This is page numbers 6289 - 6352 of the Hansard for the 18th Assembly, 3rd Session. The original version can be accessed on the Legislative Assembly's website or by contacting the Legislative Assembly Library. The word of the day was assembly.

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Committee Motion 258-18(3): Standing Committee on Economic Development and Environment Report on the Process Used for Devolution Legislative Initiatives - Federal Concurrence, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 6342

The Chair Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Mr. Vanthuyne. The motion is on the floor and has been distributed. The motion is in order. To the motion. Mr. Testart.

Committee Motion 258-18(3): Standing Committee on Economic Development and Environment Report on the Process Used for Devolution Legislative Initiatives - Federal Concurrence, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 6342

Kieron Testart Kam Lake

Thank you, Mr. Chair. My colleagues and I were just discussing who should speak to this, because this was an issue that occurred in our review of the Petroleum Resources Act. I think that this is a really important consideration, because all committees are bound by certain rules when it comes to amending legislation.

Over our time in the 18th Assembly, I think that committee Members have become very well-versed in those rules, what is admissible, what is not admissible, what is in the scope of the bill, how much it can change, and how much it cannot change. That is really useful in our review, especially when you combine that with the public process, because what the public tells you, their aspirations and desires may not be compatible with the formal rules of amendments, so you have to find workarounds. Typically, committees do that by way of recommendation, but it is, of course, more satisfying when those changes can actually occur in the bill.

Getting to the matter at hand, what we found with this curious situation is that there are certain federal approvals that have to come with changes to this piece of legislation, and we found that very late in the day. Although it doesn't directly impact the privileges of the committee to review legislation and bring about changes, it is a significant consideration, and committee Members can feel flat-footed if this is not an upfront fact for committee to keep in mind. Again, committee Members, at this point when we were reviewing these bills, were very familiar with the rules of amendment. This is when we weren't, and it immediately arose the question of, does this infringe on privilege? I don't think that that is the case at this point, but it is just helpful to know that.

Any time federal approval is sought, it should be in close collaboration with the standing committee. If there are consensual amendments that are going forward, they can then be brought to the federal government's attention. That is a far smoother process than just saying, "No, we can't change the bill," and then at least committee knows what the problem areas are that require federal concurrence, and we can work in that environment.

This just clarifies a problem that we found, and it may occur again if there are further improvements brought to the Petroleum Resources Act and other bills that are bound by federal statute, and most assuredly, those changes will come in the future. This is, I think, a very important motion for peace, order, and good government. Thank you.

Committee Motion 258-18(3): Standing Committee on Economic Development and Environment Report on the Process Used for Devolution Legislative Initiatives - Federal Concurrence, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 6342

The Chair Daniel McNeely

Thank you, Mr. Testart. Who else is on the list? Mr. O'Reilly.

Committee Motion 258-18(3): Standing Committee on Economic Development and Environment Report on the Process Used for Devolution Legislative Initiatives - Federal Concurrence, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 6342

Kevin O'Reilly Frame Lake

Thanks, Mr. Chair. I am still learning about the legislative process, but my understanding was that, when a bill is before committee, Ministers are not supposed to be doing something with the bill. It is standing committee's right and ability to work with the bill and get public input and seek changes. That is what the role of committee is.

With two of the pieces of legislation that were before standing committee, we only found out late in the day that the Minister, while the bill was before committee, had actually gone out and had discussions or their staff had gone and had discussions with the federal government about concurrence with the changes that were contained in the bill.

I am not sure that that is a great way to operate. Number one, if further changes had been made to the bill and required another round of federal concurrence, that's not a great place to be. That is a duplication and waste of effort. I would have thought that the reasonable thing would be to wait until our process is finished as a government, including standing committee review, before you go and get the federal government to look at something.

That just doesn't sound right to me. It's not in the spirit of consensus government. We have this recommendations here to try to make sure that this doesn't happen again. Thanks, Mr. Chair.

Committee Motion 258-18(3): Standing Committee on Economic Development and Environment Report on the Process Used for Devolution Legislative Initiatives - Federal Concurrence, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 6343

The Chair Daniel McNeely

Thank you, Mr. O'Reilly. To the motion.

Committee Motion 258-18(3): Standing Committee on Economic Development and Environment Report on the Process Used for Devolution Legislative Initiatives - Federal Concurrence, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 6343

Some Hon. Members

Question.

Committee Motion 258-18(3): Standing Committee on Economic Development and Environment Report on the Process Used for Devolution Legislative Initiatives - Federal Concurrence, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 6343

The Chair Daniel McNeely

Question has been called. All those in favour? All those opposed? The motion is carried.

---Carried

Mr. Vanthuyne.

Committee Motion 259-18(3): Standing Committee on Economic Development and Environment Report on the Process Used for Devolution Legislative Initiatives - Consistent Terms and Definitions, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

August 21st, 2019

Page 6343

Cory Vanthuyne Yellowknife North

Thank you, Mr. Chair. I move that this committee recommends that devolution-related legislation and regulations use consistent terms and definitions. Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Committee Motion 259-18(3): Standing Committee on Economic Development and Environment Report on the Process Used for Devolution Legislative Initiatives - Consistent Terms and Definitions, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 6343

The Chair Daniel McNeely

Thank you, Mr. Vanthuyne. To the motion. Mr. Vanthuyne.

Committee Motion 259-18(3): Standing Committee on Economic Development and Environment Report on the Process Used for Devolution Legislative Initiatives - Consistent Terms and Definitions, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 6343

Cory Vanthuyne Yellowknife North

Thank you, Mr. Chair. While we wouldn't necessarily recommend that committees in the future get a lot of legislation put toward them all at one time, what this particular experience did was allowed us the opportunity to make an observation that we maybe wouldn't have otherwise, as it relates to inconsistencies in some of the language, especially in some of these bills. Sometimes there was varying language, even from those departments that sponsored a number of the bills.

It's one thing to see inconsistency from one department to another, but sometimes, when we were on the road with three pieces of legislation from one department, even amongst those pieces you would see some inconsistencies. On occasion, what this would do is have some folks identify to us that what you're proposing, or what we see before us, is not consistent with other pieces of legislation that have already been passed and that are enacted.

Essentially what this is does, to make it short, is it allows us to ask the government on a go-forward basis to make sure that the terms and definitions are consistent. Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Committee Motion 259-18(3): Standing Committee on Economic Development and Environment Report on the Process Used for Devolution Legislative Initiatives - Consistent Terms and Definitions, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 6343

The Chair Daniel McNeely

Thank you, Mr. Vanthuyne. To the motion. Mr. O'Reilly.

Committee Motion 259-18(3): Standing Committee on Economic Development and Environment Report on the Process Used for Devolution Legislative Initiatives - Consistent Terms and Definitions, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 6343

Kevin O'Reilly Frame Lake

Thanks, Mr. Chair. Just a few practical examples here to help flesh this out a bit. We had different drafters or departments saying, "You have to say 'website.'" Others said, "You have to use 'the Internet,'" in terms of defining how public registry is to be made publicly available. There were different ways of recognizing and incorporating Indigenous rights into the bills. That is discussed more fully in the committee report on the Public Land Act.

Sometimes, it was a basic, non-derogation clause. Other times, it incorporated the land resources and self-government agreements by definition. In some cases, the co-management was actually incorporated or attempted to be incorporated in various ways. Lots of different approaches, not much consistency. The suggestion here is: next time around, maybe the drafters are working with a set of protocols or guidance to make things more consistent. Thanks, Mr. Chair.

Committee Motion 259-18(3): Standing Committee on Economic Development and Environment Report on the Process Used for Devolution Legislative Initiatives - Consistent Terms and Definitions, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 6343

The Chair Daniel McNeely

Thank you, Mr. O'Reilly. To the motion.

Committee Motion 259-18(3): Standing Committee on Economic Development and Environment Report on the Process Used for Devolution Legislative Initiatives - Consistent Terms and Definitions, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 6343

Some Hon. Members

Question.

Committee Motion 259-18(3): Standing Committee on Economic Development and Environment Report on the Process Used for Devolution Legislative Initiatives - Consistent Terms and Definitions, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 6343

The Chair Daniel McNeely

Question has been called. All those in favour? All those opposed? The motion is passed.

---Carried

Mr. Vanthuyne.