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

November 7th, 2017 / 5:05 p.m.
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President, Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip

I indicated in my previous remarks about the long ongoing battle to protect our communities from, as I described it, predations of the fossil fuel industry vis-à-vis pipeline ruptures and tanker spills. That's why we so readily supported Bill C-48 offering that measure of protection to the northern communities, but it's a no-brainer that there's a denser population along the south coast. The Juan de Fuca Strait, the Burrard Inlet, and the Fraser River Estuary, and certainly all of the people, deserve a similar measure of protection.

The thought of moving tankers through Burrard Inlet that is incredibly heavily congested just doesn't make any sense. We're expected to undertake all the risks for very little benefit, if any at all. The governments have to be willing to take on the responsibilities for making these hard decisions. That's why the vast majority of British Columbians are opposed to these heavy oil projects and the risks attached to them.

November 7th, 2017 / 5 p.m.
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NDP

Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Thank you, Chair.

I'll probably be splitting my time with Mr. Donnelly who has smarter and better questions than I do.

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip and Mr. Hill, it's good to see you. I hope your families are well.

Let me start with you, Mr. Hill. In Gitga'at territory there has been some conversation with some of your neighbours about the exemptions that exist within this bill and some concerns that have been raised. There has also been the suggestion that if we could implement this tanker ban in such a way that first nations would play a joint decision-making role, a joint implementation role with the federal government.... Words like reconciliation are thrown around a lot in this town. Do you think this would be a helpful aspect if the committee changed Bill C-48 to allow for that, to imagine that, to give first nations a seat at the table in implementing the tanker ban in a meaningful way?

November 7th, 2017 / 5 p.m.
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Liberal

Sean Fraser Liberal Central Nova, NS

You mentioned, I think, that 118 different groups make up the union. On an issue like Bill C-48 is there dissent amongst the groups and, if so, how do you reach a position as a union? Is it a majority vote? Is it a consensus that emerges after discussion or what's the process?

November 7th, 2017 / 4:50 p.m.
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President, Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip

My response to that is, as Mr. Hill has pointed out, we've been involved in the ongoing struggle to protect our territories from the industrialization, the predations, of the fossil fuel industry for a very long time. These are not new issues.

The Enbridge northern gateway battle was a decade. It attracted 19 lawsuits, similar to the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline project, which also is facing 19 lawsuits.

These are deeply emotional, very volatile issues, and we've been very clear in our right, our fundamental right, our fundamental human right, to be able to protect the health, safety, and well-being of our indigenous peoples. That's what we've been doing for a very long time.

We were quite happy with the announcement that Bill C-48 was forthcoming, but again I point out that there are millions and millions of people along the southern coast—the Juan de Fuca Strait, Burrard Inlet, the Fraser River Estuary—who would be absolutely devastated by a catastrophic tanker spill or pipeline rupture.

November 7th, 2017 / 4:45 p.m.
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Conservative

Kelly Block Conservative Carlton Trail—Eagle Creek, SK

Thank you very much, Madam Chair. I would like to thank all of our witnesses for joining us today. I think it's a very important conversation we're having with you folks, and, indeed, all of the witnesses we've heard from over the past number of weeks.

In testimony last week, we heard that the government did not properly consult as per section 35 of the Canadian Constitution with those first nations communities that were here last week.

I will throw this out to both of the gentlemen who have given opening remarks to find out if your communities or the communities you represent, Mr. Phillip, were properly consulted before Bill C-48 was tabled in the House.

November 7th, 2017 / 4:35 p.m.
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Grand Chief Stewart Phillip President, Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs

Good afternoon to members of the committee.

On behalf of the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs, I'd like to read a brief statement.

Heavy crude oil pipeline and tanker projects pose an unacceptable risk to the health, safety, and livelihoods of indigenous nations throughout British Columbia and contribute to the negative environmental and health impacts experienced by indigenous peoples downstream of the tar sands, and of all people throughout the world, as a result of accelerating global climate change.

The Supreme Court of Canada has held that the crown's legislative power can and should be used to uphold the duties to indigenous peoples, and that both the federal and provincial governments have an obligation to uphold the honour of the crown.

My recommendations are as follows.

One, the UBCIC, the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs, has stated its strong support for the passage of Bill C-48, oil tanker moratorium act.

Two, the UBCIC supports the proposed amendments from West Coast Environmental Law concerning clause 6, ministerial exemption. It is the position of the UBCIC that the provision allowing exemption orders should be removed from Bill C-48, or at the very least circumscribed, for example, through engagement with indigenous peoples that satisfies the minimum standards laid out in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, on time limits, public notice requirement, and opportunities for public comment.

Three, the UBCIC recommends that the committee seek further information from Transport Canada regarding the rationale for the 12,500-tonne threshold for the bill's prohibitions and consider whether the threshold ought to be lowered.

Four, the UBCIC recommends that the committee expand the moratorium area to include all sensitive marine habitats, especially where increased tanker traffic will bring increased threats to killer whales, in the form of noise pollution and declining marine environment, impacting the survival and well-being of killer whales and other vital aquatic species, including wild salmon.

As part of our package, we have a number of supportive Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs' resolutions that were passed by our chiefs and assembly: resolution 2017-15: protection of water, salmon, and health from diluted bitumen; resolution 2017-04: protection of orca whales and habitat; resolution 2011-54: support for the save the Fraser declaration, the coastal first nations tanker ban, and the indigenous laws banning crude oil pipeline and tanker shipments through B.C.; resolution 2010-11: opposition to the Enbridge pipeline project.

In conclusion, as an editorial comment, again we strongly support Bill C-48, but would suggest that the same level of protection be afforded to the more densely populated southern coast of British Columbia with respect to the same threats, for example, the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline project and the Burrard Inlet and Fraser River Estuary.

Thank you.

November 7th, 2017 / 4:20 p.m.
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Conservative

Ben Lobb Conservative Huron—Bruce, ON

Fair enough. You can be for or against Bill C-48 and still have some legitimate comments about the consultation regarding when it should take place.

It seems to me that further consultation might have taken place on the schedule itself. You mentioned in your comments that diesel fuel, gasoline, jet fuel, and so on will be allowed. If I know industry, the tankers that will carry diesel fuel, for example, are going to start to get a whole lot bigger.

I understand that you want to have comments and consultation on the regulation of it all, but shouldn't that all be put in the bill itself? When it's presented in an upfront way, a transparent way, you can have your comments beforehand on diesel and the fact that it's going to be unlimited. What are your thoughts on that?

November 7th, 2017 / 4:20 p.m.
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Conservative

Ben Lobb Conservative Huron—Bruce, ON

Thank you very much.

For a bill such as C-48 to even reach the floor of the House of Commons, does consultation need to take place with affected communities such as yours, or can the government of the day bypass true consultation on a bill like this? What are your beliefs?

Either one of you can go ahead.

November 7th, 2017 / 4:10 p.m.
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Liberal

Vance Badawey Liberal Niagara Centre, ON

Thank you, Madam Chair. I have to say that from the past few sessions we've held on Bill C-48, one of the biggest concerns that has been brought to my attention is the impact on economic development for individual areas. I'm going to try to concentrate on those areas.

As evidence was presented to the committee, witnesses from Aboriginal Equity Partners and the Eagle Spirit Energy Chiefs Council expressed great concern about the high rates of poverty in many first nations communities. In their view, the proposed moratorium would deprive their communities of the economic benefit offered by the oil transportation projects, and undermine their efforts to become more prosperous and less dependent on federal government, or any level of government support for that matter.

My question to the folks here today presenting is, one, what are the main barriers to economic development in your community? What are you facing presently? Two, what role, if any, do you consider economic diversification to play in securing the future economic well-being of British Columbia's first nations communities?

November 7th, 2017 / 4:05 p.m.
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Liberal

Sean Fraser Liberal Central Nova, NS

One of the other issues that you mentioned was that you think Bill C-48 should extend to a transport ban and not just the loading and unloading at ports. One of the issues that was raised by a witness we heard previously was that there's a certain legal difficulty because there are disputed waters between Canada and the United States. Certainly, the U.S. would take the view that we wouldn't have jurisdiction to regulate in this area where there is currently the voluntary ban. Is there a workaround that you see around this potential difficulty of legislating in disputed waters that another nation lays claim to?

November 7th, 2017 / 4:05 p.m.
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NDP

Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

If I could return back to you for a moment, Peter, and this may apply to you as well, Marilyn, the Haida have set up joint decision-making tables with the federal government around Gwaii Haanas and some other initiatives. It would be helpful, as an amendment to Bill C-48, to have joint decision-making or joint management over something like the tanker ban because you've talked about exemptions and the power of the minister to deem certain traffic admissible and go through the ban. If we amended this bill to allow for joint decision-making between the north coast nations and the federal government, would it provide any assurance about how such a tanker ban would actually be implemented?

November 7th, 2017 / 4:05 p.m.
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NDP

Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Why is it so important for the feds to come in as a partner on that impact assessment? Why is that so critical? Aside from the immediate costs, why do the assessment? Why is it so critical?

As well, should things like that be included in Bill C-48 if we're amending this bill?

November 7th, 2017 / 3:50 p.m.
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Chief, Heiltsuk Nation

Chief Marilyn Slett

We would like to see Bill C-48 pass. We support the bill. We propose—and we said it in our five minutes here—that there be some consultation on the regulations, and we would like the opportunity to go through that consultation with the crown. For things like financial obligations, paying for impact assessments, traversing through our waters, and when and where, we believe further consultation is required on the regulations.

November 7th, 2017 / 3:50 p.m.
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Conservative

Michael Chong Conservative Wellington—Halton Hills, ON

Okay.

Is that true of the Heiltsuk Nation as well, that you're entirely in support of Bill C-48?

November 7th, 2017 / 3:50 p.m.
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President, Council of the Haida Nation

Peter Lantin

Yes, I think we said generally speaking we support Bill C-48. Getting into the details for us is the concern around the definition of “refined oil”. There has been a lot of discussion in this area around, never mind crude oil, let's talk about refined oil. For the Haida Nation, those two things we look at in the same light. As they transit into our territory, if it's refined oil or crude oil, either-or is going to be devastating to Haida Gwaii. In our opinion, we support the moratorium generally, but we believe that it could go further and include refined oil, large quantities of refined oil.