IQALUIT, Nunavut – Last week the provincial and territorial mines and energy ministers met in this northern town. Such meetings are most often a gathering of like-minded people who engage in smiles and back slapping. This time there were a few fireworks.
Hon. Bronwyn Eyre
The Impact Assessment Act (Bill 69) was discussed, and the ministers of both Saskatchewan and Ontario refused to sign the joint communique at the end of the meeting. They object strongly to the federal government’s new impact assessment plans. They insist that the bill will erode the competitiveness of Canada’s resource sector.
Hon. Greg Rickford
At the end of the meeting a joint news release from Saskatchewan Minister of Energy and Resources Bronwyn Eyre and Ontario Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines Greg Rickford was released. It says in part:
The proposed bill is fundamentally contradictory to several of Canada’s long-term strategic goals and it effectively hinders natural resource related economic development within the country. The changes in the new Impact Assessment Act would result in a more complex, costly and time-consuming process, while creating uncertainty that could ultimately erode Canada’s economic competitiveness.
They did not offer an alternative.
The new Act is now before the Senate for review. It aims to establish two new agencies – Impact Assessment Agency of Canada (replacing the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency) and the Canadian Energy Regulator Agency (replacing the National Energy Board). It also would involve changes to the Navigation Protection Act as well as others. The legislation is complex, and probably not yet well understood.
Read the news release in its entirety here.
This story has been corrected. A previous version stated incorrectly that the legislation would establish a Navigation Protection Act.