Monday 28 October 1996
Environmental Approvals Improvement Act, 1996, Bill 57, Mr Sterling / Loi de 1996 sur l'amélioration du processus d'autorisation environnementale, projet de loi 57, M Sterling
STANDING COMMITTEE ON RESOURCES DEVELOPMENT
Chair / Président: Mr Steve Gilchrist (Scarborough East / -Est PC)
Vice-Chair / Vice-Président: Mrs Barbara Fisher (Bruce PC)
Mr John R. Baird (Nepean PC)
*Mr JackCarroll (Chatham-Kent PC)
Mr DavidChristopherson (Hamilton Centre / -Centre ND)
*Mr TedChudleigh (Halton North / -Nord PC)
*Ms MarilynChurley (Riverdale ND)
Mr DwightDuncan (Windsor-Walkerville L)
*Mrs BarbaraFisher (Bruce PC)
*Mr SteveGilchrist (Scarborough East / -Est PC)
*Mr PatHoy (Essex-Kent L)
Mr Jean-MarcLalonde (Prescott and Russell / Prescott et Russell L)
*Mr BartMaves (Niagara Falls PC)
Mr BillMurdoch (Grey-Owen Sound PC)
Mr Jerry J. Ouellette (Oshawa PC)
Mr Joseph N. Tascona (Simcoe Centre PC)
*In attendance /présents
Substitutions present /Membres remplaçants présents:
Mr DougGalt (Northumberland PC) for Mr Baird
Mrs LynMcLeod (Fort William L) for Mr Duncan
Clerk / Greffièr: Mr Todd Decker
Staff / Personnel: Mr Doug Beecroft, legislative counsel
Mr Ted Glenn, research officer, Legislative Research Service
Mr Bob Shaw, assistant director, central region,
Ministry of Environment and Energy
ENVIRONMENTAL APPROVALS IMPROVEMENT ACT, 1996 / LOI DE 1996 SUR L'AMÉLIORATION DU PROCESSUS D'AUTORISATION ENVIRONNEMENTALE
Consideration of Bill 57, An Act to improve the Efficiency of the Environmental Approvals Process and Certain Other Matters / Projet de loi 57, Loi visant à améliorer l'efficience du processus d'autorisation environnementale et concernant certaines autres questions.
The Chair (Mr Steve Gilchrist): Good afternoon. If I can call the committee to order on this our first day of clause-by-clause deliberation on Bill 57, the process will be slightly different today. We've had a request from the opposition parties that we allow them until Wednesday, which you'll recall the subcommittee had agreed would be the second day of clause-by-clause deliberation, to introduce their amendments. Apparently they aren't ready yet, and that's fine. The government has introduced three amendments. What we had done was request to know at least which sections their amendments would be dealing with on Wednesday, and we will therefore digest whichever sections are not being amended.
Ms Marilyn Churley (Riverdale): To clarify the record a little, our amendments are both in, the Liberals' and the NDP's, but legislative counsel, for a variety of reasons, weren't able to quite draft them yet.
The Chair: Forgive me.
Ms Churley: I'm pleased to tell you the sections. I assume that what we're going to do is go through the government ones today and then stand down voting on the sections until Wednesday.
The Chair: That is correct.
Ms Churley: My amendments are to sections 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 9 and 10.
Mr Doug Galt (Northumberland): Could I have that repeated?
Ms Churley: Do you need the sections as well right now?
Mr Galt: Yes.
Ms Churley: Section 2, section 175.1; subsection 3(1); subsection 3(12); section 4; subsection 6(3); section 7; section 9; subsections 10(1) and 10(2).
Mrs Lyn McLeod (Leader of the Opposition): Our amendments are in for legislative drafting. I don't have a list of the sections that are affected, but it was my understanding that there would be no votes on clause-by-clause today, that we would consider the government amendments but that the actual clause-by-clause voting would take place when the opposition amendments were before the committee.
The Chair: We had asked, and the report back I had was that the three parties had agreed that if there was a section that was not being amended, there was no reason to wait till Wednesday, that we could debate and vote on that section today.
Mrs McLeod: That wasn't my understanding. I'll endeavour to get a list of the sections that we would be amending fairly shortly.
The Chair: Thank you. Meanwhile, we can proceed with the government amendments. As Ms Churley mentioned, what we will do is debate and vote on the amendments, but we will stand down the relevant sections.
Dr Galt, since this time I don't have to ask who has the first one.
Ms Churley: I'm sorry. I'm not trying to complicate things here, and maybe this is not a problem, but we're not dealing with all of the amendments within one section, and sometimes one amendment will have an impact on a government amendment. That can be a problem for our amendments when they come up on Wednesday if we vote on a government amendment today that will essentially cancel out one of our amendments.
The Chair: Only if they were identical.
Mrs McLeod: Our understanding coming in today was very clearly that, because it was legislative counsel that was not able to do the drafting, there would not be votes taken on amendments, for exactly the reason that Ms Churley has said. If there are conflicting amendments, there has to be some consideration of all the amendments before the final decision can be made.
The Chair: Again, amendments are handled in sequential order. We don't stand down amendments normally. We vote on each amendment. If there is a conflict created, then that has to be taken into account when you get to the subsequent section anyway. This is not unusual or in any way out of order.
Mrs McLeod: But the discussion would normally take place with all the relevant amendments before you.
The Chair: They may be before us, Mrs McLeod, but we only debate one amendment at a time. I would accept that you would have had the opportunity to read all the amendments, but normally if an amendment to subsection 1(1) has an impact on subsection 1(2), that gets dealt with when we get to subsection 1(2).
Mrs McLeod: Right, but if there are three amendments on subsection 1(1) with some differences, subtle or otherwise, then it's very difficult to conduct a vote on any one of those amendments.
The Chair: The precedent in this committee, and I certainly will defer to the clerk or legislative counsel if we have erred in the past, is that there has been a sequence followed based on when they were introduced, and if there is enough overlap, the second one that's deemed to be too close to the first one already debated is determined to be out of order. Unless there is a significant difference in the other party's amendment, there would be no second or third debate if amendments were that similar. I'm having a hard time understanding why we would not continue to follow the practice of dealing with each amendment on its own.
Mrs McLeod: I'm having an equally difficult time knowing how we can do clause-by-clause when we're missing two sets of amendments to the bill.
The Chair: I don't want this to sound like it's the purview of the Chair, but that was my understanding. I was there when representations were made to the representative from the third party. I know what was said and I know what the acknowledgement was. If that message has not made it back, then that's indeed unfortunate, but I was equally clear that we would hold votes on all sections which were not going to be amended and we would hold votes on whatever amendments did come forward because there was a chance that legislative counsel would have some, if not all, of the opposition ones ready today. Given that this was a three-party agreement to proceed with clause-by-clause and given that things do not have to be in anything more than handwritten form, I was prepared to make that indulgence if all three parties came to an agreement, and I certainly thought we had one.
Dr Galt, you've been gesticulating frantically.
Mr Galt: Can I get a word in edgewise?
The Chair: Absolutely.
Mr Galt: We have three amendments. Last week, when we were discussing them, I had no idea at that point in time how many we might have. If the opposition party and the third party are willing, I think personally that we should adjourn and come back on Wednesday. We have two and a half hours. I don't see any reason why we can't get through it in two and a half hours if they're agreeable that we'll complete it that day. We have three very simple amendments here. I would suggest that we do them on Wednesday, and then it will get rid of this sequential problem.
The Chair: Dr Galt has moved adjournment.
Mr Galt: I want some discussion. Is everybody comfortable?
Ms Churley: Yes, I certainly would be. I want to support the Chair in that I agreed to go ahead with the Tory amendments today, but I wasn't quite clear, I have to admit, on how we were dealing with the actual voting. To be fair to the Chair, he tried to accommodate this problem, but I see that there is a problem. We all like to see the material before us, because sometimes the government, especially when it has a simple amendment, may find that an NDP amendment might improve its amendment and it may withdraw its and replace it with a New Democratic amendment. That is what I think Mrs McLeod is getting at. Sometimes an amendment can affect how people vote on a government amendment. Therefore, I would agree that we adjourn for today and that we deal with all the amendments on Wednesday. I am committed to completing them on Wednesday.
Mr Galt: Mr Chair, in view of this, I wonder if we could have the opposition and third party amendments by Wednesday morning at the latest.
Mrs McLeod: Our amendments are in, but they haven't been drafted. As a substitute on the committee for our critic, Mr Chairman, it was my understanding that we submitted our amendments late last week, but there was a problem in terms of backlog for legislative counsel in drafting them in a form such that they could actually be tabled with the committee. Our homework has been done, our intent is known, but they just, for reasons beyond our control, couldn't be tabled today.
Mr Galt: You don't anticipate a problem getting through it Wednesday afternoon? We'll get through it?
Mrs McLeod: I trust not, unless the government sees fit to significantly revise the bill, which I would optimistically look forward to.
Mr Galt: With that support from the two other parties, Mr Chair, I would move that we adjourn until Wednesday at 3:30.
The Chair: Further discussion? All in favour? The committee stands adjourned until Wednesday at 3:30.
The committee adjourned at 1548.