This goofy clause in Bill C-69 will ensure resource development in Canada stops cold

Diane FrancisDiane Francis

Diane Francis: This is not legislation. This is sabotage

The Liberals’ Bill C-69, a train wreck of politically correct nonsense, passed last year and is now in the Senate where dozens of amendments have been proposed.

Frankly, the Senate should reject the bill because it will impose onerous consultative and other burdens that will severely hobble all energy projects in future. It grants power to the environment minister — not the minister of natural resources — over fossil fuel, mining, nuclear, pipeline, and rail transportation projects.

The bill extends the Liberals’ anti-oil bias because other large-emissions industries such as chemicals, aluminum, fertilizer, cement, agricultural and waste treatment facilities are not included.

But the hidden coup de grace for the Canadian energy sector is a goofy requirement that projects will be judged according to “the intersection of sex and gender with other identity factors.”

Whatever that means.

This vague wording is baked into the bill and will tie up projects indefinitely, cause lawsuits, and frighten off whatever new players or foreigners are willing to invest in Canada. The clause has baffled the country’s lawyers and corporations as to what “intersection” even means, but there are a few who have speculated on it.

The Canada West Foundation said the new wording means that social impacts must be analyzed. When a project is proposed, its positive and negative effects must be outlined, including how the project affects different people.

“Some people may get jobs; some won’t,” wrote Marla Orenstein, director of the Natural Resources Centre at the Foundation. “Some people may see their house values rise; others may experience an increase in their rents. Some people may find it harder to provide for their families through hunting and fishing; for others, it won’t matter.

“Do men and women both have an equal opportunity to benefit from the jobs offered? Is the land that the project will use important for certain groups in particular? Are there particular groups that are more likely to experience health problems as a result of the project?” she added.

A lawyer with Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP suggested the terms “gender” and “gender identity” mean that approvals will take into consideration the project’s gender policies involving hiring, bathroom policies, or codes of ethics around treatment of people based on gender. And “identity factors” will broaden this to race, religion, ethnicity and unspecified other factors.

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