Why did the government reject the advice of the expert panels it commissioned?

elizabeth May

Mr. Speaker, I want to pursue something. Bill C-69 is an omnibus bill changing three bills. I should stress that Bill C-68 on the Fisheries Act gets it exactly right and keeps the promise to restore lost protections. Bill C-69 does not.

What we keep hearing from the government side is that there was listening and there was a great deal of consultation. There was a great deal of consultation, but there was not much listening. We had two high-powered expert panels convened by the Liberal government, one on environmental assessment and one on the National Energy Board. Both expert panels gave detailed advice for what should take place.

There was no formal response, ever, to those high-powered, and I imagine high-priced, efforts that had cross-country hearings. Their recommendations were not heeded at all in what we have here. I could detail the many ways in which they were not.

Perhaps the hon. member could explain to me why the government commissioned two expert panels to tour the country and provide advice, if it intended to give it no weight whatsoever in drafting new legislation.

Mike Bossio – Member for Hastings-Lennox and Addington

Mr. Speaker, I am thankful for the hon. member’s advocacy on all issues environmental. I look to her as a mentor on many of these issues, and I thank her for taking the time to share her thoughts with me on occasion.

Our government consulted with industry, indigenous groups, and the provinces and territories. We had advisory panels that went out. Thousands of Canadians participated in this process, and different aspects that came to us from those different organizations are represented in this legislation. It is trying to find the balance between the competing interests that exist between the environment and the economy going hand in hand together.

The government really did, in this bill, find that balance of being able to bring them together, combined with respecting indigenous rights. I would disagree with the member on that count. All of those views are represented in this bill, through the balance that we have been able to achieve.