When it comes to instituting policies considered disastrous to Alberta’s energy industry, Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is not unlike his father — former prime minister Pierre Trudeau, who announced the devastating National Energy Program on Oct. 28, 1980, almost 38 years ago to the day.
Regardless of the political stripe of those speaking Thursday at the Energy Relaunch Conference in Calgary, the federal government’s Bill C-69 — which is currently before the Senate — was described as a bill that will “doom” Alberta’s energy industry.
“Bill C-69 is the greatest threat to the future of your industry since the National Energy Program,” said Andrew Scheer, leader of the federal Conservative party and Canada’s official Opposition.
“Justin Trudeau has told Canadians more than once that he wants to phase out your industry,” Scheer told the crowd of 300 that filled the conference hall at the Metropolitan Centre.
“Bill C-69 is the centrepiece in how he will do it.”
Scheer said Bill C-69 — the Impact Assessment Act — will take Alberta’s energy industry, which is already “suffocating in red tape,” and “smother it completely.”
Besides adding layers of new regulatory burdens as well as sweeping new ministerial powers to control approvals and timelines, Scheer pointed out that “loopholes that allow for interference from foreign-funded special-interest groups and other extremist organizations whose sole purpose is to destroy the industry,” will make approvals of major infrastructure projects such as pipelines and hydro projects much more difficult, not just in Alberta, but across the country.