Canada is in the process of revamping legislation governing how major energy and infrastructure projects are assessed. 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.
Kenney, who revealed his cabinet this week and whose United Conservative Party won a majority of seats in last month's provincial election, is meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau this afternoon in his West Block office. Similar amendments have been requested by industry associations, including the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers and the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association.
They say soaring gas prices are caused by a combination of factors, from the 32 cents-a-litre tacked onto Metro Vancouver gasoline to a lack of supply - and of course, profits. "It needs major reconstructive surgery or it needs to be put out to pasture". The goal of C-69, they said, is to prevent those kinds of delays.
The legislation, dubbed the "turn off the taps" act, was passed but not enacted by the province's previous, left-leaning New Democratic Party government past year in retaliation for British Columbia opposing the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline. "I think there is an opportunity for the three governments to find a way forward".
"If (Kenney) does do that, our lawyers are ready to go to court because we believe this law is unconstitutional and we would be challenging it as soon as it is proclaimed into law", Eby said Tuesday. He pointed repeatedly to a recent poll suggests half of Albertans are prepared to secede from Canada.
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The federal government is warning the new government in Alberta not to scrap the province's legal limit on total emissions from oilsands of 100 million tonnes a year.
Horgan told reporters he hoped to speak to Trudeau by the end of the day "about what the new owners of that pipeline can do about relieving pressure here in the Lower Mainland".
The two also expressed disappointment that Kenney was stirring up national-unity questions, calling that "irresponsible".
The law will have a more profound psychological effect in British Columbia where commuters are now paying the record-high gasoline prices, Gas Buddy senior petroleum analyst Dan McTeague said. The eventual ruling will likely be taken to the Court of Appeal in Alberta, and then that ruling may be appealed at the Supreme Court of Canada, he said.
On Wednesday, Environment Minister Catherine McKenna added steam-driven oilsands facilities to the list of projects that are subject to federal environmental reviews, but said it will exempt those same projects on the condition that Alberta keeps certain environmental policies in place.