Evidence of meeting #76 for Transport, Infrastructure and Communities in the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was tankers.

A video is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Natasha Rascanin  Assistant Deputy Minister, Transformation, Department of Transport
Gillian Grant  Team Leader and Senior Counsel, Maritime Law, Department of Transport
Jennifer Saxe  Acting Director General, Marine Policy, Department of Transport

5 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Judy Sgro

Thank you very much, Mr. Fraser.

Mr. Lobb.

5 p.m.

Conservative

Ben Lobb Conservative Huron—Bruce, ON

One question I have, just to start out with, is whether Canadian supertankers would be allowed to, say, go up to Valdez, Alaska, and pick up a load of diesel fuel and come through this area on their way to Washington or San Francisco or Los Angeles?

5 p.m.

Assistant Deputy Minister, Transformation, Department of Transport

Natasha Rascanin

It depends on what kind of product they're carrying.

5 p.m.

Conservative

Ben Lobb Conservative Huron—Bruce, ON

Diesel fuel.

5 p.m.

Assistant Deputy Minister, Transformation, Department of Transport

Natasha Rascanin

There are many types of diesel fuel.

5 p.m.

Conservative

Ben Lobb Conservative Huron—Bruce, ON

Light diesel fuel, gasoline.... I notice in your example you list light diesel oil and that's allowed. If I have a supertanker full of 318,000 metric tons, can I pick that up, if I'm a Canadian tanker, in Valdez and work my way through and deliver it to California? Under Bill C-48 will I be allowed to do that?

5 p.m.

Assistant Deputy Minister, Transformation, Department of Transport

Natasha Rascanin

We do have the voluntary tanker exclusion zone that applies. That has been in place since 1985. Tankers would go outside of that line.

October 19th, 2017 / 5 p.m.

Conservative

Ben Lobb Conservative Huron—Bruce, ON

Doesn't Bill C-48 allow for that? Doesn't it allow for diesel fuel to come up—

5 p.m.

Assistant Deputy Minister, Transformation, Department of Transport

Natasha Rascanin

If the product is not on the schedule, then it is not covered by the moratorium. If it's not crude oil in the legislation and it's not in the schedule, it would not be covered by the moratorium legislation.

5 p.m.

Conservative

Ben Lobb Conservative Huron—Bruce, ON

You could drive a tanker through there, right?

5 p.m.

Assistant Deputy Minister, Transformation, Department of Transport

Natasha Rascanin

Except that tankers are supposed to follow the voluntary exclusion—

5 p.m.

Conservative

Ben Lobb Conservative Huron—Bruce, ON

Voluntary, right.

5 p.m.

Acting Director General, Marine Policy, Department of Transport

Jennifer Saxe

It depends on the volume that you have as well. It would have to be a tanker where the persistent.... If it's 12,500, as long as it's non-persistent oil, if it's only light diesel and that's the only product being carried, then that would be permitted. If it is carrying persistent oil as well above that 12,500, then it wouldn't be.

5 p.m.

Conservative

Ben Lobb Conservative Huron—Bruce, ON

That was what I was asking, though. If I have a supertanker with 318,000 metric tons of light diesel oil that's allowed under C-48, can I drive my boat up and down? Can I do that?

5 p.m.

Assistant Deputy Minister, Transformation, Department of Transport

Natasha Rascanin

Anything that's not on the schedule can be transported.

5 p.m.

Conservative

Ben Lobb Conservative Huron—Bruce, ON

That seems like a “yes” to me.

What scientific studies have the department, or Environment Canada, or NGO environmental groups done to weigh out the environmental risks? Are there any evidence-based, scientific studies to say that, if we have a terrible spill of 318,000 metric tons of light diesel oil versus 12,500 of any of the other ones prescribed in your bill...?

Is there scientific evidence that we can look at that says the devastation is 10 out of 10 for one, and the other, for example, is two out of 10? What studies are out there for that? I think that probably should have been done, or it should have been based on one. Is there an answer for that one?

5 p.m.

Acting Director General, Marine Policy, Department of Transport

Jennifer Saxe

I think it's important that this moratorium act is an additional precautionary measure, and it is one of multiple measures that are in place.

There is the tanker exclusion zone, and laden oil tankers from Alaska to west coast ports and the northeastern United States do abide by this. This is something that is monitored, and consistently we have seen that industry does abide by that tanker exclusion zone.

This moratorium act is a complementary measure. It is an additional measure to provide that additional protection to the environment.

5 p.m.

Conservative

Ben Lobb Conservative Huron—Bruce, ON

We can dig further into that later.

I have one other question before my time runs out. Does Transport Canada work with the department of indigenous affairs on the consultation process, or do you have your own in-house group that works to ensure adequate consultation with indigenous Canadians?

5:05 p.m.

Assistant Deputy Minister, Transformation, Department of Transport

Natasha Rascanin

We have both. We work very closely with INAC, and we have folks in our own department who have that expertise. We continue to work through the oceans protection plan, in particular, as an example, as a whole-of-government national program to build new partnerships and continue to work with all indigenous nations.

5:05 p.m.

Conservative

Ben Lobb Conservative Huron—Bruce, ON

Does duty to consent come up in the discussions?

5:05 p.m.

Assistant Deputy Minister, Transformation, Department of Transport

Natasha Rascanin

It has not come up in any discussions that I have been in, the direct question of consent.

5:05 p.m.

Conservative

Ben Lobb Conservative Huron—Bruce, ON

That's interesting, too.

5:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Judy Sgro

You have 45 seconds left.

5:05 p.m.

Conservative

Ben Lobb Conservative Huron—Bruce, ON

One other quick question concerns the support west of Haida Gwaii for Canadian tankers, Russian tankers, and American tankers that break down. What supports are proposed here to beef up the support for a tanker that breaks down en route? I think there might be some supports lacking there.

5:05 p.m.

Assistant Deputy Minister, Transformation, Department of Transport

Natasha Rascanin

There are a number of measures that are already in existence, and Canada's marine safety record has been very good, but as the ministry indicated, the oceans protection plan is bringing additional marine safety improvements to fill some of the gaps where they may have existed.

There will be a certain rescue tug capacity available, and the Coast Guard has a number of additional enhancements to their ships under the oceans protection plan, so those are examples of the various marine safety enhancements that are coming.