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

Bill C-48--Time Allocation MotionOil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

October 4th, 2017 / 3:50 p.m.
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Waterloo Ontario

Liberal

Bardish Chagger LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister of Small Business and Tourism

moved:

That, in relation to 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, not more than one further sitting day shall be allotted to the consideration at second reading stage of the Bill;

and

That, 15 minutes before the expiry of the time provided for Government Orders on the day allotted to the consideration at second reading stage of the said Bill, any proceedings before the House shall be interrupted, if required for the purpose of this Order, and, in turn, every question necessary for the disposal of the said stage of the Bill shall be put forthwith and successively, without further debate or amendment.

Bill C-48--Time Allocation MotionOil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

October 4th, 2017 / 3:55 p.m.
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Conservative

Candice Bergen Conservative Portage—Lisgar, MB

Mr. Speaker, I am disappointed in this, and we as a party are offended.

There was an agreement made two and a half weeks ago when this session started that we would work together with the government and not be obstructionist, but work to help pass bills that we were able to support.

The result so far is that the government has passed Bill S-2, C-21, C-47, and Bill C-58 all without time allocation, and progress was being made on three more bills, Bill C-55, C-57, and C-60.

There was one bill that we said we had a lot of interest in and would like to have enough time for all of our members to be able to speak, and that was Bill C-48. Now the House leader has broken her word. There is no other way to interpret this. If this is the way she is going to start this session after we have worked in such good faith for the last two and half weeks, all the members know that it will be a case of here we go again: a repeat of the failure we saw in the spring session.

Where in the world is the House leader's integrity and ability to keep her word?

Bill C-48--Time Allocation MotionOil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

October 4th, 2017 / 3:55 p.m.
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Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Westmount Québec

Liberal

Marc Garneau LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, of course I know that my hon. colleague realizes that this is an extremely important bill. It is a bill that we very clearly announced a long time ago. It was one of the electoral promises we made. We have had a chance to talk about this bill for a while. However, it will go to committee, as we know, and will be amply debated there, not to mention report stage and third reading. It will also get an airing in the Senate. This is an extremely important bill that we promised Canadians we were going to deliver. I cannot say how many people support it, but it is a huge number . We are going forward with this bill and hope the opposition will be constructive about it.

Bill C-48--Time Allocation MotionOil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

October 4th, 2017 / 3:55 p.m.
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Conservative

Mark Strahl Conservative Chilliwack—Hope, BC

Mr. Speaker, yes, it is an important bill. That is why we wanted to have more than two members from the official opposition speak to it before the government invoked closure. Perhaps we should not be surprised. The government House leader and the Liberal government telegraphed that they would go to time allocation whether or not we agreed with them.

The Minister of Transport just said this was an important bill and that we would be heard somewhere else, not in the House of Commons. This is once again a case of the Liberals wanting an audience, not an opposition. They are violating the rights of this place. There were two speakers on a half-day. We agreed to give them a half-day when the Governor General was sworn in. They took advantage of our good faith and are abusing the process to shut down the opposition after two votes.

Is the minister really proud of shutting down the debate after only two opposition speakers have had an opportunity to speak?

Bill C-48--Time Allocation MotionOil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

October 4th, 2017 / 3:55 p.m.
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Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I am very proud of this bill. I want to assure my colleague that the debate will continue. There are many more stages in the House of Commons, as well as the Senate, where this bill will go. I will only say it once, but I remember keeping count of the more than a hundred time allocation motions the opposition moved when it was in government just a little while ago.

Bill C-48--Time Allocation MotionOil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

October 4th, 2017 / 3:55 p.m.
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NDP

Sheila Malcolmson NDP Nanaimo—Ladysmith, BC

Mr. Speaker, I had a speaking spot on this bill this afternoon. It looks like it will not happen now. It is very disappointing. There has been a lot of community pressure for a ban along these lines brought forward by some of my own colleagues in previous parliaments. However, there are a lot of questions that we still have to ask about this bill. For example, the minister is given too much arbitrary power to exempt vessels from the ban and to determine what kind of fuels are included or excluded; we hear that there is not enough consultation with first nations; and the bill does nothing to prevent the kind of spills we saw on the north coast, for example, by the Nathan E. Stewart. That spill was calamitous for the shellfish industry and the maritime jobs of the Heiltsuk people.

If the government is so proud of this bill and so ready to go forward with it, why not give the official opposition and the progressive opposition the ability to ask questions and offer our ideas now in the House where everyone can see our work on this issue?

Bill C-48--Time Allocation MotionOil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

October 4th, 2017 / 4 p.m.
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Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, of course, we have said very specifically that the ministerial power would only be used in extreme emergencies for the public good and in cases where there was a dire emergency and a need to refuel a community along the northern coast of British Columbia.

As for the persistent oils that are on the list, we gave that a great deal of thought before we came up with that list. The ones that are on the persistent oil list are those that take a long period of time to break up and can potentially cause the greatest damage to ecosystems, bird life, mammals, and shorelines. Those are things that we gave a great deal of thought to. We excluded naphtha, jet gas, propane, LNG, and gasoline.

We gave it a huge amount of thought and have already talked about it. Therefore, I am not quite sure why my colleague is asking the same question again.

Bill C-48--Time Allocation MotionOil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

October 4th, 2017 / 4 p.m.
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Conservative

Chris Warkentin Conservative Grande Prairie—Mackenzie, AB

Mr. Speaker, the minister says he is proud of the bill. Is he proud to shut down the democratic process in the House? There are members from all parties who were elected by their constituents to bring their perspectives to the House. We have 96 members in our caucus. I am proud of each and every one of them. Many of them have different perspectives, coming from different communities, and will be impacted differently by the bill.

The minister is suggesting that we should be happy if five of our members have a chance to speak to the bill: two in the House of Commons and three at committee. This would be the full complement of Conservative representation that would be brought to this process with the bill before us.

We have members from Calgary, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, and across this country who have a right to be heard on the bill. Their constituents demand that they be heard on the bill. The minister is shutting down that right of these members to be heard, but more importantly, he is shutting down the voices of Canadians.

Is the minister proud of shutting down the voices of Canadians who are concerned about the bill?

Bill C-48--Time Allocation MotionOil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

October 4th, 2017 / 4 p.m.
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NDP

Don Davies NDP Vancouver Kingsway, BC

Mr. Speaker, two thoughts come to mind.

First, I do have to second the comment just been made by the government side. The Conservatives, when they were in government, imposed time allocation and closure on debate over 100 times in this place. They had no respect for the rights of parliamentarians to have their say on bills.

However, on the other hand, as we learned in grade 4, two wrongs do not make a right, and it is no excuse for the Liberal government to now impose closure and take away the rights of people on this side of the House to have their say.

I also had a speaking spot today. I come from Vancouver, a coastal city where our constituents have very important concerns about tankers on the coast. Now I have been robbed of my ability to raise the voice of the people of Vancouver Kingsway in the House, because the Liberal government is imposing time allocation and taking away our right to represent our constituents in the House.

It was wrong when the Conservatives did so. It is wrong that the Liberals are doing it now. This is why we need a New Democrat government in 2019 to finally bring back respect for democracy in this chamber and across this country.

Bill C-48--Time Allocation MotionOil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

October 4th, 2017 / 4:05 p.m.
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Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his impassioned comments on this, but I do want to reassure him that there are still many stages left before this bill leaves the House of Commons for the Senate. I am optimistic that he will have an opportunity to express himself during the course of the different stages of this legislation through the House of Commons.

Bill C-48--Time Allocation MotionOil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

October 4th, 2017 / 4:05 p.m.
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Conservative

Rachael Harder Conservative Lethbridge, AB

Mr. Speaker, what just happened in this House is that the Liberals made the decision to shut down debate. They moved time allocation on a bill that is very important with regard to the energy sector. It is a bill that I and many of my colleagues were hoping to have the opportunity to speak to.

It is important to note that my colleagues and I do not represent ourselves. We do not. I think the Liberals sometimes forget that. They forget that they are here on behalf of those who elected them to be here, to be a voice on behalf of the Canadian people. On this side of the House, we have not forgotten that. We were elected by our constituents to be a voice on their behalf in this place.

This place is called the House of Commons because it is supposed to be common people representing common people. The only way that can happen is if debate actually takes place in this House. What my colleagues across the aisle have just done by moving time allocation robs us and Canadians from coast to coast of a voice in this place where they deserve to have a voice. Why? It is because Canada upholds democracy, which means we were voted in, we were elected to be in this place to represent our constituents.

On behalf of the people of Lethbridge, I am meant to be in this place to have a voice for them. The Liberals just took away that voice from those in Lethbridge.

Here is my question for the hon. minister. Are you Liberals actually so anti-democratic that you would shut down debate and silence the voice of constituents from coast to coast? Are you that anti-democratic?

Bill C-48--Time Allocation MotionOil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

October 4th, 2017 / 4:05 p.m.
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Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, that is a good reminder.

Back in 2015 we definitely heard a lot of voices from Canadians who very strongly supported the concept of a permanent moratorium on west coast tanker traffic. That is, of course, the substance of this bill.

We feel that there is going to be a reasonable amount of time for members of the opposition to express themselves on this bill. The bill is going to go to committee. It will come back for report stage and third reading. There will be other opportunities for both parties to express themselves on whether they agree with it or not.

As well, there is the very important work that goes on in committee. May I say, on a very positive note, that yesterday there was great co-operation among all the parties in doing the clause by clause on another important transport bill, Bill C-49.

Bill C-48--Time Allocation MotionOil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

October 4th, 2017 / 4:05 p.m.
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NDP

Kennedy Stewart NDP Burnaby South, BC

Mr. Speaker, I feel pretty lucky today, because the other day when the minister was making his speech, I was in the House and I happened to be able to ask him a question. It appears that I am going to be one of the few who are going to be able to ask a question of the government, because it is shutting down debate.

The problem with that is that I asked the minister a question, and he deliberately evaded it. I represent a west coast constituency that has the proposed Kinder Morgan pipeline set to run through it. We are talking about protection of the west coast.

What the minister would not answer was whether or not he agreed with his colleague that the army should be used to ram this pipeline through British Columbia. I am giving the minister a second chance now to answer that question. Is he going to use the defence forces to ram the Kinder Morgan pipeline through communities and through first nations reserves against the will of British Columbians?

Bill C-48--Time Allocation MotionOil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

October 4th, 2017 / 4:05 p.m.
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Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I would be delighted to answer any question on the moratorium, but this has absolutely nothing to do with the moratorium. This is not a free-for-all for people to ask any questions about any subject.

If there is a question on the moratorium, I promise I will give my opinion on that.

Bill C-48--Time Allocation MotionOil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

October 4th, 2017 / 4:05 p.m.
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Conservative

Mel Arnold Conservative North Okanagan—Shuswap, BC

Mr. Speaker, this is just another example of the Liberal government not wanting to hear legitimate criticism.

Limiting the debate on this issue to only a few members in this House does not give fair representation to the members from British Columbia, from Alberta, from Saskatchewan, or from the rest of the country to even present their position.

It does not give those members the opportunity to voice the opinions that they have heard from first nations that will lose economic opportunities because of this bill. It does not give members a chance to address the regional discrimination that this bill would impose against one region of the country.

I challenge the minister: has he checked the constitutional legality of this bill?

Bill C-48--Time Allocation MotionOil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

October 4th, 2017 / 4:10 p.m.
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Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I am interested in that comment about regional discrimination. If we are talking about discrimination between adjacent provinces, our record shows very clearly that unlike the previous government, which was in power for 10 years, we have done a great deal to promote and to allow the possibility of pipelines and the industry in Alberta, something that the previous government was clearly unable to do. I would not call that discrimination, but it certainly was a failure on the part of that government.

Bill C-48--Time Allocation MotionOil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

October 4th, 2017 / 4:10 p.m.
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NDP

Linda Duncan NDP Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, I am seriously troubled. I feel very privileged to be in a caucus with fellow members who represent ridings bordering on the very ocean that we are talking about. Every one of them is sincere in standing up and sharing the views of their constituents. I stood aside as the environment critic in order to give them an opportunity to voice those views.

The hon. minister says there will be lots more opportunity, and this deeply troubles me. Let us look at the reality. The bill would be referred to a committee on which we have one representative, and that one representative may be able to ask a few questions of witnesses and may have the opportunity to propose a few amendments.

I am deeply troubled by the Liberals' track record. They have rejected every amendment that has been put forward in this place. They are sometimes open to amendments by their fellow members in the Senate, but they never accept amendments from here.

Would the minister undertake to not invoke closure on the next reading of this legislation in this place?

Bill C-48--Time Allocation MotionOil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

October 4th, 2017 / 4:10 p.m.
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Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I listened carefully to my colleague. I remember being the single Liberal member on a number of committees for four years during the previous government, so I understand what she is talking about. I nevertheless had the opportunity to voice my concerns, as will others as the bill goes through the House of Commons.

This is a multi-stage process of debate. The debate will continue in committee and it will continue at third reading stage and it will then go on to the Senate, so there will be ample opportunity for this bill to be aired.

As for consultation, we did a huge amount of consultation during the year and a half before we put the bill together, so I am confident that we represent the vast majority of Canadians in support of this moratorium.

Bill C-48--Time Allocation MotionOil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

October 4th, 2017 / 4:10 p.m.
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Conservative

Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is interesting to hear the minister say on the one hand that it is a platform commitment so we barely need any debate, when on the other hand, most of the time he says it is a platform commitment so we are not going to do it.

Not only is this an assault on democracy but it is also an assault on economic development. It is clear that the government prefers foreign oil to Canadian oil in every case. Tankers bringing foreign oil from one place to another will be travelling up and down the B.C. coast, yet we will not have the opportunity to export Canadian oil and get it to markets. It is the same principle whereby the government is imposing all sorts of restrictions that limit energy infrastructure from going east while it continues not to apply those restrictions to the export of foreign oil.

Why are we seeing this assault on democracy and economic development at the same time? I would particularly like to know from the transport minister why there is a preference in every case for foreign oil over Canadian oil.

Bill C-48--Time Allocation MotionOil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

October 4th, 2017 / 4:10 p.m.
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Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I am not sure I understand the question, because our government approved three pipelines, with conditions. We want to see Canadian oil going to foreign markets and we are definitely doing everything we can to make that happen, so I am not sure what point the hon. member is trying to make.

As our Prime Minister has said and as all of us in the Liberal Party have said many times, we are achieving the proper balance between economic development and the environment. We are making a strong statement here, as part of the greater oceans protection plan, that we want to ensure that the coastal area, those 400 kilometres north of Vancouver Island, will remain pristine. This is an area where for millennia coastal nations have lived and worked and brought up their families. We have made a solemn commitment to do this and we are going to do it.

To say that we are not in favour of economic development is to not understand the Liberal government.

Bill C-48--Time Allocation MotionOil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

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

Alex Nuttall Conservative Barrie—Springwater—Oro-Medonte, ON

Mr. Speaker, today we are speaking about time allocation on the bill. I find it interesting when I see time allocation, especially when there are only two speakers and it is brought forward under circumstances that one would question, because the throne speech that the government brought forward when it was elected says the following:

Welcome also to the 197 members who are newly elected. Your enthusiasm and fresh ideas will serve your country well.

I call on all parliamentarians to work together, with a renewed spirit of innovation, openness and collaboration. ...

How?

By being smart, and caring—on a scale as never before.

The times we live in demand nothing less.

Canada succeeds in large part because here, diverse perspectives and different opinions are celebrated, not silenced.

Parliament shall be no exception.

In this Parliament, all members will be honoured, respected and heard, wherever they sit. For here, in these chambers, the voices of all Canadians matter.

When I look at what is happening here today, I am trying to rationalize what was said in the throne speech versus the actions that we see by the government day after day, and I cannot rationalize it. I would like the Minister of Transport to stand in the House of Commons today and tell the Canadian people why he has turned his back not only on them but on his own government's throne speech.

Bill C-48--Time Allocation MotionOil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

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

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

Mr. Speaker, over the course of the past two years, we have allowed ample amounts of time for debate. As we know, we are going through Bill C-48, which is on the moratorium. It will go to committee. When it goes to committee, there will be opportunity to debate it. Witnesses will be heard on both sides, I am sure. After that, it will go to third reading and to report stage. After that it will go to the Senate.

We are following the proper process to turn this bill into law and we feel that an adequate amount of time has been allocated for Bill C-48.

Bill C-48--Time Allocation MotionOil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

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

Rémi Massé Liberal Avignon—La Mitis—Matane—Matapédia, QC

Mr. Speaker, I want to recognize the Minister of Transport, his team, and all of the public servants who worked on this bill.

Earlier, the minister said that he had consulted many people in recent weeks and months. Could he share the outcome of these consultations with the House, and tell us how the consultations were factored into this bill?

What aspects of the consultations were retained and considered in this bill?

Bill C-48--Time Allocation MotionOil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

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

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

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question.

We knew that we had to set the terms and conditions of this bill. When we were talking about an oil tanker moratorium, we had to decide, for example, which products would be allowed to be transported in these oil tankers, taking the science and importance of the environment into consideration. We also held extensive consultations concerning the remote communities in northern British Columbia that rely on these tankers to supply their oil. We were forced to limit how much oil these tankers could transport, in order to be able to supply these communities.

Furthermore, we extensively consulted first nations, including the Nisga'a, Lax Kw'alaams, Metlakatla, Haisla, Heiltsuk, and Haida bands. We spoke to a number of first nations living in that part of the country, and they all had things to say. We consulted many people before we finalized this bill. I hope that it will be passed as drafted. We will see as this bill moves forward.

Bill C-48--Time Allocation MotionOil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

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

Don Davies NDP Vancouver Kingsway, BC

Mr. Speaker, five minutes was about the length of the last response from the government side.

We on the west coast know how important the coastal waters are to our province. It is an important resource. It is a basis for our fishery, forestry, and eco-tourism. It is of enormous impact to species all along the coast, and the consequences of an oil spill on the west coast could be disastrous. We know the Exxon Valdez cost billions of dollars that the company still never really paid the full amount for, which is still affecting fish stocks today.

I support the banning of supertankers in certain areas of British Columbia, but this bill gives the minister the power to exempt ships for indeterminate amounts of time if deemed in the public interest. The New Democrats believe that this exemption is irresponsible and unnecessary. The current government deemed it in the public interest to allow supertankers to go into the Burrard Inlet through the Kinder Morgan pipeline to have seven times the current supertankers going through the Burrard Inlet now, risking an oil spill in Vancouver, which in the eyes of the Liberals was in the public interest.

How can Canadians trust that the minister will demonstrate proper judgment in the exercise of the public interest, when the Liberals have already so badly mismanaged that in determining it is in the public interest to allow oil tankers in the Burrard Inlet, contrary to the interests of the people of British Columbia?

Bill C-48--Time Allocation MotionOil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

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

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

Mr. Speaker, I am glad my colleague supports this bill, but it is the third time I am answering the NDP question about ministerial powers. The ministerial powers are for extreme emergency situations. The only example that at the moment exists is if there was an emergency in a community along the coast in a remote area that suddenly, for reasons we do not anticipate, needed a vast quantity of a certain kind of fuel. That might be one exception. However, we do not anticipate using that ministerial power.

Bill C-48--Time Allocation MotionOil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

October 4th, 2017 / 4:20 p.m.
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Conservative

Ben Lobb Conservative Huron—Bruce, ON

Mr. Speaker, I sit on the transport committee, and we put through Bill C-49 last night. It was a little unusual that on Monday we were notified the committee would sit from 3:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Be that as it may, the member from Saskatoon and the member for Wellington—Halton Hills stayed, and it was very collegial. In my nine years, I do not recall any bill getting passed in one day through a committee. The members made their points and were very collegial.

However, we see this take place today. If people wonder at home why politics are sometimes toxic, this is a great example. Here is an opportunity for members of Parliament to debate the issue, to let it go to committee, and probably have an opportunity to be collegial with the amendments in clause-by-clause. He has now forced the committee to examine every amendment, and every clause to the very finite end.

Therefore, between the minister and the House leader, could they explain why they would want to sour the positive relationship on the transport committee? For good measure, he should apologize to the chair, because she has done a great job, and now he is putting her in a heck of a situation.

Bill C-48--Time Allocation MotionOil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

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

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

Mr. Speaker, I am glad that my colleague brought up the fact, as I did beforehand, that Bill C-49 passed yesterday through clause-by-clause. It is certainly my hope that Bill C-48 will go through a similar collegial process. There will be that opportunity.

I totally respect the independence of the committee as our government has done from the very beginning, unlike the previous government. I am sure when it does arrive at committee, there will be a similar opportunity to hear witnesses to argue for and against, and eventually go to clause-by-clause. I hope to do all this in a collegial manner.

Oil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

October 4th, 2017 / 5:05 p.m.
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Vancouver Quadra B.C.

Liberal

Joyce Murray LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for Davenport.

I am pleased and proud to be part of today's debate on Bill C-48, and to discuss implementing an oil tanker moratorium on British Columbia's northern coast.

It is important to remember that with the bill, the Government of Canada is honouring its promise to Canadians. By formalizing this moratorium and including marine safety, the government is delivering on its promise, as set out in the mandate letter from the Prime Minister to the Minister of Transport.

I want to thank our Prime Minister for his commitment to the oil tanker moratorium on the Pacific north coast. I also want to thank the Minister of Transport for taking his thoughtful approach in consulting widely on the bill and delivering on this commitment.

This is one of those times when it is very satisfying to be a member of Parliament.

Oil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

October 4th, 2017 / 5:05 p.m.
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Liberal

Joyce Murray Liberal Vancouver Quadra, BC

Mr. Speaker, I worked on this issue as a core project in Vancouver Quadra from early 2009. Therefore, I want to also acknowledge all the constituents of Vancouver Quadra, the environmental groups, the communities, and the indigenous communities on British Columbia's coast that paid attention to the potential risks to our coast and supported the idea of banning crude oil tanker traffic, consistent with a policy moratorium that had been put in place in 1972 by a previous Prime Minister Trudeau.

Therefore, I would like to share with the members a press release I wrote in February 2011, after two years of work on this. It said:

Yesterday, Vancouver Quadra Liberal MP... announced that C-606, her private Members’ bill to ban oil tanker traffic off B.C.’s north coast, has been officially submitted to proceed to debate next month. “We are now one step closer to a legislated oil tanker ban on B.C.’s north coast--the only way to protect our oceans and communities from a catastrophic oil spill... If disaster were to strike in our northern coastal waters, B.C.--and Canada as a whole – would never be the same.

Bill C-606 legislates a crude oil tanker ban in the dangerous inland waters around Haida Gwaii known as Dixon Entrance, Hecate Strait and Queen Charlotte Sound. The bill would not affect current deliveries of diesel and other oil products to local communities

The work to protect that area of the coast has been going on for a long time. The press release continued:

We’ve witnessed the Gulf of Mexico and Exxon-Valdez oil spills. It’s just not worth the risk...In perfect conditions, industry considers 15 percent recovery of oil a success, but a recent report by Canada’s Environment and Sustainable Development Commissioner raised serious doubts about the Conservative government’s ability to even respond to a spill.

This initiative is widely supported by British Columbians in all parts of the province. In fact, a press release I issued in March 2011 talks about a two-day campaign being kicked off to meet with Vancouver Island residents and stakeholders about Bill C-606, the bill to legislate a ban on crude oil tankers in B.C.'s dangerous northern waterways. It says that I would also be consulting with the northern communities, the community of Kitimat, where a terminal for an oil pipeline that would be transported through those waters for which it was planned, and that I would visit first nations, community organizations, local businesses, unions, and municipalities to reach out to those communities. Those early consultations made it very clear that “An oil spill would hurt our communities, our environment, our businesses, and our way of life. This is not a risk British Columbians can afford to take”, quoting from that press release.

I am talking about this because I want to acknowledge and thank some of the key environmental organizations that brought this issue forward to the Liberal caucus of the day. The four environmental organizations that were critical to this work, doing the research and encouraging us to move forward on this issue, were Dogwood Initiative, Living Oceans Society, Stand.earth, and West Coast Environmental Law.

This was a real priority. Why was it so important and why is it so important for a government that is committed to protecting the environment, a particularly sensitive environment in this case, while also protecting and developing a strong economy? It is because B.C.'s coastal economy in 2010 was estimated to have 56,000 jobs tied to clean coastal environments, jobs in fisheries, tourism, ecotourism, and recreation, film and television among them. It also was about a way of life for our coastal communities.

Imagine being in Hartley Bay, a remote coastal community, as I had the privilege to be, knowing that community's supermarket really is its freezers. The fishermen go and harvest the shellfish, the abalone, the mussels and clams, the salmon, and the halibut, and the residents eat that seafood throughout the year, as they have for a millennia. It is about a way of life, as well as an economy and an environment.

I came naturally to thinking about how we could protect our coastal environment from a devastating oil spill. I was a tree planter and reforestation contractor working on the north coast in my late teens and early 20s, and I came to know it well.

I also had the chance to travel up and down the coast as a minister of environment. Imagine being at the Khutzeymateen Grizzly Bear Sanctuary, this amazing and rich estuary, watching the grizzly bears feed with their families, as I had a chance to do. Imagine that being fouled with a crude oil spill, as happened in Alaska's estuaries with the Exxon Valdez oil spill? We could never go back.

Therefore, I and so many British Columbians were committed to ensuring that these dangerous waters would not be the location of a devastating oil spill. We are reminded by the Deepwater Horizon, the Exxon Valdez, and some of the other spills off our coast that human error and equipment failure are something one can never guarantee will not happen.

B.C.'s north coast is home to the Great Bear Rainforest and some of the world's most diverse ecosystems, including 27 species of marine mammals, 120 species of marine birds, and 2,500 individual salmon runs.

One of the big concerns after the Exxon Valdez example was the jobs that would be lost as well as the impact on the environment. I met with a woman who came to one of my meetings wearing the gumboots she wore when she went to clean up the Exxon Valdez spill up in Alaska.

I am so proud of our government and our minister for having done significant consultations throughout the province and for having discussed this with groups from the coast right through the interior.

I want to again thank my constituents for supporting me on this. I would like to thank our minister and our Prime Minister for delivering on this promise to British Columbia and to Canada to protect this very special part of our country.

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?

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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.”

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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.

Oil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

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

John Barlow Conservative Foothills, AB

Mr. Speaker, more than 750,000 barrels of oil come into the eastern coast of Canada every single year, and close to 3,900 tankers come down the eastern coast of Canada, whether around New Brunswick or the St. Lawrence River. That number is closer to about 240 tankers off the west coast of B.C., which accounts for 1.43% of the commercial shipping traffic off the west coast. These are statistics from Transport Canada.

My question for the minister is this: why is there such a strong stand to impede the economic abilities of the west coast when there does not seem to be a similar concern about Canada's east coast, or are we going to be looking at a tanker moratorium off the coast of New Brunswick down the road as well, as another opportunity to block energy east down the road?

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

Robert-Falcon Ouellette Liberal Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, I really appreciate hearing about what the minister has been doing concerning consultations with first nations groups. I would like to hear some of his ideas surrounding the criteria, and if he could explain further some of the criteria that were used to determine whether a nation-to-nation relationship and consultation had occurred.

Also, I would like to hear more about the consultation with the environment minister and Parks Canada to ensure that this proposal fits into a global vision for what needs to occur to protect our environment.

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

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

It is a large question, but certainly I have spent a great deal of time speaking to various coastal nations in the affected area of the north coast of British Columbia, starting with the Nisga'a in the very north around Dixon Entrance; the Metlakatla; the Lax-kw'alaams; the Haida, of course, who have very strong opinions on this; the Heiltsuk; the Haisla; and various other groups as well, including some first nations that are inland.

If the member is asking me if everyone agreed 100% on the moratorium, I would say that there is a range of varying opinions, but by and large, the majority of the indigenous peoples that we consulted—and these are people who have been living on the coast for millennia—felt very strongly that it was important to protect this pristine area of Canada. Environmental activists and the NGOs felt the same way as we did. There were some differences of opinion within the shipping industry, and I can understand their arguments, but there is still very much the possibility to have a very active, economically progressive, and growing shipping industry in the southern part of British Columbia, as well as in the northern part, for traffic other than tanker traffic.

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October 2nd, 2017 / 3:40 p.m.
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NDP

Fin Donnelly NDP Port Moody—Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the minister and his government's introduction of this legislation. It formalizes an informal ban that has existed for many years on the B.C. north coast. However, one concern that we heard loud and clear with its introduction is with respect to ministerial discretion. The bill gives the minister quite a bit of latitude to exempt certain projects for any length of time and for any scale of project. Does the minister agree that ministerial discretion and a minister's ability to exempt certain projects should be a concern?

Oil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

October 2nd, 2017 / 3:40 p.m.
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Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I would go a little further and say that this is not formalizing an informal arrangement. The exclusion zone has existed for several decades. We are actually bringing new elements into this. We are saying that tanker traffic will not be allowed to go in and out of the ports in the north part of British Columbia. That was not anything that existed prior to this. This is a promise we are keeping to British Columbians and to Canadians.

Second, there is some ministerial discretion, but I want to assure my colleague that it would never be used unless there were exceptional emergency circumstances.

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October 2nd, 2017 / 3:40 p.m.
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Liberal

Chris Bittle Liberal St. Catharines, ON

Mr. Speaker, we ran during the election on, and spoke a great deal about, balancing the economy and the environment. I wonder if the minister could comment on that and how the bill carries forward that commitment to balance Canada's commitment to develop our economy with protecting our environment and natural resources.

Oil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

October 2nd, 2017 / 3:40 p.m.
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Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority is the largest by far in the country. A huge amount of trade leaves our country, and enters our country, either destined for the United States or for the Asia-Pacific region. The Port of Prince Rupert, which is in the north of British Columbia, is expanding in a very impressive manner.

We care deeply about the commerce of our country. We are a trading nation, but we have also said at the same time that it is important for us to ensure that we preserve these pristine areas and that we preserve the mammals that live in them for generations to come. This is where coastal people have lived for millennia, and we are very glad that as part of the oceans protection plan they are participating with us. They have a huge amount to contribute.

We care about the environment, and we want to grow the economy. We believe we are achieving the right balance.

Oil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

October 2nd, 2017 / 3:40 p.m.
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Conservative

Shannon Stubbs Conservative Lakeland, AB

Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to lead off debate on this legislation today on behalf of the official opposition. Although this legislation seems confined to one geographical area, with a very specific intent, it is in fact of national importance, with wide-ranging impacts on people and communities in the local vicinity and also across Canada. It is also instructive of the particular ideology driving the Liberals' policy decisions and reveals the cavern between their words, their aims, and the real consequences of their actions.

The roots of this bill were planted very early, in fact less than a month after the last general election. The Prime Minister himself said that it was his own highest priority to base his government's policies and laws on evidence and consultation. In the mandate letter to the Minister of Natural Resources, the Prime Minister said, “ensure that decisions are based on science, facts, and evidence, and serve the public’s interest”.

However, on November 13, 2015, mandate letters from the Prime Minister to at least three ministers directed them to work together to formalize a moratorium on crude oil tankers off British Columbia's north coast. One wonders quite reasonably how it could at all be possible that there was sufficient time in 25 days to ground this directive on the results of comprehensive assessments of existing environmental and safety records, standards, outcomes, and gaps; a comparative analysis of marine traffic rules, enforcement, and track records on all Canadian coasts and internationally; and thorough local, regional, and national economic impact studies. Clearly, those undertakings would deliver the information required for fact- and evidence-based decision-making.

On top of that, how could there possibly be sufficient time to consult with impacted communities, first nations, industry, and experts? There is a difference between consulting to get to a decision and meeting in order to get to the conclusion one already wants. Unfortunately, two years in, this is a pattern to which Canadians are getting accustomed. Despite all the talk, it is actually voter coalitions, politics, and ideology that drive the Liberals' predetermined conclusions.

This bill, of course, is not really about transport standards, marine traffic, or protecting the safety and ecology of B.C.'s northern shore exclusively for the Liberals. It is really yet another step in limiting Canadian oil development and hindering Canadian oil transportation and the Prime Minister's own explicit goal of phasing out the oil sands. The fact that this ban is exclusively in northern B.C. and only applies to crude oil tankers in a specific zone begs the question: why is tanker traffic okay near Vancouver and off the east coast but not in northern B.C.?

The unbiased, non-partisan Library of Parliament's legislative summary states explicitly that the debate around the tanker moratorium stems from the Conservative-approved northern gateway pipeline project, which would have transported 525,000 additional barrels per day of oil from Bruderheim, Alberta, which is in my riding of Lakeland in the industrial heartland that is Canada's largest petrochemical and refining region, to Kitimat, B.C.

In November 2016, the Liberals directed the National Energy Board to dismiss the project, citing concerns about crude oil tankers transiting in the area. The tanker ban in this region would permanently prevent any other opportunities for pipelines to transport world-leading Canadian oil to the Prince Rupert and Kitimat area, where it could reach the rapidly growing Asia-Pacific region to achieve export market diversification by expanding Canada's customer base.

Reaching more export markets is vital to ensuring the long-term development of Canada's crude oil reserves, which are the third largest in the world. Energy is Canada's second biggest export, and 97% is imported by the United States. As the U.S. becomes Canada's biggest energy competitor, infrastructure that will get landlocked Canadian oil to more export markets worldwide is more important than ever. This is vital for all Canadians.

This bill is not a minor one with only specific impacts in a particular region, as it may seem. In fact, it is a measure that would impact all of Canada, with future consequences for the hundreds of thousands of Canadians employed in the energy sector across the country. Energy is the biggest private sector investor in Canada's economy, and as mentioned, oil and gas is Canada's second biggest export. Deliberately limiting export capacity potential by putting up roadblocks to access to tidewater, thereby putting a ceiling on production, would be detrimental to the livelihoods of Canadians everywhere. It would put very real limits on future economic opportunities, certainly with disproportionately harmful outcomes for certain communities and certain provinces.

Canadian oil and gas provides 670,000 direct and indirect jobs across Canada. In 2015, the oil sands alone generated 151,000 direct jobs and 300,000 indirect jobs across the country. The Prime Minister said, “the world needs more Canada”. We Conservatives agree. The good news is that the world wants Canada too, and it wants Canadian energy in particular.

The International Energy Agency projects that global oil demand will continue to grow in the decades ahead, reaching 99 million barrels a day this year and increasing to 121 million barrels a day by 2040. Global oil demand expanded in the past five years by 6.8 million barrels a day, with 69% of that growth in the Asia-Pacific region.

Reaching tidewater in all directions for Canada's oil and gas should be a pressing priority for the Liberals. It makes no sense to delay, hinder, or equivocate on this point from an economic, environmental, or moral perspective in the global context. All that does is take Canada out, ceding market share to oil- and gas-producing countries where standards, enforcement, and outcomes do not measure up to Canada's performance, and to corrupt regimes with abysmal environmental and human rights records, where energy development benefits only a select few. This is in stark contrast to Canada, where energy development benefits every community with jobs and with revenue for multiple levels of government, which is also shared across the country, with the aim of ensuring that all Canadians have access to roughly similar services and programs. Between 2000 and 2014, for example, on a net basis Alberta's individual and corporate taxpayers shipped an estimated $200 billion-plus to the federal government, and a major source of that revenue was from oil and gas.

A 2014 WorleyParsons study, which compared Alberta's environmental and regulatory systems with similarly sized oil- and gas-producing jurisdictions around the world, said that Alberta was among the best. That is no surprise, considering that Alberta, of course, was the first jurisdiction in all of North America to regulate emissions. The study said that Alberta was near the top of the list for the most stringent environmental laws and that Alberta ranked at the top for the availability of public information about the environmental performance of the oil and gas industry. The study confirmed that Alberta is unmatched on the compliance and enforcement scale.

Pipelines are a safe, efficient, and reliable way to move Canadian energy to consumers. In Canada, federally regulated pipelines carry over $100 billion worth of natural gas, oil, and petroleum products each year, 99.99% of which is transported safely.

I know that my Liberal colleagues will be eager to spin their narrative as champions of pipelines while peddling the myth that not one kilometre of pipeline went ahead under the previous Conservative government. I would like to dispense with that false claim right now, and I hope we can actually have accurate exchanges on the topic in the future. The Conservatives approved 10 pipelines, four that are already constructed and operating. Importantly, Conservatives accepted the independent regulator's recommendation to approve the northern gateway pipeline, which was a $7.9-billion initiative that notably involved 31 benefit agreements with first nations' equity partners of $2 billion all along the pipeline route. It also would have secured critical access for Canada to the Asia-Pacific.

On July 23, 2016, the Supreme Court ruled that the crown did not adequately consult on the project. In response, the current Prime Minister could have sought additional consultations, with expanded scope, with directly impacted first nations and with those who stood to lose immediate and long-term revenue for their communities and job opportunities for their children and future generations, but he did not. Instead, for the first time in Canadian history, a prime minister overruled and rejected a recommendation by the independent, world-renowned, expert regulator and killed the northern gateway outright and unilaterally, along with all associated economic opportunities and an actual concrete way to give the world more Canada.

This tanker ban would permanently eliminate all potential for any future initiatives in the region.

Context is important. Incredibly, the Prime Minister vetoed northern gateway on the very same day he accepted the Trans Mountain and Line 3 expansions, the latter of which is currently at serious risk in Minnesota. The Minnesota Department of Commerce has said that the expansion is not needed. If Minnesota blocks the pipeline, landlocked oil and gas will face an additional challenge even getting to Canada's already biggest customer, which reinforces why Canadian access to tidewater is crucial.

The Liberals should restrain themselves on this theme, since they actually unilaterally denied the only new opportunity to reach tidewater while they approved two expansions assessed under the exact same process, with the same evidence. Anyone wondering about this incoherence can understand that it is a result of political and ideology-driven decisions, where the priority is holding voting coalitions together to fend off political opponents like the NDP and the Greens, rather than basing policy on science, evidence, or consultations or reaching conclusions in service of the broad national public interest.

The by-product of the constant Liberal and leftist barrage of attacks on Canadian regulators and energy developers, and changes to rules with new red tape and added costs, is that energy investment in Canada has dropped dramatically in the same time frame. Since the Liberals were elected, the policy uncertainty and additional hurdles during an already challenging time for prices, costs, and competitiveness have caused the biggest two-year decline in Canadian oil and gas investment in any other two-year period since 1947. This year alone, there is a projected 47% drop in oil and gas capital from 2016 levels. Energy investment in Canada, on which hundreds of thousands of Canadian jobs depend, has declined more in the two years after the 2015 federal election than before it. One-sixth of total energy workers in Canada have lost their jobs with it.

Context matters here too. The overall lost investment of more than $50 billion is difficult to conceptualize, so I think it is important to know that it is equivalent to the loss of about 75% of Canada's auto manufacturing, and nearly the entire aerospace industry. I would suggest that those scenarios would rightfully be a national crisis and a top priority for a federal government, and not something to be met with added barriers, benign neglect, and a dismissive, “Hang in there” attitude. Therefore, it is rational to conclude that this ban is about stopping crude oil, not about protecting a specific area from marine vessels.

Gavin Smith, a lawyer for West Coast Environmental Law, points out that there is already a voluntary ban that keeps most big tankers out of the area and a dearth of information about what kind of traffic goes through the region, something that Transport Canada should make public.

This law will not affect the current voluntary exclusion zone that was implemented decades ago. The voluntary exclusion zone was put in place for American shipping from Alaska to the west coast. Because of international law, foreign vessels can decide whether or not to abide by the exclusion zone boundaries. This tanker ban will not make this ban involuntary for American tanker traffic and it will not mandate it for the exact same kinds of tankers that will now not be allowed to carry Canadian oil as a result of this bill. It makes no sense.

Nearly three years ago, the former Conservative government implemented a suite of strong measures to create a world-class tanker safety system that modernized Canada's navigation system, enhanced area response planning and marine safety capacity for first nation communities, and ensured that polluters pay for spills and damages on all coasts. Canada has industry-leading regulations with standards well beyond other jurisdictions'. Government certified and industry-funded marine response organizations, like the eastern and western Canada response corporations, and the marine safety response systems on the east and west coast and in the Gulf of St. Lawrence are among the best in the world. Canada's commitment to ocean and coastline protection renders this moratorium unnecessary.

What is the evidence? Tankers have safely and regularly transported crude oil from Canada's west coast since the 1930s. In 2011, 2.2 million tonnes of oil were safely shipped from B.C., and on the east coast, 82.5 million tonnes of various petroleum products have been shipped from 23 ports in Atlantic Canada. There have not been any tanker navigational issues or incidents in about 50 years in the port of Vancouver.

To make matters worse, it turns out that many first nations leaders do not think the Liberals consulted on this tanker ban adequately either. In addition to the lost economic opportunities for first nations offered by the northern gateway pipeline, this tanker ban puts the $14 billion Eagle Spirit Energy pipeline proposal from Fort McMurray to Prince Rupert in serious peril.

The Chief's Council Eagle Spirit Energy Project has stated:

To be clear; there has been insufficient consultation for the proposed Tanker Moratorium and it does not have our consent. As Indigenous peoples, we want to preserve the right to determine the types of activities that take place in our territories and do not accept that the federal government should tell us how to preserve, protect, and work within our traditional territories.

Moreover, Isaac Laboucan-Avirom, a member of that chief's council, has said:

The decision to do that impairs not only the people on the coast but it impairs the diverse Canadian economy

This reality is in direct contradiction to what the Prime Minister and many ministers have said repeatedly they would ensure in laws, policies, operational practices, project reviews and assessments in service to what they have said is their most important relationship. However, it makes sense why the Liberals would not want to elevate the voices of the first nations people who supported northern gateway and those who oppose this tanker ban, because it undermines their myth that all first nations people are opposed to oil and gas and to pipelines, which the left exploits to advance its anti-Canadian energy agenda.

In fact, first nations are partners in Canadian energy development everywhere, with more than 300 impact and benefit agreements with energy developers in the last decade, worth millions of dollars and thousands of jobs. AFN Chief Bellegarde says that 500 of the 630 first nations in Canada are open to pipelines and to oil and gas development. First nations in Lakeland and the oil sands region demonstrate that every day. For example, the Fort McKay First Nation near the epicentre of the Athabasca oil sands have an unemployment rate of zero, average annual incomes of $120,000, and financial holdings in excess of $2 billion. Moreover, the Mikisew Cree are owners of part of a Suncor tank storage facility worth more than $350 million. In fact, there are 327 indigenous-owned enterprises that do business with oil and gas operations in Alberta alone, involving $10 billion in goods and services from those companies over the last 15 years.

It is not isolated to Alberta. The Hereditary Chiefs' Council of Lax Kw'alaams, whose traditional territories extend along the coastline that will be affected by this ban, declared their frustration with the Liberals' delay in consulting them on the tanker ban. They say it will have significant impacts on the ability of the council's members to make a living. They state:

As Indigenous peoples, we want to preserve the right to determine the types of activities that take place in our territories and do not accept that the government should tell us how to preserve, protect, and work within our traditional territories.

This tanker ban is not in the best interests of all Canadians. This bill enables an ideological, predetermined conclusion that is not based on evidence or consultations and is not substantiated by comprehensive safety, environmental, and economic assessments, or at least none that have been made public.

It deliberately and specifically targets one industry, with disproportionate damage to landlocked provinces, which will seriously hamper future prosperity for all Canadians and limit Canada's leadership role in the world. It is really all about Liberal politicking.

Canada's energy diversity is a vital strength. Responsible development in all sectors across all of Canada should be championed by governments. It is important to know that conventional oil and gas, oil sands, and pipeline companies are among the largest private sector investors in alternative energy technologies like wind and solar in Canada. When one sector thrives, so does the other.

Conservatives value the responsible development of natural resources in all sectors, in all provinces, to benefit all of Canada, and we oppose this crude oil tanker ban.

Oil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

October 2nd, 2017 / 4 p.m.
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Liberal

Robert-Falcon Ouellette Liberal Winnipeg Centre, MB

[Member spoke in Cree]

[English]

Mr. Speaker, in 1989, the Exxon Valdez had an unfortunate incident. Human failure led to a critical incident that led to tonnes of crude oil being released into the environment, which still impacts the environment to this day.

In discussions with the Haida Gwaii, they have indicated they are not in favour of the transportation of crude oil through their traditional territories.

I think this is an attempt by the government to come up with a balance between the economy and the environment, allowing crude oil to be shipped from certain areas of the country but not others, depending on where we are and the type of environment involved. This is really based on the idea of using science and data to come up with something that can respect the long-term vision for what we can and cannot do. This does not mean, though, that I do not believe that this moratorium will prevent other types of economic development taking place.

What are the member's beliefs or feelings about the idea that we need to strike a balance in what we need to do to protect the environment while also developing the economy?

Oil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

October 2nd, 2017 / 4 p.m.
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Conservative

Shannon Stubbs Conservative Lakeland, AB

Mr. Speaker, Canada already has a long and successful track record of balancing environmental stewardship with economic development and energy and industrial development, which benefit the entire country.

That is one way in which Canada is second to none or to any other jurisdiction on earth. I do not think this legislation is about balancing the environment with economic development. I think it is about the Liberals meeting a commitment, as mentioned in the minister's opening remarks, they made in the election to secure NDP and Green voters in B.C. I think the Liberals have been facing flak for the other two pipeline expansions they approved, so they are doubling down on this tanker ban to try to reinforce their own votes.

It would be incorrect to suggest that all communities and all first nations people have exactly the same perspective on energy development. That is clear from the first nations people who were speaking out in opposition to this ban and who supported the northern gateway pipeline that the member's government killed.

We should be clear that this tanker ban would absolutely eliminate any more potential for crude oil transportation and economic development in the area.

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October 2nd, 2017 / 4 p.m.
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NDP

Fin Donnelly NDP Port Moody—Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, the member spoke about ideology and consent. It was the Conservative government that approved the Enbridge northern gateway pipeline project over the objections of local communities, first nations, court rulings, environmental organizations, and public opinion. The Conservatives, under former leader Stephen Harper, accused opponents of Enbridge of being foreign-funded radicals hell-bent on undermining our nation's economic progress. It was in fact the Conservatives who reorganized the National Energy Board process, denied broad public participation, and weakened environmental protections like the Fisheries Act, the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, and the Navigable Waters Protection Act in order for Enbridge to pass. In other words, they used ideology to move this forward.

Does this Conservative member regret gutting environmental regulations and public input for that purpose in that legislation?

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October 2nd, 2017 / 4:05 p.m.
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Conservative

Shannon Stubbs Conservative Lakeland, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is absolutely false to suggest that Canada's regulatory systems and environmental oversight and compliance were weakened. Instead of just talking from my own personal perspective, I have already referenced an expert who, based on an analysis of other oil and gas-producing jurisdictions around the world, confirmed in 2014, before the Liberals were elected, that Alberta's oil and gas production and Canadian regulatory oversight, enforcement, and compliance were the best in the world.

Here is what 31 aboriginal equity partners who supported the northern gateway project said:

We are profoundly shocked and disappointed by the news that the Federal Government has no intention of pursuing any further consultation and dialogue with our communities on the important issue of the Northern Gateway Project. We are also deeply disappointed that a Prime Minister who campaigned on a promise of reconciliation with Indigenous communities would now blatantly choose to deny our 31 First Nations and Métis communities of our constitutionally protected right to economic development. We see today's announcement as clear evidence of their unwillingness to follow through on his promise.

As I stated, the Prime Minister could have expanded the consultations and held additional discussions with locally impacted communities and first nations people to get it right on northern gateway, and ensure that Canada's world-leading resources can reach diverse export markets.

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October 2nd, 2017 / 4:05 p.m.
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Conservative

Kellie Leitch Conservative Simcoe—Grey, ON

Mr. Speaker, we know that Venezuelan oil is being accepted in Quebec, we know that Saudi Arabian oil is being accepted in the east coast, so why is it that oil from Alberta and British Columbia is not accepted in western Canada? I know that the member is passionate about this, as I am. My home town is Fort McMurray, Alberta, a place where the oil sands create prosperity, a place where I know Canadians go every day to make sure they can fulfill their Canadian dreams.

What kind of negative impact is this moratorium going to have on her constituents and people throughout western Canada?

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October 2nd, 2017 / 4:05 p.m.
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Conservative

Shannon Stubbs Conservative Lakeland, AB

Mr. Speaker, that is exactly the issue that puts the lie to the Liberals' motivation behind this legislation. It would specifically target one industry and would be disproportionately harmful to one province. If this were only about coastal protection and the stewardship of ecological areas that would be vulnerable to marine traffic, then all marine traffic would be banned in the area, and it would be banned on all coasts. The member raises a very important point.

Moreover, as I addressed in my remarks, this is also problematic because it would limit Canada's ability to provide the world with responsible, sustainable, world-leading Canadian oil and gas produced under standards that are literally the best in the world and provide jobs, prosperity, and economic opportunities for every Canadian in every province.

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October 2nd, 2017 / 4:05 p.m.
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Liberal

Robert-Falcon Ouellette Liberal Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, I want to go back to this idea of balance.

There was an article in the Winnipeg Free Press that discussed Lynn Lake and some of the mining that was going on there. Under current laws, the mining companies were allowed to pollute, destroy the environment, and make the these areas uninhabitable for indigenous people and average Canadians. I am very proud of the government going out, trying to get a balance between the environment and the economy. I know we are trying to redo the National Energy Board. The expert panel put out a report recently and Liberals have been reviewing that report. I have been reviewing that report.

Are there laws in Canada that should be changed to protect the environment? At the end of the day, we still have to live here. We have to drink the water and breathe the air. If we cannot do that, perhaps it is poor on a few of us and bollocks to the rest of us, but at the end of the day, we do have to live here.

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October 2nd, 2017 / 4:05 p.m.
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Conservative

Shannon Stubbs Conservative Lakeland, AB

Mr. Speaker, every time Liberal members stand and take shots at Canadian natural resources developers and suggest that Canadian regulators have not done a sufficient job, it damages Canada's reputation on the world stage. Our regulators are experts in the field. They are renowned and recognized by everybody else except the Liberals and maybe their friends in the NDP. It is alarming that policymakers and legislators do not know the facts.

Canada's mining industry is also a world leader. I was pretty shocked at natural resources committee when the minister talked about five or six different measures by which the Canadian mining industry lead the rest of the world with respect to consultation, environmental stewardship, regulation and compliance, and enforcement. I asked him a very clear question. Did the minister believe that Canada produced the most environmentally and socially responsible oil and gas in the world? He started stumbling and equivocating. He said that he was not really sure what I meant or what metrics I was referring to, so he did not know how to answer the question.

If the Liberals want to have a conversation about how we can improve environmental stewardship and enforcement, even beyond our already exceptional performance, which is the best in the world, then we should debate on that. However, this crude oil tanker ban is not about that.

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October 2nd, 2017 / 4:10 p.m.
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NDP

Fin Donnelly NDP Port Moody—Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise to speak in favour 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.

Legislating the prior informal ban has been a policy objective of Canada's NDP for many years, which received support from Liberal MPs, particularly on the west coast.

The history of Bill C-48 has been quite the legislative roller coaster. Multiple private members' bills have been tabled to protect the north coast, but none became law.

In 2001, Bill C-571 was introduced by an NDP MP. In 2009, Bill C-458 was introduced by an NDP MP. In 2010, Bill C-606 was introduced by a Liberal MP. In 2011, I introduced Bill C-211. In 2012, Bill C-437 was introduced by a Liberal MP. In 2014, Bill C-628 was introduced by my colleague, the hon. member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley.

In 2010, the member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley moved a north coast tanker ban motion, which passed in the House 143 to 138, with the support of all parties in the House, except Conservative minority government members who voted against it.

Now, here we are finally debating a bill that would protect the north coast from crude oil tanker traffic for good. The New Democrats welcome the legislation, but we do so with caution. We are concerned that Bill C-48 would give the minister of transport too much arbitrary power to exempt vessels from the legislation and the power to define what fuels would be exempt from the act. We hope the government will implement constructive amendments to limit ministerial power and increase oil spill response resources beyond its ocean protection plan commitments to respond to spills from refined oil vessels not covered by this ban.

Our NDP caucus, local first nations, municipal governments, trade unions, environmental NGOs, grassroots activists, and concerned citizens have over the years increased the call for this ban due to the environmental threat posed by the northern gateway pipeline project.

Northern gateway would have meant the annual passage of 225 supertankers bigger than the Empire State building, which would carry three times as much oil as the Exxon Valdez did before its catastrophic spill into similar waters. Cleanup and coastal recovery for the Exxon Valdez spill cost about $9.5 billion, of which Exxon paid only $3.5 billion. Twenty-five years after that spill, fish habitat and stocks still have not fully recovered. I shake my head in disbelief that so many MPs in the House still think the northern gateway pipeline project would have been a net benefit to Canada.

It is equally galling that our last government ripped up essential environmental laws and undermined the National Energy Board process in order to rubberstamp this pipeline project and others like it. As a result, we are still living with the short-sighted rip and ship mentality for Canada.

It was this short-sighted economic vision that disregarded the crown's obligation to our first nation's people. Canadians still remember how in December, 2013, despite overwhelming opposition from British Columbians and first nations, the National Energy Board recommended approval of the project, along with its 209 conditions. British Columbians showed their resolve to defend our coast by creating a broad-based movement of resistance, which today has shifted its focus to the Liberal's Kinder Morgan pipeline project expansion.

The defenders of our coast were vindicated in January 2016 when the B.C. Supreme Court ruled that the Province of B.C. “has breached the honour of the Crown by failing to consult” with the Gitga'at and other coastal first nations on the Enbridge northern gateway pipeline project.

Not considering the environmental dangers of a pipeline through northern B.C. was a grave mistake. A large spill would be a disaster for the north coast. In particular, a supertanker oil spill could deal a serious blow to our already struggling wild salmon.

In British Columbia, our wild salmon are considered an iconic species, an integral part of our identity. They are a keynote species that delivers nutrients deep into the forests when they die. They are a major part of what makes the Great Bear Rainforest so great. Salmon support first nations communities, coastal communities, and are an integral part of our west coast economy.

The waters off British Columbia's north coast are a significant salmon migration route, with millions of salmon coming from the more than 650 streams and rivers along the coast. The impacts of a single oil spill would be devastating.

The commercial fishery on the north coast catches over $100 million worth of fish annually. Over 2,500 residents along B.C.'s north coast work in the commercial fishery. The fish processing industry employs thousands more.

The magnificent beauty of this region and the abundance of salmon have made it a world-renowned destination for ecotourism. The tourism industry has been a major catalyst for employment, economic growth, and opportunity in British Columbia. Businesses in this region have worked hard to promote their location as a major tourist destination.

As other resource-based jobs have taken a hit, tourism has provided a much-needed economic boost. The west coast wilderness tourism industry is now estimated to be worth over $782 million annually, employing some 26,000 people full-time and roughly 40,000 people in total. People from all over the world come to the north coast to witness the annual migration of the more than 20,000 gray whales and northern killer whales.

The shoreline is dotted with sports fishing lodges, as fishing enthusiasts flock to experience the natural marine environment and wild ocean and take part in the world famous fishery. People are often left awestruck after spending even a day kayaking, bear watching, or enjoying a guided trip showcasing the majestic west coast. They come to photograph sea otters and bald eagles, and to experience in some cases the untouched natural environment of the Pacific coast.

This legislated crude oil tanker ban will help protect the Great Bear Rainforest and Gwuii Haanas marine conservation parks. These two protected areas have incredible biological diversity that all parties in the House agree should be protected. They contain many species of concern like iconic killer whales, grizzly bears, bald eagles, and Pacific salmon. With so much at stake for our economy and our ecology, we are happy that Bill C-48 legislates an end to the threat posed by projects like northern gateway, but are also disappointed that the bill does not protect B.C.'s coast outright from oil tanker spills.

Limiting tankers to more than 12,500 tonnes of crude oil on the north coast of Canada appears arbitrary and dangerously high. I encourage the government to make public the past and current oil shipment information for this region and provide a rationale for the 12,500 tonne threshold, including the types of vessels or shipments it will include or exclude. There is no reason to impede necessary vessels that help our coastal communities thrive, but clarity is required to ensure a proper threshold so as not to cause undue risk.

The bill makes exceptions for refined oil products like diesel, gasoline, and propane in order for coastal communities to be resupplied and to support value-added petroleum industries. While most of this is understandable, it means the bill does nothing to protect our coast from refined oil spills that could impact marine environments and disrupt valuable ecosystems.

The recent Nathan E. Stewart disaster shows just how big a threat refined oil spills can be. It demonstrates the need for increased oil spill response funding and training on the north coast and increased oil spill prevention measures for refined oil vessels.

For those needing a reminder, 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, spilling toxic diesel into critical fishing areas off B.C.'s central coast. 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 more than a month after it sank. Good thing the Nathan E. Stewart was not at maximum fuel capacity. The damage would have been even worse.

A Transportation Safety Board investigation showed spill response was inadequate, including slow response time, insufficient and ineffective equipment, a lack of safety gear, and confusion about who was in charge. First nations leaders were outraged at the government's slow and inadequate spill response. This bill would do nothing to ban vessels like the Nathan E. Stewart from carrying the amount of fuel that it did. We must learn from this disaster to prevent such accidents, and to ensure that, if they do occur, coastal communities are better equipped to quickly respond. We are encouraged to see investments in spill response as part of the government's much-touted oceans protection plan. However, these investments alone are simply inadequate.

It is discouraging that despite the NDP's objections, the government closed three integral marine communications and traffic services centres on B.C.'s coast, which undermines the ability of a speedy spill response. Justine Hunter of The Globe and Mail wrote:

The MCTS is responsible for monitoring distress calls, co-ordinating responses, and taking action to ensure the safe and efficient movement of vessels in Canadian waters. However, with only two MCTS officers responsible for monitoring a vast stretch of B.C.'s coast, from north of Vancouver Island to the Alaskan border and including the inside passage, a source with knowledge of the situation says there was little chance that anyone would have spotted the doomed course of the tug, charted in real time on marine traffic maps through its Automatic Identification System transponder.

The best spill response plans include spill prevention plans and, sadly, the current government is moving in the wrong direction. B.C.'s MCTS centres deal with an incredible volume of marine traffic. By consolidating MCTS resources into only two centres, Prince Rupert and Victoria, the government has increased the number of vessels that our already overworked Coast Guard staff have to monitor and has opened up the system to new failures. Marine vessels continue to report that communications systems regularly go down, leaving vessels without Coast Guard contact. It was short-sighted to close the Comox MCTS centre, removing much-needed resources along our coast who have local knowledge and monitoring capacity. The most troubling aspect of Bill C-48 is that it would allow the Minister of Transport to make exceptions for indeterminate lengths of time without public review or comment.

Gavin Smith of West Coast Environmental Law said:

Section 6(1) of Bill C-48 allows the Minister, by order, to exempt identified oil tankers from the ban on any terms and for any period of time. Moreover, section 6(2) says that the Statutory Instruments Act does not apply to such exemption orders, which removes requirements that such exemption orders be published and made easily available for public inspection.

This provision, if used to its full extent, could allow wide-scale and long-term exemptions from the oil tanker ban to be ordered behind closed doors without opportunity for public review and input, effectively gutting the purpose of the Oil Tanker Moratorium Act. The need for this provision is unclear given that Bill C-48 already includes sensible exemptions from the oil tanker ban for vessels in various forms of distress (e.g. to ensure the safety of the vessel, for medical emergencies, or to render assistance to another vessel in distress), as well as vessels under the control of the Minister of National Defence. It is even more puzzling that the government has proposed excluding such exemption orders from the application of the Statutory Instruments Act, which effectively makes them less public.

Canada's New Democrats agree. The powers given to the minister in this bill would undermine its positive aspects. The minister's power to exempt ships for indeterminate amounts of time if deemed in the public interest is far too broad. There should be time limits on exemptions and opportunities for public comment on any long-term exemptions. This should also apply to the regulatory authority to add or remove fuel types that count under the ban.

Bill C-48 has loopholes large enough to drive an oil tanker through. Ministerial discretion has been used by the Liberal government and others to circumvent the positive aspects of this bill. There is no need to continue this pattern of letting industry circumvent Canada's environmental laws without constraint or review.

This bill is a positive development for British Columbians and Canadians, but it can be improved. It protects what we hold dear and takes us a step closer to a different vision of development on Canada's west coast. However, with the ability to veto protection for destructive megaprojects, the bill still leaves B.C.'s north coast vulnerable.

We ask the government to listen to first nations, NGOs, and coastal communities to close the gaps in Bill C-48 and truly protect the assets of the Pacific north coast.

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October 2nd, 2017 / 4:25 p.m.
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Conservative

Shannon Stubbs Conservative Lakeland, AB

Mr. Speaker, to be clear before I start, I oppose both the NDP's and the Liberals' positions on this bill. However, I have some facts for the member: 3,900 crude oil tankers a year are in the St. Lawrence; 240 oil tankers off the B.C. coast, which is only 1.3% of total commercial traffic on the B.C. coast; and the east coast has 16 times higher tanker traffic than the west coast.

Given the NDP's comments, do they actually want bans of all marine vessels of all sizes on all Canadian coasts, and given their own position, if not, why not?

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October 2nd, 2017 / 4:25 p.m.
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NDP

Fin Donnelly NDP Port Moody—Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, absolutely not. Of course, the NDP is not looking at that. I said that clearly in my speech. We have concerns about vessels: 12,500 metric tonnes is the threshold of concern. We want to see coastal communities thrive and get the necessary fuels they need to carry on what they do.

I will say two words, and they are two words that people all around the world still remember: Exxon Valdez. We can talk about as much traffic and trips as we want, but people remember the one or the few spills that have happened around the world. They make impacts that last decades.

With the Exxon Valdez, it is two and a half decades since that oil spill devastated the north coast. People around the world and on the north coast are sensitive to that. They want to see a new way of doing business, one that protects the values they hold true, which are salmon, the marine environment and ecosystem. They have worked and lived off them for thousands of years in some cases.

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October 2nd, 2017 / 4:30 p.m.
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Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, we understand in listening to the member that there were many private members, both Liberals and New Democrats, who advanced legislation, a private member's bill, on this very important issue. It only seems to be the Conservative Party that is out of touch with what Canadians truly want to see the government do. We now have a piece of legislation, within two years.

The member made reference to private members' bills. Would he not acknowledge that even within these two years, we have a minister who has taken a very proactive approach, recognizing that the economy and the environment are both important, a Liberal trademark? This legislation is a positive step forward, and we look forward to it going to committee.

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October 2nd, 2017 / 4:30 p.m.
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NDP

Fin Donnelly NDP Port Moody—Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, I agree, and I did mention in my speech that this is a positive step. We welcome this legislation. I did caution about ministerial powers and exemption, and hope that the government listens to those concerns. I hope my comments will be listened to and taken to committee.

I agree that there has been a shift, a change. However, it is two years later, and we are still waiting for the Fisheries Act, the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, and Navigable Protection Act to be restored, as well as the NEB. We have waited for two years. Canadians are tired of waiting. The Liberals promised two years ago that they would make these changes.

Many major energy projects have gone through, including Kinder Morgan, under those same gutted environmental protection laws. While we concede that this is a step in the right direction, the Liberal government has a long way to go before it can say it is moving in terms of true environmental protections, including carrying out the promises it made in the 2015 election.

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October 2nd, 2017 / 4:30 p.m.
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NDP

Wayne Stetski NDP Kootenay—Columbia, BC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague not only for his speech today, but for his many years of championing the resources of Canada's coasts, particularly the west coast.

It is sometimes portrayed as just a bunch of environmentalists who care about tankers and tanker traffic off of British Columbia's west coast. However, when I had the pleasure of sitting in for the member at the fisheries and oceans committee, it was very clear that there is widespread concern among many organizations and groups, including commercial fishers and many others.

I would like to give my colleague the opportunity to share with us some of the people he hears from on a regular basis who are concerned about tanker traffic on the west coast, besides environmentalists.

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October 2nd, 2017 / 4:30 p.m.
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NDP

Fin Donnelly NDP Port Moody—Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the kind words from the member for Kootenay—Columbia. I also want to acknowledge his work in standing up for the environment and for standing in for me at the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans. I have appreciated his stand on many issues.

In terms of who I have heard from and who New Democrats have heard from over the years, we have certainly heard from many environmental organizations that are concerned with Canada's west coast. However, there are many others, including fishing organizations, fishing groups, fishermen, first nations, coastal communities, local communities, and labour groups. There are many organizations that know and appreciate how important it is to get it right in terms of what environmental protection means to local community economic development.

Salmon is an important iconic species, but it is also integral to the coastal communities' economy. We can see why many of these groups and individuals come together to ensure that legislation reflects the values they hold dear. They have held these values for thousands of years in some cases, like our first nations coastal communities.

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October 2nd, 2017 / 4:35 p.m.
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Conservative

Shannon Stubbs Conservative Lakeland, AB

Mr. Speaker, on that note, what would the member say to the Hereditary Chiefs Council, which represents the nine tribes of the Lax Kw'alaams, who on September 20 said that they were not consulted on the oil tanker ban. They said, “As Indigenous peoples, we want to preserve the right to determine the types of activities that take place in our territories and do not accept that the government should tell us how to preserve, protect, and work within our traditional territories.” They said that there was insufficient consultation.

What does the member say to the partners of the Eagle Spirit Energy's project whose pipeline will also now be null and void because of the tanker ban?

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October 2nd, 2017 / 4:35 p.m.
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NDP

Fin Donnelly NDP Port Moody—Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, certainly having consultation is critical. Nation-to-nation relationships are critically important to establish and to get right. I think it is up to the federal government to listen, engage, and have a dialogue that results in good decisions. However, it could be said, certainly prior to the current government, that this was not the case. Certainly under the northern gateway pipeline project, that was absolutely not the case.

However it is a good question, and we should, as a government, strive to work towards a full nation-to-nation relationship, so that we get the best decisions for those nations, for Canada, and for Canada's west coast.

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October 2nd, 2017 / 4:35 p.m.
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NDP

François Choquette NDP Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would also like to commend the excellent work done by my colleague from Port Moody—Coquitlam on protecting the environment and all aquatic resources on the Pacific coast, including salmon.

This bill is a step forward but we still have some concerns, which my colleague has talked about, including for example the new powers this bill gives to the minister, powers that could undermine the bill's positive aspects. With these new powers, the minister could exempt ships for indeterminate amounts of time or for much longer if it is deemed in the public interest.

Exemptions should be subject to time limits, rather than being left to the minister's discretion.

What powers does my colleague think should be given to the minister, and what should the limits be on those powers? Should the public have any input or control?

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October 2nd, 2017 / 4:35 p.m.
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NDP

Fin Donnelly NDP Port Moody—Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, I absolutely agree with my hon. colleague from Drummond in pointing out his concern. I share that concern. I mentioned in my speech that while New Democrats agree with the spirit, intent, and direction of this bill, we are still very concerned with ministerial discretion and allowing the minister the latitude to approve such projects. For instance, large megaprojects that would be harmful to the west coast and coastal communities would be a problem.

The minister acknowledged that those powers do exist. I hope he takes that under advisement and that when we get to committee, Liberals will take the NDP's suggestions seriously and implement those changes in the legislation going forward.

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October 2nd, 2017 / 4:40 p.m.
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West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country B.C.

Liberal

Pam Goldsmith-Jones LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade

Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the hon. member for Kanata—Carleton.

It is indeed an honour to be a member of Parliament from British Columbia and to be able to stand in this House in support 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.

Residents and communities on Canada's west coast have been working toward this legislation for years, as reflected in the comments made by my colleague, the member for Port Moody—Coquitlam. It is a key aspect of actions our government is taking to protect British Columbia's Pacific coastline and to advance our transportation 2030 vision to protect Canada's waterways and three ocean coasts.

The Government of Canada recognizes that the health and well-being of our oceans is vital for our communities, our environment, our economy, and the well-being of all Canadians from coast to coast to coast. Canada has the largest coastline in the world, and it is critical that these vast stretches of coastline and marine environment be well protected to ensure that our oceans can continue to support a rich variety of sea life, and our lives too. We are all one.

Our oceans play an important role in Canada's economy, facilitating the movements of goods and people and enabling trade to protect our high standard of living. It was a distinct pleasure for me to attend recently at the expansion of the Port of Prince Rupert, for example, with the Minister of International Trade. The head of the Indiana railway said to me, “There isn't a shipper in Indiana that doesn't know the Port of Prince Rupert.”

That goes to show how integrated Canada's transport system really is.

In full respect for the importance of trade, British Columbians and Canadians are passionate about the importance of marine safety and protecting the marine environment, which is exactly why the creation of a world-leading marine safety system is central to our government's $1.5 billion oceans protection plan. This will ensure that future generations of Canadians will continue to share and benefit from fisheries, tourism, and traditional indigenous and community livelihoods and knowledge, as well as global trade.

To develop this plan, the Government of Canada undertook extensive consultations with Canadians across the country on how best to improve marine safety and formalize an oil tanker moratorium. This included discussions with indigenous peoples, stakeholders from the marine industry, the oil and gas sector, environmental groups, and all levels of government. These perspectives informed the measures of the moratorium outlined in Bill C-48 today.

I am very proud of the work that many in my riding and throughout British Columbia did to get us here today.

The proposed oil tanker moratorium is just one of several crucial and complementary measures this government is taking to protect our coastlines and oceans. The oceans protection plan will build a world-leading marine safety system that increases responsible shipping and protects Canada's waters, and it includes new preventive and response measures.

We are also taking steps to preserve and restore marine ecosystems and habitats by using new tools and research. To support this work, we are building a stronger evidence base, supported by science and local knowledge. We are investing in oil spill cleanup research and methods to ensure that decisions taken in emergencies are based on the best information possible.

We are strengthening partnerships with indigenous and coastal communities to benefit from local knowledge of the region and to build local emergency response capacity.

These efforts and actions are national in scope, but I would like to be permitted to focus on specific measures designed to protect British Columbia's northern coast.

I would like to remind my hon. colleagues that our government has instituted a concentrated campaign to inspect tugs and barges in the province to ensure that tugs and barges, including those working in community and industry re-supply, comply with all safety regulations.

Preventing accidents from occurring in the first place is our primary goal. This is the main idea behind the steps our government is taking to build a strong prevention regime that enhances marine safety.

For example, we will be providing mariners, indigenous groups, and coastal communities in British Columbia with improved marine traffic and navigation information. This includes designing new information-sharing systems and platforms so they have access to real-time information on marine shipping activities in local waters.

We want to provide maritime situational awareness of who is doing what, and where—which is easier said than done—in a user-friendly way to benefit the safety and protection of British Columbia's coastline.

A first-of-its-kind program will fund initiatives to test new ways to bring local marine traffic information to indigenous and local communities from existing open source information from ports, the Canadian Coast Guard, and other government systems. This will not only help to prevent accidents but will also engage indigenous peoples and local communities with a real, important, and vital role in ensuring responsible shipping.

The oceans protection plan is also making investments so that a proactive, timely, and effective response can be mounted when incidents occur. This would mean enhanced search and rescue capabilities in British Columbia, including four new lifeboat stations and improved communication capacity. The Canadian Coast Guard would be increasing its towing capacity by equipping its large vessels with towing kits. It would also lease two large vessels on the B.C. coast capable of towing large commercial ships that are in distress and pose a hazard to navigation and the marine environment. This would improve Canada's ability to effectively respond to incidents, save lives, and protect the environment.

Beyond protecting marine ecosystems, our government is committed to restoring them. We would establish coastal zone plans and identify restoration priorities that would engage indigenous communities as well as local groups. Furthermore, we are working to understand the threat marine transportation poses to marine mammals and we will examine how to diminish these effects—for instance, by understanding how to reduce the threat whales face from noise and potential collisions from commercial traffic along the B.C. coast. The government would also fund research on the impacts of increased shipping on marine ecosystems, which would better position us to protect these mammals.

Strengthening partnerships with indigenous and coastal communities is a key element of the oceans protection plan. With the plan, as well as the oil tanker moratorium, B.C. indigenous communities would know that there is the highest level of protection possible on their coasts and that they will have a real opportunity to be partners in the marine safety regime. This means taking training in search and rescue missions, environmental monitoring, and emergency spill response. It also means that our government would work with indigenous and coastal communities to create regional response plans for the west coast and pursue shared leadership opportunities in other areas. As one example, this might mean creating local traffic management areas to minimize safety risks and environmental impacts.

Ensuring that indigenous groups play a leading role in decision-making processes is also a major goal of the oceans protection plan. We have demonstrated this commitment with the new Pacific region place of refuge contingency plan, which was developed in collaboration with the Council of the Haida Nation and provincial and federal partners.

We believe that we are demonstrating that by working together, we can more effectively manage and protect our marine environment across Canada. By formalizing an oil tanker moratorium on the north coast of British Columbia, the government is delivering on our commitment to develop a world-leading marine safety system, one that will meet or surpass the marine safety practices of other countries. I am confident that by collaborating with the provinces, indigenous groups, environmental NGOs, and other interested stakeholders, we have found an approach that demonstrates that a healthy environment and a strong economy can go hand in hand.

On a more personal note, I would like to say that it is a testament to the people of British Columbia that we are at second reading for an oil tanker moratorium act, and we are very grateful for the leadership of the Minister of Transport, his parliamentary secretary, and his collaborators in cabinet.

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October 2nd, 2017 / 4:45 p.m.
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NDP

Fin Donnelly NDP Port Moody—Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate my hon. colleague's work in the past on some of the values that we share on west coast salmon and the ecosystem, and I appreciated her very specific comments about investing $1.5 billion over 10 years for the oceans protection plan, about $150 million a year. She elaborated on investing in a world-leading safety system and talked about some specific actions, such as tug and barge inspections.

However, my question, which I think she touched on, is about purchasing the two oil-spill response tugs. I am wondering if the member could elaborate on how much those tugs would cost and what it would leave remaining in the $150 million annual budget for oil-spill prevention and other elements she talked about. I would ask her to elaborate on the cost of the tugs and what would be left.

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October 2nd, 2017 / 4:45 p.m.
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Liberal

Pam Goldsmith-Jones Liberal West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country, BC

Mr. Speaker, the tugs alone are a gigantic step forward for our government, the protection of marine ecosystems, and the livelihoods of indigenous communities on the coast. For far too long, that aspect was neglected. It is important, as a representative of the west coast of Canada, to describe how treacherous the coast is, how isolated communities are, and the challenges we face when we try to blend both a strong defence of the environment and a healthy economy.

Another remarkable aspect of the $1.5-billion oceans protection plan is how well integrated it is. We took a lot of time to ensure that indigenous peoples, fisheries, justice, transport, Treasury Board, the environment, and beyond were all consulted so that we have brought all we can as a government to protect the safety, environment, and health of the people of British Columbia and its ecosystems.

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October 2nd, 2017 / 4:50 p.m.
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Whitby Ontario

Liberal

Celina Caesar-Chavannes LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Development

Mr. Speaker, as we move forward with the sustainable development goals, we know that goal number 14 is about life under water. I wonder if the member could elaborate on Canada's leadership in this regard in terms of our ocean protection plan and in terms of this piece of legislation. How are we taking leadership, not just within our domestic market but globally?

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October 2nd, 2017 / 4:50 p.m.
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Liberal

Pam Goldsmith-Jones Liberal West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country, BC

Mr. Speaker, certainly we take our sustainable development goals obligations very seriously, and this provides an opportunity to demonstrate our integrated public policy approach.

Last week we were debating Bill C-55, which would update the Oceans Act, after 20 years, and would deliver on our government's commitment to marine protected areas. Canada has fallen quite far behind in that regard, but our government is committed to expanding that to include 10% of our coastlines. We are well under way, and that is, of course, well reflected in the fact that we would also bring a ban on oil tankers on British Columbia's northern coast.

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October 2nd, 2017 / 4:50 p.m.
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Conservative

Kelly Block Conservative Carlton Trail—Eagle Creek, SK

Mr. Speaker, in reading this bill I looked under clause 9, entitled “Designated Persons”. I wonder if the member could provide clarity on what appears to be a bit of ambiguity in subclause 9(1), where it states:

The Minister may designate any person or member of a class of persons for the purposes of the administration and enforcement of this Act.

The bill then goes on to talk about a certificate of designation:

The Minister must provide every designated person with a certificate of their designation.

I wonder if the member could provide us with some clarity in terms of who those designated persons may be.

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October 2nd, 2017 / 4:50 p.m.
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Liberal

Pam Goldsmith-Jones Liberal West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country, BC

Mr. Speaker, my understanding of that clause is that it truly reflects the fact that if we are to do the best job we can to protect the environment and the safety of people on the coast, we are going to need a team. The minister, in understanding the situation on the coast, has been very hands on and on the ground. We are connecting what have previously been disconnected but natural partners to ensure the safety of British Columbia's coastline.

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October 2nd, 2017 / 4:50 p.m.
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Kanata—Carleton Ontario

Liberal

Karen McCrimmon LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, thank you for this opportunity to express my support for this worthy legislation, one of many components of our oceans protection plan. Bill C-48, an act to establish an oil tanker moratorium on British Columbia's north coast, the latest in a suite of actions to protect British Columbia's Pacific coastline, would advance our transportation 2030 vision to safeguard Canada's waterways and three ocean coasts.

The Government of Canada recognizes that the health and well-being of our oceans are vital for our communities, our environment, our economy, and the well-being of all Canadians from coast to coast to coast.

Canada has the longest coastline in the world, and it is critical that those vast stretches of coastline and marine environments are well protected to ensure that our oceans continue to support a rich variety of sea life. Our oceans also play an important role in Canada's economy, facilitating the movement of goods and people to other destinations and enabling the trade that our high standard of living depends upon.

We fully understand how important it is to improve marine safety and to protect the marine environment while fostering a climate that supports Canadian trade and economic objectives. That is why the creation of a world-leading marine safety system is a central plank in our government's $1.5-billion oceans protection plan. It will help ensure that future generations of Canadians continue to benefit from abundant fisheries, tourism, traditional indigenous and community livelihoods, and global trade.

To develop this plan, the Government of Canada undertook extensive consultations with Canadians all across the country on how to best improve marine safety and formalize an oil tanker moratorium. This included consultations with indigenous groups, stakeholders from the marine industry and the oil and gas sector, environmental groups, and other levels of government. Their perspectives informed the parameters of the moratorium outlined in Bill C-48.

The proposed oil tanker moratorium is just one of several crucial and complementary measures this government is taking to protect our coastlines and our oceans. The oceans protection plan will build a world-leading marine safety system that will increase responsible shipping and protect Canada's waters, including new preventive and response measures.

We are also taking steps to preserve and restore marine ecosystems and habitats using new tools and research. To support this work, we are building a stronger evidence base, supported by science and local knowledge. We are investing in oil spill cleanup research and methods to ensure that decisions taken in emergencies are evidence-based. We are strengthening partnerships with indigenous and coastal communities to benefit from local knowledge of the region and to build local emergency response capacity.

These efforts and actions are national in scope, so let me focus on a few specific measures designed to protect British Columbia's northern coast.

I remind my hon. colleagues that our government has instituted a concentrated campaign to inspect tugs and barges in the province. The aim of the campaign is to ensure that tugs and barges, including those engaged in community and industry re-supply, comply with all safety regulations.

Preventing accidents from occurring in the first place really is our primary goal, and this is the rationale behind the concrete steps being taken by our government to build a strong prevention regime that enhances marine safety. For example, we will be providing mariners, indigenous groups, and coastal communities in British Columbia with improved marine traffic and navigation information. This will include designing new information-sharing systems and platforms so that they have access to real-time information on marine shipping activities in local waters. We want to provide maritime situational awareness—who is doing what and where—in a user-friendly way that meets their needs.

A new program will fund initiatives to test new ways to bring local marine traffic information to indigenous and local communities from existing open-source information from ports, the Canadian Coast Guard, and other government systems. This will not only prevent accidents but also give indigenous groups and local communities a meaningful role in responsible shipping.

The oceans protection plan is also making investments so that a quick and adequate response can be mounted when incidents occur. This will mean enhanced search and rescue capabilities in British Columbia, including four new lifeboat stations, and improved communication capacity.

The Canadian Coast Guard will be increasing its towing capacity by equipping its large vessels with towing kits. It also will lease two large vessels on the B.C. coast capable of towing large commercial ships that are in distress and pose a hazard to navigation and to the marine environment. This will improve Canada's ability to effectively respond to incidents, which will ultimately save lives and protect the environment.

Beyond protecting marine ecosystems, our government is committed to restoring them. We will establish coastal zone plans and identify restoration priorities that will engage indigenous communities as well as local groups and communities.

Furthermore, we are working to understand the threat of marine transportation to marine mammals and will examine how to diminish these effects, such as understanding how to reduce the threat whales face from noise and potential collisions with commercial traffic along the B.C. coast. The government will also fund research on the impact of increased shipping on marine ecosystems, which will better position us to protect these mammals.

Strengthening partnerships with indigenous and coastal communities is a key element of the oceans protection plan. With the plan, as well as the oil tanker moratorium, B.C. indigenous communities will have peace of mind that there is the highest level of protection possible on their coast, and they will have a real opportunity to be partners in the marine safety regime. This means being offered training in search and rescue missions, environmental monitoring, and emergency spill response. It also means that our government will work with indigenous and coastal communities to create regional response plans for the west coast and to pursue shared leadership opportunities in other areas. As one example, this might mean creating local traffic management areas to minimize safety risks and environmental impacts.

Ensuring that indigenous groups play a leading role in decision-making processes is a major goal of the oceans protection plan. We have demonstrated this commitment with the new Pacific region places-of-refuge contingency plan, which was developed in collaboration with the Council of the Haida Nation and other provincial and federal partners. We are proving that working together, we can more effectively manage and protect our marine environment across Canada.

By formalizing an oil tanker moratorium on the north coast of British Columbia, the government would be delivering on the commitment to develop a world-leading marine safety system, one that would meet or surpass the marine safety practices of other nations.

By collaborating with the provinces, indigenous groups, environmental NGOs, and other interested stakeholders, I am confident that we have found an approach that demonstrates that a clean environment and a strong economy can go hand in hand. In the same way, members on this side of the House want to work with all our parliamentary colleagues to enhance marine safety and protect the environment to promote responsible and sustainable economic growth.

I hope I can count on all-party support for Bill C-48, which would help protect the northern British Columbia coastline for the benefit of generations to come.

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October 2nd, 2017 / 5 p.m.
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Conservative

Shannon Stubbs Conservative Lakeland, AB

Mr. Speaker, I wonder if the parliamentary secretary could specifically explain what the difference is between a vessel carrying 12,499 metric tonnes of crude oil, which would be allowed under this ban, and a vessel carrying 12,500 metric tonnes of crude oil. Also, how does she reconcile that American and international tankers of the same size that would be excluded under the ban would not be covered? The ban actually would not deal with that issue at all, and they could still travel through the area, despite the voluntary exemption, which she did not address.

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October 2nd, 2017 / 5 p.m.
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Liberal

Karen McCrimmon Liberal Kanata—Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, we came up with these numbers through consultation. We wanted the coastal communities to be able to have their industry and grow and flourish. However, we also wanted to put into place controls that would limit their vulnerability. Therefore, when trying to come up with a piece of legislation, it is critical that we consult and end up with an overlapping, complementary system. That is exactly what we have achieved here.

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October 2nd, 2017 / 5 p.m.
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NDP

Rachel Blaney NDP North Island—Powell River, BC

Mr. Speaker, in my riding of North Island—Powell River, we experienced a very hard closure of the Comox MCTS. However, a lot of what we heard in the speech was regarding the importance of having a strong coast guard. At this point, we have gone from five communications centres for the Coast Guard down to just two. When the member talks about having a world-leading marine safety strategy, how does closing one of the communications centres, and with it a lack of understanding of our riding and that whole region in terms of what is happening in the waters, help with that?

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October 2nd, 2017 / 5:05 p.m.
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Liberal

Karen McCrimmon Liberal Kanata—Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for her concern for the safety of the people living in and around those waterways. Technology is changing. There are technological advancements that are changing the way we are going to do search and rescue on Canada's coast. It comes back to partnerships. It is about sharing information that would not have been shared in the past. It is about inviting everyone in so they can be part of the process. That key, that sense of teamwork and inclusion when it comes to search and rescue missions, is what will create better opportunities for us.

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October 2nd, 2017 / 5:05 p.m.
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Conservative

Bob Benzen Conservative Calgary Heritage, AB

Mr. Speaker, Canadian oil is extracted and transported under some of the safest and most environmentally strict regulations in the world. Therefore, preventing our Canadian oil from reaching customers in other countries only serves to proliferate the use of oil products extracted and transported in less environmentally friendly ways. Can the member explain this strange contradiction in that she views the proliferation of safe, clean Canadian oil as bad but the proliferation of oil from other countries with less stringent regulations as good?

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October 2nd, 2017 / 5:05 p.m.
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Liberal

Karen McCrimmon Liberal Kanata—Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, as always it comes down to balance. It comes down to protecting a very vulnerable piece of our ocean ecostructure here in Canada. It comes down to protecting our environment and at the same time growing the economy. I think we have found that balance by reaching out to coastal communities to ask what they need to continue to thrive, and drawing up these regulations while keeping that in mind. This was done in a consultative and collaborative way to come up with a solution that best balances the environment and our economy.

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October 2nd, 2017 / 5:05 p.m.
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Liberal

Fayçal El-Khoury Liberal Laval—Les Îles, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for her extraordinary speech.

I would like to ask her to elaborate on the importance of protecting marine life and the role that it can play in a green and clean environment. How is it important for Canadians, Canada, and the entire world? How can it help grow our economy and create jobs for Canadians?

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October 2nd, 2017 / 5:05 p.m.
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Liberal

Karen McCrimmon Liberal Kanata—Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, my hon. colleague's question is absolutely key to this entire discussion. This is one area where Canada can play a leading role around the world and set an example of how we can have economic health and a strong environment. If we look at Canada's wonderful west coast, the power of the ecotourism sector there and its majesty, we can see that finding this balance between the two was really important.

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October 2nd, 2017 / 5:05 p.m.
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Conservative

Kelly Block Conservative Carlton Trail—Eagle Creek, SK

Mr. Speaker, before I begin my remarks, I would like to thank my hon. colleague from Lakeland not only for the tremendous job she is doing as a shadow minister for natural resources and taking the lead on this file, but also for the wealth of experience she brings to it having worked in the industry in the province of Alberta.

I rise today in response to Bill C-48, the oil tanker moratorium act, a bill that will have devastating effects on our oil sands and the many jobs created as a result of that development. Once again the Liberals are playing games with Canadian jobs. Ostensibly, this act was introduced as a transportation bill. However, in practice, I believe Bill C-48 is a jobs bill or rather a job-killing bill singling out one specific sector of our economy, the oil sector, and punishing that sector irrationally. Since the Liberals formed government, they have made no attempt to hide their disdain for Canada's oil producers and the men and women who work in that field. This bill is another example of that.

Let us be clear and cut through the rhetoric. Bill C-48 is not really about banning tanker traffic; it is about banning development in the oil sands and the pipelines needed to get the product to market. Right now there is no oil flowing to the northern British Columbia coast. That means that there is no oil for tankers to load in the northern British Columbia coast identified in Bill C-48.

There could have been a northern gateway pipeline project. It was meant to run from Alberta to the northern coast of British Columbia, where our oil would have been loaded onto tankers and exported around the world. The development of a safe and efficient means of transporting our oil to the coast would have led to an economic boom in northern British Columbia, as it has in Vancouver and along the east coast. In those waters, tankers have operated safely for decades. The export of our oil would have strengthened Canada's economy by diversifying our market in the Asia-Pacific region. It would have ensured future economic stability, and it was cancelled because of politics.

Under the previous Conservative government, and through the National Energy Board, Canada had an impartial, evidence-based system that based its decisions on the viability of a project via a rigorous set of tests. These tests reviewed everything from the safety of the project to its environmental footprint to its economic impact and to its effect on our first nation communities.

The northern gateway project passed the first phase in that assessment before it was ended due to a short-sighted election promise by the Prime Minister. His action was not based on any science, but entirely on partisanship. Under the regime of Bill C-48, such a project will now be impossible.

Despite what the Liberals may say, this bill is not really about the environment. To be clear, the bill does not actually do what the Liberals claim it does. Bill C-48 does not ban tanker traffic along our coast, but merely the loading and unloading of oil tankers at our northern B.C. ports, which is currently not happening. Tankers will still operate 100 kilometres from shore, as they always have. The bill will do nothing to reduce the risk of oil spills. Quite frankly, it is 20 pages of empty symbolism on the environment, but with a real impact on the future of our Canadian economy.

In contrast to this empty symbolism, the previous Conservative government strengthened Canada's environmental regime by creating a world-class tanker safety system, including modernizing our navigation system, building marine safety capacity in first nation communities, and ensuring that any polluters pay for the clean-up and environmental impact of spills and damages.

The Conservatives pursued environmental protections based on the facts. Using those facts, we enacted real change that would protect our natural wonders, both now and tomorrow, and we achieved all of that without destroying future prosperity.

It would seem that the Prime Minister is not actually serious about reducing the impact of pollution on our planet. If he were serious about reducing pollution, he would do everything in his power to ensure that whenever possible, Canadian oil replaces oil from countries that have less stringent environmental protection regimes.

The fact is Canadian producers are subject to far more oversight and regulation. Environmental standards in Canada are much higher than the majority of other oil-producing nations'. Our oil production sites are cleaner. Our air is cleaner. This is no random accident. It is a consequence of our strong standards. Canada is a world leader on clean oil production and has been for decades.

Instead of basing their decision on these facts, the Liberals prioritize their anti-oil bias over science, over evidence and, most importantly, over people. That is what the bill is about. It is actually about people.

For no discernible reason, with no due diligence, the Liberals are damaging Canada's economic security. The hundreds of thousands of middle-class Canadians who work or hope to work in the oil and gas sector will see this news as another blow to their future prosperity.

This is not only about Canadians who work directly in this sector, nor is it simply an issue in western Canada. The implications of this legislation along with the partisan decision to end northern gateway will not only be felt in western Canada. It will be felt by Canadians from coast to coast to coast. At least 670,000 Canadians are employed directly or indirectly by our oil and gas sectors. Over 80,000 of them call Ontario home. Over 25,000 are Québecois. This sector is Canada's largest private industry investor.

The Liberals unilateral symbolic decision to ban tanker traffic on British Columbia's northern coast will be felt all the way to the St. Lawrence River and beyond. These businesses employ middle-class Canadians who have become constant targets of the Liberal government. They are already preparing to deal with the unfair tax hikes proposed by the Prime Minister, which will damage our competitiveness worldwide. They will be further disheartened to see yet another opportunity ripped from their grasp by the Liberal government.

If I did not know better, I might think the Liberal government is intentionally sabotaging Canadian jobs.

Perhaps the hardest hit in all of this are our first nations. With the tanker ban, and before that the cancellation of northern gateway, first nations in British Columbia and Alberta are losing out on an estimated $2 billion equity windfall. Thirty-one first nations equity partners supported northern gateway, holding a 30% stake in the project. Those first nations knew that the pipeline would bring jobs to their communities and they hoped that prosperity would follow. Without any consultation, the Prime Minister took that opportunity from them. The Prime Minister's symbolic ban on tanker traffic and cancellation of northern gateway will have real effects on real people.

Millions of dollars that could have gone to first nation communities and the families they represent will now never reach them. The affected communities could have used this money for schools, housing, infrastructure, job creation, or any of a hundred other purposes. But no, that will not happen, all because the Prime Minister does not like the oil sands. Perhaps if some of the money from northern gateway went to building sheds to store canoes, the Prime Minister would have supported it.

I must again draw members' attention to what this legislation would really do, or rather what it would not do. Nowhere does this legislation actually ban tankers from operating off of our west coast. Nowhere does it add anything to our already stringent environmental standards. Nowhere does it reduce risks.

Originally I thought I was only going to have 10 minutes to speak to the bill, but apparently it is up to Conservative members to carry the day on so many of the pieces of legislation the government has been introducing. Members of the Liberal Party, the NDP, the Green Party, and even the Bloc may have an opportunity to pose many questions of those of us who are participating in this debate.

While I do not have a crystal ball, I have a premonition that their questions to me will revolve around four topics. I think the first topic will be on the environment.

As I have said, Bill C-48 would do nothing for the preservation of British Columbia's environment. 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 I mentioned. As I said, this is a pipeline moratorium under a different name.

Further, Canadian oil is extracted and transported under some of the safest and most environmentally strict regulations in the world. Preventing our Canadian oil resources from reaching customers in other countries only serves to proliferate the use of all products extracted and transported in a less safe and environmentally-friendly way. The strange contradiction we see with the Liberals, NDPs, Greens, and Bloc's views on Canadian oil is that their opposition to it defeats their supposed greater goal of protecting the world's environment.

The second question I anticipate from Liberal members in this place will be around the fact that this promise was contained in the Liberals' 2015 election platform.

The Liberals' 2015 election platform is basically a list of broken promises. The Liberal platform was not worth the paper on which it was printed. We have seen considerable willingness, if not eagerness, on the part of the Liberal government to break promises made in its election platform.

I will highlight a few of the broken promises from the Liberals' election platform.

First, there was a commitment to run only modest deficits of $10 billion. Well, we now know that promise was a complete joke. The Liberal government blew past that proposed limit faster than the Road Runner.

Then we had the disingenuous and overreaching promise that 2015 would be the last election under first past the post system. It is amazing when we think about the absolute arrogance that was embedded in that promise.

The third topic I anticipate members of the other parties will pose to me will be around the opinions of first nations. I know I touched upon this, but it bears repeating.

There is considerable support among first nations on B.C.'s coast for energy development opportunities. In fact, it is not just on B.C.'s coast. According to the Assembly of First Nations Chief Perry Bellegarde, 500 of the 630 first nations across Canada are open to pipeline and petroleum development on their land.

As I mentioned, 31 first nations were equity partners, holding a 30% financial position in the northern gateway pipeline project. For the Liberals to move forward with this tanker moratorium without properly consulting coastal first nations is absolutely hypocritical. We know they did not consult because we know this was in the minister's mandate letter. He was directed to put this moratorium in place without any consultation. The Liberals only consult when it is to get the result they seek. They have no interest in dissenting or contrary views.

Finally, we have the Liberal government's much aligned proposals on open and transparent government. I could go on, but I do not want to use the rest of my time embarrassing the government with these facts.

To conclude on this point, to say their platform commitments are binding would be the height of hypocrisy from the Liberals.

The final subject on which I anticipate members of the other parties to pose questions to me on probably will revolve around pipelines or pipeline approvals. As I said earlier, this is not a tanker moratorium bill; this is a pipeline moratorium bill. The Prime Minister and the Government of Canada must champion pipeline development or pipeline projects will never be completed.

Approving one pipeline but not the other is only a partial solution to improving market access for western Canada's energy producers. Additionally, pipelines are the safest means of transporting oil that is already being produced and moved, yet is appears the Liberals and NDP would rather it be moved in a less safe manner.

The bill would only serve to undercut the future prosperity of Canadians in Quebec, British Columbia, first nation communities, and all throughout our country. I am left with only one question. Why does the Prime Minister care more about empty symbolism than about the prosperity of Canada's middle class?

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October 2nd, 2017 / 5:25 p.m.
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Liberal

Chris Bittle Liberal St. Catharines, ON

Mr. Speaker, I was just reading in The Globe and Mail some excellent news out of British Columbia, which is the economy there is going to grow by about 3% this year, exceeding expectations and second only to the province of Alberta. It is interesting. The hon. member is saying that we have disdain for the oil industry, but because of this government's policy, thousands of jobs are being created in the oil industry.

If the hon. member is going to criticize us for the economic problems in Alberta, will she give us some credit when things are going really good, like they are right now?

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October 2nd, 2017 / 5:25 p.m.
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Conservative

Kelly Block Conservative Carlton Trail—Eagle Creek, SK

Mr. Speaker, it is passing strange the member would ask that question when in fact the Minister of Natural Resources stood in the House just a few hours earlier and told us that it was not the government's job to build pipelines. Therefore, why do the Liberals want to take credit for the jobs that building a pipeline creates?

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October 2nd, 2017 / 5:25 p.m.
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NDP

Gord Johns NDP Courtenay—Alberni, BC

Mr. Speaker, I have a lot of respect for my hon. colleague from Saskatchewan, but I am someone who lives in coastal British Columbia and I represents people there. I can tell the member what it looks like on the ground.

We have seen three marine communications and traffic services centres close. We are hearing from both the Liberals and the Conservatives about how great our marine protection is. The Conservatives talk about the great work they were doing before, and the Liberals talk about the great work they are doing now. Both of them talk about the marine training they provided for first nations and indigenous people. They both talk about how they are protecting the ocean. If they actually came to our communities and listened to mariners, they would find out that there is not the training and equipment that was promised to indigenous people, who are usually responding to incidents that happen in coastal B.C. Also, closing those centres was closing local knowledge. The coastline of B.C. is too big to have two marine communications and traffic services centres close.

We do not have a world-class response. When the Nathan E. Stewart sank, within the first 48 hours of that boat sinking the spill response was inadequate, insufficient, and ineffective. That included slow response time and the equipment was not there. They lacked safety gear and there was even confusion on who was in charge. Therefore, this notion of a world-class ocean response program is far from being in place, and everybody in coastal British Columbia knows it.

There are 100,000 jobs at risk in our marine economy. We need people to actually come to visit us to see it first hand. We cannot even deal with a marine debris spill. The government has no response. It has put no money and no energy or effort to clean up the largest marine debris spill on the west coast of Vancouver Island in decades. Therefore, we know the government cannot deal with marine debris, and it cannot deal with an oil spill.

Given that the Nathan E. Stewart disaster happened, that we totally did not deal with it properly, and that in fact it impacted the Heiltsuk Nation on its food security, income, culture, and local environment, does the Conservative Party now finally understand the danger a supertanker spill poses to the north coast and to coastal communities?

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October 2nd, 2017 / 5:25 p.m.
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Conservative

Kelly Block Conservative Carlton Trail—Eagle Creek, SK

Mr. Speaker, I understand the passion the member brings to this, coming from British Columbia, representing constituents, and wanting to ensure their voices are heard. This is why we did what we did when we were in government. We created a world-class tanker safety system.

However, more to the member's point, I appreciate all that he has outlined to us. It just further proves my point that the bill before us would do absolutely nothing to reduce the risk of oil spills. It is actually empty symbolism on the environment. Therefore, I would respectfully ask the member to pose those same questions to the members across the way.