Alberta Premier Jason Kenney says he is “very disappointed” in the news out on Wednesday that the federal government has rejected the vast majority of amendments made by the Senate to Bill C-69, which he calls the “no more pipelines bill.”
About 90 per cent of the Conservative amendments will not be agreed to, according to an unnamed senior Ottawa official, including allowing the new Impact Assessment Agency flexibility to decide whether to take into account a project's effect on Indigenous rights or climate change.
The Liberal government of Justin Trudeau reportedly has rejected the majority of the amendments because they blamed the Conservatives for wanting to give full reign to the oil and gas sector to run roughshod over the environment.
“This is not a question of conservative versus liberal: it’s a question of common sense. Every major political party in Alberta shares the same concerns about this bill, as do the majority of provinces,” Kenney said in a statement on Wednesday afternoon.
“This week, six premiers wrote to the prime minister underlining our urgent concern and asking that he respect the constructive amendments brought forward by senators, including the majority of senators he appointed. And today, Premier Legault added Quebec’s opposition to the current form of the bill. Without substantial amendments, the bill clearly interferes in areas of exclusive provincial jurisdiction and undermines the future of Canada’s energy sector, investor confidence and national unity.”
Kenney has been clear of his intention to immediately launch a constitutional challenge if C-69 is passed “in anything like” its original proposed form.
“My message to Prime Minister Trudeau is simple: this is not a partisan issue – it is a matter of restoring international confidence in Canada at a time when our reputation as a place to invest is at risk. Without the Senate’s amendments, this bill will drive away more jobs and investment from Canada. It is not too late for the federal government, the House and the Senate to do the right thing and sustain the Senate’s amendments. It’s not too late to do the right thing.”
Perrin Beatty, CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce:
“While the current regulatory regime, CEAA 2012, should be replaced because it continues to discourage investment in Canada’s mining sector, the government has prescribed a cure that is worse than the disease.
“The Canadian Chamber attempted to work with the government to fix the legislation’s flaws. Earlier this month, we wrote to ministers and again laid out the five key improvements Canadian business needed.
“Because today’s announcement rejects most of these improvements, we cannot support the bill.
“As proposed by the federal government today, Bill C-69 will further discourage investment in Canada and threaten the financial security of millions of Canadians.
“Although most of the public attention has centered on the bill’s impact on the oil and gas sectors, the proposed legislation will also limit Canada’s ability to create trade-enabling infrastructure that is so desperately needed, including ports, transportation corridors, and modernised energy grids.
“Canadian business has made a good faith effort to collaborate with the government. Sadly, they have opted to double down on measures that are unfair, discriminatory and plain bad economics. If passed as proposed, Bill C-69 will undermine both our economy and the unity of Canada. We call upon Parliament to defeat the bill.”
Mark Little, CEO, Suncor Energy:
“We’re disappointed and concerned that this Bill jeopardizes future development and does not restore investor confidence in our industry and country. "The Senate amendments were a reflection of a diligent and robust effort to gather feedback from all Canadians and the Senate put forward a Bill that was balanced, workable and had broad support.
"Had these critical amendments been included, it would have done a lot to restore investor confidence. Instead, we will now risk further uncertainty to the detriment of future responsible Canadian resource development and jobs.”
Imperial Oil CEO Rich Kruger:
"We support the objective of a rigorous, comprehensive environmental assessment process to ensure Canada’s resources are developed responsibly. We believe that the process should hold industry accountable to high standards while being clear in its requirements, and predictable in its outcomes. Unfortunately, as currently written, Bill C-69 does not achieve these objectives.
"Amendments by the Senate to Bill C-69 have been characterized as industry-friendly -- that simply is not true. These amendments were adopted following nationwide input and extensive consultation, thoughtful negotiation and compromise on the part of industry.
"It’s time to be clear and candid with Canadians that there needs to be a balance between environmental protection and economic opportunity. Bill C-69 simply does not achieve that balance. This bill, in its current form, is unworkable from a major investor perspective, and continues to perpetuate a climate of regulatory risk and uncertainty.
"When I speak with our investors, domestic and abroad, they tell me Canada’s regulatory uncertainty has a negative effect on how they view political and regulatory risk. Many increasingly say they no longer view Canada as an attractive place to invest. This ultimately impacts not only investment in our economy, but also people’s jobs and personal growth opportunities.
"This sad state is one of the reasons Imperial decided to slow down our $2.6B investment in the Aspen oil sands project earlier this year. Should Bill C-69 become law in its current form, we will unfortunately need to deeply consider any and all future investment growth opportunities."
Alberta energy minister Sonya Savage:
“Today’s developments are unacceptable and very disappointing. These amendments were put forward by provincial and territorial governments – including the province of Quebec – job creators, industry, First Nations and the Senate committee in order to protect the economic prosperity of our country.
“And yet the federal government refuses to listen to the concerns of countless Canadians, and is determined to drive this bill through the House of Commons by any means necessary.
“They are willing to sacrifice every single one of the 533,000 jobs created by the oil and gas industry across Canada in an attempt to fill a misguided political promise.”
Gary Mar, CEO of the Petroleum Services Association of Canada (PSAC):
“Bill C-69 in its current form will mean the end of pipeline infrastructure for Canada as no proponent would be prepared to make application or invest in the face of the uncertainty and risk prevalent in this Bill. If the Government of Canada wanted to send a signal to the world that we are closed for business, they have certainly achieved it with this Bill.”
Greg Rickford, Ontario minister of energy, mines and northern development:
“Bill C-69 as originally proposed is a misguided and job-killing piece of legislation that fails to balance environmental protection and economic competiveness.
“This radical piece of legislation sacrifices economic growth of Ontario by trampling our provincial jurisdiction over nuclear power.
“Bill C-69 will deter investment across Canada, threatening our economic growth and competitiveness.”
Saskatchewan energy minister Bronwyn Eyre:
“Bill C-69 was flawed from the start.
“In rejecting the majority of these amendments, Prime Minister Trudeau has turned his back on the energy and industrial sectors that employ hundreds of thousands of Canadians.
“As originally proposed, Bill C-69 will make it virtually impossible for our provinces to construct new energy resource infrastructure, killing jobs, economic growth and investor confidence in the process.”
Chris Bloomer, CEO of the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association:
“If Bill C-69 passes in its current form, it is difficult to imagine that any major new pipeline projects will be proposed or built in the future.
“This is not only an industry issue—it will hurt all Canadians, as the lack of investment could cost the country billions of dollars in revenue that fund vital social services.
“We have been collaborating with lawmakers for three years to create legislation that would provide the clarity, predictability and certainty needed to ensure responsibly-produced Canadian resources can be provided to the world.
“This Bill falls short and is simply the wrong move for Canada.”
The Canada West Foundation’s Martha Hall Findlay and Marla Orenstein
“First reports suggest that most of the amendments being refused by the government are those proposed by the Conservative Senators.
“The Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources approved the whole package. The Senate as a whole voted in support of the whole package.
“The Canada West Foundation has worked hard to find balanced perspectives and solutions, and we believe that the majority of the amendments passed by Senate are ones that should appeal across partisan lines.
“Bill C-69 is a critical piece of regulatory legislation. We strongly urge the government take a thorough review on the facts, without partisanship.”
— With files from the Canadian Press