Alberta Premier Danielle Smith is heralding the Supreme Court’s ruling on the ‘no more pipelines act’ as a win for her province – and Canadians.
The Supreme Court ruled in a 5-2 decision that the federal government’s Impact Assessment Act, accused by critics of making energy projects virtually impossible, was “largely unconstitutional” Friday.
Speaking at a Calgary press conference Friday, Smith said the law posed an “existential threat” to Alberta’s economy and criticized federal ministers for somehow claiming the Supreme Court decision was a positive for the feds.
“It is not,” she said. “(Environment Minister Steven) Guilbeault does not seem to acknowledge how badly he lost.
“Mr. Guilbeault has done more damage to our investment climate in this province than probably any single federal minister I’ve ever seen.” The IAA, enacted in 2019, allows federal regulators to consider potential environmental and social impacts of various resource projects. Smith contends that it has already caused the loss of thousands of jobs and deterred billions of dollars in investments across various industries.
She said she welcomes the Supreme Court’s decision as an opportunity to rebuild investor confidence and reassert to industry that Alberta is once again “open for business.”
The court’s ruling affirms Alberta’s authority over non-renewable natural resource development, a jurisdiction the province is keen to regain.
Many companies have said that because they didn’t know if they could navigate the regulatory process, they have instead pulled the plug, explained Smith.
One example was the Energy East pipeline, which was scrapped because of Impact Assessment Act concerns after $1 billion had already been spent on it.
Alberta has no major projects in the queue for natural gas.
“That is a direct result of the federal government interfering in our market and creating uncertainty about whether or not such projects would be able to go ahead,” said Smith.
Smith said that natural gas projects are necessary for Alberta to beef up its electrical grid, which has almost failed eight times in the past year.
“We know that we need to bring on more natural gas, and we will commission more natural gas, and it will be very clear that we have the constitutional authority to do that,” she said.
The federal government has jurisdiction over cross-border projects, but Alberta retains jurisdiction over projects that remain 100% within Alberta’s borders.
The Supreme Court ruling was also lauded by Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre, who said the government has “violated constitutional rights of Canadians” with its anti-pipeline bill.
Poilievre pointed to countries having to rely on gas exports from dictatorships like Qatar, which has offered shelter and support to Hamas terrorists.
“Qatar is one of the lead sponsors of Hamas violence,” he said, noting he’d rather Canadian companies be the beneficiaries of energy revenues rather than Hamas.
Poilievre reiterated his pledge to repeal the act entirely, replacing it with one that consults First Nations and protects Canada’s environment.
Smith was clear that Alberta will work with the federal government, but will not stand for oversteps into provincial jurisdiction. She gave a reminder that Alberta will invoke its Sovereignty Act if need be.
“We will continue partnering with willing provinces, First Nations, and other allies in fighting unconstitutional federal overreach, using any and all legal means available to us,” she said.