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Lakeland area leaders strategizing next move with Bill C-69 after meeting with Senators

The Lakeland area Mayors and Reeves who met with Senators last Friday say they are discussing the next steps to lobbying against Bill C-69.

Bill C-69 is set to overhaul the federal review process for major energy project has been dubbed an “anti-pipelines” bill by critics.

Municipal elected officials fear the bill could make future pipeline and expansion projects much harder to green light.

The municipalities signed a letter telling the federal government that the bill would have effects locally and make future pipelines more difficult to build.

“The Senators gave us some really good advice on the next steps. the big issue really is trying to convince people elsewhere that Bill C-69 could significantly change the way resource projects are handled in our province,” said Mayor of Cold Lake Craig Copeland.

The City passed a motion to ask the Government of Canada to consider the effects that Bill C-69 will have on the Canadian energy sector and the Canadian economy in November.

“The argument is that the Alberta Energy Regulator does a great job on these applications and the process. Indigenous communities and Metis communities get involved and everyone’s involved, and then now you’ve got the federal getting involved to make it even a broader look across Canada. You could get people jumping into an application that don’t even live in the local area. It’s concerning, we expressed that,” said Copeland.

“I think ultimately we want an opportunity to speak in front of senators to bring a municipal perspective in the area. We’re unaware right now if municipalities are engaged with the Senate on this bill, so we want to have some representation of municipal elected officials to bring the community perspective to the Senate.”

Bonnyville Mayor Gene Sobolewski said the Senators laid out how the issue is a resource one federally, and not an energy-specific one like in Alberta.

“The meeting went very well. They gave us a very good perspective on what we should be doing in terms of meeting with them, going down to Ottawa, and some of their perspectives in terms of it being a national issue. It was very insightful and it was a very good meeting, very good dialogue,” said Sobolewski.

“They were very, very forthright in terms of highlighting the national issue. It’s not an energy per se, it’s an energy issue in Alberta, but it’s a resource issue elsewhere in Canada,” he said.

Sobolewski also said the Senators gave the local leaders some “enlightenment.”

Copeland added the goal, in the end, is to get a meeting in Ottawa.

“Whether it’s live or over Skype, but preferably in front and face-to-face to present our communities and how the resource industry affects our community and then to answer any questions,” said Copeland.

Bill C-69 is being contested in the Senate right now.

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