April 5, 2019
Senators have agreed to discard a hard deadline on the passage of Bill C-69, according to a document obtained by the National Post, easing the pressure to complete the sweeping energy reforms before spring.
After a flurry of closed-door meetings Thursday, Conservative and Independent senators came to an agreement to reverse parts of a motion tabled one day earlier by Sen. Peter Harder, the Liberal government’s Senate representative, which would have fast-tracked 11 bills that are currently in the upper house. The deal between Conservative and Independent senators will eliminate proposed deadlines on three controversial pieces of legislation, including Bill C-69 and Bill C-48, the moratorium on oil tanker traffic in northern B.C. waters.
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The agreement comes as the Senate energy committee prepares to tour the country to hear from witnesses on Bill C-69, which proposes to overhaul the review process for major energy projects like pipelines and hydro dams. The legislation has become a focal point for many in the Western provinces concerned it could deter future investment in the oil and gas sector.
Some senators have said they are open to amending the bill, which industry groups argue is lacking in detail and therefore leaves the project review process open to interpretation. Last August, Ottawa purchased the Trans Mountain pipeline for $4.5 billion as a way to ensure construction of the project, which had languished in part because of Canada’s complicated regulatory review process.