House of Commons Hansard #292 of the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was saskatchewan.

Topics

Oil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

May 4th, 2018 / 10:05 a.m.

Conservative

Randy Hoback Conservative Prince Albert, SK

Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for Saskatoon—Grasswood.

I would like to thank my colleagues across the aisle for accommodating me this morning. Sometimes I think we should issue a press release whenever goodwill shows up between parties, because all Canadians see in this chamber is something other than that, which is unfortunate, because we do work together many times to get things done.

I am rising today to talk about Bill C-48 and the importance of making sure that we get this right. I am also going to talk about the concerns that we in Saskatchewan have about how this is being handled.

I sit on the trade committee. When the Liberals came into power, they wanted to review the TPP. They said that proper consultations had not happened. They said that the consultations had to be redone before the agreement was signed by the Liberal government.

The trade committee went across Canada. It redid all the work that the previous government had done and then some. Committee members made sure they talked to first nations and to business communities. They talked to people right across Canada. A lot of people said it was the third or fourth time they had talked about the TPP and it was being done again. The Liberals were telling us that we had to consult, that we had to do our homework, that we had to make sure everybody was aware of it, and that we had to be aware of all circumstances before going forward with that trade deal.

I look at this bill and I say the same thing. When we look at the impact this legislation would have on western Canada and Canada as a whole, we know we need to talk to a lot of people before this can be done.

I am from Saskatchewan. Some may ask why people in Saskatchewan would care about a tanker ban. A lot of people in Saskatchewan work in the oil and gas sector and their jobs will be impacted by this ban.

Let us not fool ourselves. This is not a tanker ban. This is to stop development in the resource sector and to stop shipping products to the west coast. It is nothing more than that. It is what the Liberals really planned to do from day one, and this bill is how they are going to achieve it. That is very disappointing.

If the Liberals wanted to make this major change, where were the committee meetings? When did the committee travel out there and talk about this with the various people who would be impacted? When did the Liberals talk to the premiers? When did they talk to the Premier of Saskatchewan and tell him this is what the government had planned? They did not do that.

This is the Prime Minister personally saying that he is going to ban tanker traffic because he thinks it is bad. Where is the science? What is his logic for doing this? Is there a problem with tankers? Are tankers unsafe? Is there a problem with the currents and other things in that area? The science that we have says no.

If tankers were unsafe, why would we allow them down the St. Lawrence River? Why would we allow them off the coast of Atlantic Canada? As we speak, tankers around the world are shipping oil out of places like Saudi Arabia and Venezuela. They do this every day and we hear nothing about it.

What is it about this coastline that is so unique and special that Atlantic Canada does not get the same special consideration? Why is Atlantic Canada or the St. Lawrence not treated the same way? If we are concerned about the west coast, why are we not concerned about the St. Lawrence and Atlantic Canada? It does not make sense.

Some from western Canada may ask why the Prime Minister is doing this. It comes back to what he said before. He does not want the resource sector to be developed. He wants to shut it down. This bill is one of the corner pieces of the puzzle that would actually do that. What does that mean for the people of Saskatchewan, the people of Alberta, and the people of northern British Columbia? It means lost economic opportunity and lost jobs. What is left for the families that are employed in this sector, who are in good, well-paying jobs, who are in a good situation and are able to give their kids a good quality of life?

People in western Canada right now are taking part in rallies. I was on Facebook last night and watched a rally in Fort Nelson. Families are saying, “Enough is enough.” They have had enough. They want their MPs to represent them. They want their MPs to tell them that they care. They want their MPs to understand that the resource sector is not bad. They want us to understand that people need fuel in their cars and they would love to provide it. They want us to understand that they provide it in the most environmentally friendly fashion in the world.

What is the deal? Where is the problem? It comes back to one thing. The Prime Minister does not like the resource sector.

The Prime Minister went to Paris. He wanted to be the big guy in town, so he made commitments. He came back to Canada and he took the Conservative targets. He brings in things like a carbon tax, which he is going to shove down the throats of Canadians. People in Saskatchewan are looking at that carbon tax and they know it is really going to hurt them because they cannot pass those costs on.

A farmer cannot pass a carbon tax on. He cannot take the cost of fuel for his tractors, his combines, and his machinery and put it in the price of a commodity that is traded on the world market. However, he is still forced to compete against Americans who do not have a carbon tax. The Australians removed their carbon tax. Other countries are not going down this road.

What is even sadder about carbon is Saskatchewan has a really good game plan that does not involve a carbon tax, which would actually meet our commitments, and the Liberals will not agree to that. Why is that? What is the issue there? If their goal is to reduce carbon and there is a game plan that will not impact the economy and will actually achieve that goal, why not take it? It goes back to one thing: lack of respect.

The Liberals want to shut down the resource sector. We are hearing stories now that they want to shut down the coal sector. In Saskatchewan, we have carbon capture off our coal power plants. With this technology, those power plants have five times less emissions than natural gas. However, the Liberals say, “Let us get rid of coal.” What does that mean? Is that really crazy? I think so.

If there is technology to make coal clean and to reduce its carbon footprint, why would we not embrace the new technology and still use this fuel source? No, we are going to get rid of it. We are to ignore the science because, heaven forbid, cabinet knows best. That is what is happening. All the regulations and science are being thrown out the window, and it goes back to cabinet, and its members are going to say “Do I like this guy or not?”, or “I have a toothache so I'm going to vote no.” What about the science? Science needs to trump that.

In Bill C-48, where is the science to say it requires this type of ban? It is not there. There is no science.

There have been no consultations. It is something that is going to drastically change the lives of families across western Canada, if not all of Canada, yet the Liberals just march ahead. They put the earplugs in and just do what they do. Then they wonder why people are protesting in western Canada. They wonder why families are concerned and upset. They cannot understand why they do not love them. There needs to be respect. The Liberals need to talk to them. The Liberals need to understand why this is important to people. They need to show common sense, because there is no common sense in bringing oil from Saudi Arabia and Venezuela when we have oil right here in Canada. It is actually clean oil. It is more environmentally friendly than any oil we would receive from other parts of the planet.

This bill is a bad piece of legislation. It should be thrown away. If the Liberals want to talk about protecting the environment in that region, or maintaining areas in that region in their natural state, let us have that discussion. I have no problem with that. There might be areas where we see that through. However, to say there will be no more tankers in the whole region is absolutely crazy. It is ludicrous.

People in western Canada just cannot understand the government. It has so many things at its fingertips to make this economy run really well and still meet all its environmental commitments and the government keeps chopping off the hand that feeds it. It is so sad.

I will not be voting in favour of the bill. It is a bad piece of legislation. It sets a bad precedent. It does not meet the commitment Liberals made to voters about consulting before making legislation. It does not meet the commitment about working with opposition parties and other groups at committee to have good pieces of legislation. It does not meet any of those criteria. However, the Liberals will still ram it through. It is unfortunate they are going to do that because they are making a huge mistake.

I will leave it at that, and I will entertain some questions.

Oil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

10:10 a.m.

Liberal

Ken Hardie Liberal Fleetwood—Port Kells, BC

Mr. Speaker, first, the Enbridge line through northern B.C. would have gone through territory that had not seen pipelines. It is a highly ecologically sensitive area. That was the first concern. It was a concern of our party. It was a concern of the Supreme Court of Canada when it overturned the process the previous government had used to try to get that pipeline built.

There are alternatives. I wonder if the member would like to comment on the advent of processes to render bitumen into, basically, hockey pucks that could be shipped in bulk, so we we would not be dealing with what they call a persistent oil. These are oils that will not evaporate if they hit the water. These hockey pucks float, and they can be easily recovered. Has the member examined the option of refining the product more on the Canadian side, in Alberta, before it gets to the west coast? Then if it becomes a non-persistent oil, if it is something that would evaporate if it hits the water, as I understand it, that would be allowed under this tanker moratorium.

Perhaps he would like to comment on what the options may look like.

Oil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

10:10 a.m.

Conservative

Randy Hoback Conservative Prince Albert, SK

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the member's openness in saying we should look at technology to see if we can do this better and more safely. That is a wise approach. However, the Liberals are not doing that here. They are not doing that with coal, for example. They are just getting rid of it. They are saying that there is no technology, so get rid of it and do not allow anyone to use it. That is wrong. If there are new technologies that should be embraced, let us embrace them. If there are things that will make it safer, let us embrace them too. However, to impose a moratorium right across the west coast and say no is wrong. That is what this bill is doing.

They have not talked about the consultations. They have not talked about the impact it is going to have on western Canada or Canada as a whole. We are talking about a new technology that has come into play. Let us look at that new technology. I do not think the government is willing to accept new technologies, because if it did, it would mean it would allow the oil and gas sector to grow a bit, and that would be a problem for it. We in western Canada cannot understand why that is a problem.

I would encourage the government to look at new technologies. I would encourage it to find new ways of doing things. If there is a problem, it should address the problem, but it should not take a sledgehammer to it and say it got rid of the problem by just making sure that it is impossible to do.

Oil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

10:15 a.m.

NDP

Pierre Nantel NDP Longueuil—Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member for Prince Albert for his heartfelt speech. It is clear that he is an honest man who is doing a good job of representing his riding by raising concerns about what he sees as a holdup.

Everyone looked up when the member opposite asked his question about alternative ways of distributing the resource in a more solid, more liquid, or more refined form. That is exactly what a debate like today's is meant to achieve. We can all learn something new. If any other members have similar knowledge, I hope they will share it with us, because the debate on this subject is usually like the blind leading the blind.

My colleague mentioned earlier that our oil is the most environmentally friendly oil in the world. Funnily enough, we are constantly being told the opposite. I do not know how many times I have read that using steam to extract oil from sand produces wastewater. I have also read that this steam is generated using natural gas and that the natural gas emissions create a massive carbon footprint.

If there are any alternatives, we should talk about them. I quite agree with him. I am thinking specifically of the work of Paul Painter, who used ionic liquids to separate sand from oil. Let us talk about alternatives before we talk about distribution and increasing extraction.

Oil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

10:15 a.m.

Conservative

Randy Hoback Conservative Prince Albert, SK

Mr. Speaker, that is why the Liberals need to have proper consultations. That is why they need to say to the public that this is what they are thinking and this is the problem. They would be surprised by what would come up as solutions. There are solutions to the problems. If they do not want to hear the solutions, they do stuff like this. They shove it down people's throats and get it done so they do not have a chance to present a solution. That is what they are doing in this case.

I will remind the House that there are still going to be tankers going up and down the west coast. However, they will not be Canadian tankers, and they will not be hauling Canadian oil.

We can look at all these new processes and new technologies and embrace them. I encourage us to embrace them. However, the government will not embrace them. It does everything but that. Instead, we see things like Bill C-48, which takes a sledgehammer to it and bans it outright. It takes all the development and throws it away, when there are probably opportunities here to make it better so that it works for everyone involved. That is so disappointing.

Oil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

10:15 a.m.

Conservative

Kevin Waugh Conservative Saskatoon—Grasswood, SK

Mr. Speaker, today I rise to speak on Bill C-48, the oil tanker moratorium act. The name of the bill is actually quite curious, because when we look at the facts, we see that this piece of legislation has very little to do with banning oil tankers from the B.C. north coast and everything to do with continuing the government's hurtful campaign against pipeline and oil development throughout this country, and in particular in western Canada. Little is surprising in this regard. The Liberals arbitrarily shelved the northern gateway pipeline in 2016, forced the cancellation of the energy east pipeline in 2017, and continued to do as little as possible to support the development of the Trans Mountain expansion pipeline, which has been put on life support now, certainly in this month of May.

First, let us examine what the Liberals are saying this bill would do. Time and time again, we have heard in this chamber that Bill C-48 is about environmental protection, that by imposing this moratorium, the northern coast will be better protected, specifically against oil spills. They argue that a moratorium is the only way to safeguard against the problem and that this legislation is therefore the way forward. There are numerous and significant flaws with this jurisdiction, which mark it as both hollow and ill-advised.

First, there is an issue of consistency. Why are the Liberals targeting the B.C. north coast for a ban on oil tankers while they apparently ignore the presence of oil tankers along many other of our coasts in this country? Why are they making the arbitrary decision to limit the transport opportunities for oil along the north coast and not the south? This kind of moratorium does not exist along the St. Lawrence Seaway or in the Great Lakes, and it does not exist along the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, or New Brunswick. It does not exist around Vancouver. The fact that Bill C-48 quite arbitrarily applies only to the B.C. north coast sheds serious doubt on the Liberal claim that the intention of this bill is environmental protection.

Second, this environmental jurisdiction fails to consider that a voluntary exclusion zone of 100 kilometres for oil tankers travelling from Alaska to Washington State has been in place since 1985. These preventive measures have already been taken, prior to any sort of moratorium being put in place by the government. Additionally, oil tankers operating at this distance from the coastline would continue to be unaffected by this legislation. Once again, we struggle to find any support for the arguments being put forward by the Liberals in favour of this bill.

Third, the Liberal argument that the oil tanker moratorium is the only way to protect the environment completely ignores the current and extensive regulatory framework that exists for oil tankers today travelling within our waters. Canada's oil tanker safety procedures and processes still remain one of the best in the world.

We recall 2014. The former Conservative government introduced and implemented many innovative measures to ensure that oil tankers operated under strict regulations and environmental protections. These measures included modernizing Canada's navigation system, enhancing area response planning, building increased marine safety capacity in first nation communities, and ensuring that polluters pay for any spills and damages since 2010.

Every large crude-oil tanker that operates in Canadian waters must be equipped now with a double hull, so any tanker in our waters is covered by two full layers of water-tight surfaces to ensure safety and environmental protection. Oil tankers are consistently monitored by our national aerial surveillance program, and our data-sharing and communication technologies rigorously guide oil tanker traffic across this country to reduce the risk of collisions.

Do these kinds of regulations and protections exist for tankers exporting oil from, let us say, Venezuela or Saudi Arabia? There is no way. Given the strong and extensive regulations that exist for oil tankers travelling through Canadian waters, it is very clear that any jurisdiction for a moratorium on oil tankers for environmental reasons is completely unfounded.

What, then, is this bill all about? The answer, of course, is that it is about the Liberals' ideological objective to restrict Canadian pipeline and energy development as much as possible. The bill can most accurately be described as a moratorium on any and all pipeline development along the coastline of northern B.C., and as a result, this legislation would kill any economic opportunities communities in this region would otherwise have due to the increased energy investment in that area. We are already seeing that. This ban would seriously hurt many, and I say many, first nation groups that have stood to gain from a pipeline in their area.

The Eagle Spirit pipeline is a $16-billion project that would stretch from Bruderheim, Alberta, to Grassy Point, along the northern coast of B.C., which would be forced to reroute to Hyder, Alaska, and its end point. If this pipeline ban is imposed, the Eagle Spirit pipeline project, directed by more than 30 first nations across northern B.C. and Alberta, and their communities stand to lose a major economic opportunity due to the Liberal government's ideological and political posturing.

Bill C-48 has been brought forward without any true or meaningful consultation with first nation communities, which would be severely impacted by the implementation of a pipeline ban in northern British Columbia.

I will quote Calvin Helin, the chairman of Eagle Spirit and a member of the Lax Kw'alaams first nation, who said, “First Nations are completely opposed to government policy being made by foreigners when it impacts their ability to help out their own people [on reserve]. The energy industry is critical to Canada’s economy”, which no doubt it is, “and by some reports we are losing [an unbelievable] $50 million a day”.

We are losing $50 million a day. That could be many schools and hospitals that we could build in Canada every single day.

It is simply unacceptable that the government refuses to consult with these groups to allow them to develop energy infrastructure, which would create significant economic opportunities in these communities. However, this behaviour coming from the Liberals is also unfortunately unsurprising, considering that it is the Liberal government that has overseen the largest decline in Canadian energy investment in the past 70 years. We have talked a lot in the House about $80 billion-plus taken out of the economy, along with jobs in the energy sector. Well over 110,000 workers are unemployed in Saskatchewan and Alberta.

A moratorium on pipelines in northern B.C. is just another example of the government's blatant hostility toward our energy sector and the jobs and economic opportunities it would supply to communities across this country. The government has used the justification of environmental protection as a smokescreen for its anti-Canadian energy policies. When this argument is held up against the facts, we see it for what it is: a desperate attempt to mask the Liberals' ideological agenda. There are no real winners as a result of the northern B.C. pipeline moratorium, except American consumers, who receive discounted prices on our Canadian oil.

Oil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

10:25 a.m.

Spadina—Fort York Ontario

Liberal

Adam Vaughan LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Families

Mr. Speaker, listening to some of the members, particularly from the Prairies, talk about our great coastlines and waterways and then ask what the difference is between the St. Lawrence Seaway and the coast of northern B.C. is a little like saying I have a backyard garden and I know about agriculture. There is a very big difference between the St. Lawrence Seaway and the northern coast of B.C. For example, the St. Lawrence Seaway is man-made. That is one of the critical differences.

Does the member and the party opposite really think that the St. Lawrence Seaway should be governed with exactly the same rules as the most sensitive marine environments in our country, regardless of where they are, regardless of whether there is access, regardless of whether there is even a city or a real port on the site? Is that really what the Conservatives say, that all coastlines are equal and should be treated as such?

Oil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

10:25 a.m.

Conservative

Kevin Waugh Conservative Saskatoon—Grasswood, SK

Mr. Speaker, it is a direct attack on the northern coastline of British Columbia. We have talked about it in our speech here. There are no regulations to bring in Venezuelan oil or Saudi Arabian oil. The Liberals seem to think that it is very good to bring it into New Brunswick. We do not even talk about southern B.C. The bill talks about northern B.C.

I just talked about the opportunities of first nations that want to join the economy in this country, and they want to shut it down. We have heard from many groups in northern B.C. that want an opportunity of employment, an opportunity of prosperity, only to be shut down by this bill and the Liberals.

Oil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

10:25 a.m.

NDP

Sheila Malcolmson NDP Nanaimo—Ladysmith, BC

Mr. Speaker, the revisionist history here is breathtaking. The northern gateway pipeline was defeated by first nations on the basis that the Harper Conservative government failed to consult them. Therefore, this is challenging language.

Given what we are now hearing from that quarter of the House about the Conservative Party's commitment to science and evidence, how does the member view the previous Conservative government's sabotage of the Environmental Assessment Act and the removal of protections under the Navigable Waters Protection Act? Where was the science that told that government it was a good idea to remove habitat protection from the Fisheries Act?

Oil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

10:30 a.m.

Conservative

Kevin Waugh Conservative Saskatoon—Grasswood, SK

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives did a lot in nine and a half years in government, and the Liberals have been undoing it in the last two and a half years.

I can stand here and talk about Eagle Spirit. All it wants is the opportunities in northern B.C., and they are being shut down here today. If and when the bill passes, this will be disastrous for northern communities. It is the same with Kinder Morgan. We have more first nations in B.C. that approve the pipeline than those that do not, and yet we cannot get it done.

Oil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

10:30 a.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is hard to know where to start.

I would point out to the member that, in 1972, there were extensive consultations when the government of the day, under former prime minister Pierre Trudeau, enacted a moratorium against oil tanker traffic in the passage that includes Hecate Strait and Dixon Entrance. That area has the fourth most hazardous body of water on the planet, and the transit is in interior waters with an immediate threat to Haida Gwaii and the B.C. coast. It is incomparable to any other body of water on any Canadian coastline. The moratorium was respected by Progressive Conservative federal governments and Social Credit provincial governments. It did not matter what government was in power, provincially or federally, until Stephen Harper, with zero consultations, ignored the moratorium and took it away.

I challenge the member to say why a government should not be allowed to fulfill an election promise and legislate a moratorium that we had for four decades.

Oil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

10:30 a.m.

Conservative

Kevin Waugh Conservative Saskatoon—Grasswood, SK

Mr. Speaker, we are losing $50 million a day, and 110,000 jobs have been eliminated in my province and in Alberta because of the oil sands. It is because of the Liberals' attack on oil in Saskatchewan and Alberta. This is just another example. The Liberals are not listening to Canadians, and they will dearly pay for it next year.

Oil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

10:30 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

Resuming debate, the hon. member for Nanaimo—Ladysmith.

Oil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

10:30 a.m.

NDP

Sheila Malcolmson NDP Nanaimo—Ladysmith, BC

Mr. Speaker, I thought the member for Cloverdale—Langley City was next.

Oil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

10:30 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

As I understand it, there was a change earlier to accommodate one of the earlier speakers. I have the member for Nanaimo—Ladysmith next. She has the floor.

Oil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

10:30 a.m.

NDP

Sheila Malcolmson NDP Nanaimo—Ladysmith, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am thankful for the opportunity to speak to Bill C-48, the north coast partial oil tanker ban. That we have this in place is a credit to decades of work by north coast people. I also want to acknowledge the work of my colleague, the member of Parliament for Skeena—Bulkley Valley. His version of this bill in the previous Parliament toured the entire country, and thousands of people came out under the “Defend Our Coast” banner. It was very powerful. It gave the Liberal government the mandate to implement this, so we are glad to see the legislation.

We will be voting in favour of the bill. Our New Democratic colleague from Port Moody—Coquitlam tried quite hard to strengthen it. There is more ministerial discretion than we would like to see. Some of our colleagues have been quoted saying that one could drive an oil tanker through this moratorium. Nevertheless, we are going to vote in favour and we are glad to see some version of it moving forward.

As a member representing the south coast of British Columbia, the Salish Sea and Nanaimo—Ladysmith, I can say that we have very complicated shorelines, very fast-moving currents, very sensitive ecology, and 450 islands between the area I represent on Vancouver Island and the mainland of British Columbia and the U.S. border, with extremely complicated shipping traffic. We have very sensitive ecology and shorelines where we know that if there was an oil spill of any size, it would be extremely difficult to clean up.

Given that the industry standard for oil spill response is a 10% cleanup of oil, let me say again that members representing the southern part of British Columbia are committed to protecting their coastline, the economy, and the jobs that depend on it. They are just as concerned about the impacts of oil tanker traffic, especially when it is an unrefined, raw product that has no value-added jobs in Canada and no energy security benefit for Canada. Certainly, for British Columbians, the shipment of what we view as an increased level of danger by more oil tanker traffic and a thicker, unrefined product is all downside for our coast. There is no upside.

If the government is willing to put in strong measures for the north coast, why not for the south coast? There is still no peer-reviewed science that tells us how bitumen would react in the marine environment, in rough water with sediment in it. Who is going to have an oil spill with no waves? It just boggles the mind that the Liberal government could have approved the Kinder Morgan pipeline in the absence of evidence that bitumen can be recovered from the marine environment and that our response times are adequate to clean it.

What we have is some suspicion or concern based on what has been observed from other times when bitumen has been spilled in the marine environment. The diluent, which allows the raw, unrefined bitumen to flow, may evaporate very quickly. The evaporation itself may pose dangers to first responders, so it might be that first responders have to keep away. Certainly, if there was a bitumen spill in a heavily populated area, such as downtown Vancouver, a million people would be affected by a spill with much more toxic fumes than a refined product would have. We saw that in the Kalamazoo spill, which was in fresh water, but that was a huge occupational exposure.

When first responders have to stay away and cannot get to the spill quickly, this means that the diluent has more time to evaporate and there is an increased risk that the bitumen would sink. I have folders full of science reports from the Polaris Institute, the Royal Society of Canada, and others that talk about the stickiness and impact on marine wildlife such as sea otters and sea birds, let alone what would happen if we end up with bitumen coating the seabed. The damage that would be done trying to clean that up is alarming to contemplate.

We ask again, how is it that although the north coast partial oil tanker ban is being lauded by many of us on the coast and in the environmental movement, we do not have a concomitant level of protection in the south? We do not have confidence that our oil spill response is in a respectable and responsible place.

It turns out I am splitting my time with the member for Courtenay—Alberni. I look forward to his speech. We are full of surprises today.

My understanding is that the response regulations have not been updated or tightened since 1995. The Liberal government has had two and a half years to make that change. It has not. It is my understanding that if there is an oil spill in my region, the corporate entity responsible for the oil spill has 72 hours to get there. It is not in violation of the regulations unless it does not have booms and an oil spill response plan enacted within three days. How could that ever give any of us any confidence?

If the current government, or the previous government, really wanted to have pipelines approved and give coastal people any measure of confidence, then surely it would have upgraded and tightened those response times, as Washington State has done, repeatedly, as has Alaska.

When I was chair of the Islands Trust Council, we heard from our fellow governments at the local, regional, and state level that they were extremely concerned about Canada's, or British Columbia's, poor level of preparedness for an oil spill. Oil does not recognize the international boundary. They are very concerned, given the fast-moving currents. First of all, we are shipping a dangerous product for which there is no adequate response technology, and if we do not have the response times in place, the oil will move quickly to their side of the border. Certainly, their aquaculture industry is extremely concerned about our poor level of preparedness.

I am very glad to continue to see the Washington State governor salute the British Columbia NDP premier, John Horgan, for the very strong stand that he is taking to say, “I believe that the oil spill response plans for B.C.'s south coast are inadequate.”

We are seeing now, in court, the provincial government saying that as soon as the oil hits the shoreline, it is its responsibility and jurisdiction. If the federal government is not going to adequately regulate to protect this resource, then the provincial government will consider implementing regulations itself that would protect coastal ecology and coastal jobs.

To my regret, yesterday the federal Liberal government decided to intervene in that case to oppose my premier's efforts to better protect the coast where the Liberal government has failed to. Our New Democrat leader, Jagmeet Singh, urged the Prime Minister to join the British Columbia premier so they would co-operatively go to the courts together and ask for clarification.

That would have been leadership, and it would have been a real sign of co-operation and trying to get the right answer. Instead, to see the federal government intervening against the British Columbia government, which is simply trying to strengthen and increase the safety net, is extremely discouraging. What a strange way of spending both the government's legal resources and taxpayers' dollars. How on Earth could that be a good expenditure? What we need to be doing is strengthening the ecological safety net, and not fighting against stronger measures in court.

When I was chair of the Islands Trust Council, we heard from our Washington State colleagues about how important it was to have geographic response plans in place for oil spill prevention and preparedness. These are micro-studies of a particular region that would be enacted in the event of an oil spill. The responsible spiller, whoever that was, would know to boom this. The spiller is likely to be a corporate entity, and they do a pretty good job of looking after their own business.

We would love to see geographic response plans in place. I am pleased that the B.C. government is pushing for that.

Oil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

10:40 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

Before I go to questions and comments, I simply want to advise the hon. member for Nanaimo—Ladysmith that she was in fact correct that there was a mix-up here, for which I take responsibility. We probably should have gone to the hon. member for Cloverdale—Langley City. We will get to him in due course. That was a bit of a mix-up, and I appreciate her readiness to carry on as she did.

Questions and comments, the hon. member for Winnipeg North.

Oil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

10:40 a.m.

Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the fact that the NDP will support the legislation, which is a positive. This issue has been important to the government. It was raised during the last federal election, and the government is fulfilling that commitment.

I am a bit disappointed in the NDP's approach on the national interest and how it is prepared to forgo that based on the position that the environment has to be taken into consideration and there is absolutely no consideration given to the national interest. The member mentioned, for example, that she was disappointed by the federal government's actions with respect to the courts and not being onside with British Columbia.

Would the member at least acknowledge that the national interest does take into consideration our environment and the economy? The Trans Mountain pipeline is an excellent example of that. There even is controversy within the NDP. We have an NDP premier in Alberta saying that Albertans want the transcontinental. Does the member believe that the NDP premier has any merit whatsoever to her argument?

Oil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

10:45 a.m.

NDP

Sheila Malcolmson NDP Nanaimo—Ladysmith, BC

Mr. Speaker, I salute the Alberta New Democrat premier, Rachel Notley. She campaigned on a strong platform of standing up for the existing jobs and industry in her province, and she is continuing to do that. I also salute New Democrat premier, John Horgan, who campaigned against the Kinder Morgan pipeline and said loudly that he would use every measure he could within his limited provincial jurisdiction to protect the coast, and he is doing that.

From my perspective, when we hear in Kinder Morgan's filings to the National Energy Board that the permanent jobs in British Columbia are 50, and we recognize the tens of thousands of jobs that are dependent on a clean environment, on sport fishing, on tourism, and everything in the coast, for us it does not compute. I would argue that the true national interest would have been for the Liberal government to have kept its election promises to redo the Kinder Morgan review, but, most important, to truly reconcile with indigenous people. If the Liberals are to sign off on UNDRIP, then they certainly cannot ram a pipeline through and fight first nations in court. It is in the national interest to protect the environment. That is what we are doing.

Oil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

10:45 a.m.

Conservative

Dan Albas Conservative Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola, BC

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the member's contribution to the debate. Politicians will often pick a position and then try to find facts that support their position, and I completely understand that. However, the member raised concerns about the science regarding diluted bitumen.

In the recent response to B.C.'s policy intentions paper for engagement activities related to spill management by the government, it says:

Federal scientists have published or presented over sixty papers on diluted bitumen science in peer-reviewed fora since 2012....to determine the fate, behaviour, potential impacts, and effectiveness of response techniques on a variety of heavy oil products....This research has ranged from lab-scale and pilot-scale tests of oil spill behaviour to field trials and evaluations of response technology. Findings have shown that diluted bitumen behaviour falls within the range of conventional oil products and so conventional mechanical recovery methods have been found effective...

The science on this is very clear. Could the member point to actual evidence showing the contrary? Will she then go to other arguments that may back her position? Science should not be one of them.

Oil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

10:45 a.m.

NDP

Sheila Malcolmson NDP Nanaimo—Ladysmith, BC

Mr. Speaker, in my capacity as Islands Trust council chair, I started writing to the Conservative ministers of transport and environment starting in 2011, asking them to show me the science they had. Apparently that caused a bit of a ripple in the departments because it had not been studied. The marine environment studies are extremely limited.

Just a year ago, the Liberal transport minister was quoted on the radio saying that the government did not know how it reacted and through the oceans protection plan, it would study its behaviour in the marine environment. I have a file full of peer-reviewed papers that say this needs more study in the marine environment and in estuaries and places where there would be sediment and waves.

Oil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

10:45 a.m.

NDP

Gord Johns NDP Courtenay—Alberni, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is a huge honour to rise today to speak to this bill. Before I get started, I want to acknowledge all my colleagues in the House, especially in the Conservative Party.

We have had an incredible loss this week of our good friend from Leeds—Grenville—Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes. It is important that I acknowledge not just the loss of our friend, but the strength and courage of everyone in the House, especially our colleagues from the Conservative Party, for coming back here in honour of their colleague and constituents and for showing up for work yesterday. I was at committee and I was really touched by how everyone was dealing with this, but at the same time showing up for work. I want to commend them. My heart goes out to them, to the family, and to all the constituents of our good friend.

We are speaking to a bill to ban tankers on the north coast. I appreciate the efforts that are being made on the bill. Of course, there are some gaps that we have concerns about, certainly around ministerial jurisdiction and the ability for a minister to override some of this legislation. These are serious concerns. I could push the bill aside and open the door for something that we would not want to see happen, which is tanker traffic in a pristine area.

We have heard Liberal colleagues talk about the importance of this ecosystem. We have heard the Conservatives talk about jobs, and I will get to that in a minute. Most important, we are making a decision on legislation that protects our ecosystems for generations to come. We know how valuable those ecosystems are. I live on the coast, so I really understand how important our coastal waters are. We rely on clean oceans for our food, our economy, and our culture. It is precious and we must do everything we can to mitigate any chance that we could destroy these ecosystems forever, or even for decades, and upset our whole way of life.

When I talk about our way of life, we do not just use the ocean for transportation and the things I outlined. The ocean is our home. When I think about the north coast, I think about the south coast. There is no dividing line or border between the north and the south coasts. There is no wall between them. Currents, winds, and tides move the water from the north coast to the south coast. The fish migrate from the north coast to the south coast. Salmon move up and down. As coastal people, we move up and down. When I hear the Prime Minister say that tankers do not belong on the north coast, I have a hard understanding why he thinks they belong on the south coast and wants to increase tanker traffic sevenfold.

Yesterday, a great speech was given by my friend from Vancouver Quadra. She talked about witnessing “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.”

It is clear that the spill, which happened over 25 years, is still impacting the community and causing devastation. She expressed that, and I appreciate her efforts. She is genuine about her support of a ban on the north coast. However, she could not square it when I asked her how she could support the Kinder Morgan pipeline. I have a lot of concerns with the Liberals talking from both sides of the coasts, or from both sides of their mouth. I am confused and I have questions.

I will pivot over to Kinder Morgan. It is important to talk about the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. It is integrated. When we talk about a ban on the north coast, again, it is connected to the south coast. We cannot lose sight of the fact that the government is looking to approve a pipeline that is going to increase tanker traffic sevenfold.

The Prime Minister said in his 2015 campaign that if he was the prime minister, Kinder Morgan would have to go back to the drawing board, and that the process would need to be redone. Redone was a three-member panel that travelled around, listening to selected people and groups. It heard loud and clear from southern British Columbians that we did not want a pipeline. Therefore, I am confused. If that is the renewed process and the government is still moving forward, then there is not a lot of trust in the new three-member process that was delivered to the coastal people.

I have another quote from my friend from Vancouver Quadra with respect to the tanker ban. She said, “promise made, a promise kept.” Let us talk about a promise made, a promise broken, because that is Kinder Morgan, that is electoral reform, and a number of things. The list goes on and on. What we heard was a promise to protect coastal British Columbians. However, we know we do not have the science and the evidence-based decision-making, which the government said it would abide by, on how it will clean up raw bitumen.

As a coastal person, in the last couple of years we had a diesel spill in the Heiltsuk territory that we could not clean up. It affected the shellfish. It affected the Heiltsuk people's way of life, their economy, and their ability to sustain themselves. After the Conservatives closed the Kitsilano Coast Guard station, there was a 14-hour delay in dealing with the bunker fuel spill. How will the government deal with a spill from a supertanker full of crude oil? It cannot.

When the Simushir was off the coast of Haida Gwaii, we worried that it would land on the beaches of Haida Gwaii, on the traditional territory of the Haida people. Luckily, the Coast Guard got up there in time. The government is saying that we are going to get two tugboats and that is going to save us. I am sorry. British Columbians do not feel safe about two tugboats saving us and protecting us from an oil spill. We will appreciate them and we will take them. However, we are not feeling that confident based on scenarios like the Queen of the North. These are all examples that we can cite.

We had a spill in 1988 off the coast of Washington, and it landed on our beaches as far north as where I live in Tofino. It is not that it might happen; it is that it will happen at some point. Therefore, I have huge concerns with respect to the pipeline.

The other part of the conversation I do not feel is happening is this, and there is misleading information with respect to it. We hear that jobs will be lost and that it will allow more foreign oil to come to Canada. This is misleading. These pipelines are not designed to replace foreign oil. They will not replace oil from Nigeria or Saudi Arabia. This is made for export. No conversations are happening about a transition, about energy security, about refining more oil, and how we do that while we are in the midst of a transition.

We have seen what Norway has done. It put a trillion dollars in the bank, while Canada put $11 billion in the bank. Where is the trust from the Canadian people that we are investing in assets for future generations? Norway is earning $50 billion in interest alone off of its wealth fund.

We know we can do better and be more responsible with the management of our resources. We can find a better way for our future and that of our children by creating jobs, not exporting jobs, but also with respect to the transition that is needed, and needed now. The world cannot wait. We have to protect our pristine coastlines and ecosystems. They are sensitive. They cannot afford an oil spill of raw bitumen.

Oil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

10:55 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

After question period, the hon. member for Courtenay—Alberni will have roughly five minutes of questions and comments in relation to his speech.

Denise BeauchampStatements By Members

10:55 a.m.

Liberal

Greg Fergus Liberal Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Speaker, last Friday, one of Hull—Aylmer's best left us far too soon. Denise Beauchamp, “Mom” to her regulars, was co-owner of Bistro L'Autre Oeil in Old Aylmer.

Daughter, sister, mother, and wife, Denise was from a close-knit family. She warmly welcomed so many of us into her extended family, celebrating our joys and standing by us in our sorrows. Her reassuring presence was the heart and soul of L'Autre Oeil, a place that breathed new life into Old Aylmer. On good days and bad, the dynamic atmosphere she created made us all feel at home.

Denise was the driving force behind the revitalization of Aylmer's main street, and she was actively involved in the community, getting people on board with all kinds of good causes. On behalf of the entire community of Hull—Aylmer, I extend my most sincere condolences to her family and the many friends who were privileged to be part of her life.

Rest in peace, Denise.