Roy Green: Who’s playing games with national unity?

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says premiers are 'playing games' with national unity over their opposition to Bill C-69 and Bill C-48.

The letter delivered to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Monday is considered “urgent” by the signatories, yet anything but by Trudeau.

Let’s begin by reminding you who signed the letter. That would be the conservative premiers of New Brunswick, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta, as well as the premier of the Northwest Territories.

Ontario’s Doug Ford, New Brunswick’s Blaine Higgs, Manitoba’s Brian Pallister, Saskatchewan’s Scott Moe, Alberta’s Jason Kenney and Robert McLeod of the Northwest Territories attempted in their letter to impress upon Trudeau their collective view that the federal Liberals should act in the best interests of Canada and either scuttle entirely or significantly rewrite two contentious pieces of legislation, Bills C-69 and C-48.

READ MORE: Six premiers tell Trudeau national unity would be threatened if bills C-48, C-69 become law

C-69, dubbed by its opponents as the “no more pipelines” bill, would if enacted into law dramatically change the regulatory path any new natural resources initiatives would be required to navigate. And on the subject of navigation, C-48 would serve to formally ban oil tanker traffic off the northern coast of British Columbia.

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With a Liberal majority in parliament, both pieces of legislation sailed through third reading before being handed over to the Senate for its sober second thought reviews.

C-69 was returned to the House of Commons very much rewritten, while C-48 was recommended for turfing entirely by the Senate Committee on Transport and Communications. That recommendation was ignored by the full Senate by a vote of 53-38.

WATCH BELOW: Pipeline capacity at heart of C-69, C-48 debate

Pipeline capacity at heart of C-69, C-48 debate
Pipeline capacity at heart of C-69, C-48 debate

How dangerous do the six premiers consider C-69 and C-48 to be?

David Aikin, chief political correspondent for Global News, quoted the premiers’ letter (provided to Global News by one of the premiers’ staff members). In part, it reads “immediate action to refine or eliminate these bills is needed to avoid further alienating provinces and their citizens and focus on uniting the country in support of Canada’s economic prosperity.”

The prime minister indicated the Liberals would agree to some of the almost 200 amendments proposed by the Senate, but scoffed at the suggestion national unity is under threat from C-69 and C-48.

READ MORE: Provincial energy ministers condemn feds after majority of Bill C-69 amendments rejected

National unity is under threat. Just before Christmas last year, New Brunswick Premier Higgs appeared on my program and stated it is time to decide “whether Canada is a notion or a nation.” Premier Higgs will return to my show on Saturday.

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Premier Kenney will join me Sunday.

Justin Trudeau appears unwilling to accept that his view of Canada is increasingly rejected. He need look no further than a recent Ipsos poll conducted for Global News. The Conservative Party of Canada, under Andrew Scheer’s stewardship, has now wrested majority support from Trudeau and the Liberals in Ontario and British Columbia. Tory support is solid and holding across Canada, with the sole exception being Quebec. Nationally, the Liberals are down 14 per cent over one year ago.

It just might be advisable for Trudeau to visit with the six premiers and hear them out.

Roy Green is the host of the Roy Green Show on the Global News Radio network.

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