Thursday , 5 August 2021
Sobolewski speaks at the Treaty Six Flag raising at the Bonnyville town office on May 17.

Going east again? Mayor Sobolewski says coalition might renew lobby efforts against Bill C-69 in Ottawa

Sobolewski speaks at the Treaty Six Flag raising at the Bonnyville town office on May 17.

Local politicians getting involved in Bill C-69 might not be done yet.

Bonnyville Mayor Gene Sobolewski said Impact Canada has asked if the Coalition of Canadian Municipalities for Energy Action would go back to Ottawa for another set of meetings before the bill is voted on June 18 in the Senate.

“It’s kind of unique because we’re being asked to go down because we had such a positive impact last time and they want us to go back again,” said Sobolewski on The Morning After.

“I know we talked to Impact Canada, and there’s a request or some asks for our coalition to go back to Ottawa in relatively short order to be able to continue to argue for Bill C-69 and Bill C-48. Simply because it’s going to be going to the Senate and indications are the government is going to use the Senate to either accept some of the amendments and to reject the motion of the abolishment of C-48.”

He explained that during the FCM conference later this week in Quebec City, he’ll attend several meetings regarding Bill C-69 and Bill C-48 which could be lead up to a second Ottawa trip.

The coalition, which included representatives like Cold Lake city councillor Bob Buckle and Mayor of Wood Buffalo Don Scott, was in Ottawa earlier this month explaining the impacts the bill would have on municipalities and industry.

Shortly afterward, the Senate committee completed their list of 80 some amendments to the bill after feedback from energy producers and Indigenous leaders during their eight stops across Canada.

Cold Lake unaware of Ottawa trip plans

However, Cold Lake Mayor Craig Copeland said the city is unaware of another Ottawa trip on Bill C-69.

“We haven’t been in the loop. But if there is a trip being planned, we’ll review it and see the merit and who it would be because it is important to deliver the message that the resource sector is important to our country, and especially in this area here in the Lakeland,” said Copeland.

“I think with our council, doing another trip, we’ll look at it. But I think we’ve raised the bar. How much more do we need to do?

“Unless he’s going to tell me that we’re meeting with Justin Trudeau or the liberal MPs that are going to be voting on this matter and I really don’t know, then, yeah, we’ll definitely go to Ottawa. But who are we meeting with? This is all news to me. And it’s a bit unsettling that we’re hearing it through the media,” said Copeland.

Sobolewski said the decision to lobby again might come to town council in a special meeting since the next town council meeting isn’t scheduled until June 11, a week before the Senate vote.

“It’s a very short window and we might have to do with a special meeting. Right now we’re trying to put some details together to see what this is going to look like and when the appropriate time to undertake the blitz. That’s the information we’re waiting for right now.

“Once that happens, it could happen very quickly and a lot of the municipalities that are going to participate are going to have to do whatever process they utilize. But for our council it would probably be a special meeting saying can we go down there again,” said Sobolewski.

Municipalities across the country leave this week for FCM in Quebec City.

About Michael Menzies

Menzies is the editor-at-large for Connected Media Inc. Born and raised in Vermilion, he started in May 2018 during his NAIT Radio and Television practicum and reports on local politics, sports, and community issues. He became the Bonnyville Pontiacs play-by-play voice during the 2019-20 season. He also comments on provincial and national issues. Menzies hosts Connected! Evening Monday-Thursday at 5 o’clock. He also likes to buy books and read some of them.