Bill C-69: Statement from Minister Phillips

Environment and Parks Minister Shannon Phillips issued the following statement following her meetings with federal government senators about Bill C-69:

“In a few weeks, Bill C-69, An Act to enact the Impact Assessment Act and the Canadian Energy Regulator Act, will be debated by Canada’s 95 senators. Today, I was pleased to be in Ottawa to stand up for Alberta’s interests and to keep Canada working.

“Alberta’s message to the Senate of Canada is clear. While we support the Government of Canada’s stated intentions, Bill C-69 – as it is drafted – will have serious impacts on the Canadian economy and, specifically, on investment in Alberta. Our government has been strongly voicing these concerns since last June and, to date, none of our concerns has been reflected in the amendments, nor received adequate response from Ottawa.

“Alberta is asking the Government of Canada to:

  • Recognize the Government of Alberta’s Climate Leadership Plan and our legislated oil sands cap for the purpose of strategic assessment criteria.
  • Release the project list before legislation is passed. Alberta believes the existing project list should be maintained and publicly released.
  • Exempt in-situ oil sands projects and intra-provincial pipelines from federal assessment as they already face a rigorous environmental review process in Alberta.
  • Exclude downstream emissions as grounds for rejection in relation to any projects under review.
  • Provide clarity and language in legislation for the provisions around timelines and the new criteria, terms and principles in the application of strategic assessment.

“According to the Constitution, provinces and territories are the owners and regulators of natural resource development. The federal government needs to clarify in legislation that it recognizes the jurisdiction of provinces and territories in managing our natural resources, specifically accounting for all the progress Alberta has made on environmental, social, health and economic factors through the implementation of our Climate Leadership Plan.

“To date, we have not seen meaningful opportunities for us to engage with the federal government on regulations and policies coming from this legislation. We believe we can work with the federal government to modernize strategic assessments for the betterment of all Canadians. The federal government needs to engage more closely with Alberta and every province and territory.

“Environmental protection, Indigenous engagement, economic growth development, and investor certainty – these are all worthy goals, and any steps toward improvements that generate real results for Canadians are worthwhile.

“But these things are too important to get wrong. We can’t fix a broken system by implementing another broken system. Alberta strongly urges the Senate to introduce amendments that will address Alberta’s concerns and create legislation that will better meet the needs of all Canadians.”