The following is extracted from a speech by Conservative MP Cheryl Gallant in the House of Commons on Oct. 26 during debate on the third reading of Bill C-17.
“Bill C-17, an act to amend the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Act and to make a consequential amendment to another act, would directly undermine the economic well-being of people living in Yukon, but it should set off alarm bells for every Canadian about what kind of Liberals were elected in Ottawa. Canadians were pitched a story about a new warm and fuzzy, centrist Liberal Party.”
“Old Liberal power brokers;”
“Trading votes and money for policies infused with the radical left-wing ideology of paternalist progressivism;”
“Cynical vote buying;”
“Arrogant Ottawa-knows-best attitude, and ending in despair and economic destruction;”
“Dictate to the provinces and territories;”
“Liberal horror story;”
“Punishing country-wide carbon tax;”
“Green ideology over there trumps common sense.”
Bill C-17 will remove four contentious amendments placed in Bill S-6, (an act to amend the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Act and the Nunavut Waters and Nunavut Surface Rights Tribunal Act), which was made into law in 2015.
Bills, dealing with regional issues are often Senate bills. This practice also creates a level of obscurity. Injustice can easily find a home in a Senate bill without much national coverage, outrage or political cost.
By law the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Act, (YESAA), must be amended and updated periodically. During consultations with the Council of Yukon First Nations (CYFN), 72 of 76 amendments to YESAA were agreed upon.
After CYFN left the table, the Yukon Party territorial government and the federal Conservative government snuck in the four contentious clauses which would have removed arms length status from the Yukon Environmental Socio-economic Assessment Board and undermined both YESAA and the Umbrella Final Agreement, (the self-government treaty with most of Yukon’s First Nations).
The way the four amendments were introduced was dishonourable and probably illegal. The contents created uncertainty for resource development due to pending First Nations court cases. Yukoners expect Bill C-17 to pass.
Fast forward to Oct. 26. Bill C-17 was supposed to have its final reading with a vote on Oct. 30. Yukon MP Larry Bagnell has accused the Conservative opposition of “running out the clock and speaking about things that had nothing to do with the substance of the bill.” Hansard transcripts reveal this to be true. Consequently, it is not known when the final vote on Bill C-17 will take place.
Interestingly enough, during the Oct. 26 debate, Conservative MP, Arnold Viersen said, “Bill C-17 is a justice bill.” I’m sure he misspoke because of his party’s determined support of an injustice.