Week in Review: February 5 – 9
Welcome to Elizabeth May's parliamentary week in review! This weekly e-newsletter recaps her work in Parliament when the House is in session. Using the links below, you can watch videos of Elizabeth's interventions in the House, keep up with her media releases, and read articles she has written.
This week, Elizabeth disputed the Prime Minister's claims about the Trans Mountain pipeline. She called for strenghtening the Conflict of Interest Act and for reforming political financing rules. She finished the week by speaking out against major gaps in the government's environmental protections legislation.
* If you are having trouble viewing this email, please view online at: https://elizabethmaymp.ca/category/news/week-in-review/
Key Moments in the House
Current Issues: Fisheries Act and Environmental Protections Legislation
This week, the government introduced legislation to amend the Fisheries Act and an omnibus bill to restructure environmental protections.
Regarding the first, Elizabeth was delighted with the commitment to restore protections to fish habitats across the country. Another welcome addition is an Indigenous governance body to take charge of its own fisheries, a positive step towards strengthening Canada’s nation-to-nation relationship with Indigenous peoples. Apart from the absence of aquaculture regulation, Elizabeth is very pleased with the bill from the Minister of Fisheries, Dominic LeBlanc.
The second piece of legislation falls further from the mark. At minimum, we should have seen the restoration of environmental protections to where they were in 2006, or better. Instead, the serious damage done by Harper-era omnibus budget bills in C-38 and C-45 continues to reverberate. Elizabeth has described the bill as a “bizarre hybrid” of the previous and current governments. Some changes to Environmental Assessment are marked improvements, such as enhanced public engagement and an Indigenous consultation process. There is more hope for the protection of navigable waters than under Harper, but the process of approving a waterway is strange and convoluted.
Then there are the worrisome aspects. The Environment Minister has asserted that the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline would be approved in the new assessment regime, in spite of the many glaring flaws that came to light in the original process, which Elizabeth discussed here.
Most distressingly, the administration would allow the National Energy Board, now named the Canadian Energy Regulator, and the offshore petroleum boards to remain part of the environmental review process, even though that constitutes a blatant conflict of interest. Even worse than under Harper, Trudeau’s government has given a significant role in any review panel to the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board and the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board although their mandate compels them to expand offshore oil and gas development.
The government spent millions of dollars on consultations and in commissioning expert panels (read more about this process in Elizabeth’s September newsletter). Had they included more of the excellent recommendations advanced by these panels, Canada’s environmental protections would be in much better shape. There may be a chance to incorporate some of these changes through amendments and debate as the bill moves through the House and Senate. You may wish to contact your MP to exert pressure on them in this regard.
In the News
- "Government moves to ban capture of cetaceans to keep in captivity"
(Holly Lake, iPolitics, February 6)
- "How the federal government is doing wrong by North Atlantic right whales"
(Michael Harris, iPolitics, February 8)
- "Ottawa to scrap National Energy Board, overhaul environmental assessment process for major projects"
(John Paul Tasker, CBC News, February 8)
- "New environmental assessment process a compromise between industry, activist groups"
(Maura Forrest, National Post, February 8)
- "Ottawa to ban capture of dolphins, whales"
(John Paul Tasker, CBC News, February 8)
- "Kinder Morgan Pipeline Would Still Get Green Light Under New Rules: McKenna"
(Zi-Ann Lum, HuffPost Canada, February 8)
- "Ottawa unveils overhaul of environmental legislation"
(Mary Griffin, Chek News, February 8)
- "New environmental assessment rules"
(Martin Stringer, PrimeTime Politics, February 8)
- Elizabeth discusses the new environmental assessment legislation on Power Play
(Don Martin, Power Play, February 8)
- Government disappoints with environmental protections legislation
- Elizabeth May welcomes positive changes to the Fisheries Act
Elizabeth introduced the following petitions to the government this week:
- Cancel the use of security certificates.
- Protect the Saanich Inlet immediately by designating it a zone for zero sewage discharge.
- Support international aid policies, family farmers, and particularly women to protect traditional rights to use, preserve, and freely exchange seeds.
Note: Elizabeth presents petitions once the deadline for signatures has passed. After presentation in the House, the government has 45 calendar days to table a response. You may read the governments' responses to petitions Elizabeth has introduced here.
View and sign open e-petitions currently sponsored by Elizabeth here.
Learn about the e-petition process or create one of your own here.
Have Your Say
Engage in government consultations for key legislative items:
Deadline: February 12*
Deadline: February 28
Deadline: April 15
*Note: The deadline for this consultation was recently extended to Monday, February 12. It has also come to our attention that there is an 800-word limit on submissions. You can read Elizabeth's submission here.
Committee Briefs & Responses
Private Members' Bills
Elizabeth May has introduced the following bills:
Bill C-387: This bill will establish a legislative framework for a national passenger rail service.
For a list of private members' bills Elizabeth May has seconded, please visit elizabethmaymp.ca.
Tuesday, February 6
- Elizabeth spoke about the Carleton Initiative for Parliamentary and Diplomatic Engagement at the All-Party Democracy Caucus Panel & Reception
Wednesday, February 7
Saturday, February 10
- Elizabeth May introduces David Suzuki to the 2018 Rotary Presidential Peacebuilding Conference in Vancouver
As always, the support of the Green Party of Canada has been invaluable in enabling Elizabeth to hold the government to account on such a large number of issues. For more information on their work, or to get involved, please visit: https://www.greenparty.ca/