Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act (Bill C-38)

Randall Garrison: Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for Saanich—Gulf Islands for her speech in defence of democracy and the environment.

It was interesting to hear the hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance saying that the government had been working on these ideas for destroying environmental protections for years. I wonder whether you could comment on the timing and urgency now, because it seems to me that part of what this omnibus bill does is facilitate pipelines across northern British Columbia by removing the necessity of environmental assessments? Perhaps you could comment on whether you think the timing of this bill, since the Conservatives have been working on it for years, has some connection to pipelines?

Elizabeth May: Mr. Speaker, I was also surprised to hear the parliamentary secretary say the Conservatives have been working on these measures for years. Perhaps it was in some back room or some shadowy part of the House of Commons but certainly not before committee and certainly not in any public, transparent or accountable fashion.

Of course, we became aware of the threat to the fisheries habitat through a leaked memo. Having had an alert from a former fisheries’ biologist within the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Otto Langer, whose concerns were reported in the media, I read the budget very carefully on March 29, in case there was anything there about proposed changes to section 35(1) of the Fisheries Act. It is not mentioned at all in the budget and is not part of a budgetary measure.

In answer to my friend, when we are looking at Bill C-38, I believe that many of the changes could have been written from within the corporate boardrooms of the oil industry, perhaps in Beijing as well as in Canada.