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Bill C-69 enters into law, and Alberta’s UCP government says it plans constitutional challenge

Global News logo Global News 2019-08-29 Phil Heidenreich
a row of tanks: Pipeline pipes are seen at a Trans Mountain facility near Hope, B.C., Thursday, Aug. 22, 2019. © THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward Pipeline pipes are seen at a Trans Mountain facility near Hope, B.C., Thursday, Aug. 22, 2019.

The federal government's contentious bill to set up a new authority to assess industrial projects like pipelines, mines and inter-provincial highways, was proclaimed into law on Wednesday and Alberta's UCP government responded swiftly.

"Under the constitution, Alberta has clear and sole jurisdiction over the development of our natural resources," read a joint statement issued by Alberta Energy Minister Sonya Savage and Justice Minister Doug Schweitzer. "We will be launching a constitutional challenge against this discriminatory piece of legislation that will only leave a legacy of irreversible impacts on Canadians."

Bill C-69, which deals with assessing industrial projects for their effects on public health, the environment and the economy, was passed by Canadian senators in June.

Earlier that month, the Senate passed 188 amendments to the bill, and the Liberal government accepted 99.

READ MORE: Senate passes Bill C-69, which overhauls review of major projects, like pipelines

In June, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he believed the process for approving major projects needed to change.

Also watch: Saskatchewan premier concerned over Bill C-69 (Provided by Global News)

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"Conservatives still seem to think that the way to get big projects built is to ignore Indigenous peoples and ignore environmental concerns," he said. "That didn't work for 10 years under Stephen Harper, and it's certainly not going to work now."

READ MORE: Conservative premiers' resistance to environment bills 'threaten national unity': Morneau

Savage and Schweitzer called the bill's proclamation on Wednesday an "unconstitutional attack on Alberta and our vital economic interests."

"It is baffling that a federal government would proclaim this act when nine out of 10 provinces are opposed to it in whole or in part," the statement read. "And if that weren't enough, Indigenous groups and trade unions are also on record as objecting to this discriminatory legislation. This is in addition to objections by industry associations and companies directly responsible for making real decisions about investing in Alberta and Canada.

"This is a dark day for Alberta and Canada as a whole."

READ MORE: Why critics fear Bill C-69 will be a 'pipeline killer'

--With files from Global News' Jesse Ferreras and Emily Mertz

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