by EnergyNow Contributor Maureen McCall
Jason Kenney is back in Ottawa with a different tone for a different time.
We are years deeper into the Federal Government multi-layered regulatory blockage of Oil Industry projects and most Albertans agree stronger measures are overdue. Certainly, the provincial election results indicated most Albertans want a change of approach.
Jason Kenney certainly delivered a new approach in his comments to the Senate Energy Committee on Thursday as the committee wraps up its public hearings on Bill C-69.
“This is not just a slight against the people of Alberta, this is the culmination of a full-frontal attack on our economic prosperity,” Kenney told the committee “I plead with you, as federalists, to understand the national unity implications of this….To be clear, I’m a federalist. I’m simply pointing out that there’s deep and growing frustration in my province,”
Later, in a statement to the media he said, “It will further alienate Albertans from their attachment to Canada if they see their Federal Government, instead of trying to help us and get our economy back on track, further damage us with this Bill (C-69) while asking us to be the major funders of Equalization of the rest of the Federation.”
Tensions have been increased as Environment Minister Catherine McKenna released the project list for C-69 on Wednesday.
For the first time, it puts in-situ oilsands projects under the scope of federal jurisdiction. Approximately 80 per cent of Canadian oilsands reserves are in situ.
In-situ projects are widely seen as the future of the oilsands and are currently reviewed by provincial regulators.
However, Ottawa said it would exempt those same projects from federal review, if Alberta maintained its 100-million-tonne cap on oilsands emissions.
(Wait…… didn’t Alberta under Rachel Notley get lured into a similar trade off agreement with Ottawa in terms of the Alberta Carbon Tax/TMX approval and Ottawa didn’t deliver?)
Kenney responded by disputing the move – citing section 92(a) of the Constitution Act of 1982, which effectively gives provinces exclusive rights to certain policies tied to production of non-renewable natural resources, including reviews of in-situ projects.
“These are exclusively within Alberta territory and they relate to the production of natural resources,” Kenney said. “There is no rational person who can see, under section 92(a), a federal interest to regulate that. It would be a blatant violation of the Constitution.”
McKenna has asserted that greenhouse gas emissions “inherently” fall under both federal and provincial jurisdiction.
The Canada West Foundation again issued warnings about the potential long-term implications of Bill C-69 legislation in their report released Thursday.
Although it commended Senators for being open to amending the bill it stated:
“ this still may not be enough…Our continuing analysis of the bill has uncovered several additional aspects that we believe to be extremely problematic. Each would open the door for project opponents to restart the court challenges process, setting every project back years.”
Members of the committee have now submitted over 100 amendments to the bill, according to senators, who are building comprehensive list of proposed changes for C-69. It will begin reviewing those amendments early next week. Stay tuned…