Does the member share my concern that this government has kept in place much of what Harper created?

Elizabeth May

Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague from Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie for his analysis.

As the member for Edmonton Strathcona mentioned, I am one of the people who has been going through the bill looking for places where we can bring amendments. It is very clear that what we have before us is important. It is better than the so-called CEAA 2012, which completely eviscerated environmental assessment in this country, and led to multiple court cases awaiting decisions on Kinder Morgan that are now before the Federal Court of Canada. Many of them relate to the fact that rights of procedural fairness were denied. When I questioned the minister earlier in this debate, she declined to let us know if participatory rights will include the right to cross-examination.

Is the member worried, as am I, that overall the new government has kept much of what Harper created? That is to say a system that used to see about 4,000 assessments a year has shrunk to several dozen. It appears to me that the new formula of the Liberals is to improve rights of participation somewhat but keep the number of projects assessed to fewer than 100 a year. This will inevitably lead to projects going ahead that could cause significant environmental damage that will not get assessed.

Alexandre Boulerice – Member for Rosemont–La Petite-Patrie

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for her very relevant question, which made a connection between public consultation and participation and whether a project is or is not assessed.

If a project is not assessed because the government has limited the agency’s ability to trigger assessments, then there is no public participation or consultation. That simply no longer exists. The two go hand in hand. We are therefore extremely concerned. That is why we are going to propose amendments to give this bill more teeth.

Of course, this bill is better than nothing, but that does not mean that it is good. For now, there are too many holes in this bill and that concerns us. We are not the only ones who feel that way. Mr. Lindgren said that, unless the proposed impact assessment act is substantially revised as it proceeds through Parliament, the Canadian Environmental Law Association concludes that the new environmental assessment process will not restore public trust or ensure credible, participatory, and science-based decision-making. The Canadian Environmental Law Association said that. Even they have huge doubts. We are therefore going to try to do our job to improve this bill.