Today in the Legislature I rose to re-introduce my private members bill entitled Bill M219: Recall and Initiative Amendment Act.
It is clear that British Columbians are concerned about oil pipelines and have lost confidence in the federal review process. The problem is, the tools we have to make our voices heard are too restrictive. If enacted, this bill would give British Columbians a stronger voice on how oil pipeline proposals are evaluated in the province.
Last October the residents of Bella Bella saw first hand how unprepared we are for an oil spill. It’s clear from the federal hearings I participates in on the Trans Mountain pipeline that these concerns aren’t being adequately addressed. In addition, no specifics have been outlined as to how recently announced federal funding will be used to prepare for a heavy oil spill.
My bill would make it easier for British Columbians to require their provincial government to hold a made-in-B.C. hearing process on oil pipelines.
A. Weaver: I move that a bill intituled the Recall and Initiative Amendment Act, 2017, of which notice has been given, be introduced and read a first time now.
A. Weaver: It gives me great pleasure to introduce this bill, which is designed to empower British Columbians so that their voices can be more effectively heard on environmental reviews of major projects such as oil pipelines.
If we are to re-engage British Columbians in our democracy, we need to actively seek their view on far more of what we debate in this Legislature. We also need to provide them with additional tools to hold their government to account. The Recall and Initiative Amendment Act is one such tool. British Columbians have lost faith in the federal review process, particularly as it pertains to oil pipeline proposals. The province has not listened to their voices.
This bill would offer British Columbians an opportunity to ensure that their voices are indeed heard. If an initiative were to pass under the proposed changes in the Recall and Initiative Amendment Act, it would require government to pull out of an existing environmental equivalency agreement for a particular project and hold its own made-in-B.C. review of, for example, a proposed heavy-oil pipeline.
I move that the bill be placed on the orders of the day for second reading at the next sitting of the House.
Bill M219, Recall and Initiative Amendment Act, 2017, introduced, read a first time and ordered to be placed on orders of the day for second reading at the next sitting of the House after today.