Oil Tanker Moratorium Act

An Act respecting the regulation of vessels that transport crude oil or persistent oil to or from ports or marine installations located along British Columbia's north coast

Sponsor

Marc Garneau  Liberal

Status

Second reading (Senate), as of May 9, 2018

Subscribe to a feed (what's a feed?) of speeches and votes in the House related to Bill C-48.

Summary

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

This enactment enacts the Oil Tanker Moratorium Act, which prohibits oil tankers that are carrying more than 12 500 metric tons of crude oil or persistent oil as cargo from stopping, or unloading crude oil or persistent oil, at ports or marine installations located along British Columbia’s north coast from the northern tip of Vancouver Island to the Alaska border. The Act prohibits loading if it would result in the oil tanker carrying more than 12 500 metric tons of those oils as cargo.

The Act also prohibits vessels and persons from transporting crude oil or persistent oil between oil tankers and those ports or marine installations for the purpose of aiding the oil tanker to circumvent the prohibitions on oil tankers.

Finally, the Act establishes an administration and enforcement regime that includes requirements to provide information and to follow directions and that provides for penalties of up to a maximum of five million dollars.

Elsewhere

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.

Votes

May 8, 2018 Passed 3rd reading and adoption of Bill C-48, An Act respecting the regulation of vessels that transport crude oil or persistent oil to or from ports or marine installations located along British Columbia's north coast
May 1, 2018 Passed Concurrence at report stage of Bill C-48, An Act respecting the regulation of vessels that transport crude oil or persistent oil to or from ports or marine installations located along British Columbia's north coast
May 1, 2018 Failed Bill C-48, An Act respecting the regulation of vessels that transport crude oil or persistent oil to or from ports or marine installations located along British Columbia's north coast (report stage amendment)
Oct. 4, 2017 Passed 2nd reading of Bill C-48, An Act respecting the regulation of vessels that transport crude oil or persistent oil to or from ports or marine installations located along British Columbia's north coast
Oct. 4, 2017 Passed Time allocation for Bill C-48, An Act respecting the regulation of vessels that transport crude oil or persistent oil to or from ports or marine installations located along British Columbia's north coast

Motions in AmendmentOil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

April 30th, 2018 / 12:15 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Kelly Block Conservative Carlton Trail—Eagle Creek, SK

Madam Speaker, I would suggest that Bill C-48 would do absolutely nothing for the preservation of British Columbia's environment. This is a symbolic bill. Ships, including U.S. tankers travelling from Alaska to Washington state, would continue to be able to travel up and down the coast just outside the 100-kilometre limit.

Further, when we talk about Canadian oil production, Canadian oil is extracted and transported under some of the safest and most environmentally strict regulations in the world. I truly believe preventing our Canadian oil resources from reaching customers in other countries only serves to proliferate the use of oil products extracted and transported in a less safe and less environmentally friendly way.

This is a strange contradiction we see, and I really believe the NDP's view on Canadian oil is that the NDP's opposition to its defeat is the supposed greater goal of protecting the world's environment.

Motions in AmendmentOil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

April 30th, 2018 / 12:15 p.m.
See context

Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Westmount Québec

Liberal

Marc Garneau LiberalMinister of Transport

Madam Speaker, Canadians are blessed with some of the most spectacular coastlines on the planet. Canada boasts the world's longest coastline, over 243,000 kilometres from the Pacific to the Arctic to the Atlantic. In addition to offering exceptional economic development, tourism, and recreational opportunities, Canada's vast coastal waters are home to rare species and precious ecosystems. Our coasts are very special places, particularly for indigenous peoples who have occupied these areas since time immemorial.

Bill C-48 recognizes that with these gifts provided by our natural coastal spaces, we also assume tremendous responsibility. We have a duty to protect our marine heritage for present and future generations. That responsibility includes safe and clean marine shipping, which is essential to our country's economic growth. Make no mistake, marine transportation is fundamental to Canada's economic well-being. Delivering our products to global markets and receiving goods from other countries is vital to the livelihood of Canadians.

The environmental and social aspects of marine transportation are also very important. Freight transportation in these sensitive waters must be done in an environmentally sustainable manner. Canadians expect us to strike a balance between economic growth and environmental protection.

This is why the oil tanker moratorium act is so important to Canadians and to this government. Once in effect, this legislation would help protect the pristine waters off British Columbia's northern coast. Let me briefly summarize the key components of this bill, one of the many progressive steps we are talking under the $1.5-billion oceans protection plan.

The oil tanker moratorium would prohibit oil tankers carrying more than 12,500 metric tons of crude or persistent oils as cargo from stopping, loading, or unloading any of these oils at ports or marine installations in northern British Columbia. I am referring to products such as partially upgraded bitumen, synthetic crude oil, petroleum pitch, and bunker C fuel oil.

Vessels carrying less than 12,500 metric tons of crude or persistent oil as cargo would also be permitted to stop, load, or unload in the moratorium area. This would allow northern communities to receive critical shipments of heating oils and other products they require. For many communities without road or rail access, the only way to receive products, like liquefied natural gas, propane, gasoline, or jet fuel, is by ship.

The proposed moratorium area extends from the Alaskan border in the north down to the point on B.C’s mainland adjacent to the northern tip of Vancouver Island, including Haida Gwaii. This moratorium will complement the existing voluntary tanker exclusion zone, which has been in place since 1985.

A key concern is the transfer of crude oil or persistent oil from larger vessels to smaller ones. This bill would prohibit ship-to-ship transfers.

Anyone caught trying to elude the moratorium would face stiff fines. The legislation includes strong penalties reaching up to $5 million.

Equally important, the bill includes flexibility for amendments. For example, products could be added to or removed from the list of banned persistent oils based on science and environmental safety. Environmental safety would be the main consideration for any additions or deletions to the product list through the regulatory process. Once adopted, this legislation would provide a high level of protection for the Canadian coastline around Dixon Entrance, Hecate Strait, and Queen Charlotte Sound.

Transport Canada officials and I have been working with marine stakeholders, as well as indigenous and coastal communities to make sure this happens. We have consulted extensively with a wide cross-section of Canadians on how to improve marine safety in Canada and successfully implement the proposed moratorium.

Since January 2016, we have held roughly 75 engagement sessions to discuss the moratorium, including 21 round tables. Over the same time, my department has also received more than 80 letters and other submissions on the moratorium. In addition, approximately 330 people have provided submissions or comments on Transport Canada's online engagement portal.

As parliamentarians know, the oceans protection plan includes more than just new measures to improve marine safety and responsible shipping, and to protect Canada's marine environment. It also includes a commitment to create new partnerships with indigenous and coastal communities. Indigenous peoples must have meaningful participation in the marine shipping regime. They must have a seat at the table.

This makes practical sense. Indigenous peoples along the coast have valuable traditional and local knowledge. They are also often best placed to respond to emergencies. Recognizing this, I held round table and bilateral meetings with first nations on the north and cental coasts of British Columbia to understand their perspectives on the moratorium.

As my hon. colleagues are undoubtedly aware, the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities also held public hearings on the legislation. I was particularly encouraged by the level of support for the bill at the committee hearings by witnesses representing indigenous peoples, and I would like to thank the various groups that took the time to meet or write and express their views with either me or members of the committee.

I think it is important to note that there were some groups who would have liked the moratorium to be implemented in a different way or who spoke out against certain elements. We listened to their views and concerns, and we have determined that the right balance is achieved by the proposed legislation which takes a precautionary approach.

We also met with environmental non-governmental organizations, and they had the opportunity to express themselves. We also met with industry representatives, as the industrial sector has a direct stake in these issues. Representatives of the shipping sector participated in a number of meetings, and provided letters to me. I received correspondence from the Business Council of British Columbia as well. In addition to the participation in round table meetings, representatives from the provinces of British Columbia and Alberta took part in regular bilateral discussions on the moratorium and marine safety.

We listened carefully. We listened to stakeholders and Canadians, and their comments formed the basis of this bill. We took careful note of the opinions of Canadians who are directly affected by the proposed moratorium. We are aware that some groups or individuals will think that their concerns were not taken into account, but we believe that this bill strikes a fair balance.

The moratorium's parameters are also informed by and based on science. For instance, the moratorium would apply to products known to be the heaviest and that persist the longest when spilled. Crude oils and a range of persistent oils pose the greatest threats to vulnerable marine mammals and ecosystems.

One does not need to live on Canada's west coast to appreciate the need for a new approach to securing prosperity for Canadians, an approach that protects and preserves the bounty that nature has bestowed upon us. The legislation before us does more than address the needs and concerns of Canadians living in B.C.'s coastal communities; it advances the interests of the entire country.

The oil tanker moratorium act would mean much tougher laws for shipping and marine transportation, to reduce the adverse impacts of vessel operations on our environment and to better protect Canadians. As importantly, this legislation clearly demonstrates that we can make meaningful progress on both economic and environmental fronts for the betterment of all Canadians. We can ensure the safe, efficient, and secure transportation of goods that create jobs and prosperity while safeguarding the waters that are the very source of life.

I encourage my hon. colleagues to make the oil tanker moratorium a reality, something that has been proposed and discussed by the Canadian public and in the House of Commons by all parties for years. It is long past time for this necessary and worthy legislation.

Motions in AmendmentOil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

April 30th, 2018 / 12:25 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Kelly Block Conservative Carlton Trail—Eagle Creek, SK

Madam Speaker, we know that diversifying Canada's export market for oil and gas is critical to supporting the continued growth of our economy. Demand for Canadian oil is strongest in the rapidly growing market of the Asia-Pacific region.

Venezuelan oil in Quebec is okay. Saudi Arabian oil on the east coast is okay. Canadian oil in Vancouver is okay, but not in northern B.C. Why?

Motions in AmendmentOil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

April 30th, 2018 / 12:30 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Marc Garneau Liberal Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Westmount, QC

Madam Speaker, my hon. colleague talked about the importance of oil. That allows me to ask, because I do not think it has been specifically asked to the Conservatives, whether they are going to be supporting the TMX pipeline, which we have very clearly said is important to the national interest. This is an extremely important pipeline. It has 157 conditions attached to it. We are putting in place the oceans protection plan, an unprecedented marine protection plan. However, I have not heard from the Conservative Party on whether it will support, in the national interest, the TMX pipeline.

Motions in AmendmentOil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

April 30th, 2018 / 12:30 p.m.
See context

NDP

Fin Donnelly NDP Port Moody—Coquitlam, BC

Madam Speaker, we certainly will be supporting Bill C-48. We have some concerns, and we have spoken about those concerns. However, the minister speaks of safety and protection of B.C.'s north coast. The minister mentioned the oceans protection plan in his speech. We have concern with this plan, in that there is no way to clean up toxic dilbit. I am wondering if the minister could elaborate on his oceans protection plan as to what technology exists to clean up toxic dilbit.

Motions in AmendmentOil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

April 30th, 2018 / 12:30 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Marc Garneau Liberal Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Westmount, QC

Madam Speaker, my colleague's question allows me to talk about what is in the oceans protection plan. There are two parts to it. There is prevention, and then, if there is a need to respond, there is the ability to respond. It is very important to realize that we will be putting a lot of measures in place for prevention. There will be six extra radar stations. We will be working with the first nations along the entire coast of British Columbia, who are often those who know the local waters where a potential incident can occur and are able to respond the most rapidly. We will be providing them with equipment, training, and with awareness of the traffic that is in the zone.

All of those things will help them to respond. At the same time, we are working to be in a position, when the TMX goes forward, to respond efficiently to any possible spill of dilbit. We believe that with the oceans protection plan, the chances are very minimal. However, if something should occur, we will have the necessary infrastructure and response capability in place to respond quickly and efficiently.

Motions in AmendmentOil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

April 30th, 2018 / 12:30 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

Madam Speaker, I am going to reframe the question from my colleague, because the minister chose not to answer it.

In the opposition, we are trying to understand the philosophy of the government with respect to energy infrastructure. The government is explicitly making it impossible to proceed with one pipeline while it has said it is supportive of the Trans Mountain pipeline, even while it is funding opponents of it. The government is okay with certain kinds of tankers, particularly if they are transporting Saudi oil or Venezuelan oil, but not Canadian oil.

Could the minister tell the House what the difference is between allowing Canadian oil to be exported versus having Alaskan oil there? What is the difference between the pipeline that the government has approved, even though it is not doing anything to develop it, and this northern gateway pipeline? Does the minister have any coherent—?

Motions in AmendmentOil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

April 30th, 2018 / 12:30 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Marc Garneau Liberal Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Westmount, QC

Madam Speaker, I will try to provide a quick answer.

We are in fact the only government that is trying to get a pipeline built to tidal water, something that the Conservatives under Harper were totally unable to do. I do not know why the member does not understand the fact that if we get a—

Motions in AmendmentOil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

April 30th, 2018 / 12:35 p.m.
See context

NDP

Fin Donnelly NDP Port Moody—Coquitlam, BC

Madam Speaker, it is my pleasure to rise to support Bill C-48, the north coast tanker ban. It has been a legislative priority of Canada's NDP for over a decade, and we welcome the Liberals finally taking action on this pressing issue. The NDP is pleased that the Liberal government is finally taking action to protect the north coast from crude oil tanker traffic. However, we are concerned that Bill C-48 would give the minister too much arbitrary power to exempt vessels from the ban and define what fuels are covered under the act. We hope the government will implement constructive amendments to limit ministerial power and increase spill response resources. We were also very concerned about the lack of consultation with first nations.

I want to give a little background about the moratorium. It is part of the government's oceans protection plan that was announced in November 2016. I have already brought up some of my concerns with the OPP. For example, the technology to clean up dilbit has not been identified and does not exist, yet we are still pursuing projects that would carry dilbit to our coast. If that were spilled in our oceans, that would have very devastating consequences. Bill C-48 proposes an oil tanker moratorium that extends from the Canada–U.S. border in the north, to the point of B.C.'s mainland adjacent to the northern tip of Vancouver Island, including Haida Gwaii.

Oil tankers carrying more than 12,500 tonnes of crude oil or persistent oil as cargo would be prohibited from mooring, anchoring, or loading or unloading any of the oil at a port or marine installation in the moratorium area. The bill would also prohibit vessels and persons from transporting crude oil or persistent oil from an oil tanker to a port or marine installation within the moratorium area to circumvent the prohibition.

In order to allow for community and industry supply, Bill C-48 would permit the shipment of amounts below 12,500 tonnes. This is still a huge amount of oil that could be transported on that coast. However, the bill would prevent large oil tanker ships from traversing the waters. The bill includes in its administration enforcement regime, reporting requirements, marine inspection powers, and penalties up to $5 million. That is a very insignificant amount, but it is a penalty nonetheless. Multiple private members' bills have been proposed in the past to protect the north coast, including mine. Back in 2011, there was Bill C-211.

Here are some facts about other impacts that the coast has had. Obviously, the most known is the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill on the coast, which was a catastrophic spill. The spill cleanup and coastal recovery cost $9.5 billion, of which Exxon paid only $3.5 billion. Twenty years after the spill, fish habitat and stock still have not fully recovered. An oil spill of this sort would be devastating to wild salmon, marine mammals, birds, and coastal forest, including the Great Bear Rainforest. It would devastate coastal economies by jeopardizing tourism, commercial fishing, and first nations fishing.

We also know about the recent sinking of the Nathan E. Stewart fuel barge, which shows that navigation in these waters can be extremely hazardous and dangerous, and what damage can be caused by even a minor spill. The Nathan E. Stewart ran aground in the early hours of October 13, 2016 near Bella Bella, in the heart of the Great Bear Rainforest. The vessel eventually sank, spilling as much as 110,000 litres of diesel into the marine environment. Cleanup efforts were repeatedly hampered by bad weather, and the vessel was not recovered until a month after it sank. We were lucky that the vessel was not full to its maximum capacity, which likely prevented more extensive damage.

A north coast tanker ban is popular in British Columbia. Polls show that 79% of people in the province support a ban on oil tanker traffic in B.C.'s inside coastal waters. That was back in 2011, but if anything, it has gained strength since then.

The ban prevents the creation of disastrous pipelines like the Enbridge northern gateway, which would have run 1,177 kilometres from Alberta to Kitimat, B.C., at the head of the Douglas Channel. The westbound pipeline was to carry up to 525,000 barrels of diluted bitumen per day, meaning that up 220 oil tankers a year would have to navigate the waters of the Great Bear Rainforest to export the diluted bitumen to foreign markets.

The waters off the B.C. north coast are a significant salmon migration route. Millions of salmon come from the more than 650 streams and rivers along the coast. The impact of a simple oil spill would be catastrophic. The commercial fishery on the north coast catches over $100 million worth of fish per year, more than 2,500 residents along B.C.'s north coast work in the commercial fishery, and the fish processing industry employs thousands more.

The beauty of this region and the abundance of the salmon, whales, and other marine mammals have made it a world-renowned destination for ecotourism. The tourism industry has played a major role for employment, economic growth, and opportunity in B.C.'s coastal communities. Business in this region has worked hard to promote its location as a major tourist destination.

The west coast wilderness tourism industry is now estimated to be worth over $782 million annually, employing 26,000 people full time and roughly 40,000 in total. B.C.'s north shoreline is dotted with sport fishing lodges, as fishing enthusiasts take part in the world-famous fishery. People are amazed after spending even a day kayaking, bear watching, or enjoying a guided tour on B.C.'s northwest coast.

We know the importance of the coastline on the north coast. I want to turn now to the south coast, and how the people in the south of British Columbia on Canada's west coast find the amazing ocean economy and potential of the marine ecosystem just as important as that of the north coast. They are concerned about a similar project, the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain expansion.

To give a little background information, this expansion project would include building a new pipeline and constructing 12 new pump stations, 19 new storage tanks, and three new marine berths at the Westridge Marine Terminal in Burrard Inlet, which is near my riding of Port Moody—Coquitlam and Anmore and Belcarra. Most of the pipeline oil would be destined for the Westridge Marine Terminal in Burnaby, where it would be loaded onto oil tankers that would navigate past Vancouver, the Gulf Islands, and through the Juan de Fuca Strait before reaching open ocean. The expansion would mean a sevenfold increase in oil tanker traffic from the Westridge terminal, from around 60 oil tankers to more than 400 per year.

I will give a quick update on that proposal, because it is very much a concern to many in British Columbia and in Canada.

Kinder Morgan has met less than half of the 157 required National Energy Board conditions. One-third of the final route has not been approved. Now the company is begging for relief on many conditions and wants to delay detailed route hearings. What this tells us in Parliament is that they are very concerned about what is happening on our coast.

Our coastal economy, community, and marine environment are very important. Salmon and whales are critical to our way of life, to west coast Canada, and to British Columbia. People are speaking out. They are very concerned. Yes, they want to find an economy that works, but one that works in tune with keeping our salmon, whales, and marine environment as intact as possible. Projects such as the northern gateway proposal and the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain proposal would have a direct impact on that economy and on those features that make us British Columbians and keep us Canadian.

In conclusion, we welcome the Liberal government finally taking action to defend the north coast from oil tanker traffic. However, we are concerned that the loopholes in the legislation might be enough to drive an oil tanker through. Therefore, the government must adopt the amendments. The bill does nothing to protect the coast from spills of refined oil, and the government needs to work on that.

Motions in AmendmentOil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

April 30th, 2018 / 12:45 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

Madam Speaker, it is not going to surprise my colleague that we have some substantial disagreements about pipeline policy. I think probably we would both feel that there is certain lack of consistency from the government on the other end, and he spoke about the issue of Trans Mountain pipeline. Our party supports the northern gateway project and we support the Trans Mountain pipeline, because we see these as projects that bring energy resources to the coast. We see them creating export and economic opportunities for Canada. We also believe that Canada's high standard of environmental rules and performance compares favourably with the other countries that are selling oil to Canada or that are exporting oil along our coasts from Alaska.

I wonder if the member would be inclined to agree with me that there is an inconsistency in terms of government policy, and that there is a lack of rationale for why it says it supports one pipeline but not the other. I think it should support both. I know he thinks it should support neither. Does he have any thoughts on the lack of clarity around how the government actually decides which projects it is going to support and which projects it will not?

Motions in AmendmentOil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

April 30th, 2018 / 12:45 p.m.
See context

NDP

Fin Donnelly NDP Port Moody—Coquitlam, BC

Madam Speaker, I think consistency is critical. I came from local government before my term here as an MP, and I know that businesses, community members, and individuals absolutely want to know what the rules are. They want to know that they are consistently applied. They want that to be transparent. They want governments at all levels to be very transparent about what those rules are. Therefore, I agree that there should be consistency.

Obviously, we are on the opposite side of the fence when it comes to oil tanker traffic and pipeline proposals when there is not a fair process applied, when first nations have not been consulted properly, and when environmental assessments are inadequate.

The member mentioned what energy alternatives could look like. I think, as do Canada's New Democrats, that we should be exploring hydro power, tidal power, solar energy, geothermal energy, and working with our cities right across this country and our diverse regions to explore those options.

Motions in AmendmentOil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

April 30th, 2018 / 12:45 p.m.
See context

Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Madam Speaker, I believe that there is consistency and that the government has been very straightforward right from the beginning when taking office two years ago. Because of that consistency, unlike the Harper government, we have actually been successful in dealing with the environment and our oceans and ensuring that there is a pipeline. There have been consultations. Members across the way do not make reference to the many different indigenous groups that are in favour of what the government is doing and are in support of it.

The problem in the House, as I see it, is that the NDP policy is that the best type of pipeline is no pipeline. The New Democrats do not believe in pipeline expansion. They would prolong any sort of process just to kill the potential markets, not realizing how important it is for the national interest to have a pipeline. The Conservatives, on the other hand, completely disregard any idea of consultation and the environment.

I believe that we have done well as a government. Therefore, I specifically ask the member this: where is it that he believes there is no policy, when in fact we know there is a policy?

Motions in AmendmentOil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

April 30th, 2018 / 12:45 p.m.
See context

NDP

Fin Donnelly NDP Port Moody—Coquitlam, BC

Madam Speaker, I think the issues that I brought up in my speech would answer that question. Hopefully, the member was listening. I talked about ministerial discretion, which gives the minister the power to make huge changes and amendments. There is no time limit in terms of when those decisions could end. Therefore, a minister in a new government could reverse the entire point and purpose of this oil tanker ban on the north coast. That is a huge discrepancy under the oceans protection plan.

I previously asked the Minister of Transport how, if the northern gateway project were to go through, it would go about cleaning up dilbit. The technology does not exist. The transport minister could not answer.

Canada's New Democrats have been clear. We need to transition to a low-carbon economy immediately and start to work with our provinces, territories, and municipalities at exploring other options and ramping up hydro power, tidal power, geothermal energy, and solar energy. There are so many other examples that could get us to that low-carbon economy.

Motions in AmendmentOil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

April 30th, 2018 / 12:50 p.m.
See context

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Madam Speaker, it is an honour to rise today to support Bill C-48, a bill to legislate a permanent tanker ban along British Columbia's north coast. I also have amendments that I hope will still pass, which I brought before the committee.

I find the debate about this tanker ban to take place, as often happens, in sort of a miasma of amnesia. It is important for Canadians to know that we are now legislating a tanker ban that was honoured and in effect from 1972 until Stephen Harper chose to imagine it away. From 1972 until at least 2012, every federal and provincial government had accepted, as did our courts, that there was a moratorium against crude oil tankers along B.C.'s north coast, particularly in Hecate Strait, Dixon Entrance, and Queen Charlotte Sound.

Just for the purpose of giving us our bearings, I want to revisit how that tanker ban came to be in effect and the implications today when we look at data about the safety of transiting B.C.'s north coast and the importance of recognizing that the tanker ban was in place from 1972 until, as I said, Stephen Harper chose to ignore it.

That tanker ban was put in place in 1972 by former prime minister Pierre Trudeau. It was as a result of an immediate threat to the B.C. north coast, primarily from a proposed expansion of oil tanker traffic from Alaska to the Juan de Fuca Strait.

Now, there was a backbencher in the Liberal ranks who went on to become the minister of fisheries, the minister of environment, and so on. At that point, Dave Anderson was a backbencher from a riding that was not yet called Victoria, but that is where he was. I think it was called Esquimalt—Saanich at the time. In any case, Dave Anderson was a backbencher MLA who was also simultaneously involved with environmental groups in a lawsuit in the U.S. to try to get the newly minted National Environmental Policy Act on the U.S. side of the border to have a mandatory, thorough environmental review of the threat of Alaska oil tanker traffic bound for Juan de Fuca and what that would mean for the B.C. north coast.

David Anderson, Liberal MLA, went to Pierre Trudeau, Liberal prime minister, and put it to him that the case to protect the north coast of B.C. depended quite a lot on Canada federally exerting a policy that it would not put its tankers through there either. It was important for the legal case south of the border and it was important in principle.

I would like to see a tanker ban on any tanker carrying dilbit because, as my other hon. colleagues have already pointed out, there is no technology to clean up dilbit, but I want to hold our attention for a moment on what was happening in 1972.

I know a lot of hon. members are not from the B.C. coast, but if they look at a map, they will see why it is particularly important not to have any oil tanker traffic this area. Being originally from Cape Breton, I am often asked why there is no tanker ban on the Atlantic coast and why it only happened on the B.C. coast. It is all about the specifics of an extremely turbulent, active ocean in those places and the presence offshore of a land mass. Therefore, any spill that occurred along the Hecate Strait, Dixon Entrance, and Queen Charlotte Sound would create an oil spill that not only would not float out to sea but would go back and forth, between striking the coasts of Haida Gwaii, which we then called the Queen Charlotte Islands, and backing up to hit the coast of British Columbia. It was a specific geographical threat that continues to this day. I think it is the second most active ocean current on the planet, according to Environment Canada data from the time.

David Anderson was able to convince Pierre Trudeau to put in place a tanker ban. It stayed in place from 1972 until 2012.

What is the significance of that? It means that every time people proposing oil tanker traffic along our coast point to the safety and the safety record, the safety record has something to do with the fact that we have not allowed crude oil tankers through those waters since 1972. That has something to do with the great record of not having had oil spills: it's because we do not allow the oil tankers there. We have not since 1972.

This piece of legislation does what the Liberals promised. I heard my hon. colleague from Carlton Trail—Eagle Creek making the suggestion that they break so many promises, why not break this one too. I do not want to go in that direction. I want to thank them and approve and applaud when the Liberals keep a promise. This is an important promise. It is a legislated tanker ban that meets the goals of decades of commitments to protect those northern waters. What particularly important nation are we also protecting? It is the Haida Nation.

The member talked about how first nations were consulted. There were extensive consultations before the 1972 tanker moratorium. The Haida Nation particularly, which has the most at stake, as well as coastal nations on the other side, along the mainland of Canada, has been consistent for decades that it does not not want tankers in its territorial waters. The Haida Nation is right. The threat is far too dangerous. Crude oil along that coastline would despoil traditional fishing, not to mention tourism and other economic benefits.

This is not a tanker ban that came out of the blue. That is my main point so far. This is not something the current Prime Minister invented for an election platform. This would fulfill a commitment made in 1972 and finally give it legal teeth.

It could be better. There is no question about that. For instance, we have had spills that were devastating from much smaller vessels that would still be allowed under this ban. Everyone knows about the really disastrous spill from the Nathan E. Stewart running aground off Bella Bella. It was certainly well below the limit that would be allowed under this bill. It had a huge impact on the Heiltsuk Nation. Chief Marilyn Slett has described it as a complete disaster for that nation, that community, those waters, and those species. That was well below the 12,500 metric tons that would be permissible under this bill. I would really prefer to see a 2,000-metric-ton threshold, which was actually initially in the Transport Canada discussion paper put forward. It was widely supported to hold it to a 2,000-metric-ton threshold.

It is true that in the outer waters, those U.S. tankers could still move, but that is the point. We are protecting the historically significant internal waters of Canada that have been protected since 1972.

Having had this moratorium for so long, the waters there have been protected from crude oil. However, in the intervening time since 1972, we have had an entirely different product proposed for shipment. The different product is bitumen mixed with diluent, which cannot be cleaned up. That is the best scientific advice we have in Canada from numerous studies that have been peer reviewed. Bitumen, which is a solid, is only mixed with diluent to make it flow through a pipeline. It is a unique carrying mechanism. It is not a product. Bitumen is the product; diluent is added only to make it flow through a pipeline.

It really cannot be overstated in this place, for members who are not as deeply immersed as many of us in British Columbia are in the multitude of reasons the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion is not a good idea for Canada, that bitumen mixed with diluent cannot be cleaned up. The diluent, which is a fossil fuel condensate like naphtha, butane, and benzene, is added just to make the solid material, bitumen, flow through a pipeline. At the other end, it gets loaded onto a tanker. Wherever the tanker goes, maybe to a refinery in some other country, taking Canadian jobs with it and away from refineries in Canada, the diluent then needs to be pulled out of the material, because it is not commercially valuable at that point. The product then goes back to solid bitumen, and they have to upgrade the solid bitumen and put it through a refinery.

The oceans protection plan is still not a plan. One of my constituents, the Hon. Pat Carney, who is the former minister of energy, says that it is an oceans protection wish list. We would like to see a plan. We know it is a $1.5-billion promise. We do not know how many millions are supposed to be spent on the Pacific, how many millions on the Arctic Ocean, and how many millions on B.C. oceans. We do not know.

As we look at Bill C-48, I still hope to see amendments so we can be more protective of our coastlines. I will vote for Bill C-48 and I will defend it as the continuation of a tanker ban we have had in place since 1972.

Motions in AmendmentOil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

April 30th, 2018 / 1 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Michelle Rempel Conservative Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Madam Speaker, we may disagree on policy in this place. That is why we have this place. Ostensibly, we can debate and work things out and come up with better public policy.

At one time my colleague castigated me on parliamentary decorum. I would just love to give her an opportunity to tell this place and Canadians if she thinks it was parliamentary to wilfully break the law and disregard the rule of law in terms of her incident at the Kinder Morgan site in British Columbia.