CALGARY, AB (April 9, 2019): UCP Leader Jason Kenney has written to both Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the Senate Energy Committee to formally put them on notice that a United Conservative government will launch a constitutional challenge of the Liberals’ ‘No More Pipelines’ Law, Bill C-69.
Kenney announced the news while speaking at a pro-pipeline rally welcoming the Senate Energy Committee to Calgary for hearings today on Bill C-69.
In a letter sent to Prime Minister Trudeau, Kenney says that “I am writing to notify you that a United Conservative government will not accept the adoption of this bill, which is an unconstitutional violation of Alberta’s jurisdiction… (We) will stand up for Alberta’s constitutional rights and challenge this unconstitutional attack on our economy in court.” The letter goes on to state that “If Bill C-69 becomes law, a United Conservative government will be left with no recourse other than to seek appropriate legal remedies. We will do so by seeking a judicial declaration that it is ultra vires the Constitution of Canada.”
In his letter, Kenney referred to Bill C-69 as “a federal sucker punch to an already-reeling Alberta economy” which violates both the decision of the Supreme Court of Canada in the 1992 Oldman River decision, and the “plain language” of Section 92A of the Constitution, which gives provinces exclusive jurisdiction to regulate the exploration and development of natural resources, including oil and gas.
“Bill C-69 is a full frontal attack on a power that Premier Lougheed won following an epic battle with Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau,” Kenney said. “Alberta never would have agreed to the patriation of the Constitution in 1982 were it not for the inclusion of this key constitutional power. And now Justin Trudeau wants to undo that historic bargain by invading our provincial jurisdiction through a law that will make it virtually impossible to get another pipeline approved.”
Kenney also wrote to the Chair of the Senate’s Standing Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources, meeting in Calgary today, to urge the Senate to defeat the legislation.
Bill C-69 – the Impact Assessment Act and Canadian Energy Regulator – would change how major infrastructure projects are reviewed and approved in Canada.
By replacing the NEB with the Canadian Energy Regulator, and handing the federal environmental review process to a new Impact Assessment Agency, Bill C-69 purports to give the federal government the final say on the construction or operation of provincial projects such as in situ oilsands developments and petrochemical refineries – powers that exceed the federal government’s jurisdiction under the Constitution Act and intrude on exclusively provincial areas of jurisdiction.
“Bill C-69 is a disaster for Alberta’s economy,” said Kenney. “According to the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association, ‘it is difficult to imagine that a new major pipeline could be built in Canada under the Impact Assessment Act, much less attract energy investment to Canada. No wonder it’s called the ‘No More Pipelines Bill.’”
Kenney said he shared with the prime minister the goal of conserving the natural environment for future generations. However, a United Conservative government would not accept a federal takeover of Alberta’s hard won rights under the Constitution.
“In 1980, Premier Lougheed described the National Energy Program as ‘the Ottawa government without negotiation and without agreement – simply walking into our homes and occupied the living room’. That perfectly describes Justin Trudeau’s Bill C-69. And our message to Justin Trudeau is that we Albertans are determined to be masters of our own home,” Kenney said.
“Bill C-69 is just one of the terrible consequences of the Trudeau-Notley alliance. Alberta’s NDP gave Justin Trudeau license to kill Northern Gateway, to surrender to a US veto of Keystone XL, to change regulations that led to the death of Energy East, and to fold in the face of the BC New Democrats’ obstruction of the Trans Mountain Expansion,” Kenney said. “On top of that we’ve got Trudeau’s tanker ban, Bill C-48, and a cap on our oilsands. On April 16 Alberta voters can end the Trudeau-Notley alliance, and elected a United Conservative government that has a clear plan to stand up for our province, get a fair deal in the federation, and get pipelines built.”
A copy of Jason Kenney’s letter to Senate Committee Chair Galvez is available here.