C-69 a threat to more than just pipe­lines

PressReader - BRUCE_CAROL_ROWE Channel - C-69 a threat to more than just pipe­lines
My hope? That the Trudeau govern­ment re­al­izes it’s made a grave er­ror by put­ting for­ward leg­is­la­tion that will cause greater prob­lems.Al­ber­tans are more alarmed than other Cana­di­ans about Bill C-69, the most am­bi­tious, ag­gres­sive and dan­ger­ous piece of leg­is­la­tion put for­ward by the Trudeau govern­ment.This doesn’t make us alarmist or wrong-headed. It means Al­ber­tans are ahead of the curve in un­der­stand­ing the in­dus­trykilling in­ter­play be­tween fed­eral leg­is­la­tion, well funded groups that fiercely op­pose in­dus­trial de­vel­op­ment and ju­di­cial ac­tivism in our courts.A new Aba­cus poll shows 63 per cent of Cana­di­ans be­lieve the bill is a step in the right di­rec­tion. In Al­berta, how­ever, 58 per cent say it’s go­ing in the wrong di­rec­tion.What do most Al­ber­tans know that other Cana­di­ans have yet to re­al­ize? We’ve seen how judges can take a piece of fed­eral leg­is­la­tion and, some­times rightly but some­times wrongly, ap­ply rea­son­ing that will bring ma­jor in­dus­trial projects to a crash­ing end, of­ten through the de­lay, de­lay, de­lay of end­less le­gal pro­ceed­ings.This hap­pened with both theNorth­ern Gate­way and Trans Moun­tain pipe­line projects, de­ci­sions that the Trudeau govern­ment failed to ap­peal.As for C-69, it makes this dy­namic far worse. It greatly in­creases the flaws of the cur­rent as­sess­ment prac­tice, mak­ing it more par­ti­san, less trans­par­ent, more time-con­sum­ing, more prone to the in­flu­ence of well-funded for­eign ad­vo­cacy, and far more packed with red tape and so­cial engi­neer­ing dogma, with those iffy ideas now weaponized by giv­ing them le­gal weight, which will lead to ev­er­more-sti­fling court chal­lenges.In­deed, C-69 is a recipe for ma­jor cor­po­ra­tions in nu­mer­ous fields of busi­ness to stay away from Canada.Can we kill it? Well, Al­ber­tans have made a tac­ti­cal mis­take in fight­ing C-69. We haven’t reached out enough to the nu­mer­ous other in­dus­tries hit by this leg­is­la­tion.As Se­na­tor Paula Si­mons of Ed­mon­ton stresses, this bill im­pacts ev­ery­one from the nu­clear in­dus­try to wind farms, from the build­ing of ports and bridges to hy­dro and elec­tri­cal trans­mis­sion. (Si­mons is a for­mer Post­media colum­nist.)“Hy­dro peo­ple are re­ally con­cerned about what that means for the fu­ture of hy­dro,” she said. “We do a real dis­ser­vice to ev­ery­one when we frame this as ‘just a pipe­line’ bill. There are many, many more projects that could be af­fected by this that are go­ing to be im­por­tant to our en­ergy fu­ture.“It’s not a pipe­lines bill. This is a bill that could, as writ­ten, make it im­pos­si­ble to get in­vest­ment in a ma­jor wind farm if there’s a worry that the wind farm could af­fect mi­gra­tory birds. It’s also a bill that could af­fect a high-speed rail cor­ri­dor or a new port.”Here are other key points from Si­mons:The bill is a “badly-writ­ten piece of leg­is­la­tion.” It was meant to give com­pa­nies cer­tainty on all they had to do to suc­ceed, but fails. “I think the saggy draft­ing of the bill doesn’t fix the prob­lem it set out to fix.”When I com­plain to Si­mons about the huge in­jec­tion of so­cial engi­neer­ing in a bill that should fo­cus on en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pacts and fair­ness to landown­ers, she says, “I con­fess, to me some of it does read a bit like virtue sig­nalling gob­bledy­gook.”A num­ber of amend­ments to the bill are sen­si­ble and should also be saleable to both the Se­nate and pos­si­bly the House of Com­mons. But there are amend­ments that the govern­ment won’t back down on, such as the ref­er­ence to gen­der-anal­y­sis of pipe­line projects. “That’s not com­ing out. Could we get some bet­ter clar­ity of what it means? That’s what I’m push­ing for.”Si­mons would like to see the stip­u­la­tion that says busi­nesses must con­sider other ways to do the project dropped.“That’s not log­i­cal,” she says of the clause. “You can’t tell peo­ple who are ap­ply­ing to run a river hy­dro (project) that they also have to con­sider how it would be if they made a wind farm in­stead.”What makes her the most grumpy, Si­mons said, is the lack of a project list. The govern­ment has not given the Se­nate cri­te­ria for which projects will be looked at and which will not.The bill won’t be killed by a Se­nate vote. “There aren’t nearly enough votes in the Se­nate to de­feat the bill.”How­ever, if enough sen­a­tors fight against it, the bill could also stall and die be­fore the next elec­tion, Si­mons said. “Which is the more re­al­is­tic way of killing it, to just run the clock so that we never get to it.”My hope? That other Cana­di­ans dig into just how dev­as­tat­ing this bill will be for in­dus­try and that the Trudeau govern­ment re­al­izes it’s made a grave er­ror by put­ting for­ward leg­is­la­tion that will cause far greater prob­lems than it at­tempts to solve.

In Al­berta, 58 per cent of peo­ple say Bill C-69 is a step in the wrong di­rec­tion, writes David Staples.

© PressReader. All rights reserved.