I read with interest the chamber article in the paper concerning Bill C-69. While I support the advocacy work of the Chamber of Commerce, I must admit I was disappointed to see the Conservative Party’s rhetoric reflected in their letter. The legislation addresses the loss in trust by investors and Canadians that resulted from changes made by the previous government to key pieces of legislation including the Environmental Assessment Act.
Here is a letter I sent to the chamber, which your readers might find useful explaining why I feel that C-69 will enable energy projects to proceed:
In response to your concerns, I would like to highlight some background on Bill C-69. The Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 was replaced by the Impact Assessment Act, not to create increased red tape and bureaucracy, but to ensure that the environment and economy can grow together.
The rules set out in Bill C-69 will see protection of our environment, fish, and waterways while respecting Indigenous rights. By taking the environmental impacts of projects into account, and ensuring indigenous consultation takes place, good projects can move forward and create new jobs to grow the economy. This will encourage investment in Canadian projects and minimize uncertainty for potential investors. It is imperative that environmental protection is considered with all major projects; economic growth should not come at the cost of our environment.
During the 2015 federal election, the Liberal Party of Canada ran on a platform that included commitments to restore the credibility to environmental assessments; modernize and rebuild trust in the National Energy Board; and conduct a wholesale review of the previous government’s amendments to the Fisheries Act and elimination of the Navigable Waters Protection Act. The intent is to restore protections and incorporate more modern safeguards. I was largely inspired to run based on this platform and felt strongly about the importance of restoring trust in the environmental review process that was damaged by the Harper government.
I personally sat on the review panel for Bill C-69 and have listened to many hours of testimony. I can assure you the Trudeau government is focused on doing the due diligence necessary to ensure TMX is built.
Following the Federal Court of Appeal’s guidance, the National Energy Board was instructed to reconsider its recommendation on the TMX project, considering the environmental impacts of project-related marine shipping. On Feb. 22, 2019, after an intensive 22-week reconsideration process, the NEB submitted its report on the project with an overall recommendation that the Trans Mountain Expansion Project is in the Canadian public interest and should be approved subject to 156 conditions and 16 new recommendations to the Government of Canada.
I agree that increased rail traffic is a poor alternative to a pipeline and is hazardous to public safety. As a result, it’s important that TMX is moved forward correctly to ensure the best possible outcome for all stakeholders. TMX will not be subject to Bill C-69 and must only satisfy the NEB’s recommendations and conditions.
John Aldag, Member of Parliament Cloverdale-Langley City