New Brunswick Premier opposes government environmental bills
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New Brunswick Premier opposes government environmental bills

June 13, 2019



one of the six premiers who signed that letter to the Prime Minister is New Brunswick Conservative premier Blaine Higgs premier Higgs joins me now from Fredericton premier egg's thanks for joining us now good afternoon it's good to be here okay let's start you have heard what the Prime Minister had to say today in question period and going into question period he suggested that the six premiers has used six premiers who signed this letter are playing politics he says you're playing games and he says that if you're saying that federal legislation is causing a national unity crisis he says it's you who are causing the national unity crisis with your language how do you respond well I'm it's it's unfortunate that he's being dismissive of the of the concerns of six premiers that have have taken the initiative to voice them you know not only publicly but very specifically on a bill that is going to be potentially so detrimental certainly detrimental in its current format and and if the Senate recommendations aren't aren't adopted in their in their in their fullness or certainly very near so then we're basically signing off on the resources we have the ability to get those resources to market and and our economy cannot stand they have more private-sector dollars just exiting go elsewhere we are in a transition economy right now in my view and and and that economy is the shift over time from our resource base which has made our country strong and an economically viable and provided the the economy for our services that we have from all across our nation as we shift into a greener economy and and it's a process and using the resources while we have them or while we need them our own resources it only makes sense okay so we're in a critical juncture right now with this bill c69 on the table okay so in the case of bill 16 to see 69 is your bottom line then that every one of the 188 Senate amendments plus sub amendments must be accepted by the government for it to be palatable to you well I think that you know I listen to the Minister earlier talking about well there were a couple there they were interested in but you know it's a lot deeper than that so does everyone have to be accepted I guess it wouldn't be fair to say every one but I think we're talking a series majority of other recommendations or they wouldn't be there the Senate did I think above and beyond in their approach to this in their quest across the nation to get answers and understand it and for any bill to get I think it's a hundred and eighty recommendations I would say that you really can't dismiss any of them and need to look at every one of them in its entirety okay what about when the parliamentary secretary suggests and we're hearing the same suggestion from the government that a lot of the 188 the the the sum total of 188 amendments is really too almost gotten the bill they're saying they get to the heart of things like standing of who can actually be have standing timeframes for environmental reviews the power of the minister they're saying it's changes that bill so much they're not gonna be able to accept some of those changes I guess in that tells us how flawed the bill is because any bill that that would go to the Senate and require this sort of modification you know would would only indicate that it was it was severely flawed to begin with and and had was not well thought out to begin with and now it has a serious opportunity to get it right and so I would say that just tells tells really how bad it was what about when these have done they're done their work okay you're probably aware of this this open letter now that's been signed by thing about 50 environmental law professors and specialists saying that the changes are so significant that they would basically got the bill what do you say to them well I would say that but let's let's look at that if that if if there's concerns in that regard because I think every one of us that have signed this concern letter in saying these amendments need to be adopted are is based on us providing an economy that's going to thrive and survive to pay for the services across this country so so there's a balance here and I've heard the balance between and they try to make it between the the that it's it's not all environment it's not all economy it has to be a balance although the government will talk about that this isn't balanced and the concern is it's real from the people that are investing in our country we've seen a hundred billion exit investment from from our resource based industries I mean those industries have been paying the bills and we're still using those industries at this point in time our opportunity exists for us to transition not just flick a switch and and and shut off what has been causing our economy to survive and our nation to be strong but there's a process and we're in it and right now that's the goal is let's have this be a transition and and so I would say that there's a balance and right now that balance has not been struck ok what if tomorrow we see the response from the house of cotton well from the government and it would be tabled in the House of Commons and then we sent back to the Senate what if we reject most of the major amendments you'd like to see so basically and then this is sent to the Senate the Senate defers and says ok the elected House of Commons has made its decision the government has made its decision will you be campaigning on this out in the in the sticks in the fall well obviously waiting to see what is adopted is important getting their letter in in advance of it coming for final approval was was critical so that that we know that like 60% of the you know premiers representing 60% of the population are not in favor of this without these amendments I would say that if if it doesn't get changed you know in a way that allows us to continue to provide an economic base for our future as well as we move forward to a transition into into a different renewable energy I think that we would have to fight against this in the next election because what are what are our options at that point if 60% of the population is being ignored by Ottawa okay last question and it's connected but it's a bit different and that is you were in Toronto we were meeting with premier Ford and we're talking about the next election and you're talking about we're talking about possibly campaigning we did see last week in Toronto conservatives in Ontario hesitant about having a Doug Ford Conservative premier campaigning alongside Andrew Shearer in the federal election are you planning to help out Andrew Shearer in the next election campaign with him well I guess my point in in New Brunswick is is my goal is to support you know the the certainly the party that's putting forward the the positions that I that I agree with so you know if we're saying that this bill doesn't get amended and it's still out there and it has the potential to be cancelled with the new government then I guess I would support the government that wants to wants to change it or to get rid of it the carbon tax we're not supporting a carbon tax because we are 98% of our way in New Brunswick right now without a carbon tax to meeting our missions for 2030 I don't need to tax people more to meet our mission standards which we are committed to do so so if if a party is running on the basis of ideas that are going to cause our country and our economy to grow and thrive then I guess I would be supporting that that party so we'll say we'll see where that ends up but I guess I guess the the odds are pretty clear about who that might be okay last question when we know that premier Kenny from Alberta is gonna be in Montreal tomorrow knees can be meeting with Quebec premier Francois there go we know that one of the things they want he wants to talk about is this idea of an energy East type pipeline we're renewing it we know that that's an idea that's very dear to you do you have any plans to try again to try and persuade Quebec premier Francois to go to I I do indeed and I've had recent discussions with premier I'll go in and and I know his position I mean he's been clear I also know that in the whole concept of an energy corridor through our country we need to have certainty about getting resources from one one coast to another and and and that's that's important and Premier to go you know I'm hopeful he will play a role in that he wants to establish a gas pipeline through through Quebec to to let's say look look at a new LNG export facility and those along the st. Lawrence Seaway I mean we're we're stranded asset here in New Brunswick we don't have access to these resources because it stops in Quebec you know that's in our nation that's just not fair I mean and I'm not looking for handouts here I'm looking to build our economy and I'm looking to use the resources that are available from other provinces to do that and it's not fair for our province to say well I I don't agree that I'm not I'm not interested because they're they're transporting this this is well through their province on rail cars or up the Saint Lawrence Seaway and ships so so I'm hopeful we can continue discussions and I want to work with every premier and that obviously includes premier logo because we need we need Quebec we need other provinces to help join in our nation and making it to be as strong as it possibly can be okay premier Blaine Higgs thank you very much for taking the time and we will speak again thanks for speaking with us you're very welcome have a good day

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  1. There's something off with this interviewer. Trying to emphasize a narrative rather than asking questions. Is the regular interviewer on holidays?

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