Sask. politicians decry Bill C-69

Premier Scott Moe speaks at a Prince Albert and District Chamber of Commerce breakfast on June 18, 2018. (Peter Lozinski/Daily Herald)

Saskatchewan’s energy and resources minister says the federal government should work equally hard to protect all Canadians’ jobs, whether they are engineers in Quebec, automotive workers in Ontario — or oilfield employees in Saskatchewan.

“The concern must always be with all sectors, and the impact on all jobs, in all provinces,” Bronwyn Eyre told reporters on a conference call after testifying before the Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources.

“I would hope that the prime minister would acknowledge that this is a problem in a number of sectors across the country,” added Eyre, who was in Ottawa on Thursday to restate the province’s opposition to Bill C-69.

Introduced last year, Bill C-69 would overhaul the environmental review and approval process for many of those projects. It passed through the House of Commons in June and is now being considered by the Senate.

Some of the bill’s critics, a group that includes the Saskatchewan government, have referred to it as the “anti-pipeline bill.” Eyre said she went to Ottawa to urge senators to exercise their “sober second thought.”

The Sask. Party aren’t the only ones who have concerns about Bill C-69. Saskatchewan NDP leader Ryan Meili also expressed concerns while speaking to the Herald during a visit to Prince Albert Thursday.

“It’s really important that we have a regulation system for major projects such as pipelines. That is clear,” he said.

That regulation system should look at social, environmental and economic factors to make sure it’s a good project for Canada, he continued.

“Right now, the existing system doesn’t give us enough clarity. I’m quite concerned about the way that Bill C^( is designed. It may not solve those problems and may make some of the clarity even less clear. When you look at what industry needs, what communities need and what we need as a country, we need something where the goalposts are clear. Where once the project is approved, it’s approved or once it’s not approved, it’s not approved.

“I’d like to see them amend Bill C-69 to be more clear.”

Meili’s comments are similar to those made by Scott Moe last week when the National Energy Board approved the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion.

“We need to have the broader conversation around a regulatory framework that works for our environment, works for our economy and actually allows private investment in and look at these projects and move forward in a reasonable period of time,” he said.

“The federal government has chosen to introduce a new piece of legislation known as Bill C-69, and Bill C-69 in our opinion and many in industry’s opinion is not the answer because it moves those goalposts further away and continues to vibrate them around.”