Brian Zinchuk is editor and owner of Pipeline Online
REGINA, OTTAWA – What has been often referred to as the “No More Pipelines Act,” is going to the top court in the land this week, and Saskatchewan is making its case known against it.
This week, Saskatchewan will join every other province and territory in Canada, except for Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia, in a constitutional intervention before the Supreme Court of Canada to argue that the federal environmental Impact Assessment Act (IAA) exceeds federal jurisdiction under Section 92A of the Constitution Act, 1867, and is unconstitutional.
The challenge will be heard this week before the Supreme Court from March 22 to 23.
“Last spring, the Alberta Court of Appeal held that, with the IAA, the federal government had taken a ‘wrecking ball’ to exclusive provincial jurisdiction under 92A,” Justice Minister and Attorney General Bronwyn Eyre said in a release on March 20. “This is precisely the kind of continued, unconstitutional, federal infringement that led to our passing the Saskatchewan First Act. Clearly, most provinces agree that the IAA is a significant federal overreach that will stop future infrastructure and resource development in Canada.”
Previously known as Bill C-69 (which has been called the “no more pipelines bill”), the IAA received royal assent in 2019. It authorizes federal regulators to determine the effects of major infrastructure projects, including pipelines, mines and highways, on environmental and social issues.
Eyre mentioned this case in an in-depth interview with Pipeline Online on the Saskatchewan First Act, published March 20.
Saskatchewan’s position is that this federal legislation constitutes an unconstitutional infringement of exclusive provincial jurisdiction in the area of resource development. Under the Constitution Act, provinces have exclusive jurisdiction over the development of natural resources, including their provincial environmental regulation.
In May, 2022, the Alberta Court of Appeal, in a 4-1 majority, ruled that the entire IAA and regulations were unconstitutional and threatened provinces’ right to control their own resources. The federal government appealed the decision to the Supreme Court of Canada.
NDP Justice Critic Nicole Sarauer said in an email, “When most of Canada is opposed to a policy like this I’d sure hope it would at least make the federal government pause and reflect on their position. The Saskatchewan NDP has always stood up for Saskatchewan and we will continue to do so whenever the federal government oversteps into provincial jurisdiction.”
Pipeline Online provides the in-depth coverage on energy issues in this province that no other media comes close to. However, with recent threats from Facebook to block news links, it’s important to follow Pipeline Online in other manners. The easiest is to check each morning at PipelineOnline.ca, with the top story posted at 7 a.m. Monday to Friday, and additional coverage throughout the day and weekend. But you can also follow on LinkedIn and Twitter. You can follow editor Brian Zinchuk online at LinkedIn as well (you’ll see more stories that way). Finally, you can subscribe to a weekly newsletter.
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