Bill C 17 passes second reading

Bill C-17, the federal bill that would scrap controversial changes to the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Act, made it through second reading in the House of Commons this week.

Bill C-17, the federal bill that would scrap controversial changes to the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Act, made it through second reading in the House of Commons this week.

MPs voted June 20, before they were set to leave until September, to send the bill to be reviewed by the Standing Committee on Indigenous and Northern Affairs.

Yukon MP Larry Bagnell said he wanted the bill to get through second reading now so it wouldn’t get stuck in a backlog when MPs get back after the summer.

“When we come back in September, ministers are working all summer preparing legislation so there will be not only the bills we didn’t get to, but more bills in the lineup,” he said.

C-17 would scrap the four amendments in Bill S-6 that caused several Yukon First Nations to file a lawsuit.

Those four provisions imposed timelines on assessments and allowed permit renewals and amendments without new assessments. They also allowed the federal minister to give binding policy direction to the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Board, and to delegate authority to a territorial minister.

Bagnell said the standing committee reviewing the bill held its first meeting to discuss it before the second reading was even complete.

“The committee knew it was coming so they actually had a meeting Tuesday morning before the vote even, and I attended that and asked questions of the witnesses.”

When MPs return in the fall, the committee will have at least one more meeting on the bill before sending it back for a third reading.

There MPs will vote on the bill along with any amendments recommended by the committee.

If it passes its third reading C-17 will go to the senate.

Bagnell said he’s hopeful the amendments will become law sometime in 2017.

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