The Senate provided many important and well-considered amendments to the Impact Assessment Act (C-69). Our government is accepting 62 of them and tweaking an additional 37.
It’s an unprecedented amount, and together, these amendments make major and necessary improvements. They address the biggest concerns from industry, and provide a clearer, less politicized path to approval for good projects. A path that’s less likely to end up in court.
But we also rejected some Senate amendments. Because, frankly, some were absurd.
Let me give you some examples.
We are not accepting an amendment that would have effectively allowed provinces to veto projects within federal jurisdiction. Do the Conservative Senators who put that amendment forward not remember what happened with TMX?
We are not accepting an amendment to make it optional to complete Indigenous consultations. The courts have made it clear that there needs to be more consultation, not less. It’s the right thing to do, and in the 21st century, it is absolutely necessary if you want to see a project actually get built.
We are not adding a mandatory downstream emissions test for major projects.Downstream refers to the emissions that come afterwards, i.e. after the oil has left the pipeline and become a product used by a customer. The Act does not include downstream emissions. I cannot fathom why the Conservative Senators wanted to add them in now.
We are not making important environmental harm mitigation measures optional.Canadians expect and deserve to have these measures in place.
We are not accepting amendments that contradict each other. The package of amendments that came from the Senate included many cases where, in order to accept one, you had to reject another. Despite what some may say, accepting the entire package was never going to be possible.
It’s worth remembering that the reason we’re here is that the status quo under the current Conservative legislation is not working. CEAA 2012 has led to where we are now: pipeline proposals ending up in court instead of in the ground, as happened with TMX.
We won’t get to a better position by weakening the rules for environmental protections and Indigenous consultations. Or with legislation that contradicts itself.
I’ll end by emphasizing that the Senate put forward a lot of solid, significant, and important amendments – amendments our government is moving forward with.
With these in place, I think the Impact Assessment Act will allow good projects to get built, and built responsibly.
View my Impact Assessment Act page for more details.
Member of Parliament for Calgary Centre
Let’s stay connected:
Like updates like the above? Sign up for email updates from Kent below: