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

Elizabeth May: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the hon. Minister of State for Finance . I preface it by requesting him to please not criticize members of the opposition when our response to a motion on process and procedure is to respond to a motion on process and procedure. I always try to ensure my comments are relevant to the matters at hand and I find it frustrating when others do not.

As a matter of process, the motion before us is to expedite a bill, as others have noted, of over 400 pages that would effect changes to many different of laws. Many of them have nothing to do, with all due respect, to a budget that was tabled in March 2012. They have nothing to do with jobs, growth and the economy. I point to changes, for instance, that would demand that visitors to Canada from foreign nations fill out forms in advance. These are new barriers to tourism. In that sense, I suppose it is related to jobs because it would cost jobs.

I look at the Navigable Waters Protection Act and realize that we could get quite far at debate in second reading in identifying some of the issues before this goes to committee. For instance, we have been told not to worry, that although federal rights of navigation have disappeared from most of Canada’s waterways, they are protected in common law. How on earth will the Canadian who finds that navigation has been impaired find the money to hire the lawyers to go to court to redress damage already done by seeking remedies in common law? This is an excuse and not an answer.

I would ask my hon. friend to allow full debate. It is the government of the day, the Privy Council’s choice, to bring forward an enormous bill. It requires full debate.

Hon. Ted Menzies: Mr. Speaker, I could not agree more, which is why we are trying to give it full debate and, I would suggest, more debate than any other budget bill has actually had. We are trying to move it to all of these different committees. All I am encouraging hon. members to do is to get it to those committees so we can actually talk about it.

The hon. member talked about navigable waters. I will explain exactly what the amendments to the act would do. They would clearly define the major waterways upon which regulatory approval is required prior to the placement or construction of a work and rely on the common law to protect navigation in long listed waters. We all have examples, especially those of us in rural Canada, of where this change is needed. For example, I had a feedlot in my riding where, because a culvert was washed out in a flood, e 10,000 cattle could have perished because we could not get feed to them. It was an intermittent stream. We simply wanted to put the culvert back in place. It took months to get that done. There were no fish in that because it was an intermittent stream. We are trying to bring some common sense to what is navigable water and what is not.