CanadaSenate committee passes majority of amendments for Bill C-69

07:20  17 may  2019
07:20  17 may  2019 Source:   globalnews.ca

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A Senate energy committee has adopted a vast majority of amendments to Bill C - 69 , but Alberta's premier says it's still too early to celebrate. “Our energy and environment committee , which has been quite divided, came up with a compromise and we passed pretty much all the amendments

Proposed changes to Bill C - 69 — a bill that would overhaul how energy projects like pipelines would be “With luck, we’ll have a package of amendments that the whole committee agrees on and we take While a granular comparison of amendments of a bill that has already passed the House of

After a thorough clause-by-clause review of hundreds of amendments to Bill C-69, a Senate committee has accepted a majority of the amendments to the Liberal bill that seeks to overhaul the environmental review process for new energy and transportation projects.

“Our energy and environment committee, which has been quite divided, came up with a compromise and we passed pretty much all the amendments,” Senator Paula Simons told Rob Breakenridge Thursday.

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Paula Simons explained why she and other senators voted to refer Bill C - 69 to committee , citing the need for amendments . An Alberta senator is pulling back the curtain on why Canada’s Senate voted to return Bill C - 69 — a bill to overhaul the energy project review process — to committee for

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“We are now going to be reporting the bill to the Senate. This is the opposite of what happened on C-48, where there was no compromise that we didn't report any bill.

The Alberta Independent Senator said there was much compromise in the committee process.

Senate committee passes majority of amendments for Bill C-69 © THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick Prime Minister Justin Trudeau meets with Alberta Premier Jason Kenney in his office on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on May 2, 2019. A Senate committee has approved dozens of amendments -- primarily aimed at mollifying the energy industry -- to the Trudeau government's controversial environmental assessment legislation. Bill C-69 is supposed to improve the way the environmental impact of major energy and transportation projects are evaluated, making the assessments more stringent so that they are less likely to fail court challenges. But the oil industry, backed by Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, has launched ferocious opposition to the bill, which it claims will sow uncertainty and prevent major projects, such as pipelines, from ever getting off the ground.

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Bill C - 69 , the Impact Assessment Act, fulfills a Liberal campaign promise to change how major energy projects get reviewed for their environmental, social and economic effects. Those amendments won’t be proposed for several more weeks after the committee agreed to take its study on a nine-city tour.

LISTEN: Alberta Senator Doug Black discusses the amendments the Liberal government is approving and their effects. Watch below: The federal government is rejecting most of the Bill C - 69 amendments being proposed by the Senate . 1:40 Liberals to reject most Tory amendments to Bill

Simons doubts the Liberal government will adopt all of the amendments that resulted from nationwide public consultations.

READ MORE: Senate introduces more than 130 changes to Liberals’ environmental assessment bill

“They won't accept them all. I don't think they should accept them all. There's some amendments in that package that I vehemently disagree with.

Senator David Tkachuk, Conservative Senate critic for Bill C-69, said that despite concerns about the bill, the amendments vastly improved Bill C-69.

“It is now up to the government to show they’re serious and adopt the changes that have been passed by the Senate Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources Committee,” Tkachuk said in a statement.

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The contentious proposed legislation Alberta Premier Jason Kenney dubbed “the no more pipelines bill” could have lasting consequences for infrastructure projects of all types across Canada, Simons said.

Industry, Kenney pleased with energy-friendly proposed revamp of Bill C-69

Industry, Kenney pleased with energy-friendly proposed revamp of Bill C-69 On Thursday, the Senate energy committee approved nearly 200 amendments to Bill C-69, pleasing both Alberta's premier and the energy industry.

The Senate passed an unprecedented 188 amendments to Bill C - 69 after months of study and a cross-country committee tour to regions most affected by changes to the natural resources and energy regulatory regime. All told, the government has accepted 62 of those Senate amendments verbatim

Bill C - 69 , as amended by the House of Commons Standing Committee , has been referred to the Senate . A Senate Committee will study the proposed legislation, which could be subject to further amendments . For more information about the legislative process, download our infographic on How

“If we get C-69 right, it means that any port, any pipeline, any new rail line would have to go through a rigorous environmental assessment,” Simons said Thursday.

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“It's too early to claim victory on these bills,” Kenney said Thursday in Calgary. “They still have to go back to the full Senate. But we clearly have momentum. The wind is in our sails.”

“The reports we have today are quite encouraging that all or most of the amendments put forward by the Alberta government and the energy industry have been accepted by the committee,” Kenney said.

“I believe there is a large and growing number in the Senate who are opposed to Trudeau's no pipelines law, Bill C-69, but I'm not going to suggest this will be an easy fight.”

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Kenney said he, Energy Minister Sonya Savage and Environment & Parks Minister Devin Dreeshen will be part of a “full court press” to influence Senators to vote down Bill C-69 and Bill C-48 in the coming weeks.

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Alberta NDP leader Rachel Notley will also join lunchtime conversations with Alberta Senators next week, the party said in a statement.

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Even with another Senate committee outright rejecting Bill C-48 — the bill to ban tanker traffic off B.C.’s north coast — Simons said Canada’s west coast won’t see increased threats from oil tankers.

“If C-48 were to die on the order paper, say, it wouldn't mean that the B.C. coast is suddenly at huge risk of oil tanker traffic,” Simons said.

“Any new port, any new pipeline or a rail line to ship bitumen would be subject to a vigorous impact assessment," she said. "And that's as it should be.”

Read more

In major reversal, Jason Kenney now says Alberta can live with amended C-69 environmental assessment bill.
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney and the leaders of the three other provincial parties are offering an olive branch to the Trudeau government on C-69, saying they're now prepared to accept the controversial overhaul of Canada's environmental assessment process — as long as the Senate's amendments are part of it. In a joint letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's point man in the Senate, Peter Harder, the multipartisan group asks the government to accept the changes to Bill C-69 — including amendments long demanded by oil and gas lobbyists — to avoid a constitutional fight over federal-provincial jurisdiction in natural resources.

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