Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says conservative premiers are “playing games” with national unity by threatening the country’s future if they don’t get their way on two environmental bills.
The six premiers said in a letter to Trudeau Monday that he must accept every one of the amendments the Senate has made to Bill C-69, which overhauls how Canada assesses major national energy and transportation projects for their environmental, economic and health impacts.
They argued not doing so would jeopardize national unity and prosperity.
There are 187 amendments to the bill.
Conservative deputy leader Lisa Raitt says the prime minister has a duty to listen to the five provincial and one territorial premiers’ demands because they represent a majority of the Canadian population.
WATCH: Conservative premiers warn Trudeau of national unity crisis
Those premiers are Ontario’s Doug Ford, New Brunswick’s Blaine Higgs, Manitoba’s Brian Pallister, Saskatchewan’s Scott Moe and Alberta’s Jason Kenney, and Northwest Territories Premier Robert McLeod.
Trudeau says his government will accept some amendments that improve the bill but will not all of them, including one that he says makes it optional to consult Indigenous communities.
He also says he rejects any suggestion that national unity is under threat just because conservative premiers aren’t getting what they want.
“I think it’s absolutely irresponsible for conservative premiers to be threatening our national unity if they don’t get their way,” he said.
WATCH BELOW: Liberals look forward to improvements to Bill C-69, says Trudeau
The other piece of legislation targeted by the six premiers in their letter was C-48.
That bill is at third reading in the Senate and if passed, would prohibit any oil tankers off of Canada’s northern B.C. coast.
With files from Global’s David Akin.