House of Commons Hansard #291 of the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was grain.

Topics

Oil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

4:15 p.m.

NDP

Fin Donnelly NDP Port Moody—Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, my colleague shares my passion about salmon and other wildlife. I know his work at the B.C. Wildlife Federation before he became involved in politics was impressive and is welcome in the House.

I do want to correct him on what he thought I said. I mentioned a sevenfold increase, not a 700-fold increase. It was a 700% increase, which means a sevenfold increase. I want to correct him on another thing. I said oil tanker traffic, not just tanker traffic. That is certainly an increase.

People are essentially saying that they do not feel that the risk is worth it on the west cost. They are not willing to take that risk.

I did have an opportunity to count the crossings as I swam the 1,400 kilometre river. I did see a lot of crossings and I certainly did think about many things. I thought mainly about the passion of why I was doing that swim. There are so many others in British Columbia and all across the country who share the passion I have for this incredible way of life, this biodiversity that we share on the west coast. People on the west coast want to see it remain, as do I, and that is going to be a challenge for the future.

Oil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

4:15 p.m.

Vancouver Quadra B.C.

Liberal

Joyce Murray LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, first, I would like to congratulate the member for Port Moody—Coquitlam for all of his work to protect salmon and salmon habitat, and also for his work to protect the north coast from tanker traffic through an initiative a number of years ago when he was first a member of Parliament.

Earlier in the debate, a Conservative member asked why, when there are so many more tankers on the east coast, there does not appear to be the same kind of concern about the risk there that we have on the west coast. He wondered why we would be concerned on the west coast. What is the difference? I thought I might ask the member if he could share his thoughts about what is unique about our Pacific north coast compared to other areas of Canada and other Canadian coastlines.

Oil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

4:20 p.m.

NDP

Fin Donnelly NDP Port Moody—Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, I know my colleague has been on the fisheries committee in past Parliaments. I know the work she does privately to restore our forests in British Columbia. I know her past work as a provincial minister. Therefore, I appreciate her question and her interest. I think she brings up a good point about the difference between the two coasts.

What is so incredibly magnificent about the west coast is we enjoy an abundance of biodiversity, both marine and terrestrial. We have whales. Some are threatened, such as the resident whales, but we have seen the recovery of some other species of whales. We have salmon and halibut. We have an incredible variety of species of fish and shellfish that are in abundance from the south coast up to the north coast. It is what has developed our local economies. There have been 10,000 to 15,000 years of development of these economies by our first peoples. They tell us about how they have lived off of these resources, the products of the ocean, for thousands and thousands of years. There are so many today in coastal fishing communities who rely on this abundance. They want to see these resources protected. That is why they are so passionate, as am I, about protecting, preserving, and conserving these resources.

Oil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

4:20 p.m.

NDP

Pierre Nantel NDP Longueuil—Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, I want to commend my colleague on his speech, his intense passion for the environment, as well his commitment in this crusade to bring awareness to the significance of the challenges we face. Honestly, I did not know that he engaged in the athleticism it takes to spend three weeks in cold water. I congratulate him. I am impressed at his unwavering convictions. I think he does a great job representing the people of his riding for whom these issues are crucial and vital.

In the House, we are having a societal debate and he is right to say that we have run out of choices, we have to identify what is hurting our planet. Obviously this is awful for a province whose economic growth is tied to developing its fossil fuels.

I would like to know whether my colleague believes that it would be a good idea to devote some energy to the task of looking into other job prospects for workers in the oil sands sector.

Oil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

4:20 p.m.

NDP

Fin Donnelly NDP Port Moody—Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, yes, we are at a crossroads. I am glad he learned of the story of my three-week swim down the Fraser, which was a life-changing event for me. I have done that twice. I did it in 1995 and again in 2000. The only effect that I have suffered as a result of that is I got into politics, which I feel passionate about.

His question about the world and the country being at a crossroads in our energy use is critical, and we must shift. Our science, information, and local knowledge are all converging and telling us that we have to shift now, that we are beyond the point of knowing that we cannot avoid this shift and that we have to make it. It is not a future issue; it is now. We have to look at developing, supporting, and turning to a just transition in renewables, moving to geothermal, solar, wind, and hydro. We need to invest in these projects.

We need to work with municipalities, provinces, territories, and with working people to make the transition. We need to have jobs and work. We need them to make our communities and economies thrive. We also need to have a planet that is livable and sustainable, one that we can pass on and feel proud, as a society and national government, that we did the most we could to pass on a sustainable way of living.

That is why Bill C-48 is a move in the right direction. We need to make an even greater move in the direction of a sustainable way of living, support it, invest in it, and make the needed transition happen today.

Oil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

May 3rd, 2018 / 4:25 p.m.

Vancouver Quadra B.C.

Liberal

Joyce Murray LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, I am very grateful for the opportunity to speak today about the importance of B.C.'s north coast and why we are seeking to protect it with Bill C-48.

The area targeted by the tanker moratorium goes from the southern border of Alaska to the tip of continental British Columbia, to the north end of Vancouver Island, and it includes Haida Gwaii.

I will begin by reading from a document written eight years ago:

[This bill] legislates a crude oil tanker ban in the dangerous inland waters around Haida Gwaii known as Dixon Entrance, Hecate Strait and Queen Charlotte Sound. It will protect our oceans and communities from the risk of a major oil spill and promote a sustainable economy – one that supports B.C.’s growing fisheries and tourism sectors.

[This] bill responds to the clear voices of British Columbians, [the majority]...of whom support a permanent tanker ban on B.C.’s north coast. First Nations, B.C. municipalities and thousands of businesses whose growth and sustainability depend on a healthy ocean and coastal ecosystem are united in their call for a permanent ban.

To be clear, [this bill] does not apply to natural gas products and will not affect existing deliveries of condensate into Kitimat, B.C. It will not prevent the continued transport of diesel and other oil products to local B.C. communities or in any way affect current or future shipments of oil to Asia and the United States through the Port of Vancouver. The bill does not limit growth in exports of Canadian crude to expanding international markets. And finally, it allocates no new ministerial ability to close other shipping areas in Canada, as these powers already exist under the Canada Shipping Act.

[The bill] does acknowledge that Canadians want communities and wildlife protected and [they want] prosperity. This can be achieved by making smart choices about where and how development takes place.

We have witnessed the environmental, economic and social devastation caused by the Exxon Valdez and BP catastrophes [in the Gulf of Mexico]. One major spill along B.C.’s shorelines would threaten fragile ecosystems, endanger wildlife, harm lives and communities, and jeopardize many of our...[tens of thousands of] coastal jobs. It is simply not worth the risk.

I am reading from a letter that was written to my colleagues when I tabled Bill C-606 back in 2010. Today, I am so grateful and appreciative to our Minister of Transport for having tabled this bill, Bill C-48, which would do exactly what I called for with my bill, Bill C-606.

I had a chance to visit 15 communities up and down our coast, hosting events to hear from community members, including the chambers of commerce, indigenous people, and citizens. There was an overwhelming consensus that the Pacific north coast was a very important internationally-significant area that we must protect and defend from the risk of a major oil spill.

I spoke with individuals who showed me pictures of themselves wearing gumboots as they cleaned up oil from sea life and shorelines up in Prince William Sound in Alaska after the Exxon Valdez spill of 10.8 million U.S. gallons of oil back in 1989. Some of those ecosystems have never recovered from that spill, and it affects the economy and ecology of those areas today. I certainly understood the concern the people in the north coast had.

I will explain why that area is so unique, actually risky, and why in my letter I talked about this risk British Columbians did not believe was worth it with respect to the benefits to our province.

I want to give credit to the environmental advocacy groups that raised awareness about the risk of oil tanker traffic and spills in our north coast related to a pipeline that was proposed for the area. It has since been determined not permissible by our government. I want to also thank our Prime Minister for recognizing that our Pacific north coast is not the right route for pipelines and oil tankers.

I was privileged to successfully ensure that the ban on oil traffic in the Pacific north coast was included in two Liberal platforms, one in 2011 and one in 2015: promise made, promise kept.

The marine ecosystems that span the northern coast of British Columbia are unique. The coastline itself with its rugged cliffs and inlets provides an abundant environment for its ecologically rich and diverse animal populations. It is dotted with thousands of islands and etched with deep fjords. The coastal rainforests are places of stunning biological prosperity and diversity, and an environment that deserves protection.

Not only is the north coast geographically complex, it also supports a wide range of distinct marine ecosystems. These ecosystems provide spawning and schooling areas for fish, and is important for a variety of sea birds, marine mammals, and other marine fauna, like humpback and killer whales, and that says nothing about the region's rich flora.

I had a chance to travel in this area as the environment minister for the province of British Columbia. I spent a week on a B.C. Park's boat touring the isolated inlets and shorelines as we sought to discuss with local indigenous peoples the possibility of creating a provincial park and reserve in the Great Bear Rainforest. I had a chance to see just how little human impact there had been on that part of our coast and how it really was a virgin ecosystem, which is expressed in the rich variety of the ecosystem I spoke about.

It was not just the marine areas that were so important to protect, but also the area on land, which a pipeline was proposing to traverse. The pipeline would have crossed hundreds of fish and salmon-bearing streams. It would have crossed wilderness, mountain, and valley areas with virgin forests and ecosystems, which are almost impossible to even hike through as they are so remote and uncivilized, and I say that in the technical sense. So few people live there in such vast areas that are uneroded. It is very important for grizzly bears and other wildlife to live without the impacts of human civilization, which have caused challenges to their abundance in other parts of our province and country.

In the northern coastal area, salmon still runs in the rivers, trees hundreds of years old loom over vast landscapes, and predators and prey keep the delicate balance necessary for these ecosystems to thrive. Our government is committed to ensure that this coast remains a vibrant ecosystem for generations to come. Ecotourism in this area is growing year by year as people from around the world recognize how internationally unique the area is.

The government recognizes that indigenous groups have inhabited the north coast for millennia and continue to rely on its bountiful ecosystems as foundations for their cultures and economies. As I travelled around Haida Gwaii and Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve in a sailboard a few years ago, I spoke to many indigenous people from Haida Gwaii. They were completely and utterly determined that their precious area would not be subject to the risk of a major oil spill by oil tanker traffic. Therefore, this moratorium is very important to those members of the Haida Gwaii community.

Bill C-48 is a significant step being taken by our government to enhance environmental protection for this pristine and important coastline.

The minister also travelled from coast to coast to coast to hear from people about this particular project. From Haida Gwaii to Iqaluit and St. John's, he wanted to hear their perspectives on the oil tanker moratorium and improving marine safety.

Our government has met with stakeholders, non-governmental organizations, other levels of government, and indigenous groups to listen and gather input. I have to recognize that the Minister of Transport has done a full and deep job of consulting with people across the country. As the proponent of Bill C-606 in 2010, which was up for debate in March 2011, I was not able to do quite that thorough a job of consulting, but certainly the majority of people I spoke with felt that this was an important initiative. The minister heard a diversity of views, and the importance of these environmental protections was made abundantly clear.

Coastal communities and industries everywhere in Canada understand the importance of healthy ecosystems to protect the way of life and livelihoods of those areas. In fact, there is a wide range of economic activity that feeds and sustains the Pacific north coast region's economic life cycle. For over a hundred years, we have had logging, mining, fisheries, and canning and processing facilities. Those activities have been important and have supported many communities along the coast.

I want to acknowledge that the Province of British Columbia has really worked hard to consult with stakeholders from environmental groups, communities, indigenous communities, and industy to make sure that its land use planning process reflects where there should be more intensive use of the land and waters, and where there should be more protection of the land and waters. That balance has been found in our province. It can always be improved, but there has been a great deal of emphasis on proper management of the lands and waters in British Columbia since the 1990s, including the government I was part of in the early 2000s.

It is not something our government takes lightly, to ensure that a particular activity, such as a pipeline or oil tanker traffic, will not be permitted there. The jobs that would have been created, I would point out, were not an enormous number. The building of the pipeline would have created some jobs for sure, but once it was built, the number of ongoing jobs would have been far less.

The moratorium would protect the livelihoods of communities on British Columbia's north coast by providing a heightened level of environmental protection, while continuing to allow for community and industry resupply by small tanker, which was an important part of the bill I proposed as well, Bill C-606. We know that these communities and the industry rely on marine shipments of critical petroleum products to sustain their livelihoods. That is why our government will continue to allow shipments of crude or persistent oil products below a certain level, which is 12,500 metric tons.

The moratorium would protect the northern coastline, that whole area and its delicate ecosystems, including Haida Gwaii, from accidents that could upset this fragile region via a major oil spill.

We know that the vast majority of citizens in this area do not believe the risk of that kind of major spill, which we have seen before on our west coast, is worth it. We understand that should something like this happen, our coast would never be the same. On the north coast, there are far fewer services to prevent a spill, to act quickly if a major oil tanker were in difficulty, and to prevent the damage.

This tanker moratorium does not tell the whole story of our protection of the coast and the precautionary approach that we are building in to help safeguard the marine environment in this region. I want to mention the oceans protection plan, which adds another set of protections. The oceans protection plan is a $1.5-billion initiative on which there was wide consultation. I know many members of the Pacific caucus, the B.C. members of Parliament, were asked to provide input into what should be in the oceans protection plan.

It will improve our incident prevention and response regime and address environmental concerns in the event of a marine accident. The oceans protection plan will lift the liability cap for defraying the costs of cleanup, should there be a spill, to unlimited liability. I am referring now to smaller ships. My colleague from Port Moody—Coquitlam read into the record some concerns about the smaller ships that were underneath the cap. There would be unlimited liability and the government would implement a levy on oil shipments to fund compensation, as well as to speed it up, so communities would not be not stuck footing the bill for the cleanup of smaller spills.

In the bill, we recognize that when the delicate balance of this coastline becomes threatened, it upsets relationships between the environment and its inhabitants. It is not just about today's coastal communities. It is also about inhabitants that have spanned thousands of years. The Musqueam first nation, for example, which is on a different part of the coast, the south coast, has a record of habitation and its traditional areas for over 4,000 years. We know there are deep historical and cultural ties to the Pacific north coast that support cultural practices and social structures, and that is also what makes this area worth protecting.

Clearly, the oil tanker moratorium is just one of many initiatives in our comprehensive plan to protect the marine environment, to begin restoring some of the species that have been impacted by human activities over the years, and changes to our oceans, like acidification and warming from climate change, and the warming of streams that are necessary for our salmon cycle. There is so much work to be done, but this is a key part of it for a key part of our country, which is the Pacific north coast.

I hope we will have the full support of all members present for the passage of this bill, to take this important step in protecting one of the world's most diverse and rich regions anywhere on the planet.

Oil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

4:40 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

It is my duty, pursuant to Standing Order 38, to inform the House that the questions to be raised tonight at the time of adjournment are as follows: the hon. member for Saanich—Gulf Islands, Rail Transportation; the hon. member for Beauport—Côte-de-Beaupré—Île d'Orléans—Charlevoix, Employment.

Oil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

4:45 p.m.

Conservative

Mel Arnold Conservative North Okanagan—Shuswap, BC

Mr. Speaker, I have many questions for the member, but I will try to keep my comments short. The member might be able to work around some of these questions.

She talked about the ecotourism that is building in the areas where the pipelines may go through. How do the international ecotourists get there from other countries, from foreign lands? Surely they do not row a boat or pedal a bike. How does the fuel get to the planes that get them there? It is from other countries that produce oil with less environmental safeguards than we have here in Canada, but the Liberals are going to restrict Canadian oil from getting into those planes to get those ecotourists here.

The member did not talk about it, but the Liberal government has said that the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion will be built. It is interesting to see the member try to work around that, and yet say that another pipeline that would serve another portion of the country with greater economic benefits for that portion of the country, and a portion of her province and my province, is being basically punished for where they are. How can the member explain her way out of that conundrum?

Oil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

4:45 p.m.

Liberal

Joyce Murray Liberal Vancouver Quadra, BC

Mr. Speaker, I welcome questions about this initiative which, as I have said, I was proud to champion starting in 2009, travelling up the coast and to coastal communities to hear from people and understand how important it is to have this oil tanker moratorium in that area.

Tourists get there by arriving in a number of ways. Cruise ships stop in Prince Rupert. People can bike from Prince George to Prince Rupert, if they choose. There are many ways. Prince Rupert has an airport, and yes, communities do use oil products and will for many decades to come. However, that is not an excuse for putting a pipeline through an essentially untravelled and unimpacted wilderness area of the northern part of our province and impacting 750 streams that are important for salmon.

It is not a reason to say that this is an area where we are going to have massive supertankers in a geography that is very dangerous in terms of the shoals and the storms. No, we have to choose where it makes sense to move our oil products to market—

Oil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

4:45 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

Order. I did notice at the outset of questions and comments about four or so members standing. We will try to get all of them in, but I will try to ask members to keep their interventions to around a minute or so. Most members, if not all, are pretty good at doing that. It is just the same length of time as a Standing Order 31 statement, and we have had good practice with that.

The hon. member for Courtenay—Alberni.

Oil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

4:45 p.m.

NDP

Gord Johns NDP Courtenay—Alberni, BC

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my hon. colleague from Vancouver Quadra for her long-time advocacy for a ban on the north coast. I want to commend her for that, but I also want to thank her for her description of the sensitive ecosystems that we have in coastal British Columbia and the importance of that for jobs and our economy. The member also cited the spill of the Exxon Valdez in the north coast and how some of the ecosystems still have not survived.

In fact, the Prime Minister said, “Crude oil supertankers just have no place on B.C.'s north coast.” The member talked about that being a promise that the Liberals made, and that they have followed through with that promise. She said that it is a promise made and a promise kept.

Where I have concerns is that with the same ecosystems we have on the south coast, the member supports a pipeline project, Kinder Morgan, that is going to increase supertanker traffic by sevenfold. This was a promise made—the Liberals were going to have a renewed process—and it is a promise broken.

Maybe the member can square with people at home how she can support this project, in light of the fact that we have southern resident killer whales and we have the same ecosystem that will be affected by this project, and what is at stake.

Oil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

4:50 p.m.

Liberal

Joyce Murray Liberal Vancouver Quadra, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is not surprising that the NDP members opposite just cannot take yes to heart as a solution to an important challenge and say that they appreciate it. They need to tie it into other things they would like.

Let us recall the incredible outpouring of concern about the ecosystems of our north coast area with the possibility of having a greenfield pipeline, which means a pipeline that crosses areas that are almost unnavigable or impossible to hike, they are so mountainous, treed, and full of important species that have a refuge in that area. That is just the pipeline route.

The coastal route is one that is extremely concerning in terms of the danger of navigation. There is always the risk of human error. As good as the—

Oil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

4:50 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

Questions and comments, the hon. member for Saanich—Gulf Islands.

Oil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

4:50 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member for Vancouver Quadra, hon. the parliamentary secretary. I completely agree about the hazardous area of the Hecate Strait. From the last time I rose, when talking to the parliamentary secretary for transport, I looked up the reference. Environment Canada's marine weather hazards manual lists the Hecate Strait as one of the fourth most dangerous bodies of water in the world.

However, I have to agree with my friend from Courtenay—Alberni. It is hard to understand. I applaud Bill C-48, but our Salish Sea needs protection. We have no known technology for cleaning up diluted bitumen. I know it is not a Bill C-48 issue, but could we not agree that no new pipeline should go through for Kinder Morgan until we know how to clean up dilbit?

Oil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

4:50 p.m.

Liberal

Joyce Murray Liberal Vancouver Quadra, BC

Mr. Speaker, our government has a range of initiatives for the oceans protection plan that are focused on the Salish Sea areas, on the species in those areas, and on doing what has never been done, which is to have steps to recover Chinook salmon, which is food for the southern resident killer whales, and initiatives such as regulating to keep the boats, tourists, and other ship traffic further away from our southern resident killer whales.

The one thing I want to mention is that it is very important that we achieve our Paris targets. We cannot do that without the kinds of measures Alberta has put in place to reduce their planned expansion of the oil sands, including putting a cap on it, increasing their tax, regulating methane, and shutting down coal-fired plants. That is in the national interest. Having Alberta as part of the national plan is in the national interest. Alberta had one requirement for that, and that was access for their oil to Asia.

Oil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

4:50 p.m.

Liberal

Leona Alleslev Liberal Aurora—Oak Ridges—Richmond Hill, ON

Mr. Speaker, this is an incredibly important topic to people in Aurora—Oak Ridges—Richmond Hill, not because we are on the coastline but because we believe in the importance of the environment. It is not only because of the Oak Ridges Moraine and kettle lakes like Wilcox Lake but because of the environment in this entire great nation, in particular in the Pacific northwest.

I owned a canoe outfitting business in northern Ontario, an eco-tourism business. I understood how united we are as Canadians, as people from all around the world came to enjoy something that many countries do not have to offer.

I would like to thank my hon. colleague for her comprehensive and clear exposition. I wonder if she could give us the three key reasons, from her expertise and her background, she believes that this is the right bill to support.

Oil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

4:50 p.m.

Liberal

Joyce Murray Liberal Vancouver Quadra, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is almost difficult to limit this to three reasons. One is that so much of the world is becoming developed. As populations grow and communities spread into former nature, it becomes ever more important that when there are areas that have not had this happen, we say that this is not an area where we can risk a major oil spill or accept the kind of impacts human habitation and concentrated industrial activity result in. It is internationally recognized as a special wilderness area.

Second, we have the spirit bear in this area. It is a unique variant of the black bear. The area around it is incredibly significant, which is why we have a spirit bear park.

Last, the indigenous coastal peoples around the area of this tanker ban formed a group, Coastal First Nations, and came out solidly in favour of the ban.

Oil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

4:55 p.m.

Conservative

Earl Dreeshen Conservative Red Deer—Mountain View, AB

Mr. Speaker, before I begin my remarks on Bill C-48, let me add my voice to those who have spoken before about our colleague from Leeds—Grenville—Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes, Gord Brown. Although Gord was a few years younger than me, he became my mentor when I was first elected in 2008. His quiet demeanour, his love for his community, and his respect for this institution, along with his fervent belief as a Conservative that individual rights and freedoms create the strength of our nation, are beliefs that he so passionately championed and ones that this side of the House will continue to champion and hold dear. To his wife Claudine, as well as his two sons, my wife Judy and I offer our sincerest condolences.

I will be sharing my time with the member for Markham—Unionville.

The bill we have before us today is the genesis of the demise of our oil and gas industry under the advisement and dictation of the Prime Minister's chief of staff, Gerald Butts. It has been said that it is not the puppet that we fear; it is Butts, the puppeteer. It is now obvious that both the puppeteer and the puppet are things Canadians need to fear.

This proposal was developed to ensure that the northern gateway project, although properly vetted, with stringent conditions, would be derailed. This was the goal of eco-activists headed and funded by groups whose goal was to cause havoc in Canada's resource industry to curry favour with international donors, who many say are simply hedging their bets with oil and gas investments in other parts of the world. These groups do not care about the well-being of Canadians. They do not care about our first nation entrepreneurs. They do not care about our commitment to humanitarian causes around the world. They just want to see Canada's natural resources stay in the ground so that their global partners can reap the benefits from such actions.

Whenever we hear from those who want to “phase out” the oil sands, including the current Liberal Prime Minister, we need to know that it will be all Canadians who will suffer from these actions. How can it be in the interest of Canadians to have Venezuelan oil power vehicles in Quebec? How is it better for the environment to have Saudi Arabian oil filling up refineries on the east coast? Why would we want American oil to fuel our machines in Vancouver? None of this makes sense.

If we had a government that recognized the need to diversify our export markets so that the most ethical oil and liquid natural gas on the planet could find its way to the rapidly growing markets of Asia, then maybe we would not be the laughingstock of the world. What other country would do this to its own economy and its own people?

As was mentioned in a November 8, 2017, article in the Financial Post, entitled “How the B.C. tanker moratorium is killing First Nations' enterprise”, Canadians have to be awoken to what the current government is doing and what the consequences of its actions are.

Five years ago, members of the Lax Kw'alaams Band proposed an energy corridor from Fort McMurray to the B.C. coast. The social licence, which has now become some imaginary, elusive target, would have been achieved for all types of future expansion, helping all Canadians, especially first nations people. After consultation, and with broad acceptance, Eagle Spirit Energy came to the table with practical solutions that focused on environmental protection that even exceeded Canada's world-class regulations. What happened after was pure sabotage of a nation-building project, a pattern that has become all too familiar under the current Liberal government.

We should have been aware that this was the Liberals' goal all along, as they have been trying to limit the potential expansion of northern gateway since the project was first proposed a decade ago. The previous attempts by the Liberals, when in opposition, proposed banning tankers sailing within the defined waters of Canada's fishing zone 3, which is from the northern tip of Vancouver Island to the Alaska panhandle. Bill C-48 would expand this original proposal to prohibit tankers carrying crude oil from entering or leaving ports in the same area. In order to avoid a conflict with the U.S.A., tankers can still carry crude up and down the waters, as long as they do not enter or leave from a Canadian port.

Who does this hurt and who does this benefit? We have stopped our private sector partners from moving ahead with first nation partners to move Canada's natural resources to tidewater. That hurts Canadian taxpayers who could have been building schools, building hospitals, and other needed infrastructure across this land with the profits attained, but they now need to depend on deficits to be paid off by future generations in order to develop those same types of projects.

Who benefits? The foreign funders whose investments flourish around the world as those countries market their crude at world prices to the very markets that we are shut out of. What adds insult to injury is, as I mentioned earlier, that we buy oil from those very same countries to fuel our economy in eastern Canada. However, those same activists and complicit provincial governments that want to shut down or oil going west have also thwarted our efforts to move it to the east.

Is that what makes a nation strong or is that what causes division and scorn? The old Trudeau government only cared about the unity of our country as long as he got his way. What is the difference now?

In November of 2014, the Conservative government introduced and implemented a number of measures to create a world class tanker safety system, including the modernization of Canada's navigation system, enhancing area response planning, building marine safety capacity in aboriginal communities, and ensuring that polluters paid for spills and damages.

The concept of Liberals demonizing Conservative actions, layering them over with red paint and calling them new and improved, is nothing new. This was the game played with regulatory reviews for pipelines. The Liberals used this to argue for Kinder Morgan, but now they stay quiet about how safe this would make all our other waterways because that does not fit their narrative.

In summary, Bill C-48 would do very little for the preservation of British Columbia's environment. Ships, including U.S. tankers, travelling from Alaska to Washington State, will continue to be able to travel up and down the coast just outside the 100 kilometre limit. This is just another slap in the face to resource developers, as it is just another pipeline moratorium under a different name.

There is no recognition, because it does not fit the Prime Minister's “keep it in the ground” narrative, that Canadian oil is extracted and transported under some of the safest and most environmentally strict regulations in the world. Preventing our Canadian resources from reaching customers in other countries only serves to encourage the use of foreign oil products that are extracted and transported in a less safe and less environmentally friendly way.

What is ironic is that the political machinations of both the Liberal government and the NDP, which also hold a negative view and constant vendetta against our oil and gas sector, actually defeats their stated goals of “protecting the global environment”. Their efforts not only cripple our economy and communities, they are also helping to fill the coffers of some of the most unethical and ruthless regimes on the planet. It is the Liberals who insist on creating wedges among Canadians.

The Liberals know that on this issue they are losing ground, and now they are desperate to paint any distractions in the most negative manner. One thing is for sure. The Conservatives will always be the party of freedom, opportunity, security, prosperity, and conservation. We will always stand proud of Canada and the millions of Canadians who work hard every day to make it the best country in the world.

Canadians deserve a government that takes pride in what Canada has to offer. Canadians deserve better. They deserve a government that will put them first. In 2019, that is exactly what the Conservatives will offer Canadians.

Oil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

5:05 p.m.

NDP

Gord Johns NDP Courtenay—Alberni, BC

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate my colleague's efforts in standing up for Albertans and jobs. I share that view, as much as he may not agree with my perspective. I have family there. We want our brothers and sisters there to thrive and do well.

The member touched on a few things. He certainly touched on Kinder Morgan and this project replacing foreign oil. However, it is my understanding that this oil is for export. It will not be replacing any foreign oil, or dirty oil, if one wants to call it that.

Frankly, we have not had a good, robust conversation about a refinery and the value added, creating more jobs in Canada and more energy security in Canada while we fund transition, like Norway did. We have not had a conversation about whether we have been responsible or not. When we look at Norway, it has $1 trillion in its prosperity fund. When we look at Alberta, it has $11 billion.

Maybe the member, who is from Alberta, can explain how that gap is happening and how the leadership of Norway is funding transition, a healthy economy, and protection of the environment at the same time as funding oil extraction.

Oil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

5:05 p.m.

Conservative

Earl Dreeshen Conservative Red Deer—Mountain View, AB

Mr. Speaker, it does grate on me somewhat when I hear someone talk about dirty oil coming from Canada. It is so frustrating to hear that. The rhetoric is part of the frustration and reasons why we have a B.C. government tag-teaming with the Quebec government to slow down energy east, and then the reverse happening. I see those kinds of issues.

The member spoke about exporting and that this oil would go onto the world market. The point is to get it onto the world market and get world prices for these products. Right now we are captive to to the U.S. market and we are taking a terrible discount on every bit of oil that we sell. These are the sorts of things about which we have to be concerned.

An article from a guy from Seattle thanks B.C. for the oil discount. He thanks the citizens of B.C. who seem to once again have blocked an oil pipeline to the coast. Those living south of the border will continue to enjoy importing Canada's oil at substantial discounts while exporting American oil from Gulf ports at world market prices. This gift to them is around $100 billion a day Canadian, and the Americans greatly appreciate it. That is what we have to stop.

Oil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

5:05 p.m.

Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, the member across the way made reference to government using this as a wedge issue. It is interesting because we have the New Democratic Party that often talks about the environment in the sense of doing everything necessary to protect it, including not having pipelines even being built to other economic deterrents. Then we have the Conservatives who are on the other extreme. However, we can look at what the government has consistently said, which is that we can work and move forward both for the environment and for our markets and the economy. Today we are talking about not only an election commitment, but something Canadians as a whole would support, which is having a moratorium in a certain section of the ocean.

Would my colleague not agree that we can do both, that we can be sensitive to the environment and oceans while at the same time have economic development that is based in some of the commodities and raw materials that we have in Canada?

Oil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

5:10 p.m.

Conservative

Earl Dreeshen Conservative Red Deer—Mountain View, AB

Mr. Speaker, a few months ago I had the opportunity to go to some southeast Asian countries with the trade committee. We spoke to fund managers who were looking at Canada and asking for the reasons to invest in Canada. These people were talking about tens of billions of dollars. We have already seen $80 billion leave because of the actions of the government.

Is it a wedge issue? Yes, it is a wedge issue between traditional Liberals and the government of today. They are the ones who are telling us that there has to be a change because of what the government is doing. At any opportunity, it is labelling people and pushing people into different areas. Right now, the Liberals are using this whole concept of the environment, saying that they have done so much, that they are going to help, and that they are going to give social licence. We know there has been no social licence. The Liberals more or less have a tangential point of contact with the truth, and they do catch it once in a while. However, there is not that much extra to be learned from these Liberals.

Oil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

5:10 p.m.

Conservative

Bob Saroya Conservative Markham—Unionville, ON

Madam Speaker, I am proud to rise in the House today to discuss Bill C-48. It is always both an honour and a privilege to stand in the House and have the opportunity to take part in these crucial debates.

I am speaking today mainly about the issue that Bill C-48 raises and why I will not support the bill.

The Liberal government has introduced Bill C-48, the oil tanker moratorium act, which would ban all tanker traffic on the north coast of British Columbia. Aside from this legislation just being another shameful step in phasing out the oil sands, it seems highly hypocritical to me. The Liberals believe that Venezuelan oil in Quebec is fine, that Saudi Arabia oil on the east coast is fine, that Canadian oil in Vancouver is fine, but they do not believe it is fine in northern British Columbia. This does not make any sense.

My colleagues in the Conservative caucus and I know that diversifying Canada's export markets for oil and gas is crucial to support the continued growth of our economy. We also know that the demand for Canadian oil is strongest in the rapidly growing market of the Asia-Pacific region.

We on this side of the aisle want to keep our country competitive and we will always support jobs and growth in Canada's energy sector.

Our Conservative caucus wants Canada to prosper in the international market so that Canadian families from coast to coast can prosper. I just do not understand why the Liberal government would put forward legislation like this which seeks to stifle prosperity for Canadians on one specific coast in one single sector.

This bill would establish 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 $5 million. Nowhere else in Canada would there be a ban like this. The government is just trying to throw a wrench into the Canadian energy sector.

I want to touch on the work of the previous Conservative government. We introduced and implemented a number of measures to create a world-class tanker safety system in November 2014. These measures included modernizing Canada's navigation system, enhanced area response planning, building marine safety capacity in aboriginal communities, and ensuring polluters pay for spills and damages. These were meaningful changes while still supporting our energy sector in Canada.

I want to remind the House that there is already a voluntary exclusion zone of 100 kilometres for oil tankers travelling from Alaska to Washington state. This is a voluntary practice that has been in place since 1985.

The Liberals claim this legislation is being put forward in the name of the environment, but that is not at all the case. This is a pipeline moratorium under a different name.

My Conservative colleagues would suggest that Bill C-48 would do absolutely nothing for the preservation of British Columbia's environment. Ships, including U.S tankers travelling from Alaska to Washington state, will continue to be able to travel up and down the coast just outside the 100 kilometre limit. This bill does not take meaningful action in terms of the environment.

On that note, Canadian oil is extracted and transported under some of the safest and most environmentally strict regulations in the world. Conservatives are here to help, rather than hinder, Canada's energy sector. Preventing our Canadian oil resources from reaching customers in other countries only serves to increase the production of oil products extracted and transported in a less safe and less environmentally friendly way.

We need to support Canadian industry. The strange contradiction that we see here with the government's view on Canadian oil is that its opposition to it defeats its supposed greater goal of protecting the world's environment. Canadians deserve better than this.

The proposed moratorium would be in effect from the Canada-U.S. Alaska border and the northern tip of Vancouver Island. This legislation would prohibit oil tankers carrying oil as cargo from stopping, loading, and unloading at ports or marine installations in the moratorium area. Vessels carrying less than 12,500 metric tons of crude oil would be exempted from the moratorium. I believe the government should maintain strong regulations to allow for the safe passage of all vessels through Canadian waters rather than impose measures that target the development of one single industry.

In addition to this, there is another issue with this legislation I would like to raise. The 3,800-member Lax Kw'alaams based near Prince Rupert is a collective of nine tribes that oppose Bill C-48, known as the oil tanker moratorium act. I am proud that my colleagues and I support responsible development of all kinds of energy in all sectors across all provinces for the benefit of all of Canada. The government needs to look at the facts. It is important for this discussion that it consider all of the risks, costs, and benefits associated with this legislation, which was imposed without sufficient consultation with local communities and indigenous Canadians.

If we look at the evidence, we see that the tankers have safely and regularly transported crude oil from Canada's west coast since the 1930s. We also see that there have not been any tanker navigational issues or incidents in about 50 years in the port of Vancouver.

There is considerable support among first nations on B.C.'s coast for energy development opportunities. How does the government plan to move forward with this tanker moratorium without properly consulting coastal first nations? Canadians are concerned about the direction in which the government is taking this country. They are worried about their jobs, their industry, and their economy. This bill is an attack on the hundreds of thousands of energy workers across Canada. It is an attack on one industry, and one industry only, and one product. The government needs to head back to the drawing board with this legislation and focus on what is best for the growth of this industry, the growth of communities, and the growth of livelihoods.

My Conservative colleagues and I will continue to stand up for Canada's energy sector and continue to hold the government to account.

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5:20 p.m.

NDP

Gord Johns NDP Courtenay—Alberni, BC

Madam Speaker, before I ask my question, on behalf of the people of Courtenay—Alberni, I would like to extend our condolences on the loss of our good friend from Leeds—Grenville—Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes. When we lose a colleague in this place, it certainly puts aside all of the partisan elements. The member was at members' orientation. He welcomed us and treated us all with great respect, and I want to acknowledge that.

The member talked about safe passage of supertankers. As someone who lives on the coast of British Columbia, there have been recent incidents. There was a bunker spill in English Bay. It took 14 hours for the Coast Guard to respond. There was the diesel spill off the Heiltsuk territory. There was the floating freighter, the Simushir. The Coast Guard did not have an adequate response, never mind dealing with bitumen, which sinks. We need to figure this out before we can even talk about expanding tanker traffic in our coastal regions, and I think a ban is appropriate.

Oil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

5:20 p.m.

Conservative

Bob Saroya Conservative Markham—Unionville, ON

Madam Speaker, I was in Vancouver 10 days ago. We do not want any accidents, any spillage of diesel, gas, or crude in any shape or form at any time, but we have the technology. We have the means to fix it.

The bottom line is that Canadian resources help all 36 million Canadians. The number I hear is that we could build a school on a daily basis. We could build a hospital on a daily basis.

The oil from Saudi Arabia, from Venezuela, and from the United States travels through the same routes. Why can Canadian oil not go through the same routes, which would help all Canadians throughout the country from coast to coast to coast?