Roundup: Pipeline demands versus environmental legislation

The pipeline drama between Alberta and BC continues to carry on at a dull roar, with yet more demands by the Conservatives that Trudeau return home to deal with the situation, and Jason Kenney demanding that the federal government take BC’s government to court, Trudeau reiterated from a press conference in San Francisco that yes, they will ensure that the Trans Mountain pipeline will get built, and reminded Kenney et al. that you can’t take BC to court over a press release. They’ve just stated intentions and haven’t done anything yet. Take a deep breath.

Amidst all of this, the federal government unveiled their new environmental assessment legislation yesterday, and pointed to it when answering questions on the pipeline battle. The new bill undoes much of the changes made during the previous Conservative government, but also places new streamlined processes with legislated timelines and a plan to replace the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency with the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada, and the National Energy Board with the Canadian Energy Regulator. The Conservatives don’t like it because it undoes the changes they made, and the NDP don’t like it because they say it leaves too much uncertainty, but one suspects that the fact that neither other party likes it suits the Liberals just fine.

As for the pipeline battle, Jason Markusoff looks at what needs to happen for Alberta and BC to stand down from their respective positions, while John Geddes notes how little wiggle room that Trudeau has given himself.

Good reads:

  • While in San Francisco, Justin Trudeau warned Facebook that if they don’t deal with their “fake news” problem that the Canadian government will step in.
  • Trudeau also met with Amazon’s Jeff Bezos among other Silicon Valley luminaries to lure talent and capital to Canada.
  • Chrystia Freeland says that the Arms Trade Treaty bill will help to strengthen risk assessments, but faces criticism it won’t help situations like Saudi Arabia.
  • Freeland also said there’s no evidence that the Saudis used Canadian LAVs during their conflict in Yemen.
  • The Philippine government says they won’t arm any helicopters bought from Canada. Except they already armed the ones they previously bought.
  • A Canadian-British citizen who joined up with ISIS is begging to come back to Canada. Freeland will only say that she’s aware of his case.
  • Quebec’s plan to not allow home cultivation of marijuana could become a dispute with the federal government.
  • Statistics Canada’s survey of pot prices finds that it’s closer to $7/gram across the country, while the legalized plan is to be around $10 to start.
  • New ethics commissioner Mario Dion told a Commons committee that he wants expanded powers to levy substantial fines for rule breakers.
  • At least one public sector union is open to expedited collective bargaining to get new contracts in place before the old ones expire to keep from burdening Phoenix.
  • Three Indigenous people were considered for the post of Supreme Court of Canada Justice in the last appointment, but ultimately none were chosen.
  • The Independent Senators Group turned down an increased budget allocation because their central “leadership” office doesn’t need it.
  • Sexual harassment allegations have been made against former NDP MP Peter Stoffer, which he denies. Jagmeet Singh says he takes it seriously.
  • Here is a look at the demands of the NDP “socialist caucus” for the upcoming party policy convention.
  • Supriya Dwivedi calls out those in the media who ramped up the hysteria over the PM’s “peoplekind” joke by playing the clips out of context, when context is their job.

Odds and ends:

Maclean’s has a big package on the gender pay gap, which you can find here.

Small-c conservatives from across the country will be at the Manning Centre Networking Conference this weekend. I’ll be on a panel talking about the Senate.