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

In committee (House), as of Oct. 4, 2017

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

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

Oil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

October 4th, 2017 / 5:15 p.m.
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Conservative

Mark Strahl Conservative Chilliwack—Hope, BC

Mr. Speaker, I too want to ask members to imagine a few things. Imagine members of one of the 31 first nations or Métis communities in the Aboriginal Equity Partners agreement, who stood to gain $2 billion from the northern gateway pipeline. Imagine their being told by the Prime Minister that there was no relationship more important than our relationship with Canada's indigenous people, then imagine their being completely ignored and having no consultation done with them while $2 billion was torn away from them, their communities, their children, and future generations that would stand to benefit from responsible resource development.

Is the member proud of the fact, which has been confirmed in Order Paper questions, that the Government of Canada was not required to undertake consultations with those indigenous groups? Because they wanted economic development, because they wanted natural resource development, because they wanted this pipeline that would bring prosperity to their people to go ahead, they were deemed unworthy of consultation. Is she proud of that fact?

Oil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

October 4th, 2017 / 5:15 p.m.
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Liberal

Joyce Murray Liberal Vancouver Quadra, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am proud that our government does extensive consultation on every initiative and every bill we put forward, unlike the previous Conservative government, which would cook up changes to bills in back rooms for political purposes, like with the Fisheries Act, and lay them out in a huge omnibus bill and never even talk to anyone about them.

Coastal first nations up and down British Columbia supported this moratorium. Coastal first nations all through the area of over 700 rivers, creeks, and streams that lead to salmon-bearing rivers were for a moratorium on the coast. I am proud that we listened to them. We consulted, and we listened.

Oil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

October 4th, 2017 / 5:20 p.m.
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NDP

Kennedy Stewart NDP Burnaby South, BC

Mr. Speaker, I listened intently to my colleague's speech. I agree with her that this moratorium is a good idea. However, all the facts she is reading out actually apply to the south coast as well. If we have a bitumen spill in the waters right off her riding, there will be devastation to all kinds of recreational areas and areas that are worked by local first nations.

How does the member square the circle? How can she and all her colleagues from British Columbia stand with the Prime Minister while he approves the Kinder Morgan pipeline, while there are 19 court cases now pending, many from first nations that do not want this, while tens of thousands of British Columbians say that they do not want the Kinder Morgan pipeline, and while the British Columbia government says that it will use every tool in the tool box to stop this pipeline? How can she square the circle?

How can she say the facts in her speech about this northern gateway pipeline, agree with the moratorium, and then turn around, with her B.C. colleagues, and support the Kinder Morgan pipeline?

Oil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

October 4th, 2017 / 5:20 p.m.
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Liberal

Joyce Murray Liberal Vancouver Quadra, BC

Mr. Speaker, I hope my colleague across the way will support this bill, as all the NDP members agreed to support my bill, Bill C-606, because of the importance of protecting coastal rainforest that is untouched. A pipeline would have had to go through the Coast Mountains, days' worth of wilderness, which have no roads and no human activities.

This particular bill would protect an area that is remote and that the Coast Guard probably could not even get to, even with the additional resources and funds our government is putting into the Coast Guard. There is no capacity to deal with an oil spill in these remote waters. I am very proud that we will not be facing that horrible possibility on our Pacific north coast, and I hope the member will support the bill.

Oil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

October 4th, 2017 / 5:20 p.m.
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Liberal

Julie Dzerowicz Liberal Davenport, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am proud to stand in the House on behalf of the residents of my riding of Davenport to support Bill C-48, the oil tanker moratorium act. The environment is very important to the residents of the riding of Davenport, so I stand to support this bill.

For anyone who does not get a chance to watch this live, I want to review very quickly what the oil tanker moratorium act would do. The act would formalize a moratorium for oil tankers off British Columbia's north coast. It would do three things. It would cover an area from the northern Alaska-B.C. border down to the point on B.C.'s mainland adjacent to the northern tip of Vancouver Island. That includes Haida Gwaii. Tanker traffic would not be allowed to go in and out of the ports in the northern part of B.C. This would apply to all ships carrying over 12,500 tonnes of crude oil or persistent oil as cargo in this area. As well, the tanker moratorium would complement the existing voluntary tanker exclusion zone, which has been in place since 1985.

If we have a voluntary moratorium, what would this tanker moratorium actually do? The act would expand the current area to include areas such as the Hecate Strait, Dixon Entrance, and Queen Charlotte Sound, off the coast of Haida Gwaii. Also, the voluntary moratorium only dealt with ships that were actually passing through the area. The bill proposes to include all the traffic that goes through the area. We are very pleased with the two changes this bill would put in place.

This is a pristine part of northern British Columbia that from time immemorial we have wanted to protect. First nation groups and community groups along the coastline have been asking governments for many years to protect it. We made the promise years ago that we would do so, and I am very pleased that today we are moving forward by pursuing this bill.

The other thing I want to mention is that the tanker moratorium act would complement the $1.5 billion comprehensive national oceans protection plan. That plan has four priority areas.

First, the Government of Canada will create a world-leading marine safety system that improves responsible shipping and protects Canada's waters. When we talk about world-leading, we mean that the system will meet or exceed the best practices in the world. This area focuses both on prevention and response measures.

Second, the government will focus on the preservation and restoration of marine ecosystems and habitats. This will be done using new tools and research as well as measures to address abandoned and derelict vessels and wrecks.

Third is building and strengthening partnerships with indigenous and coastal communities. The government is helping to build local capacity so that indigenous groups play a meaningful role in emergency response and waterway management.

The fourth part of our oceans protection plan is that the government will ensure that Canada's marine safety system is built on a stronger evidence base, supported by science and local knowledge. I am delighted that this is going into place.

I started off by saying that the environment is very important to Davenport residents. I have always told them that one of the key things we promised as we formed government was that as we looked forward to developing our economy, we wanted to do it in a sustainable way. The oceans protection plan and the oil tanker moratorium act are both part of that plan.

I will now move to my more formal remarks.

In an earlier session, there were some questions about government consultations. Indeed, there has been extensive government consultation. I want to acknowledge the leadership of the member for Vancouver Quadra, who has done such a wonderful job for years advocating for this. I know that there were a lot of consultations at that time, and I am very proud that we continue to engage in additional consultations. We made sure that we reached out to as many groups as possible. We listened and incorporated their views into the bill before us today.

I am very pleased and proud to take part in today's discussion about implementing an oil tanker moratorium on British Columbia's northern coast. I would like to take this opportunity to highlight the efforts made by the government and its partners to reach the decision to implement this moratorium. It is important to remember that with this bill, the Government of Canada would be honouring its commitments to Canadians. Formalizing this moratorium and improving marine safety were among the priorities set out in the mandate letter from the Prime Minister to the Minister of Transport.

We believe it is essential to protect the environment, a particularly sensitive environment in the case of northern B.C., while also developing a strong economy. It is just as important to note that the decision to impose this moratorium was the outcome of a vast consultation process.

Our government is committed to pursuing its objectives in the spirit of renewed collaboration. We firmly believe it is essential to maintain and enhance our relationships with provincial, territorial, and municipal governments and with indigenous groups to bring about concrete, positive change. Therefore, we undertook these consultations when the government first announced its intention to adopt a legislative framework to formalize the moratorium.

The first meetings were held in British Columbia, where the minister brought together representatives from first nations, industry, local communities, and non-governmental organizations dedicated to environmental protection.

Discussions were held across the country, including in Iqaluit, St. John's, Montreal, and Calgary, to name only a few locations. It was important for us to bring together Canadians with differing opinions on the moratorium. The government took great care to include various stakeholders from different settings, namely, the marine community, the oil and gas industry, environmental groups, provincial and municipal governments, Canadians from across the country, and of course, first nations.

In total, Transport Canada organized 16 round tables and over 30 bilateral and multilateral meetings to involve Canadians in improving marine safety, which included discussions about the moratorium on oil tankers. With the aim of extending the discussion further and enabling those who were unable to attend those meetings, Transport Canada set up a web portal. Indeed, many letters from Canadians were also forwarded to the department. Overall, nearly 5,000 users visited the online portal. Of them, 330 provided comments or submitted documents. Most of those comments were about the moratorium that is the subject here today.

It is obvious that Canadians wanted to be heard. I can assure members that this was done. We not only listened closely to the concerns of our partners and Canadians about the matter, we took steps to meet their expectations. For example, a number of stakeholders expressed concerns about the moratorium's potential impact on transporting supplies for the communities and industries on British Columbia's coast. Resupply is vital to their welfare. The communities and industries must be able to continue to receive shipments of petroleum products. Therefore, the government ensured that the proposed legislation would allow resupply to continue by setting a threshold of 12,500 metric tonnes of crude oil and persistent oil in a tanker's cargo spaces. The resupply of communities and industries would therefore not be affected by the proposed moratorium.

Some stakeholders pointed out to us that they also wanted to ensure that the moratorium was transformed into action by an act of Parliament. That is exactly what the bill is proposing.

During the Canada-wide discussions, concerns were raised about marine safety. The stakeholders found that the Canadian Coast Guard lacked resources, including salvage tugs. Stakeholders also raised concerns about the time required to respond to an incident. The oceans protection plan will allay their concerns by giving the Canadian Coast Guard a greater role when it comes to patrols and monitoring the marine environment. The Coast Guard is also going to have increased towing capacity.

A number of stakeholders also noted that there could be more involvement from local communities in emergency responses. For that reason, the government is making plans to better coordinate the federal emergency response plan. With greater resource capacity from coast to coast to coast, the government is ready to work with local communities and indigenous groups. New indigenous community response teams will also be established, with training in search and rescue, environmental response, and incident command.

Remember that Canada is a maritime nation that was built on a safe, secure maritime transport system. This government is dedicated to developing a long-term agenda for marine transport that demonstrates that a healthy environment and a sustainable economy go hand in hand.

In short, the moratorium on oil tankers would be a major initiative for protecting the B.C. coast. I encourage all members to come together and support this bill that would protect our environment.

Oil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

October 4th, 2017 / 5:30 p.m.
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Conservative

Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

Madam Speaker, these pipeline projects are of critical importance to my constituency. They contribute jobs and opportunities in western Canada and, frankly, all of Canada. For example, there is a pallet factory outside Toronto. Generally speaking, everything that moves in the oil sands moves on a pallet. We are all interconnected, so when the government brings forward legislation that shuts down jobs and opportunities, it will affect not just my riding but also jobs and opportunities in that member's riding.

Why is the government moving forward with legislation that would shut down opportunities for Canada in the energy exporting market that would have created jobs and opportunities here, while opening the market to oil from countries that do not share our values and human rights record? In its entirety, it will gratuitously disadvantage Canadians and our economy.

Why is the government moving in this direction? Why does it not put jobs and opportunity ahead of its anti-energy ideology?

Oil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

October 4th, 2017 / 5:30 p.m.
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Liberal

Julie Dzerowicz Liberal Davenport, ON

Madam Speaker, I can assure the hon. member that we are putting jobs and our economy at the forefront of our priorities. As we have said time and time again, we will move forward in developing and growing our economy in a sustainable way.

We have already approved three pipelines that will create thousands of jobs, mostly in Alberta. A lot of our natural resources will be brought to tidewater.

We do have an obligation to develop our resources, but in sustainable way, and that is what we are committed to doing.

Oil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

October 4th, 2017 / 5:30 p.m.
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NDP

Gord Johns NDP Courtenay—Alberni, BC

Madam Speaker, the member and the member before her talked about sensitive ecosystems and important marine coastal jobs. She also talked about protecting the environment.

The member for Vancouver Quadra pointed out that there is no world-class oil response program in place for the central B.C. coast. Here I would like to tell both members that one is not in place on the west coast of Vancouver Island either.

The Liberal government says that its stakeholders support this ban. Those same stakeholders opposed the Kinder Morgan pipeline, yet the government went ahead and rammed it through. The Liberals support a project right now that has no world-class response program in place, and the stakeholders who support this ban opposed the Kinder Morgan pipeline.

The member talked about jobs and ocean protection. Along coastal British Columbia, 100,000 jobs are being threatened by an oil spill, 10,000 in my riding alone.

The government talks about its oceans protection plan, but we know what it looks like on the ground: no jobs in marine training for indigenous people, no marine debris cleanups, and closed marine traffic control centres.

Will the Liberals stop talking out of both sides of their mouths and tell us why they supported a Kinder Morgan pipeline with the same principles this legislation would institute on the north coast of British Columbia?

Oil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

October 4th, 2017 / 5:35 p.m.
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Liberal

Julie Dzerowicz Liberal Davenport, ON

Madam Speaker, when the gulf oil spill happened, it was a bit of a trauma for me. I did not like it happening over such a long period of time and that it took so long to stop the damage. I was concerned about how we would be able to approve some of our pipelines.

Our oceans protection plan is a huge part of our commitment to ensuring that we have world-leading means to protect Canada's waters and prevention and response measures in place. We are best in class in terms of that. That is top of mind for all of us.

We are trying to find a balance between moving forward and growing our economy in a sustainable way. We are engaging with all stakeholders and trying to make the most responsible decisions possible moving forward.

Oil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

October 4th, 2017 / 5:35 p.m.
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Conservative

Bob Benzen Conservative Calgary Heritage, AB

Madam Speaker, for some time now, from well before the by-election in April that brought me to this place, I have watched with a mix of resentment and regret as the Liberal government engages in what I have come to call “proxy politics” on the issue of pipelines. I say “resentment”, because for many in my province of Alberta and even closer to home in my riding of Calgary Heritage, pipelines are too important an issue to play political games on. I say “regret”, because what the government views as political manoeuvring only is having real and negative effects on the ground in Alberta, jeopardizing the livelihoods of thousands of people whose employment relies on the health of the energy sector.

As I speak today on Bill C-48, I see in its provisions not just the express purpose of its title to ban oil tankers, but also another example of the proxy politics that the government has been playing when it comes to pipeline development in Canada. What does proxy pipeline politics entail? It simply refers to the government's penchant for attaining indirectly, through legislation and politicized bureaucrats and signalling to special interests, what it cannot attain directly because of the political optics involved. This bill is another step by the government toward a goal that it pursues, but does not publicly name, the phasing out of the oil sands.

Bill C-48 would prohibit oil tankers carrying crude and persistent oils as cargo from stopping, loading, and unloading at ports or marine installations in the moratorium area. On the surface, it purports to enhance environmental protection by banning oil tankers from the north coast of British Columbia. However, that is just a greenwashing of the bill's true intent: to convert a vast region of Canada's west coast into a no-go zone for tankers under the pretext of environmental protection. Reading and listening to the Liberals' messaging around this bill, one might assume that an environmental apocalypse was imminent in B.C. That, of course, is not the case at all.

In fact, the Conservative government enhanced protections for the environment in 2014 by creating a world-class tanker safety system. We modernized Canada's navigational systems, enhanced area response planning, expanded the marine safety capacity of aboriginal communities, and ensured that polluters would pay for spills and damages. We did these things because, in contrast to the party opposite, Conservatives understand that the environment can be protected while also growing the economy.

Conservatives believe in fair and balanced policy-making. Liberals, however, would have us believe there is no middle ground. They would have Canadians forget that a voluntary exclusion zone of 100 kilometres for oil tankers travelling from Alaska to Washington State has been in place since 1985. They would also have us ignore how the Alaskan panhandle juts deep into the moratorium zone, meaning that any U.S. community sharing B.C.'s coastline can welcome oil tankers. The Liberals say never mind to the realities on the ground and to the protections already in place. Instead, they craft policies to address hypothetical contingencies that have become even less likely in recent years. Where is the fairness and balance in such an approach?

The bill's inherent unfairness is clear. It is unfair to coastal communities in northern British Columbia, excluding them from even the possibility of oil pipeline projects as a means of economic development and local job creation. This bill is unfair to those aboriginal communities in B.C. that support and seek responsible pipeline development to the west coast as a means to achieving economic independence for their communities. There are many more of those communities than the Liberals care to admit. In fact, according to the chief of the Assembly of First Nations, 500 of the 630 first nations across Canada are open to pipeline and petroleum development on their lands.

The bill is also unfair to the energy companies that take all the risks and make all the investments and do all the work that we require of them to meet our world-class safety regulations, only to discover at the end of the process that it all means nothing when a political, unbalanced, unfair outcome results.

This bill is not balanced. It favours environmental interests and their activists while marginalizing economic stakeholders. The Liberals do this not only in the interests of the environment but also because they are opposed to pipelines, and legislation such as Bill C-48 helps them to achieve their ends.

In November of last year, the federal government directed the National Energy Board to dismiss the northern gateway pipeline project. It cited concerns about oil tankers transporting some of the half-million barrels per day of a petroleum product at Kitimat, oil that would have found new international markets via tidewater. How convenient it is that we now have legislation before us that effectively bars any similar projects in the future. After all, if tankers cannot receive what pipelines send them, there is little reason for a pipeline.

For the government to engage in such reckless spending to fulfill its all-encompassing view of the role of the state shows little understanding of what is needed to fund such largesse. Governments do not create wealth; they only tax the wealth created by others to finance their objectives. Therefore, it strikes me as odd that the Liberal government consistently seeks to smother one of Canada's largest sources of wealth. Alberta's oil sands alone represent a potential $2-trillion boost to Canada's gross domestic product over the coming decade. That would help to fund health care and other social programs and priorities for many years to come. Rather than champion responsible development of a resource beneficial to everyone, the government continues to throw up hurdles.

We have seen the same with the energy east pipeline. The Liberals continue to allow interference during the approval process by bureaucrats who seem intent on moving the goalposts on investors. Allowing the regulator in that case to step outside its mandate to consider upstream impacts of the pipeline sends a signal to opponents of oil and gas development that the process is politically driven and can be disrupted. It does by proxy what the Liberals cannot do publicly for political reasons.

However, there is a cost to such interference. We cannot ask companies to make massive initial investments in the energy sector, to responsibly follow all of the regulations set before them to safely develop such projects, only to have politics change the rules in the middle of the process.

Canada stands in jeopardy of losing future oil and gas sector investments if the Liberal government continues to allow this. We cannot afford to do that, especially considering the debt into which the government is sinking us and the staggering number of public dollars that will be needed to pay it back.

Demand for Canadian oil is strongest in the rapidly growing markets of the Asia-Pacific region. However, the government's response is to ban Canada's gateway to such large markets from transporting our oil. This is not going over well with everyone, by the way.

The Chief's Council Eagle Spirit Energy project, a first nations-led energy corridor proposal that has the support of its affected communities, has claimed there has been insufficient consultation on the ban and says it “does not have our consent.”

Oil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

October 2nd, 2017 / 3:10 p.m.
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Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Westmount Québec

Liberal

Marc Garneau LiberalMinister of Transport

moved that 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, be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Mr. Speaker, the 400 kilometre stretch of coastal temperate rainforest running along British Columbia's northern coast is one of nature's truly spectacular sites. It is beloved by all Canadians and global visitors who share their determination to preserve and protect this land from potential oil spills. I am here today to speak to the proposed legislation designed to do just that. It is my pleasure to outline the rationale for, and benefits of, Bill C-48, the oil tanker moratorium act. In addition, the proposed act fulfills our government's pledge to formalize an oil tanker moratorium on British Columbia's north coast.

Canada has a robust marine safety regime and a strong track record of marine safety. An oil tanker moratorium has been proposed and discussed by the Canadian public and in the House of Commons, by all parties, for years. I am proud that this government is delivering on important environmental protections for the coastline around Dixon Entrance, Hecate Strait, and Queen Charlotte Sound.

The proposed oil tanker moratorium act would take concrete action to address these risks. This legislation covers all ports and marine installations located in northern British Columbia. The moratorium area would extend from our border with the United States in the north, down to the point on British Columbia's mainland adjacent to the northern tip of Vancouver Island. The area also includes Haida Gwaii. In keeping with our government's commitment, we would protect the Dixon Entrance, Hecate Strait, and Queen Charlotte Sound from a major oil spill.

At the core of the legislation are prohibitions on oil tankers carrying large volumes of crude oil or persistent oil. Oil tankers with more than 12,500 metric tonnes of crude oil or persistent oil on board as cargo would not be permitted to stop at ports or marine installations within this area. Oil tankers carrying more than 12,500 metric tonnes of crude or persistent oil as cargo would also be prohibited from loading or unloading any crude or persistent oil at a port or marine installation within this area.

In addition, the bill would prohibit what the maritime industry calls ship-to-ship transfers in an attempt to circumvent the moratorium. By this I mean that smaller vessels would not be permitted to load up with crude oil or persistent oil and transport it to or from a large oil tanker.

That said, these changes would not affect community and industry resupply. We have listened to the concerns of local communities. Many rely on some of these oils for heating and local industries. We also recognize that many communities are inaccessible by road or rail and can only receive these oils by ship, including the communities on Haida Gwaii.

I want to be clear. To accommodate community and industry resupply, this legislation would not prohibit shipments of crude oil or persistent oil below 12,500 metric tonnes. This threshold would allow existing resupply shipments to north coast communities and industries to continue.

These comprehensive measures are the result of extensive consultations on the moratorium. We listened closely to Canadians and came to the conclusion that a precautionary approach to the products included in the moratorium is crucial. Accordingly, we have included both crude oils and persistent oils.

To provide clarity, crude oil is defined in the legislation. It is based on the definition used in an important international maritime convention, namely the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships. This definition will be familiar to individuals working in the shipping industry.

Persistent oils are those oils that are heavier and stickier. When these oils are spilled, they tend to break up and dissipate more slowly, fouling birds, wildlife, and shorelines. These oils include partially upgraded bitumen, synthetic crude oil, and marine diesel oil, among others.

I think you can understand our decision to include them. These persistent oils were identified using an internationally recognized test for persistence that is based on boiling-point range and are listed in a schedule to the act.

As members know, the Government of Canada takes environmental protection and public safety very seriously. This proposed legislation, which complements our larger strategy to promote marine safety and coastal protection under the oceans protection plan, confirms it.

The oceans protection plan would create a world-leading marine safety system, which would do more to prevent damaging incidents and be better able to respond quickly and efficiently in the unlikely event of a crisis. As part of this plan, we are investing in new preventative and response measures to better protect our waters and coasts. This includes oil spill cleanup, and science and technology.

With the breakneck pace of technological evolution, there may well be advances in oil spill science and technology in the future. Understanding this, amendments to the schedule on persistent oils could be undertaken under Bill C-48. Any such changes would follow a review that would consider the fate and behaviour of oil products in water and the state of cleanup technology.

Environmental safety and science will always be the main considerations in revising the product list. Any amendment to the schedule to add or remove a product would be made by the Governor in Council.

To reinforce just how seriously we take these matters, the oil tanker moratorium act also includes reporting requirements and stiff penalties in the event of contraventions. Oil tankers capable of carrying more than 12,500 metric tons of oil will be required to report pre-arrival information on the cargo they are carrying, or picking up, from a port or marine installation located within the moratorium area.

This information must be submitted 24 hours before calling at our ports or marine installations. This requirement will ensure we know the types and quantities of oil travelling in our waters.

I want to reassure shippers that the reporting burden will be kept to a minimum by aligning requirements with existing reporting processes. The only additional requirement will be for oil tankers capable of carrying more than 12,500 metric tons of oil to report the specific type of oil being carried and the amount of this product that will be loaded or unloaded at a marine installation in northern British Columbia.

Make no mistake. If there is any concern, the government will have strong directive and inspection powers. Oil tankers can be directed to provide more information. They also can be directed not to come into a port or marine installation in northern British Columbia if it is believed they do not comply with this reporting requirement. Transport Canada has trained, professional marine inspectors already working on the north coast of British Columbia who enforce our existing marine legislation. These inspectors will carry out new enforcement activities under the proposed oil tanker moratorium act.

The powers these inspectors will have under this act are similar to the authorities they have under existing marine legislation, such as the Canada Shipping Act, 2001, and environmental protection legislation, such as the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999. If necessary, these inspectors will have the authority to board an oil tanker and take samples or conduct tests on the oil to verify compliance with the act. If a marine inspector has reasonable grounds to believe the legislation has been violated, the inspector can have the oil tanker detained while an investigation is launched.

Safety is our top priority. Lest anyone doubt that, consider just how seriously we will treat violations. There are strong penalties if an oil tanker is found to have committed an offence under this act. We are supporting this moratorium with an enforcement regime that could result in fines of up to $5 million for offenders.

These strong measures are what Canadians want and expect.

The measures of the oil tanker moratorium act that I have described today were very much informed by the voices of Canadians. Beginning in January 2016, I undertook a series of engagement sessions with Canadians from coast to coast to coast. I did this to listen to their concerns and views on how to improve marine safety in Canada and how to formalize an oil tanker moratorium, two of my priorities as the Minister of Transport.

I met with indigenous groups all along the north coast of British Columbia, as well as inland indigenous groups. I also met with environmental non-governmental organizations, the marine and resource industries, and communities from across Canada. Participants welcomed us into their communities to discuss a broad range of marine transportation issues. Many more citizens across Canada logged on to our website to leave comments on the oil tanker moratorium.

They had a lot to say. Individuals and communities want to be more engaged in our marine safety system. They want more information on the products being moved in our waters. I also heard how coastal indigenous groups are often first on the scene in responding to marine emergencies and that if they had better equipment and training, they could reduce the potential impact of marine emergencies or pollution incidents, such as an oil spill.

People also offered their ideas on the moratorium boundaries, the oil products to be prohibited, and the types of vessels that should be covered by the moratorium. I met with colleagues from provincial and municipal governments as well to hear their views on improving marine safety and formalizing a tanker moratorium. We discussed ways to strengthen our partnership to benefit the economy and the environment, because we share a common goal to keep our economy strong and to protect the environment and we understand that marine safety is a precondition to sustainable economic development. We all recognize that it is vital to deliver our products to global markets to improve the economic prospects for middle-class Canadians and to receive goods from all four corners of the world that Canadian consumers depend on. We also realize that it is equally crucial that those products be shipped in an environmentally responsible way. Canadians have been clear that they expect no less, and I could not agree more.

This act is part of our larger plan to protect our coasts—to ensure they remain clean and safe, vibrant and diverse, accessible and sustainable—while growing our economy.

Our government has introduced a suite of measures to protect Canada's coasts and waterways. The moratorium complements existing measures, such as the voluntary tanker exclusion zone on the west coast of Canada.

The exclusion zone is a voluntary agreement between Canada and the United States that has been in place since the 1980s. Oil tankers full of crude oil that are transiting between Alaska and Washington or California must transit west of the zone boundary. The zone boundary extends up to 70 nautical miles offshore and then narrows to about 25 nautical miles around the Juan de Fuca Strait as oil tankers enter U.S. waters.

Laden oil tankers stay west of this boundary to protect the environment and coastline should one of these oil tankers become disabled. Transiting west of the tanker exclusion zone allows emergency response services to assist a disabled oil tanker before it can get close to shore.

This has been a successful measure that, every year, keeps approximately 300 laden crude oil tankers at a safe distance from Canadian shores. While the tanker exclusion zone is voluntary, our monitoring indicates that it is being fully observed by all American tankers.

In addition, as I noted earlier, this past fall our government announced that it would be investing in a $1.5-billion comprehensive national oceans protection plan. This plan has four priority areas.

First, the government of Canada will create a world-leading marine safety system that improves responsible shipping and protects Canada’s waters. World-leading means the system will meet or exceed the best practices in the world. This area focuses on both prevention and response measures.

Second, our government is focusing on the preservation and restoration of marine ecosystems and habitats. This is being done using new tools and research, as well as measures to address abandoned and derelict vessels and wrecks.

The third priority is building and strengthening partnerships with indigenous and coastal communities. The government is helping to build local capacity so that indigenous groups play a meaningful role in emergency response and waterway management.

Finally, this government will ensure that Canada’s marine safety system is built on a stronger evidence base supported by science and local knowledge.

Canadians are blessed with some of the most spectacular coastlines in the world, places of raw beauty and ecological diversity. Our new oceans protection plan would safeguard our coastlines and marine environment so that iconic places like British Columbia's northern coastline remain proud elements of our national identity that can be enjoyed today and for generations to come. Once passed by Parliament, our oil tanker moratorium act would provide important environmental protection for British Columbia's north coast, something many Canadians have sought for years.

I am proud to lead this initiative, and I want to extend my thanks to my colleagues who have contributed to it: the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, the Minister of Natural Resources, and the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs. I am sure that they join me in calling for a constructive debate on this critical piece of legislation by all members of the House.

Oil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

October 2nd, 2017 / 3:30 p.m.
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Conservative

Kelly Block Conservative Carlton Trail—Eagle Creek, SK

Mr. Speaker, legislation has been coming fast and furious from this minister, and I can imagine that he wants to get something done so that the Liberals can say their government actually accomplished some of the things that they promised to do. However, this would be one promise that we ask the government to think very carefully about.

As the minister noted, currently there is a voluntary moratorium on tanker traffic. It has been in place since the 1980s and it covers the area that would be affected by this bill. Regardless of whether one philosophically agrees with this voluntary moratorium, it appears to have been working. Since Bill C-48 would do nothing to change the current situation in regard to tanker traffic travelling up and down B.C.'s coast, why is the minister wasting the House's time with this smokescreen of a bill?

Oil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

October 2nd, 2017 / 3:30 p.m.
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Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, yes, the exclusion zone has been in place since the 1980s, but we made an election promise to Canadians that we would also exclude specific zones along the coast: Hecate Strait, the Dixon Entrance, and Queen Charlotte Sound. Specifically, we did not want to allow massive amounts of tanker traffic to be operating in those zones going into Canadian ports. That is a new element in this bill, and it would ensure that the moratorium would satisfy the requirement not to have lots of maritime traffic within the exclusion zone.

Oil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

October 2nd, 2017 / 3:30 p.m.
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NDP

Kennedy Stewart NDP Burnaby South, BC

Mr. Speaker, protecting B.C.'s coast is very important to all of us, but British Columbians have perhaps a different idea of protecting our coast.

This minister was part of a cabinet that approved and signed off on the Kinder Morgan pipeline that runs to our west coast and to which this moratorium does not apply.

A minister within that cabinet, the natural resources minister, said that he would send in the army to facilitate the construction of that pipeline. I wonder if this minister agrees. Is he willing to violate the rights of British Columbians in order to build pipelines to the west coast?

Further, the Union of British Columbia Chiefs has said it has 25,000 people signed up to protest, using any means possible. I wonder if this minister feels comfortable using army and defence forces to arrest first nations people on reserves just for trying to protect our coast.

Oil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

October 2nd, 2017 / 3:35 p.m.
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Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, of course I am here to talk about the moratorium bill, Bill C-48. I am very proud that it covers the regions from the United States-Canada border in the north right down to the point that is roughly aligned with the northern tip of Vancouver Island. This is a pristine area for which we promised we would establish a moratorium for tanker traffic, and we are keeping that promise.

British Columbia's economy and environment are important along its entire coast. That is why we are particularly proud of having brought in the oceans protection plan, which will put in place world-leading marine safety measures to ensure that the economic development of British Columbia continues but does so with an eye to ensuring the highest levels of environmental safety.