Alberta Premier Danielle Smith addressed the Supreme Court of Canada judgement of the Impacts Assessment Act on Oct. 13. Screen capture

 

EDMONTON – Alberta Premier Danielle Smith gave a full-throated response to the Supreme Court of Canada’s ruling on the unconstitutionality of much of the Impact Assessment Act, previously known as Bill C-69. The Act had a profound impact on Alberta, killing both the Energy East Pipeline project and the $20.6 billion Teck Frontier oil sands project. Speaking to reporters on Friday, Oct. 13, here are her opening remarks, verbatim:

If you believe in fairness, common sense and the sanctity of the Canadian Constitution, today is a great day. We are extremely pleased with the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision confirming the unconstitutionality of the federal government’s destructive Impact Assessment Act.

This legislation, also known as the “No More Pipelines Act, but I’ve been calling it the “Don’t Build Anything Anywhere Act,” is an existential threat to Alberta’s economy. It is already responsible for the loss of tens of billions of dollars in investment and 1000s of jobs across the country in many economic sectors.

Today’s ruling represents an opportunity for all provinces to stop that bleeding, rebuild investor confidence and attract those jobs back into our economies. And today, I am pleased to say that Alberta is once again open for business.

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The court ruled that the act and regulations are unconstitutional and reaffirm that the primary jurisdiction of non-renewable natural resource development is the sole jurisdiction of provinces. And the court also ruled that they do not apply to activities that primarily fall under provincial jurisdiction, including conventional oil and gas, oil sands, hard rock mining and other similar non renewable resource development. These are substantial wins for the protection of provincial rights in our Constitution. The legislation gives the federal government almost unlimited power to intervene in the approval of virtually any major project or in any part of the country and for any reason. Businesses agree with us. Six other provinces, as well as First Nations who joined as intervenors, NGOs and Canadians from across the country who made their voices heard.

And today, so it was the Supreme Court of Canada.

And we will continue to fight against Ottawa’s unfair overreach that continues with their uninformed and unrealistic electricity regulations, and oil and gas emissions cap. They will damage our economy. They will stifle development. They will erode constitutional rights. And they will ultimately harm all Canadians by putting jobs at risk and making life more expensive.

Alberta will simply not accept being handcuffed by Ottawa was under reach was another blatant attempt to erode and emasculate the rights of constitutional authority of the provinces as equal and sovereign orders of government.

Today’s decision significantly strengthens our legal position as we work to protect Albertans and all Canadians from federal intrusion into our provincial jurisdiction. And we will continue partnering with willing provinces, First Nations and other allies and fighting unconstitutional federal overreach, using any and all legal means available to us and this includes potentially introducing a motion under Alberta Sovereignty Within A United Canada Act.

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I would like to thank the provinces, First Nations, business groups, NGOs and others who stood with us and stood for all Canadians. I would also like to thank former Premier Jason Kenney, who tirelessly fought back against federal overreach during his term as Premier.

I hope that Ottawa will learn from this mistake. Now today, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Stephen Guilbeault, the Minister of Energy and Natural Resources, Jonathan Wilkinson, responded to this historic decision upholding the rights of provinces to develop their resources. They tried to position this as a win. It is not. They confirm their plans to bring legislation back to Parliament to amend it. Clearly, they simply aren’t listening.

Guilbeault does not seem to acknowledge how badly he lost. And Wilkinson, I heard him say that he hopes that this is the last time that we ended up going to court. Well, there’s one way to assure that.

They need to drop the clean electricity regulations and they need to drop their emissions cap. That will be the ways that we can assure that we can come to the table, and work together.

The entire reason we ended up in the Supreme Court was because the federal government acted illegally. They ignored the provinces. They ignored the Senate. And they ignored the many partners who have opposed this unconstitutional law all along. And creating the uncertainty that led to the withdrawal of projects like Teck’s Frontier mine, that would have brought $20.6 billion in investment and thousands of jobs across the country.

Enough is enough. It is time for Ottawa to stop legislating in provincial jurisdiction and work with us on shared goals. And that’s why we call on the federal government will learn from the Supreme Court’s decision that their ongoing efforts to seize regulatory control over the electricity grid and natural resource sectors of the provinces is unconstitutional, and it’s illegal. They do not have the right to thwart the economy, livelihoods and future of any Albertans, or any Canadians.

Instead, we once again invite them to come back to the table in good faith and work with Alberta to align our mutual efforts on 2050 reductions targets for emissions, and the development of our electricity grid, and our world-class energy sector to make life better for all Albertans.

We hope today’s decision provides an opportunity for a reset in the ongoing federal provincial discussions on these issues because today, we celebrate this important decision and we will continue protecting the our constitution responsibly managing our resources, protecting the environment, and making life better for all Albertans. And indeed, for all Canadians. Thank you and I’d be happy to take questions.

 

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