The first of many risks posed by Bill C-69 to override provincial regulations, as well as project approvals that were the sole responsibility of the respective provincial bodies.
This abuse of power under the new legislation has very similar overtones to the NEP, and gives too much power to the federal government in provincial affairs that affect their economy, that will allow them to stop any project at anytime, by any group. It also completely dispels their claims of the new act being open, transparent and accessible to all, as pointed out in this article.
“Like the last recommendation she got from the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, the new one will be off limits to the public.
A heavily redacted copy of the last recommendation to the minister by the federal agency responsible for carrying out environmental assessments was obtained this week by The Chronicle Herald via an access to information request.
Twenty-nine pages, including those containing the agency’s ultimate recommendation, are blanked out in the 49-page document delivered to McKenna’s office in March.”
This also opens up risks to the federally owned TMX under conflict of interest claims as being owner and regulator. If this case succeeds, it will set a precedent that will most likely be used to successfully stop the TMX permanently, as well as any further upgrades to the existing Trans Mountain Pipeline.
“Concern regarding a potential conflict of interest or bias by the province has been widely reported in the local media and identified in most letters received by the agency,” say the document.
The document quotes a decision by Nova Scotia Supreme Court Justice Timothy Gabriel from 2018 in which he said “It would essentially boil down to the Crown (wearing one hat) being called upon to determine whether a project which the Crown (wearing another hat) has funded, passes muster. This will do nothing to assuage whatever cynicism has been engendered in the past by the already significant environmental impact which has been visited upon Treaty lands and environs by the mill and its facilities to date.”
There are seven sections in this new environmental assessment act that all reference the powers of the federal government to override provincial regulatory bodies. It pretty much gives them state control to regulate every project, expropriate provincial land, as well as set in motion measures to expropriate private lands for projects it deems in the best interest of their environmental policies, with no opportunity to appeal in any court of law., as well as set in motion measures to expropriate private lands for projects it deems in the best interest of their environmental policies, with no opportunity to appeal in any court of law.