Bill C-69 Committee Hearings To Begin Feb. 5

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The Canadian Senate energy committee will begin hearings Feb. 5, 2019, in Ottawa on the federal government’s proposed Bill C-69 to overhaul the Canadian regulatory system, says Alberta’s elected senator.

Although Doug Black is not a member of the committee, he said Thursday in an interview that he plans to attend all the hearings with “two eyes and two ears.”

The energy committee also will be holding hearings on Bill C-48, the tanker ban off the west coast of British Columbia. “My commitment is to improve them [Bill C-69 and Bill C-48] or if we can’t improve them, then send them back to the drawing board,” he said.

In an earlier letter to the committee, Black urged it to travel across Canada so that it has a “full appreciation of the impacts of the legislation not only on business but on Canadians.”

A three-member steering committee chaired by Rosa Galvez, an independent senator from Montreal and a former civil and water engineering professor, will determine the hearing process. Black said he is hopeful the committee will accede to his request for the cross-country hearings.

According to the senator, “there are literally hundreds, if not thousands of people who want to be heard by this committee — it matters.”

Black said he expects the hearings will continue for two or three months and then the legislation will be back in the Chamber (House of Commons) for resolution. The Liberal government has said it wants to have Bill C-69 in place by June.

Two newly-appointed Alberta senators, Paula Simons and Patti Laboucane-Benson of Edmonton, also are members of the 14-member committee, which has representation from various groups in the Senate including the Conservatives, the Independent group and the former Liberals.

Black said he is not on the energy committee as “I am so clearly identified with one side here.” He believes it’s very important “there not be clear bias” as committee members like judges have to listen to all the evidence and “I frankly am very biased against this.”