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Notley turns up the pressure on Ottawa

by Mark Sabourin
EcoLog, 9/28/2018 11:01:00 AM

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley gave more evidence of her frayed relationship with the federal government in a September 25, 2018 speech to the International Pipeline Conference in Calgary.

She called the Federal Court of Appeal’s rejection of the environmental assessment of the Trans Mountain Pipeline “a profound indictment of Ottawa’s ability to manage our economy,” and asked, perhaps rhetorically, “Can our country get its act together and build desperately needed economic infrastructure?”

The federal government leaned heavily on Alberta to produce a robust climate plan in order to sell the rest of the country on a Pan-Canadian framework for climate action. The unspoken quid pro quo in that bargain was a pipeline from Alberta to tidewater. In her speech, Notley made it clear that Alberta had held up its end of the bargain. Now it’s Ottawa’s turn.

Notley criticized the government for not tabling legislation to “fix this mess” immediately after the court issued its decision, but she came down even harder on Bill C-69, Ottawa’s proposed impact assessment reforms.

Bill C-69, An Act to enact the Impact Assessment Act and the Canadian Energy Regulator Act, to amend the Navigation Protection Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts, has passed the House of Commons and will now face hearings in the Senate. Notley says two Cabinet ministers — Energy Minister Margaret McCuaig-Boyd and Environment and Parks Minister Shannon Phillips — will go to Ottawa to state Alberta’s case and “get this legislation fixed.”

Bill C-69, says Notley, will create uncertainty and hurt Alberta, “especially with the potential inclusion of downstream emissions.” Alberta wants the Bill amended to stipulate “very clear statutory exclusion of downstream emissions from being considered.”

In a media scrum following the speech, Notley said she believed the work Alberta has done on climate should be sufficient to remove most major Alberta projects from the project list. She also expressed concern that Bill C-69, when paired with other federal initiatives involving First Nations, could intrude upon Alberta’s jurisdiction over energy. That would be a non-starter.

“Let me be very clear," she said. "Albertans manage energy.”

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