Canadian Senate in Ottawa.
Bonnyville will task a lobby group in Ottawa to help facilitate a group of mayors and reeves to represent municipal concerns with the federal government’s Bill C-69.
The local municipalities are hoping to send representation from the lakeland and Canadian west coast present a delegation to the Senate committee in hopes of changing the bill.
The Town of Bonnyville, City of Cold Lake, the M.D. of Bonnyville, and the Town of Elk Point had co-signed letters to Ottawa to warn about the potential effects the bill could have to the region.
“The next step is the reach out into others who may be interested in doing this,” said Mayor Sobolewski.
“There’s going to be a lobby. There’s going to be a bit of a media campaign, social media, and basically’s it’s going to be a campaign with the end result of getting in front of the Senate committee.”
Bill C-69 is currently being discussed in the Senate after passing through the House of Commons, and some critics have dubbed the legislation a “no-pipelines” bill.
But Sobolewski said its vague wording could impact more than oil and gas.
“When you start to develop landfills, for example, and sewage lagoons, it’s a lot of ‘not in my backyard,’ and a lot of people get very excited very fast. They start to reach out to any and every piece of legislation and group that they can to influence decisions and this act as it stands right now, I think the wording could impact us. Certainly in the energy and resource,” said Sobolewski.
Sobolewski said representation could span into British Columbia and Saskatchewan if the interest is there, but who is going to represent is not determined.
“What we want to do is get into there, get our voices heard and let the Senate know this piece of legislation in its current form needs some significant amendments,
“We cannot rely on regulations. That’s one of the pushbacks I’ve heard in the last month, wait for the detail in the regulations, and that’s not the way that works. When you see a piece of legislation… regulations enhance – they don’t change,” he said.
On Feb. 1, Bonnyville Mayor Gene Sobolewski, M.D. Reeve Greg Sawchuk, and Mayor of Cold Lake Craig Copeland spoke with four Senators and representatives about their concerns with Bill C-69 and how to strategize the next steps.