The federal government’s environmental assessment legislation falls far short of achieving a proper balance between economic development and protection for the environment, Ontario Energy Minister Greg Rickford told a Senate committee.
Mr. Rickford appeared late on Tuesday before the Senate committee that is reviewing the Liberal government’s Bill C-69, which overhauls how Ottawa reviews major resource and other development projects.
“We’re concerned with an omnibus type of environmental legislation that has the potential to significantly increase the amount of time these processes take, and we think … [is not] weighted sufficiently in favour of the economic productivity and activity that can arise from these projects,” Mr. Rickford said in an interview. “To the extent that Bill C-69 imposes lengthier processes, that’s not an appealing option for us. We don’t support it.”
The legislation has provoked a storm of opposition from oil-industry supporters in Western Canada who argue it will chase investment out of the country. Protesters recently brought a truck convoy to Parliament Hill to support the energy sector and oppose Bill C-69, which Opposition MPs have dubbed the “no pipeline bill.”
Liberal ministers defend the bill, saying it will ensure major resource developments are properly assessed for their environmental, social and economic impacts, while allowing good projects to be approved in an efficient manner.
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