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The Senate adopts an environmental assessment bill



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A pair of controversial environmental accounts, including the environmental assessment bill, escalated their latest stumbling block in the Senate on Thursday for criticism of the critics who warned the two laws to sap the Canadian oil industry and fuel the autonomous sentiment in Alberta.

The senators voted Bill C-69, who reviews the federal environmental assessment process for major construction projects, with a 57-37 vote.

C-69 imposes more requirements for consultation with affected communities of indigenous peoples, increases public participation in the review process and requires climate change to be taken into account when assessing major national resource and transport operations.

The Senate has made more than 200 amendments to this bill earlier this month, but the government has accepted only 99 of them, mainly with regard to reducing the discretion of ministers to intervene in the review process.

"I'm really proud of this legislation," Environment Minister Catherine McKenna said on Friday morning before a quitting cabinet in Quebec. "It will be great for investor confidence in our country to learn that we have a functioning system."

"If you do not respect the rights of indigenous peoples, if you do not protect the environment, if you do not hear the worries, good works will simply not go ahead."

Conservative senator Richard Neufeld called C-69 "one of the most toxic, polarized and divisive accounts" he faced in 10 years as a senator.

They also approved – shortly before – the C-48 bill, which prohibits the loading of oil tankers in the ports of the North Coast of British Columbia. This bill was voted 49-46, only defeat narrowly.

The two accounts have become together a flashpoint between Liberals and Conservatives on how Canada can protect the environment without leading investment away from the fossil fuel sector.

"With Bill C-69 passing, Justin Trudeau finally has his law, which will abolish the Canadian oil and gas industry," conservative leader Andrew Scheer said in a statement. "It's a sad day for Canada.

"This was Trudeau's goal throughout his lifetime to eliminate the industry and the hundreds of thousands of Canadians who rely on it for their survival," he told the Canadians on January 13, 2017, that he wanted to " stop the oil spills, and the Bill C-69 is how to do it. "

The two bills also set the senators' policy to test the will of the elected House of Commons in general when there is a disagreement between the two parliamentary chambers on legislation.

The pair was in a long list of accounts that the Senate struck late last night on Thursday as the room he was preparing to postpone in the summer and the next election.

The House of Commons suspends its meeting earlier in the day in a dark memo, with Members expressing condolences after the death of the conservative MP Mark Warawa.

But the Canadians have not heard the latter about the pair of bills. Both are meant to be feed for the Liberals and Conservatives on the campaign path for the elections of this fall.

Conservative Senator David Tkachuk said the government has made communities dependent on Alberta and Saskatchewan's resources a "bad service" by rejecting the Senate's amendments to the C-69.

"Mark my words," he warned, "these people will let them know exactly how they feel this October."

No oil tankers north of Vancouver Island

Law C-48 imposes a moratorium on oil tankers north of Vancouver Island. The government has accepted a Senate amendment requiring a mandatory review of the oil tanker ban in five years.

The Senate Committee, which re-examined the bill that recommended the Senate in May, passed the bill as a whole, but that did not happen, leading the Conservatives to accuse the Independent Senators who make up the majority in the Chamber to be changing the Liberals.

Conservative Senator Michael MacDonald was one of the few in his team to finally ask his colleagues not to move on to the bill.

He said "it will be devastating for the economies of Alberta and Saskatchewan."

However, several independent senators increased to speak in favor of the bill, including the Yukon Independent Sen. Pat Duncan.

"I think we have to do it," said Duncan.

Ontario's Senator Donna Dasko, who was in the committee that studied the bill in the Senate, said he thought he was "a very good bill."

Conservative Senator Dennis Patterson, former prime minister of the Northwest Territories, said after approval of the bill that "… it will not actually ban tankers from Hecate's Strait; it just simplifies Lake Alberta and Saskatchewan and destroys the potential for economic growth in northern indigenous communities ".


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