Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario criticize passage of federal environment bills
June 24, 2019 The Canadian Press
EDMONTON — Alberta Premier Jason Kenney says he will fight the passage of two federal environment bills on multiple fronts — starting in court.
Kenney says he is filing constitutional challenges to Bill C-48 and Bill C-69 because he believes they unfairly target his oil and gas province.
Kenney says Bill C-48, which bans tanker traffic on the northern British Columbia coast, is particularly punitive because there's no such ban on tanker traffic elsewhere in Canada.
"What's the point here?" Kenney said at the legislature Friday.
"You're not imposing a ban on (tankers in) the Bay of Fundy. You're not imposing a ban on the tankers that come down the Gulf of St. Lawrence. You'd shut down the Quebec economy if you did.
"So why is it just a ban on Alberta exports?"
Kenney was joined by the provinces of Saskatchewan and Ontario in criticizing the bills that passed in the Senate on Thursday.
Bill C-69, which overhauls federal environmental assessments for major construction projects, was passed by a vote of 57-37.
Bill C-48, legislation barring oil tankers from loading at ports on the northern coast of British Columbia, was narrowly approved 49-46.
Kenney said constructive amendments made to Bill C-69 by the Senate were stripped out by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government.
"The Trudeau government decided to gut that bill, which had been rewritten to allow for investor confidence (and) to remove political interference from the environmental assessment."
Kenney said he will pursue other avenues, including fast-tracking Alberta's election of would-be senators and a referendum to try to force changes to equalization payments.
"Albertans cannot be expected to continue to pay the freight in the Canadian federation if the same federation continues to block our ability to develop and get a fair price for our resources."
In Ontario, Energy Minister Greg Rickford said Bill C-69 is a twin disaster because it reduces Canada's energy competitiveness while failing to better protect the environment.
"We remain firm in our position that Bill C-69 is misguided legislation that will negatively impact resource development and the energy sector in Ontario and across Canada, killing jobs that hard-working families depend on to make ends meet," Rickford said in a statement.
In Saskatchewan, Premier Scott Moe said the two bills will hurt the economy and impede job creation.
"The passage of Bills C-69 and C-48 marks a dark chapter for our energy and industrial sectors and is deeply concerning for our government and all those that value the economic prosperity of our nation," Moe said in a release.
"Ultimately, this prime minister will answer to Canadians this October (in the federal election) for why he does not support their jobs, and for why he disapproves of our sustainable energy and industrial sectors.”
Dean Bennett, The Canadian Press
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