Kenney calls assessment bill a threat to unity ahead of Trudeau meeting

Kenney calls assessment bill a threat to unity ahead of Trudeau meeting”

United Conservative Party Leader Jason Kenney speaks at an Edmonton Chamber of Commerce lunch on November 14, 2018.

Kenney, who was sworn in as premier on Tuesday, said his government will challenge Bill C-69 in court if it is passed into law in its current form because it intrudes on provincial authority to regulate natural resource development.

By proclaiming Bill 12, Kenney is going against the advice of the previous NDP government.

"The campaign to land lock Alberta's resources ... has been economically devastating and has contributed to the jobs crisis in this province", Kenney said during a Wednesday news conference at the Alberta legislature, joined by new Energy Minister Sonya Savage.

"This hurts ordinary families in British Columbia, this hurts Alberta".

"I think our Albertans are proud Canadians, they just feel conflicted right now".

Kenney said he'll be sending a letter to Horgan outlining how the B.C. government has engaged in a "campaign of obstruction" against the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.

Roughly 80 per cent of Alberta's oil industry comprises of in-situ projects, which generate fewer emissions compared to other extraction methods such as open pit operations.

Trudeau is slated to meet with Alberta Premier Jason Kenney on Parliament Hill on Wednesday.

Kenney wants all the amendments proposed by the former NDP government in Alberta accepted, including a hard two-year time limit for the whole process, less room for interference by federal ministers, and an exemption for in-situ oil sands projects in Alberta that are now reviewed by the Alberta Energy Regulator.

"We had a diplomatic and courteous conversation last night sprinkled with some humour and some hope for the future, and I'm confident that we can get these prices down, but we need co-operation from Ottawa and we do not need provocative action from our neighbours", he said. Oil sands mining projects will be included on the Bill C-69 "project list".

Speaking to reporters after appearing, McKenna said "it is unfortunate to use inflammatory language to foster polarization". "The Supreme Court has been clear about that", she said. "I believe that's in the interests of our marine environment, our natural environment, that British Columbian would have a say what comes in and what comes out", he said.

Canada is in the process of revamping legislation governing how major energy and infrastructure projects are assessed.

The legislation, also known as the "turn off the taps" act, was introduced but not enacted by the previous New Democratic Party government past year in retaliation for British Columbia opposing the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline.

The battle between the two provinces over the pipeline extends back to 2018 when the B.C. government announced plans to look at proposed legislation to improve preparedness, response and recovery from potential spills into the environment. The federal Liberals say it is needed to restore confidence in the assessment process and finally get big projects built; critics say it gives too much political power to the federal cabinet to interfere and allows too much involvement of lobby groups that might not have any direct connection to a proposed project. Opponents, such as Kenney and the oil and gas sector, say it is "no pipelines" legislation and would give federal cabinet too much power.

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