Trudeau won't send the Canadian Navigable Waters Act to Transport Committee for study

Council of Canadians water campaigner Emma Lui writes that Bill C-69 includes changes to the Harper government's Navigation Protection Act, now named the Canadian Navigable Waters Act by the Trudeau government. She says, "Despite Justin Trudeau’s commitment to restore protections and implement modern safeguards the bill does neither."

Lui notes, "The Trudeau government introduced a Time Allocation motion at the end of February that shut down debate on the bill after just two days of debate. [And] on March 19, Members of Parliament voted to send the bill to the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development."

On March 27, the NDP issued a media release that states, "Last Thursday [March 22], [NDP MP] Linda Duncan gave notice of a motion to divide the bill and send those parts of the bill to the relevant committees. This would result in parts of C-69 dealing with the new energy regulator to the Natural Resources Committee, and the Navigation Protection Act to the Transport Committee." She highlighted, "Making the Environment Committee alone hear witnesses on three separate laws and consider amendments on over 800 clauses would be counterproductive and would make it impossible to carefully study the bill.”

Hearings into C-69 started on March 22, continued on March 28 and March 29, and then are expected to start again on April 17-19 and then on April 24-26. With some digging, Lui found out that the deadline to apply to speak to the Committee is on March 30 and the deadline for written comments is April 6.

For details on how to call for an extension of the deadlines, request to speak to the Committee, or make a written submission, please see Lui's blog.

Interestingly, C-69 is already being hammered by the right-wing.

Today, Globe and Mail columnist Konrad Yakabuski wrote, "There are obvious reasons to be skeptical about the Trudeau government’s promise to speed up the environmental-review process for major resource projects all while broadening its scope. Tougher environmental standards, no matter how appropriate, will not make it easier or faster to get Canada’s resources to market or attract investment to the oil patch. It is disingenuous on Ottawa’s part to suggest otherwise."

And also today, Ron Wallace, a former oil industry executive and past member of the National Energy Board, wrote in the Financial Post, "[C-68 and C-69 ignores] the professionalism and regulatory competence demonstrated by the NEB over almost 60 years as it delivered one of the safest and most efficient energy pipeline systems in the world. Ottawa proposes to replace the NEB with a new, untested bureaucracy to assess all resource projects in the country with an estimated additional cost of $1 billion over five years. Regrettably, such ill-considered legislation will unquestionably saddle investors and the Canadian public with continued regulatory uncertainties, mounting delays and increased costs leading to more abandoned resource projects."

The Council of Canadians is calling on the Liberal government to scrap the Canadian Navigable Waters Act and table water protection legislation that would protect all lakes, rivers and drinking water sources; protects oceans; respects the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and free, prior and informed consent; enshrines the UN-recognized human right to water; and appoints a federal water minister.

To join with the 7,179 people who have already signed our petition with these demands, please click here.