Good afternoon to members of the committee.
On behalf of the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs, I'd like to read a brief statement.
Heavy crude oil pipeline and tanker projects pose an unacceptable risk to the health, safety, and livelihoods of indigenous nations throughout British Columbia and contribute to the negative environmental and health impacts experienced by indigenous peoples downstream of the tar sands, and of all people throughout the world, as a result of accelerating global climate change.
The Supreme Court of Canada has held that the crown's legislative power can and should be used to uphold the duties to indigenous peoples, and that both the federal and provincial governments have an obligation to uphold the honour of the crown.
My recommendations are as follows.
One, the UBCIC, the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs, has stated its strong support for the passage of Bill C-48, oil tanker moratorium act.
Two, the UBCIC supports the proposed amendments from West Coast Environmental Law concerning clause 6, ministerial exemption. It is the position of the UBCIC that the provision allowing exemption orders should be removed from Bill C-48, or at the very least circumscribed, for example, through engagement with indigenous peoples that satisfies the minimum standards laid out in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, on time limits, public notice requirement, and opportunities for public comment.
Three, the UBCIC recommends that the committee seek further information from Transport Canada regarding the rationale for the 12,500-tonne threshold for the bill's prohibitions and consider whether the threshold ought to be lowered.
Four, the UBCIC recommends that the committee expand the moratorium area to include all sensitive marine habitats, especially where increased tanker traffic will bring increased threats to killer whales, in the form of noise pollution and declining marine environment, impacting the survival and well-being of killer whales and other vital aquatic species, including wild salmon.
As part of our package, we have a number of supportive Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs' resolutions that were passed by our chiefs and assembly: resolution 2017-15: protection of water, salmon, and health from diluted bitumen; resolution 2017-04: protection of orca whales and habitat; resolution 2011-54: support for the save the Fraser declaration, the coastal first nations tanker ban, and the indigenous laws banning crude oil pipeline and tanker shipments through B.C.; resolution 2010-11: opposition to the Enbridge pipeline project.
In conclusion, as an editorial comment, again we strongly support Bill C-48, but would suggest that the same level of protection be afforded to the more densely populated southern coast of British Columbia with respect to the same threats, for example, the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline project and the Burrard Inlet and Fraser River Estuary.