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Mayor Scott speaks to Parliament about concerns surrounding Bill C-69

PHOTO. Supplied: Don Scott for Mayor Facebook page.

Mayor Don Scott was in Ottawa on Wednesday and Thursday as a part of the Coalition of Canadian Municipalities for Energy Action.

The coalition brings together cities, towns, municipalities and counties to discuss their concerns surround Bill C-69.

Scott, who is a co-lead of the coalition, was joined by councillors Krista Balsom, Sheila Lalonde and Verna Murphy along with CAO Annette Antoniak and municipal support staff.

Several concerns and recommendations were brought forward by the coalition to ministers, senators, members of Parliament and other key political decision-makers.

Mayor Scott said the bill not only hurts the resource industry, but will lead to negative economic consequences and also proposes changes to municipal decision making authority.

“The resource industry, including hydro, mining, and forestry and energy, is the lifeblood of many communities in Canada.”

Gene Sobolewski, Mayor of Bonnyville and co-lead of the coalition said he’s concerned about the language in the bill.

He said the language has the potential to increase project costs, create uncertainty for approval, jeopardize consistency of funding streams and foster unpredictability.

The coalition brought forward six concerns about the bill, including that the purpose of the bill should be to improve investor confidence, strengthen the economy and improve competitiveness.

In a release, it also says the term “jurisdiction” should be expanded to ensure those directly affected by a project have a voice and that “proposed projects are considered with greater understanding of environmental, health, social and economic implications.”

There’s also concern that progress on municipal infrastructure projects will be impeded and how certain terms within the Navigation Protection Act are defined in relation to bodies of water.

The sixth and final concern listed in the report is that “The Supreme Court, has affirmed the duty to consult with Indigenous Communities and this principle is enshrined in the Constitution of Canada. There is concern that Bill C-69 will create duality of process and require the courts to provide clarity. Municipalities can ill-afford this type of ambiguity in the execution of major projects such as the construction of bridges, landfills or sewage lagoons.”

The coalition consists of 18 towns, cities, municipalities and counties across Canada.