Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario criticize passage of federal environment bills

Province criticize passage of federal environment bills

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.”

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