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


Marc Garneau  Liberal


Second reading (Senate), as of Nov. 8, 2018

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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.


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.


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

Transport, Infrastructure and CommunitiesCommittees of the House

October 16th, 2017 / 3:55 p.m.
See context


Kelly McCauley Conservative Edmonton West, AB

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to speak to Bill C-48, the oil tanker moratorium act. I am very pleased because I was intending to speak to this two weeks ago before the Liberals brought in closure on this, but it is part of their whole plan of hypocrisy with their government. They say one thing and they do the other. For years, we heard about no more closure and how evil it is to have constant closure on debate. What they do every single chance they get when they do not like what they are hearing from the opposite side, or before they even hear from the opposite side, is bring in closure. Shame on them, but I am glad that we are able to discuss it today.

I want to correct the record. One of my colleagues across the way, the member for Winnipeg North, constantly talks about there being no pipelines built under the Conservative rule. I just want to correct that. Four were built. They are going to say that none went to tidewater. Three of the four connect to pipelines that go to tidewater. Saying that the TMX anchor that connects into Kinder Morgan that goes to Burnaby is not a pipeline that goes to tidewater is like saying that there are no flights that go from Ottawa to Vancouver because they have to connect through Toronto. They do get there. The reality is that the former Conservative government approved and had built four pipelines during our rule, three of which go directly to pipelines that go to tidewater. Therefore, I just want to correct the roll.

The Prime Minister has stood in the House many times promising to achieve both environmental salvation and unparalleled economic growth. He said his government believes that the Liberals and only the Liberals know how to bring about the true formula to achieve this seemingly oxymoronic balance of economic growth and environmental care. They dismiss the critics in the NDP as excessively environmentalist and they scoff at the Conservatives' concerns about putting arbitrary limits on business and economic development. No, they assure the economic growth and environmental communities, they know what they are doing. What better document to prove this finely calculated balance than Bill C-48, the oil tanker moratorium act?

Let us look at some history. Alberta, being a landlocked province, is paying dearly for the situation of not having more pipelines. Our energy companies apply for pipeline permits to the faraway paradises of British Columbia, New Brunswick, and the gulf states in the U.S. Pipelines, being the safest method of transporting crude, are in short supply in Canada despite the previous government's approval and oversight of the construction of multiple new ones, as I mentioned previously. Frustrated with selling a product under market value for years, Alberta companies placed their hopes in projects such as Keystone XL, northern gateway, Kinder Morgan, and energy east. The gargantuan, bureaucratic pipeline approval process in Canada means that most of these projects had their inception in the late 2000s, before finally becoming topical today.

One by one, project by project has made its way through the National Energy Board, and one by one the projects were demonstrated to be safe. The NEB, in doing its job, attached conditions, sometimes hundreds, to the pipeline approvals but some groups were not happy. Some special interest groups did not like the fact that Alberta might get its oil to market and so began protesting. Sensing an opportunity, the activist Liberals, at the time in third-party status, captured this overblown sentiment by promising to redo the process. If people do not like the process and do not like the decision, the Liberals said, then it must be flawed. The Liberals then began a campaign of discrediting the National Energy Board for following a long-standing process that arrived at decisions that the Liberals did not like. They shamelessly accused the NEB of bias, industry favours, and lack of diligence. For many decades of its existence, the NEB was a harmless and adequate process but suddenly, with Liberal votes on the line, it became a tool of Stephen Harper, the paragon of anti-environmentalism—so said the Liberals—and thus the NEB was his way of destroying the planet.

The Liberals promised to reform the NEB to remove bias and make decisions on evidence. What is one of the first things they did? They ignored the evidence surrounding the northern gateway decision by the NEB and killed it; then, they reformed the NEB in a way that does not make the process any better but does absolutely make our process more bureaucratic, a winning formula to be sure. With a few strokes, the Liberals now watch from the sidelines as pipelines languish. Where once there was hope, we are now left relying on Keystone XL to the U.S., the very same pipeline the Prime Minister, despite his cringe-worthy bromance with President Obama, could not deliver; northern gateway, cast aside by the oil tanker moratorium, which the government wants to codify with Bill C-48; and energy east, of course left to die in the labyrinth of ever-changing rules that only apply to Alberta oil, special interests, pontification, and Liberal indecision. That will be the new NEB.

Kinder Morgan is on its way to the courts thanks to the new government in British Columbia and the lack of enthusiasm from the Prime Minister. It will spend years tied up in court, moving from one hearing to another, until, as I am sure the government hopes, the company finally relinquishes the fight and concedes defeat.

Perhaps if Kinder Morgan had named the pipeline the C Series, the Liberals would be tripping all over themselves to get it built. Oddly, the government does not realize that approved does not mean constructed. Just two weeks ago in this very House, the energy minister stood and claimed that 6,400 jobs had been created already for Keystone, even though it has not been started, and by the way it was approved by the U.S. government, not the Liberal government.

He stood here and claimed that 15,500 jobs had been created for Kinder Morgan already, despite the fact that it has not started and they are sitting idly by while this project is slowly smothered. Like the non-stop bragging about historic levels of infrastructure spending, mere announcements do not mean anything has been accomplished. Until the taps are turned on, the Prime Minister's approval is meaningless.

What should the Prime Minister do? He should champion the project. He should meet with stakeholders, press his claim and make the case for the project to go through. If he can get down to the U.S. and press President Trump for Bombardier, he can certainly do the same by heading to B.C. and pressing for Kinder Morgan.

The current government seems to forget that projects do not magically happen. Budgets do not just balance themselves, and pipelines do not magically build themselves. Most likely, the Prime Minister took a call from Gerald Butts who took a call from some angry activists in British Columbia, who were astonished that the government would ever approve something as dastardly and destructive as the Kinder Morgan pipeline.

This brings me back to Bill C-48. We expect to hear much about how the Liberals have found the formula for protecting the environment while at the same time allowing our natural resource sector to grow. They have consulted far and wide, they say. In the government's press release, the Liberals have held approximately 75 engagement sessions to discuss improvements to marine safety and formalizing the oil tanker ban. It is funny that with a number as low as 75, they have to approximate and cannot count how many they actually did.

The Liberals consulted extensively with indigenous groups, they say, and also consulted with industry stakeholders and communities across Canada. Much like their consultations on electoral reform and the small business tax attack, they only listened to a select few within the Liberal echo chamber.

Here are some other voices from the consultation, though, that the Liberals did not seem to hear. The Chamber of Shipping of B.C. suggested that the proposed moratorium:

...contradicts ...the federal government's stated approach to environmental protection: evidence-based decision making....sends a very harmful signal to the international investment community.

The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers argued that this proposed moratorium:

....could significantly impair Canada's oil and natural gas resources from reaching new markets....

It added that such a moratorium also prevents Canada from:

....receiving a fair market value for its resources.

The Chief's Council Eagle Spirit Energy Project, a first nations-led energy corridor proposal that has the support of the affected communities in B.C. and Alberta, has stated, on the proposed moratorium, which they say does not have their consent:

....there has been insufficient consultation....

Most interesting is the Liberals' outright ignoring of the fact-based evidence of the B.C. Coast Pilots. The B.C. Coast Pilots, who are responsible for the safe operating of ships off the coast, have some interesting facts. There has not been a single accident or oil spill with an oil freighter off the B.C. coast in over 50 years. That is not something we can say on the east coast where oddly enough we are happy to bring in oil from some of the worst human rights abusers in the world.

The B.C. Coast Pilots have an aggressive and unmatched-in-Canada safety program that has successfully protected our oceans and coastlines. At least a month before a vessel is placed on hire to come into our waters, the pilots do an extensive vetting process that includes all aspects of the vessel: safety records, crew records, past history. Any deficiencies will ensure that the vessel is not hired. This is even before the ship leaves foreign ports to come to our shores.

In addition, in the 96-hour report sent in, the Coast Guard VTS, the vessel traffic services, port state control will have all the necessary information from its last 10 ports of call, and any and all incidents will be recorded, as will all equipment deficiencies, if there are any.

Before the pilot boards, the VTS will have been provided with the deficiencies and the Transport Canada safety inspectors' report. Then, and only then, does the pilot board the vessel and is the final eyes and ears of the inspection process. The pilot will have the final say whether the ship will be put into anchor.

They have other safety standards above and beyond what I have listed, which is why they have an unblemished record with the transfer of oil on the B.C. coast over the last 50 years. That is not something we can say in regard to the east coast. Do we use the same strict measures on the east coast for oil brought into refineries in Newfoundland, New Brunswick, and Quebec? No, of course we do not.

Also, let us look where we are bringing this oil into eastern Canada from. Six hundred and fifty thousand barrels a day of conflict oil is brought right into Canada off the pristine shores of the east coast. Why is there no ban on the east coast? Why is there a double standard? Is it not a case of pristine coastal shoreline is pristine coastal shoreline is pristine coastal shoreline? I guess not.

The oil that we bring in from Saudi Arabia is from a regime that is often criticized in the House for rights abuses using Canadian-made arms. The Liberals will gleefully hold that country and the oil freighters it uses to a lower safety standard than used on the B.C. coast.

Oil comes from the democratic paradise of Venezuela. This is what the foreign affairs minister had to say about our great oil supplier off the east coast: “Canada denounces and condemns today’s significant and undemocratic action by the Venezuelan regime.... robbing the Venezuelan people of their fundamental democratic rights.” The minister even applied sanctions two weeks ago against the officials responsible for the deterioration of democracy in Venezuela. However, it is okay to allow its oil to come into Canada with freighters using a lower safety standard.

On the east coast, we bring in oil from Nigeria. Human Rights Watch says this of Nigeria: “Many of the grave human rights challenges he promised to address in his inauguration speech remain largely unaddressed and unresolved.” Again, that oil is subject to lower safety standards than on the west coast. Human Rights Watch continues that Angola has suffered during 2016 due to continued government repression.

I want to read a couple of quotes from people in this House about some of the countries we bring oil into Canada from. The NDP foreign affairs critic said of Saudi Arabia that “These cases once again highlight the Saudi authorities’ disregard for human rights.... Canada must stand up for its values and show leadership in defending human rights at home and abroad.” Here we are criticizing Saudi Arabia, saying our government must stand up and show its leadership and Canadian values at home and abroad, at the same time as we are banning the use of oil freighters off the north coast using Alberta oil, the most highly regulated oil extraction in the world. We are banning that, but on the east coast, which uses a lower safety standard for oil freighters, we are bringing in oil from Saudi Arabia, one of the worst human rights abusers in the world. Even our NDP colleague stated this.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs states about Venezuela that “Our government deplores the actions of the Maduro regime.... [A]nd will not stand by as the Government of Venezuela robs its people of their fundamental rights.” She will not stand by while the government robs its people of their fundamental rights, but she will stand by to ensure that they get Canadian money for their oil. The oil industry has been nationalized in Venezuela, so every single day we bring in oil from Venezuela, we are propping up the despotic regime of Maduro. We sit in the House and criticize him, but at the same time we block Alberta oil and ensure that we enrich the thugs of the Venezuelan regime. It is absolutely shameful.

The former leader of the NDP, a man I have a lot of respect for, has said, “It does not make any sense that in Canada right now, we are importing crude oil from insecure foreign sources like Algeria and Russia, and having it refined at Valero's large refinery in Saint-Romuald across from Quebec City.” He was also commenting on the hypocrisy of the Liberals in dealing with Saudi Arabia, selling them arms and bringing in Saudi oil.

He continued, “They can emote about human rights and Canada's role in the world. What we see them...doing is selling...[arms] to one of the most gruesome, repressive regimes on the planet...Saudi Arabia.” It is one of the most repressive regimes, and yet we are happy to buy their oil, give them hard currency, and prop up their despotic regime. Again, why is bringing in oil from serial human rights abusers using lower safety standards for shipping into the east coast okay, but shipping Canadian oil from the Pacific coast using the highest safety standards not okay?

Industry believes that Bill C-48 is too heavy-handed, and first nations groups who stand to benefit from the project did not give their consent to the moratorium. Of course, environmentalist believe that the legislation does not go far enough. Social licence to them is much like the Stanley Cup to the Maple Leafs, something to be dreamed about but we know is never going to happen.

The government does not seem to get it. It writes legislation solely to satisfy foreign-funded special interest groups to chase away investment and jobs from Canada and to punish Albertans and Canadians. This legislation, Bill C-48, is the epitome of typical Liberal policy. It is too focused on special interest groups to look at real evidence, the Liberal government then capitulates, and Canadians are made to suffer for it.

I want to discuss a few letters I received from some Albertans in my constituency. It is no secret that the province has been suffering for a few years between the provincial government's carbon tax, chasing away investment, driving up costs, and driving up taxes, and the Liberal government's carbon tax and pipeline killing rules. Alberta is suffering. We have received a lot of calls to the office about some of the issues.

Since 2014, unemployment has doubled in Alberta. Over 200,000 people are unemployed, 122,000 oil workers have lost their jobs, and unemployment is near a 20-year high. Food bank usage in Edmonton alone is up 60%. According to the CFIB, 45% of Alberta business owners are looking to cut back on staffing. What do we do? We have a government that destroys pipelines and takes away the hope of getting our oil to market. Our communities and families are suffering.

I received a letter from a lady named Sharon who lives in my riding. She says:

The job crisis in Alberta affects my family...negatively. My husband lost his job last July, and is still job hunting. I'm worried because I'm the only one working in the family. It's...tough...now, and I don't know when everything goes back to normal.

I can feel for Sharon. Just last week, we held a town hall in downtown Edmonton because the member for Edmonton Centre refused to do an open town hall. We had a town hall on the business tax attack. We had well over 120 people come out and tell us about their issues. I met a young lady whose husband had just been laid off. She had been laid off as well. They could not find work so their answer was that they would create their own work, create their own jobs and go into business for themselves. Then they sit and look at the Liberal attacks on small businesses and ask us how they can do that. They have lost their jobs in the energy sector, the Liberal government is killing pipelines and killing hope. They want to go into business for themselves but now they are being attacked on that front as well. They asked how they could even hope to thrive in Alberta. It is difficult to understand how, given what the Liberal government and the NDP government in Alberta are doing, they can find help or hope, but I can trust that Albertans will pull through if anyone can.

I met a lady named Kathy who said that her husband worked for a large firm. That firm has is are continuing to lay off thousands, and it is scary living that way. A gentleman named Don contacted our office and said that the Liberal government's lack of a real plan was putting families like his further in debt with no help to recover. It is a struggle to keep up with day to day bills. A lady named Martha said that the continuing lack of employment opportunities were concerning and disheartening. She constantly worries about how she will be able to support her family. It goes on and on and on and on.

What could we do to help? A perfect example would be the superclusters we hear so much about from the Liberal government. Superclusters here, superclusters there, superclusters for everyone. The energy industry, together as a consortium, put in a bid for some of the supercluster funding. We had some of the biggest names in the energy world putting through a package to be one of the named superclusters. They put one through for energy investment, including clean energy investment, and what happened? The government passed them by in order to invest in other areas of Canada.

The government's attack on Alberta must end.

I see that I am out of time.

Transport, Infrastructure and CommunitiesCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

October 16th, 2017 / 3:40 p.m.
See context


Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

Mr. Speaker, I want to ask my colleague about the national unity dimension of the whole discussion around pipelines, because some of this has come out recently. It is my belief that we should be able to have these kinds of debates without the Prime Minister, for instance, saying that we should not have this debate for fear of a negative impact on national unity.

We should be able to have this conversation and debate and present different points of view. Most Canadians I talk to are united in believing that development should be able to go forward. Maybe the NDP and the government have a different perspective on it, but certainly we should be able to have debates on Bill C-48, the importance of pipelines, and these sorts of things in the House without raising the spectre of negative impacts on national unity.

If there is anything negatively impacting national unity, frankly, it is the unfair policies of the government toward the west. I wonder if the member would agree with me on that.

Transport, Infrastructure and CommunitiesCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

October 16th, 2017 / 3:30 p.m.
See context


Mark Strahl Conservative Chilliwack—Hope, BC

Mr. Speaker, the member gets a gold star for working middle-class Canadians into his question. However, I again quote from page 1 of the Liberal throne speech on December 4, 2015, which states, “Canada succeeds in large part because here, diverse perspectives and different opinions are celebrated, not silenced.” They are only celebrated if they are the same as the Liberals' preconceived notions. That is the only time they celebrate diversity and different opinions. We can have different opinions as long as they are the same as the Liberals'. They say diversity is our strength as long as they are the same as we are.

Conservatives have a different opinion on Bill C-48, and again and again the government takes away an ability of the representatives of the people to speak. We are temporary occupants here, but we are each sent here to represent about 100,000 people. When Liberals prevent us from sharing the points of view of the people who sent us here, they are not depriving Conservatives of their right to speak, which is what they think they are doing—they think this is just a partisan game—they are depriving the people of Chilliwack—Hope, and all constituents, the right to be heard. This is the House of Commons. It should be respected, and it is time that Liberals started to do it.

Transport, Infrastructure and CommunitiesCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

October 16th, 2017 / 3:10 p.m.
See context


Mark Strahl Conservative Chilliwack—Hope, BC


That it be an instruction to the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities that, during its consideration 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, the Committee be granted the power to travel throughout Canada to hear testimony from interested parties and that the necessary staff do accompany the Committee, provided that the travel does not exceed 45 sitting days.

Mr. Speaker, it is as always a pleasure to rise in the House on behalf of the people of Chilliwack—Hope.

We are going to speak a bit this afternoon to Bill C-48, the proposed oil tanker moratorium act, which the government does not actually want us to talk about. The government moved closure and cut off debate after only two official opposition members had an opportunity to speak to it. They used what the member for New Westminster—Burnaby calls the parliamentary “guillotine” to cut off debate on a bill that is important to people in our caucus and the people we represent.

People all across the country have different views on Bill C-48, but they were not allowed to be heard, so we are going to give them a voice here today in the House by debating this motion to have the committee travel.

Even though the government does not want to hear from the representatives of the people of Canada, we want that committee to go across Canada to talk about this legislation and to the people who will be most impacted by it. That could mean going to Calgary to talk to people who have seen their livelihoods ripped away from them, aided and abetted quite frankly by government policy that is punishing the energy sector. We saw today on the news that the vacancy rate in Calgary office towers is still near 30%. It is a tragedy that the Liberal government has ignored, but we will not let it ignore it. That is why we will be talking about this here in the House today.

The committee could go to northern British Columbia, where members could talk to the aboriginal equity partners, a group of 31 first nations and Métis communities that signed on to be a 33% partner in the northern gateway pipeline project that was killed by the government for no reason other than it went through a forest the Prime Minister liked. This was a completely arbitrary political decision not based on evidence, not based on science, but on the political whims of the Prime Minister and his friends in the PMO.

What did that decision do? It stole $2 billion of prosperity from aboriginal communities in northern B.C. and northern Alberta, which have no other prospect of economic development. They were going to be for the first-time owners of a major trans-provincial pipeline. They were going to have a stake in that, and the Liberal government took it away. Not only did the government take away the prosperity that would have resulted from that project, but took it away for every project that might cross northern British Columbia for the rest of time, by making this oil tanker moratorium come into effect.

The government never talks about how the aboriginal equity partners supported this responsible resource development project, which was approved using the exact same rules this government used to approve the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. The Liberals talk about what a great decision that was. They brag about it when they are in Houston. They brag about it when they are in Calgary. They do not come to B.C. and talk about it very much because Liberal members are afraid of the backlash they will receive, but they used the exact same process for the northern gateway pipeline as the Trans Mountain pipeline, but again, this one went through a forest that the Prime Minister might have hiked in a couple of times and he did not want it to go there.

What did that do? I am going to read into the record a statement by the aboriginal equity partner stewards, Bruce Dumont, the past president of the Métis Nation British Columbia; David McPhee, president of the Aseniwuche Wienwak Nation; Chief Elmer Derrick, Gitxsan Nation hereditary chief; and Elmer Ghostkeeper of the Buffalo Lake Métis Settlement, who 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.

The Government of Canada could have demonstrated its commitment by working with us as environmental stewards of the land and water to enhance marine safety. All 31 AEP plus the other affected communities should have been consulted directly and individually in order to meet the Federal Government's duty to consult.

The North Coast tanker moratorium will eliminate significant financial and social benefits committed to our communities through our ownership and participation in the Project.

It is time for governments to stop politicizing projects which take place on our lands - especially projects that are owned by Indigenous peoples.

The Aboriginal Equity Partners is a unique and historic partnership that establishes a new model for conducting natural resource development on our lands and traditional territories. We are owners of Northern Gateway and are participating in the project as equals.

The economic benefits from Northern Gateway to Indigenous communities are unprecedented in Canadian history. As part of the opportunity to share up to 33% ownership and control in a major Canadian energy infrastructure project, the project's Aboriginal Equity Partners will also receive $2 billion in long-term economic, business, and education opportunities for their communities.

Our goal is for Northern Gateway to help our young people to have a future where they can stay in their communities with training and work opportunities. We remain committed to Northern Gateway and the opportunities and responsibilities that come with our ownership. We also remain committed to working with our partners to ensure our environment is protected for future generations.

AEP will now consult with our member communities to determine our next steps.

We have never heard that from the government. The Liberals shut down debate on Bill C-48 so we could not hear it again. The Liberals do not want people to understand the damage they would do to aboriginal economic prospects, to aboriginal prosperity, by shutting down tanker traffic in just one region of the country. The health and prosperity of those communities would be put at risk. We notice this does not apply anywhere else in the country. For Venezuelan tankers coming up the St. Lawrence Seaway, no problem. For Algerian tankers coming in to New Brunswick, it is all good. For U.S. tankers coming in to the Port of Vancouver, no problem. It is only when Canadian tankers might take Canadian oil to sell abroad that there is a problem, that we then have to shut down an entire region to economic development. There is more aboriginal support for responsible resource development and more opposition to this very bill, Bill C-48, that the government does not want us to debate here in this chamber.

Here is a statement on the federal tanker ban legislation by the chief's council of the Eagle Spirit energy project:

As Chiefs from British Columbia and Alberta we are very disappointed with the inappropriate actions taken today by [the] Prime Minister...and the Federal Government by introducing a tanker ban on Canada's west coast. We feel strongly that a blanket tanker moratorium is not the answer. Once again, government and international environmental lobby groups want to make decisions for our communities instead of us letting us make them.

The Government of Canada should accept the analysis of affected coastal First Nations rather than put in place a blanket Tanker Moratorium, especially for First Nations led projects. We believe a First Nations process should be implemented to help determine what resource projects can be developed on our lands and what products can be shipped off of our coast lines.

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.

[The Prime Minister] committed to support the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples which combined with Section 35 of the Constitution means that the Government of Canada has a commitment to achieve free, prior and informed consent of Aboriginal groups in several instances, including for the approval of any projects affecting Aboriginal lands or territories. We will not support projects that endanger our communities and the environment; however, we do believe environmental protection and responsible economic development is possible. This ill-conceived legislation puts the prosperity and the future of our people, particularly our youth, in jeopardy.

Once again the federal government is not respecting nation-to-nation dialogue and consultation and is forging ahead on proposals without the consent of many Indigenous communities. We urge the Prime Minister to live up to the commitments he has made to Indigenous Peoples. The Chief's Council will continue to study this legislation and our options and will have more to say in the days to come.

Again, these are indigenous groups who stand to benefit from responsible resource development on their traditional territories, first nations-led projects. However, the Liberals saw no need to consult with them. They only want to consult with people who agree with their point of view. We have seen that time and time again, and we saw it again in this House. When they did not agree with our point of view as the official opposition, they shut down the debate all together. After only two opposition speakers, they cut off the debate and said this would be better studied in committee, as though the 96 members of Parliament represented in our caucus have no value here. What we saw is the breaking of another promise.

In their throne speech of December 4, 2015, entitled “Making Real Change Happen”, the Liberals said the following on page 1:

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.

Once again, that was a broken promise. They obviously did not mean it. That did not last very long.

We want to be heard on Bill C-48, on this tanker ban moratorium, and we want to be heard because of the people this impacts. The Liberals just want to pat themselves on the back and say they did not need to consult with Aboriginal Equity Partners or with Eagle Spirit Energy group. They did not need to consult with them because they had heard enough. They heard what they wanted to hear, so then they stopped listening. That is what they are doing again today. That is what they have done throughout this Parliament. They simply say that they know best and only consult with groups that are going to tell them what they want to hear.

That is why, when I was the shadow minister for natural resources, I asked, through Order Paper Question No. 786, for the government to detail the consultations they had between October 19, 2015 and November 26, 2016, the date they announced they were killing northern gateway. I asked them to include a list of the dates that they met, the location where they met, the first nation and Métis communities present at those meetings, the cost of each meeting, and the summary for each meeting. That was to make sure that they had fulfilled their duty to consult with those groups. What did I get back? In short, I got back that the Government of Canada was not required to undertake those consultations with indigenous groups because they determined it did not impact their section 35 rights. I would say that the aboriginal communities that I have read these letters from certainly feel that their section 35 rights have been impacted, yet the Liberal government does not want to hear from them.

Closure has been forced. They slammed the door on further debate at second reading and sent it off to committee. We say that the committee should travel to hear from Canadians. If they do not want to hear from the representatives of Canadians, which they obviously do not and have made that clear, then maybe we should go from coast to coast to hear from those Canadians who would be directly impacted. They could also talk about the impact they have had, not only on the west coast but on the east coast as well. There has been deafening silence from the 32 Liberal members of Parliament who represent the Atlantic provinces after the actions of the Liberal government helped to kill the energy east project.

The Liberals want us to believe that the spot price of oil on any given day determines the outcome of a 50-year, $55-billion project. That is crazy to think that the spot price today can impact the decision for energy east. Former employees who worked on that project have made it clear that it was the government's interference, the changing regulatory regime, the constant moving of the goalposts, and the shutting down of the review process and restarting it again that caused energy east to back away and give up the $1 billion they had already sunk into the project. They said they were done, that they knew under the Liberal government they could not get this project built.

We saw Liberal politicians dancing on the graves of those energy worker jobs. We saw Denis Coderre celebrating and taking credit for it. Did we see any push-back from the government when that project that would represent 15,000 construction jobs, that would represent $55 billion in GDP to this country, which would have displaced foreign oil from conflict regions of the world, was killed by this regulatory burden? Did we see any push-back?

We saw the government hilariously trying to blame Stephen Harper. That was a new one. Apparently Stephen Harper was not in favour of energy east. I do not quite understand. It blamed Stephen Harper for its killing of energy east. It blamed the spot price of oil, as if TransCanada, the same company that is still building the Keystone XL pipeline, had suddenly decided that the spot price of oil is where it is and it could not build pipelines anymore. TransCanada is still building pipelines. It is building them now in the U.S.

It is like all of the major energy projects that have fled the country or have been cancelled since the government took office. These companies have not left the oil and gas sector, they have left Canada because of the regulatory burden and uncertainty that has been created by the government.

We say that we should go across the country. We should send the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities across the country to hear from Canadians. Even though the Liberals do not want to hear from their representatives here in the House, we want to hear from them. We know there is not universal acceptance of this. We know that the energy sector has suffered in the last two years because of the uncertainty that has been created by the government's regulatory processes. We should go across the country and talk to energy workers in Alberta, in Fort McMurray, on the west coast of British Columbia, and to the east coast folks, who now see their job prospects evaporating thanks to the work of the government.

Again I am reminded of how different the government's actions are from its rhetoric, how every time there was time allocation under the previous government, the members, who are no doubt going to stand up and ask me questions here, would get up and rail about what a horrible thing this was, how this was a deadening of democracy, a terrible precedent, and how they would never do this.

The Liberals did it on the only bill that we told them we wanted to have a substantial debate. We have had five or six bills that the Liberals have passed already in the first three weeks of this Parliament. However, instead of taking that as a good faith gesture, the Liberals telegraphed that they were going to use time allocation this fall, and they have been true to their word on that. That is about the only thing they have kept their promise on, that they were going to limit our debate opportunities.

We have said again and again that we wanted this to be a substantial debate. We had significant interest in our caucus in it. What did the Liberals do? They used the occasion of the Governor General's installation, a half-day Monday, and counted it as one of the days of debate. Then, on a Wednesday, after they invoked a bunch of procedural manoeuvres to cut the day off, we had one eight-minute speech. There were two full speeches and an eight-minute speech at second reading, and that was good enough for the government. It had heard all it needed to hear.

This is, again, what the Liberal government is all about. It wants an audience; it does not want an opposition. When it fears that it might hear something it does not like, the Liberals cut off the consultation process. It cuts off debate in this House.

Canadians are growing tired of it. We are seeing that. We certainly saw it during the small business proposals that the government tried to ram through, which it was unsuccessful at due to the good work of the opposition and business groups across the country.

We are not going to let them do it on Bill C-48. We think the committee should travel across the country to hear the voices of Canadians, even if the government does not want to hear from them.

Business of the HouseOral Questions

October 5th, 2017 / 3:05 p.m.
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Candice Bergen Conservative Portage—Lisgar, MB

Mr. Speaker, I would like to begin by asking the House leader if she could tell us what the business is for the rest of this week and when we return after the Thanksgiving constituency week.

Given that we have been very co-operative over the last two and a half to three weeks and have seen a lot of government legislation move through that period, I am hoping that she will be respectful of some of the bills that we really would like to have ample time to discuss. Bill C-48 was basically shut down after one member spoke to it, which was disappointing. I am hoping that, moving forward, we will be able to press the reset button and that we will be allowed to speak on issues that are important to us.

Oil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

October 4th, 2017 / 5:35 p.m.
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Bob Benzen Conservative Calgary Heritage, AB

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

October 4th, 2017 / 5:20 p.m.
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Julie Dzerowicz Liberal Davenport, ON

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I will now move to my more formal remarks.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

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


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.

The House resumed from October 2 consideration of the motion 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.

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

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

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

October 4th, 2017 / 4:15 p.m.
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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 / 3:55 p.m.
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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 / 3:50 p.m.
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Waterloo Ontario


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


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;


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—Notice of time allocation motionOil Tanker Moratorium ActPrivate Members' Business

October 3rd, 2017 / 6:25 p.m.
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Waterloo Ontario


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

Mr. Speaker, an agreement could not be reached under the provisions of Standing Orders 78(1) or 78(2) with respect to the second reading stage of Bill C-48, An Act respecting the regulation of vessels that transport crude oil or persistent oil to or from ports or marine installations located along British Columbia's north coast.

Under the provisions of Standing Order 78(3), I give notice that a minister of the crown will propose at the next sitting a motion to allot a specific number of days or hours for the consideration and disposal of proceedings at the said stage.

Oil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

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