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

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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

Transport, Infrastructure and CommunitiesCommittees of the House

October 16th, 2017 / 6:20 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Todd Doherty Conservative Cariboo—Prince George, BC

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank our hon. colleagues for their speeches and their interventions in the House today, and on Bill C-48.

I listened to the debate intently, and heard it over and over again. It is very similar to what we have heard from the government time and again, whether it was on Bill C-55, which was earlier today, on the marine protected areas, or electoral reform, or the tax measures that the government proposed earlier on and is now backtracking on. It is very interesting. It comes down to consultation. It comes down to the fact that this has nothing to do with really banning tankers on the west coast, but has to do with slamming shut anything to do with a pipeline to get our product from the Alberta oil sands to the west coast and to get our product to other markets.

I should be really clear that there are approximately 4,000 ships or vessels each year that go in on the east coast, in terms of oil or petroleum-based tanker traffic. On the west coast, oil or petroleum-based tanker traffic represents less than 1% of the vessels that are arriving and departing off the west coast ports which is about 200,000 vessels each year, using 2015 numbers.

It was about 1,487 vessels total for 2015. It is interesting, and I know that other speakers have mentioned this, that it is okay for over 4,000 vessels each year, to go in through the east coast with over 600,000 barrels a day of foreign oil from some of the worst contributors of human rights violations in the world. It is okay for us to be reliant on foreign oil, but far be it for us to be self-sufficient and actually be able to get our product to market on the west coast.

This is really about shutting down the opportunity of the pipeline that was going through my riding of Cariboo—Prince George, one that had a lot of first nations' support. A lot of first nations became equity partners in this program that could have lifted some of our most vulnerable communities up. Instead what we are seeing is that those opportunities have gone away. Just recently, the Hereditary Chiefs' Council of Lax Kw'alaams, which is a community that would have been impacted by this, came out publicly and said, and there have been many who have been mentioned as well:

....we categorically reject interference of outside environmental NGOs (especially those foreign-based) who appear to be dictating government policy in our traditional territory.

That is talking about why we are moving so quickly to implement this tanker moratorium.

Canada has the largest coastline, over 243,000 kilometres. We also have some of the most stringent safety standards. I want to talk about some of those safety standards that we have. We have marine inspectors who board oil tankers that ply Canadians waters to make sure that they have double hulls. We do that because, as has been mentioned before, of the terrible, disastrous incident that happened with the Exxon Valdez in 1989. After that, the global oil shipping industry made a 25-year phase-out plan that banned single-hull ships. As of 2010, there have been no single-hull ships, massive tankers that have been shipping oil, plying the waters of Canada. There have been no single-hull tankers. We have marine inspectors who go out and check that.

Again, a lot of times the Exxon Valdez incident is used to shut down pipelines or have tanker moratoriums. It is used to anger and facilitate a lot of opposition in these areas.

Interestingly, the Liberal government approved Trans Mountain or Kinder Morgan. It said that it approved it, but we have not seen anything about it. That will facilitate 900,000 barrels of oil per day to that west coast port that is right among communities, and an interior passageway, and that is okay. However, to have an economic development project in the northern part of our communities, one that was critically important and had national interest, was nixed.

I look forward to the next nine minutes or so that I have to speak the next time that this debate comes up.

Transport, Infrastructure and CommunitiesCommittees of the House

October 16th, 2017 / 5:50 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Jim Eglinski Conservative Yellowhead, AB

Mr. Speaker, I am very glad to be up here tonight to speak about the crude oil tanker moratorium on B.C.'s west coast. I was asked a little while ago if I would speak on Bill C-48, and I jumped at it and said that I would like to speak about Bill C-48 and the moratorium on the tankers.

This moratorium act would not be protecting the west coast. Let us face it. It would not be protecting Canadians and would not be helping our aboriginal neighbours. If we really look at what this is all about, it is about the Prime Minister making a promise during the last election that he would stop shipment of oil from Canada and would put a moratorium on tankers on the west coast. He did a mandate letter and told his Minister of Transport to make sure to get policy out there. Thirty days later, he has come out with Bill C-48 that would stop the movement of tankers along the west coast. Who suffers? All Canadians. What we need is more debate and more consultation, especially with the aboriginal community because they have already told us that.

I want to go back a long time. I was a young lad of about five years of age, and I was staying with my grandparents as my parents were living in Edmonton. I stayed with my grandparents out on a farm in northern Alberta in a community called Two Hills. I loved being out in the field with my grandfather. I worshipped my grandfather.

I was out there running around in the field and my grandfather was working, discing I believe, if my memory is correct. He hit a big rock and it jammed between the discs, and he stopped. I was just a little five-year-old but I ran over to help, and I watched as my grandfather struggled to pull that rock from between the discs. Anybody who has been in the farming community knows what discs are. They get pretty sharp because they are turning in the ground all the time.

As he yanked on it, the rock came out, and his hand hit the disc on the other side and he put a big slash on the side of his hand. The blood gushed out. I hope nobody is queasy out here. I said, “Grandpa, look what happened.” He reached down, grabbed the fresh black earth, and he pressed it into the wound on his hand. I looked at him and said to him that he could not do that because it was dirty. He stopped what he was doing, looked at me, sat on the hitch of the tractor, called me over there, and he put me on his knee. He reached down. The bleeding had stopped. He pulled the earth and said that there was nothing more pure than Mother Earth.

Then he proceeded to tell me that the earth gave him the food that we ate. He proceeded to tell me that the jack pine at the end of the farm was where we got the lumber to build his house and barn. He told me about using common sense and only working the crop for a certain portion. He told me about selective logging that morning when I was five years old. I remember him telling me about living off the land, and the land giving him a product that he could sell to buy tobacco, because he always had a cigarette in his mouth. He received money from the grain he sold from the land. He said that the earth was energy and it gave us an opportunity to live and prosper. I always remembered that, and I love nature. I know I am kind of rambling on here. However, at that time, as a five-year-old, he told me to love nature and I have loved nature ever since.

I was very fortunate at the last election that my party assigned me to the environment and sustainable development committee, and I was given the opportunity to learn a lot more about this great country of ours. I learned about the need to protect spaces across Canada and about the Aichi agreement: 17% of our land mass by 2020 and 10% of our sea coastal waters by 2020. I do not think that they are obtainable, but they are realistic and we need to work and strive toward that.

I hear a lot from the government about science based, that we need to rely on the scientists to tell us what to do in our great country. In the Ukrainian language we call our grandfather “gido”. My gido was a very smart man. He knew everything that he needed to know to survive. He put it in very simple language, so I will quite often step aside from listening to the academics and go to the people on the land. Some of the smartest people on the land who I know of are our aboriginal neighbours. Many times, I have gone to different powwows and listened to the people living on the land, Petitot landing and Taylor landing, for example. These are very wise people. They have worked the land. Trappers are other people who know the land. They have spent 40 or 50 years on it. They know about the environment.

We have aboriginal equity partners in the pipeline project that was to go across northern B.C. to take oil products from Alberta to Saskatchewan and parts of B.C. They are suffering because of the government's policy to stop the pipeline. The government could not stop it because it met all of the environmental rules and regulations of the National Energy Board. The only way it could do that was to come out with a moratorium to stop any ships from going in there to pick up the oil. The aboriginal people will tell us they were not properly consulted.

I believe some may have read this before. It is not just the B.C. coast. According to the Assembly of First Nations chief, Perry Bellegarde, 500 of the 630 first nations across Canada are open to pipelines and petroleum development on their lands. Going back to the aboriginal equity partnership, a specific example was 31 first nations were equity partners and held 30% of the financial position in the northern gateway pipeline project. This was before it was cancelled due to the fact that there was no use having a pipeline if the ships could not get to the pipelines to ship the worldly products.

Communities like Prince Rupert, Terrace, Kitimat, and Smithers have struggled over the years with hard economic times. They have had a hard time prospering, like other parts of Canada, especially Alberta, Saskatchewan, and the northeastern part of B.C.

They have seen a decline in forestry. Why? Was there a decline in the market? No, there was a decline because of the pine beetle destroying a great portion of B.C.'s pine forests. Those pine beetles wandered into Jasper National Park and Banff National Park. If people drive through the park, which is not part of my riding, they will see a great portion of the park is brown now. There are no more green trees. The pine beetles have devastated them. What is worse is the pine beetles got mad at the park and left. They are now moving into the pine forests of Alberta. In fact, the latest statistics to come out show that from last year to this year, the amount of trees being affected in Alberta is tenfold.

The communities are struggling. The northern gateway pipeline would have been good for those communities. It would have been great for their economy and it would have helped the aboriginal communities grow and prosper in the future, to give their youth new goals, ideas, and places to go. It would have helped in education. They lost billions because of the moratorium on ships. If they do not have the ships, there is no use having a pipeline to the coast.

My riding is called the Yellowhead. Oil and gas is very important to my riding. It is very important to me and to my family. My son-in-law has a small company that works directly in the oil patch. It is kind of related to fracking and other types of ventures. He employs close to 100 people. He makes a very good living from the oil patch, and the 100 people working for him make a very good living from it.

The proceeds of the oil patch, whether in Alberta or Saskatchewan or northern British Columbia, bring a tremendous amount of revenue to this great country of ours, Canada. A lot of that revenue is spent here in the central part of Canada.

The Yellowhead is known as a major transportation corridor. Highway 16 runs right through the centre of my riding from the east to the west. In fact, the Yellowhead Highway is known across Canada as a major transportation corridor. It goes from Prince Rupert to Winnipeg. I have travelled it from the west to the east and from the east to the west many times, and the pipeline was to follow a great portion of that highway through British Columbia. Northern gateway would have been beneficial to all Canadians if it had been built, but it was not built, because the moratorium on shipping on the west coast would not allow ships to go to a port that could have had a pipeline to it.

I have also been to communities such as Prince Rupert, Terrace, Kitimat, Bella Bella, Bella Coola, Queen Charlottes, Masset, and Stewart. I have been to every one of those communities personally. I have been very fortunate in my working career to have lived on the west coast. I have partied and lived with the aboriginal communities on the west coast and throughout the interior of British Columbia. I have sailed from Mexico to Alaska on the west coast. I love the beauty of the west coast of Canada and the United States. I have been to the Hecate Strait, Queen Charlotte Sound, the Dixon Entrance. I am a pilot. I have flown from Mexico to Alaska. I have landed on many of the pristine coastal beaches of British Columbia. It is one of the most beautiful places in the world, and I have been so fortunate in life to have had the opportunity to travel to many of the inlets and beaches to meet many of the local people.

One thing I have learned from my travels is that, yes, we need to protect our coastal waters. It does not matter whether they are on the west coast of British Columbia or the east coast of Canada or the Arctic. We need to protect them.

As I said, I have been fortunate. I have also travelled extensively on the east coast and in the Arctic. I cherish the beauty of all of Canada and recognize that we need to protect all parts of Canada, but I also realize that Canada is country with an abundant supply of many different types of energy. Whether coal, oil or gas, our natural tree products, mining, aluminum etc., this country from coast to coast to coast is abundant in natural resources. These natural resources have been instrumental in making Canada one of the world's most economically viable countries and one of the best countries to live, bar none.

When I meet young people in my riding of Yellowhead, I ask, “You have won the lottery?” They say, “What do you mean?” I say, “You were born in Alberta. We have an abundance in Alberta. We have an abundance of oil and gas energy. We have an abundance of coal. We have an abundance of agriculture. We have an abundance of forestry, and we are a tourist location for worldwide travellers.” I tell them that there are so many different fields and occupations in Alberta that they could enter and prosper in. However, that is very true of a lot of our provinces. Any member from any riding here can probably stand and brag about the quality of his or her specific riding, but it would all end up with Yellowhead being the greatest riding in Canada. I have said that a few times, though it might require a bit of debate.

The west coast of British Columbia is beautiful, breathtaking, but so is the east coast of Canada, the Maritimes. They are all breathtaking and beautiful. The Arctic is breathtaking and beautiful.

Bill C-48 would put a moratorium on shipping oil on the west coast of Canada. We ship oil to many other destinations. We are probably one of the few countries in the world that would not require any importing of oil to this great country of ours, because we can produce enough in house, and that is exactly what we should be doing. When we have a large, diversified country like Canada that stretches thousands of miles from coast to coast to coast, it makes one wonder why we have to import as much oil as we do.

I was astounded when I looked at a graph recently from Canada's statistics in long form. That is why it took a little while to get it here, because it is a lot to read. I was astounded to see the amount of oil we bring into this great country of ours.

This is the daily number of barrels we bring in, and these are 2016 statistics: Saudi Arabia, 86,741 barrels; Norway, 41,858 barrels; United Kingdom, 9861 barrels; Colombia, 5,314 barrels; Kazakhstan, 19,200 barrels; Algeria, almost 85,000 barrels; Nigeria, about 74,000 barrels; Ivory Coast, around 12,500 barrels; and the United States 265,000. That is what we import into Canada on our east coast. The ships come from the southern United States across the ocean into the St. Lawrence, on the east coast of Newfoundland and Labrador in our beautiful maritime provinces. How can we do that? It is unsafe. According to the Liberal government, it is not safe to have tankers on the west coast, but it is safe to bring in $12.7 billion a year of oil on the east coast. Why is it safer on the east coast than it is on the west coast? I cannot fathom that logic.

Many years ago, a former prime minister, by the name of Trudeau, left Alberta. He was on a train, and I think he put his finger out to check the wind. Now we have his son who is Prime Minister, and it would almost appear that there is another testing of the wind. I hate to say that someone out there does not want to see Alberta, Saskatchewan, or even B.C. prosper from our natural resources of oil and gas. That is a shame.

Since 1985, ships have been sailing up and down the west coast of British Columbia. They have been sailing under a mutual understanding agreement to stay off the west coast shore at least 100 kilometres.

I have studied that route because, as a police officer, I also patrolled the west coast. I was stationed there for a number of years. If we look at the average, it is probably closer to 150 kilometres off of the west coast of British Columbia. It is under a mutual understanding and agreement. There have been no problems since the start of that agreement, and I see no need why we need a moratorium today to stop shipping on the west coast of British Columbia.

Transport, Infrastructure and CommunitiesCommittees of the House

October 16th, 2017 / 5:25 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Stephanie Kusie Conservative Calgary Midnapore, AB

Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to participate in this debate today on behalf of the official opposition. I think it is extremely important that further study be conducted on Bill C-48, the oil tanker moratorium act. Further study would also be consistent with the government's claims that they encourage wide consultation with Canadians across the country to share their ideas on how we can work together to create a stronger marine safety system and better protect our coasts.

I do want to stress the fact that this legislation is of great national importance. Bill C-48 is an act respecting the regulation of vessels that transport crude oil or persistent oil from ports or marine installations located along British Columbia's north coast. It is important to recognize that this legislation will have an impact not solely on local communities, but also nationally and certainly in my home riding of Calgary Midnapore. As a result, Canadians should have the opportunity to present their concerns, and having the transport committee engage in hearings is one way to make sure that happens.

Further to that, I want to refer back to comments my colleague from Lakeland made in her speech on Bill C-48. As she pointed out, following the general election in 2015, the Prime Minister sent a mandate letter to the Minister of Natural Resources, directing him to ensure that, "decisions are based on science, facts, and evidence, and serve the public's interest".

However, just over three weeks later, on November 13, 2015, mandate letters from the Prime Minister to at least three ministers directed them to work together to formalize a moratorium on crude oil tankers off British Columbia's north coast. As my colleague questioned, “One wonders quite reasonably how it could at all be possible that there was sufficient time in 25 days to ground this directive on the results of comprehensive assessments of existing environmental and safety records, standards, outcomes, and gaps; a comparative analysis of marine traffic rules, enforcement, and track records on all Canadian coasts and internationally; and thorough local, regional, and national economic impact studies.”

The answer is that there just was not time. Clearly, there was not time to consult with stakeholders such as first nations, local communities, industry, and experts. With today's motion, we are here asking for those steps to be taken.

I want to read a portion of an email of many emails I received last week.

A Calgary writer states that the Prime Minister has introduced Bill C-48, the oil tanker moratorium act, “...to ban oil tankers off B.C.'s northwest coast to Parliament over the objections of coastal and inland first nations. Tankers off Canada's east coast importing 759,000 barrels a day of foreign crude are apparently okay with the government and the Prime Minister, as are another 400 tankers per year through Vancouver's busy inner and outer harbours, under the Second Narrows bridges, under the Lions Gate bridge, past Stanley Park, through the Gulf Islands and narrow Haro Strait, and down the length of the Salish Sea past the provincial capital of Victoria and through the Strait of Juan de Fuca. This is all apparently okay with the Prime Minister, but not for tankers off Prince Rupert, the safest and best port on Canada's west coast!”

This bill is, of course, not really about transport standards, marine traffic, or protecting the safety and ecology of B.C.'s northern shore. It is a poorly disguised move by the Liberals to further limit Canadian oil development and transportation, and not the only instance that we have seen of this lately with the cancellation of energy east. In complete contradiction to his claims of wanting to consult Canadians, this is just one more example of the Prime Minister's own explicit goal to phase out the oil sands.

Once again, I am going to reiterate the comments made by my colleague from Lakeland earlier this month.

As she pointed out, “the unbiased, non-partisan Library of Parliament's legislative summary states explicitly that the debate around the tanker moratorium stems from the Conservative-approved northern gateway pipeline project”. This project would have had oil transported from Bruderheim, Alberta to Kitimat, B.C. After forming government, the Liberals told the National Energy Board to cancel the project. Now, by putting in place a ban on tanker ships in this region, the Liberals will permanently prevent any other opportunities for pipelines to transport world-leading Canadian oil to the Prince Rupert and Kitimat areas. As a result, Canada will not be able to expand our customer base by taking advantage of the rapidly growing Asia-Pacific region.

As I stated at the start of my speech, Bill C-48 is not a piece of minor legislation. It will negatively impact all of Canada with future consequences for the hundreds of thousands of Canadians employed in the energy sector across the country. Energy is the biggest private sector investor in Canada's economy and oil and gas is Canada's second biggest export with 97% imported by the United States. My colleague outlined some of the direct benefits Canadian oil and gas provides across the country including 670,000 direct and indirect jobs in this country. Deliberately limiting export capacity potential and thereby putting a ceiling on production would be detrimental to the livelihoods of Canadians everywhere and certainly in my riding of Calgary Midnapore, and, as we heard from the previous speaker, Alberta as a whole

As global oil demand continues to increase in the years and decades ahead, reaching tidewater in all directions for Canada's oil and gas should be a pressing priority for the Liberals. It makes no sense to delay, hinder, or equivocate on this point from an economic, environmental, or moral perspective in the global context.

The Liberals claim they are concerned about the environment, however, similar to the small business tax suggestions, their actions prove the opposite. By taking Canada out of the equation in terms of oil, the Liberals are allowing oil- and gas-producing countries, whose standards, enforcement, and outcomes are inferior to ours, to prevail. Additionally, they are opening up the market to corrupt regimes with abysmal environmental and human rights records, where energy development benefits only a select few. The government does not seem to realize that in Canada, energy development benefits every community with jobs and with revenue for multiple levels of government.

Between 2000 and 2014, for example, on a net basis Alberta's individual and corporate taxpayers shipped an estimated $200 billion-plus to the federal government and a major source of that revenue was from oil and gas. This money helps ensure that all Canadians have access to similar benefits and programs. To paraphrase, oil and gas revenue in Canada pays for benefits and programs for all Canadians. It is important that the members across the way hear that message. In case they want to open themselves up to even more factual evidence, a 2014 WorleyParsons study compared Alberta's environmental and regulatory systems with similarly sized oil- and gas-producing jurisdictions around the world, and found that Alberta was among the best. My province of Alberta was near the top of the list for the most stringent environmental laws and at the top for the availability of public information about the environmental performance of the oil and gas industry.

The study confirmed that Alberta is unmatched on the compliance and enforcement scale. Unfortunately, the Liberals' decisions are largely politically based, rather than being based on science, evidence, or consultations, or reaching conclusions in service of the broad national public interest.

I am again going to paraphrase my colleague, the official opposition shadow critic for natural resources, as she also pointed out in her speech that the result of the constant Liberal and leftist barrage of attacks on Canadian regulators and energy developers along with their changes to rules with new red tape and added costs is that energy investment in Canada has dropped dramatically.

Since the Liberals were elected, the policy uncertainty and additional hurdles during an already challenging time for prices, costs, and competitiveness have caused the biggest two-year decline in Canadian oil and gas investment...since 1947. This year alone, there is a projected 47% drop in oil and gas capital from 2016 levels.

She went on to say that one-sixth of total energy workers in Canada had lost their jobs since the Liberals formed government.

This number is reflected in the vacancy rates out of Calgary this morning. The resulting lost investment is equivalent to the loss of about 75% of Canada's auto manufacturing and nearly the entire aerospace industry. The current government continues to make ideological decisions which hurt Canada's economy.

My Conservative colleagues and I know this tanker ban is not in the best interest of all Canadians. Nor is it necessary. Tankers have safely and regularly transported crude oil from Canada's west coast since the 1930s. There have not been any tanker navigational issues or incidents in about 50 years in the port of Vancouver. Instead of putting forward regulations to allow for the safe passage of all vessels through Canadian waters, the bill deliberately and specifically targets one industry. It is really all about Liberal politicking.

Another fact I would like the Liberal members to acknowledge is that conventional oil and gas, oil sands, and pipeline companies are among the largest private sector investors in alternative energy technologies, like wind and solar, in Canada. When one sector thrives so does the other.

We on this side of the House value the responsible development of natural resources in all sectors in all provinces to benefit all of Canada. We therefore request further input from Canadians on Bill C-48.

Transport, Infrastructure and CommunitiesCommittees of the House

October 16th, 2017 / 4:55 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

Mr. Speaker, it really is a pleasure for me to rise today in our House of Commons to speak in defence of Canada's energy sector, a sector that is very important to me personally and very important to my constituency. It is our energy sector that brought my grandfather to Alberta. He was there during the first national energy program. Unfortunately, now we are living through what looks very much like the second iteration of the national energy program. I will speak to that a little bit later on.

The energy sector is deeply important to me as well as to my constituency. My constituency is called Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, but it covers Canada's industrial heartland. It is a hub of energy-related manufacturing.

It is interesting to hear some members, such as the leader of the Green Party, suggest that somehow we have to make a choice between upgrading energy-related manufacturing and pipelines, when, in fact, people in the energy sector in my region say that we can and we should look for opportunities to do more of both. We need those pipelines to export, regardless of whether we are exporting final product or an earlier-stage product. There are opportunities, as well, to develop our upgrading and refining capacity, certainly. We see those opportunities being developed in my constituency, directly in our industrial heartland.

It is the policies of the government, such as its carbon tax, its attack on small business, and the general uncertainty around the regulatory environment, that are killing not only the transportation section of the energy sector, not only the extractive sector, but also the value-added and upgrading section of the energy sector.

There was an American journalist named Michael Kinsley who once quipped that a gaffe is when a politician tells the truth. I think this is an interesting quote. That might be rephrased a little to say that a gaffe is when politicians say what they actually think.

When we look at some of the comments that have been made by ministers and by the Prime Minister about the energy sector or various other issues, oftentimes some of these one-off comments are dismissed as gaffes or mistakes, or we are told, “Don't worry, the tweet was deleted; he offered a clarification”, or whatever the case may be.

However, when we start to see a pattern when comments are made, it is worth reflecting on this Kinsley quote. These are gaffes in the sense that these are cases when people are actually letting the curtain slip and are showing what their real agenda is with respect to our energy sector.

For example, we have, in this House, the Minister of Democratic Institutions, who, ironically perhaps, sits right beside the Minister of Natural Resources. She tweeted, in 2012, “It's time to landlock Alberta's tar sands.”

That is pretty offensive language, but this came from someone who is now a minister in this government, saying, “It's time to landlock Alberta's tar sands.” The clarification was issued. The tweet was deleted. However, now this person is sitting in cabinet, and it makes people wonder what her views are with respect to Alberta's energy sector. Actually, we do not really have to wonder, because she has told us what her views are with respect to the energy sector.

We had the Prime Minister say, more recently, that it is time to phase out Canada's oil sands. He made a comment once that he thinks Canada does not do well when we have people from my part of the country in key leadership positions.

These kinds of comments that are very derogatory towards Alberta, and in particular suggest an opposition to energy development and a desire to landlock our energy resources, are sometimes characterized as mistakes or gaffes. However, I think, actually, that they are quite revealing. They are gaffes in the sense that there are moments when the curtain slips and the Prime Minister and members of his cabinet actually say things they really, truly believe.

What was the agenda the minister in question had in mind when she said, “landlock Alberta's tar sands”? Of course, we say oil sands, but that is the quote.

We had two new pipeline projects within Canada, and there were other pipeline expansion projects. There was the pipeline through the United States, the Keystone XL, but two new pipeline projects to tidewater were proposed within Canada, one going west and one going east. At the time of the last election, the pipeline going west, the northern gateway pipeline, had been approved. The pipeline going east, energy east, was in process. If they were trying to do what the minister said she wanted to do, which is landlock our energy resources, I guess they would have to come up with a way of killing these two pipeline projects. The Liberals have done it. Today, one of those projects has been killed directly; one has been killed indirectly.

We have a tweet from a minister in 2012 that the objective is to “landlock Alberta's tar sands”, and here we are five years later. The Liberals are in government and she is cabinet, and it has happened. We had a gaffe where the agenda was revealed, and now the agenda has come to fruition. Unfortunately, the Liberals have taken steps to landlock our energy resources. We have seen this, and it is hard to deny that this is happening.

I want to highlight a number of other examples where the Prime Minister made comments that were perhaps explained away or qualified, or referred to as a slip of the tongue or a gaffe at the time, but revealed something fundamental about the way in which he sees the world. He said in an interview during the election that, in his view, many small businesses are ways for wealthy Canadians to avoid paying taxes. That is what the Prime Minister said. I do not know how many people took that comment seriously. However, with the punitive measures that have since been proposed toward small business, it looks like the Prime Minister believes we should go after and punish small businesses because they are a way for wealthy people to avoid paying taxes. That seems to be the Prime Minister's view. He expressed that view in an interview with Peter Mansbridge during the last election, and now he is undertaking punitive measures against those businesses.

He also said that he admires China's basic dictatorship, and he has gone on to pursue policies with respect to China that concern many Canadians. He has gone on to govern this country in a particularly autocratic way, trying at every possible turn to limit the input of the opposition members. We had two opposition speakers in the traditional period allowed for this debate before Liberals shut it down. We are only now able to have further conversations about this legislation because of a motion we are putting forward on an aspect of the committee's study, and travel related to that committee's study.

In each of these cases, where these gaffes or comments from the Prime Minister or from ministers were portrayed as a mistake, they revealed something quite fundamental to what appears to be the world view of the Prime Minister and members of the government.

Again, a comment was made by a minister saying that they wanted to landlock Alberta's energy resources, and effectively they have killed the two new pipeline projects proposed to tidewater within Canada. The bill that is being considered in terms of committee study at the moment is Bill C-48, which deals with tanker export from northern British Columbia. As soon as the government took office, Liberals instituted a ban on energy oil export from northern B.C. They have killed the northern gateway pipeline, and now they are formalizing this through legislation, which they are calling the oil tanker moratorium act.

Let us be quite clear, though, about what this legislation would and would not do. Once we lay it out, it will be quite obvious to members that this is only about killing off energy exports in the west. It is not fundamentally about tankers, because tankers take oil in and out of the country, and between different jurisdictions along our coast. There are oil tankers that come into the St. Lawrence. There are oil tankers that bring oil in and export oil off Canada's east coast. Certainly, if there were ever a spill from an Alaskan oil tanker carrying American oil, it would not discriminate. It would not somehow fail to touch the Canadian coast, and yet what the government is proposing would only deal with oil produced in Canada, and the ability to export it out of northern British Columbia specifically.

I would take the view that we should do everything possible to ensure good safety standards and to do away with any risks of a negative environmental impact, but ultimately recognize that by taking a leadership role and setting those standards and then benefiting from them economically through the export of Canadian oil, we really achieve a win-win situation. If the alternative is the export of other countries' oil, the non-development of our energy resources and, potentially, a greater environmental risk insofar as we are missing an opportunity for setting standards for our own oil exports, that alternative policy pursued by the current government is a lose-lose situation. It is a loss for the economy certainly, but also a loss for the environment.

At least we have to give the Liberals credit for acting directly in the case of the northern gateway pipeline. They did not seek to hide it. They said they were going to kill it and they killed it, and they are bringing in legislation that would formalize that. At least they were up front and direct. That is not much of a defence of it. It is the wrong policy. It is bad for jobs. It would kill opportunity in B.C., Alberta, and throughout the rest of the country because we are economically interconnected, but we can say that at least they have been direct about it

They have not been so direct with the energy east pipeline. Many people in the Maritimes voted Liberal, hoping that they would see the energy east pipeline come to fruition, and many members of the Atlantic caucus would have said they were supportive of energy east. Meanwhile, we had other members—and here I refer especially to the tweet by the member for Burlington, the Minister of Democratic Institutions—talking about wanting to land-lock Alberta's energy resources. We had other members with this agenda, the Prime Minister's agenda, of phasing out the oil sands. However, because of how popular energy east was, not just in Alberta but also in Atlantic Canada and many places in-between, they realized they could not kill it directly but would have to pursue some other strategy for achieving their objectives one at a time, which they were actually quite frank about before they deleted the tweet I mentioned.

Consequently, the Liberals introduced all kinds of regulatory hurdles and additional regulatory uncertainty and they tried to build in the idea that a project should be evaluated on prospective down-stream emissions. It would not just be the direct emissions from the use of that particular piece of infrastructure, but the prospective emissions that would eventually derive from it. This is a standard that notably is not applied anywhere else. We do not force aircraft manufacturers to be accountable for the subsequent likely greenhouse gas emissions associated with the use of their aircraft in the future. We do not do this for cars. We do not do this in any kind of manufacturing. We look at the environmental footprint of the manufacturing process, but we do not say that the manufacturers have to be accountable for all of the subsequent downstream emissions. This was a unique, unusual standard, and ultimately turned out to be an impossible one for energy east.

The government's response to the understandable decision of the company, in this case not to proceed with energy east, is to say that it is a business decision. For one thing, it points to oil prices. Companies understand that oil prices go up and down. No company decides to build a pipeline based on the price of oil on Monday, saying the price is good so let us build that pipeline. If it is down on Tuesday, it does not know. Companies are smart and sophisticated enough to realize that oil prices go up and down over time. They have to consider the overall situation, the overall environment, the probability of getting to a yes, and being able to proceed. It is not just about what the price of oil happens to be on Monday. That is a rather ridiculous suggestion from the Minister of Natural Resources.

Then the Liberals say it is a business decision, that Sisyphus just could not push the stone all the way, that it was too heavy for him. The task was set up in a way that success was likely impossible. There certainly was no credible certainty around it. We need a government that actually is looking for ways to get to a yes, to ensure the proper consultation happens, but not set up sort of a Sisyphean task, as in one that cannot be realized. It is clear from the debate in the House that is what is envisioned by the opponents of energy development. They do not want to say that they are opposed to energy east, but they want to kill it directly by coming up with all of these ambiguous, unclear criteria that make success impossible.

It is particularly clear from the exchange I just had with the member for Beloeil—Chambly what social licence is. He said that we had to get to social licence in order to get these things done. I then asked him what social licence would look like, because it surely could not be unanimity. We are never going to get unanimity on any question. People are not even unanimous in the belief that Elvis has died. We are not going to get unanimity on any question.

Transport, Infrastructure and CommunitiesCommittees of the House

October 16th, 2017 / 4:20 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Kelly McCauley Conservative Edmonton West, AB

Mr. Speaker, I talked about some of the consultations and the voices not heard. I mentioned the chiefs council eagle spirit energy project. I made it clear that it was allowed to present but it was not heard. Its comment was that there had been insufficient consultation. This is a first nations group that is ready to create jobs for its people and for other first nations. It is a chance for them to take part in the wealth that the energy industry delivers. The government sat there, thanked it for its comments and said that it was going elsewhere.

The Chamber of Shipping of British Columbia, which is responsible for shipping the oil, commented that the government was not interested in what it had to say.

The BC Coast Pilots, the people responsible for the safety of the marine life off B.C., presented but was told that it was nice, but the government was not willing to hear what it had to say.

That was the problem with the consultations the government had with respect to the small business tax. It said that it heard 2,100 consultations. However, it only listens to those who are willing to provide a Liberal point of view, not to anyone providing a point of view with respect to first nations so they can get jobs for their people. The Liberals are not willing to hear the evidence from the experts in the area because they only want to hear a Liberal point of view.

This is the issue. For two years in the House we have heard how the government has consulted on this and consulted on that, held a round table for this, and held a round table on how to hold a round table. It holds round tables and consults, but does not actually listen. That is the problem with Bill C-48.

Transport, Infrastructure and CommunitiesCommittees of the House

October 16th, 2017 / 4:20 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Todd Doherty Conservative Cariboo—Prince George, BC

Mr. Speaker, I want to talk about the consultation. I think our hon. colleague from Port Moody brought up the fact about listening to the scientists and those who were out there saying that this was indeed the right way to go. We heard earlier on about 75 consultations. Now we are hearing first nations that have a stake in this saying that they categorically reject that the government truly consulted with them and listened to what they had to say. I think the hereditary chief said that. These first nations are in the communities that would be impacted by this decision.

We know this moratorium will cause more concern with respect to the economic viability of the first nations communities, as well as the coastal communities there. It could also put Canada at risk for lawsuits by the U.S., because of the shipping routes up there. U.S.-bound ships would be impacted by this.

Therefore, I want to touch on two points, which are the consultations with the shipping industry and with first nations. Does our hon. colleague feel that some time should be spent listening and fully understanding what the ramifications of passing legislation such as Bill C-48 will be for these communities and the industry?

Transport, Infrastructure and CommunitiesCommittees of the House

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

Conservative

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

Conservative

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

Conservative

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.
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Conservative

Mark Strahl Conservative Chilliwack—Hope, BC

moved:

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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Conservative

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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Conservative

Bob Benzen Conservative Calgary Heritage, AB

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

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

Julie Dzerowicz Liberal Davenport, ON

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I will now move to my more formal remarks.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

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

Liberal

Joyce Murray LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board

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

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

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

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

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

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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Liberal

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Candice Bergen Conservative Portage—Lisgar, MB

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Liberal

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

moved:

That, in relation to Bill C-48, An Act respecting the regulation of vessels that transport crude oil or persistent oil to or from ports or marine installations located along British Columbia's north coast, not more than one further sitting day shall be allotted to the consideration at second reading stage of the Bill;

and

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

Bill C-48—Notice of time allocation motionOil Tanker Moratorium ActPrivate Members' Business

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

Liberal

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

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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Conservative

Kelly Block Conservative Carlton Trail—Eagle Creek, SK

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

As I have said, Bill C-48 would do nothing for the preservation of British Columbia's environment. Ships, including U.S. tankers travelling from Alaska to Washington State, would continue to be able to travel up and down the coast just outside the 100-kilometre limit I mentioned. As I said, this is a pipeline moratorium under a different name.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

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

Kanata—Carleton Ontario

Liberal

Karen McCrimmon LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

October 2nd, 2017 / 4:40 p.m.
See context

West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country B.C.

Liberal

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

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

It is indeed an honour to be a member of Parliament from British Columbia and to be able to stand in this House in support of Bill C-48, an act respecting the regulation of vessels that transport crude oil or persistent oil to or from ports or marine installations located along British Columbia's north coast.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

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

NDP

Fin Donnelly NDP Port Moody—Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise to speak in favour of Bill C-48, an act respecting the regulation of vessels that transport crude oil or persistent oil to or from ports or marine installations located along British Columbia's north coast.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For those needing a reminder, the Nathan E. Stewart ran aground in the early hours of October 13, 2016, near Bella Bella, in the heart of the Great Bear Rainforest, spilling toxic diesel into critical fishing areas off B.C.'s central coast. The vessel eventually sank, spilling as much as 110,000 litres of diesel into the marine environment. Cleanup efforts were repeatedly hampered by bad weather and the vessel was not recovered until more than a month after it sank. Good thing the Nathan E. Stewart was not at maximum fuel capacity. The damage would have been even worse.

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

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

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

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

Gavin Smith of West Coast Environmental Law said:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

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

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

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

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

Oil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

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

Kelly Block Conservative Carlton Trail—Eagle Creek, SK

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

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

Oil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

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

Liberal

Marc Garneau LiberalMinister of Transport

moved that Bill C-48, An Act respecting the regulation of vessels that transport crude oil or persistent oil to or from ports or marine installations located along British Columbia's north coast, be read the second time and referred to a committee.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

These strong measures are what Canadians want and expect.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Business of the HouseOral Questions

September 28th, 2017 / 3:05 p.m.
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Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I am sure my colleague across the way will be happy with what we are about to say.

We will continue today with second reading of Bill C-47, the Arms Trade Treaty. When the debate is completed, we will then proceed with Bill C-55, the protection of Canada's marine and coastal areas. Tomorrow we will return to Bill C-55.

The business for Monday and Wednesday next week will be Bill C-48, the oil tanker moratorium bill. Tuesday and Thursday shall be allotted days.

Business of the HouseGovernment Orders

June 15th, 2017 / 3:20 p.m.
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Liberal

Bardish Chagger Liberal Waterloo, ON

Mr. Speaker, tomorrow the House will debate Bill C-49, on transportation modernization, at second reading.

On Monday we will debate our changes to the Standing Orders. Following that debate, we will resume second reading debate on Bill C-51.

Tuesday the House will debate Bill S-3, on Indian registration, at report stage and third reading.

Following that debate, we hope to make progress on the following bills: Bill S-2, the bill respecting motor vehicle recalls, at second reading; Bill C-17, respecting the environmental assessment process in Yukon, at second reading; Bill C-25, on encouraging gender parity on the boards of federally regulated organizations; Bill C-36, the bill to give Statistics Canada greater independence; Bill C-48, the bill to impose a moratorium on oil tankers off the B.C. coast; and Bill C-34, the bill to reinstate sensible conditions for public service employment.

Opposition Motion—Canadian EconomyBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

June 12th, 2017 / 6:15 p.m.
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Conservative

Kelly Block Conservative Carlton Trail—Eagle Creek, SK

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to rise this evening to contribute to this debate on the complete failure of the Liberals on this economic file.

For a government that would have us believe it is all about the middle class, as it is wont to add that at the end of every statement it makes, for example, more ethical government for the middle class, a Liberal commissioner of official languages for the middle class, new standing orders for the middle class, better innovation for the middle class, and a carbon tax for the middle class, it is remarkable just how out of touch Liberals are on the most important issues facing the middle class: jobs, the economy, and affordability.

On housing, for example, as the price of homes rose significantly faster than inflation in Toronto and Vancouver, the Liberals decided to implement a one-size-fits-all mortgage policy designed to cool down the housing markets of Toronto and Vancouver. Unfortunately, this policy is having a similar impact across the country, regardless of whether Canadians live in Warman, Saskatchewan or Queen West, Toronto.

Before the Liberals made these changes to the mortgage rules, a person with $50,000 pre-tax income could qualify for a $277,000 mortgage. Now, that same person qualifies for a mortgage of $222,000. This change makes buying a first house more difficult for many. Several people looking to buy their first home, and realtors, have raised concerns about this policy with me. However, these changes have not had the attention they deserve, considering the disproportionate impact they are having on first-time homeowners in smaller communities where housing prices are typically more affordable.

The Liberals are also tone deaf when it comes to western Canada. On May 12, the Minister of Transport introduced the oil tanker moratorium act, a bill that his own political staff conceded would only impact the future development of Canada's oil sands, and no other activity in northern British Columbia. Let us think about that.

It was not enough for the Liberals to reverse the independent National Energy Board's 2014 decision to approve the northern gateway pipeline subject to Enbridge fulfilling 209 conditions. They decided to go one step further by opting to handcuff future governments should they want to diversify Canada's energy exports. Bill C-48, the oil tanker moratorium act, will do nothing to enhance marine safety in British Columbia. U .S tankers will continue travelling up and down the coast between Alaska and Washington state.

This is the epitome of political irony. Venezuelan oil in Quebec is okay. Saudi Arabian oil on the east coast is okay. Canadian oil in Vancouver is okay. Alaskan oil in northern B.C. is okay. However, Canadian oil in northern British Columbia is not okay. Blocking tidewater access for western Canadian energy producers was not enough. To add insult to injury, this year's federal budget removed incentives for small companies to engage in energy exploration in Canada.

Furthermore, the new carbon tax will disproportionately impact energy-producing provinces. What the Liberals fail to realize is that Canada does not have a monopoly on the production of energy. In North America alone, western Canadian producers are competing against companies operating in the Gulf of Mexico, Alaska, the Permian Basin, and the Bakken formation. As the U.S. is making important efforts to reduce obstacles to energy development, Canada is going the other way.

Capital and expertise in this sector is very mobile, and Canada is in very real danger of being left behind. Canadian firms and foreign investors will not invest in the Canadian economy if the overall cost of doing business vis-à-vis our American counterparts is higher, as has been mentioned. However, the energy sector is not the only sector being targeted. Western Canadian shippers, and especially captive western Canadian grain shippers, are feeling particularly ignored by the Liberal government.

Unlike Ontario and Quebec, where many products can be trucked to their final destination or to a port for overseas export, western Canada is particularly reliant on rail to get product to market. That is why the Minister of Transport's inaction on critical and time-sensitive rail transport issues is leading to uncertainty for both shippers and railroads. Both need it as they negotiate shipping rates for the season and invest in the required infrastructure to keep products moving to market in a timely manner.

That is why, over the past several months, I have asked many times whether the government intended to renew or build on the sunsetting measures of Bill C-30 before they expired on August 1, 2017. The response, time and time again, was that the government recognized the urgency to get this done and that legislation was forthcoming. Unfortunately the Liberals now acknowledge that the key measures in Bill C-30 will sunset before any replacement legislation can receive royal assent and become law.

Since the transportation modernization act was introduced on May 16, the government has set aside less than two and a half hours to debate it, with the Minister of Transport taking the floor to lead off debate at 9:45 p.m. on a Monday night. This means there will be at least a two and a half month gap from when Bill C-30 measures sunset and Bill C-49 receives royal assent.

By the time this legislation has passed, the majority of contracts for the year will have been negotiated with the law in flux. Because of the government's mismanagement of its legislative agenda, these popular measures will sunset without any replacement, and shippers will be the worse off. What is worse is that while this two and a half month gap will negatively impact both railways and shippers this year, the replacement legislation will weaken shipper protections from what they are today. While something is better than nothing, the transportation modernization act is not a replacement for the Fair Rail for Grain Farmers Act.

What the government is proposing in its omnibus transportation legislation is to take a little used existing remedy called a competitive line rate and rename it long haul inter-switching.

Under a competitive line rate, a shipper could apply to the agency to set the competitive line rate, the designation of the continuous route, the designation of the nearest interchange, and the manner in which the local carrier shall fulfill its service obligations. We know from history that this remedy was infrequently used because of the prerequisite that the shipper must first reach an agreement with the connecting carrier and the two main carriers effectively declined to compete with one another through CLRs. While the requirement that the shipper must have an agreement with a connecting carrier prior to requesting a CLR has been removed, the greater issue is whether the terms imposed by the connecting carrier will be acceptable to the shipper.

While railways do have a common carrier obligations, we know there are ways to avoid doing a haul. For example, both railways have set the price of hauling uranium so high that it is no longer economical for it to be shipped by rail. Furthermore, while long haul inter-switching will be extended to 1,200 kilometres or 50% of the total haul distance, the first inter-switch location from any captive shippers in north Alberta and northern B.C. will be located within the Kamloops-Vancouver corridor, where inter-switching is not allowed beyond 30 kilometres. Therefore, these captive shippers will not be able to utilize this remedy to increase railway competition.

By borrowing and spending in good times, the Liberals have made it harder to deal with real crisis. According to the PBO, even a minor recession would cause deficits to be as large as during the great recession, and that is before considering the fiscal costs of any response.

The Liberals have mismanaged Canada's finances and have closed many doors for economic development. Unfortunately, the full effects of their policies have not reverberated across the entire economy yet.

The choices the Liberals have made to date are not random. They are the result of an overarching vision of picking winners and losers. Right now, my province is coming out on the wrong side of nearly every Liberal policy decision.

For a government that professes to be focused on the middle class, first-time homebuyers, farmers, shippers, and energy workers are all feeling left out in the cold.

Transportation Modernization Act

June 5th, 2017 / 10:20 p.m.
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Conservative

Kelly Block Conservative Carlton Trail—Eagle Creek, SK

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise this evening to debate Bill C-49, the transportation modernization act, at second reading.

The bill could simply be renamed the transportation omnibus act for the number of different bills being amended, with many of changes being more than just technical in nature. The Air Canada Public Participation Act, the Canada Transportation Act, the CN Commercialization Act, the Railway Safety Act, the Canadian Transportation Accident Investigation and Safety Board Act, the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority Act, the Coasting Trade Act, the Canada Marine Act, the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act, the Competition Act, the Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act, the 2009 Budget Implementation Act, and the Fair Rail for Grain Farmers Act are all being amended.

How this squares with the Liberal election promise not to use omnibus legislation is beyond me. Do not get me wrong, I am not complaining about an omnibus bill, just the fact that the Liberals did and then made a promise they knew they would not keep. Furthermore, when I introduced a motion in transport committee last week calling on the committee to write to the Minister of Transport and his government House leader to ask them to split the bill into the following sections, rail shipping, rail safety, air, and marine, to provide an enhanced and possibly expedited scrutiny, every single Liberal member voted against it without even a single comment as to why.

I found this vote particularly ironic, as it was the Liberal member for Niagara Centre who raised the idea of expediting the passage of the bill in the first place, in order to provide grain farmers with a greater amount of certainty as they negotiate contracts for future shipping seasons.

The more measures that a bill contains, the more time it takes to provide adequate scrutiny. Separating the bill would be the easiest way to facilitate expedited passage, and thus my motion calling on the bill to be split into several parts.

Unfortunately, Liberal members were unwilling to split the bill into these natural divisions. This does not inspire confidence that when the bill eventually does reach committee, the Liberal Party members will be open to any amendments. While Bill C-49 is supposed to be the Minister of Transport's legislative response to the 2015 Canada Transportation Act review led by the Hon. David Emerson, it would appear that what we have before us is a bill that is designed to change the channel from some of the bad news that keeps piling up for the Liberals.

The government's communications strategy for this legislation has overwhelmingly concentrated on the air passenger compensation regime that is being introduced, and not the other very consequential measures. Here is what the Minister of Transport posted on his Twitter feed as he introduced this legislation, “These air passenger rights will ensure that travellers are treated like people, not just a number.”

Like many members here, I travel a lot and only have positive things to say about all the employees working for the airlines and at our airports. Of course, on occasion, flights do not go as we hope, but the Minister of Transport appears to be willing to pit passengers against airlines rather than fixing the structural problems in Canada's aviation regime.

This legislation does not spell out what the compensation regime will be, just that there will be one. The bill states that after consulting with only the Minister of Transport, the Canadian Transportation Agency will make regulations concerning carriers' obligations toward passengers. However, for even greater clarity, subsection (2) of proposed section 86.11 states that the Canadian Transportation Agency must comply with any instruction from the minister with regard to setting regulations concerning carriers' obligations to passengers.

What this means is that the Canadian Transportation Agency is tentatively responsible for setting what financial penalties a carrier would have to pay to the passenger in the case of a service breach, unless the minister is dissatisfied with the level of prescribed compensation that the CTA decides is appropriate, in which case he or she can dictate what that level of compensation will be.

It is noteworthy that the agency will, by law, only be allowed to consult with the Minister of Transport concerning the setting of these regulations, and not with consumer advocate groups, airlines, airports, Nav Canada and other stakeholders in the sector.

I do not understand what the purpose of consulting only the minister is. If the Canadian Transportation Agency is to be an arm's-length organization, this legislation clearly diminishes its independence. If the minister will not allow the agency to independently set the parameters of the passenger compensation regime, he should just spell out in legislation what it will be and let members of Parliament and stakeholder groups decide whether this is a good proposal or not.

If this legislation were truly aimed at reducing the cost of travel for the passenger, while increasing service and convenience, the minister would immediately lobby to have the government's carbon tax, which will make every single flight more expensive, withdrawn. He would reform the air passenger security system, which was universally identified as a major irritant for all passengers during the Canada Transportation Act review by all the organizations that participated in the process.

While it would be preferable to have the sections of the bill dealing with air and rail examined as stand-alone pieces of legislation, I can only surmise that the government's complete mismanagement of the House's agenda has led us to the point where an omnibus transportation bill is what we have in front of us today. At least we have finally begun debating something in the transport sector, now that we are two years into the government's mandate. So far, the only achievement the minister has to show in terms of legislation is the act to amend the Air Canada Public Participation Act.

Let us talk about Bill S-2, an act to amend the Motor Vehicle Safety Act and to make a consequential amendment to another act. This was first introduced by the government's representative in the Senate 13 months ago and passed third reading in the Senate on February 2. The minister claimed that Bill S-2 was a priority in his speech to the Montreal Chamber of Commerce in November 2016, yet it has not been touched since.

On May 12, just days before the introduction of the legislation we are debating today, the Minister of Transport introduced the oil tanker moratorium act, a bill that his own officials conceded would only impact the future development of Canada's oil sands and no other activity in northern British Columbia. Equally concerning about this oil tanker moratorium, which could be renamed the oil pipeline moratorium, is that there is considerable support among first nations on B.C.'s coast for energy development opportunities, but the wishes of these first nations are being ignored. For the Liberals to move forward with this tanker moratorium without properly consulting coastal first nations is extremely hypocritical.

The Liberals go to painstaking lengths to emphasize the amount of consultation they undertake, but it is becoming more and more apparent that their interest in consulting is about being told what they want to hear and not about listening to differing views. If anyone needs further proof that Bill C-48 was introduced only for political purposes, it is that this moratorium has been introduced as a stand-alone bill and not as part of this omnibus package we are debating today.

The Minister of Transport's silence and inaction on critical and time-sensitive transport issues, especially rail transport, is leading to uncertainty for both shippers and the railroads, which both want certainty as they negotiate shipping rates for the season.

That is why over the past several months I have asked many times whether the government intends to renew the sunsetting measures in Bill C-30 before they expire on August 1, 2017. The response I have been given time and time again is that the government recognizes the urgency to get this done and that legislation is forthcoming. Unfortunately, the Liberals have made a muck of this, and the key measures in Bill C-30 will sunset before any replacement legislation can receive royal assent and become law.

Last week in the transport committee, a Liberal member moved a motion calling on the committee to begin its consideration of this bill, Bill C-49, in September, before the House begins sitting, to expedite the study of the sections of the bill that deal with the shipping of grain. While Conservatives have no objection to considering this legislation in September before the House returns from the summer break, government members fail to realize that our producers needed them to turn their attention to this months ago, as the measures will sunset on August 1 of this year. At best, there will be a two-and-a-half-month gap between when the measures in Bill C-30 sunset and replacement legislation is in place.

By the time this legislation has passed, the majority of contracts for this year will have been negotiated with the law in flux. Because of the government's mismanagement of the legislative agenda, these popular measures will sunset without replacement, and shippers will be the worse off.

This is important to note, because for a combination of reasons, including a lack of rail capacity, preparedness by railways and shippers, weather, and the size of the crop, western Canada's 2013-14 grain crop did not get to market in a timely manner. Consequently, the previous Conservative government introduced Bill C-30, which gave the Canada Transportation Agency the power to allow shippers access to regulated interswitching up to 160 kilometres, mandated that CN and CP both haul at least 500 tonnes of grain per week, and introduced a new definition of adequate and suitable service levels. With this extension, the number of primary grain elevators with access to more than one railroad with the extended interswitching limits increased from 48 to 261.

These measures were met with universal support from the members of the shipping community, because even if they did not use interswitching, they could use it as a tool to increase their negotiating position with the railways, as the shippers knew exactly how much the interswitch portion of the haul would cost them.

At the same time, the government announced that the Canada Transportation Act statutory review would be expedited, and it began a year early to provide long-term solutions to the grain backlog of the 2013-14 shipping season and other problems in the transport sector within Canada. The hon. David Emerson, a former Liberal and Conservative cabinet minister, was tasked with leading the review. This review was completed in the fall of 2015 and was on the Minister of Transport's desk shortly before Christmas. The minister then tabled this report in mid-February 2016 and promised wide consultations on the report. As the key measures of Bill C-30 were going to sunset on August 1, 2016, and parliamentarians were hearing from the shipping community that it would like to see these extended, Parliament voted in June 2016 to extend those provisions for one year.

In the fall of 2016, the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities undertook a study of Bill C-30 and held a number of meetings on the merits of these measures and whether they should be allowed to sunset. We were assured that if we lived with this extension, these issues would be dealt with by August 1, 2017.

The vast majority of the testimony heard was supportive of maintaining the 160-kilometre regulated interswitching limit at committee, which is why the committee's first recommendation was the following:

That the Canadian Transportation Agency retain the flexibility provided under the Canada Transportation Act by the Fair Rail For Grain Farmers Act to set interswitching distances up to 160 km, in order to maintain a more competitive operating environment for rail shippers with direct access to only one railway company.

Anyone who has read this bill will know that the government ignored the committee's main recommendation. At some point during this debate, I hope to hear from Liberal members on the transport committee about whether they believe that the government was right to ignore the committee's recommendations, and if so, whether the entire committee study was just a waste of time.

Basically, what the government is proposing with this legislation is to replace the 160-kilometre interswitching limit with the creation of a new long-haul interswitching tool that would be in effect between Windsor and Kamloops on hauls of up to 1,200 kilometres, or up to 50% of the length of the entire haul. Shippers would be charged the regulated interswitching rate for the first 30 kilometres of the haul and then a Canada Transportation Agency-determined rate, which would be determined on a case-by-case basis based on the price of a similar haul, for the remainder of the distance to the interswitch point. Shippers would only be able to interswitch at the first available interswitch point within the zone.

What the government has done is take a little-used existing remedy, called a competitive line rate, and rename it long-haul interswitching.

Under a competitive line rate, a shipper could apply to the agency to set the amount of the competitive line rate, the designation of the continuous route, the designation of the nearest interchange, and the manner in which the local carrier would fulfill its service obligations. We know from history that this remedy was infrequently used because of the prerequisite that the shipper first reach an agreement with the connecting carrier, and the two main carriers effectively declined to compete with one another through CLRs. What we do not know is what the difference will be at a practical level between this new long-haul interswitching and the existing competitive line rates.

Like competitive line rates, long-haul interswitching is a much more complicated system for shippers to use, and the jury is still out on whether this will achieve the minister's stated objective of improving rail access for captive shippers. When Bill C-30 was first introduced, there was universal support among shippers for the extended interswitching. So far, very few organizations I have spoken to can say that this tool is better.

In conclusion, this much is certain: the key measures in Bill C-30 will be allowed to sunset on August 1, before this legislation receives royal assent. The Liberals have had nearly a full year to get new legislation in place but failed to do so, and shippers will suffer the consequences.

Canada remains one of the most expensive jurisdictions in which to operate an airline, and it is about to become even more so with the imposition of a national carbon tax. This bill does nothing to address the systemic cost issues, which are passed on to passengers, that were identified by the Transportation Act review. As has been the case with almost everything with the current government, optics trump everything, and this bill exemplifies that.

Opposition Motion—Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

June 1st, 2017 / 10:50 a.m.
See context

Liberal

Jim Carr Liberal Winnipeg South Centre, MB

Madam Speaker, more important than my agreement with the content of this motion is my complete agreement with the views on this project of our Prime Minister.

As hon. members will know, in the immediate aftermath of the election in British Columbia, the Prime Minister publicly and clearly reiterated our government's support for the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain expansion project. He reinforced the case that our support for this project was made using a rigorous and thorough process, and it was based on science and facts, not political rhetoric.

At the moment, the future of the British Columbia government remains in question. Premier Clark has indicated her intention to face the legislature and test its confidence in her government. I cannot predict the outcome of a vote of confidence in the British Columbia legislature, but what I can say is that whatever the result of that vote, our government stands behind the decision we made to approve the Trans Mountain expansion project. Why? It is because it was the right decision when we made it last November. It was the right decision the day before the British Columbia election, and it is the right decision now. While the government in B.C. may change, the facts, the science, the evidence, the environmental considerations, the economic benefits, and the jobs all remain unchanged.

The project was, and this project is, in the best interests of Canadians, so I welcome the support of the members opposite. I welcome their recognition of the wisdom of our decision. I welcome their pointing out through this motion that the project has social licence to proceed, that it is critical to the Canadian economy and the creation of thousands of jobs, that it is safe and environmentally sound, as recognized by the National Energy Board, and that it is under federal jurisdiction with respect to approval and regulation.

It is rare when the official opposition is a leading advocate for a government policy, but I can tell the House that it is something I could get used to.

The motion before us deserves a fuller articulation, so let me address its various elements one by one. It asks the House to agree that the project has social licence, although I think we can all agree that this is an outdated term. One does not simply get a “lose” or a “yes” of social support. It is a daily responsibility to serve Canadians and constantly rebuild trust in the government.

How did this project achieve something the previous government was unable to do, which was diversify markets for our resources, during its entire time in office? The answer is straightforward. Our government listened to Canadians. The previous government believed it knew best without needing to ask for any other opinion. There must be a certain comfort in knowing all without asking Canadians what their opinions are on such projects as this. We listened closely. We heard that not all Canadians agreed, and that is okay. What we heard most strongly was that Canadians are tired of the polarization of the environment versus the economy. We are all in this together.

Under the previous government, Canadians had simply lost trust in the environmental assessment and review processes, because the outcomes were predetermined. They had come to believe that when weighing economic benefits and environmental stewardship, the scales had become tipped too far in one direction. Our government set about regaining the trust of Canadians. We did so by taking a different approach. We reached out to indigenous communities. We consulted meaningfully, something the Federal Court of Appeal said the previous government had not done sufficiently with the northern gateway project, which is the reason its permit was revoked.

In the case of the Trans Mountain expansion project, government officials consulted with 117 indigenous groups, and the results are publicly available. We have set aside more than $64 million to fund an indigenous advisory and monitoring committee to meaningfully engage indigenous groups in monitoring the project over its lifespan, the first time in Canadian history. It is a step never before taken by any previous government.

Our government listened to environmental groups and those living in the affected communities. We listened to academics and industry. We extended the consultation period to ensure that as many voices as possible could be heard. However, we did not stop there. To regain the confidence of Canadians, we also initiated a modernization of the National Energy Board to ensure that its composition reflected regional views and had sufficient expertise in environmental science, community development, and indigenous traditional knowledge. We are now in the process of determining how these changes can best be made.

Canadians know that the path to a lower-carbon future may be long, but it is well under way. It is accelerating, and its trajectory is clear. They know that the economy of tomorrow will require investments today in clean technologies, energy efficiency, and renewable sources of energy. Our government has taken action on all these fronts, including doing what virtually every economist and energy company says is the best, most effective way to lower greenhouse gas emissions and spur innovation: putting a price on carbon. In fact, in our government's first budget, we made generational investments in clean energy and new technologies, including technologies that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the oil and gas sector. We will build that clean-growth economy, and we are, but we are not there yet, due to nearly a decade of inaction by the previous government.

With all these initiatives—consulting indigenous communities, engaging Canadians, focusing on sustainability, modernizing the National Energy Board, and investing in green technologies—we sent a very clear signal to Canadians and the world that under this government, environmental sustainability will go hand in hand with economic development. We cannot have one without the other. The actions we took, the investments we made, and the approach we embraced demonstrated that commitment and earned the confidence of Canadians.

The motion before us also speaks to the importance of the Trans Mountain expansion project to the Canadian economy and in creating thousands of jobs. Indeed, this $7.4 billion project will have significant economic benefits. The project is expected to create 15,000 new jobs during construction. This is good news for workers in Alberta, it is good news for workers in British Columbia, and it is good news for all of Canada. It is also good news for indigenous peoples, who will benefit from jobs and business opportunities as a result of the impact and benefit agreements they have signed with Kinder Morgan.

The Trans Mountain expansion is also expected to generate more than $3 billion in revenue for governments, revenues that can be used to invest in health care, schools, water treatment plants, and safer roads, improving the lives of millions of Canadians. This is a vital project in a vital industry, an industry that has been hit hard over the past few years.

I know that every member in the House understands what the effect of lower oil prices has been for Albertans. The economic impacts may be measured in rigs being closed, barrels cut, or investments deferred, but they are felt in the lives of families and experienced in hard conversations around kitchen tables. We took action to support families in the energy sector by extending EI benefits in affected regions, including parts of Alberta, Saskatchewan, northern Ontario, and Newfoundland and Labrador. We also provided additional support to families in the prairie provinces under the Canada child benefit.

To give more Canadians greater access to good, well-paying jobs, our government invested in training for unemployed and underemployed workers and will develop a new framework to support union-based apprenticeship training.

For families in Alberta and British Columbia, the Trans Mountain expansion project offers much-needed help and good jobs. It is no wonder, then, that Premier Notley praised the Prime Minister for extraordinary leadership and said, “It has been a long, dark night for the people of Alberta.... [But] we are finally seeing some morning light.”

The Premier also pointed to a key benefit of this project when she said, “We're getting a chance to reduce our dependence on one market, and therefore to be more economically independent. And we're getting a chance to pick ourselves up and move forward again.”

Nor is it just Canadians in Alberta and British Columbia who will benefit from the Trans Mountain expansion project. A 2014 study by the Canadian Energy Research Institute found that for every job created in Alberta's oil patch, at least two more jobs were created across the country. It could be a manufacturing company in Ontario, an engineering firm in Quebec, or an oil worker commuting from one of our coasts. Quite simply, a strong energy industy strengthens us all, and projects such as the Trans Mountain expansion benefit all Canadians.

The motion also points out the environmental soundness of this project, as determined by the National Energy Board. In approving this project, our government considered the evidence and weighed the facts. We agree with the National Energy Board that the project should proceed, subject to the 157 binding conditions that will be enforced by the board.

Our government considered the fact that without new pipelines, more diluted bitumen would be forced into more rail tanker cars for transport. That would be less economic, more dangerous for communities, and would produce higher greenhouse gas emissions.

At the same time that we approved the Trans Mountain expansion project, we also announced a ban on oil tankers on the northern B.C. coastline, specifically around Dixon Entrance, Hecate Strait, and Queen Charlotte Sound. This coastline is vital to the livelihoods and cultures of indigenous and coastal communities and is part of a unique and ecologically sensitive region.

Hon. members will know that Bill C-48, the oil tanker moratorium act, has now been introduced in this House. I look forward to their support for this vital legislation in the days ahead. As the Minister of Transport has said, the Great Bear region is no place for an oil pipeline, and it is no place for oil tankers either.

Our government has also made the most significant investment ever to protect our oceans and coastlines, with a $1.5-billion oceans protection plan that includes improving marine traffic monitoring; setting tougher requirements on industry, including for spill response times; making navigation safer; and co-managing our coast with indigenous and coastal communities.

Our government is also committed to consistently increasing our action on climate change. A 1.5-degree world helps no one, and that includes every one of us here and every Canadian we represent. Inaction comes at too high a cost, whereas a clean growth economy will build more good, middle-class jobs across the country.

These measures reinforce the importance of carefully balancing environmental protection with economic development as Canada makes the transition to a low-carbon economy.

The motion put forward by my hon. colleague points out that the Trans Mountain expansion project falls under federal jurisdiction for approval and regulation. Certainly the Constitution assigns the federal government jurisdiction over interprovincial and international trade. With that jurisdiction comes responsibility to consult widely, to act prudently, and to stand firmly.

We know that there are some who disagree with our decision to approve this project and that they may use the legal system to seek redress. We respect their right to do so, but we will strongly defend our decision in court.

Our position is clear: the jurisdiction is federal, the decision has been made, and our government will continue to support the Trans Mountain expansion project. On every aspect of this motion, our government finds itself in full agreement. Indeed, as I said in this House to a question from the hon. member for Calgary Forest Lawn, I appreciate their making the case for us.

As I have said many times, one of our government's key responsibilities is to help get Canadian resources to market. With our major customer, the United States, producing more of its own energy, it is essential that Canada build the infrastructure to get our oil and gas to new global markets. That is exactly why we have approved projects such as the Trans Mountain expansion, doing more in one year than the previous government did in a decade: protecting our oceans, pricing carbon pollution, resetting our nation-to-nation relations, building a climate change plan, and putting middle-class Canadians back to work today by approving the pipelines we need to reach those new markets.

There is one final element of this motion that I have not yet addressed: that the Trans Mountain expansion project “should be constructed with the continued support of the federal government, as demonstrated by the Prime Minister personally announcing the approval of the project.”

I would have thought that the answer to that request would have been clear from the Prime Minister's statements of the past week, so I was somewhat surprised to hear the hon. member for Regina—Qu'Appelle ask in this House whether the Prime Minister will “stand up to the forces that are seeking to kill these jobs, or will he fold like a cardboard cut-out?” If I may paraphrase one of the more famous phrases uttered by one our heroes, Sir Winston Churchill, in this very place, some cardboard, some cut-out.

Our government will not falter. We will not fail. We will certainly not fold in our support of the Trans Mountain expansion project, nor will we shy away from being a leading force in the global clean growth economy. Neither can be ignored. It is the right thing to do for Canada.

May 30th, 2017 / 12:10 p.m.
See context

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Judy Sgro

They will be here for the first hour on Thursday. Thank you very much. I'm really glad when we can work together.

Now we have 15 minutes left to talk about committee business: what we have outstanding that's coming to us or that we still have to deal with.

We have Mr. Bratina's motion on water quality, which we have to deal with before December 1. We have a draft report on infrastructure that our analysts have done, which we have not gone back to review. We can take action on it, or we can simply leave it there until the fall, depending on the will of the committee on those two issues.

Legislation-wise, at some point we're going to have Bill S-2, Bill C-48, and Bill C-49. That's the legislative agenda ahead of us, over and above all the other issues that we'd like to dealt with.

As we look forward to the committee business ahead of us, we should sort out how we're going to deal with some of it. Bill C-49 is a very important piece of legislation, given the fact that it affects the issue of the sunset clause in Bill C-30.

That's what's ahead of us. We need to sort out how we are going to get these issues dealt with in the couple of meetings we have left.

I'm going to open the floor.

Mr. Badawey, go ahead.

Oil Tanker Moratorium ActRoutine Proceedings

May 12th, 2017 / 12:05 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Jean-Yves Duclos Liberal Québec, QC

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-48, an act respecting the regulation of vessels that transport crude oil or persistent oil to or from ports or marine installations located along British Columbia's north coast.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)