Overthrowing Canada Federation For Climate’s Sake

From Science Matters

By Ron Clutz

Don Braid reports at Calgary Herald Liberals are striving to change Canada’s very nature. The future rests with Supreme Court.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

The Liberals want more than just climate action — they want to change the nature of Canada

It’s nonsense, plain and simple, to paint opponents of the Liberal Impact Assessment Act as climate-change laggards and deniers.  But the epic Supreme Court case that started March 21 is the ultimate clash of climate-change virtue signals, with Ottawa on one side and the provinces — especially Alberta — on the other.

The federal Impact Assessment Act, formerly Bill C-69, has been in force for several years. The federal Liberals will fight to overturn an Alberta Appeal Court ruling that the Act is unconstitutional.

The feds will probably succeed, given the leanings and precedents of the justices, but they’ll do it against the wishes of Alberta and seven other provinces.

Quebecers may be Canada’s most ardent advocates of climate action. In Vancouver and much of coastal B.C., people would argue they’re just as zealous. The need for action is fiercely pressed in the politically powerful Greater Toronto Area.

So how is it that the governments of the three biggest provinces are lined up behind Alberta, essentially agreeing the federal law is unconstitutional?

They’re genuinely fearful that the federal bill goes much too far toward federal control of virtually every kind of resource or agricultural project, effectively imposing a national veto over key areas of the economy.

If the court agrees with the Liberals, the judges will go a long way toward permanently changing the nature of this country, one of the most successful federations on earth.  Constitutionally, provincial rights are unassailable in project approval and economic development, with one exception.

The Supreme Court has started to use “national interest” — interpreted as a threat to environment and climate — to supersede provincial jurisdiction.
A federal victory in this case would solidly entrench that position.

The Supreme Court’s Hearing 40195 will be held over Tuesday and Wednesday. The lineup is fascinating.  First up is the federal government, supported by 12 “interveners”, all of them environmental or Indigenous groups, including Alberta’s Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation.

They have every right to make their case. But it’s noteworthy that not a single provincial or civic government will argue on Ottawa’s side.

On Day 2, Alberta will have 17 supporters, including the governments of Ontario, Quebec, B.C., Manitoba, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Saskatchewan.  As you’d expect, business groups, including oil and gas, also back Alberta. So does government-owned Hydro-Quebec. The Woodland Cree First Nation is in support.

The federal bill is a slippery thing. It claims to operate in federal lands but then refers to projects “in Canada.” It also assumes power over projects with environment effects “outside Canada.” It promises co-ordination with provinces, but no province is reassured.

The world has just had a new warning of looming climate catastrophe. Every Canadian province is deeply worried about this and has plans to act.   A serious federal government would encourage them all to develop their own plans, in co-ordination with commonly agreed national goals. That’s the way the government of a federation behaves. Canada isn’t a unitary state — yet.

There will always be debate over how we react and what the plans are. But there is no cause to alter the basic nature of the country.

That’s a goal driven solely by Liberal hubris and overreach.

Two sides of the same coin.