Senate votes to keep oil tanker ban alive as C69 heads to

first_img Join the conversation → Share this storySenate votes to keep oil tanker ban alive, potentially ending defiant streak in upper chamber as C-69 heads to House Tumblr Pinterest Google+ LinkedIn Opponents of Bill C-69 rally outside a public hearing of the Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources in Calgary on April 9, 2019.Jeff McIntosh/CP The Apollo 11 moon landing was so boring it must be real If Americans were going to fake the moon landing, you’d better believe there would be some high drama and maybe even an explosion or two.… More Comment 107 Comments Twitter Observers say Conservative and some Independent senators are likely to propose new amendments to C-48 following the Thursday vote, but that those amendments are unlikely to be accepted before the moratorium becomes law.The votes come as a number of Independent senators have been meeting with officials in the office of Environment Minister Catherine McKenna, part of what some observers say are last-minute negotiations over which proposed changes may ultimately be accepted by the Trudeau government.Sen. Yuen Pau Woo, head representative for the Independent Senators Group and member of the energy committee studying Bill C-69, said he has had “technical briefings” with Environment officials about the legislation but denied discussing specific amendments.“I do not know what they will or will not accept, but we have crafted our amendments in such a way that we tried to make consistent with the objectives of the bill,” Woo said in an interview Tuesday.A government source said it is common for federal officials to meet with senators throughout the study of a bill. The person said Environment officials have spoken with a long list of senators in meetings facilitated by non-affiliated Sen. Grant Mitchell, the sponsor of Bill C-69, largely for technical briefings and sometimes to discuss the likelihood of some amendments being accepted.Two leading oil and gas lobby groups, the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) and the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association (CEPA), proposed about 90 amendments to the bill, which were later put forward by Conservative senators in the final report of the bill.Sen. Woo criticized the nearly word-for-word adoption of the industry-inspired amendments, saying the committee should avoid acting as “stenographers” for corporate interests. Environment Canada also proposed amendments that were tabled through Sen. Mitchell.The industry amendments would amount to a deep restructuring of the bill. They would, among other things, limit the discretionary powers of the environment minister in approving or rejecting major projects, restrict the ability of special interest groups opposed to natural resource development to testify at public hearings, and effectively reverse a bid to sideline the national energy regulator in the decision-making process.In a written statement, McKenna said her office is “carefully considering” the proposed amendments to Bill C-69.“I’m happy that Bill C69 is now through the Senate, despite many delays caused by the Conservatives who wanted to kill the Bill, weaken protections, and limit public discussions,” she said. Meanwhile, the Senate committee’s final report on the C-48 oil tanker moratorium, written by Conservative chair David Tkachuk, said the bill would be “destructive” to Canadian federalism.The highly contentious bill has been criticized for unfairly targeting would-be pipeline projects that would ship oil out of ports along the northern B.C. coast. Environmental advocates and some coastal First Nations support the bill, while a number of other B.C. Indigenous communities have strongly opposed it, saying it restricts their right to develop natural resources on their traditional lands.Bill C-69 has been broadly supported by a number of industry associations, including the Mining Association of Canada, who also forwarded proposed amendments. Environmentalists have also supported the bill, but warn it doesn’t go far enough to protect sensitive ecological regions and account for wider greenhouse gas emissions.Industry groups and environmental advocates are largely in agreement that the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, passed in 2012 by the Harper government, was in need of an update, saying the bill restricted some aspects of Canada’s environmental assessment regime in a bid to get projects built.• Email: jsnyder@postmedia.com | Twitter: jesse_snyder Email OTTAWA — Senators voted on Thursday to save Ottawa’s controversial oil tanker ban, potentially ending a prolonged pushback in the Senate against legislation that has been met with intense criticism by Western provinces and the energy industry.In a 53-38 vote, senators rejected the adoption of a report that would have effectively killed Bill C-48, the moratorium on oil tankers in northern B.C. waters. Also on Thursday, senators adopted a heavily-amended version of another contentious natural resources bill, C-69, which is now headed back to the House of Commons for review. The legislation would overhaul Canada’s environmental assessment process for major projects like oil pipelines and power lines.Both votes put to rest a long saga in which senators have shown uncommon resistance to government legislation, raising concerns about an overzealous Senate that has acted not just as a chamber of sober second thought, according to critics, but as an outright opposition to the House of Commons.Bill C-48 and Bill C-69 have drawn the ire of provincial governments in the oil-rich provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan, as well as industry lobby groups who argue they could delay the construction of major energy projects. Industry has been warning Ottawa about C-69 in particular, amid a failure by the oil and gas industry in recent years to build major pipeline projects like the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, now owned by the federal government.Industry groups and some senators blasted the decision to salvage the tanker moratorium on Thursday.“The vast majority of Trudeau-appointed Senators have decided it is more important to support a bad Liberal bill than to listen to concerns from provincial governments from across the country,” Conservative senate caucus leader Larry Smith said in a statement. The Canadian Chamber of Commerce said it was “deeply disappointed” in the vote and urged senators to find a common ground on the bill.Both bills have received intense scrutiny in the Senate in recent months. The Senate energy committee adopted 188 changes to Bill C-69 on Thursday, the most proposed by the upper house on government legislation in decades.On Bill C-48, meanwhile, the transport committee took the rare move of recommending that the government scrap the legislation altogether, after Independent Sen. Paula Simons voted alongside five Conservative senators to sway a decision in favour of nixing the tanker ban.Senator Paula Simons. Redditcenter_img Senate votes to keep oil tanker ban alive, potentially ending defiant streak in upper chamber as C-69 heads to House Both votes put to rest a long saga in which senators have shown uncommon resistance to government legislation, raising concerns about an overzealous Senate Errol McGihon/Postmedia/File June 6, 20199:15 PM EDTLast UpdatedJune 7, 201910:33 AM EDT Filed underCanadian Politics Jesse Snyder Facebook Featured Stories Recommended For YouAccusations fly at human rights hearing into transgender woman’s Brazilian wax complaintChristie Blatchford: Was Hamilton forensic pathology unit punished for testifying against provincial bosses?Andrew Coyne: Canada Pension Plan caved to pressure from activists — where will it stop?Alberta couple faces scorn over photo with dead lion after U.K. tabloid makes them face of anti-hunting campaignToronto hospital fires around 150 employees after uncovering multimillion-dollar fraud Sponsored By: advertisement ← Previous Next →last_img

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