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House of Commons committee debate on Bill C-69 (environmental reviews and water protection) should be extended!

Green Party leader Elizabeth May has proposed 170 amendments to Bill C-69.

The Council of Canadians has been raising numerous concerns about Bill C-69, An Act to enact the Impact Assessment Act and the Canadian Energy Regulator Act, to amend the Navigation Protection Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts.

Council of Canadians water campaigner Emma Lui has highlighted, “Among its many flaws, the bill fails to undo the damage by the Harper Conservatives’ own 2012 omnibus bill, which stripped 99% of lakes and rivers of federal protections and greases the wheels for energy projects to get federal approval.”

Now The Hill Times reports, “The NDP and Conservative members have together put forward nearly 200 of their own amendments, and Green Party Leader Elizabeth May put forward about 170.”

Regrettably, that report adds, “Liberal MPs on the committee rejected the vast majority of opposition amendments brought forward at the beginning of [the committee’s meeting on Wednesday May 9].”

The article also notes, “Liberal MPs have proposed more than 100 changes to the government’s wide-ranging Impact Assessment Bill, including to the role of energy regulators in the new environmental assessment process [including] energy regulators having a say in who sits on the panels that help conduct environmental assessments.”

And the article notes:

  • “[The committee has agreed] to require that the government ‘adheres to the principles of scientific integrity, honesty, objectivity, thoroughness and accuracy’, as they administer the new law.”

  • “There will be about a dozen more amendments to remove references to ‘traditional knowledge’ from the bill and write ‘Indigenous knowledge’ in its place…”

  • “[Liberal MP Will] Amos also brought forward an amendment to require that the new Environmental Assessment Agency lay out a plan for consulting with the public as part of its work.”

  • “The committee members have already agreed to an amendment to reference Canada’s obligations under the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People in the bill…”

On that last point though, the Hill Times reports, “NDP MP Linda Duncan told The Hill Times that Liberal members were being ‘juvenile’ by rejecting amendments from herself and Ms. May that would have incorporated the requirements of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People into the bill, before then proposing and passing the same amendment themselves. Mr. Amos said those amendments had not been identical to the one agreed to by the Liberal majority on the committee.”

The Council of Canadians is furthermore concerned that the Liberal MP chairing the committee’s study of the bill decided in March to cut short debate on the bill as of Tuesday May 22. That means that there likely won’t be time for most of the proposed amendments to be discussed – and we believe that is wrong.

To join with the 6,107 people who have signed our ‘Call for debate to be extended on Canada’s new water, environmental assessment and energy laws!’ online petition, please click here.