According to the court, while certain sections of the Environmental Impact Assessment Act comply with the constitution, the majority of the law, which relates to “designated projects” encroaches on provincial jurisdiction.
With this decision, the Supreme Court splits the actions of the different governments like a pair of scissors. However, environmental skills are interdependent and cannot be practiced in silos. This split is inconsistent with the reality of things, notes Me Marc Bishai, lawyer at the Quebec Environmental Law Center in a press release.
For its part, the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) welcomes the clear decision of the Supreme Court. In a press release, she says she looks forward to working with the federal and provincial governments to ensure that projects in the national interest […] are carried out in a timely manner.
Ecojustice, a pan-Canadian environmental law charity, says it is disappointed with the decision. In a press release, lawyer Joshua Ginsberg points out, however, that even if the Court ruled that the [Impact Assessment Act] was not sufficiently focused on federal jurisdiction, it confirmed that no project is not immune from careful environmental review.
In a press briefing, the Prime Minister of Alberta, Danielle Smith, welcomed this decision.
If you believe in fairness, common sense and the sanctity of the Canadian Constitution. Today is a great day.
A quote from Danielle Smith, Premier of Alberta
According to her, “this law […] is a threat to the existence of Alberta's economy and is already responsible for the loss of tens of billions of dollars in investment and thousands of jobs across the country.”
She also denounces Ottawa's deaf ear when it comes to possible changes to the law to bring it into line with the constitution. They just don't listen, she says.
She adds that in order to avoid launching a new debate in court, the federal government must abandon its Clean Electricity Regulation and its ceiling emissions [from the oil and gas sector].
Jason Kenney, the former premier of Alberta, also spoke on the subject. This is a historic day for Alberta resource workers. It's a great day for the Constitution and federalism, declared the one who initiated the legal steps to challenge the constitutionality of the law.
In Ottawa, the federal ministers of the Environment, Steven Guilbeault, and of Energy and Natural Resources, Jonathan Wilkinson, are of the opinion that this decision vindicates the federal government on the merits of the law. They particularly highlight the Court's reiteration of the federal government's right to request impact studies.
I think the amendments that are required are mostly surgical
A quote from Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Energy and Natural Resources
Steven Guilbeault clarified that the law is not invalidated […] and we will make the adjustments suggested by the Supreme Court. But the law remains in force and we will continue to implement it.
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