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The federal government’s changes to its Impact Assessment Act aren’t enough to save the law, Alberta claims.

“Even with these amendments, the act is still unconstitutional,” reads a joint statement from Alberta Premier Danielle Smith, Environment Minister Rebecca Schulz, and Minister of Justice Mickey Amery.

The Supreme Court previously ruled that the federal government’s Impact Assessment Act was “largely unconstitutional.” The act is a part of the federal government’s environmental assessment process for what it calls “designated projects,” but critics maintained that the legislation was meant to encroach into provincial jurisdiction.

The Liberals tabled several proposed amendments last month in response to the Supreme Court decision to “ensure the IAA is constitutionally sound and restore regulatory certainty for industry and investors.”

Amendments focused on the five categories of project designation, screening decision, public interest decision, definition of federal effects, and cooperative federalism. Each section showed the current version, the court’s decision and the proposed changes on a fact sheet provided by the Liberals.

The changes aim to align the legislation more closely with areas of federal jurisdiction under the constitution. Despite the amendments, the Alberta government maintains that the amendments do not keep the feds out of provincial jurisdiction. 

“This will put projects like in-situ oil sands developments, major highways within our borders, and power plants at risk from federal interference. This is simply unacceptable, and Alberta, when it comes to intra-provincial projects, will not recognize the Impact Assessment Act as valid law,” reads the statement from Smith, Schulz, and Amery.

Smith and her colleagues said that the situation could have been avoided if the federal government had consulted the province following the Supreme Court’s ruling rather than “sending vague letters and blank templates.” 

“The federal government did not even inform Alberta when they were tabling these amendments in the House of Commons,” reads the statement.

“The failure to work collaboratively with Alberta is a choice made by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Minister Guilbeault.”

Alberta previously threatened to take the feds to court for the government’s proposed plastics registry and production cap.

The federal court had already sided with Alberta and Saskatchewan in another case, finding that Ottawa’s listing plastics as toxic for the purposes of banning single-use plastics was “both unreasonable and unconstitutional.” 

“Choices have consequences. Alberta has won in court twice in the past year, and we are ready to win again,” concluded the joint statement. 

When asked for comment, Guilbeault’s office directed True North to the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada, but the agency did not respond.