October 3, 2018

October 3, 2018

October 3, 2018

Highlights from the working day in Canadian politics for Wednesday October 3, 2018:

Natural Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi briefs reporters about the government’s plans to re-initiate consultations with Indigenous peoples over the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Coalition Avenir Québec MNA Geneviève Guilbault, and NDP leader Jagmeet Singh speak to reporters about incoming Quebec premier François Legault’s plans to invoke the notwithstanding clause to limit religious symbols worn by civil servants in the province.

The House votes down a Conservative Party motion calling for the government to reverse the transfer of Terri-Lynne McClintic, a convicted child murderer, to an Indigenous healing lodge.

More on this day...

By Andrew Thomson | UPDATED October 3, 2018 2:54pmET

Trans Mountain: Ottawa Pledges New Consultation, No Appeal of Court Decision

The federal government will not appeal the court decision quashing work on the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, instead announcing today a new consultation with 117 Indigenous groups led by a former Supreme Court justice.


Watch the full news conference

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, a pipeline opponent and B.C. by-election candidate, had this to say in Ottawa:

The Federal Court of Appeal ruled in August that there was insufficient Indigenous consultation and an NEB failure to account for the effects of more shipping on the Southern resident killer whale population.

The government has since given the National Energy Board five months to re-examine its approval and the potential effect of increased tanker traffic on the Pacific coast. The government also announced a new "special marine technical advisor" will be appointed to the NEB.

The federal government agreed to buy the Trans Mountain pipeline from Kinder Morgan this past spring. Company shareholders approved the $4.5-billion sale on the same day (Aug. 30) as the federal court ruling.

Redo on Phase III

The original Phase III consultation was from February to November 2016, part of the Crown's constitutional "duty to consult" to ensure aboriginal and treaty rights are respected.

The Federal Court of Appeal reiterated that "meaningful consultation is not intended simply to allow Indigenous peoples “to blow off steam” before the Crown proceeds to do what it always intended to do. Consultation is meaningless when it excludes from the outset any form of accommodation. The duty is not fulfilled by simply providing a process for exchanging and discussing information. There must be a substantive dimension to the duty. Consultation is talking together for mutual understanding."

As for the specific Trans Mountain case:

Canada was required to do more than receive and understand the concerns of the Indigenous applicants. Canada was required to engage in a considered, meaningful two-way dialogue. Canada’s ability to do so was constrained by the manner in which its representatives on the Crown consultation team implemented their mandate. For the most part, Canada’s representatives limited their mandate to listening to and recording the concerns of the Indigenous applicants and then transmitting those concerns to the decision-makers ...

The inadequacies of the consultation process flowed from the limited execution of the mandate of the Crown consultation team. Missing was someone representing Canada who could engage interactively. Someone with the confidence of Cabinet who could discuss, at least in principle, required accommodation measures, possible flaws in the Board’s process, findings and recommendations and how those flaws could be addressed.

In the House and Senate: Vote on McClintic Motion, Trade, Cannabis

Mps vote on the Conservative motion that condemns the transfer of convicted murderer Terri-Lynne McClintic to a Saskatchewan healing lodge.

Expected on today’s House of Commons agenda: the bill to implement CPTPP (C-79).

Other current signatories to the CPTPP are Australia, Brunei, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. The Trump administration withdrew the United States from the original TPP agreement in 2017, leading the remaining countries to forge the new version.

Canada already has free trade with Chile, Mexico, and Peru. According to federal estimates, Canada’s trade with the other seven countries totalled $71 billion in 2016.

In committee:

Two cabinet ministers respond to the Senate aboriginal peoples committee’s recommendations on cannabis and Bill C-45. Bill Blair (Border Security and Organized Crime Reduction) and Jane Philpott (Indigenous Services) appear LIVE ONLINE at 6:45pm ET / 3:45pm PT

Treasury Board President Scott Brison answers questions on the access to information bill (C-58) at the Senate legal affairs committee.


MPs consider a motion for committee study on labour shortages in southern Ontario’s construction sector: From Liberal MP Peter Fonseca:

That the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities be instructed to undertake a study on the labour shortages of the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area, to consider, among other things, (i) the challenges associated with a lack of skilled workers in the construction industry, (ii) possible recommendations on how to increase construction skill development in the region, (iii) analysis of the Atlantic Immigration Pilot initiatives as a model to address the skilled worker need in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area; and that the Committee report its findings to the House within six months of the adoption of this motion.

And this morning the parties hold their regular caucus meetings on Parliament Hill.