Small projects can destroy a species and wipe out a key ecosystem

On Friday, June 8th, 2018 in Debate, Environmental Assessment, Parliament

Elizabeth May

Mr. Speaker, as much as I want to join in the conversation and keep discussing climate, in looking at Bill C-69 I really want to make a point and ask the hon. member for his commentary.

We had an expert panel on EA. The government spent over $1 million to get its advice, and that advice was very clear: the projects subject to review must include much more than the large controversial projects, and we must ensure that all areas of federal jurisdiction are covered. Smaller projects can do serious environmental damage. I want to ask my hon. colleague from South Okanagan—West Kootenay about this, as he has an extensive scientific background. Smaller projects are not going to be caught at all by Bill C-69.

This is about the review of a couple of dozen projects a year, all big ones. That is a fatal mistake for a federal government to make. It will be fatal to our environment. Smaller projects can destroy a species and wipe out a key ecosystem, and we will never even know about it. That is what I would like to ask my hon. colleague to comment on.

Richard Cannings – Member for South Okanagan-West Kootenay

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal government did a lot of consultation on this legislation, and that is a good thing, I suppose. It did delay the introduction of the bill. As the member said, the advice from all that consultation was largely ignored. This kind of action does not help to gain public confidence in our regulatory systems or in our impact assessments.

I hear complaints from industry about some industries being subject far more often to these impact assessments, the mining industry especially, than other industries, like the oil and gas industry, which is largely exempt. That is how we sow the seeds of discontent on many sides.

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