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Environment

Kenney’s premiership poses challenges, opportunity for Trudeau, Scheer

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OTTAWA — Attention is now turning to how Jason Kenney’s win in Alberta could impact the fall federal election.
Political observers say Kenney, an outspoken and articulate former Stephen Harper cabinet minister, creates threats and opportunities for Pri…


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  • OTTAWA — Attention is now turning to how Jason Kenney’s win in Alberta could impact the fall federal election.

    Political observers say Kenney, an outspoken and articulate former Stephen Harper cabinet minister, creates threats and opportunities for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer ahead of the fall campaign.

    Kenney has made it clear he plans to fiercely challenge Trudeau on issues including the carbon tax and equalization payments, and so far has pummelled the Liberals on the former, says former federal Conservative cabinet minister Stockwell Day.

    Day says the premier-designate is also poised to be a national voice defending areas of provincial jurisdiction.

    Abacus Data chief executive David Coletto says Kenney intends to be a thorn in the prime minister’s side, but that could give Trudeau an opening to convince voters it is necessary to elect a federal government to act as a counterpoint to Conservative politicians across the country.

    But Kenney has also picked on issues that could be difficult for Scheer to navigate on a national stage, says University of Alberta political scientist Jared Wesley, including demands to change the equalization formula that most federal politicians avoid discussing,

    The Canadian Press


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    Environment

    Senate committee approves dozens of energy-industry-friendly amendments to C-69

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    OTTAWA — A Senate committee has approved dozens of amendments — primarily aimed at mollifying the energy industry — to the Liberal government’s controversial environmental assessment legislation.
    Bill C-69 is supposed to improve the way the environment…


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  • OTTAWA — A Senate committee has approved dozens of amendments — primarily aimed at mollifying the energy industry — to the Liberal government’s controversial environmental assessment legislation.

    Bill C-69 is supposed to improve the way the environmental impact of major energy and transportation projects are evaluated, making the assessments more stringent so that they are less likely to fail court challenges.

    But the oil industry, backed by Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, has launched ferocious opposition to the bill, which it claims will sow uncertainty and prevent major projects, such as pipelines, from ever getting built.

    Kenney, who has labelled the bill the “No More Pipelines Act,” has gone so far as to warn of a national-unity crisis if the legislation were to pass unchanged. In one of this first acts as a new premier, he headed to Ottawa to fight it.

    “I made it clear in both official languages that, if passed, that bill would jeopardize national unity and undermine our shared prosperity as Canadians by creating massive additional investor uncertainty, that would scare away job-creating investment and would make it impossible for companies to come forward with future potential pipelines,” he said in Calgary Thursday.

    The amendments approved by the Senate’s energy, environment and natural resources committee would reduce cabinet discretion to intervene in the assessment process, make it harder for anyone to initiate court challenges to decisions on projects and change how climate-change impacts are considered; some are word-for-word what was proposed by energy lobby groups.

    Kenney pronounced himself pleased with the changes but said he wants to see what happens with the final law: The Senate as a whole must now decide whether to accept or reject the amendments, which environmentalists say would gut the bill.

    Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has indicated the government is open to amending the bill but he and Environment Minister Catherine McKenna have refused to comment on amendments proposed by senators until the upper house makes a final decision on them.

    Conservative senators, who proposed 90 amendments, hailed the committee’s acceptance of them as a win for Canada’s regions and for energy-industry workers.

    The amendments to C-69 come less than 24 hours after another Senate committee voted to kill the Trudeau government’s proposed ban on oil tankers on the coast of northern British Columbia. The ban was promised by Trudeau during the 2015 election campaign.

    The full Senate must still weigh in on that decision.

    Any amendments to government bills approved by the Senate must go back to the House of Commons, where the government decides whether to accept, reject or modify them and sends the bill back to the upper house. So far during Trudeau’s mandate, appointed senators have not insisted on any of their amendments after they’ve been rejected by the elected chamber.

    The Canadian Press

    Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version said Jason Kenney spoke in Edmonton. He was in Calgary.


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    Environment

    Canada issues tender to bring back trash but misses Duterte’s May 15 deadline

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    OTTAWA — The Liberal MP who chairs a parliamentary friendship group between Canada and the Philippines says the ongoing garbage war between the two countries is both embarrassing and unlikely to end soon.
    Kevin Lamoureux, a Winnipeg MP whose riding has…


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  • OTTAWA — The Liberal MP who chairs a parliamentary friendship group between Canada and the Philippines says the ongoing garbage war between the two countries is both embarrassing and unlikely to end soon.

    Kevin Lamoureux, a Winnipeg MP whose riding has one of the largest Filipino populations in Canada, tells The Canadian Press that Canada told the Philippines clearly that it could not meet the May 15 deadline to repatriate 69 containers of Canadian trash. He said it is “a sore point” for some of his constituents, many of whom have family in the Philippines and are embarrassed by Canada’s inaction.

    “I’m disappointed that we were not able to try to get this thing resolved before the May 15 deadline but it just wasn’t possible,” Lamoureux said.

    The trash has been in two ports in the Philippines for nearly six years, arriving there in 2013 and 2014 improperly labelled as plastics for recycling.

    The Philippines recalled its ambassador and consuls general Thursday, after President Rodrigo Duterte’s deadline came and went without any movement of the garbage.

    “That recall shows that we are very serious in asking them to get back their garbage otherwise we’re gonna sever relations with them,” presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo told a regular news conference.

    Lamoureux said “it’s really sad that it’s gotten to this point.”

    In a statement, Global Affairs Canada said it was disappointed by Duterte’s decision to recall the top diplomats, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Thursday the Canadian government will continue to work on getting the garbage out of the Philippines.

    “We very much hope to get to a resolution shortly,” Trudeau said in Paris.

    Lamoureux said he met with the ambassador from the Philippines in Ottawa Monday about the issue and Petronila Garcia warned him that her government was serious about forcing an end to the dispute and that if the May 15 deadline wasn’t met, action would be taken.

    Duterte set the deadline last month, after he threatened to “declare war” on Canada over the garbage. He said if Canada wasn’t going to take the garbage back, he would put it on a ship and send it over himself, dumping some of it outside the Canadian Embassy in Manila to underscore the point.

    “Celebrate because your garbage is coming home,” he said on April 23. “Eat it if you want to.”

    “Had he not made the statement that he made, I suspect through the bureaucracy they would continue to be moving at a snail pace,” Lamoureux said. “There is absolutely no doubt in my mind because of the president’s actions the government of Canada has come to the table, and we are expediting it.”

    Lamoureux’s assessment was seconded by Philippine Foreign Secretary Teddy Locsin, whose harsh tweets on the dispute have been one of the main sources of public information about the status of the dispute. Locsin also blamed officials in the Philippines for allowing the matter to drag on for so long, saying nobody in the Philippines did anything about it until Duterte “laid down the law.”

    Canada tried to either convince the Philippines to dispose of the trash locally or find another nearby country in Asia willing to take it, rather than have it shipped all the way back to Vancouver. Neither option was a success.

    Trudeau was asked about the garbage on trips to the Philippines in both 2015 and 2017. In 2018, the two countries formed a working group to negotiate a solution. The main sticking point was who would pay for the shipments.

    Two weeks after Duterte issued his threats, Canada agreed to cover the costs. The Philippines moved quickly to issue export permits and have the containers inspected for seaworthiness and Philippine officials blame red tape in Canada for delaying the movement.

    Lamoureux said Canadian laws mean the garbage simply couldn’t just be moved overnight. He said Canada issued a public tender Monday seeking a company willing and able to bring the garbage back. He said Canada put a “national interest” tag on it to reduce the deadline for filing bids to just seven days, so it closes next week.

    Lamoureux said he is hoping there will be a decision within two weeks and that the garbage will be Canada-bound before the end of June.

    Sixty-nine of the original 103 containers remain in the ports, after the contents of the rest were handled locally at various points over the last six years. Environment groups in the Philippines and in Canada have staged protests, arguing Canada is violating international law by shipping garbage to another country without its permission.

    Mia Rabson, The Canadian Press


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