gruben was also quoted as supporting the bill, as well as Duane Smith from Inuvialuit. It was suggested he was not allowed to come to committee, but he was actually invited. He did provide a written submission, and it was nice to have that information added to the record.
A Conservative member talked about not listening to indigenous people and indigenous voices. The member said that not listening to the people of the north is arrogance. I just read that the four governments involved, the Sahtu, the Gwich’in, the Tlicho and the GNWT, all support the bill. Conservatives are right; we should listen to those people. They should listen to those people as well, along with the rest of the parties supporting the bill, and support the bill.
Another thing the Conservatives have talked about a lot is support for resource development. I am sure all other parties agree with sustainable development. It is another reason the Conservatives should vote for the bill. I will read some comments about how the bill promotes and ensures this.
Chief Alfonz Nitsiza, from the Tlicho Government, said:
[F]ailure to resolve this matter co-operatively would damage our treaty relationship and undermine the process of reconciliation as directed by the courts. Long-term regulatory uncertainty for any reason will damage the economy of the Northwest Territories, including within the Tlicho community. This is all avoidable with the passage of Bill C-88.
David Wright, legal counsel to the Gwich'in Tribal Council, said, “Bill C-88 is a step toward certainty in the Mackenzie Valley, and that is a step that should be taken at this time”.
Finally, Premier McLeod said:
The proposed amendments to the MVRMA in Bill C-88 would increase certainty around responsible resource development in the Northwest Territories. That certainty is something our territory needs as we continue to work with the indigenous governments in the territory to attract responsible resource development.
Conservatives, to be true to the values they so eloquently put forward on resource development, can support those values by supporting this bill.
I support Bill C-88, an act to amend the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act and the Canada Petroleum Resources Act. Although the debate so far has focused on the content of the proposed act, I want to talk about what is not in Bill C-88 and why it would be a mistake to make major amendments at this stage.
Amending Bill C-88 at this stage of the process would defeat its overall purpose, which is to resolve a court challenge arising from the previous government's decision to merge the land and water boards without holding appropriate consultations.
The Northwest Territories Devolution Act, Bill C-15, was assented to in March 2014. The act transferred the administration and control of public lands and waters to the Government of the Northwest Territories and amended the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act. The act includes provisions restructuring the Mackenzie Valley land and water boards.
The Tlicho government and Sahtu Secretariat Incorporated challenged the changes to the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act that would have dissolved their regional land and water boards. They argued that theses changes violated their land claims agreements and infringed on the honour of the Crown. They added that the consultations had been inadequate. On February 27, 2015, the Supreme Court of the Northwest Territories granted an injunction that suspended the proposed board restructuring, along with the coming into force of other regulatory amendments.
I would like to point out that those regulatory amendments, which included the addition of a regulation-making authority for cost recovery, administrative monetary penalties, development certificates and other provisions related to regional studies, all passed through the parliamentary process in 2014. Those same provisions are being presented today. However, they were rewritten to ensure that they could apply under the existing four-board structure. They were not part of the court challenge. Bill C-88 responds to the court challenge by reversing the provisions to merge the boards and re-introducing some regulatory elements that are applicable under the existing four-board structure.
On September 23, 2016, the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations sent a letter to indigenous governments, organizations and stakeholders to launch the consultation process on Bill C-88.
Consultations were held with indigenous governments and organizations in the Mackenzie Valley, transboundary indigenous governments and organizations, resource co-management boards, organizations from the mining, oil and gas sectors, and the territorial government. To ensure that the indigenous governments and organizations were able to fully participate in the process, the Government of Canada provided funding to these groups and to the resource co-management boards that took part in the consultations.
Representatives from Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada, or CIRNAC, held a teleconference with stakeholders to consider next steps and to discuss the consultation plan. A legislative proposal to repeal the board restructuring provisions was drafted and submitted to the groups for review. During the review period, the groups had the opportunity to meet with CIRNAC representatives in Yellowknife to talk about the content of the proposal and to ask questions. This was also an opportunity for CIRNAC representatives to determine whether any part of the proposal was unclear or could be improved, based on the feedback they received.
I will not have time to finish, but I do not want to miss this particular point. The only other questions someone could ask that I have not already answered are whether the consultation that was done was serious and, although they were in agreement at the end, whether any changes were made. The answer is yes. I will give an example of two of the changes that were made.
The first was that because of the consultations with the people involved, a court jurisdiction related to a judicial review of administrative monetary penalties, AMPs, was modified in order to ensure consistency with the exclusive jurisdiction of the Northwest Territories Supreme Court under section 32 of the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act.
A second change was that consultation obligations related to the AMPs were added to the bill to ensure consistency with the comprehensive land claim agreements.
The only other thing I think someone might ask is related to the position of national interest and whether this is the only case of that. The answer is no; it is a clause, an idea, that comes up in different legislation. I will give members some examples from the north: the Mackenzie Valley Resource Act, Statutes of Canada 1998, chapter 25, section 130, and the Nunavut Planning and Project Assessment Act, Statutes of Canada 2013, chapter 14, section 2.
Section 94 of the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act provides for the federal minister to refer a proposed project to the Minister of Environment for the purpose of a joint review of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act if it is in the national interest to do so.
The Nunavut Planning and Project Assessment Act also provides for the responsible minister to reject a board decision or to reject or vary recommended terms or conditions if it is in the national interest to do so.
A few close references can also be found in section 51 of the Yukon Act, Statutes of Canada 2002, chapter 7, and in section 57 of the Northwest Territories Act, Statutes of Canada 2014, chapter 2, section 2.
To boil it all down, basically an act was passed that abrogated the land claim and went against a constitutionally protected law of Canada, which we cannot change by just doing another law. Of course, the court found that out and would not let it go ahead. All this bill would do is to put into law what the court had ordered.
View Cathy McLeod Profile
Mr. Speaker, my first question is about the timeline for introducing this bill. I should also point to many bills that, according to my colleague, would not have priority. Here we are at the last minute on a bill that has been sitting for months and months because of the Liberals' lack of planning and determining that it is an emergency.
Having said that, the member talked about the importance of natural resource development and partnerships. How many bills has the government moved forward where indigenous consultation was completely lacking, such as when the Liberals put an arbitrary moratorium on tankers? We are seeing great concern from both premiers and indigenous communities across the country.
View Larry Bagnell Profile
Lib. (YT)
View Larry Bagnell Profile
2019-06-11 23:56 [p.28981]
Mr. Speaker, I am delighted when the indigenous affairs critic asks questions supporting things that were in my speech. All 86 bills are very important. The member for Northwest Territories already answered that question when he said that we have to rebuild the trust that was broken by the Conservatives.
The member also made the point I started out with, which is that all the Conservatives who have spoken to this bill have talked about other bills, other things not related to the bill. It is no wonder Parliament has put time allocation on this bill, when Conservatives repeat over and over again things that are not even related to the bill we are debating.
View Richard Cannings Profile
Madam Speaker, the parliamentary secretary's government supported the private member's bill put forward by my colleague, the member for Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik—Eeyou, which asked the government to put the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples into every appropriate piece of legislation that the government was going to produce, and here we have the most appropriate piece of legislation. This legislation is about resource development and about indigenous peoples.
We are here because of the lack of consultation. This legislation screams out to have the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples included in it, and yet it is not. I am wondering if the member might comment on that.
View Marc Miller Profile
Lib. (QC)
Madam Speaker, I thank the member for his fierce advocacy for indigenous peoples, and particularly the swift adoption of his colleague's private member's bill on the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. I am dismayed and disgusted that it is stuck in the other House in what amounts to bad faith from certain members on the other side. They are members of the Conservative caucus. It is incumbent upon members of the caucus in the House of Commons to push their colleagues to make sure that the bill goes through in a swift and timely manner. Indigenous peoples across Canada are waiting for this to come through, and it is an essential act of reconciliation.
This bill incorporates a number of elements, including the consultation review that indigenous people have been looking for. Many of the commentators on the bill have specifically underlined how it does in fact conform with the relevant provisions of UNDRIP.
View Michael McLeod Profile
Lib. (NT)
View Michael McLeod Profile
2019-06-10 21:10 [p.28859]
Mr. Speaker, I will leave Canadians to interpret and translate what the member has said.
I want to point out a couple of things that he failed to mention.
First, the Conservatives were in power for the 10 years, when these discussions were going on, and really did not do anything to help the economy. In fact, they left it in shambles.
The member also pointed out that the bill and the changes made would influence the activities in resource development in the Northwest Territories. I should remind him that it was his government that created the Mackenzie Valley resource management boards and negotiated, through land claim discussions and negotiations, to come to this arrangement. They decided they wanted to change it.
I was in the indigenous affairs committee when the contractor who was hired by Minister Strahl to go out and consult was presented. He talked about the direction he received from the minister. He was not totally clear, but he was told to fold all the regional boards and set up one super board. He was also talked about the rounds of consultations he had in the Northwest Territories. From what other witnesses said, he had set up two rounds of consultations.
One was with the indigenous governments, where everybody who was in the room was against the changes that included doing away with a regional board system and bringing in a super board. In the second round of consultations, everybody showed up except the consultant who was hired by the Conservative government.
When I asked the consultant about the report he presented and how he recommended that this was what everybody wanted when everybody was against it. He claimed that people said one thing in public, but whispered something else in his ear.
I am very disappointed that the member views including indigenous people in the consultation and regulatory process as a hindrance. Why does he see the involvement of indigenous as an attack on industry, as were his words?
View Robert Sopuck Profile
Mr. Speaker, as much as I respect my friend, what a stupid question. Of course indigenous people need to be involved in these consultations. To suggest otherwise to a member who has 15 first nations in his own riding is far beneath what I would expect from my friend. It is an ill-considered comment.
As I said earlier, while I certainly would never claim to have as much knowledge as he does about the Mackenzie Valley and the people who live there, my experiences living and working with the indigenous people in the Mackenzie Valley has been nothing but positive. I absolutely respect and revere their knowledge of the land and their desire to ensure it is conserved. I also respect and revere their desire for economic development to make their lives better, as well as for their families, their children and their communities.
View Richard Cannings Profile
Mr. Speaker, I am happy to rise tonight to speak to Bill C-88, an act to amend the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act and the Canada Petroleum Resources Act.
As I said in my first speech on this bill, the overall position of the NDP is that northerners know best how to manage their own resources. We supported this bill at second reading and will support it again at the final vote, but we feel that there were some opportunities at committee to improve parts of it that were lost.
There is a lot of history to this bill and the measures taken over the years to bring more democracy to the north and to end the colonial style of government that has been in place since Confederation. It seems that with every step forward, there are a few steps back, and this bill is perhaps no exception.
This is a bit of an omnibus bill. It sets out to do two very different things. First, it would repeal parts of Bill C-15, the Northwest Territories Devolution Act, which was passed in the last parliament. Second, it would bring into force an announced moratorium on oil and gas exploration and development in offshore waters of the Canadian Arctic.
Bill C-15, passed in 2014, was also a bit of an omnibus bill in that it did two things. The bulk of that bill dealt with the devolution of powers from the federal government to the territorial government. The general public opinion in the north was that this was, as Martha Stewart would say, a good thing. However, the second part of Bill C-15 went back on that, eliminating four regional land and water boards and replacing them with a single superboard. The feeling was that this was not a good thing. Those four boards were originally created out of land claim agreements and negotiations with various first nations in the Mackenzie Valley area, and the new superboard significantly reduced the input those first nations would have on resource management decisions.
In passing, I will note that the previous Conservative government did similar things to the Yukon, so the present federal government had to remove contested reforms to the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Act litigated by Yukon first nations. This led to Bill C-17, which rescinded those contested reforms in 2017.
I will return to the Northwest Territories and a brief list of modern agreements and treaties. There are a few smaller ones I will not mention. The member for the Northwest Territories has told me that there are 10 more that are in the process of negotiation as well, but I will just mention four here.
First, the Inuvialuit agreement covers the northern part of the Mackenzie Delta, the Beaufort Sea and the Northwest Territories portion of the Arctic Archipelago. That region is outside the areas covered in the regional land and water boards covered in Bill C-88, but it does bear on the second part of the offshore and gas exploration part of this bill.
Second, the Gwich’in agreement covers the southern portion of the Mackenzie Delta and the northern part of the Mackenzie Mountains.
Third, the Sahtu Dene and Métis agreement covers the region around Great Bear Lake and the adjacent Mackenzie Mountains.
Fourth, the Tlicho Land Resources and Self-Government Agreement covers the area north of Great Slave Lake.
These agreements are modern-day treaties that create and confirm indigenous rights and are protected by section 35 of the Constitution. The Gwich'in, Sahtu and Tlicho agreements contain provisions for the creation of a system of co-management boards enacted by the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act. On each of these boards, there are four members and a chair. Two of the four members are nominated or appointed by the Gwich'in, Sahtu or Tlicho so that they have an equal partnership in those decisions.
In parts of the Northwest Territories where there is no settled land claim, the main board created by the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act, the Mackenzie Valley Land and Water Board, is in operation. In the lnuvialuit Settlement Region, the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency conducts environmental assessments.
This was all working well until the previous federal Conservative government came to power and was looking for ways to speed up resource development. It commissioned the McCrank report in 2007, which eventually put forward two options to streamline the assessment processes in the Northwest Territories, both of which would significantly affect the operations of the regional land and water boards. Option one was to eliminate the boards and replace them with a superboard. The McCrank report warned that this option would take a long time to implement, as it would necessitate renegotiation of the land claims affected and a lot more consultation on top of that. Option two would keep the boards but reduce their mandates. Again, there would be a lot of consultation needed but perhaps not a full renegotiation of the treaties.
In its habit of cutting corners and ignoring indigenous rights, the Harper government picked option one but dropped the pesky renegotiation and consultation requirement and then slipped that into Bill C-15, introduced in December 2013. Bill C-15 was primarily meant to implement the provisions in the Northwest Territories Lands and Resources Devolution Agreement. However, as I mentioned, it contained a kind of poison pill in the form of changes to the land and water co-management boards. The Harper bill eliminated the regional boards in favour of a single superboard consisting of ten members and a chair. These changes were widely and wildly unpopular in the Northwest Territories, and contrary to the wishes of northerners.
In committee, we heard from a number of witnesses about the negative effects of Bill C-15 and the legal battle it unleashed. I would like to quote, first, directly from the testimony of Chief Alfonz Nitsiza, of the Tlicho government. He testified:
The Wek'èezhii Land and Water Board [the Tlicho board] and other boards in the Northwest Territories would be replaced with a single super-board. Instead of appointing 50% of the board members, as our Tlicho agreement requires, the Tlicho Government would appoint only one out of 11 members on this super-board. The Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act amendments could allow decisions about Wek'èezhii to potentially be made by a panel of the super-board that could lack Tlicho Government appointees entirely. This was unacceptable to us. Tlicho were promised something different in their treaty from what was designed in the Northwest Territories Devolution Act. The treaty promise was broken with no good reason, so we went to the courts for justice.
The Tlicho Government immediately sought an injunction from the Supreme Court of the Northwest Territories. That injunction was granted. It prevents the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act amendments from coming into force, and remains in effect to this day. You should also know that the underlying lawsuit also remains active, pending the results of this legislative process. The injunction will remain in effect until either a new law is passed [this one] or our lawsuit regarding the Northwest Territories Devolution Act runs its course.
The Gwich'in representative at committee, David Wright, also mentioned the damage that even this temporary dissolution of regional boards would do to regulatory capacity in the Northwest Territories. He said:
The injunction says the Tlicho, in particular, because they were the primary litigant in that case, would suffer irreparable harm if those amendments were brought into force, because what it would mean is that the Tlicho, Sahtu and Gwich'in land and water boards would be dismantled. Picture staff being sent packing, corporate memory and resources and capacity being disbanded, and the single Mackenzie Valley Land and Water Board being created.
The irreparable harm is at that institutional bureaucratic capacity level, and it would take a lot to get that engine going again if the court result was ultimately favourable and was in line with the findings of Justice Shaner, I believe, in the injunction case.
In other words, depending on what level of court this stopped at, if the result was, yes, indeed, this is an unconstitutional set of amendments that go against land claim agreements, then you would have to restart these boards years from now, which would just be lost time and waste and uncertainty.
We also heard from Bob Mcleod, the Premier of the Northwest Territories, regarding the need for the timely passage of Bill C-88. The premier said:
The Government of the Northwest Territories supports swift passage of Bill C-88. The implications of not proceeding with the bill within the lifetime of this government and retaining the status quo are significant. Amendments to the MVRMA have been on the books for five years, and we don't want any more uncertainty associated with our regulatory regime. Resource developers are contemplating investing in developing the Northwest Territories' rich natural resources, and everyone benefits from regulatory certainty.
Here we are with Bill C-88 before us. Part of this bill is what the Northwest Territories wants. It wants the devolution of powers. It wants to keep the regional boards.
However, there is a part 2. This is kind of a mini-omnibus bill. I will now go to the second part of Bill C-88, which deals with the Canada Petroleum Resources Act. This began in late 2016, when the Prime Minister was meeting with President Barack Obama and they both gave what was called the “United States-Canada Joint Arctic Leaders' Statement”.
In that statement, President Obama said that the U.S. was designating the vast majority of U.S. waters in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas as indefinitely off limits to offshore oil and gas leasing. At the same time, it seemed that Canada felt obliged to designate all Canadian waters as indefinitely off limits to future offshore Arctic oil and gas licensing, to be reviewed every five years through a climate and marine science-based life-cycle assessment. The Prime Minister made this decision without properly consulting any form of government in the north. He made a phone call to everybody 20 minutes before the fact. Northwest Territories Premier Bob Mcleod reacted by issuing a red alert, calling for an urgent national debate on the future of the Northwest Territories and saying that the Prime Minister's announcement was the re-emergence of colonialism.
A year later, in October 2017, I spoke to Duane Smith, the board chair of Inuvialuit Regional Corporation. This was at the Generation Energy Forum meetings in Winnipeg. A year later, he was still hopping mad and very concerned about this issue. In 2016, he stated, “There was a total lack of consultation prior to the imposition of the moratorium. This and the subsequent changes to key legislation impacting our marine areas are actions inconsistent with the way the Crown is required to engage with its Indigenous counterparts.”
These concerns were again heard loud and clear in committee testimony. Merven Gruben, the mayor of Tuktoyaktuk, said:
I just didn't want this to be seen again as another case of Ottawa throwing in this moratorium and showing us what to do—do as I say, you know. That's what I didn't like. I thought we were going to be...but there was no negotiation. You just do this. Ottawa says if you do this, you do that.
In response to the concerns of northerners, Canada began a consultation process and agreed in October 2018 to begin talks with the territorial governments and the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation to reach a co-management and revenue-sharing agreement. Meanwhile, the current oil and gas development moratorium remains in place to be reviewed in 2021.
I would like to comment briefly on the rushed timelines faced by this bill. Here we are in June 2019 debating a bill that everybody knew was coming before the election in 2015. Consultations began on the Mackenzie Valley part of this bill right after the election and if my understanding is correct, the consultations were largely finished by the summer of 2017, yet this bill was not tabled until just before Christmas. It sat in limbo for 18 months. I can speculate that maybe it was a decision to bring the oil and gas moratorium into the legislation that caused this delay because it needed more consultation, but whatever it was, here we are staring the end of this Parliament in the face and risking the untimely death of this bill in the Senate. When legislation is literally being forced upon us by the courts, it behooves the government to move quickly, and that would have been to keep the two issues separate so the Mackenzie Valley act could proceed first.
I will mention a couple of ways Bill C-88 could have been easily improved. New Democrats brought amendments forward in committee, but were unsuccessful. New Democrats are disappointed that the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is not mentioned at all in this bill, despite the fact that of all the bills before us in this Parliament, Bill C-88 seems to be the one most needing this reference. The bill deals specifically with resource development, precipitated by litigation put forth by indigenous peoples, pointing out, with good reason, that treaties have been broken, their views ignored and consultations not done.
The Liberal government supported the private member's bill of my colleague, the member for Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik—Eeyou, on putting the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples into every appropriate legislation that the government produces, but there is no mention of that at all, nor the underlying concept of free, prior and informed consent in this bill. This was brought up in committee testimony as well.
In its brief, the Northwest Territories Chamber of Commerce argued that the final decision to prohibit certain works and activities in the national interest “needs to be approved by the Indigenous Nation of the prescribed area who are the stewards of the area but also rely on the land to provide economic independence” to their membership.
In its brief, the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation said:
Further, while the Oceans Act and CPRA include non-derogation clauses, the requirement to consult with those who hold rights in marine areas is not clearly articulated. It is important to note that the imposition of the Moratorium by the Prime Minister was done without consultation with any Inuvialuit in contravention of the IFA [Inuvialuit Final Agreement] and with the framework established and the promises made under the Northwest Territories Lands and Resources Devolution Agreement.
The IRC added:
The proposed Section 12(1) introduces “national interest” as a further basis for “freezing” licenses indefinitely. The national interest criterion is problematic as it elevates the national priorities of the day vis-à-vis Inuvialuit priorities within our traditional territory.
David Wright of the Gwich'in suggested that if it could not be inserted into this bill, reference to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples should at least be seriously considered when the Mackenzie Valley agreement itself is reviewed in the near future.
The second place that Bill C-88 could be improved is through a real commitment for intervenor funding in the review processes that the bill puts forward. While there is a separate funding source available for indigenous intervenor funding in the north, it is not enshrined in legislation and it is not available for non-indigenous groups.
Intervenor funding is included in Bill C-69 and it should be included in this bill as well. It is a critical part of any proper consultation.
To conclude, I will reiterate that the NDP will support the bill and hopes to see it move quickly to royal assent before Parliament is dissolved.
View Michael McLeod Profile
Lib. (NT)
View Michael McLeod Profile
2019-06-10 22:06 [p.28867]
Mr. Speaker, I want to correct the member. She mentioned there were two aspects to this legislation, but there are three. First, it would repeal the restructuring of the superboard. Second, regulatory items negotiated with the Conservative government of the day, which we consider positive, are included. Third, changes are proposed to the Canadian Petroleum Resources Act.
I was very pleased to hear the hon. member talk about the need to listen to people who were impacted. In 2014, the consultant who was hired heard many presentations in the first round of discussions, during which indigenous governments and the Government of the Northwest Territories sat in the same room. All governments there indicated they did not support the changes. There was not one word of support at that time. However, the consultant still chose to recommend that changes be made in three different sections of the bill.
Bill C-88 is an important bill. It is now supported by the Government of the Northwest Territories, which has provided written support. The Tlicho government, the Gwich’in government and the Sahtu government support it. All the impacted indigenous governments, along with the Government of the Northwest Territories, support it.
Now that the member has been reassured that governments in the Northwest Territories support Bill C-88 and that it is positive, will she vote to support it?
View Marilyn Gladu Profile
View Marilyn Gladu Profile
2019-06-10 22:16 [p.28868]
Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to rise in the House to speak to Bill C-88, an act to amend the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act and the Canada Petroleum Resources Act and to make consequential amendments to other acts.
Normally, I am even more pleased to rise in the House, but I want to point out that we are here sitting late in the session. At 10:15 in the evening, I am sure most other people are watching the Raptors game.
I want to point out that the Liberal government is rushing through a lot of legislation at the last minute. We have seen a bill today that was just introduced two weeks ago and that the government is moving closure on. The Liberals have moved closure on this bill in a big rush. They have woken up like a teenager at school and realized that the end of the session is upon them and they have not finished any of their assignments.
I am happy to be here and debate this legislation. I do not have any family or a spouse who would be an issue. However, a lot of members do have young families or spouses. We talk about this being a family-friendly Parliament. A lot of rhetoric often goes on by members on the other side, but we can see that the Liberals are using their powers as government to drive an agenda that is not family-friendly.
I would be remiss, as the shadow health minister, if I did not point out that these late sessions that go until midnight are not good from a sleep perspective. There are a number of more aged members of Parliament. It is not good for them either.
While it is worthwhile debating Bill C-88, the government should have done more careful planning so as to avoid coming to the end of the session and realizing that none of its legislation was passed.
I do not want to be accused of not being relevant tonight, so I will tell the House in advance what I am going to speak about so members will understand where I am going with this whole thing.
First, I am going to talk about what the bill would do and what it proposes to do, and then I will discuss my concerns about the bill. Then, I want to talk a bit about how the bill aligns overall to indigenous reconciliation in Canada, which is on the minds of all Canadians and I am sure is important.
Then, I will speak a bit about how the bill aligns to natural resource sector development. The natural resource sector is a huge part of Canada's GDP and our economic growth. It is an important industry, so every time we make a change to something that will impact that industry, it is important to look at how it will align to the overall plan. We have a strategy for the north. It is important to look at this bill and how it will align to our northern strategy. Does it fit in? Are there any concerns there?
The bill actually has three parts. The first part would amend the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act, from 1998, to reverse provisions that would have consolidated the Mackenzie Valley land and water boards into one.
These provisions were introduced by the former Conservative government within Bill C-15, the Northwest Territories Devolution Act. By way of history, we know that a major component of Bill C-15, where this originated, was the restructuring of the four land and water boards from the Mackenzie Valley into one. Following its passage in 2014, the Tlicho government and the Sahtu Secretariat filed lawsuits against Canada, arguing that the restructuring violated their land claim agreements.
In February 2015, the Northwest Territories Supreme Court issued an injunction preventing the board restructuring provisions from coming into force until a decision on the case was issued. The Liberals paused that legal battle shortly after forming government, and it remains an unresolved issue.
To try to consolidate the land and water boards into one seems to be, in my view, an efficiency, but again, it is important to consult and understand what the people who have the land claims are thinking.
For the government to leave it so late in the session, when there is a lawsuit that pertains to this, is troubling. When we rise from this Parliament, there will be an election, and whatever government is elected will not be able to get back to this matter in a timely way. That is unfortunate.
The second part of the bill would amend the Canada Petroleum Resources Act to allow the Governor in Council to issue orders, when in the national interest, to prohibit oil and gas activities, and it would freeze the terms of existing licences to prevent them from expiring during a moratorium. There are a lot of vague terms there. What is the national interest? How is that determined, and who determines that? I assume it is the Liberal cabinet, and I am not sure it would be necessarily unbiased in its definition. What are oil and gas activities? There is a bit of vagueness in the second part of the bill.
The third part of the bill, as we heard earlier, talks about the regulatory items that were brought forward from the previous Conservative bill, which I have heard members on the opposite side say were actually good. It is not surprising, because the Conservative government has, in the past, done a very good job with respect to regulations that have brought us forward in terms of emission reductions and a number of other items. I do not have much objection to the regulatory items. I agree the Conservative government brought them forward, and they are fine as they are.
Let me go to concerns about the bill. In addition to the litigation cycle that is hanging over this bill, I am concerned with the number of powers the government would have to politically interfere in the development of our natural resources as a result of this bill. We have seen lots of political interference by the government.
Today, I participated in a debate on Bill C-101, a bill about the government politically interfering in the steel market. We have the USMCA agreement with the U.S. and, as members know, there were tariffs on steel for nearly a year that were very punishing to our businesses. In order to get rid of those tariffs, the Liberal government traded away our ability to strategically put tariffs in place on the U.S., which, ironically, is how we got rid of the tariffs on steel in the first place.
It is troubling to me, having the knowledge that the U.S. may again put tariffs on steel, which it is not prohibited from doing under the agreement that has been signed, that the government would immediately virtue-signal to the steel industry that it is doing something. It came forward with a bill two weeks ago, with the dying days of Parliament before us, trying to rush it through in order to make it seem as though it is doing something, when, in fact, it is trying to politically interfere in the free market for steel.
That is not the first time, as I mentioned. There is a pattern of behaviour that I want to talk a bit about. We saw with Bill C-69, the no-more-pipelines bill, that this bill would hugely interfere in projects that are proposed to be built in Canada. It would give the environment minister powers to, for any reason, at any time, reset the process and start the clock again, to veto the process. That is a huge amount of power, and it causes great uncertainty. Those looking to invest and do large projects in Canada are not going to want to invest billions of dollars, knowing that at the whim of the environment minister, projects may die on the vine.
I will talk a bit about the reason the government brings these bills forward and the reaction in the indigenous community. Part of the bill would allow the government to put a moratorium on oil and gas development. I heard in some of the speeches earlier the comment that just before Christmas 2016, the Prime Minister travelled to Washington, D.C. to make an announcement with then U.S. president Barrack Obama, even though there had been no consultation with northerners, despite consistent rhetoric about consulting with Canada's indigenous peoples prior to decision-making. The Prime Minister's Office made this decision and, with 20 minutes' notice, elected leaders in Canada's north were made aware of the announcement. Some of the comments that followed from the community are probably worthy of note.
Wally Schumann, who is the Minister of Industry, Tourism and Investment and the Minister of Infrastructure for the Northwest Territories, said:
I guess we can be very frank because we're in front of the committee.
When it first came out, we never got very much notice on the whole issue of the moratorium and the potential that was in the Beaufort Sea. There were millions and millions, if not billions, of dollars in bid deposits and land leases up there. That took away any hope we had of developing the Beaufort Sea.
The mayor of Tuktoyaktuk, Merven Gruben, said:
I agree the Liberals should be helping us. They shut down our offshore gasification and put a moratorium right across the whole freaking Arctic without even consulting us. They never said a word to us.
The Hon. Jackie Jacobson stated:
It's so easy to sit down here and make judgments on people and lives that are 3,500 klicks away, and make decisions on our behalf, especially with that moratorium on the Beaufort. That should be taken away, lifted, please and thank you. That is going to open up and give jobs to our people—training and all the stuff we're wishing for.
Merven Gruben further said, “We're proud people who like to work for a living.” He spoke of the increasing reliance on social assistance.
Here again we see that the people who are living there are looking for that economic development they so badly need, but the current government, without any consultation whatsoever, shut it down and put a moratorium in place. Clearly, that is not acceptable.
The pattern of reversing what Conservatives have proposed or put in place is not new to this House. I would say that it has been done on a number of bills. I will pick a small sampling to back up the point.
We had a housing first program that was lifting people out of homelessness. Of the people on that program, 73% ended up going into stable housing. When the Liberal government came in, it decided it was going to have its national housing strategy, but instead of keeping something that was working, it tossed the baby out with the bathwater on that one.
I would say the same was true regarding a bill in the previous government, Bill C-24, which suggested that if people had become a Canadian citizen and gone off to fight against Canada, their citizenship would be revoked. We see that we are in a situation now with people who have been involved in terrorism trying to come back and the government is struggling to get the evidentiary proof to file charges. That would be another example.
One of the first bills the Liberals passed in this Parliament was to remove the financial transparency and accountability for the first nations people on the funding they receive.
Therefore, there is a previous pattern of behaviour of the Liberal government reversing things the Conservatives did when those things were not necessarily bad things.
With respect to the themes we are talking about today, I have expressed some concerns about the bill, but I want to talk about how this bill aligns to indigenous reconciliation, because there has been a lot of rhetoric in the current government about lining up to indigenous reconciliation and consulting with indigenous people. I would say that it is forever consulting but never listening.
If we think about the Truth and Reconciliation Commission recommendations, early in the mandate of the government it unanimously adopted all 94, and where has the action on those gone? Crickets.
We have seen the mess of the inquiry into murdered and missing aboriginal women has been, with the number of people who have resigned en route and the fact that many indigenous people feel they were not allowed to participate. Here we are four years down the road, with $98 million or something like that having been spent, and no action.
Many indigenous people felt the tanker ban, Bill C-48, would be bad for them, especially those who were trying to get the Eagle Spirit pipeline built. They were saying this was going to deprive them of an opportunity to have the kind of economic development they need, the same kind of economic opportunity that we see in Bill C-88, which the people there are looking for. Now we have this moratorium on the Beaufort Sea.
Another issue we need to consider when looking at Bill C-88 is how it fits into our northern strategy. If we think about the needs of people who are living in the north, we know there are a number of issues. We know that there is a food insecurity issue in the north. Will this help with that issue? When the government is depriving people of economic development, I am not sure that it is helping that situation.
In terms of the broadband problem, the government has had four years to address the issue. I know I have an inventor in my riding, and I put ideas forward to the innovation minister that for less than $20 million, I have somebody who knows how to put that kind of broadband Internet access across the north, with satellite balloons that are solar powered, incidentally, but to no avail.
The health care in the north has huge issues, from dental hygiene to tuberculosis and just even access to care. There are those things and the sovereignty issues. We have sovereignty in the north, but we have Russia and China really starting to pay a lot of attention to that area. We need to have a plan for how we are going to defend that area, along with the natural resources that are there and what we need to do to protect those. I do not see any plan or any discussion about how this fits into that northern strategy. I think that is something that needs to be looked at.
Another thing that is really affecting the northern area is climate change. We are seeing a thawing of the permafrost. As an engineer who used to work in construction, I am paying close attention to some of the horrendous things that are happening, in terms of roads that are developing huge crevices as the permafrost shifts and buildings that are collapsing after months of construction because the foundations are no longer solid. There really does not seem to be a strategy for how we are going to make sure that, in the north, we are setting them up for success, that we are protecting the assets that are in place. These are places where, if people cannot get to them, any hope of economic development would be lost. There is something to be done there.
Many times this week we have heard that the government has a tax plan, not a climate plan. This is just one more thing that I would add to what needs to be part of a comprehensive climate plan, how we are going to address the results that we see as the climate shifts.
As we look to this bill, in the dying days of the 42nd Parliament, it looks to me, again, like something that may not even make it through in the remaining days that we have, and it may not have a good chance of being implemented. Certainly, with all of the things the government promised to do but never did, I reflect on the 42nd Parliament and I think, “What did the government really do?” The Canada child benefit and the legalization of marijuana, I will give it those two. Other than that, I am not really sure what has been accomplished.
As we look to the summary of Bill C-88, we have talked about what the bill does, some of the concerns of the political interference that exists and how people are not being listened to in the north. People want this economic development, and the government now has the power to shut them down and is using that power.
I do not think the actions being taken by the government align well with the overall theme of indigenous reconciliation. I feel this will be more fanning of the flame, when people in the north want this economic development and the government is standing in the way or is interfering in the ability of the people to support themselves. That will not go over well.
I also think it is part of a bigger rhetoric on the natural resources sector. We know that the carbon tax has been a huge problem for small businesses. In my riding I have a lot of refineries. Now the government has exempted all the large emitters, 90%, from the carbon tax, but it has also put on a clean fuel tax, which is costing billions of dollars. One refinery in my riding has just gone up for sale, and another one has said that if it does not get an exemption from those clean fuel taxes, it may be unsustainable as well.
The government has a clean pattern of undermining the natural resources sector. We know that it has killed all kinds of natural resource projects: energy east, the northern gateway, the Petronas LNG and, of course, the Trans Mountain pipeline has gone absolutely nowhere.
Until the government can come with a clear message about the natural resources plan and support for that plan, and support for people in the north who want that economic development and are looking for the government to support them and not interfere, then I think that Bill C-88 is not going to go a long way in achieving what is hoped.
View Larry Bagnell Profile
Lib. (YT)
View Larry Bagnell Profile
2019-06-10 22:44 [p.28872]
Mr. Speaker, I appreciate that the member said it was important to have reconciliation with this bill, and the fact that the three first nations affected, the Sahtu, the Gwich'in and the Tlicho, are all in support of this bill. Therefore, I could hardly imagine that reconciliation would be voting against those three first nations. I hope that when the member says that she thinks it should be reconciliation, she means that she will vote for the bill, which is for all the first nations that this affects.
View Marilyn Gladu Profile
View Marilyn Gladu Profile
2019-06-10 22:45 [p.28872]
Mr. Speaker, reconciliation is a very important thing. One of the things I have observed is that the government may think there is reconciliation and agreement at a certain level with the different tribes that are participating, but in many cases it does not have the support of all the people. It is almost like ratifying a union agreement where everyone needs to get on board. It is clear from the comments that I have heard that not everybody is on board and either more consultation is needed, or listening to the existing commentary and opening up that moratorium would be good.
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