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IN THE HOUSE – Oil Tanker Moratorium Act an arbitrary political decision

Excerpts from comments by Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo MP Cathy McLeod in Parliament on Monday, April 30, 2018 on Bill C-48, the Oil Tanker Moratorium Act, which would ban oil tanker traffic on the north coast of British Columbia.

I WANT TO START by saying that this is a very poor name for this bill. It would be better labelled the “let’s destroy Canada’s opportunity for economic growth and prosperity, including for indigenous people” act, because that is exactly what this bill is going to do.

The government likes to talk about how the economy and the environment go hand in hand, and the importance of its relationship with indigenous peoples. I would like to illustrate how this bill is in fact a triple fail. It would actually hurt the economy; it would do nothing in terms of supporting the environment; and certainly many indigenous communities are very concerned.

Undeniably, the government’s approach is incoherent and illogical. It is the furthest it could be from fact-based decision-making. Bill C-48 is one part of a bigger puzzle, in terms of the very incoherent approach the government is taking.

It is more rooted in government ideology. All we have to do is look at what the Prime Minister said last week in France, that he was sorry he could not phase out the oil sands more quickly. The Liberals, ideologically, want the oil sands phased out. All other pieces of legislation, whether related to pipelines or tankers, go back to their desire to take away the prosperity from our oil sands.

Venezuelan oil in Quebec is okay. Saudi Arabian oil on the east coast is okay. Canadian oil in Vancouver is okay, but it is not okay in northern British Columbia.

The Liberal government just released, on April 26, “Our Response to British Columbia’s Policy Intentions Paper for Engagement: Activities Related to Spill Management”. The government is telling British Columbians how it will be able to protect British Columbia, which I actually agree it can do through its marine protection plans.

This is a 62-page document. In talking about how the government is going to protect British Columbia, just a little further down the coast, I think the question we need to ask ourselves is, if it can protect a little further down the coast, what is wrong with a little further up the coast? I think the same principles would apply.

Again, it is a 62-page document put out by the Minister of Transport, the Minister of Natural Resources, the Minister of Environment, and the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans. I am going to read some quotes.

“Canada’s actions have demonstrated our commitment to the highest environmental standards and strong Indigenous partnerships, while ensuring vital infrastructure for the Canadian economy moves ahead.

“Our submission outlines the comprehensive scope of federal spill prevention and response activities to protect our oceans….”

Then it talks about the $1.5-billion oceans protection plan.

“Building on the existing safeguards, we are developing a marine safety system that rivals any in the world. The system draws on over thirty years of scientific research in spill prevention and response—including specific measures to ensure the safe transport of diluted bitumen.

“Canadians can be assured that our coastline will benefit from a world-class marine safety system thanks to the implementation of the Oceans Protection Plan.”

Then it talks about the science and the research.

If the government is confident that this could be done in Vancouver, then it could absolutely be similarly confident that the same protections could have been put in place, and it did not actually have to go forward with the tanker ban. That is one area of incoherence….

The final point I want to make before I conclude is about our indigenous communities. The Liberals talk about the importance to consult, but they did not consult. They plunked down a moratorium with very limited discussion with the first nations that would be most impacted by these decisions….

We have a moratorium that is actually just shifting carbon pricing. We are getting more in from the States. If we can protect our coast in Vancouver, we can certainly protect the north with some of our best class pilotage in the world. This is an arbitrary political decision made by the government, which would certainly hurt not only indigenous communities but Canadians across this country.

Source: OpenParliament.ca.

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About Mel Rothenburger (6011 Articles)
ArmchairMayor.ca is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At ArmchairMayor.ca he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

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