Rachel Notley fighting for Albertans to fix Ottawa’s flawed bill

Marg McCuaig-Boyd
Minister of Energy and NDP MLA for Dunvegan-Central Peace-Notley

Premier Rachel Notley went to Ottawa this week to fight for Alberta.

Standing before the Senate during hearings for Bill C-69, Notley argued clearly that the federal government can’t fix a broken system with another broken system.

The new legislation aims to overhaul Canada’s deeply flawed environmental assessments for major projects. And while Bill C-69 has been criticized as damaging to Alberta’s energy sector, it doesn’t change the fact that Canada’s regulatory environment is already broken.

Alberta’s energy industry is central to the well-being of every Canadian, but Ottawa hasn’t gotten a pipeline built to tidewater in generations.

Some parties want to blame the current Liberal federal government, but there’s more than enough blame to hand around in Ottawa. Federal governments haven’t been able to get a pipeline built to tidewater for decades. The 2012 Environmental Assessment Act, passed by the former Conservative government, ended up leaving projects with devastating court challenges.

As Minister of Energy, I’ve been advocating for changes to Bill C-69 since June 2017. Along the way, I’ve worked closely with Alberta’s industry leaders and energy sector to find ways forward on a fair and responsive regulatory process. We’ve been clear throughout the process: we can’t go ahead with Bill C-69, but we can’t go back to a system that has left us stranded.

The Trans Mountain pipeline expansion is in the national interest. Yet Canada’s Constitution requires projects to go through a rigorous consultation process with First Nations and Metis people. Projects must meet environmental standards. We need a modernized approval process that Canadians can trust, that industry can count on, that holds up in court.

By ignoring Alberta and repeatedly looking for shortcuts, Ottawa has failed the country and failed Albertans. This might be why Jason Kenney has tried to change the channel from his time in Ottawa, claiming that he’s the only one who really cares about Bill C-69. But the facts are clear: we’ve been fighting for changes on behalf of Alberta for a year and a half. We’ve had ongoing discussions with the federal government and industry representatives. Last fall, a delegation of industry representatives with Environment Minister Shannon Phillips to fight for Alberta.

Our Premier was in Ottawa this week to fight for Alberta to keep holding the federal government’s feet to the fire. The reasons are clear. Alberta’s energy industry is central to the well-being of every Canadian. There is not a school, hospital, road, or bike lane in Canada that does not owe something to hardworking folks in a strong oil and gas sector. When Alberta’s energy industry is hurting, everyone in Canada feels it.

Because of a drop in oil prices five years ago, Alberta families have felt more than their share of pain. But the lack of a pipeline to a Canadian port continues to hurt this province. Last fall, a lack of pipeline capacity caused the value of our energy to drop by roughly 20 percent.

Because of this, we’ve been forced to limit our oil production, even while other parts of the country import American and Saudi oil. This is not a way to build an economy. We must do better for Canadians, as Canadians.

Jason Kenney isn’t interested in standing with our Premier as she fights for Alberta. It’s why he’s recklessly attempting to sabotage Alberta’s plan to move more oil by rail, just for his own political self-interest.

He’s more interested in sowing division than making changes to help build a system that works. Alberta can’t afford a Liberal federal government that can’t build pipelines to tidewater, but we can’t go back to a Conservative plan that failed.

A broken system won’t fix a broken system. Bill C-69 must be fixed for the sake of our economy and for the sake of the country. Rachel Notley and our team will keep fighting for Alberta.

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