Mrs. Cheryl Gallant (Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, CPC)
Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak on the Senate amendments to Bill C-68, an act to amend the Fisheries Act, a terribly flawed piece of legislation that erodes the rights of Canadians.
I wish to acknowledge and thank, on behalf of all Canadians, the research team of the Ontario Landowners Association for the work done by the group on Bill C-68, particularly Elizabeth Marshall and Tom Black. The report they prepared but were not able to present to the Standing Senate Committee on Fisheries and Oceans has been highly informative. Canadians will understand, after my remarks are finished, that when we are working with bad legislation, all the tinkering in the world will not fix the wrong assumptions that are at the heart of this bill.
The Liberal Party is attempting to violate the Constitution by artificially extending its jurisdiction in contradiction to its constitutional limits. It is also trying to do indirectly what it cannot do directly, which has been struck down in the Canadian courts. The federal government does not have the constitutional jurisdiction to expand environmental protection through the Fisheries Act, as this is in violation of provincial jurisdiction, as well as in violation of private rights established under common law, the Constitution Act, 1867, and the letters patent / Crown grant.
Though many laws regulate water and water use, the Fisheries Act remains the only legislation that directly addresses the protection and conservation of fish and fish habitat. Enacted in 1868, the act is one of Canada's oldest pieces of legislation. In 2012, the Fisheries Act was significantly amended.
I am now going to turn to the Senate testimony. We had the OPG, Ontario Power Generation, look at its generation portfolio on hydro power. It determined that it would take an up to 80% increase in instantaneous passage of flow as a principle for meeting the objectives of the new definition of “fish habitat”, and that it would no longer be peaking and holding back water or meeting grid demands, outside of the greenhouse gas emissions impact, which would bear out. That was very important.
The amendments of the Senate involved a move from protecting fish generally to focusing on only prohibiting serious harm to fish that were part of a commercial or aboriginal fishery. That is what the 2012 amendments did. These amendments were common sense in application and were done after listening and acting on the concerns of stakeholders.
The 2012 Conservative amendments respected the Canadian Constitution. It was my pleasure to recommend to the committee reviewing the Conservative amendments a witness to provide practical observations as to why the Fisheries Act needed to be amended.
Jack Maclaren is a multi-generational orchard farmer from my riding of Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke. Jack had the unfortunate experience of having a ditch, hand dug by his grandfather and great-grandfather to collect and direct water to their orchard, declared a navigable waterway after he started to clear a blocked culvert that was flooding the road to his farmhouse.
Needless to say, Jack and many other farmers just like him welcomed the Conservative common sense amendments passed by our government in 2012. The Liberal Party, under the guise of protection of so-called “fish habitat” in unlikely places like Jack's ditch, is actually looking to use the Fisheries Act as environmental legislation, when the federal government has already protections established under the Canada Shipping Act and the Canadian Environmental Protection Act.
What really caught my attention on Bill C-68 was the addition in committee of a new concept in Canadian law, the concept of water flow or, as it is referred to in other documents, environmental flow. It was added in subsection 2(2) to amend the act.
Water flow is a hot topic in my riding of Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke. The spring of 2019 now has the dubious distinction of being the worst in recent memory for flooding along the Ottawa River. My constituents are skeptical when the Prime Minister and the member from Ottawa blame every significant weather event on climate change.
They do not believe the Liberal Party leader when he claims a new tax on Canadians, the Liberal carbon tax, will stop the Ottawa River from flooding. The residents of the Ottawa Valley have a suspicion that recent flooding has been caused by either government policy or human error, or some combination of both. They want answers.
The question now being asked is whether the federal government caused the flooding. Were the dam operators instructed to hold back water when they should have been releasing water to meet the federal government's new definitions of fish habitat? These are questions my constituents feel can only be answered by an independent inquiry, an external review.
Expert testimony before the standing committee, which I referred to before, certainly seemed to confirm that the Government of Canada was planning to make flooding on the Ottawa River an annual occurrence, judging by the question asked by a senator to a representative of Ontario Power Generation, which operates the dams on the river. The expert said:
When OPG, Ontario Power Generation, looked at our generation portfolio on hydro power, we determined that we would take an 80 per cent instantaneous passage of flow as a principle for meeting the objectives of the new definition of “fish habitat.” We would no longer be peaking and holding back water or meeting grid demands, outside of the greenhouse gas emissions impact which would bear out.... Everyone can remember the spring of 2017 in Ontario and the Ottawa Valley. We had a once in a generation flood event. We had the capacity to hold water on the watershed with our water management plans. We have detailed some impacts. One of the outcomes was that the city of Montreal would have been under a metre more of water if we had not had the ability to store water on the watershed because of flooding in the Great Lakes.
The first thing that jumped out at me was the comment that Montreal would have been under an additional metre of water had Bill C-68, as it was voted on and passed in the House of Commons by the Liberal Party, been enacted.
The next thing that jumped out while listening to the expert testimony given to that Senate committee on the decision by the Liberal Party to bring forward legislation like Bill C-68 was the limitations that would be placed on one of the cleanest, most renewable and most reliable sources of electricity. It produces almost no greenhouse gases. Canadian hydroelectricity is the envy of the world. Why would Canadians want to throw away that advantage?
A representative from Quebec, who is the president of WaterPower Canada, an organization that represents more than 60% of all electricity produced in Canada, stated:
If Bill C-68 is passed in its current form, its impact on our industry’s ability to operate its current stations and build new ones will be catastrophic.
This led me to do some research on who was lobbying for proposed subsection 2 (2) in Bill C-68, and I then discovered that the controversial clause added during committee was proposed by the Green Party. It was then supported by the Liberal majority to be included in the legislation.
Why was the Liberal Party on the House of Commons committee voting in favour of an amendment put forward by the Green Party that would be so disastrous for Canada? Is the Liberal Party really that afraid of losing votes to the Green Party that it would shift that far left?
I was then introduced to the name of a lobbyist who was on the payroll of the controversial Tides foundation. These foundations are recognized as threats to Canadian democracy. The Tides foundation is a foreign-funded organization that has been identified, among other activities, as funding a campaign to block Canadian pipelines.
Canadians lost $20 billion last year by being held a captive seller to American big oil interests. Tides Canada's American parent foundation, the Tides foundation, from which it receives funding, has been funding dam busting in the western United States, so it is no surprise that the U.S. foundation would fund similar activities in Canada.
Registered as a lobbyist for Tides Canada, Tony Maas could count on some powerful friends in the Liberal Party, starting with the now disgraced former principal secretary to the Prime Minister, Gerald Butts. Tony Maas worked for Gerald Butts when Butts was at the World Wildlife Fund. With the puppet master on his side, Maas figured he could get anything he wanted.
Maas had moved from the World Wildlife Fund to run a project funded by Tides Canada on water. In that capacity, the decision was made to use the Liberal campaign promise to make amendments to the Fisheries Act to move forward with a radical agenda on water by introducing a totally new concept in Canadian law on water flow. This was done by avoiding fisheries departmental scrutiny when Bill C-68 was first introduced to the House of Commons and waiting until committee, after second reading, to inject proposed subsection 2(2) into the bill. By doing this, checks and balances that normally occur in a department before legislation is introduced could be avoided.
The concept of water flows, or environmental flows, comes from the 2007 globalist document the Brisbane declaration. Like many globalist documents, the words written do not match with reality. While it is next to impossible to build any new hydroelectric power dams, as identified by the president of WaterPower Canada, the declaration envisages the eventual removal of existing dams in favour of flood plain restoration and the return of free-flowing rivers.
Topic: Government Orders
Subtopic: Fisheries Act