Saturday , 1 October 2022
Bonnyville Mayor Gene Sobolewski

Mayor Sobolewski still vocal about Ottawa trip for Bill C-69, Reeve says it’s a waste of taxpayers money

After the town-led Coalition of Canadian Municipalities for Energy Action earned a seat in front of the Senate committee to critique Bill C-69, Mayor Gene Sobolewski says the group could be going to Ottawa anyway along with the Alberta Urban Municipalities Alberta and Rural Municipalities Alberta to continue advocating for change in the bill.

“We’re going to be doing a fan out in Ottawa. We spoke with the AUMA, the RMA, we’re looking at seeing whether they could do a resolution to come down to Ottawa with us. But the intention is to this to see how many municipalities are interested in doing a fan out of lobbying in Ottawa,” said Sobolewski.

The coalition would continue to press Senators about the impact Bill C-69 would have on municipalities, Sobolewski said.

“Not only from a resource perspective, but also if projects were triggered that would trigger this piece of legislation to come into effect. And I know the testimony yesterday [at the Senate committee] was quite an eye-opener in terms of just how broad reaching and how politicized this bill is,” said Sobolewski.

The AUMA and RMA have been trying to motivate municipalities across the country to get involved too.

The coalition will work through their lobby group to make the Ottawa trip happen.

While the group is made up of local municipalities, one group will accept the invitation.

The M.D. of Bonnyville is not in favour of a “press day” and Reeve Greg Sawchuk said during Wednesday’s council meeting that it would be a waste of taxpayers money.

He alluded to their meeting with the Senators in February.

“What the Senators said in Edmonton when we met with them, and they were very clear on this, was what we need to is motivate municipalities across the country, Ontario east, to get out there, hit their MPs and try and get the message out that this Bill C-69 is not a good bill. It needs work for sure. That’s how you’re going to have an impact.

“Our little coalition does not have that power. We do not have the resources to do that. Our associations, the AUMA, and the RMA, they do have the resources to do that and they’ve already started that work. They’re bonding together with Saskatchewan, Ontario, Quebec, and there is support now across the country that they’ve managed to push. That’s where we’re showing our support is to our associations,” said Reeve Greg Sawchuk.

Sawchuk said the overlap of messages could get confusing and wouldn’t necessarily be perceived positively, like the United We Roll convoy to Ottawa a couple of months ago, for example.

“We saw what happened to a bunch of hardworking truckers who invested their time and money with their message and we saw how that got skewed by the eastern media and that was unfortunate. Now to send a group of Albertan politicians down there to try and get your message across – no one trusts politicians to begin with. Why would they listen?”

Mayor Sobolewski responded: “The decisions at the MD is that, are decisions, but I know from the Senate perspective, they thought it was a good idea.”

He added that there will be cost considerations that play a factor in a trip to Ottawa coming in just a couple weeks.

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.