Brad Wall is worried the environmental rules Ottawa is set to introduce later this year will strain national unity in the resource-dependent West.
“The cumulative effect of this and the carbon tax mean we are heading toward an unhealthy debate, just as we did when another Trudeau introduced his energy policy. How is this different from a National Energy Program, in terms of the reality of what it will do to jobs and pipelines and so on? That is starting to sink in,” the Saskatchewan premier said in an interview.
The Liberals are putting the finishing touches to what will be one of their most controversial policies going into the next election – the environmental assessment regulations that will govern natural resource development. Stephen Harper’s intended legacy was to keep government from growing much bigger. Justin Trudeau’s bequest to the nation will be government that is not only bigger but, he hopes, better.
The Liberals have taken the approach that the Conservatives messed up the approval process for big energy projects in their enthusiasm to ram them through, and the Trudeau government needs to restore the faith of Canadians.
Government officials claim that the new legislation will increase certainty by creating an environmental assessment where problems are ironed out early in the process, avoiding prolonged court battles that proponents invariably lose.