Energy and Resources Minister Bronwyn Eyre appeared before the Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources in Ottawa Feburary 28, stating Saskatchewan’s unequivocal opposition to the Government of Canada’s proposed Bill C-69.
Intended to come into force this summer, Bill C-69 – which was referred to the Committee after its second reading in the Senate on December 12, 2018 – would make fundamental changes to the way resource infrastructure projects are reviewed and approved in Canada in the future.
“Bill C-69 will stop, not start, major energy projects and must be scrapped in its current form,” Eyre said. “Our government believes this new approach to environmental assessments would create significant uncertainty and lead to continued capital flight from our resource sectors. Bill C-69 disregards provincial jurisdiction and fails to recognize the proven track record and expertise of provincial regulators.”
The major issues of concern to the Government of Saskatchewan include: unpredictable and unreasonable timelines; new, subjective criteria; opportunities for duplication and jurisdictional overreach; and the removal of the current standing test.
The elimination of the standing test means that any organization or individual would be allowed to participate in a public review process of any major project, including a new mine or pipeline—which could dramatically increase costs and the timeline for environmental approval. New, subjective criteria, such as the analysis of the “intersection of sex, gender and other identity factors,” would also be introduced, leading to further delays.
In August, at the Energy and Mines Ministers’ Conference in Iqaluit, Nunavut, both Saskatchewan and Ontario did not sign on to the final conference communique, citing Bill C-69 as a threat to Canada’s energy sector competitiveness.
The Government of Saskatchewan is not alone in its criticism of this federal legislation. Major industry associations also oppose Bill C-69 and have warned that no new large projects will ever proceed in the future if Bill C-69 is implemented.