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

Elizabeth May: Mr. Speaker, I am so glad to have a chance to ask the hon. member for Lethbridge a question related to the constitutionality of what the government is doing. It is particularly fascinating to hear the Conservative benches railing on socialism while they embrace communism. I find it fascinating.

Meanwhile, I have a constitutional law textbook here that points out that the idea of what the Navigable Waters Protection Act was intended to do in 1882 is entirely irrelevant and fanciful. Professor Peter Hogg writes that it is well established “that the general language used to describe the classes of subjects is not frozen in the sense in which it would have been understood in 1867”.

However, the Conservatives’ approach to Bill C-45, as with Bill C-38, is to slash back the evolution of our Constitution and to insist that if it were not in the minds of people in 1882, the idea that the Navigable Waters Protection Act should protect the environment more generally is somehow erroneous.

Jim Hillyer: Mr. Speaker, I do not quite understand the point or the question.

The member’s quote basically clarifies our position, that the Navigable Waters Protection Act has nothing to do with environmental protections. This is not a move against environmental protection; it is a move against useless regulations that neither protect the environment nor help the economy. That is all it is.