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In ‘urgent letter,’ 6 premiers tell Trudeau national unity would be threatened if bills C-48, C-69 become law

The premiers of Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, New Brunswick and the Northwest Territories tell Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that two pieces of federal legislation could hobble Canada's resource sector if passed.

Six premiers asked Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Monday to change or bury two pieces of federal legislation that critics of both bills say could hurt Canada’s energy and natural resources sectors.

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The two bills are C-69, legislation that would change the way regulatory authorities evaluate and assess proposed new major resources projects, and C-48, the Oil Tanker Moratorium Act, which, if passed, would turn into law into what has been practised for years: the prohibition of any oil tankers off of Canada’s northern B.C. coast.

Both bills have cleared third reading in the House of Commons, where the Liberals have the majority, and have just been scrutinized by the Senate, where the Independent Senators Group has the majority. The Senate drastically rewrote C-69 before returning it to the House of Commons. As for C-48, the Senate Committee on Transport and Communications recommended that the legislation be spiked, but the full Senate rejected that recommendation on June 6 by a vote of 53-38.

READ MORE: Tanker ban bill: What it means, who is for and against it, and what’s next

C-48 now awaits the third and final reading, which would send it to the Governor General for royal assent to become law. The bill is on the Senate’s order paper and is scheduled for a vote Monday evening.

“Bill C-69, as originally drafted, would make it virtually impossible to develop critical infrastructure, depriving Canada of much-needed investment,” says an “urgent letter” signed by the five premiers.

READ MORE: Pipeline assessment bill approved in the Senate with amendments

The six premiers are Ontario’s Doug Ford, New Brunswick’s Blaine Higgs, Manitoba’s Brian Pallister, Saskatchewan’s Scott Moe and Alberta’s Jason Kenney — all of which lead small-c conservative parties opposed to the Trudeau Liberals — as well as Northwest Territories Premier Robert McLeod who happens to be the brother of Liberal MP Michael McLeod.

A copy of the letter the premiers sent to Trudeau was provided to Global News by one of premiers’ staff members. The source was not authorized to speak publicly about the letter.

“Bill C-48 threatens investor confidence, and the tanker moratorium discriminates against western Canadian crude products,” the premiers said in their letter to Trudeau.

“Our governments are deeply concerned with the federal government’s disregard, so far, of the concerns raised by our provinces related to these bills. As it stands, the federal government appears indifferent to the economic hardships faced by provinces,” the conservative premiers wrote. “Immediate action to refine or eliminate these bills is needed to avoid further alienating provinces and their citizens and focus on uniting the country in support of Canada’s economic prosperity.

Trudeau’s office, having just received the letter from the premiers late Monday afternoon, was not able to provide an immediate response.

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