Opponents of Bill C-69 hold rally in Calgary hoping to suspend energy legislation

Opponents of Bill C-69 are holding a rally in front of the McDougall Centre in Calgary Thursday afternoon, calling on the federal government to suspend the bill.

Bill C-69, which still needs Senate approval, would completely overhaul energy project reviews in Canada. The bill would replace the National Energy Board with the Canadian Energy Regulator and create a new Impact Assessment Agency.

The bill would introduce new timelines and require specific steps that companies and governments will have to take in order for new energy projects to go ahead.

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Opponents of the bill said they’re concerned it will hurt investment in the country and “sends the wrong message” to oil and gas companies.

According to rally co-organizer, Cody Battershill with Canada Action, the rally will highlight their concerns that the bill would make Canada less competitive in the energy sector.

“This legislation doesn’t fit the message that the country is concerned about the energy sector… it sends the opposite… that Canada is not open for business,” Battershill said.

“No company will want to invest here,” he said.

Battershill and other opponents believe the bill will prevent future large-scale energy infrastructure projects.

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On the flip side, proponents of the bill said it streamlines the process and it will protect the environment, he said.

According to Duane Bratt, political analyst at Mount Royal University, the piece of legislation has been very controversial in Alberta but it’s unlikely the Senate will block it.

“It’s been passed by the House of Commons so it’s sitting in the Senate right now. The Senate rarely blocks legislation but it has at certain moments in time,” he said.

“This raises all sorts of democratic issues because the House of Commons is the elected body and the Senate is the appointed body,” he said.

The “Kill Bill C-69” rally is scheduled to take place at 3 p.m. Organizers said they’re hoping to see about 2,000 people attend.

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