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View Greg McLean Profile
CPC (AB)
Thank you very much.
Thank you both for coming before this committee today. I apologize on behalf of all of the government that we're late in getting to this.
I want to talk about that gap that exists at this point in time, and I'll ask you both. Can you tell me how this four-month gap between when the regulations ended in December 2020 and now, or when we pass this bill—which hopefully will be as soon as possible—is affecting the workers and your industry? I'd like to hear from both of you on that.
View Greg McLean Profile
CPC (AB)
Go ahead.
View Greg McLean Profile
CPC (AB)
Thank you.
I know these regulations had to go through the provincial legislatures as well, and they didn't seem to receive that much of a delay. Somehow at the federal level it's taken six years since the bill was introduced in Parliament and we're still dealing with retroactive legislation in order to make this pertinent for the period during which it has lapsed.
What's taking the federal government so long when the two provincial governments seemed to get through a little more quickly? Either or both of you can answer.
View Greg McLean Profile
CPC (AB)
Thank you.
View Greg McLean Profile
CPC (AB)
Mr. Mercer, do you have anything to add?
View Greg McLean Profile
CPC (AB)
Yes, I am.
Minister, I think your boom mike went down. The last part of your comments weren't clear.
Let me start by asking you a question.
Charlene Johnson, from Noia, was here before you, and she talked about the disease of delay around this issue in the offshore. It's been six years since December 2014, of course, when we actually needed to move this legislation forward. Six years is a long time for the federal government to get some regulations firmly in place, and we have failed in that—the government has failed.
The question, of course, is why did we fail?
I think even more failure is on the horizon. When you talked about the initial government bill coming here, the Senate wanted two years to get this done right, and two years would be a long time from now. It's not the end of 2021, but the end of 2022.
Can you explain the delay once more, and can you also tell us if you support the Senate amendments that were brought forward to limit it to a one-year timeline and have those regulations done at the end of this calendar year, 2021, please?
View Greg McLean Profile
CPC (AB)
I'm sorry to intervene. I only have a little bit of time here. I appreciate your answering these questions. Let me ask the next question, please.
This has taken 27 sitting days in Parliament. It's something you and I can grapple with. There were 27 sitting days from the time this received first reading until the time it received second reading on April 30. How much legislation went through the House of Commons when I had clearly indicated to your office that we wanted this moved forward as quickly as possible to get workers protected on the offshore? Yet it languished, it seems, in your government's House leader's office. We heard the bleating from your deputy House leader that we were being partisan, yet on bills we agree on, we weren't moving this one forward. We were asking to get these workers protected and we were saying we will pass this quickly, yet it waited.
Can you tell me why it waited in the lineup to get on the House of Commons agenda, please?
View Greg McLean Profile
CPC (AB)
Thank you, Minister.
Six years have gone past and right now we're in that dead zone where we don't have those regulations. One last time, I will encourage you in my last comments here to move this very quickly, so these workers are protected.
I think that's all my time, but thank you very much for being here today.
View Greg McLean Profile
CPC (AB)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
The version I have is talking about an expiry date of “eight years after the day on which this section comes into force”. I think that was sent by the committee.
Is that an amendment proposed by somebody on this committee, that we change the “seven years” to “eight years”?
View Greg McLean Profile
CPC (AB)
The version I have says “eight”. It's underlined. That's the latest version.
If we're seven, then yes....
View Greg McLean Profile
CPC (AB)
Okay.
Is this somebody's proposed amendment?
View Greg McLean Profile
CPC (AB)
This definitely came from the clerk.
View Greg McLean Profile
CPC (AB)
Well, if we're agreeing on seven, I will yield.
View Jeremy Patzer Profile
CPC (SK)
I have a simple clarification question, then.
Did the original text of the bill say “eight years”, but then the Senate amended it? They went from two years to one year, and that brought it from eight years to seven years. Is that the dynamic there, I wonder?
View Greg McLean Profile
CPC (AB)
The bill I have has “eight” underlined in two places, and it's under “Repeal”.
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