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QUESTION PERIOD — Environment and Climate Change

Impact Assessment Act

October 24, 2023

Leader, on October 13, the government suffered a crushing defeat before the Supreme Court, which ruled that a significant portion of Bill C‑69 on environmental assessment was unconstitutional and infringed on the provinces’ jurisdictions.

We warned you, leader. Premier Kenney, of Alberta, warned you. Quebec’s Minister of the Environment, Benoit Charette, warned you. All the opposition members warned you on a number of occasions. Minister McKenna and I myself warned you that Bill C‑69 was unconstitutional.

Why is your government ignoring the calls from the provinces when they are being voiced, as well as the advice of its loyal opposition?

Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate) [ + ]

Thank you for the question. Once again, we need to be clear about the facts. The Supreme Court has affirmed the jurisdiction of the legislature of the Parliament of Canada with respect to the environment. This remains an important aspect of the law and of the jurisdiction of the Parliament of Canada.

Yes, some aspects of the bill were ruled unconstitutional by the court. The government has already responded. The Government of Canada will read the ruling and learn from the ruling with respect to the Supreme Court’s motives for its decision. The federal government will work with the provinces and Indigenous groups to ensure that the process serves Canadians, and will work quickly to correct the problems and ensure that the legislation serves Canadians.

When will the government eliminate the remnants of Bill C‑69 to make way for a bill that can authorize projects in 12 months instead of 12 years?

Senator Gold [ + ]

I’m not exactly sure about the timeline for sending revisions and amendments of the bill back to Parliament. As soon as it is publicly announced, the Senate will be notified.

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