A few days ago Prime Minister Justin Trudeau rejected most of the Senate’s common sense amendments and now Bill C-69, what most of Alberta calls the “No More Pipelines” bill, will be the law of the land.
This law will define Trudeau’s legacy just as the failed National Energy Policy defines his father Pierre’s time as prime minister for Albertans. But unlike the NEP, C-69 will wreak havoc with Canada’s economy in general.
Canadians will come to know C-69 as “The No More Major Projects in Canada” law. By ripping up the current processes and all the legal precedents that apply to environmental assessments on major infrastructure projects, C-69 makes all of Canada susceptible to the whims of well-funded foreign activists and environmental radicals. Our courts will become the tool of Canada’s economic demise.
It’s well acknowledged that C-69 pretty much guarantees that there will be no more big pipeline projects in Canada. Many think the whole idea was to create a back-door moratorium to phase out the oil and gas industry.
But it also means no more potash mines, no more iron mines, no new refineries or offshore platforms and no more big resource projects are likely to go ahead anywhere in Canada.
C-69 will be used by radicals to fight liquified natural gas terminals. Canada won’t be able to export low-carbon natural gas to a world that wants to buy it to replace coal.
This law means that no one will want to fund any new hydroelectric dams or nuclear power plants. Indeed, the overreach in C-69 means that large wind farms and major solar installations can be fought to an economic standstill.
Basically, any of the types of major nation-building infrastructure that created the prosperous Canada we know would never have been built if they had to go through this process.
The Trudeau government’s thoughtless rush to virtue signal in the lead up to an election tells the Canadian business community and the global capital markets to avoid investing in Canada.
This bill was poorly conceived and was forced through the House of Commons. C-69 went to the Senate and it quickly became obvious that sober second thought was required. The Senate energy committee, to its immense credit, took this bill and worked hard at getting to a classic Canadian democratic compromise.
The Senators travelled widely, consulted widely and then proposed changes to the bill that got broad cross-party support. The 188 amendments that the Senate approved were the most amendments ever made to a bill. The significant and common-sense changes secured the compromise endorsement of key industry groups and the five premiers who had originally come out against the bill.
The Senate changes came back to the House of Commons but Trudeau ignored all of the good work. He only accepted the least significant of the amendments and watered down many others. The items that had secured the agreement of industry and the provinces were rejected by Trudeau. And then to add insult to economic injury, Trudeau invoked a form of closure that is very rarely used to force this disastrous bill back to the Senate after little more than an hour of debate.
This law gives the anti-progress fringe the capacity to use the courts and regulatory hurdles to kill the economic viability of any major project. This law threatens Canada’s future economy and the future well-being of our children and grandchildren.
It didn’t have to happen this way.
Many Canadians of good will tried to salvage this law and arrive at the sort of political compromise that all Canadians should be proud of. But Trudeau arrogantly rejected that.
Separate from anything else he has done as prime minister, Trudeau deserves to be fired this October for rejecting a classic Canadian compromise and ramming through this damaging law.
Michael Binnion is the CEO of Questerre Energy.
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