Calgary, June 12 – The package of amendments to Bill C-69 approved by the Senate should be considered improvements that will strengthen the controversial bill – and lead to better impact assessment in Canada for energy, mining and other projects – if approved by the House of Commons, according to a new analysis released by the Canada West Foundation today.
The Senate recently approved Bill C-69 with the inclusion of close to 190 amendments that had been put forward by the Standing Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources. While some have framed the changes as “industry friendly,” most are simply favourable to the establishment of a clear and manageable process, according to a CWF analysis. Increasing clarity, reducing political discretion, firming up timelines and relying on technical expertise are in everyone’s interest.
In a briefing note released on Tuesday, Natural Resources Director Marla Orenstein and President and CEO Martha Hall Findlay analyzed amendments, comparing them with the original version, to identify what exactly has changed. According to Bill C-69: We read the amendments so you don’t have to, most of the amendments should have broad appeal, including across partisan lines. Amendments include an emphasis on investment, innovation and economic development; strengthened independence of the new Impact Assessment Agency; more resilient timelines; and greater reliance on the technical expertise of lifecycle regulators.
“The debate around C-69, which is a hugely important piece of legislation for Canada, means that facts, evidence and balance are more important than ever. That’s why we took the time to examine each amendment so closely. In the end, more clarity, less political discretion, clearer timelines and a reliance on technical expertise for impact assessment will result in a better process for everyone.” – Marla Orenstein, Director, Natural Resources Centre
“While the intentions of C-69 – to establish an impact assessment process to help protect the environment and the health and safety of Canadians; enhance Canada’s global competitiveness; and where decisions can be made in a predictable and timely manner, providing certainty to investors and stakeholders – are good, the legislation in its original form falls short. The Senate, in particular the Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Committee, has done crucial work to improve the bill. It’s now up to the House of Commons to pass the amended bill – without partisanship or electioneering.” – Martha Hall Findlay, President and CEO