Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he is overhauling how Canada assesses big energy projects in a bid to ensure new projects can get built without the government having to buy them to make that happen.
The Liberal’s Impact Assessment Act passed second reading in the Senate last week but is widely expected to be amended when it goes before a Senate committee in the new year.
The bill is one of a long list of sore points between the Trudeau Liberals and Canada’s oil patch, with several oil industry representatives and the Alberta government arguing the bill will set up regulatory hurdles that will prevent any new energy projects from being built.
Trudeau says he’s open to amending the bill to give the private sector the kind of certainty it craves in order to invest in new projects in Canada because Ottawa should not have to pass a new law or buy a pipeline in order to get things built.
However, he won’t say whether he is prepared to say no to expanding the Trans Mountain pipeline if the court-ordered redo of the environment and Indigenous consultations comes back warning that the project does more harm than good.
Getting the Trans Mountain pipeline expanded is a major weak point for Trudeau’s re-election bid and his assertion that Canada can develop its resources responsibly without harming the environment.
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