May 2, 2019 7:28 am
Updated: May 2, 2019 9:12 pm

Jason Kenney calls environment assessment bill a threat to national unity

WATCH: Just days into the job, newly minted Alberta Premier Jason Kenney headed to Ottawa to meet with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. While the photo-op appeared friendly, Kenney arrived with a stark warning about Bill C-69. David Akin explains.

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Alberta Premier Jason Kenney says if the federal bill overhauling environmental assessments passes in its current form it will threaten Canadian unity and there will be “an immediate constitutional challenge.”

Kenney is at the Senate energy committee this morning to talk about Bill C-69, which he calls the “no more pipelines” bill.

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He is telling the committee the bill flagrantly violates Alberta’s constitutional right to regulate its natural resources.

“So if [Bill C-69] proceeds, together with C-48, it will be a message to the people of Alberta that their federal government doesn’t care about a devastating period of economic adversity in our province and is so careless about it, that it’s prepared to violate exclusive provincial jurisdiction,” Kenney said at the committee meeting.

Bill C-48 would see the government ban tankers off British Columbia’s northern coast.

“We don’t oppose equalization — but we oppose equalization if we cannot develop the resources that pay for it,” Kenny continued.

The legislation establishes a new process for reviewing major projects with a national scope or in federal jurisdiction.

WATCH: Kenney threatens constitutional challenge of bill C-69 ahead of Trudeau meeting

The federal Liberals say it is needed to restore confidence in the assessment process and finally get big projects built, but critics say it gives too much political power to the federal cabinet.

Later today, Kenney is to meet face-to-face with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the political foe he attacked relentlessly in his successful bid to become Alberta’s premier.

READ MORE: Ottawa will exempt oilsands from new reviews unless Kenney lifts emissions cap

Kenney, a former federal Conservative cabinet minister, spent as much or more time during the Alberta election campaign attacking Trudeau than his main provincial adversary, Rachel Notley, whose NDP government Kenney’s United Conservatives defeated on April 16.

Indeed, Kenney repeatedly urged Albertans to defeat what he called the “Trudeau-Notley alliance” and shared a stage during the campaign with federal Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer.

He has also promised to fight the Liberals in court over the imposition of a carbon tax and has threatened to hold a referendum on federal equalization if there’s no substantive progress on building a pipeline to get Alberta’s oil to overseas markets.

WATCH: Kenney talks about Alberta’s ‘deep frustration’ with pipeline delays

WATCH: Jason Kenney calls Bill C-69 a full-frontal attack on Alberta economic prosperity.

*with a file from Global News 

© 2019 The Canadian Press

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