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View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
Well....
Sorry.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
I appreciate the chair looking into it again. I've had different experiences with different committees, but I'm not questioning what has been determined.
I'd like to again put it forward. I'm not sure where we were exactly, but I think I still had about seven or eight amendments relating to the expert advisory body independence of the committee where I was prepared to try to say that my amendments were no longer deemed put forward in favour of the Bloc Québécois' amendments.
I see Mr. Albas' hand is up too.
Maybe we could try for unanimous consent again, but I don't know what Mr. Albas would think about that.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
To clean it up, Mr. Chair, I'm perfectly happy to move it again, as I attempted to do last time. I would just say that I appreciate Mr. Albas' speaking for me. The process has been unpleasant and I don't think there was good faith, but my reason for withdrawing these amendments is that I think it will speed things along, and I'm confident the Bloc Québécois amendments really make.... If there's still a good case to do this, I would hope the Bloc amendments pass. I do have a few more amendments, but I want to speed this along and assist in getting Bill C-12 out of committee.
Those are my reasons.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
They are amendments PV-26, PV-27, PV-28, PV-29, PV-30, PV-31 and PV-33.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
They were deemed moved. I'm asking for them to be deemed to have been withdrawn.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
In that case, start with where we are, which I think would be PV-27.
Thanks, Brad.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
Yes, but PV-32 was excluded because it deals with a different issue.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
I'm just trying to help you guys along.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
Point of order.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
I'm very apologetic to point this out, but I came as quickly as I could after the vote was announced. It was [Technical difficulty—Editor] for all of you to resume. I don't know. You can resolve this for yourselves, but I don't think your votes should have counted on the last motion that took place in the main chamber because it wasn't resolved until just before I came.
I'll just flag that for you so that it doesn't affect the work of this committee.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
I joined you as quickly as I could, and it seems that you were well under way.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
I don't mind that I wasn't here, but the point is that your votes shouldn't have counted on that last vote—
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
That's right. I'm just flagging it for you and moving away.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
Mr. Chair, this amendment is the first one—and the reason I removed all the other ones together, of course, was that they were on the same theme as Madam Pauzé's excellent amendments relating to the independent expert advisory committee that we had hoped to put in place.
This amendment is on the question of the report of that committee. Subclause 22(2) says the minister must publicly respond to the advice of the advisory committee, but the public is not to be aware of the advice submitted by the advisory committee because its annual report—which is referred to in subclause 22(1) and subsequently further amended by G-14, which you just accepted—isn't required to be put anywhere for the public to read.
This is proposed subclause 22(1.1). It's very clear and very straightforward. I hope you'll accept it:
The Minister must publish the annual report
—of the net zero advisory committee—
on the website of the Department of the Environment after receiving it.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Thank you to Monique Pauzé for making a number of the points that I will reiterate here in terms of my briefer amendment.
The current form of Bill C-12 is that the commissioner of the environment and sustainable development must put forward a report on an examination of the Government of Canada's implementation of measures, etc., to achieve its most recent greenhouse gas emissions target, etc.
The current scheduling of the report from the commissioner of the environment and sustainable development is to be once every five years. My amendment would change it to once every three years.
I'm anticipating the comment, because Mr. Bachrach just made it, that somehow there's some conflict with the upcoming Liberal amendment that the first report must be submitted no later than the end of 2024, referring to the report of the commissioner of the environment and sustainable development. Obviously, there's no conflict: It's a question of the sequencing.
If Mr. Baker's amendment goes through, as unlikely it is that a government amendment will pass in this committee—forgive the sarcasm—once Mr. Baker's amendment goes through, the commissioner of the environment and sustainable development will have a report that is due, the first one, in 2024. The way the act now works, the next one would be in 2029 and so forth.
If my amendment is accepted—and I urge you to really consider this—the first report can be in by no later than the end of 2024. The next one would have to be before the end of 2027, which is really rather helpful, because under the government's approach to the first milestone year and the advance reports, the next report would be not from the commissioner of the environment and sustainable development, but from the department, to assess how well it's doing to hit its 2030 target. That one would be coming in 2028. The timing works here. There are no inconsistencies. There are no conflicts.
It just makes sure that for the commissioner of the environment and sustainable development, bearing in mind that the commissioner of the environment and sustainable development already has a statutory responsibility to report annually on various matters, this would mean that once every three years they would be reporting on climate targets, progress reports on climate targets and the other matters that are set out in clause 24 of Bill C-12.
I really do hope against hope that you're going to accept this moderate, modest, small improvement to the scheme of the act.
Thank you.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
Mr. Chair, I think committee members will recall that a number of the few witnesses we had spoke to the question of justiciability to make sure that this bill could have some measures that have accountability. Unfortunately, this was paired with my amendment that said the minister must achieve the targets. However, there remain a number of mandatory duties: the minister must prepare targets, must set milestone years and must take into account science.
Subclauses 7(1), 7(2) and 7(4), clause 8 and subclauses 9(1) and 9(2) include mandatory duties that could engage an application for judicial review. That's why I'm proposing clause 27.1, which was supported by, I think, West Coast Environmental Law and by a number of other organizations. It provides some guidance that this legislation anticipates judicial review of ministerial obligations, and says that where someone could seek judicial review within the Federal Court and relief, it's available under subsections 18(1) and 18.1(3) of the Federal Courts Act.
I hope members will find that this amendment deserves support so it can become part of Bill C-12.
(Amendment negatived: nays 5; yeas 2)
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
Mr. Chair, if in discussing this amendment anyone from the government side is prepared to explain the way the current law is drafted, I'd appreciate that. Let me just explain what my amendment does.
The current language for proposed section 29, “Coming into Force”, states:
Section 23 comes into force on a day to be fixed by order of the Governor in Council.
On the question of why it would be that the aspect of the role of the Minister of Finance and the report of the Minister of Finance, of which much has been made in the way this bill has been promoted, why is that section carved out from the coming into force of the bill? Proposed section 23 would only come into force, under this, on the day fixed by order of the Governor in Council. We'd like the entire act to come into force the day after it has received royal assent. It makes it cleaner.
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
Mr. Chair, if I may interrupt, I was previously informed that my amendments on the preamble would not be in order. I want to save you and others time, and I just ask that when it comes to that, because I am called to other business in the House, you withdraw my amendment.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
I have a point of order. I would prefer it, Mr. Chair, if you describe my role accurately. The motion says, independent or members of non-recognized parties.
I am not an independent member of Parliament.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
I am a Green Party member of Parliament.
I had thought, Mr. Chair, that the third part of the motion is quite affirmative that each member is allowed to speak.
I understand your ruling. I'm not challenging you, and I know we are rather pressed for time, but in previous committees at which I have been appearing since this motion was first brought forward under the fiction that each committee chose to draft a motion that was identical to everyone else's motion, I've been allowed to speak to each of my amendments deemed to have been put forward.
I don't mean to trespass on your time any further if you want to finish what you were going to say, Mr. Chair.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
We had similar amendments the other day, in order to ensure that we have more frequent assessment reports. As noted, we now have a number of amendments that mean that the first part of my amendment that “the Minister must prepare at least two assessment reports before 2030” will appear to have been covered.
The critical last part of this amendment is, “and at least one assessment report per year between 2030 and 2050.” This is an attempt, of course, to fortify a bill that doesn't have carbon budgets in it, so annual reports will assist in remedying that deficiency.
Thank you. Mr. Chair.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I have to say that this is the most dispiriting process of clause-by-clause that I've experienced in many years. Usually amendments are actually considered, people actually debate them and there is a good-faith process. I'm going to make a short statement and then I'm going to ask, because I cannot remove my own amendments, in the interest of time and in an effort to have this bill get to the Senate, where perhaps there will be a good-faith effort to amend it....
I condemn this government for what it has done: for telling people like me, who believed in good faith that there would be an actual appetite for change to improve the bill and who accepted it and prepared amendments, only to show up here and watch Liberals stay mute, the NDP stay mute and march through their amendments, passing them in force, and not listening and not caring about the possibility that other amendments might work.
I urge you to change your conduct. I urge you to consider Madam Pauzé's amendments.
Because I don't have the power to remove my own amendments, I will remove my amendments if you will do the job for me, Mr. Chair, in the interest of time and under protest against the process this committee has entered into—not the committee but the backroom deal that no amendments shall pass unless they're Liberal or NDP and do nothing but tweak the bill with small improvements. I don't want to stand in the way of getting this thing done, and I now ask the chair to support the Bloc amendments and remove PV-25, PV-26, PV-27, PV-28, PV-29, PV-30 and PV-31.
Shame on you.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
Mr. Chair, it has been the case that in the past in other committees when I suggested that the amendment that is deemed moved can be deemed by the chair to have been removed, I've never heard before that it required unanimous consent. I think Mr. Albas's suggestion earlier that the various backroom people who've engineered this motion that I have to observe in every committee....
In this case, since it would be all in one go, because these are all amendments that relate to the process of the advisory committee becoming independent and expert, again, it would certainly save the committee a lot of time if you accept my word for it that you can deem these amendments removed—PV-25, PV-26, PV-27, PV-28, PV-29, PV-30 and PV-31—rather than seeking unanimous consent each time, but that's for you to determine.
I will wait for PV-32 before taking the floor again.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
I will repeat again: It comes to seven amendments that I am removing in one go.
If you want to seek unanimous consent, then I would be asking for all of my amendments that relate to what is now a not independent, appointed-by-the-minister multi-stakeholder committee..... My attempts are not identical, by any means, but sufficiently similar to the Bloc Québécois' attempts, that I would prefer, in order to save time and help this committee along, that Madam Pauze's amendments be accepted.
However, my amendments are from PV-25 through PV-31 inclusive. That's seven amendments.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
I think I've been very clear.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
I wish to have all seven amendments withdrawn.
My previous experience in other committees is, once I suggest that, they were deemed moved and then they're deemed not moved by the same imaginary hand.
I appreciate Mr. Albas's support, but the amendments being put to a vote for Madam Pauzé.... Maybe some of them will pass. Just to disprove for those who might be watching, what we are witnessing here, which is a very anti-democratic decision in advance to fail to actually consider amendments. That's not what clause-by-clause is supposed to be like.
Mr. Chair, if you can help me here, my Green Party amendments, PV-25 to PV-31, should just be removed from the package.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
I think the legislative clerks.... I'm surprised by their ruling. I'll put it that way.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
I'm surprised by their ruling.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
I do not wish to speak to any of these amendments, and I urge you not to vote on them. I urge you to set them aside and move on.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
Mr. Chair, before you do, I miscounted. I have eight amendments. I want to speak to PV-32, but PV-33 is also about the panel.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
Yes.
I sent you a few other examples of where chairs have removed my amendments at my request, but I respect that the clerk of this committee has taken a different interpretation.
View Paul Manly Profile
GP (BC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
This amendment brings back proposed section 4.1. It states the following:
9.2 This Act does not apply in respect of
(a) programs that are uploaded to an online undertaking that provides a social media service by a user of the service—who is not the provider of the service or the provider’s affiliate, or the agent or mandatary of either of them—for transmission or retransmission over the Internet and reception by other users of the service, except where the Canadian creator of a program has voluntarily chosen to be subject to the Act for discoverability purposes; and
(b) online undertakings whose broadcasting consists only of such programs, except where the Canadian creator of a program has voluntarily chosen to be subject to the Act for discoverability purposes.
The idea behind this exemption is a compromise. This would exempt user-generated content from regulation under the act unless a Canadian creator of programs opts to voluntarily have their programs available for discoverability. This would address concerns about freedom of speech, which are also providing an option for Canadians in the cultural industry to be promoted through discoverability.
The process of ensuring that you're discoverable is fairly straightforward under the CRTC regulations. There's a point system where you determine whether the producer, the director or the actors are Canadian. It's a six out of 10 score. It depends on a number of factors—where it's produced, who is involved with the production—for film and television. With the MAPL system, it's fairly straightforward. MAPL stands for music, artist, performance and lyrics. You need to fulfill at least two of those criteria to be eligible for Canadian content.
I feel that this is a compromise. It respects the freedom of speech. It doesn't deal with the issues around algorithmic bias, which is another serious issue we need to be discussing. We have seen in recent cases, with the Red Dress Day on May 5, that family members and people posting about missing and murdered indigenous women and girls, posting about family members who have gone missing, had their posts removed by Instagram and Facebook through an algorithm. These social media platforms have their processes where they're determining what content will be pulled down and what content won't be pulled down.
There have been complaints by people in the Black Lives Matter movement, by the Indigenous Lives Matter movement, by people standing up for the rights of Palestinians or people in Crimea or other locations, and by people standing up for old-growth forests. They have had their posts removed. They've been blocked on these social media platforms. We talk about free speech, but this is not really a democratic space. It is a corporate space. It is something that we need to deal with.
I hope members of the committee will support this amendment. I think it's a fair compromise. Those Canadian content producers who do want to be subject to the act and have discoverability of their Canadian productions should be able to have that option.
Thank you.
View Paul Manly Profile
GP (BC)
Is it possible that they could be on Zoom at the same time?
View Paul Manly Profile
GP (BC)
Sure, I don't mind.
View Paul Manly Profile
GP (BC)
I'm a producer, and I've produced lots of different documentaries and films. In the process of doing that, afterwards, I've sold documentaries to CBC or to provincial broadcasters that are regulated under the CRTC and the act. When I submit a program, they ask me to fill out a form as to whether it meets Canadian content criteria or not.
If it doesn't meet Canadian content criteria, then it doesn't count towards what they're broadcasting as Canadian content, but it gives me the option of doing that. I fill out the forms—it's a fairly easy process to do—I submit them to the CRTC, I get my certification and away I go.
That's the idea behind this. It's just to have an opt-in. I guess if it conflicts with something that's already been passed, then that might create some issues in terms of the CRTC figuring out how that would work, but the idea is to have an opt-in system so that people who do want to have discoverability can have that option. Then you would have something for those online undertakings to ensure that, for people who do want to be recognized as Canadian content on their platforms, they show Canadian content in that process. Maybe that pops up a little Canadian flag on the side. Maybe it's when they're suggesting that if you like this, you might like that, or maybe it's an opt-in for users of that platform.
Currently, when I watch stuff on social media, I have no idea where it's produced. I can search YouTube under search words to find out if perhaps it was made in Canada, but a lot of producers don't bother putting tags in to say where their productions were made.
I'm just thinking about a system that could work for users of the platform to find Canadian content and for producers of Canadian content to be more easily found by people who want to support Canadian talent.
View Paul Manly Profile
GP (BC)
That's exactly how the system works, actually. The number of productions that get produced in this country for the traditional broadcasters by producers.... It's about 90% to 95% of the same people who produce over and over again. To break into that system is very difficult. It's actually a small number of commissioning editors who determine what gets commissioned in this country by CTV, Global or any of the provincial broadcasters, or CBC, so it's a difficult thing to break into.
I just want to correct Mr. Waugh, as I've spent a very small amount of time in community radio. I actually worked on hundreds of TV episodes in the broadcast industry. I've produced and directed documentaries of my own and commissioned documentaries. I have worked in artist management and done record deals, international deals, international licensing agreements for artists who have succeeded all across the planet. I've done very well through the CanCon system, which helped them finance tours into the United States, because they could afford to get in a van and drive across the States based on the money they made in Canada by having radio play in Canada.
There is a system in place that is stacked towards companies that work very closely with the big broadcasters. I have produced lots of films that have just gone on to YouTube or on to my own pay-per-view through Vimeo, or other avenues. I have other things that are licensed here and there in other parts of the world. When I have had a broadcaster pick something up, then I go through the CRTC process of certification. It's a fairly straightforward process.
In terms of the comments by Mr. Ripley about how the social media could work with this, well, when you upload a video to YouTube, you can set a number of tags on there. I can say my name, where it was produced and what the key subject areas are. I don't know if anybody here has done web design, but it's a pretty straightforward process to add another line in there asking if this is Canadian content and if you have a CanCon, a CRTC certification number. When you're doing searches online, on YouTube, it would simply say, “Are you interested in Canadian content? Click here.”
These kinds of things can be done quite easily through web design. It's not rocket science anymore. I did do some work in computer engineering as well, way back in the day. It's not a black box. It's not a huge problem.
Those are my comments. Thank you.
View Paul Manly Profile
GP (BC)
No, I don't actually think that would be the same problem. With CTV or Global, you need to deal with a commissioning editor. You have to sell the program to them, either to have it commissioned or to be acquired afterwards.
With the Internet, it's not the same process. There's no commissioning editor. It's really just a button you click that says, this is Canadian content and I have filled out a form that says a, b, c or d—that the producer or director are Canadian, that it was shot in Canada or that the actors are Canadian, and that it meets six out of 10 points to be able to be recognized as Canadian content.
There's no commissioning editor on YouTube. That's not what I'm saying, and I think that the process would still be wide open. All I'm saying is that you would have something that would show, for discoverability purposes, that this is Canadian content and that would make it easy for Canadians to find to support Canadian talent.
View Paul Manly Profile
GP (BC)
The CRTC process is very simple. It's a very simple form. This film is made by Paul Manly, a Canadian, directed by Paul Manly, a Canadian. The actors are Canadian or not Canadian. This was produced in Canada—check, check, check. Here's your CRTC number, and now you are there for discoverability.
The process of getting on CTV is about acquisition or commissioning. It is about money, and it is about selling a product to a corporation. With YouTube, that is not what you're doing. It is a platform that you can upload to freely. This would be a process of just saying this is a certified Canadian project or program, with the a, b, c, d simplified form. It's really simple, basic.
View Paul Manly Profile
GP (BC)
The money actually follows the commissioning. If I produce something and it's acquired, I'm not eligible for funding unless I get an acquisition, which is why I have other amendments coming up to deal with that specific issue. I think that system needs to be opened up in terms of the Canada Media Fund, so that people who strictly produce for things like YouTube and don't want to deal with the traditional broadcasters can have access to funding based on producing Canadian content.
The certification process, by the way, is an attestation system. It is like when you do your taxes, you are attesting that you have followed through, that everything you've said is truthful and you could be audited later on. It's not like bureaucrats are sitting there checking every box you have checked off. The idea is not as complicated as everybody would like to try to make it out to be.
If I could call the question, I would do it, but I don't think I have that ability. Thanks.
View Paul Manly Profile
GP (BC)
I have been. The funding process is different from the certification process. It absolutely is, because if you're going to get funding, and if my amendments that are coming up come through, then people will have to hop through those hoops to show that what they are doing is Canadian content, produced and directed by Canadians in Canada with Canadian actors, because that's what those funds should be allocated to.
View Paul Manly Profile
GP (BC)
I have nothing further to add. I think I have said enough. Thank you. I'd like to move along.
View Paul Manly Profile
GP (BC)
It is simply a way of finding Canadian content. I don't know how you figure out, when you're watching YouTube, what is Canadian content or not.
I think we have had this discussion for quite a while now. This is simply a matter of continuing to talk about bumping up and bumping down and that two productions can't be first. How do you find Canadian content on YouTube? How do Canadians support Canadian content?
The filibuster is kind of just wearing thin. I will just leave it at that.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Just to briefly remind members—and I know you're all keen to get out of here—you passed a motion some time ago that requires me to be here if I have amendments. Otherwise, I could have done this at report stage. I'm here because of your instructions.
I have a reminder to the clerk to please remember in future to give me the 48 hours' notice so that I can get my amendments in on time pursuant to the motion you passed.
This one is very straightforward. Prince Edward Island right now, as you can see in the bill, is treated as “The region of Charlottetown, consisting of the Census Agglomeration of Charlottetown”, and “The region of Prince Edward Island, consisting of all Census Subdivisions that are not part of the Census Agglomeration of Charlottetown”.
My amendment is very straightforward. I'm really speaking to you today on behalf of a number of municipalities in Prince Edward Island, and particularly on behalf of the mayor of Charlottetown, who asked me to try to carry this forward. I know there are problems, and I want to touch on them briefly, but the message here is “one island, one province, one zone”.
What is happening here is a number of very odd results. I think Mr. Fraser is aware of the kinds of things that sometimes happen in maritime provinces. You can be a few feet from somebody else and your entitlements under employment insurance can be very different.
In the case of Prince Edward Island, it is quite a perverse result. Now, I recognize—and I have had notes from Finance Canada and actually had a very helpful conversation with Minister Carla Qualtrough—that in making the change here, this section deals with the seasonal pilot program. It won't solve the larger problem.
I took that back to the mayor of Charlottetown. The concern here is that if we enshrine in the statute these different zones for purposes of EI, it will make it harder to fix it in regulations down the line, and the mayor of Charlottetown, Philip Brown, doesn't see how we're going to get to fix this problem any earlier than 2023 if we don't grasp the nettle and try to fix it here.
That's what I'm attempting to do to: assist a wonderful province. We know how wonderful it is because our chair hails from there. In getting this fixed, we will be showered in Malpeque oysters and we will have a grand celebration one of these days, but for now, I put it to you that we have a problem.
I know that my amendment is controversial, in that it is not perfectly suited to fix the problem, but I don't think the municipalities and the unemployed workers of Prince Edward Island have a better option right now than passing this.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
Can I just say something? I'm sort of your mascot because I don't have any status, but I just want to take my hat off to all of you. This is a well-run committee. It does really good work. It really listens and does the work, so to all of you I just want to add my thanks as a Canadian citizen.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
Mr. Chair, could I just slide in a small request to be sent that invitation for the meeting on COP26?
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
This one I'll give a bit of an explanation for. I have so many amendments.
I want to reference for members of the committee the amendment you've already passed that was brought forward by the government. It's amendment G-3, which includes the following: “Each greenhouse gas emissions target must represent a progression beyond the previous one.” My amendment is not only consistent; it buttresses this and frames it properly in the fact that we already have committed in the Paris Agreement to a principle that's called ratcheting up. In other words, any country may replace its nationally determined contribution at any time, but only to ratchet up.
I'm hoping that Raj Saini will see the benefit of making sure that we amend clause 11. We would add, “that is consistent with the purpose of this Act and with the commitment to ratchet up targets” within the meaning of “the Paris Agreement, done in Paris on December 12, 2015.” Again, it's just placing in the proper context how much we are already committed to, and in some additional amendments to Bill C-12, we reiterate commitments that we have made to only ratchet up.
I hope that this amendment will meet with your approval.
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair, and thank you for the preamble.
The numbers of my amendments don't flow from this one. I will be quiet for some time after this one before getting back to the matter of an advisory panel.
Before we proceed to the ritual slaughter of my amendments, I'll just recap.
So far, attempts to do the things that most witnesses asked us to do.... We had the Climate Action Network, a coalition that includes most of the environmental law groups in Canada. Advice came in a written brief from the Tsleil-Waututh first nation because, of course, we didn't have time for them to testify in person. We've lost the chance for a 2025 milestone year or to put the target from the Paris Agreement of 1.5 into the purpose of the act or base the bill on science or to operate using carbon budgets.
This is an opportunity to bring Bill C-12 into line with most of the climate accountability acts around the world in one respect. All those things that I just mentioned are what you typically find in other climate accountability legislation around the world.
The one witness we did have time to hear from on this point was Professor Corinne Le Quéré from the University of East Anglia Law School. When I asked her about it, she pointed out that certainly all the laws she knew of incorporated those elements that I just described, which we already voted down. They do tend to have this element in common: that the advice that comes to government in setting their plans and targets comes from experts. It's heavily experts of climate science and expertise as well, for instance, in renewable energy and other technologies.
I'll give a quick recap because Professor Corinne Le Quéré's expertise was primarily with the French climate accountability legislation. I'll just let members know because we didn't hear about other laws. I think it's a large deficiency in developing a knowledge base for reviewing this bill.
Certainly, in Pakistan, which has climate accountability legislation, and in Denmark, the advisory bodies are specifically experts and are defined in the act. New Zealand includes something called a Climate Change Commission, which is independent and gives expert advice. Costa Rica calls theirs the Scientific Council on Climate Change. The U.K. calls it, of course, the Climate Change Committee. It is highly respected. South Korea calls theirs the Committee on Green Growth and it is independent and housed within the prime minister's office and not in any one ministry.
In this, by describing it as an expert advisory body, the chair is quite right. Subsequent amendments I will put forward describe how this expert advisory committee would work and how it would be composed.
I'll just take a moment to say we will come to NDP-4, which basically modifies the word “advice” with the word “independent”. I think that attempts to create the false impression that by the time the Liberals and NDP vote for NDP-4, we will have created an independent commission that's aligned with the way other countries around the world have devised and designed their climate accountability legislation. We will not have done so, because the committee will still be made up of political appointees. It's only their advice that will be described as independent, whereas the committee structure will not be.
Again, to have anything like the rigour of other countries' legislation, we should have made other amendments before this moment. Certainly, the advisory committee to provide independent advice needs to be an independent advisory committee made up of experts, as opposed to the model we have here in a multi-stakeholder group.
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Of course, members will be, I'm sure, intimately familiar with the impact of the motion you passed, which is why I'm compelled to be here, which means that this motion has been deemed moved by the mysterious hand of somebody on committee, unmentioned.
This is a different issue. This is the first time this committee is dealing with an amendment that seeks to make the Minister of Environment and the Government of Canada actually accountable as opposed to embarrassed.
Currently the only clause of the bill that deals with accountability is clause 16, titled, “Failure to Achieve Target”. Under clause 16, a minister who concludes that Canada has missed a target will explain why and describe the actions it will take to remedy the matter. I think members will recall—almost humourously, because there was a widespread difficulty in pronouncing “justiciability”—when we had Professor Wright from the University of Calgary testifying before us. I thought he was charming on the question of justiciability, but the question is, can we actually require that the minister face some consequences and the government face consequences for missing a target?
As the chair has mentioned, this is essentially a separate clause. It's numbered clause 13.1, and the magic word in it is “must”. This amendment would ensure that “the Minister must achieve all the national greenhouse gas emissions targets set under sections 6 and 7.” How would you do that? What's the implication? I'm sure some of us in this room—I'm sure many of us—are actually lawyers and will know that saying “must” can create some administrative law remedies. This has also been put forward in evidence to committee, particularly, I recall, by West Coast Environmental Law, but I've been chastised by other people in the Climate Action Network that when we say West Coast Environmental Law, we're implicating a wider range of groups. It just happens that Andrew Gage was the lawyer who testified before us.
When you say “must”, you can actually create an administrative law duty to meet a requirement, which could create administrative law remedies. The question I put to Professor Wright was whether that would help. He said it would. We'll come back to this when we get to my amendment PV-35, which gets into some of the details of how the administrative law remedy would work before the Federal Court of Canada. For now, I put it to you that this is the one place we have an opportunity to say that when the minister says the law will create accountability, he or she will mean, in future, that we're actually trying to be accountable as opposed to having a bumper sticker for an election campaign that says we now have climate accountability legislation.
Thank you.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
Mr. Chair, further to what John Moffet was just saying, I don't recall any witnesses saying that this amendment would not work. The only witnesses that we had from law school and law professor backgrounds said that this would work.
The remedy is something called an order in the nature of mandamus. It's a Court of Chancery remedy that's available in administrative law. I describe it, in terms of the process, more fully when we get to PV-35.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
Mr. Chair, this amendment goes to the issue of progress reports. I want to note for the committee the requirement in calendar 2023 for a major international review of progress by all nations. That certainly is already in place.
I note also, and want to make the point, that Green Party amendment 22 is completely consistent with the one that comes up next, Chris's amendment G-10, around progress reports. But where Chris's amendment stops, this amendment from the Green Party continues on the point of annual progress reports between 2030 and 2050.
Again, we're completely consistent that in the Green Party amendment there be at least two progress reports before 2030. That is covered off and consistent with what the Paris Agreement requires of us and with Chris Bittle's amendment for the government that comes up next. But we don't have anything for annual progress reports.
I just want to flag, and I've mentioned before, the international record and the elements accepted globally of best practices around climate accountability legislation. As I put it to the minister when we had our opportunity to question him, the Government of Canada has consciously decided not to pursue the best practices around the world.
For a quick review of those, the website of the Canadian Institute for Climate Choices, which was created by the Government of Canada with a number of experts, sets out what are considered the best practices from around the world on climate legislation. In relation to progress reports, they say, “Typically, climate accountability frameworks mandate that an independent body table yearly progress reports....”
With that support from the Canadian Institute for Climate Choices, not that they've explicitly looked at my amendment, but it's so well known what best practices are that it's quite astonishing the Government of Canada has chosen to avoid best practices in almost every area. Here's a chance to amend this and ensure that we get an annual progress report between 2030 and 2050.
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
But I'll still be allowed to present it. Is that correct, Mr. Chair? I just want to flag that.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
I'll use the 60 seconds, Mr. Chair, to ask this committee to read its own motion by which I am compelled to be here. It says that I am to be allowed to speak to every one of my amendments. That is a rule that has been observed by chairs in other committees.
Clearly, the amendment that just carried, G-11, speaks to some of the same areas but not with the same focus relating to ensuring that there be additional measures taken with the probability of achieving goals. It's a different turn of phrase from that used in Ms. Saks' amendment.
I believe my 60 seconds are likely up. Again, if you hadn't passed this motion, I wouldn't be here. If you hadn't passed your motion, I'd have more rights to present at report stage in the House of Commons.
Thank you.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
Mr. Chair, do we know when the next meeting will be?
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
This amendment is quite similar to the one that snagged us into some dispute and confusion last meeting. It's to adopt recommendations from a number of environmental law groups. It happens that West Coast Environmental Law staff lawyer Andrew Gage was the one who testified before us. He represents the views, as I've been reminded recently, of a large collection of climate groups and environmental law groups.
Under subclause 7(4), we've already made the amendment changing five years to nine years, 366 days. As I understand, the expectation is that at report stage it can be changed to 10 years. This is a parallel proposal and I think it's quite consistent, although I don't see an identical Liberal amendment coming up soon thereafter. I'm a little worried about this one, but I certainly hope it will be passed, because it is consistent and gets down to the emissions reduction plans that attach themselves to the targets. It is for subclause 9(4), which currently reads:
(4) The Minister must establish each subsequent emissions reduction plan at least five years before the beginning of the year to which it relates.
I'm hopeful that we can change this from five years to 10 years. Again, I note that it's the intention of the majority of members of the committee that subclause 7(4) be changed from five to 10 years, so surely the subsequent plans should be targeted to the same year. I hope the amendment as drafted for 10 years will meet with the approval of the majority of committee members.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
Perhaps I could have some clarity too, Mr. Chair.
How would my subsequent amendments to clause 10 be affected by adopting G-8?
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
Thank you.
We're still in the rubric of clause 10, on the content of the emissions reduction plan. My proposal is to stick in, just after paragraph (b) in subclause 10(1), which was amended by amendment G-8 by Madam Saks, a paragraph that calls for:
(b.1) detailed information and modelling of the expected annual emissions reduction for the year to which the plan relates;
In other words, we want a greater understanding of the progress being made in annual increments, as recommended by numerous groups and briefs that were presented to this committee.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
I would make the obvious point, Mr. Chair, that if the amendment was redundant to G-8, the clerk would have flagged that and notified us, before we passed G-8, that my amendment PV-15 was somehow redundant. It's sufficiently different and does provide more detail in the development of a plan so that people can track it. The title of the act is “accountability”. The guts of the act aren't there yet.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
I wish to stand on the motion this committee passed that requires me to be here and that allows me to speak to my amendments. The practice has been from other committees and other committee chairs, Mr. Chair, probably dozens if not hundreds of times, that even if the chair rules that—
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
Thank you.
I would just like to draw the attention of the committee to the preamble, which we know doesn't have the weight in law the body of the bill would have.
The preamble claims this bill is committed to reaching the Paris Agreement goals of as far below 2°C as possible, and preferably no more than 1.5°C global average temperature increase above the temperature at the global average that existed at the time of the Industrial Revolution. In order to do that, we're looking at far more than net zero by 2050.
I note that although, clearly, witnesses were significantly curtailed and expert evidence was not brought to the committee that could have been brought, we certainly did hear from enough witnesses to know the key elements of successful climate accountability laws around the world are missing in this. Some of our witnesses were actually able to tell us that carbon budgets work better than percentage reductions.
I'm not challenging the chair. I don't have any right to because I'm not a member of the committee, but I do note that every other climate accountability law around the world uses carbon budgeting to achieve the goals this bill claims to want to achieve.
I'm surprised, Mr. Chair, that you have been advised this is beyond the scope of the bill. Carbon budgeting has been requested by virtually every climate organization within Canada, certainly the members groups of the Climate Action Network and numerous others. We don't know what first nations would have said about this bill because they weren't allowed to testify, but I really am disappointed by the ruling. I speak to this motion because it's really important we understand that we're missing the boat on climate accountability.
Obviously, with that, Mr. Chair, I think I've exhausted the time the motion this committee passed that requires me to be here allows me to speak.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
But it went by pretty quickly, Mr. Chair. I think that's part of the problem when you're asking indigenous nations to step forward and testify. If they only have a few hours to know about it—
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair. I am anticipating your ruling given the last one, but I appreciate the opportunity to present it.
Again, carbon budgets are the gold standard globally to make climate accountability legislation work. As I remember, one of our witnesses, and I'm trying to remember now who—it's very embarrassing—very accurately put it that if you were trying to balance your household budget and you wanted to get to so much money saved in your bank account, you'd be doing a better job to budget for that year to year and have specificity around what you're trying to achieve.
Again, the difference between a carbon budget and the way the bill is currently designed is that a carbon budget is a certain number of megatonnes produced by year. We're operating in a carbon budget globally. We are at very grave risk of exceeding the carbon budget that would allow us to meet the Paris objective of as far below 2°C as possible and no more than 1.5°C.
We are much more likely to succeed in meeting those targets by using the gold standard approach of carbon budgets than by using the bill the way it's currently structured. I'm putting forward PV-17 and hope that perhaps it might survive your ruling, Mr. Chair, and then survive a vote.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Although it's unusual, I want to parenthetically appreciate Mr. Albas's effort to belatedly have debates on key concepts in Bill C-12. The process here has been offensive to full public engagement in the development of this legislation. I'll just put that on the record.
This next amendment seeks to make it clearer what the minister does in an emissions reduction plan. The current version, just to refresh your memories, under subclause 10(2), titled “Explanation”, states:
An emissions reduction plan must explain how the greenhouse gas emissions target set out in the plan and the key measures and the strategies that the plan describes will contribute to Canada achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.
That would be amended in my proposed amendment from an explanation to a demonstration. It would be that an emissions reduction plan “must demonstrate” how the greenhouse gas emissions target set out in the plan and key measures will contribute to achieving net-zero.
Again, parenthetically, net-zero by 2050 is not our goal, not if we want human civilization to survive. We must ensure significant cuts before 2030 to meet the Paris objective, which is referenced in this bill, but the bill is not constructed around it.
In any case, this is one small change that I hope the committee will consider.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
I have a comment on Mr. Moffet's comment on the French translation. What I was hoping for is “démontrer” as opposed to “expliquer”.
However, if my amendment is satisfactory to the department—it's not diluting the bill and the way they want it—perhaps this is an opportunity for the Liberals and NDP to prove they haven't made an advance decision that no Green Party amendments would be accepted, and they could accept this one.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
Mr. Chair, I don't know what time we're meeting on Wednesday. Nothing's posted on the website.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
It's certainly helpful. I'm in an awkward position as I'm enforced by your own motion to be here but not told in advance when we're meeting next.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
Yes, I know. I appreciate your patience, Mr. Chair.
Thank you.
View Paul Manly Profile
GP (BC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
People might have noticed that I have an amendment coming right after this. It would have been a subamendment, but I can't put subamendments forward to amendments. Basically, it says the same thing except that people would be exempt from this process and their programs would be exempt under the act, except where Canadian creators of programs want to voluntarily choose to be subject to the act for discoverability purposes. The undertakings would be exempt except in those situations where Canadian creators want to be part of the program and voluntarily be subject to the act.
There's been a lot of discussion about how to determine what is Canadian content. It's actually a very simple process. In addition to being a professional musician, I ran an artist management company for a number of years. I had some very successful Canadian artists I did record deals for. I negotiated international record deals and distribution deals and licensing agreements for them. I stepped them through the process of MAPL—the music, artist, production, lyrics process—in determining what is Canadian content for music. It's a very simple process. It's an easy thing to step through and score.
I've also produced documentaries and educational films. When I got a Canadian broadcaster that was interested, that hadn't commissioned a film before it was made but wanted to play it afterwards, I stepped through the CAVCO process. That's very straightforward as well. It's based on a points system. It's really easy to get something certified as Canadian content.
The actual tax credit system, where you get money back, is a little bit more onerous and difficult. You have to engage accountants to step through everything and determine what you're eligible for in terms of funding. If you don't have a big budget to deal with that, it's not necessarily advantageous for small producers.
But that's a whole other thing. The actual determining of what is Canadian content is pretty straightforward. It's in the regulations. Those regulations haven't changed for a long time. I think they do need to be reviewed, but the idea that CanCon actually fences in Canadian artists is erroneous. That's not true at all. In fact, CanCon has made it easier for Canadian artists to be discovered in Canada and have the financial wherewithal to be able to go and expand into other markets.
Take musicians working in Canada. When they're eligible for grants or whatever, or when they're getting airplay, whether it's on commercial radio or on college radio and getting promoted because they're Canadian content, they can tour across Canada and get airplay. It helps them to finance tours going into the United States, where it's harder to break in as an artist if you're not making it through the algorithmic process on YouTube, Facebook or the social media platforms.
I have produced stuff for social media. I've had YouTube videos that have gone viral and had millions of views. I didn't have to bother going through a CanCon process with them. I just let them loose. But I've also had programs that I wanted played on a Canadian broadcaster, so I hopped through that process, which was very simple and easy, just to determine whether or not it met the certification requirements. To have a voluntary system where artists and producers are able to actually determine for themselves whether they want that discoverability, and then have a system where Canadians who are looking for Canadian content can find Canadian content easily through this process, makes a lot of sense for continuing to support Canadian talent—musical talent, film talent and all of these other things.
The CRTC regulations say that programs under five minutes aren't covered under the Canadian content rules. There's no requirement for somebody making a TikTok video or an Instagram video to apply for Canadian content rules, and you can submit stuff for broadcast that is under that limit. It's not required that you meet the CRTC regulation for it.
Of course, those regulations can change, but it doesn't make sense, really, for the CRTC to be doing something that would be detrimental to Canadian artists. The idea that there's a fence around Canadian producers that would be created by these CanCon regulations is ridiculous. The CanCon regulations have helped artists who I've worked with tour Europe, tour all over North America and break into those markets, because they could afford to after making it here in Canada.
I don't know if somebody wants to put forward a subamendment to this one, or we'll just wait and see what happens when we get to my amendment, but I think that having a voluntary process would meet the needs of people who are concerned about free speech and just want to put something out on the Internet, those who want to be discovered as Canadian content and audiences who want to be able to buy Canadian content more easily through a discoverability process, and also have these giant social media companies pay into a fund that helps produce more Canadian content.
Thank you.
View Paul Manly Profile
GP (BC)
Thank you.
I have a question for the specialists. I know that with TikTok videos, you can do 15-second videos and you can do three or four of them together to get 60 seconds. We've had TikTok videos that are maximum three minutes now. With Instagram you can do 60-second videos. Under the CRTC regulations for Canadian content, are videos under five minutes covered under the certification program for Canadian content, or are they covered under the act?
View Paul Manly Profile
GP (BC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I just want an answer to my first question to you, Mr. Ripley. I'm looking at the CRTC regulations right now. Under “What productions do not require CRTC certification?”, it lists, “Commercially released music video clips of 5 minutes or less” and “Public service announcements, interstitials, and any other productions of less than 5 minutes”. Just so this is clear, the CRTC regulations would not affect Instagram videos or audio. They would not affect TikTok videos.
We're talking about algorithms, and there is bias in these algorithms. A recent example was from May 5, the National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, Red Dress Day. Hundreds of people had their posts disappeared on Instagram and on Facebook. Activists and journalists who have been posting material about Palestinians, Crimea, Kashmir and central Sahara have had their posts disappeared by these algorithmic biases and automated content moderation.
We already have a serious problem with interference by corporate entities that are censoring Canadians, Canadian journalists and people who are trying to post about missing family members on Red Dress Day. The discussion around government interference is one thing, but we need to deal with this algorithmic interference by corporations who are censoring people. It's also come up a lot with people who are trying to share information about COVID. Whether we agree with it or not, people have a right to free speech. That includes all of these social justice movements that I mentioned. Black Lives Matter is another place where activists have complained about their posts being flagged or taken down by Facebook and Instagram. Twitter is doing the same thing. They are locking people's accounts and not letting them post. Facebook is doing the same thing.
Right here on Vancouver Island, we have activists who are fighting to save the last 1% of old-growth forest that is on the cutting block. There's less than 3% of that old-growth forest left. Activists who are posting are having their posts flagged by loggers and then having their accounts locked for 30 days.
We already have a problem of censorship from the corporate sector who controls this. This is not democracy. This is corporatocracy. We need to have a serious discussion about how this is being dealt with. Social media is not free speech. It is controlled by the corporations who own these platforms.
View Paul Manly Profile
GP (BC)
I'd just like to say that I would like to see the CRTC have the ability to examine these algorithms and find out how Canadians are being censored, because that is in fact what's happening on the Internet on these platforms.
They're using automated content moderation. There is algorithmic bias, and we have a perfect example on May 5, the National Day of Awareness of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, Red Dress Day, where hundreds of posts were disappeared off Instagram and Facebook. How did that happen? It would be good to examine that. It would be good to examine and for the CRTC to be able to see how free speech is actually being manipulated. We've seen organizations like Cambridge Analytica undermining the democracy of the U.K.
We need to—
View Paul Manly Profile
GP (BC)
We are talking about the exemption—
View Paul Manly Profile
GP (BC)
We are talking about a subamendment that exempts algorithms. I'm just saying that I don't think this information should be exempt. This information should be available. That's my point, and I think I've made it fairly clear.
Thank you.
View Paul Manly Profile
GP (BC)
Thank you, Madam Chair.
I don't have a vote on this committee, but I would just like to support what Mr. Vaughan has said. I know in my riding, the City of Nanaimo has deals for properties going on with BC Housing, which cannot be disclosed. This is proprietary information. It would cause serious damage to the projects that are being proposed and that have gone forward with their application.
I love transparency. I want to see money flowing. We didn't get money in Nanaimo—Ladysmith for the rapid housing initiative. A couple of really good projects were proposed and the proponents are waiting for the next round to come. They cannot have this information that is part of their application disclosed. It would just create havoc. It will actually sink those projects.
I would agree with Mr. Vaughan. I hope the rest of the committee does as well, and doesn't support this motion.
Thank you.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
No. I wanted to comment on Dan Albas's comment. From a very different perspective, since I want urgent climate action, I also found it very distressing that so many witnesses weren't heard and that we closed out everybody other than the minister. The sum total of our study on this bill is seven and a half hours.
I know I'm not a member of this committee. I'll speak to that point later, Mr. Chair, but I think it really makes a mockery of inviting the public to send comments when amendments are due before the comments are received.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
Yes, and first I need to put on the record a small reminder to the committee. I'm here because you passed a motion, a motion to which I objected. An identical motion was passed in every committee, so I am coerced to be here. You have probably no personal knowledge of this, because it's not personal to any one of you individually, but this process is one that reduces the rights that I would otherwise have to present amendments at report stage—substantive amendments to which I could speak at length.
The process we are now in is novel. It was created when Stephen Harper was prime minister. It was to punish me for the 432 amendments I brought forward to try to get changes to the omnibus budget, Bill C-38. We won't get into details, because there isn't time, but surprisingly, the same process continues under the Liberals, to deprive members of smaller parties of rights we would otherwise have.
I need to put that on the record, because no doubt at some point, as I speak to my 37 amendments, you may wish I wasn't here, but I am here because you have created a situation that coerces me to be here, and my amendments are deemed to be put forward because I don't have the right to put them forward myself and I don't have the right to vote on them.
I must speak to them briefly, but I will say that I sent to the clerk of the committee and to committee members a list of witnesses who could have aided this committee, including the Minister for Climate Change from New Zealand, the Hon. James Shaw, who just brought forward a climate accountability act in New Zealand; and the head of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia University's law school.
There was some decision made behind closed doors by other members of this committee to move so quickly that those witnesses could not be heard. There were no indigenous witnesses live before committee, no young people live before committee, and no presentations by climate scientists on the reasons for urgency.
I turn quickly to my amendment here. By the way, Mr. Chair, I think that when the Government of Canada under Stephen Harper looked at the first initial of my party name in English, it decided, “Oh, we can't have a Green G when we have a Government G,” so that's why it is “PV” for Parti vert.
This amendment is to correct a scientific inaccuracy that is embedded in this legislation. It is embedded in the title of the legislation. It is embedded in the preamble. In other words, it cherry-picks the science from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in order to focus on net zero by 2050, without focusing on the reality that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says that to hold to global average temperature increases to 1.5°C—which is the goal of the Paris Agreement—and as far below 2°C as possible, the window on that will close well before 2030.
Again, I'll probably have another opportunity to explain this, but when we say that if we have 1.5°C that will mean we're at net zero by 2050, that's true. It is not scientifically accurate to say that if we can get to net zero by 2050 we will have 1.5°C secured. The IPCC has been very clear that without dramatic reductions immediately, in this decade, the window on 1.5°C will close, and close forever, before we get past 2030.
That's why the purpose of the act, to be consistent with the Paris Agreement, must include the notions of urgency and immediate and ambitious action. That's the purpose of the amendment I suggest for line 13. It would ensure that when we talk about the targets, we talk about near-term targets, not only the one for 2050. I hope this amendment will meet with the approval of the majority of members of this committee.
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
Yes. Thank you.
Again, we're in the same rubric here of clause 4, and again, it's to add a specificity to what our international commitments are.
I appreciate your point, Taylor. Mine was more wordy above, and I hope that the NDP might support this one, in that what our international commitments are in respect of mitigating climate change are very specifically about limiting global average temperature and to try to hold that temperature increase to 1.5°C. Then it goes on to continue with the last bit “and of achieving net-zero...by 2050 and Canada's international commitments”, so it's to bring into sharp focus what we actually committed to do in Paris and embed that in the purpose of the legislation.
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
Sorry, I left my hand up for what I was going to say to Madame Michaud, which was that we were actually consistent and could adopt both.
To Mr. Bittle, the preambular language does tend to focus on 2050 and not on the immediate, which is why I'm betting that 1.5°C at this point would be wise.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair. I just—
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
If I'm here because you passed a motion that I object to vehemently and that reduces my rights, then the decision not to allow me to speak to something when I've been asked whether it's redundant or not and whether the preamble has force of law or not.... Chris, honestly.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
Sorry for losing my temper, Mr. Chair, but it's been years of having to run from committee to committee because every committee passes an identical motion under the fiction that the committee is in charge of its own process and the master of its own process. The notion that every committee in the House of Commons simultaneously came up with identical language to reduce my rights doesn't stand up to scrutiny. I apologize, but I've been through almost 10 years of larger parties reducing the rights of a much smaller party. We don't have very many rights.
To speak to this briefly, I want to thank Dan, because again, it isn't redundant to put it in the legislation. John Moffet's summary is correct. In terms of “Statutory Interpretation 101” in any law school in this country, everyone knows the preamble has very little impact and can be used only for statutory interpretation. If the matter goes before a judge, the judge will take note of what's in a preamble, but it doesn't have the impact that putting it in the legislation has.
I would think the Liberals on this committee would be proud to embrace 1.5°C, just as a matter of historical record. During COP21 in Paris, the first minister of environment of an industrialized country to say that the text of the Paris Agreement should include 1.5°C as a goal was Catherine McKenna. She was the first, and everyone else followed. Now we are running to net zero by 2050 instead of saying firmly and clearly that this legislation should be about holding to 1.5°C.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
I would love to, but I'm not allowed to under the terms of the motion the committee passed—not to split hairs. All of my motions are deemed moved by others. I'm here at your sufferance once again.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
Yes. Thank you. Again, under the terms of the committee's motion, I'm invited to speak to my amendment.
This one is to deal with and basically to remind members of the expert evidence we had from West Coast Environmental Law and their staff counsel, Andrew Gage. Unlike some of my other amendments, I scrambled to get this one ready after hearing his evidence.
Of course, when we talk about “net zero”, this is a different concept from the one Madame Michaud brought forward—oh, I'm not even on any channel for interpretation. I'm sorry. Madame Michaud mentioned that “as quickly as possible” was the goal of her amendment that was just defeated.
This one speaks to a different issue: not the timeliness, but the concept of absolute versus net. I note that she too will use the word “absolute” at different points, but the absolute greenhouse gas emissions are different from net, with net meaning where you end up once you've had all the sequestration activity of green leafy things, or maybe there's some new technology that sucks carbon out of the air. Net zero doesn't imply absolute zero.
The amendment I've brought forward here comes from West Coast Environmental Law and their suggestion that net zero be coupled with absolute greenhouse gas emission reductions of at least 90% below 2005 levels over the same period, such that we, for instance, don't buy large amounts of credits from other countries as opposed to doing the work at home to reduce our emissions.
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
I understand putting forward amendments that are outside the scope of the bill, and I certainly wouldn't do that. I wonder if in any way.... It is certainly within the scope of the bill to meet our Paris commitments, and to say that an absolute reduction by 90% by 2050 is outside the scope of the bill.... I must say, Mr. Chair, I'll register that this is a surprise.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
I didn't challenge the chair. I said the ruling was a surprise. I would not challenge the chair, even if I were a member of this committee, because, as Dan says, that's a very unusual move. I was surprised by the legal interpretation. I'm sorry for taking more time. I didn't plan to intervene again, but I don't want it on the record that I moved to challenge the chair. I didn't. I didn't try to, even if I could have.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I think this discussion shows the benefit, in hindsight, of having a longer time for the committee members to hear different witnesses.
At this point, I want to quote Andrew Gage, who is an expert in climate law. He is a lawyer, and he understands legislation. Here's what he points out. This is, again, one of his amendments, which I've put forward from West Coast Environmental Law, and it says that the minister may set additional targets. As opposed to the one that was mandatory last time, I hope this one will meet with the approval of the legislative clerk and advisers and that this proposed added wording is within the scope:
The Minister may set additional targets with respect to absolute greenhouse gas emissions reductions.
I just want to quote Andrew Gage on this point in terms of accountability. He says:
Accountability, in both the climate and financial realms, can...be undermined through weak rules that allow for accounting tricks that create the appearance of responsibility. Legislation should require efforts to meet these targets to maximize absolute reductions as opposed to relying on less certain measures like offsets and unproven technologies.
There's the difference between what's absolute and what's net. Certainly, net zero by 2050 is a fine target, as long as there are absolute reductions all along the way that meet the only pathway the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has identified that actually allows us to hold to a hospitable climate and a survivable planet, which is to say that we need steep reductions sooner rather than later in order to hold to 1.5°C.
That threshold for it being the point of no return, when we lose 1.5°C forever, is actually 2030. Absolute emission reduction targets may be required, and the minister would be in a position, with this amendment, to make such decisions and to make such determinations. It's not inconsistent at all, but completely consistent with the goals of this act.
Thank you.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
There have been a number of consistent points raised by most of the witnesses from whom we've heard, from those who have submitted written briefs, and in public discussion of the weakness of the bill. The first thing, of course, is that the first milestone year should be 2025, not 2030.
I'm just going to explain the thinking process behind putting forward three amendments with declining ambition. As the act is constructed, if we were to simply put in a milestone year at 2025 without embedding what that target would be, we would be creating a very, very steep hill to climb for the process of consultation that's embedded in the act. I think that's what created the impression for many within the government that somehow or other we couldn't actually have a milestone year before 2030, although the U.K. did immediately on passing their bill in 2008; their first milestone year was 2013. It was the same with New Zealand, who just passed their act, as I mentioned, in 2020. Their first milestone year is 2025. They've chosen a different route, with an expert scientific group to tell them what the target would be in five years' time; the milestone years.
Actually, the Liberal platform led me to believe that this was what we would see—a first milestone year in 2025, and subsequent ones every five years thereafter. That's what is embedded in the COP21 decision document, that we would upgrade. Countries were certainly encouraged to improve their targets, their nationally determined contributions, in 2020 and, in the language of the COP21 decision document, every five years thereafter.
In light of the structure of the whole act to make it somewhat process-heavy to deliver a new target for a first milestone year in 2025, I want to suggest in these amendments, starting with PV-6, Green Party amendment 6, that the target be embedded in the legislation. There's even more support for this now than there was at first reading, because now we have the government accepting, as I understand it, that the target for 2030 is to be embedded in the legislation. The target for 2025 being embedded in the legislation is certainly a help.
I want to stress this point to members of the committee. We've already accepted, in article 14 of the Paris Agreement, an obligation for a global progress report, called a global stock-take, in 2023. If we had a 2025 milestone year, as this amendment proposes, we would then be triggering the two years in advance. We'd have a progress report ready. That would fall in 2023, and then every five years thereafter we would be right in sync with what we've agreed to do under the Paris Agreement, with global stock-taking at five-year increments, starting in 2023.
Again, the first one of these starts with the notion that we would embed in legislation right now that by 2025 we would accept a target of 25% reductions below 2005 levels to be achieved by 2025. That's steep, because we now know that the government is committing to somewhere between 40% and 45% below 2005 levels in 2030, but as a first attempt....
I'll speak to all three at once, Mr. Chair, just to avoid repetition.
In my first amendment, I propose that we do the right thing. The United States is aiming for 50% reductions below 2005 by 2030. Let's do a mid-decade checkpoint with teeth. It's more than what the NDP is proposing. It's not just a progress report, but an actual milestone year for 2025, at 25% reductions.
Feeling that there should be some room for flexibility here on what that target should be, my second amendment in this series, GP-7, says, okay, let's make it half of what you aim to do by 2030. The Prime Minister's improvement in our target is certainly welcome. It's not enough to meet the IPCC science, but it's far better to say that by 2030 we'll be 40% to 45% below 2005 levels.
Well, if we have any hope of getting there—40% to 45% below 2005 levels by 2030—surely we should be prepared to say that our first milestone is 2025, and let's see if we've gotten to 20% below 2005 levels by 2025.
That's the kind of heavy lifting we're going to need to do to meet the demands of this crisis. It's an emergency. In COVID, we didn't say to Theresa Tam, “I know you're telling us that the science says to stand six feet apart, but we'll give you three feet and that should be good for you—that's our political interpretation of the science.”
No. We actually have to adhere to the science, and we should be going much steeper than 40% to 45% below 2005 levels if we're serious about holding to 1.5°C. A 20% milestone, a 20% reduction against 2005 by 2025, is the second amendment.
If you want to go easy and think, “Let's start slow and let's just make sure we can hold our feet to the fire; let's see if this act is working and see if we're reducing emissions,” there is a third amendment. So far, it's not just that we haven't ever met a target in Canada. It's that we have gone directionally in the wrong direction against every target we've set. That's the more serious problem, so the third amendment calls for 15% below 2005 levels by 2025.
These three amendments, any one of them, will strengthen this act enormously. The best one, of course, is to go to 25% below 2005 levels, with a milestone year in 2025. Again, this will be consistent with commitments we've already made for a global stock-take in 2023 that will alert us as to whether we're on the right track in 2023 to hold to our targets or not. The milestone year brings with it accountability. It brings with it a review two years in advance. It brings with it the possibility of the minister's saying, “Okay, what we're doing isn't working, so let's get on it.”
I urge this committee to consider any one of these three amendments—PV-6, PV-7 or PV-8—but clearly, PV-6 is the one that your children would vote for if they were around this table.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
No, I have already made my arguments for amendments PV-6, PV-7 and PV-8, in order to help the committee in its work.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
Yes, Mr. Chair. Thank you.
Just parenthetically, because I didn't speak to the others, Mr. Saini's amendment, by the way, is consistent with the Paris Agreement, which already requires that any time we put forward a new target, it ratchets up from the previous one. I'm certainly happy to see it in the act, but I wanted to note that the Paris Agreement already does that.
On changing targets and certainty and uncertainty, I just reflect on our history. When Stephen Harper was prime minister, he changed our target in 2006, in 2009 and in 2015. None of those occasions involved any parliamentary input or public consultation. Also, it was Canada's unique contribution to undermining the comparability of different targets that Canada, in 2006, stopped using 1990 and interjected 2006 and then 2005, undermining the entire scheme of what was under development since I had started working on the negotiations of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in 1990. It was the intention that we would always use a 1990 base year. I've heard that come up a few times, so I just throw that out there.
I'm speaking briefly to this one because I'm so pleased to see that there is G-4, a government amendment. It will achieve the same thing that was recommended by West Coast Environmental Law and many other environmental law groups that appeared before the committee, which was to say that if we're looking at immediate ambitions, net-zero legislation should provide enough certainty and clarity regarding our mid- and long-term targets that we plan ahead, and planning ahead would be to set greenhouse gas emissions targets at least 10 years beforehand. That's what PV-9 achieves.
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
Mr. Chair, may I have the floor to speak to my amendment after it's been defeated?
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
Mr. Chair, I think legitimately there's some confusion around the table.
My assumption in watching all of my colleagues vote against a motion that is identical to the one that the NDP and Liberals intended to vote for.... Obviously a certain amount of conversation happened to which I have not been privy since I'm not a member of the committee, but it seems clear to me that the government's intention, with enough support from people around the table, is to change clause 7 to make it at least 10 years before, and I think there was confusion as they voted down my amendment which was identical. I was getting very concerned because I think the intention here is to pass amendment G-4.
G-4 hasn't come to a vote yet, and I think we should ask the clerks to reconsider whether the confusion around my amendment.... It's certainly not my intention, at all, ever, to get the Green Party logo on an amendment. I don't care, but the point of this motion and the point of the effort of the committee is to improve the bill. G-4, like PV-9, will improve the bill.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
I wouldn't try to speak to anything else. Because my amendment was identical, I think I'm within the ambit of the motion this committee passed to point out that neither my amendment, nor Mr. Baker's amendment, nor Mr. Bachrach's amended version has the problem that my friend Monique Pauzé suggested they might have.
You need to look at the previous sections to realize that in talking about subsequent national greenhouse gas targets, we're referring to subsequent to the 2030 target. It does not have the problem of creating a pretty historical imperative to do something that can't be done because of timing. Starting with subsection 4, we're talking specifically about subsequent milestone years. Milestone years are defined not in a hypothetical way, but specifically from 2030, so we're now talking subsequent, in 2035, 2040 and 2045.
I'm not trying to amend Mr. Bachrach's motion. I would have done it differently. I would have said the subsequent milestone year must be defined in 2025, etc. However, it's good enough to go ahead procedurally. I just didn't want people to worry that we were creating an impossibility by passing a motion now and fixing it at report stage, which would require the government to have access to a Back to the Future kind of time machine.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
Mr. Chair, I have a procedural point. Under the terms of the motion the committee passed, I just want to make it clear that the custom in other committees is that I'm allowed to speak to my amendment, even though it would be negatived if something was passed in advance.
Thank you.
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