An Act to amend the Canada Shipping Act, 2001 and the National Energy Board Act (oil transportation and pipeline certificate)

This bill was last introduced in the 41st Parliament, 2nd Session, which ended in August 2015.


Nathan Cullen  NDP

Introduced as a private member’s bill. (These don’t often become law.)


Defeated, as of April 1, 2015
(This bill did not become law.)


This is from the published bill. The Library of Parliament often publishes better independent summaries.

This enactment amends the Canada Shipping Act, 2001 to prohibit the transportation of oil in oil tankers in the Dixon Entrance, Hecate Strait and Queen Charlotte Sound. It also amends the National Energy Board Act to require the National Energy Board to take into account certain specified factors before making a recommendation to the Minister in respect of the issuance of a pipeline certificate.


All sorts of information on this bill is available at LEGISinfo, provided by the Library of Parliament. You can also read the full text of the bill.


April 1, 2015 Failed That the Bill be now read a second time and referred to the Standing Committee on Natural Resources.

Canada Shipping ActPrivate Members' Business

March 30th, 2015 / 11:05 a.m.
See context


Fin Donnelly NDP New Westminster—Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, ten thousand individuals and organizations, including the provincial government of British Columbia and several first nations, wrote to or appeared before the joint review panel assessing the northern gateway project. Their opposition to the project was nearly unanimous.

I would like to mention my work as an MP to protect coastal communities, encourage sustainability, and protect the marine inland ecosystems. Early in my term, I introduced a bill to ban oil tankers off B.C.'s north coast. I also introduced a bill to protect wild salmon by transitioning west coast fish farms to closed containment. I also helped form an all-party oceans caucus to inform parliamentarians about issues threatening the health of Canada's oceans and of the opportunities to become a global leader in areas like ocean research. I also introduced a bill to ban the importation of shark fins to Canada, which was based on a UN report on the state of the world's oceans. It concluded that our oceans are under threat, with major stress from climate change in the form of ocean acidification, and that large predators like sharks are in serious decline.

I mention these initiatives because they relate directly to the work of my good friend, the member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley, and specifically to the intent of the bill to protect our way of life on the west coast, not just for current generations, but for future generations as well.

The member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley came to my riding late last year. He spoke to a large gathering of my constituents about the impact that the Enbridge northern gateway project would have on the north coast if it were to go ahead. He was captivating from the start. He was informative and his stories were engaging. He presented alternatives to what the Conservatives are proposing. He spoke of the bill we are debating today and what could be expected with a New Democratic government. The people really appreciated his presentation, his thoughtful analysis, and his well-researched proposal. They liked it.

Energy pipelines and the environment are very much a concern to the people of British Columbia. Not only is there massive opposition to the Enbridge northern gateway pipeline, but there is also opposition to Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain pipeline proposal. My colleague from Burnaby—Douglas and the mayor of Burnaby, Derek Corrigan, and his council, have worked hard to expose the shortcomings of the project and the flawed NEB process. We know that over 100 people were arrested on Burnaby Mountain, clearly demonstrating their opposition to the pipeline proposal. I attended a rally in September at the Colony Farm Regional Park, in my riding, where people were very concerned about Kinder Morgan's proposal to use Colony Farm as a staging area for assembling of the pipes for the section of the proposed new pipeline. People were very opposed to this use of a public park.

I have provided background information to Bill C-628. I spoke of my own work relating to protecting B.C.'s west coast way of life. I should add that even before I was an MP, I was concerned about these issues. In 1995, and again in 2000, I swam the 1,400 km length of the Fraser River, one of the world's greatest salmon rivers, to raise awareness about the threats facing this great river system and to our way of life in British Columbia. Over 1.4 million people live within the Fraser River basin. A huge amount of the economy is generated within the basin. The health of the river, like the ocean on B.C.'s north coast, is critical to the health of our way of life on the west coast of Canada.

I am saying that the intent of Bill C-628 is to protect a way of life and to promote a sustainable way of life. It is certainly what motives me to do the work that I do as a parliamentarian. It is why I became an MP, and it is why I am happy to support Bill C-628. I would like to thank my colleague for bringing it forward.

Before I conclude, I would like to provide a quote from Art Sterritt, the executive director of Coastal First Nations, who said, “for too long the concerns of our people and the majority of British Columbians have been ignored. The bill addresses some of our major concerns with Enbridge’s Northern Gateway Pipeline”.

What the member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley is doing with this bill is not only listening to his constituents, but proposing solutions that make sense for west coast communities and a west coast way of life.

In conclusion, the Conservatives have brazenly tried to force the northern gateway pipeline and supertanker projects on to British Columbians and first nations. The New Democrats will continue to stand with B.C. and first nations to fight for a fairer process for all Canadians. This bill is a common sense initiative to put respect for communities, first nations, and the environment back into Canada's energy conversation, and to make sure that Canadians are getting the full benefit of our energy development.

Canada's Parliament has been mulling over protection for British Columbia's north against oil tanker traffic for over a generation. It is time for MPs, especially those from British Columbia, to rise to the occasion and extend permanent protection for B.C.'s north coast.

Canada Shipping ActPrivate Members' Business

March 30th, 2015 / 11:05 a.m.
See context


Bob Zimmer Conservative Prince George—Peace River, BC

Mr. Speaker, I have been following this debate very closely, just as our government has been listening very carefully to what British Columbians, and indeed all Canadians, have been saying about economic development and environmental responsibility in this country.

I appreciate the opportunity to respond to the bill before us and to reiterate some of the points made so persuasively by some of my colleagues. I will also add that I find it ironic that this member is proposing such a bill after he and his party voted against our increased measures for pipeline safety. New Democrats voted against doubling the number of audits and increasing the number of inspections on pipelines. They voted against fining companies that break environmental regulations.

Our government is listening to Canadians, and the message we are hearing is very clear: Canadians want balance. They understand the importance of resource development, but not at any price. They understand that economic development and environmental protection go hand in hand, and so does our government.

Environmental protection is and always will be a priority for us. We have been clear that projects will only proceed if they are safe for Canadians and safe for the environment. That is precisely what our plan is, and that is what responsible resource development is all about. Grounded in sound science and world-class standards, that plan ensures that we can develop the energy of the structure we need in a way that protects the environment we all share.

As part of this effort, our government is strengthening marine, pipeline, and rail safety, resulting in stronger prevention, enhanced preparedness and response, as well as improved liability and compensation in the highly unlikely event of an incident.

The members opposite may not be aware, but oil has been safely transported along Canada's west coast since the 1930s, thanks to responsible players in the industry and effective preventive measures. In addition, 99.999% of oil transported on federally regulated pipelines between 2008 and 2013 was moved safely.

This outstanding track record should reassure Canadians, and especially British Columbians, that our energy resources can safety be exported overseas to create jobs and economic growth here at home. That said, even one incident is one too many. Our goal must always be zero major spills or accidents, and to achieve this our government has introduced stringent new safety standards for tankers, together with new navigational supports to better protect our coastal waters.

Put simply, Canada's approach to marine regulations seeks to balance the safety of shipping and the protection of the marine environment with the need to encourage maritime commerce. In fact, we have nine acts of Parliament governing marine safety. These laws complement international regulations established by the International Maritime Organization, and that is before we factor in the tough new regulatory oversight and enforcement capabilities provided under Bill C-3, Safeguarding Canada's Seas and Skies Act.

There is compulsory pilotage in British Columbia's coastal waters. This means that a vessel must have an on-board pilot who is a navigator, certified to a specialized knowledge of local waters. In addition, Transport Canada has more than 300 inspectors who work every day to verify that ships meet Canada's regulations and the international standards that Canada has adopted.

Within the international maritime community, Canada is highly respected as a country that provides a clear and consistent set of rules that promote safety and protect the environment. I would like to quote the British Columbia environment minister who spoke about our government's plan and said the following:

I have a high degree of confidence that [the government is] serious about achieving the goals that we have in front of us and serious about the safety of our coast and the transportation of tankers up and down our coastline.

Canadians want a balanced approach to economic development. They support growth and want good jobs and long-term prosperity for themselves, their families, and their country. What Canadians might be surprised to learn is how important natural resource development is to our quality of life. Over the last five years, the oil and gas sector has contributed an average of $25.1 billion in taxes, royalties, and fees to government. This money helps to support public pensions, provide health care, and build schools, hospitals, housing, and highways.

If we want to maintain our high standard of living and ensure governments have the funds to pay for a wide array of social programs, we need to seize the potential of new markets for our energy. That is something our government understands. It is something business understands, and it is something Canadians understand from coast to coast to coast.

Our focus then is on preventing incidents from happening, cleaning them up quickly in the unlikely event of their occurring, and protecting taxpayers from any cleanup or remediation costs. Under this government, it is polluters who will pay, not taxpayers.

We recently introduced the pipeline safety act, which would enshrine in law the principle of polluter pays. To ensure that pipeline companies can respond in the unlikely event of a major incident, they would be required to maintain the highest minimum financial resources in the world. For companies operating major oil pipelines, that amounts to $1 billion, as well as holding sufficient cash on hand to respond quickly to incidents.

The pipeline safety act would also give the National Energy Board even greater authority so that it could strengthen incident prevention, preparedness, and response as well as liability and compensation.

With all of these efforts, we are seeking to foster greater public confidence in our country's ability to develop its resources and to do so responsibly. We know that building public confidence in major resource projects requires a whole-of-government approach. Our approach to promoting responsible resource development is a balanced approach, and it is the right way to go.

Bill C-628 is not a balanced approach. A ban on oil tankers would have a lasting negative impact on Canada. The NDP's anti-trade, anti-development agenda is clear. This bill would limit further diversifying our energy exports to countries other than the United States, which would severely impact our economy, jobs, and everything. Moreover, such a ban would be looked upon negatively by other countries, which view these waters as open for navigation, and banning a legitimate class of vessel would be contrary to the system that has served Canadians so well for decades.

Canadians want a balanced approach, and that is the path that this government is going to follow.

Canada Shipping ActPrivate Members' Business

March 30th, 2015 / 11:15 a.m.
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Geoff Regan Liberal Halifax West, NS

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to rise and participate in this debate on Bill C-628 and to bring a perspective from the east coast, one of Canada's other two coasts, as the member for Halifax West in Nova Scotia.

The bill calls for a ban on oil tanker traffic from the inland waters of Canada's Pacific north coast, which is a magnificent area that includes the Great Bear Rainforest, many species of wildlife, and runs of salmon. It is a magnificent area that is important to preserve and protect.

Coming from Halifax West as I do, I appreciate the strong desire that people have in British Columbia to protect coasts and coastal communities. I understand the concerns that many have with respect to the potential of supertankers, which are the very large crude carriers, or what are now called “VLCCs”. They carry far more oil than the Exxon Valdez carried when it went aground and leaked so much oil back in 1989. I think it is about eight times as much. People have very great concerns about tankers that huge travelling through such sensitive areas.

As I have said, I come from a coastal community, and we see the snow starting to melt in Nova Scotia. We have had an awful lot of snow this year. As my colleague says, I can dare to dream, but I am looking forward to the summer and kayaking along the coast of Newfoundland if I can get a little time away from the long campaign that we expect to start once the House rises.

I guess there is no surprise when we look at the situation and the position of the current government. First of all, it is difficult to understand why the Conservatives would not support the bill before us, but on the other hand, it should not be a surprise to anyone who has seen how the Conservative government has systematically dismantled so many critical environmental protections during what can only be described as a decade of devastation.

The proposed legislation closely resembles previous bills that have been brought forward to the House a number of times, the contents of which will be familiar to members. Of course, amendments to the Canada Shipping Act are the main focus of the bill before us. While much of this was in earlier legislation, there is one notable difference in Bill C-628, which is the addition of provisions to amend the National Energy Board Act to require the NEB to take into account certain factors before making a recommendation to the minister with regard to the issuance of a pipeline certificate. For example, one element of the bill asks the NEB to ensure that consultations on pipeline projects occur and to report on those consultations in its consideration of a project.

These consultations are more important than ever these days. I think we see today that even when the National Energy Board approves a project, it does not necessarily mean it is going ahead, because there is that question of social licence. One has to have a considerable amount of community support before moving forward with a natural resource project of any size. I think that is why it is so important that we develop greater confidence in the public in terms of the regulatory processes we have in this country as they relate to the approval of those projects and to environmental assessment.

Therefore, when the government has gutted the programs and the assessments in the way it has, it is a great concern. I look forward to discussing this aspect of Bill C-628. Hopefully when it goes to committee, as I hope it will, this aspect will get great discussion there as well.

However, the fact is that the government has undermined public trust around pipeline projects. In fact, I hope we hear more today from Conservative British Columbians, who will really share their views on this topic. I wonder if they will reflect on the fact that eight out of ten British Columbians are in favour of the kind of measures that are being proposed here and are opposed to ships carrying crude oil travelling through the waters we are talking about. That will be interesting.

Maybe they will explain why the government felt the need to change the National Energy Board process to further limit consultation about pipelines or to shorten the National Energy Board regulatory reviews to a maximum time limit of 15 months. The question is how this makes sense—that is, to limit the consultation of Canadians—when they are more engaged than ever before on these issues. Is it not a time to give them more opportunity to have a say?

We are not talking about foreign radicals, as was said by the Minister of Finance, who was or the Minister of Natural Resources at the time. That it is what members opposite want people to believe. In fact, National Energy Board officials testified recently before the natural resources committee, of which I am member, and said that the Canadian energy industry is in the midst of a “perfect storm”.

The NEB noted, in fact, that in March 2010, when the board released its Keystone XL decision, it was to relatively little fanfare, and there were only 29 intervenors in the process. We can contrast that with the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project, which has 400 interveners and more than 1,300 commentators. Then there is the energy east application and the hearings related to that, where there are close to 2,300 application participants. We can see a great deal of public engagement these days, yet the government wants to cut that short.

When more and more Canadians are engaging in the debate about pipelines and pipeline safety, the Conservatives think they should have fewer and fewer opportunities to express their opinions. They are out of sync with Canadians on this, and certainly with British Columbians, as we can see from all the surveys that tell us about concerns British Columbians have on these topics. I think they are out of line.

In my province right now, the roads are in rough shape after the winter we have had. There are lots of potholes, and I am sure that more than one person over the course of this spring is going to have to pay for a wheel alignment to keep his or her vehicle going straight. Canadians are going to want a realignment of the Government of Canada as well, so that it is aligned with their priorities, views, and values, which the government clearly is not.

It makes no sense to cut this process short. That is a big part of the reason that there is so much mistrust of the government these days, and why there is so much mistrust of the processes that I have been talking about. Of course, the Conservatives have fed that mistrust by gutting elements of the Fisheries Act and the Navigable Waters Protection Act in their several omnibus bills, particularly Bill C-38.

As my party's critic for natural resources, I am keenly aware of how important, and at times how highly controversial, the issue of pipelines has become for Canadians. Given the sustained interest on the subject of Bill C-628, the fact that we have had this issue come to us in various forms over the years, including in bills introduced by my colleague from Vancouver Quadra, and coupled with the Conservative government's rollbacks on environment protection in recent years, it is clear that additional study of the concepts raised in Bill C-628 is very much needed and warranted.

Many of my B.C. colleagues, including the sponsor of this legislation, have already spoken about how the bill would impact the west coast and how important it is to residents of northwestern British Columbia. Coming from Atlantic Canada, representing Halifax West, I can assure my friends on all sides that the folks on the east coast share the pride in maritime traditions and have a connection with the ocean similar to that of people in British Columbia.

Nova Scotia, for example, has 20 companies involved in our ocean research in areas like fisheries, aquaculture, offshore oil and gas, maritime security, and shipbuilding. There are many areas in which Atlantic Canadians are connected to our oceans, as British Columbians are. It is important to support this bill and send it to committee for further study.

Canada Shipping ActPrivate Members' Business

March 30th, 2015 / 11:35 a.m.
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Ron Cannan Conservative Kelowna—Lake Country, BC

Mr. Speaker, as the member of Parliament for Kelowna—Lake Country in beautiful British Columbia, I am pleased to speak to Bill C-628 and share how and why our government is committed to protecting the safety of Canadians and the safety of the environment. It is not either/or, but a balanced approach. We have taken significant action to strengthen the safety and security of Canada's energy transportation system, whether it be rail, pipeline or tanker safety.

Bill C-628 proposes to ban oil tankers off the coast of British Columbia. It is founded on perceived shortcomings of Canada's energy system that are simply not accurate.

Over the next few minutes, I would like to share with Canadians the broad range of concrete measures already in place and the new actions we are taking to build on Canada's strong world-class safety system. That is because members on this side of the House understand they are essential to achieving our goal of energy market diversification, which is itself crucial to ensuring ongoing job creation, economic growth and prosperity for Canadians.

I would like to explain why I believe it is so important that we diversify our energy markets.

In 2012, Canada produced over 3.38 million barrels of crude oil and almost 3.9 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day. All of that activity supported roughly 190,000 direct jobs and an additional 70,000 indirect jobs. Then there are revenues to federal, provincial and territorial governments from the oil and gas industry, which averaged approximately $25 billion annually over the past five years. That money paid for everything from roads and bridges to schools, hospitals in communities from coast to coast to coast. These multi-billion numbers are not surprising given the oil and gas sector accounted for 7.5% of GDP in 2013, and $83 billion of capital expenditures. Industry also represented $117 billion in exports in 2013.

To say the energy sector plays a major role in our high standard of living is an understatement. I believe it fuels the high quality of life of Canadians.

However, it is not something we can take for granted. The reality is that the global energy landscape is undergoing a seismic shift, creating both new opportunities and new challenges for Canada. On the plus side, there is an enormous and growing appetite for our energy supply. Demand for Canadian oil is strongest in the rapidly growing markets of the Asia-Pacific region.

The International Energy Agency predicts that, by 2035, the world will need a third more energy than is being consumed today. Most of this increase is due to the need for energy in emerging economies. Canada can capably meet that need as Canadian oil and gas production through innovation and new technology is expected to grow dramatically over the same period.

If we want to maintain our high standard of living and ensure governments have the resource sector royalties to fund a wide array of social programs, we must diversify our energy markets to have the funds to proceed in this manner.

While it appears the NDP by bringing forward this bill does not appreciate how crucial this issue is to the lives and livelihoods of Canadians, I can assure members that other government leaders across Canada do.

At the 2014 Energy and Mines Ministers' Conference, federal, provincial and territorial ministers recognized that the continued advancement of energy infrastructure was fundamental to gaining access to new markets and generating economic growth. Ministers also reaffirmed the need to coordinate our efforts to reinforce the diversification of Canada's natural resources by ensuring the safe transport of resources by pipeline, marine and rail.

We understand and fully agree that public safety and environmental protection are necessary conditions for energy development to proceed.

As I said earlier, it is a balanced approach; it is not either/or. That is precisely what responsible resource development is all about. It sends a clear signal that our government is determined to protect public safety and the health of the environment, based on sound science and world-class standards.

Between 2000 and 2011, federally regulated pipelines boasted a safety record of over 99.999% We are proud of the action we have taken to ensure Canada has a world-class regulatory framework and a means for the safest form of transportation of our energy products.

Our Government has introduced stringent new safety standards to prevent oil spills from happening and new navigational supports for tanker ships to better protect our coastal waters.

We have nine acts of Parliament governing marine safety, and that is before we factor in the tough new regulatory oversight and enforcement capabilities provided under Bill C-3, the Safeguarding Canada's Seas and Skies Act.

Thanks to tough legislation and technological innovations, there have been no spills from double-hulled tankers in Canadian waters. Nor have there ever been spills from tankers escorted by tugs with a local pilot aboard.

Especially important, we are ensuring that polluters, not taxpayers, will be responsible for costs in the unlikely event of a spill. We have brought in polluter pays legislation for both offshore and onshore, with billion dollar conditions for spill response and cleanup.

These measures underline that when it comes to transporting our natural resources, whether by pipeline, rail, or tanker, our government will never compromise on safety.

Our government has also given the independent National Energy Board the necessary resources to increase annual inspections of pipelines by 50%. The board has doubled the number of annual comprehensive safety audits to identify pipeline issues before incidents occur. Equally important, the National Energy Board now has the authority to impose substantial financial penalties on companies that do not comply with safety and environmental regulations. It can levy fines of up to $100,000 a day for as long as the infractions are not addressed.

It is disappointing that the member who put forward the bill we are debating today and who purports to be in favour of improving safety voted against each and every one of the measures I just mentioned.

Canada's outstanding safety record should assure Canadians that our energy resources can be developed safely and can in turn create good jobs and economic growth here at home. Our government's approach to promoting responsible resource development is the right one.

I believe that Canadians simply cannot trust the New Democrats to protect our economy or our environment. They oppose every form of resource development. They vote against our legislation to increase pipeline safety measures. Then they propose this bill that would hurt the Canadian economy. Bill C-628 risks undoing all the good being achieved under our plan for responsible resource development and would come at a great cost to Canadians. For that reason, we cannot support this bill.

In closing, having spent the first 27 years of my life in Alberta, I understand the oil and gas economy and how important it is not only to Alberta but to all of Canada. Given my last 25-plus years calling beautiful British Columbia home, I understand the value of the energy industry and also tourism, the environment, safety, and the economy. They are all brought together. It is not either/or, as I have alluded to before.

As a father of three daughters and three grandsons, I want a future for our Canadian economy, for our community of Kelowna Lake Country, for British Columbia, and for all Canadians. I believe that if this bill is passed, it would take us backward and would not help create those jobs we want in the future.

This is Easter week, a week of hurt and a week of hope. My hope is that we will work together to manage our resources responsibly. We are called to be good stewards. We have abundant resources across Canada. However, this type of legislation would not help our industry and would not help to create jobs. We want to have a balanced approach. I believe that by working together, we can create jobs and grow the economy to achieve long-term prosperity and a good quality of life for all North Americans

Canada Shipping ActPrivate Members' Business

March 30th, 2015 / 11:45 a.m.
See context


Ryan Cleary NDP St. John's South—Mount Pearl, NL

Mr. Speaker, I stand in support of Bill C-628, an act to amend the Canada Shipping Act, 2001 and the National Energy Board Act. My party, the New Democratic Party of Canada, has stood with first nations and communities across British Columbia in their opposition to the Enbridge northern gateway since day one. This bill would enshrine a crude oil tanker ban on British Columbia's north coast in law. It would set it in stone.

I have never been to B.C.'s north coast. In fact, I have only been to British Columbia once, to the city of Vancouver, two or three years ago. As members know, I represent St. John's South—Mount Pearl in Newfoundland and Labrador. As a representative of Canada's most easterly province, I am on my feet here today speaking about a bill impacting Canada's most westerly province, because we have a lot in common.

I hear about how beautiful, unique, and pristine British Columbia is, but I certainly could not conceive of B.C. being any more beautiful, unique, or pristine than Newfoundland and Labrador. There are similarities, but there are differences as well. I know those differences well.

British Columbia has had a moratorium on oil and gas drilling off its coast since 1959. That is 56 years. Oil and gas companies have been drilling off Newfoundland and Labrador for a dog's age. It has been for decades. There is a moratorium off B.C. and just the opposite off Newfoundland and Labrador, where oil companies have been filling their boots for years. While there is no offshore oil and gas industry off B.C., we have had one on the Grand Banks of Newfoundland since the 1990s. In fact, the first offshore oil project, Hibernia, and the construction of the project's gravity-based structure in the 1990s, saved Newfoundland and Labrador's economy.

At the same time as the Hibernia project was getting off the ground, our northern cod stocks were in complete collapse. The northern cod moratorium in 1992 was the biggest layoff in Canadian history to that point. It may well still be the biggest layoff in our history. More than 30,000 people were thrown out of work immediately, and those were direct jobs.

Newfoundland and Labrador has done well through its oil industry. It has done very well. It has been a “have” province since November 2008, contributing more to the country than it gets back. Between 1949, when Canada joined our province, and 2008 it was a “have not” province. That hurt not just our economy but our psyche, too.

There are people who say that the oil industry has hurt Newfoundland and Labrador in certain ways and that there is too much emphasis on the non-renewable oil and gas industry and not enough attention to our greatest renewable industry, the fishery. Economic diversification also has not happened. The Newfoundland and Labrador government is facing a $916-million deficit this year alone, because oil revenues are down so severely and there is nothing to pick up the slack. The Government of Canada has also turned away from the fishery, with constant cuts to fisheries science and research budgets, in general, and a broken management system. There are some lessons B.C. can learn from Newfoundland and Labrador.

This bill would stop the Enbridge northern gateway pipeline in its tracks. Enbridge proposes that supertankers the length of the Empire State Building thread their way through the needle that is the sensitive and difficult waters of the Douglas Channel and B.C.'s north coast. Over the project's 50-year lifespan, we are talking about 11,000 tanker trips. What are the odds of a devastating accident or catastrophe? Most British Columbians and first nations do not want to take that chance. That message has been heard loud and clear across Canada.

Back to Newfoundland, there is constant oil tanker traffic in and out of Placentia Bay. Placentia Bay is seen as the area in Canada with possibly the highest risk of having an oil spill.

It was only recently that the Atlantic Pilotage Authority wanted to move the pilot station, where pilots board tankers to help guide them through the tricky waters. The pilotage authority wanted to move the boarding station deeper into Placentia Bay, but it backed off when opposition rang out, including opposition right here in the House. It backed off because it made no sense, because it increased the risk.

As it stands, Transport Canada's oil spill response equipment for Placentia Bay is located hundreds of kilometres away in a warehouse in the city of Mount Pearl, next to the city of St. John's. How does that make any sense?

One of the first papers I read in preparing to speak on the bill was a report carried out for B.C.'s first nations. The report was entitled, “Assessing offshore oil and gas development on British Columbia's coast”. The report said, “The risk of oil spills is declining with new management practices and technology”. That is fair enough. I suppose it is. However, here is the interesting part: “However, oil spills are a relatively common occurrence in oil and gas development. Newfoundland has recorded 138 small oil spills from 1997 to 2002”.

In the 13 years since that report, since those numbers were gathered, we can bet that there have been dozens, hundreds even, more spills, mostly small spills, but still spills.

Returning to British Columbia, there are two concerns with the Enbridge northern gateway project: the impact on the environment and the impact on the economy. The project would move 525,000 barrels of diluted bitumen per day from Alberta to B.C. The 1,177 kilometre pipeline would cross the Rocky Mountains, which I hear are almost as beautiful and as rugged as Newfoundland and Labrador's mountain ranges. The pipeline would cross the Rocky Mountains and hundreds of rivers and streams. From Kitimat, the bitumen would be loaded onto supertankers and shipped down the Douglas Channel and along B.C.'s north coast to Asia or California, wherever the markets are.

B.C.'s north coast is known for great biological diversity and extreme weather. It sounds like home. The north coast is home to 120 species of birds and 27 species of marine mammals, including orcas and gray and humpback whales, not to mention salmon, halibut, and other fish species. Again, it sounds like home and almost as nice. An oil spill would be devastating. Supertankers do not stop on a dime. Supertankers have a minimum stopping distance of three kilometres.

The economic cost of a spill would be equally as devastating. B.C.'s seafood sector generates close to $1.7 billion a year. Wilderness tourism is worth another $1.55 billion. Combined, that is well over $3 billion a year. We could imagine the dent an oil spill would put in those numbers.

However, there is another economic impact, not just for British Columbia but for all of Canada. The Alberta Federation of Labour estimates that 26,000 jobs could be created in Alberta if those 525,000 barrels of diluted bitumen were upgraded and refined right here in Canada. Why would we ship out unrefined bitumen? Why would we throw away 26,000 jobs? How does that make sense? How is that smart?

Newfoundland and Labrador has not benefited just from our own oil and gas industry. Alberta's oil sands have pumped hundreds of millions of dollars, dare I say billions, into our economy through hundreds and thousands of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians who migrate west every day, every week, every year. I speak with them on the planes. I see them in the airports. They go to places like Fort McMurray, Newfoundland and Labrador's second biggest city, as the joke goes. Why would Canada support a pipeline that threatens so much of our environment and exports jobs to other countries?

There are three coasts in Canada. Each is equally important, although it does not always feel that way. In B.C., as in Newfoundland and Labrador, we live and die by the sea. If we jeopardize our oceans, our coasts, our culture, and our heritage, our economy will be lost.

Canada Shipping ActPrivate Members' Business

December 2nd, 2014 / 5:55 p.m.
See context


Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

moved that Bill C-628, An Act to amend the Canada Shipping Act, 2001 and the National Energy Board Act (oil transportation and pipeline certificate), be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Mr. Speaker, I represent northwestern British Columbia. It is an incredibly beautiful and powerful part of our country, not only in the make-up of the geography, the stunning mountains, the coastal communities, the ocean, the rivers, but as much in the people who live and have lived there since time immemorial. They are some of the proudest first nation cultures the continent has ever known, the Haida, the Haisla, the Taku River Tlingit, Tsimshian, Gitxsan, and on down the line. These are people living with and from the land.

There is an expression we use in the northwest. We say that “the land makes the people, the people don't make the land”. The bill that I bring to Parliament today for debate is born directly from that love of home, that defence of land, and the aspiration to be able to continue to hand it down to future generations in better condition than we found it, while creating the type of prosperity we all hope for.

I represent the northwest of B.C. It is has been one of the greatest honours and pride of my life. The stunning land has informed my very way of being. I hope every day I am in this place, the House of Commons, to do it some credit.

Over the last decade or so we have been facing a crisis, a crisis that has in fact borne out to be an opportunity. This has been the threat of an 1,100 kilometre pipeline running from Bruderheim, Alberta to the port in Kitimat, containing upwards of 525,000 barrels of diluted bitumen a day, then transported in supertankers three football fields long and a football field wide through the narrow passage of the Douglas Channel through three hairpin turns and out through the inside passage and the Hecate Strait by Haida Gwaii and on to China.

This threat is to our very core, our very being, as a people in the northwest, because our culture and our economy rely on the natural environment. We rely on the rivers, on the salmon, on the place that has sustained people for millennia. While this has been a direct threat to all of those things, it has also helped bring us together across the northwest, first nations and non-first nations, conservatives and progressives, people who find their love of the land in many different ways but are unified in the defence of that land.

It has also been born out of the crisis of a federal government that, rather than to work with us as a people, has chosen to use terms like “enemies of the state” and “foreign funded radicals” when we had the audacity to raise our voices about the proposed pipeline and the supertankers that threaten so much. Rather than silence our voices, which I suspect the government and the minister at the time had hoped to do, it strengthened our passions in defence of our home. We have been seeing municipalities, first nation communities, and groups across the political spectrum come together in opposing the plans, not only of this particular oil company with its Enbridge northern gateway pipeline, but also the plans of any government that hopes to bulldoze its way through the people it claims to represent.

It does not make us an enemy of the state to raise our voice in our country. It makes us Canadian. It is not to be an enemy of the state to join together with neighbours in common cause. It makes us Canadian. Any government that suggests otherwise is unfit to govern our great country.

This act defending the north coast does three principal things. It bans the export of raw bitumen and oil products from the north coast of British Columbia, period. It says that and recognizes what we all know to be true, that there are some things that we cannot risk. There are some places that are deserving of our concern and our protection.

The legislation also goes further. It seeks to deepen and broaden community consultations whenever the Government of Canada addresses the Canadian people about important projects like pipelines and mines and anything that might have an impact on our communities and our homes.

One would think the government would learn from the mistakes it has been making time and time again. The Conservatives have gutted the environmental assessment act. They have utterly destroyed the Navigable Waters Protection Act. They have gutted key parts of the Fisheries Act. This is all in an attempt to speed up and ram through various oil pipelines right across Canada.

However, the reaction from Canadians is most Canadian. It has been to oppose such actions, because when the government is not playing a fair and balanced role in a discussion of something as important as the transportation of energy, Canadians notice. Perhaps Canadians are smarter than the Conservatives think because they pay attention to these things, to all of these omnibus bills the Conservatives have been pushing through.

The third component of the bill is finally to ask the question in this place that has not been asked, that we should have an opinion and take some sort of position about the proposed raw export of our natural resources, in this case bitumen out of northern Alberta, with no value-added whatsoever. Not only is it environmentally risky when we move diluted bitumen because it sinks and cannot be cleaned up, it is also economically risky, in fact, economic suicide to export raw resources of such value, leaving behind all the jobs to some other country to pick up, with our resting just with the costs of production alone.

Those three components—to protect the north coast, to encourage and honour public consultation for once, and to finally talk about value added to our natural resources—are the core principles of this bill, borne out of the crisis, borne out of the threat the Enbridge northern gateway pipeline posed to my home, to the people I represent, but allowing us to take it for what it is, which is an opportunity to do something better in this country.

This in fact been a generational debate. Many in this place will not know that we have been debating supertanker bans off the north coast of British Columbia for 42 years in the House of Commons. The House passed a motion by one of my predecessors, Frank Howard, 42 years ago, to do this very thing. The then Liberal government later brought in voluntary prevention of shipping oil in this manner, and just four years ago, the House passed the New Democratic motion to protect the northwest, protect the north coast, and to say no to Enbridge northern gateway.

It has been 42 years. It is time to have a definitive declaration by the House of Commons and to find out, particularly from my B.C. colleagues across the way, who exactly they work for. I say this because I have been touring British Columbia from edge to edge and north to south, talking to hundreds and thousands of British Columbians at over 20 town halls, in Vancouver Island, Vancouver itself, up through the north and into the interior, packing rooms, church basements, community centres, town halls, with British Columbians from right across the political spectrum turning out, signing thousands upon thousands of pages of petitions that had been flooding into my office, participating online through Leadnow, Avaaz, and the Dogwood Initiative, raising their voices because they cannot seem to get the attention of their members of Parliament on this issue, if they happen to be Conservative

This should know no partisan bounds. This is not about right and left; this is about right and wrong. We know that in defence of home, we are always in the right. When we try to take an opportunity to improve the way we do things in this country, that is right. Anyone who thinks in 2014 that we can simply fire up the bulldozers and ram these projects through communities against their will, against the will of first nations that have right and title to the land, is someone living in a fantasy world. In 2006, the current Prime Minister declared for all the world to hear that Canada would become an energy superpower. We remember that.

Well, all these years on, how are they doing? Every major energy transportation project is mired in controversy, the latest being on Burnaby Mountain just outside Vancouver, where a company that wants to build a multibillion dollar pipeline cannot even get its GPS coordinates right when seeking an injunction through the courts.

The people stand up. Of course they stand up. This is a tradition in Canada. This is a welcome tradition in Canada. When a government refuses to listen, the people come together and join their voices one to the other that there is a better way to do things.

Up north, we call it the “Skeena model”, where first nations sit down with industry and industry recognizes their right and title to that land and works from values up, incorporating who we are as a people, as opposed to the top down Ottawa knows best Conservative model, which says, “We're just going to tell you what's going to happen to you. If you have the audacity to raise your voice, if you have the temerity to suggest that this Prime Minister and his oil executive friends do not know better than those of you who live with the resources, those of you who live in the communities that will be impacted and affected, well, then, we're going to try to silence you. We're going to change the laws of the whole country to silence you. We'll push people out of the conversation rather than welcome them in, rather than use their intelligence”.

What has the reaction been? Twice now the Union of B.C. Municipalities has passed resolutions against this pipeline. Twice it has done that. With the Save the Fraser Declaration, more than 130 first nations across British Columbia came together, put their differences aside, and said that this way of doing business is wrong, that the pipeline is wrong for first nations in that province and in this country.

Municipalities right across the northwest, towns that are based on resource development and have been for generations, understand the extractive economy but know that the risks of what Enbridge is proposing, which is supported by the Conservative government, is wrong. From Prince Rupert and Haida Gwaii, to Terrace, to the site in Kitimat where this pipeline is supposed to land, to Smithers, Hazelton, and on down the line, communities have passed resolutions at the municipal level against this project.

One would think all this would matter to the Conservatives across the way, but not as yet. They have not quite been able to hear their constituents. They have not quite been able to hear the people of British Columbia, who just last year were polled on supertankers off the north coast, and 80% said no. A small indication to my Conservative colleagues is that one in five British Columbians who voted Conservative in the last election said they would switch their vote.

If we cannot make an economic argument the Conservatives are willing to listen to, which is that raw exports are bad for the Canadian resource economy, if we cannot make a moral argument about standing against people who have presented their voices in calm and peaceful ways, if we cannot make the legal argument that this thing is not going to go through the objections of first nations, who just recently proved their case at the Supreme Court through the Tsilhqot’in decision that rights and title must be honoured, if we cannot convince the Conservatives on any of those fronts, then certainly we can convince them of the politics, because that is something the Prime Minister claims to pay a lot of attention to.

I can remember the day the Conservatives gave their tacit approval to this pipeline. Lord help the media who were out there trying to get one Conservative MP from British Columbia to make one comment about how enthusiastic he or she was about this pipeline. They could not find a one. They did find one, actually, after a few days of hunting, and his message was, “Do not worry, this pipeline will not be built anyway”. What kind of government operates this way? What kind of integrity is this? What happened to standing up for Canada?

The threat is real when a government has so lost its way that it feels it does not derive its power, authority, and legitimacy from the people of this country.

The threat to the wild salmon economy just in the northwest alone is $140 million per year. Across British Columbia, it is $1.7 billion from the seafood industry and recreation. It is $1.5 billion from tourism, which is almost wholly based on the appreciation of what British Columbia is, which is a magnificent and beautiful place, a place all Canadians treasure, certainly those of us who live there, in their imaginations, hearts, and minds.

Through all of this, we launched the campaign Thousands upon thousands of average, ordinary, everyday British Columbians have been signing on and joining, encouraging their friends to participate. They believe in one hopeful idea: that we still have something akin to representative government that seeks to represent the people rather than some narrow interests, a government that if pleaded with at the moral, legal, ethical, and economic level, and ultimately, I suppose, at the political level, we can sway, even the current government when it comes to oil and the oil industry, to do the right thing.

I believe in my heart of hearts that there are friends across the way. I appreciate the support we have heard from the Liberal Party and the Green Party. I believe in my heart of hearts that there are members across the way who understand the importance of getting this right, of having an energy policy that actually fits with Canadian values, and that in this day and age, we can do better than what we have seen so far. In this day and age, we can learn to respect first nations and respect citizens when they come forward. We can understand that this project, as designed by northern gateway, is not in the interest of this country and certainly not in the interest of the people I represent. There is a better way, one that seeks to respect those who send us here, one that seeks to respect rights and title, one that seeks to respect, finally, the balance and harmony we seek with the environment in which we live.

Canada Shipping ActPrivate Members' Business

December 2nd, 2014 / 6:15 p.m.
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Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar Saskatchewan


Kelly Block ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, I am thankful for this chance to speak on Bill C-628, and specifically on the significant accomplishments of this government with regard to aboriginal and community consultations.

We are proud of the fact that the natural resources sector is the largest private employer of first nations people in Canada. First nations have made and will continue to make important contributions to the development of our natural resources.

Significant improvements have been made to the review process through the government's plan for responsible resource development. This has resulted in Canada having a more robust, evidenced-based regulatory review process for major natural resource projects.

Included in these improvements is the requirement for enhanced consultation with aboriginal groups. Aboriginal groups who are potentially affected by a project can participate in all phases of the review process. They are also given the opportunity to present their own evidence and test or challenge the evidence submitted by project proponents.

We recognize the necessity of working together with first nations communities to build relationships that are respectful of first nations and treaty rights. We want to ensure that they have the opportunity to share in the benefits of energy resource development in the years ahead.

Through this engagement, we are listening to all the views being expressed, so that we can promote energy resource development that works for each community, not a one-size-fits-all approach.

Our government has taken significant action to strengthen Canada's world-class energy transportation system. Our tanker safety system, which is built around the pillars of prevention, preparedness and response, and liability and compensation, is just one example.

We have also announced our intention to introduce legislation to enhance pipeline safety. However, I find it a bit ironic that the member is proposing the bill after he and his party voted against our increased safety measures for pipelines.

Let us look at what the NDP has done.

The NDP has proposed a bill that would ban tanker traffic, which would hurt Canada's effort to diversify our markets and the Canadian economy. NDP members consistently oppose every single form of resource development, and finally, ironically enough, they vote against increasing safety measures for pipelines.

Canadians know that the NDP cannot be trusted to protect their safety or the safety of the environment. However, Canadians can trust our government to grow the economy while protecting the environment. We know that working with first nations is crucial to doing this.

Having local first nations involved in the development and operation of Canada's world-class tanker and pipeline safety systems is pivotal to gaining their confidence in these systems. It is also essential to benefit from their traditional knowledge of the land and its resources.

Building on this momentum, last May, we announced the launch of the Major Projects Management Office-West in Vancouver. MPMO-West addresses Mr. Eyford's recommendations and serves as a single window for the government to coordinate extensive engagement with aboriginal peoples and industry, and identifies ways to support participation in energy projects. This includes everything from employment and business opportunities to environmental stewardship and safety.

The energy sector is already making a dramatic difference in people's lives in British Columbia. Look at the Pacific trail pipeline. To date, more than half of the 366,000 construction hours worked on the pipeline have involved aboriginal peoples, and about 85% of the construction spending on the LNG plant so far has been awarded to Haisla First Nation businesses.

Budget 2014 sets aside $28 million over two years for the National Energy Board to ensure aboriginal peoples have a strong voice in decisions regarding energy projects. The NEB requires the project proponents to consult with all parties potentially affected by those projects.

The board considers the views of industry, provincial and territorial governments, first nations, and affected communities to determine whether a project is in the national interest. The renewed contribution to the participant funding program will strengthen the ability of aboriginal communities to be heard during consultations on major projects.

We understand that one key concern of British Columbians and all Canadians is ensuring environmental protection. That is why we have said time and time again that no project will proceed unless it is deemed safe for Canadians and safe for the environment, based on scientific evidence.

It is also why we have taken a whole-of-government approach to working with aboriginal peoples and first nations to ensure their meaningful participation in assessing and managing the environmental safety of projects. We know these projects can only proceed with the active participation of aboriginal peoples, and the assurance that public and environmental protection are the top priority.

Taken together, these measures I have outlined today make it clear that we have taken significant action to ensure all parties potentially affected by projects have not only a voice, but a meaningful opportunity to play an active part in these projects. Unlike the NDP, our government understands the economic benefits of responsible resource development for Canadians and recognizes the tremendous opportunity first nations can play in the future of Canada's energy development. We are building on an outstanding safety record with world-class world-leading liability regimes, preparedness and response for all modes of transport in Canada's energy products. That is what Canadians expect from their government.

While that member voted against our safety measures, including voting against increasing the number of comprehensive inspections and audits and voting against implementing fines against companies that broke our strict environmental regulations, our government will continue to focus on what matters to Canadians.

Given our government's significant efforts to increase consultations with first nations and communities, as well as the actions we will continue to take, Bill C-628 is redundant and we cannot support it.

Canada Shipping ActPrivate Members' Business

December 2nd, 2014 / 6:20 p.m.
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Joyce Murray Liberal Vancouver Quadra, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am also pleased to rise today to speak in support of Bill C-628, introduced by the member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley.

Bill C-628 would exclude supertankers from the inland waters around Haida Gwaii, an area of significance to our whole province and an area that I know well from having been an environment minister who travelled up and down the coast in boats and small planes and from having been a tree planter and reforestation contractor who worked in these areas.

I have seen first-hand the teeming wildlife and the quality and fragility of the ecosystems in that area. As the House well knows, Canada's quality of life is closely connected with the health of our oceans and our ecosystems. Those ecosystems and that coast are integral not only to our livelihood and way of life but also to Canada's economy. Nowhere is this relationship more important than on British Columbia's north coast.

I join the vast majority of British Columbians, including dozens of first nations communities on the coast and in the interior, who are of the view that transporting oil by pipeline through the proposed route to the head of Douglas Channel and transporting oil by supertankers in turbulent and hazardous waters pose unacceptable risks to the environment, the communities, and the businesses that depend on that environment and to all Canadians who share pride in the common heritage of this very special place.

I am pleased to support the bill, which is modelled after my own bills, both Bill C-437 as well as Bill C-606 from a previous Parliament. I had the privilege of being in the order of precedence in 2011, after having travelled the area a number of years earlier, as the member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley has described having done.

In 2010, I had the privilege of travelling from the southern tip of Vancouver Island up to Kitimat and to communities from one end to the other on our north coast, consulting with people and hearing their views and the strong support that inspired me to put this bill in the order of precedence. Unfortunately, it died an early death because of the early election call in 2011, just short of the fixed election dates that are in law in our country.

I am happy to see the House have the opportunity to address this bill again. I think I mentioned in my question earlier in this debate that the bill is substantially based on mine and consists essentially of Canada Shipping Act changes. I did not hear that there were any differences from my previous bill in the substantive part of this bill.

Then there are two aspirational sections in the National Energy Board Act, both of which are eminently reasonable. They ask the National Energy Board to ensure that consultations have taken place and to report on them in their consideration of a project. They also set out that the National Energy Board should consider the impact on employment in upgraders and refineries and in the petrochemical industry. Of course the Liberal Party is very supportive of the idea of consultation and is supportive of having local employment from our natural resources, so those are instructions to consider important issues.

I appreciate that the member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley has built on the work that I and many others before me have done to protect this area. In fact, it was a long-standing policy of Liberal governments from the time of Pierre Elliott Trudeau not to allow tanker traffic in the inside passage between Haida Gwaii and the central and north coast of Canada. That long-standing policy put the environment into the centre of the consideration, and our economy flourished notwithstanding, so it is not essential to risk oil spills in this area in order to have a thriving economy.

In fact, our contention is that the economy of the coast is important as well, and that would be at risk. There is a strongly expressed consensus among the communities of the province of British Columbia, and especially first nations and coastal first nations—like the Haisla, the Haida, the Heiltsuk, the Gitga’at, the Lax Kw'alaams—whose heritage is tied into the ecology of shellfish collection, of salmon, of an abundance of sea products, and simply the ability to be able to continue having some of their traditional practices. It is so important for coastal first nations, and I want to acknowledge them for having been strong voices for many years in support of banning tanker traffic in those inland waters.

The Conservative government has unfortunately undermined a very fundamental principle of our country's and our government's ability to balance the various interests and activities that come before it. What the Conservatives have done is undermine the environmental regulatory framework. What that has accomplished for the current government is to block many of the projects that it aspired to complete, because of the erosion of trust by the public in anything that the Conservatives have to say.

I heard the member for Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar talk about public trust in the current government. I want to point out that every time a member from the Conservative Party says that a member did not vote for this, that, and the other, the public should remember that the omnibus bills and many of the other bills are designed exactly to put some positive changes into some very political, ideological legislation. We call them poison-pill changes; they make it impossible for opposition members to support them, just for the very purpose of the Conservative members being able to later say that they did not vote for this, that, and the other. That is actually code for the Conservatives undermining our democracy with the way they put forward legislation, especially these omnibus bills. I want any members of the public reading this to recognize that code the next time they hear it, because they will hear it every day in the House, used as a tool, which undermines the public's trust in the Conservatives because of their anti-democratic processes.

Turning back to the bill, I want to note that B.C.'s north coast is the home to the Great Bear rainforest and some of the world's most diverse ecosystems, which include 27 species of marine mammals, 120 species of coastal birds, and 2,500 individual salmon runs. This also is an area of the coast of British Columbia that is home to 55,000 coastal jobs, and many of these jobs would be at risk should there be an oil spill. Oil spills happen, whether due to technological or human failure. We know that they happen. Should that happen, our coast would never be the same.

Regarding this particular pipeline project that this bill is addressing, which is the pipeline to Kitimat, rather than having learned the lesson of their failures of consultation and their failures in undermining the regulatory process, the Conservatives have compounded them since then by making changes to the National Energy Board to further limit consultation, further squeeze the time that people are being given to have comment, and further de-legitimize any of the projects in British Columbia that the National Energy Board is contemplating. That will then live on in public mistrust of other projects that the Conservative government is trying to put forward.

My hope, in closing, is that the Conservative Party members of Parliament from British Columbia will join us to vote for this bill because their constituents want them to do that. Their constituents are solidly behind this kind of protection of the area around Haida Gwaii from the potential for oil spill, and the Conservatives' constituents in British Columbia are for proper environmental regulation, for communities granting permission for these major invasive projects before they push them through with the National Energy Board.

I invite the Conservative members to consider that and join us in supporting this bill so it will pass. I would like to congratulate the member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley for his initiative in putting this forward.

Canada Shipping ActPrivate Members' Business

December 2nd, 2014 / 6:30 p.m.
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Murray Rankin NDP Victoria, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is a great pleasure to rise to speak in support of this historic bill introduced by my hon. colleague from Skeena—Bulkley Valley. It is called an act to defend the Pacific northwest, and a better name could not have been given to this initiative.

When I ran exactly two years ago, I knocked on many doors in Victoria and Oak Bay, in my part of Vancouver Island. I met so many different people, but not one person did I meet in my constituency who supported the Enbridge northern gateway project. They were all fearful of what it would do to our beautiful coast and how it would impact our first nations communities. The bill would codify that resistance British Columbians have, and that is what central to this initiative.

I was shocked and delighted a moment ago to hear the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources rise in this place and say something quite remarkable. She concluded her remarks by saying that this bill was “redundant”. I looked on Google, where we all look for definitions of words, and saw that redundant meant “not or no longer needed...superfluous”. I guess what she is saying, on behalf of the Conservative government, is that a ban on oil tankers, or VLCCs, in the Pacific northwest is unnecessary because it is already there.

I did not know that. It shows that the Conservatives actually have thought about the impact of a spill in this part of the world, and I was delighted to learn they had accepted that.

Maybe it is not necessary, but if we could therefore simply agree to those conditions, that would be great. However, the bill goes beyond that quite substantially.

It would force pipeline proponents to look at adding value to resources and creating jobs in Canada by amendments to the NEB Act, something I would commend. Most significant, perhaps, given the Tsilhqot'in case and other cases in our courts, it would strengthen consultations between the federal government and first nations communities on pipeline reviews. It would do that for all municipalities, as my friend has suggested, but it would go much beyond that in light of the new obligations we all face all as we deal with first nations in the resource development context.

For us, this is a common sense initiative that would put the environment and first nations back and centrally into the energy conversation, and would ensure that Canadians would get the full benefit of energy development.

In particular, the bill would stop the Enbridge northern gateway in its tracks. I feel I have a mandate to represent the people who sent me here, all of whom are opposed to this. Therefore, the bill, “redundant” though it may be, would definitely put a nail through the heart of that egregious project, which so few people in my part of the world think makes any sense at all. It is grotesque.

It is inspired by the experience of northwest B.C. and its fight against Enbridge. Bill C-628 would legislate immediate protections for the pristine north coast from threats from these oil tankers, while addressing the key concerns raised by the poor process that led the Conservative government to approve the pipeline.

I am very proud to have been the past co-chair of the Environmental Law Centre at the University of Victoria. Those people are now in court, fighting the NEB and the government's decision to accept the JRP's report because of its numerous procedural errors that are so patently obvious to any lawyer who has examined them. This would go some distance, if Bill C-628 were to be accepted, to address some of the deficiencies that were made so apparent during that process. It was a process where literally thousands of people appeared, some 99% of whom opposed this pipeline. Nevertheless, three individuals appointed by the NEB came to British Columbia and said that they knew what was best and that they would go ahead and recommend approval for this project.

Nobody in our community takes that process seriously. Nobody takes it seriously in the Kinder Morgan process. If this bill went some distance to improve it, it would be worth it on that basis alone.

Three hundred scientists from around the world condemned that joint review panel project as full of errors and omissions. They said that it cannot be used to make decisions about pipelines and demanded that the government finally say no to the lunacy of the Enbridge northern gateway pipeline proposal.

As recently as in today's Globe and Mail, we have seen a change in the economy. Green energy sector jobs now surpass the total of oil sands employment in this country. There are 6.5 million people employed now in the clean energy sector, according to Clean Energy Canada in a report released today. There has been $25 billion invested in Canada's clean energy sector in the past five years.

As I say, more people are employed in this sector than in the oil sands. The world has changed; the Conservatives have not. Projects like Enbridge northern gateway show how much they have their heads in the sand. Perhaps I should say in the oil sands.

A constituent in my riding, Dr. Gerald Graham, works with Worldocean Consulting. He calculated that over a 50-year period, the chance of a major tanker spill is somewhere between 8.7% and 14.1%. These are the same odds, at the top end, as Russian roulette.

Applying a standard model used by governments to project spill risks, researchers at Simon Fraser University have estimated that the northern gateway pipeline would generate a tanker spill somewhere between every 23 and 196 years, a terminal spill every 15 to 41 years, and 15 or 16 pipeline spills on land every year. Overall, they pegged the probability of a tanker spill at 90%.

Yet the joint review panel said that “a large spill is unlikely” and “a large spill would initially have significant adverse environmental effects...[but] the environment would ultimately recover”. Tell that to first nations people who depend on the sea in the northwest part of British Columbia. Tell municipalities like Kitimat, which despite propaganda from the Enbridge company decided to vote against even allowing that project in the community. They have spoken. The Conservatives have certainly not listened.

I could go on to talk about the lunacy of a report that said that dilbit may not even sink. I did not know that. Tell that to the people in Kalamazoo, Michigan. They spent over $1 billion trying to clean up something on the bottom of the Kalamazoo River, but I guess it does not sink. There must have been a lot of wasted money. The report says that when it gets to the waves and the sea water, it is an entirely different issue.

The scientists with whom I have consulted think the report's conclusion on such a central issue was itself lunacy, and of course, we are playing Russian roulette, as I said earlier, with the fate of one of the most beautiful parts of our planet and some of the most dangerous waters on our planet, when one thinks of Hecate Strait and Douglas Channel, with 90° turns out to the ocean.

If we look at the map Enbridge gave, those islands do not exist, apparently, but I have seen them. I have been there many times. It is my favourite part of this planet, and I will not let the Conservatives destroy it by allowing this pipeline and these tankers to go through this part of the world.

I have been an environmental lawyer for most of my life. I have participated in many hearings and have been commission counsel on environmental assessment projects myself. This project was flawed from the get-go. The process has been so inadequate that everyone has spoken against it. The same people are now speaking out about the Kinder Morgan process in British Columbia.

I am proud to stand here in support of my colleague for introducing this bill. We are lucky to have him in the House. He was in my riding a couple of weeks ago with several hundred more people. “Take back our coast” is what he calls it. There were several hundred a year or so ago and several hundred now. We are not going away. Our resistance to this project is only getting started. This bill would make an enormous difference in how we do business in Canada to address these kinds of projects.

I commend my colleague for this initiative, and I hope all members of the House will support it.

Canada Shipping ActPrivate Members' Business

December 2nd, 2014 / 6:40 p.m.
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Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo B.C.


Cathy McLeod ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Labour and for Western Economic Diversification

Mr. Speaker, I rise today in response to Bill C-628 which calls for, among other things, the Canada Shipping Act to be amended.

The proposed amendments would ban oil tankers from operating off the northern coast of British Columbia, specifically in the Dixon Entrance, Hecate Strait, and Queen Charlotte Sound.

I want to put some facts on the table in my conversation. We have certainly heard some passion from the other side, but I think facts become important, and certainly we are committed to protecting the environment. As a member representing British Columbia, I know how important our coastal environment is and how important waterways are, and we take our duty to protect these areas very seriously.

The member's proposal to ban tankers off the west coast is problematic for a number of reasons. First I want to talk about how we have already taken significant action to ensure we have a world-class tanker safety system and how we are keeping shipping safe.

The cornerstone of Canada's maritime regulatory regime is the Canada Shipping Act, also known as the act. The act's main purpose is to ensure marine safety. This includes preventing pollution from all shipping, including tankers. The act is applicable to all vessels operating in Canadian waters and to Canadian vessels worldwide.

What we are trying to do is balance the safety of shipping with the protection of the marine environment while encouraging maritime commerce. In order to ensure that oil is shipped safely, the act establishes standards that require oil tankers to be double-hulled and sets out how they are built, equipped, inspected, certified, and operated.

Oil tanker traffic in Canada has an excellent safety record under this regulatory regime. Roughly 320 million tonnes of oil are safely shipped off of Canada's coasts annually, with 43 million tonnes of oil shipped annually through the coastal waters of British Columbia.

Even with this high volume of oil shipping, Canada has not suffered any significant oil spills since its current regulatory regime was implemented. This track record can be attributed to the strong prevention measures that have been implemented over the past two decades.

Transportation of goods by vessel needs to be compliant with the act and is vital to British Columbia's coastal economy. Multiple prevention measures are set out in regulations, such as the Vessel Traffic Services zones, which monitor the movement of vessels so that traffic separation schemes and special routing measures are in place where appropriate.

Crews aboard these vessels must also meet stringent international standards for training and certification. In accordance with the Pilotage Act, there is compulsory pilotage in British Columbia's coastal waters. This means that a vessel must have on board a pilot, who is a navigator certified to have specialized knowledge of local waters.

Mariners are dedicated professionals who undergo years of training and experience to advance through the ranks, again in accordance with training and examinations overseen by Transport Canada and other maritime administrations around the world.

Transport Canada has also established the Canadian marine oil spill preparedness and response regime, which requires tankers to have an arrangement with a Canadian response organization to provide cleanup services in the event of a spill. Tankers are also required to have a shipboard oil pollution emergency plan.

The Marine Liability Act, which forms part of Canada's regulatory regime, sets out rules for tankers to carry insurance, not only for the oil cargoes they carry but also for the oil they use as fuel.

Internationally, Canada is highly respected in the maritime community as a country that provides a clear and predictable set of rules to ensure safety and to protect the environment. A key way we achieved this reputation was by being party to international conventions that set rules for how ships, including tankers, operate safely and prevent marine pollution. Being party to these conventions allows Transport Canada the right to inspect ships that call in Canadian ports. The conventions also provide rights for Transport Canada to act if standards are not met. This can include warnings, detaining a vessel in port until repairs are made to comply with standards, or proceeding with prosecutions.

Not only are we party to these international conventions, but we are also very active at the International Maritime Organization, the United Nations specialized agency that governs global shipping.

We have had leadership roles in this International Maritime Organization for several years and have been working to facilitate the world's adoption of maritime standards to protect the environment. So we have been working not only in Canada but also worldwide.

We continue to strive to make our regulatory regime stronger and recently have done so through our world-class tanker safety system initiatives. Of course, as members are aware, British Columbia was interested in having the best system in the world.

In May 2013-14, we announced a number of new measures that have since been put in place. We announced that there would be increased tanker inspections, new and modified aids to navigation, and an expansion of our national aerial surveillance program to increase surveillance efforts while continuing to deter polluters and enabling early detection of marine oil spills.

However, a ban on oil tankers, as proposed by the NDP, would have a lasting negative effect on Canada. I understand that the NDP is anti-trade and does not comprehend the issues of a trading nation. The NDP always wants to say no. NDP members do not ask how we can perhaps have a process in place and look at how we can have a balance.

I have to go back to the recent provincial election where their leader stood up in the riding that I represent and said that they were not even going to support this pipeline, that they did not care about having a process in place and were against it.

However, I think British Columbians spoke clearly when they said that they wanted to find a balance. The environment is critical to them, but they want to find a balance.

I am not sure it has worked out so well for the NDP members to always be saying no. They do not even want a process before they say no. It is just an automatic no. It has not worked out so well.

Banning the tanker traffic would essentially eliminate any chances Canada would have to further diversify energy exports to countries other than the United States. I would also note that the NDP has said no to the Keystone pipeline, to east-west, and to north-south. It seems to be no, no, no. NDP members are not looking for any way to get to a yes, in spite of whatever measures we can put in place to have an environmentally sound practice.

I think the ban would also be seen very negatively by the United States and other countries that view these waters as free for navigation, specifically the waters in fishing zone 3, between the Queen Charlotte Islands and Vancouver Island. As members might know, they are disputed as international waters.

In closing, our government is already keeping shipping safe and preventing pollution in our waters through our current regulatory regimes. We continue to be proactive in our approach to safety and we are proud of recent initiatives, such as our world-class tanker safety system.

Canadians generally and British Columbians can be reassured that our government is committed to protecting our beautiful west coast. As I said, as a member from British Columbia, I believe that we can get to a yes on some of these projects with the important measures that are in place.

Banning a class of vessels operating legitimately within the standards I have just described would be contrary to the comprehensive system that has served Canadians so well. This type of ban proposed by the NDP would have drastic impacts on Canada internationally.

I heard the member for Victoria say that every single person said no. However, many people in my riding are saying yes, and some say no, but I think there are people in British Columbia who recognize that we can get to a good balance on these issues.

For these reasons, our government will not be supporting the NDP's Bill C-628.

Canada Shipping ActPrivate Members' Business

December 2nd, 2014 / 6:50 p.m.
See context


Fin Donnelly NDP New Westminster—Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak in favour of Bill C-628, an act to amend the Canada Shipping Act, 2001, and the National Energy Board Act, introduced by my colleague the member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley.

Let me provide some background information about this bill. Bill C-628 is designed to fully stop the Enbridge northern gateway pipeline in its tracks. The bill would also steer the National Energy Board toward a process that respects communities and first nations and puts Canadian jobs and energy security first.

Enbridge proposes to have supertankers the length of the Empire State Building traverse through the sensitive and difficult waters of the Douglas Channel and B.C.'s north coast. Over the 50-year life span of the project, it plans to do it 11,000 times. Given Enbridge's track record, we do not trust the odds that a devastating accident will never happen.

Polls consistently show that more than two-thirds of British Columbians oppose Enbridge's northern gateway supertanker scheme and the dangers it poses to the coast and communities that depend on it. Thousands of people wrote letters and testified before the northern gateway joint review panel; municipalities and the Province of British Columbia formally declared their opposition to the pipeline; and 130 first nations signed the Fraser Declaration opposing northern gateway, only to have their views discarded by the Conservative government's decision to support it.

The Enbridge northern gateway project would move 525,000 barrels of diluted bitumen per day from Bruderheim, Alberta, to Kitimat, B.C. The 1,177 kilometre length of the pipeline would cross the Rocky Mountains, hundreds of rivers and streams, and sensitive habitat for species such as woodland caribou. B.C.'s north coast is a place of great biological diversity and extreme weather. It is home to 120 species of seabirds and 27 species of marine mammals such as orca and grey and humpback whales, as well as the commercially important wild salmon, halibut, and other fisheries. Spills along this coast are more likely, and they would be devastating.

The supertankers Enbridge plans to send down Douglas Channel have a minimum stopping distance of three kilometres, while the channel itself is a network of sharp turns and narrow passages, just 1.35 kilometres in some places. Winds have been recorded up to 200 kilometres an hour, with waves as high as 29 metres.

The economic cost of a spill would be enormous. The seafood sector in B.C. generates close to $1.7 billion each year, while wilderness tourism in British Columbia generates more than $1.55 billion in annual revenues. This sector is a permanent source of income for around 45,000 Canadians who would be deeply affected by a spill.

There were 10,000 individuals and organizations, including the provincial government of British Columbia and several first nations, who wrote to or appeared before the joint review panel for the Enbridge northern gateway, and their opposition was nearly unanimous.

I look forward to continuing this in the New Year.

Canada Shipping ActRoutine Proceedings

September 23rd, 2014 / 10:05 a.m.
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Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-628, An Act to amend the Canada Shipping Act, 2001 and the National Energy Board Act (oil transportation and pipeline certificate).

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Victoria for seconding this most important bill, an act to defend the Pacific northwest.

This piece of legislation is borne out of a crisis that was imposed on the northwest of British Columbia in a proposal for an 1,100 kilometre bitumen pipeline from Alberta to the shores at Kitimat, and then the proposal of 11,000 supertankers to ply the north coast.

This crisis has borne within it an opportunity that is written in the bill to, for the first time in Canadian history, have a legislated ban of supertankers off of British Columbia's north coast. It has been debated for more than 40 years in this place. The bill would put it into law once and for all. It would also strengthen the voices of communities that engage with the federal government on any proposed pipeline across Canada, and ask the government to consider what type of product we are putting in these pipelines and its impact on the Canadian economy.

We look to receive the support of first nations who have stood against Enbridge northern gateway, the labour community, towns, municipalities, environment groups, and a broad coalition of British Columbians who have stood up in opposition to it.

I also seek support from my colleagues around this House: New Democrats, Liberals, Greens, and from my colleagues across the way, the Conservatives, particularly those from British Columbia. This is a rare opportunity for us to stand up and protect British Columbia's coast, to stand up and protect Canada's interests once and for all, to take this crisis, turn it into the opportunity that it is, and stand up for Canada.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)