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Results: 1 - 6 of 6
View Larry Bagnell Profile
Lib. (YT)
View Larry Bagnell Profile
2019-06-11 23:07 [p.28975]
Mr. Speaker, briefly, the member is a real champion of rural Canada. His constituents are very lucky. He is always standing up for the rural small communities. How does he think small communities felt when the Conservatives overrode something they had constitutional protection for and that they had negotiated over the years?
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 Larry Bagnell Profile
Lib. (YT)
View Larry Bagnell Profile
2019-05-09 11:57 [p.27563]
Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate all members who spoke in an indigenous language to this historic legislation in this very exciting debate, which is taking place on the traditional territory of the Algonquin Anishinaabe.
To set the scene and give a bit of background on the bill before I get into the bill itself, I note that now members can speak their languages here. Today the first speech was in Cree, and it had simultaneous interpretation.
The procedure and House affairs committee, which I chair, did a study earlier this year about having aboriginal languages in the House. It brought recommendations to the House, and all members in the House agreed to them, which was very exciting. For the first time in history, MPs who can speak an aboriginal language have the right to speak it in the House and at committee, with simultaneous interpretation.
We can imagine indigenous youths sitting at home in an urban area, in a village or on a reserve seeing that they can use their language in the highest democratic institution in the land. We can imagine how much strength it gives them, how much hope it gives them and how much support it gives them for their languages.
That is a very exciting achievement of this particular Parliament. It was initiated by the actions of the member for Winnipeg Centre, who spoke first in the debate today. He spoke totally in Cree, as did some other members.
I want to tell members a story. We put a lot of emphasis on youth. As members know, the Prime Minister has a youth council, and many MPs have youth councils. I was at a youth meeting, which I think was convened by the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations. A young indigenous woman from the Yukon, who I think has spoken before the United Nations, made the point that people always say that if people get jobs, make good progress in their lives and get strong, they can bring forward their culture and language and that it will benefit all of us to see that creative, exciting diversity. She made the point that this is all wrong. It puts the cart before the horse. She said that what we need first is the language and culture and confidence in the language and culture, because that is what gives people the strength to succeed in school and in life. When they have confidence in themselves, they know where they come from and are very proud of themselves through their language. Of course, language is the basis of culture.
As was mentioned in the debate earlier, language is more than just translating a word, because languages express how we live. For instance, in Inuktut, there are a number of different words for snow, whereas in English, there are not very many. Language portrays a culture, so it is very important to one's way of life.
Statistics show that indigenous people around the world who have pride in themselves, understand their language and have pride in their culture are more successful than those who do not.
This is a great move today in the House of Commons and there is a lot of support here. It is very exciting what the House of Commons is doing.
This is a great step in reconciliation, partly to fix a wrong that we were a big part of creating. Not only did foreigners coming to Canada overwhelm in numbers the first peoples here, but sadly, we took steps to diminish their languages through residential schools, the sixties scoop and relocation.
That is why Bill C-91, an act respecting indigenous languages, is so exciting. First, it would ensure the language rights included under the rights referred to in section 35 of the Constitution, such as the right of indigenous people to develop and preserve their languages. Second, the bill would ensure adequate, stable funding for languages. I will talk about that in more detail later, because funding has been brought up before. Third is the revitalization and strengthening of indigenous languages. To ensure that all these things are implemented, a commissioner would be established.
As a number of members have mentioned at various stages of this debate, it is critical to move quickly on this bill, because indigenous languages are disappearing. Thank goodness many indigenous leaders and elders in my area and other areas have taken to recording their languages so that they will always be there and can be revitalized and renewed by the youth. In my area, I think I saw the passing of the last elder who spoke fluently in Tagish. If he was not the last, there are not many left, so this is critical.
When Europeans first came to North America, there were over 90 indigenous languages. There are still over 70, but some have very few speakers, as the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs found out when we were studying this. It is very important that this bill be implemented as soon as possible to make sure that we halt the diminishment of these languages, promote and restore them and build them up among the youth. This bill would also fulfill the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's calls to action 13, 14 and 15 and would set the stage for articles 11 to 16 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
This legislation was co-developed with first nations, which is why a number of the clauses and principles were very thoughtfully created.
I want to mention a bit about funding. To implement, preserve and restore languages requires funding. This government has made sure that this is taken care of. In the last budget, $330 million over five years was allocated for this, with $117 million after that. Before the bill even comes into effect, all sorts of projects are happening across the country. There have been large increases in funding. Back in 2017, there might have been $5 million, so there has been a huge increase in the funding necessary to move ahead.
This government has taken care of funding for the next five years. However, that does not preclude the possibility of a future government wanting to stop funding this. Therefore, included in this bill, in paragraph 5(d), is a statutory requirement that all future governments would have to fund the required activities, which I am sure the commissioner would monitor. It does not happen very often that there is such a clause in a bill, but we have put one in this one.
Paragraph 5(d) reads:
establish measures to facilitate the provision of adequate, sustainable and long-term funding for the reclamation, revitalization, maintenance and strengthening of Indigenous languages;
That preserves the funding. As I said, we have provided it now, but that preserves it into the future, regardless of what political party happens to be in power.
This is such a unique endeavour. It has been a great education for MPs, who have been hearing indigenous MPs and other MPs provide us with information related to their particular areas. I also want to provide some interesting facts about my particular area.
My riding covers the whole of Yukon and the traditional territories of 14 first nations therein. Some Europeans think that any one indigenous person in North America is the same as another—that they speak the same language, have the same culture, dance the same dances. That of course is not true.
My particular area makes up one one-thousandth of Canada's population, but there are eight language groups: the Gwich’in, the Northern Tutchone, there is a bit of Upper Tanana, Southern Tutchone, Tagish combined with Tlingit, a tiny bit of Tahltan and Kaska. Each of these groups has a different culture and a different history. Their languages are different. To the north of us there are a few Inuvialuit people as well.
I am going to describe the eight first nations in Yukon so that people will have some information about these language groups that they would not otherwise have.
Traditional knowledge is very important. It is a unique type of knowledge passed down orally, generation after generation. According to oral tradition, Yukon first nation peoples have lived in this land since Crow, a mythological creature of the time, made the world and set it in order. Archeologists calculate that the first humans inhabited the Yukon more than 10,000 years ago, crossing the Bering land bridge from Asia or travelling the waters alongside.
Today, first nations people belong to the Athapaskan or Tlingit language groups. I will briefly talk about what the eight specific groups within them are like.
Let me deal with Gwich'in first. The Gwich'in people are our most northerly group in the Yukon. They inhabit a huge area of land in which there are four different dialects. Most familiar to Yukoners are the Vuntut Gwitchin, who reside in Old Crow. Then there are the Tetlit Gwich'in in the Northwest Territories, the Tukudh Gwich'in in the Blackstone area, and the Alaska Gwich'in.
The Vuntut Gwitchin first nation is the modern-day political organization of the Yukon Gwich'in. The Vuntut Gwitchin signed its Yukon first nation final agreement in May 1993. The people live along the Porcupine River and follow annual cycles of subsistence. Right at the centre of their life is the Porcupine caribou herd.
I will digress for a moment to mention the critical struggle going on to protect the Porcupine caribou herd. If that herd becomes extinct, it will result in cultural genocide for the Gwich'in people of Alaska, Yukon and the Northwest Territories, because their whole life revolves around that herd. Their clothes—including vests similar to what I am wearing today—and their food are dependent on the caribou herd. When I have been there, I have seen them eat caribou three times a day. The caribou is really the heart of their culture. It is absolutely fundamental that this herd not be diminished.
Mr. Trump and the Republicans have passed legislation to allow drilling on the caribou calving grounds. Calving, of course, is a very sensitive part of the caribou life cycle, and this drilling could endanger the herd, which currently numbers roughly 130,000. The Gwich'in people have fought for decades to protect that area, along with the Canadian embassy in Washington. I have been involved for a couple of decades in fighting against any drilling in the Arctic national wildlife refuge area. Canada has a responsibility to do this. We have an agreement with the United States to protect the Porcupine caribou herd.
The second group of people I will talk about is the Hän people. The Hän people live where the Yukon and Klondike Rivers merge. They lived through the greatest impact of change when the Klondike gold rush marked their lives with great social upheaval and displacement.
The chief at that time, Chief Isaac, was very forward-thinking and took their songs and their dances to a community in Alaska, where he asked that they be preserved. He did not want to lose them with the massive influx of people. Dawson City was the biggest city west of Chicago or Winnipeg at the time of the gold rush.
They took their songs away, with a dance stick, and entrusted them to them. The dance stick was called a gänhäk. Then they brought them back, and now they are revitalizing their culture.
The next group is Upper Tanana. There are just a few people on the Yukon side; most are in Alaska. That is near Beaver Creek. A lot of the first nations moved around, depending on the time of year and where game could be found, so they were not on the existing locations where the Alaska Highway is. The effect of that highway on these first nations is an entire speech in itself, and I will not get into it at this time.
I am going through these groups faster than I would like, but I still do not have enough time to give more details.
The next large group is Northern Tutchone. They inhabit the central part of Yukon, often referred to as the heart of Yukon. There are three first nations there, within the Northern Tutchone Tribal Council: the First Nation of Na-Cho Nyak Dun, the Selkirk First Nation and the Little Salmon/Carmacks First Nation. The small villages of Fort Selkirk and Minto were home to the people of this area prior to the building of the Klondike Highway, or as we old-timers call it, the Mayo Road.
The next group, the fifth, is the Southern Tutchone, as we have done Gwich'In, Hän, Upper Tanana, Northern Tutchone.
The Southern Tutchone occupy areas of southwest Yukon. Many traditional areas and village sites were once the centres of trading activity for these nomadic people. While many of these locations were gradually abandoned with the building of the Alaska Highway, they are still regarded with reverence as the homelands of the Southern Tutchone people.
The school there is where my 10-year-old daughter has her favourite class, and it is also where my six-year-old son had his highest mark. That is probably a tribute to the great Southern Tutchone teachers they have. It is also a French immersion school.
The Kluane First Nation, the Champagne and Aishihik First Nation, the Ta'an Kwäch'än Council and the Kwanlin Dun are also in that area. The Champagne and Aishihik First Nation have started maybe the first immersion day care in Canada. The immersion is in the Southern Tutchone language.
It was at the Calgary Olympics that a Yukon first nation person sang the national anthem in Tutchone.
The next group, as I mentioned earlier, may be functionally extinct. If not, there are not many speakers at the moment. I am referring to the Tagish language. The point about the Tagish people near the Carcross area is that this first nation people had great co-operation with the people in the gold rush, unlike what happened in some areas in North America. They helped people come in and were guides for them. They came in from the ocean over what were called “grease trails” because of the eulachon fish grease that indigenous people had carried on them for trade over the years.
Kate Carmack, whose brother was the famous Skookum Jim, recently received the great honour of being the first indigenous woman to be put in the Canadian Mining Hall of Fame for her role in the discovery that led to the greatest gold rush in the world.
As I said, there was great co-operation from the Tagish, and the inland Tlingit people as well, who traded over these grease trails. A number of generations ago, some of them moved inland from the coast to the Teslin and Carcross and Atlin areas.
The Kaska people are found in the southwest corner of Yukon, which they share with Ross River Dena Council and Liard First Nation and a number of people in northern B.C. and other communities. They have friends in the Dene people in NWT.
[Member spoke in Gwich’in as follows:]
[Gwich'in text translated as follows:]
Thank you very much for your comments.
View Larry Bagnell Profile
Lib. (YT)
View Larry Bagnell Profile
2019-04-09 15:44 [p.26892]
[Member spoke in Dene as follows:]
Naya dak gwandii
[Dene text translated as follows:]
Madam Speaker, I stand today on the traditional unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishinabe people to express my support for Bill C-88, which proposes to modernize the regulatory regime governing resource development projects in the north.
Before I start, one of the last Conservative speakers said the decision should be made in the north. The northern governments—the Sahtu, the Gwich'in, the Tlicho, the Government of the Northwest Territories—are all in agreement with this legislation. I assume that unless they are going to contradict their own speaker, the Conservatives will be supporting this bill, which leaves the decisions in the north as they were negotiated in the constitutionally protected land claims.
The key reason I support the legislation now before us has to do with the proposed enforcement system. As my colleagues know, the effectiveness of any regulatory regime depends largely on the quality of its enforcement system. As it stands today, the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act lacks an effective enforcement system when it comes to assessments of environmental impacts.
While the amendments to the Northwest Territories Devolution Act did create an enforcement system, the court challenges initiated by northern indigenous groups on the decimation of their boards effectively eliminated it. Bill C-88 would amend the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act to establish an enforcement system based on development certificates.
A development certificate is a form of authorization, a permission slip of sorts. For a project to proceed, an environmental assessment body must first issue a development certificate to the proponent. The Nunavut Planning and Project Assessment Act follows a similar approach.
Under such a system, that environmental assessment body can include specific mitigation measures in the development certificate. The proponent might be authorized to drive heavy vehicles only on frozen winter roads, for instance, or be banned from designated areas during the time of year when caribou typically birth and nurse their calves, which I wish the Trump administration would do in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
Under Bill C-88, the Mackenzie Valley Environmental Impact Review Board would be authorized to issue development certificates listing mitigation measures within the jurisdiction of the responsible ministers. After completing an environmental assessment or environmental impact review, the board would issue a certificate to the proponent.
Under the enforcement system envisioned in Bill C-88, it would be a violation to proceed with a project without a valid certificate or to contravene the conditions of a certificate. These and other violations could lead to an administrative monetary penalty, or AMP. An AMP is a fine imposed by an inspector. It is a civil sanction imposed through an administrative process, rather than a criminal sentence imposed by a court.
Bill C-88 would amend the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act to provide all the necessary and appropriate authorities for AMPs and associated regulations. The regulations would specify penalty amounts, as well as the method of calculating penalties for each type of violation. The amendments also specify the maximum fine would be $25,000 for individuals and $100,000 for organizations. A violation that continues for multiple days would be subject to a separate AMP for each day. I am convinced that the threat of such potentially large fines would promote compliance with the proposed legislation.
There are many advantages to an enforcement system based on development certificates. The threat of a hefty fine removes the potential financial benefit of non-compliance, for instance. By imposing particular restrictions on a project through a development certificate, the system helps regulators to achieve particular goals, such as environmental protection. Civil sanctions such as AMPs tend to be more efficient than criminal prosecutions, which can be lengthy and expensive undertakings.
The enforcement system proposed in Bill C-88 is consistent with those authorized in other federal legislation, including the Environmental Violations Administrative Monetary Penalties Act, the National Energy Board Act and the Nuclear Safety and Control Act.
Another worthwhile feature of the proposed enforcement system is that it features many effective checks and balances. Development certificates, for example, could not include measures within the jurisdiction of a designated regulatory agency, such as the National Energy Board or the Tlicho government. Anyone issued an AMP could seek to have the notice investigated by an official review body. The review would determine whether the penalty was issued in accordance with the regulations, whether the person committed the violation, or both.
For violations related to part 5 of the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act, which pertains to environmental assessment, the federal minister would be empowered to act as a review body. For violations related to part 3 of the act, which deals with land and water management, the board that issued the original authorization would serve as the review body. If a violation was related to an activity that did not involve an authorization, the board responsible for the region where the violation occurred would serve as the review body.
The enforcement system would also include a reconsideration process. A proponent could request an adjustment to a development certificate to address changing circumstances, ineffective or unclear project conditions or new technologies. Reconsideration would be limited to the area of change and to any effects the change may have had on the project. The proponent would not be required to complete another full environmental assessment, and the original decision to authorize the project could not be challenged under reconsideration.
Inspection is another important aspect of the proposed enforcement system. Qualified persons, such as federal or territorial officers, would be authorized under the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act to inspect projects for compliance with the conditions of development certificates. The inspectors would have broad authority to enter and examine premises. They could also prohibit or limit access to premises. If an inspection uncovered evidence of an activity that contravened part 5 of the act, the inspector could issue an order to cease the activity and to mitigate the effects of the activity.
To deter proponents from interfering with the work of inspectors, this part of the enforcement system would include more stringent measures. Rather than civil sanctions, violators would be subject to criminal prosecution. It would be a criminal offence to obstruct inspectors, for instance, or to knowingly provide them with false or misleading information. It would be an offence to carry out development without the proper authority or to contravene an order to cease an activity.
Offenders would face stiff penalties. Conviction for a first offence, for example, could lead to a fine of up to $250,000 and a one-year prison sentence. The maximum fine for subsequent offences would rise to $500,000. This part of the enforcement system would also feature important checks and balances. For instance, an action could not be subject to both an AMP and a criminal sanction.
As my hon. colleagues can now appreciate, the legislation before us envisions an effective enforcement system. Proponents would be required to abide by specific conditions set out in development certificates. To promote compliance, the system would include sanctions corresponding to the seriousness of a violation or offence. As well, the system would incorporate a series of checks and balances to prevent potential abuses of process.
I am convinced that such an enforcement system would enable northerners to maximize the potential benefits of resource development and to minimize the potential environmental impacts. I will vote in favour of Bill C-88 at second reading, and I urge my hon. colleagues to do the same.
The years involved in negotiating these settlements, land claims and self-government settlements are a remarkable testament to parliamentarians and to Canada. These agreements are working very well. As I said previously, one of my greatest moments in Parliament was to get the Tlicho land claims and self-government agreement through Parliament.
We have to maintain the honour of the Crown, maintain respect for those constitutionally protected agreements and make sure that we do not pass legislation that would infringe on those agreements.
View Larry Bagnell Profile
Lib. (YT)
View Larry Bagnell Profile
2019-04-09 16:07 [p.26896]
Madam Speaker, I expected the member to talk about the relationship with first nations and the importance of the honour of Crown and having a trusted relationship. He has good relationships in his riding, and I know that has been assisted by the fact that all parliamentarians have agreed to having indigenous languages spoken in the House of Commons and at committee. The indigenous languages act would increase the trust and reconciliation.
Could the member give us any experiences from his riding of how important this trust and these relationships are with first nations and their governments?
View Larry Bagnell Profile
Lib. (YT)
View Larry Bagnell Profile
2017-12-13 17:52 [p.16398]
Mr. Speaker, just before I start, this being the end of the session, before the holidays, I too would like to add my best wishes to everyone for a wonderful Christmas and new year, and thank all Canadians for their generosity. Everyone at some time in their life faces difficult situations, and Canadians are very generous, and have been this season, in helping to increase that magic so that everyone, even those in need, experience it. I encourage all Canadians not to stop now. There is still lots of need before Christmas and Hanukkah, etc.
I want to talk about this wonderful bill. It is an excellent example of the reconciliation that everyone in this House wants to promote. I want to talk about two things. One is why it is so important to have indigenous people on the historic sites board. We might miss things without them.
The first thing I want to talk about is materials, including, for example, when Europeans came a few hundred years ago. I would also like to talk about the frequency of the sites. There are far more opportunities for sites, because the indigenous people have been here more than 10,000 years longer than Europeans. There were all those years to create historic sites. They have vastly more sites and, of course, we would want to make sure they have good representation, government-to-government representation, a specific spot on the board to ensure their presence, over and above other spots that could also be indigenous.
An example is that in the northern part of Yukon, we can see driftwood lying around. It could look like driftwood to any of us, but these are historic cariboo fences that were set up to guide the cariboo to spots where they could be hunted. The Europeans used materials that would last, cement, etc., not natural materials. The first nations people, indigenous people, use the land, natural materials, which are not as easy to distinguish.
Fish traps could perhaps be made out of willow. People would not necessarily know what these were, or bush camps that they used to live in, even at 40 below zero. Non-indigenous people on the board would not necessarily know what these are. They are much harder to detect because they are a part of nature. They always were part of nature.
There are a number of battle sites that, once again, non-indigenous people would have no idea where these might be. People would have to go to these sites to even be able to identify them.
There are far more frequent indigenous historical sites possible because of the 10,000-plus years of people living here. In my area alone, just one of the ridings in the country, there are six indigenous languages: Kutchin, Southern Tutchone, Northern Tutchone, Gwich'in, Kaska, and Hän, and maybe a few more.
It shows how bountiful the people were who lived on this land. There is a map in this month's National Geographic that shows all of the first nations and indigenous languages of Canada. It is so dense right across the country, we can imagine how many historic sites they must have. What people might not think of as indigenous sites in fact are. In my riding, for instance, we just had the 75th anniversary of the Alaska Highway. It was first nations' guides who followed their trails and showed the army where to build the highway. There were also Tlingit traders. When the gold rush came, people might think that was the first gold rush, but of course people had lived there for thousands of years, indeed 10,000 years ago, in the Bluefish Caves in Yukon, for instance.
The Tlingit from the coast had what they called the grease trail, the eulachon trail, to bring eulachon oil into the centre of Yukon. Non-indigenous historians would think that the Chilkoot Trail and the White Pass trail that gold rushers came in on were the start, but these were the first nations' trails from time immemorial, where they traded into the interior and had interactions, both positive and conflictual, with other indigenous people, and with the whole trading system, the whole economic system in the interior.
Another item that people would not necessarily know about was a volcano, roughly 1,100 years ago. If people dig beneath the surface in most of Yukon, they will see a layer of white ash. A whole new culture started in Yukon at that time. It changed from atlatl weapons to a bow and arrow. These are all things that only the indigenous people might draw us to.
Other aspects of indigenous history in Yukon are tar sites, where there was caribou dung piled on a hill. People might not know what that was if they did not have the appropriate education. These were discovered only a few years ago, actually. In the summer, the caribou have to get away from the bugs and go on ice patches in the mountains, which last all summer. For thousands of years people hunted the caribou on those sites, and now historical weapons are being found where those patches existed.
There is such a prevalence of aboriginal sites all across Canada, hundreds of different first nations. If they come from Europe, people might think they are all the same, but, as I said, there are 14 separate first nations just in my area, one riding of the country. We can imagine how many first nations there are across Canada, how much history, and how many historic sites, for which we need the interpretation and wisdom of the elders.
Fortunately, they had an oral history, and these records are in the minds of the people. We all agree that this oral history is an important part of the historic record of Canada. That is why it is so important that this bill creates spots for Inuit, Métis, and first nations people on the board, so that far more of these sites will be recognized and recorded for the very important history of our nation.
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