(February 11, 2019) Suits and Boots today called on Canada’s Senate to adopt 18 key amendments that it says are the next best thing to killing outright the proposed resource sector environmental assessment legislation.
In a post on the group’s website Suits and Boots founder Rick Peterson urged Canada’s Standing Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources, which began its review of Bill C-69 last week, to embrace recommendations put forward by independent, Toronto-based environmental assessment litigator Andrew Roman.
“It’s been our position all along that C-69 should be killed,” said Peterson, “and it’s even more so the case after reading Mr. Roman’s final recommendations that were posted over the weekend.
“But it’s clear that the majority government in Ottawa is pulling out all stops to ram this legislation through both the Senate and the House before Parliament rises in June, and Mr. Roman himself believes there is not time in this Parliamentary sitting to address all the areas that need to be fixed.
“If that’s the case, his recommendations provide a clear, concise and the best possible path to mitigating the mess that both C-69 and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act have created for investment in Canada’s resource sectors. His 21-page summary of 18 recommended amendments, each supported with a Rationale for Amendment, is essentially an IKEA-like C-69 policy manual for the Senate.”
Mr. Roman has more than 45 years of experience in environmental, electricity, constitutional and competition issues. He has appeared before all levels of court in Canada including the Supreme Court, and has represented and advised federal, provincial and municipal governments, large and small corporations, environmental groups, First Nations and individuals.
“It’s clear that Mr. Roman’s testimony would be valuable to the Senate committee members,” said Mr. Peterson. “We’re urging our 3,500 members across Canada to phone and email the 14 Committee members and asking them to have both Mr. Roman as well as Suits and Boots testify before them in the weeks ahead.”
Mr. Peterson said five comments in Mr. Roman’s paper are key in supporting the campaign to #KillBillC69 or at least amend it:
- On the “draconian power” given to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change: “All that is required (to stop a project from proceeding) is for the Minister to form an opinion that the proposed project would cause ‘unacceptable’ environmental effect…. Canada’s assessment process has survived perfectly well since the mid-1970’s without Ministers exercising such draconian power.”
- The politics of assessment hearings: The federal environmental assessment process “has recently become less expert, less science-based, more populist, political and polarized.”
- On Gender Based Analysis: “Why this is relevant to a proposed pipeline is not self-evident…This is a policy, not a law, and as such cannot apply to a private sector program, initiative or service.”
- How C-69 will put taxpayers at risk: “C-69 is likely to socialize pipeline projects so that only governments – in reality, taxpayers – will take on the cost and risk of proposing any kind of pipeline.”
- The ambitious scope of C-69: “Don’t try to use the adversarial pipeline project assessment process to correct Canada’s and the planet’s environmental, social and political problems that bear little relationship to the proposed project.”
Suits and Boots was launched by six investment industry colleagues in April of 2018 with the mission of giving Canada’s resource sector workers a constructive voice in the decisions impacting their lives and livelihoods. The organization has since grown to 3,200 members in hundreds of communities across Canada. Suits and Boots has held rallies and flown banners over Parliament, written Senators asking them to kill the current version of Bill C-69 and send this flawed attempt at re-working Canada’s environmental assessment regulations back to the House of Commons, and sat down with politicians in Ottawa to advocate for change.