Edmonton Sun Editorial: Too little, too late for NDP on pipelines
The Alberta NDP government had a pretty good week standing up for pipelines. Yet at best, it was too little, too late. Too little to get pipelines built and too late to save Premier Notley and her caucus from being swept out of office in next spring’s provincial election.
On Wednesday, provincial Environment Minister Shannon Phillips visited the Senate in Ottawa asking Liberal, Conservative and Independent senators to reject, or at least amend Bill C-69 – the federal legislation that would change the way new energy megaprojects are approved.
That’s nice, but where was the Alberta NDP government when this bill was being debated in the House of Commons? Oh, right, they were still sucking up to their buddy Justin Trudeau in the vane hope the prime minister might help them get a pipeline built to the coast.
Bill C-69 will make the environmental review of future energy projects even more severe than the current processes; plus C-69 would essentially hand radical First Nations a veto over pipelines, refineries and oilsands. And the bill would add a “gender assessment” into the mix. A new pipeline could be rejected if federal regulators deemed its impact too harmful to women along its route.
If passed, C-69 would scare away even more energy investment from Canada. And already at least $60 billion has been chased away by federal Liberal and Alberta NDP environmental schemes, perhaps more.
Our NDP knew all this this past spring when C-69 was before the Commons, but the Notley government said not a word against the bill then, perhaps because they didn’t want to rock Trudeau’s boat while they still thought he could help them get Trans Mountain underway before next spring’s Alberta vote.
But now that Trudeau has punted a decision on Trans Mountain until later next year – and now that it is almost too late to stop C-69 – our provincial government has finally stood up to be heard.
The Senate may amend some of the worst aspects of the bill, but don’t expect the upper chamber to quash it completely. Because of NDP acquiescence when C-69 was in the Commons where it really counted, some form of the bill will almost surely pass and make future energy projects even harder to approve than current ones.
On Thursday, NDP Trade Minister Deron Bilous touted the positive impacts of pipelines at a major energy conference in Calgary. Unfortunately, he couldn’t get off the NDP’s “social licence” kick that government needs to fund “green” energy, too, in order to pave the way for traditional energy develop with environmentalists and regulators.
Then there was the premier herself who bizarrely asked the federal government – the same federal government that utterly betrayed her on pipelines – to use billions in tax dollars to get into the oil-by-rail business, even though a doubling of oil-by-rail would still only move a third as much oil as a single major pipeline.
Nice try New Dems. But that’s too little, too late.