The federal government’s contentious bill to set up a new authority to assess industrial projects like pipelines, mines and inter-provincial highways, was proclaimed into law on Wednesday and Alberta’s UCP government responded swiftly.
“Under the constitution, Alberta has clear and sole jurisdiction over the development of our natural resources,” read a joint statement issued by Alberta Energy Minister Sonya Savage and Justice Minister Doug Schweitzer.
“We will be launching a constitutional challenge against this discriminatory piece of legislation that will only leave a legacy of irreversible impacts on Canadians.”
Bill C-69, which deals with assessing industrial projects for their effects on public health, the environment and the economy, was passed by Canadian senators in June.
Earlier that month, the Senate passed 188 amendments to the bill, and the Liberal government accepted 99.
Watch below: (From June 2019) Energy Ministers from Alberta, Ontario and Saskatchewan are disappointed with the federal government after many amendments to Bill C-69 were struck down.
In June, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he believed the process for approving major projects needed to change.
“Conservatives still seem to think that the way to get big projects built is to ignore Indigenous peoples and ignore environmental concerns,” he said. “That didn’t work for 10 years under Stephen Harper, and it’s certainly not going to work now.”
Savage and Schweitzer called the bill’s proclamation on Wednesday an “unconstitutional attack on Alberta and our vital economic interests.”
“It is baffling that a federal government would proclaim this act when nine out of 10 provinces are opposed to it in whole or in part,” the statement read. “And if that weren’t enough, Indigenous groups and trade unions are also on record as objecting to this discriminatory legislation. This is in addition to objections by industry associations and companies directly responsible for making real decisions about investing in Alberta and Canada.
“This is a dark day for Alberta and Canada as a whole.”
–With files from Global News’ Jesse Ferreras and Emily Mertz