Jobs and Growth Act, 2012 (Bill C-45)

Elizabeth May: Mr. Speaker, I can assure the hon. member for Dauphin—Swan River—Marquette that, as leader of the Green Party, I pay a lot of attention to measurable actions of the party that he represents. Those measurable actions include recklessly ignoring the worsening state of the Great Lakes; failing to appoint a commissioner to the International Joint Commission, which the Conservatives have left vacant for almost a year; the abdication of responsibility by cancelling science across this country: closing the Experimental Lakes Area; shutting down the Polar Environmental Atmospheric Research labs; cancelling all research into climate science; and pretending, by throwing money at Lake Simcoe, that they are somehow dealing with water quality.

This is a big country and the reality of what the current government has done is an appalling assault of negative action for protecting our wilderness and the air and water that we need to live.

Pierre-Luc Dusseault: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to ask the Green Party leader a question about the Conservative Party’s intentions regarding the changes to the Navigable Waters Protection Act in Bill C-45.

Can she tell us what she thinks is behind those changes? Personally, I think those changes are meant to speed up the pipeline approval process and ensure that there is no legislation standing in the way of that development.


Elizabeth May: Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for the question.

In my view, the motivation behind the huge changes to the Navigable Waters Protection Act is to eliminate the protection of most of Canada’s lakes, rivers and waterways. It is not meant only for pipelines, because before Bill C-38 was passed, developers had to obtain a permit issued by Transport Canada for any pipelines that went through navigable waters. Since Bill C-38 was passed, pipelines are no longer included in the groups known as works and undertakings.

Pipelines were specifically excluded in Bill C-38.

The decision in Bill C-45 to reduce the protection of navigable waters has to do with mines, dams and all other aspects that present a danger to Canada’s waterways.