Report of the committee
Wednesday, June 19, 2019
The Standing Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources has the honour to present its
Your committee, to which was referred Bill C-88, An Act to amend the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act and the Canada Petroleum Resources Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts, has, in obedience to the order of reference of Monday, June 17, 2019, examined the said bill and now reports the same without amendment but with certain observations, which are appended to this report.
Observations to the Twenty-First Report of the Standing Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources (Bill C-88)
Clauses 85(1) and 85(2)
The Inuit concerns with amendments to section 12(1) of the Canada Petroleum Resources Act originated with Bill C-55, An Act to amend the Oceans Act and the Canada Petroleum Resources Act, which received Royal Assent on May 27, 2019. Chair and Chief Executive Officer of the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation, Duane Smith, raised his persisting objection to measures that would create new and interim conservation areas. Unlike newer land claims, the Inuvialuit Final Agreement (IFA) is entirely silent on the establishment of conservation areas. Mr. Smith has pointed out that the non-derogation clause in Bill C-55 does not include the same express protections for IFA rights holders that are included in newer land claims. These concerns are compounded by the amendments proposed here, in Bill C-88.
The current moratorium in the Arctic offshore was imposed in 2016 without any notice to stakeholders. Since that time, there has been movement towards a more collaborative relationship between Government, industry and Indigenous governments and organizations. However, the Canada Petroleum Resources Act lacks express language on Government’s duty to consult with Indigenous governments and organizations. The non-derogation clause in the CPRA, as well as the Oceans Act, are not strong enough to provide comfort to older land claims, like the IFA, that do not incorporate express protections for rights holders where conservation areas are contemplated.
The committee strongly recommends that going forward, in the spirit and intent of Canada’s reconciliation agenda, the Government of Canada commit to meaningful consultation with Indigenous governments and organizations around matters in the Arctic offshore, and that this consultation process respect the rights of Inuit and First Nations that stem from Section 35 of the Constitution, as well as from settled treaties, comprehensive land claims agreements and self-government agreements in the region.