Why did the Minister of Natural Resources ignore his mandate letter?

Elizabeth May

Madam Speaker, I have looked up the mandate letter the Minister of Natural Resources received, dated November 12. It says that in relation to environmental assessment and working with the environment minister, he is to “restore robust oversight and thorough environmental assessments of areas under federal jurisdiction”.

I want to highlight that part, “federal jurisdiction”, because the expert panel the government mandated to look into environmental assessment, at a cost of over $1 million, came back with the clear advice that federal jurisdiction include, “at a minimum, federal lands, federal funding and federal government as proponent, as well as: Species at risk; Fish; Marine plants; Migratory birds; Indigenous Peoples…; Greenhouse gas emissions”, and the list goes on.

However, the government chose to ignore the mandate letter, to ignore its campaign promises, and to deliver in Bill C-69 not reviews of environmental assessments for areas of federal jurisdiction but only for major projects, which will be found on a list we can see later. The government explicitly said it does not include federal funding. It explicitly said that this is not about federal jurisdiction, for instance, for permits issued by the Minister of Transport under the Navigation Protection Act or permits issued by the Minister of Fisheries. Therefore, the undoing, the wrecking of environment assessment law by the previous government, is being entrenched by the current government.

Why did the Minister of Natural Resources ignore his mandate letter?

Kim Rudd – Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources

Madam Speaker, obviously I will agree to disagree with the hon. member.

I am very confident in saying that the Minister of Environment has lived up to her mandate letter and beyond. It is really about moving forward, and moving forward in the country means ensuring all Canadians get to come along with us. It is not just for those Canadians who have the ability to come and have a say, but those who do not are provided the opportunity to do that.

With respect to the consultation process, it provides supports to people who want to come and have a voice at those tables. It provides online consultation opportunities for people who cannot otherwise get there. It is about inclusivity. It is about listening. At the end of the day, when we hear from everyone who wants to have a say, we are building trust in Canadians. We will move projects forward in the country only by doing that.