Mr. Speaker, we were talking about the improvements in technology and the changes we see that will actually help to protect our coasts and how much we are actually working to encourage research and to encourage the development of technology partnerships with the marine industry, with academia, with other federal departments and other governments to continue to work with us to develop innovative solutions that enable the official movement of goods and at the same time protect the marine environment. These partnerships are essential to enable us to share the latest innovations in research, knowledge, and intelligence on new technologies and to also encourage skills capacity for an increasingly knowledge-based economy.
Accordingly, the Government of Canada will strengthen the polluter pay principle by strengthening the Canadian ship-source oil pollution fund. We want to ensure adequate industry-funded compensation is available for those affected by oil spills. This includes removing the fund's current limit and providing unlimited compensation to those affected by an oil pollution incident. When compensation is beyond what is currently available, funds will be recovered by a levy on the companies that import and export oil by ship. The changes to the ship-source oil pollution fund will position Canada as a world leader among ship source liability and compensation regimes.
I should point out that Canada has a long-standing tradition of multilateralism related to international shipping. Canada is a founding member of the International Maritime Organization, the UN agency that regulates the world's maritime shipping. Canada also has a proud history of working closely with the International Maritime Organization to advance standards that promote maritime safety and security, protect the environment, and safeguard seafarers.
The Government of Canada will continue to contribute to the comprehensive body of international conventions supported by hundreds of recommendations governing every facet of shipping. In fact, as part of the oceans protection plan, the Government of Canada will strengthen its leadership role internationally. This includes playing an active role in developing international marine safety standards with the International Maritime Organization and other international partners.
As a trading nation, Canada relies on a safe and secure maritime transportation system to support our economic growth. A wide variety of cargo is transported through Canada's marine transportation system, from food and consumer goods to energy resources. Marine transportation is the primary means of transporting Canada's trade with other countries other than the United States. It is critical for economic growth in Canada which has provided us with one of the highest standards of living in the world.
The moratorium will continue to allow critical local resupply activities and still enable communities to develop economically. The moratorium does not apply to lighter oils such as gasoline, propane, or jet fuel that local communities and industries rely upon, nor will it apply to liquefied natural gas. Accordingly, opportunities remain open for the continued shipment of non-persistent oils.
Further, once passed by Parliament, the Governor in Council will have authority under the act to amend through regulation the schedule of persistent oils should future innovations and technological developments in the transportation of these products offer a significantly higher level of protection for our waters.
Amendments to the schedule could be considered following a regulatory review that would assess new scientific evidence about the fate and behaviour of petroleum products when spilled, cleanup technologies, and the state of institutional arrangements to respond to ship-source oil spills.
The schedule could only be revised through the regulatory amendment process. Environmental safety and science would be the primary considerations for any changes to the schedule.
Always keeping an opening for new technology and scientific development is testament to our commitment not only to protecting the environment but also to fostering innovation in the marine industry.
We are committed to demonstrating that a clean environment and a strong economy can go hand in hand, and that is why Bill is so important to all Canadians. The moratorium is but one of a suite of actions that the government is taking that will strengthen environmental protection, instilling confidence in Canadians that it is possible to have economic growth and to protect the environment, because this is not an either-or proposition.
I have a list of those who have demonstrated and expressed strong support for the passage of Bill , the oil tanker moratorium act. It is quite an exhaustive list: Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, Canadian Union of Postal Workers, Dogwood Initiative, Friends of Wild Salmon Coalition, Haida Gwaii, North West Watch, Skeena Watershed Conservation Coalition, SkeenaWild, and Stand.earth, and there are many more.
We remain open to enable future innovation and technological developments in the transportation of oil that offer a significantly higher level of protection for our waters today and for future generations.
I hope I can count on the support of all hon. members to establish in law an oil tanker moratorium on the north coast of British Columbia. Let us work together so we can continue to create a sustainable future for the generations that will follow.
Mr. Speaker, Bill is one part of the Liberals' plan to phase out Canada's oil and the jobs of hundreds of thousands of Canadians whose livelihoods depend both directly and indirectly on Canadian energy. The Canadian Energy Research Institute has said that every job created in Canadian upstream oil and gas results in the creation of two indirect and three induced jobs in other sectors. From engineers in Edmonton to steel manufacturers in Hamilton and refinery workers in Sarnia and Saint John, Canada's economy depends on Canadian energy.
Canada can and should play a major role in the global future of oil and gas, for which demand will continue to grow. Of the world's top 10 oil and gas producers, Canada and the United States are the only two liberal democracies, yet these Liberals' policies are suffocating Canada's energy sector while the others thrive.
Canada has long been the world's most environmentally and socially responsible oil and gas producer. The Liberals should champion Canada's expertise, innovation, and regulatory know-how. The Liberals should be proud of Canada's track record and of Canada's future in oil and gas, instead of imposing policies and laws to phase it out, like this tanker ban.
As developing countries modernize and the world's middle class grows, oil and natural gas will continue to be the most significant sources for meeting global energy needs. Therefore, the world needs more Canadian energy, and the world wants Canadian oil and gas.
The Liberals constantly undermine Canada's energy sector. They killed energy east with red tape and rural changes and outright vetoed the approved northern gateway pipeline. While the Trans Mountain expansion is at risk and a full-blown crisis is escalating, the Liberals are imposing Bill to ban on and off loading of crude and persistent oils on ports on B.C.'s north coast, which will cut Canada off from the most efficient route to the Asia-Pacific and prevent any new energy infrastructure opportunities to the region. The International Energy Agency estimates that in the past five years, 69% of global oil demand growth has been in the Asia-Pacific and that is expected to grow for decades. Canada needs to supply that demand because the United States is both Canada's biggest energy customer and competitor.
However, Bill is an intentional government-created roadblock that deprives Canadians of potential benefits. The bill will permanently prevent any opportunities for pipelines to transport environmentally and socially responsible Canadian oil to the Prince Rupert-Kitimat area, where it could reach the rapidly growing Asia-Pacific.
Deliberately limiting Canada's export potential by blocking access to tidewater risks the livelihoods of Canadians everywhere. It will put very real limits on future prosperity. Reaching tidewater in all directions for Canada's oil and gas should be a pressing priority. It makes no sense to delay or to equivocate on this from an economic, environmental or moral perspective. Stopping Canadian oil cedes market share to countries where standards, enforcement, and outcomes do not measure up to Canada's performance, to many corrupt regimes with abysmal environmental and human rights records where energy development only benefits a select and wealthy few.
A 2014 WorleyParsons study comparing major oil and gas producing jurisdictions confirmed that Canada maintained the highest level of environmental stringency and compliance, the highest level of regulatory transparency, life-cycle analysis, community consultation, and collaboration with indigenous people in the world. That conclusion echoed several major benchmarking assessments before it. I note that was before the last 2015 election.
Every time the Liberals attack Canada's track record of energy and environmental assessment and evaluation, they empower and embolden anti-Canadian energy activists who are fighting to shut down Canadian oil and gas and exports. That is how the Liberals have created the mess they are in, picking and choosing which energy projects to defend and to attack. For the Liberals, this is about politics, not about facts. Here are the facts.
The safety track record of Canada's energy infrastructure and transportation systems, including pipelines and tankers, has also long been world-leading. The evidence shows tankers have safely and regularly transported crude oil from Canada's west coast since the 1930s.
The previous Conservative government implemented a suite of strong measures to create a world-class tanker safety system, modernized Canada's navigation system, enhanced response planning and marine safety capacity for first nations communities, and ensured that polluters paid for spills and damages on all coasts. Canada already has industry-leading regulations with standards well beyond other jurisdictions on all aspects of tanker safety, pipeline safety, prevention, and response. The Liberals are building on that work.
The average response time of the Western Canada Marine Response Corporation has been 60 minutes for the last 10 years. The Canadian Shipping Act requires this corporation to have the capacity to clean up 10,000 tonnes of oil in 10 days. The largest marine spill to ever occur was on the east coast.
Chief Isaac Laboucan-Avirom of the Woodland Cree First Nation said, “What I don't understand about this tanker moratorium is that there's no other tanker moratorium on other coastlines in Canada. You have oil coming in from Saudi Arabia, up and down the St. Lawrence River right now.”
Therefore, when it comes to tankers bringing in foreign oil along the St. Lawrence River, the answer is yes. When it comes to oil tankers delivering oil from Saudi Arabia to the Irving oil refinery refinery in New Brunswick, the answer is yes. When it comes to continuing operations on offshore oil rigs off the coast of Newfoundland, the answer is yes, but of course not in northern offshore areas near the Northwest Territories, which the Liberals banned against the will of the premier. However, when it comes to opportunities to expand market access, create well-paying jobs for all Canadians, and millions of dollars in economic opportunity for indigenous communities, the answer from the Liberals is no, phase it out.
During a transport committee testimony, first nations were given only 30 minutes to share their opposition to the tanker ban, and spoke of their investment in the Eagle Spirit pipeline project, a $17 billion indigenous-owned corridor and what had been called “the largest first nations endeavour in the world”, which could secure economic opportunities, social benefits, and reduce poverty for at least 35 first nations for generations to come. Bill would undermine the hard work and aspirations of those first nations. It might drive their project into the U.S. too, chasing even more energy investment across the border.
During the committee meeting, which was the only consultation the Liberals offered with directly impacted first nations, Calvin Helin, the chairman and president of Eagle Spirit Energy and a member of the Lax Kw'alaams First Nation, said that the 35 first nations supporting the project, “do not like outsiders, particularly those they view as trust-fund babies coming into the traditional territories they've governed and looked after for over 10,000 years and dictating government policy in their territory.”
||...we set up a chiefs council that represented all of the chiefs from Alberta all the way out to the B.C. coast. They have had a position with a lot of power and control over the environmental aspects and over the project in general, so it was a fairly high hurdle that we sought to meet. They were so satisfied with the environmental model we put forward that they voluntarily voted at their first meeting to support an energy corridor.
The says that the relationship with Canada's indigenous people is the most important to him and that he wants “an opportunity to deliver true, meaningful and lasting reconciliation.” However, his words do not match his actions. This legislation, dictated by the Prime Minister, would block wealth and opportunity for first nations communities.
Gary Alexcee, vice-chair of the Eagle Spirit chiefs council, said:
|| With no consultation, the B.C. first nations groups have been cut off economically with no opportunity to even sit down with the government to further negotiate Bill C-48. If that's going to be passed, then I would say we might as well throw up our hands and let the government come and put blankets on us that are infected with smallpox so we can go away. That's what this bill means to us....Today, the way it sits, we have nothing but handouts that are not even enough to have the future growth of first nations in our communities of British Columbia.
Less than a month after the last election, the directed ministers to work toward this tanker ban. However, the Prime Minister also said that his Liberals would “ensure that decisions are based on science, facts, and evidence, and serve the public’s interest....” How does the Prime Minister expect Canadians to believe that he consulted indigenous communities, industry, and experts with comprehensive assessments of existing environmental and safety records, standards, outcomes, gaps, and comparative analysis of marine traffic rules, enforcement and track records on all Canadian coasts and internationally, and thorough local, regional, and national economic impact in less than a single month? It is a sham anyway, targeting docking and loading at ports of Canadian oil, not banning any other vessels of any other kind or from any other countries. Unfortunately, it is a pattern. Because despite all the talk, voter coalitions, politics, and ideology drive the Liberals' predetermined conclusions, not evidence, facts or consultations.
Alarmingly, foreign funds and interests have also influenced this bill. Before the 2015 election, the Oak Foundation, based in Switzerland, gave a $97,000 grant to the West Coast Environmental Law group to campaign for a change in government, with the express purpose of constraining Canadian oil and gas development “through a legislative ban on crude oil tankers on British Columbia’s north coast.”
The West Coast Environmental Law website says:
|| WCEL aims to establish the conditions under which...opposition parties holding a parliamentary majority work together to enact a legislative tanker ban under a minority government and/or incorporate a ban promise into their manifestos, committing them to act following an election that produces a majority government...
Calvin Helin said:
|| What the chiefs are starting to see a lot now is that there is a lot of underhanded tactics and where certain people are paid in communities and they are used as spokespersons...Essentially (they are) puppets and props...to kill resource development...
He went on to say that it was outrageous and people should be upset about it, that the chiefs were upset.
Eagle Spirit's indigenous leaders say the tanker ban is the result of a lobby campaign by foreign-financed environmental groups. Notably, some of these groups were also involved in a coordinated opposition to the Pacific Northwest LNG project, which the Lax Kw'alaams First Nation members also supported and welcomed after meeting environmental assurances and getting more information, another project that was killed under the government's watch.
The port of the project was to go straight into their traditional territory. Their community has a municipal-like government whose leaders are elected, while their original tribes are represented by the Lax Kw'alaams Hereditary Chiefs' Council.
Calvin Helin wrote:
|| It turns out the Seattle-based Wilberforce Foundation financially supported a local environmental extremist who posed as a hereditary Chief of the Gitwilgyoots tribe.
The Nine Tribes publicly clarified the misrepresentation in May 2016. It was later settled in court.
Calvin Helin went on:
|| The rightful hereditary leadership who had been governing their territory for over ten thousand years were shocked that an outside environmental organization would seek to essentially overthrow their ancient leadership structure....
|| Wilberforce, the California-based Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Hawaii-based Sustainable Fisheries Partnership and others have poured money into anti-LNG campaigns in B.C., as they funded opposition to oilsands development before them. Indeed, the record suggests the long project to establish...the Great Bear Rainforest was a strategy to stop hydrocarbon exports from western Canada, even as U.S. sources ramped up production.
One of the same groups involved in the anti-LNG campaign pushed the Liberals' tanker ban and opposition to the proposed Eagle Spirit project while claiming to be representatives of the Lax Kw'alaams.
In September 2016 the chiefs' council said:
|| [it] does not sanction inviting professional protestors from non-governmental organizations, and non-Lax Kw'alaams First Nations members into their traditional lands in breach of ancient tribal protocols. Conversely, the Nine Tribes of Lax Kw'alaams would never go into another First Nation's territory without first obtaining their permission. The unauthorized action by this renegade group has created needless confusion, damages tribal unity, and is insulting to tribal members.
However, here is the point: when the Liberals, along with the NDP and green activists, propose legislation like Bill to appease those groups, they undermine the will of first nations and their elected leadership. They talk of consultation and reconciliation, but their attack on economic opportunities and their failure to consult and listen to directly impacted indigenous people are the height of hypocrisy. Mayor John Helin, Calvin's brother, is forced to spend time and resources fighting this coalition and Bill in court.
It is stunning to hear Canadian politicians speak of the poverty and socio-economic challenges experienced disproportionately by indigenous Canadians while deliberately using every possible means to block financial opportunities for them and to undermine all their efforts to secure agreements to benefit communities, their youth, and their future.
Five hundred of the 630 first nations in Canada are open to pipelines and to oil and gas development. For example, Fort McKay, near the Athabasca oil sands, has an unemployment rate of zero and financial holdings in excess of $2 billion.
There are 327 indigenous-owned enterprises in Alberta alone that do business with oil and gas operations. Oil sands businesses have conducted more than $10 billion of business with first nations-owned companies.
Chief Jim Boucher of the Fort McKay First Nation says:
|| We have a different view of the oil sands industry than other people who are not close to our neighbourhood. A lot of people are making judgment calls in regards to what they see and hear from environmental groups, which is really contrary to what we believe and what we see in our region.
Responsible oil sands development is a key driver of Alberta's and Canada's economies and creates employment. Even as recently as 2014, nine out of every 10 new full-time jobs created in Canada were created in Alberta, bringing tax revenue for all levels of government to support the social programs and capital infrastructure projects on which everyone depends.
However, Alberta continues to face obstacles to move oil to markets, hostage to the myth that a broad-based carbon tax on everything will buy support for pipelines. Instead, it will disproportionately harm the economy and make it harder for vulnerable, low-income, working poor Canadians everywhere,
This narrative is especially toxic because Alberta was actually the first jurisdiction in all of North America to regulate and report emissions, to set targets for reduction across all sectors, and to implement a targeted carbon levy on major industrial emitters. That was more than a decade ago.
Oil sands developers and workers have led the world in improving sustainable production, enhancing energy efficiency, and minimizing the footprint of development, ensuring air, water, land, and habitat stewardship while working towards complete reclamation. The oil sands are a long-term strategic asset that any country in the world would want to have and that any other national leader would value and promote.
The oil sands are all about innovation. Without new technologies, Alberta would still be sitting on a hydrocarbon resource with no economic value. That is true of the energy sector overall: it is always innovating, adapting, advancing.
In the 1970s an Imperial Oil engineer, Roger Butler, invented a thermal recovery process called steam-assisted gravity drainage. Around roughly the same time, the Alberta government established the Alberta Oil Sands Technology and Research Authority to focus on developing Alberta oil sands that were too deep to mine, which is the vast majority of the resource.
In 1996, the first commercial SAGD project was built at Foster Creek. It went into production six years later. The federal Liberal and provincial Progressive Conservative governments worked together to put in place fiscal and regulatory conditions to unlock this incredible resource.
Securities regulators took notice that deep-lying bitumen could now be recoverable. In 2002, when the Houston-based Oil & Gas Journal released its authoritative estimates of global petroleum reserves, it raised Canada's total proven oil reserves nearly fortyfold, from 4.9 billion barrels to 180 billion barrels. Major authorities followed suit over the next few years.
Alberta is blessed with abundant, accessible, affordable resources, and responsible development is an opportunity for all Canadians, benefiting every community, reducing poverty, and sustaining middle-class jobs. Producing from the oil sands is a technological, innovative, and relatively recent and unique achievement from a private, public, academic, and indigenous partnership of which all Canadians should be very proud.
The Liberals should champion Alberta's oil sands and not phase them out. However, Bill is a clear attack on the oil sands, on pipelines, on Canadian crude oil, on the livelihoods of the hundreds of thousands of Canadians who depend on its success, and it limits Canada's role in the world. I urge all members to vote against the tanker ban.
Mr. Speaker, I rise to speak to Bill on an oil tanker ban on British Columbia's north coast. Canada's New Democrats are pleased that the Liberal government is finally taking action to protect the north coast of British Columbia from crude oil tanker traffic. However, we are concerned that Bill C-48 would give the minister too much arbitrary power to exempt vessels from the ban or to define what fuels would be covered under the act. We hope the government will implement constructive amendments to limit ministerial power and increase spill response resources. We are certainly concerned about the lack of consultation with first nation and other coastal communities.
I want to talk about my colleague, the member for , and the work he did in his riding on the northwest coast with regard to this oil tanker ban. He consulted with many people in communities and first nations. He worked with them and listened to their concerns. What they told him, over many years, was that one oil spill could ruin their way of life. That way of life depends on the ocean: on salmon, on halibut, on shellfish, on a healthy, clean ocean. What he heard was that the risks were too great. They were just not worth it.
Patrick Kelly, chair of the board of Coastal First Nations Great Bear Initiative, wrote an opinion piece called “Opinion: Coastal First Nations affirm support for oil tanker ban on north coast”, which was published February 11, 2018. It reads:
|| The ocean is an integral part of our coastal First Nations cultures, societies and economy. An oil spill in our territorial waters, which includes all of the North and Central coast and Haida Gwaii, would be catastrophic.
|| We understand that large-vessel shipping is essential for our modern economy. Fossil fuel use is a reality we must deal with as we transition to a clean energy future. But we already know that the question is no longer “if” there’s going to be an oil spill, it has already happened. There is no “world class” oil spill clean-up system that will work on the coast. It simply does not exist.
|| The Heiltsuk Nation still has not recovered from the Nathan E. Stewart diesel spill. It may be years before their waters, clam beds and other marine resources are healthy again. The Haida also experienced a near disaster in October 2014 when a 135-metre bulk carrier, the Simushir, lost power in storm-force winds in their territories. The Gitga’at have been impacted by two spills, the MV Zalinski which was carrying Bunker C [fuel] when it sank and the B.C. Ferry, Queen of the North, which sank in 2006. Despite government promises of clean-up, both wreckages still leak fuel.
|| Our identities and culture will cease to exist if the fish, animals, plants, medicines, creatures and birds are compromised. Our way of living and livelihoods has already been severely impacted because of past industrial and commercial unsustainable practices. One example is the decline of fish and fisheries on the coast.
|| Historically, our leaders managed our territories and resources to meet our community needs. Wealth and surpluses were generated when times were good, and this enabled trade and inter-tribal commerce. Governing also meant enforcement of Indigenous laws and protection of lands, seas and resources. We are guided by our potlatched hereditary leaders and elders who have taught us how to balance the economic needs of our people and the need to respect our lands, cultures and environment. They have told us that oil tankers are too risky to our existence and therefore must be kept out of our territories. Consultation has been provided through the clear leadership of the CFN communities.
|| As chiefs and leaders we have a responsibility to leave future generations with a healthy environment and a sustainable economy. This is why we are working with the federal government to develop a fisheries industry that will benefit our communities. It is why we are working with the B.C. government to develop new clean energy strategies which includes First Nations from the outset.
|| CFN, through its Carbon Credit Corp., is now the largest carbon credit seller in Canada and revenues generated from sales are re-invested by each nation to further protect their lands and resources. Collectively, our nations have trained and now employ over 100 stewardship staff and guardians.
|| Our people and communities need jobs and revenue, and we know that the traditional resource sectors alone will not meet growth demands of our nations so we are open to new developments. But new resource or industrial developments must never compromise our natural environment. There is no place for oil tankers on our coast. As Indigenous people who have lived in our territories for more than 14,000 years, as British Columbians, and as Canadians, we have a collective responsibility to protect our lands, waters and resources.
|| The tanker moratorium is good and necessary public policy.
That is a powerful letter, and a powerful statement, and I am glad to have read that into the record.
I got into politics to defend our west coast way of life; the incredible biodiversity we enjoy in the province of British Columbia; the rivers, the lakes, the forests, the mountains, the oceans, the wildlife; and the communities and economies that have developed as a result of that abundance. However, the way we are living now is impacting that abundance and biodiversity. We have species at risk, threatened and endangered, whether it is salmon, steelhead, sturgeon, caribou, or many other species that are SARA listed.
These are real issues, and they are not easy problems to fix, but there needs to be political will to address these problems and to do things differently. We must find ways to live within our means and move to a low-carbon economy, and we need to do that in a just way. We need a just transition to a sustainable way of living.
This is what motivated me to swim the 1,400 kilometre length of the Fraser River, one of the greatest salmon rivers on the planet. The northern gateway Enbridge pipeline project would have crossed hundreds of rivers and streams, going through salmon and fish-bearing rivers and creeks and crossing very steep slopes and mountainous valleys right through the northern part of the Fraser River basin. I was so passionate about bringing my message of sustainability, I swam for three weeks in icy cold water from Mount Robson, in the Fraser's headwaters, to Prince George, down through the Fraser canyon, past Hope, and west past my home community of Coquitlam to the river's mouth, Musqueam territory, in Vancouver, near the Salish Sea.
This was the hardest thing I had ever done in my life, swimming for three weeks in that cold water, but it taught me one thing. It taught me to be resolute, and I committed that I would do everything in my power to encourage people to transition to a sustainable way of living, which includes transitioning in a just and fair way to a low-carbon economy, shifting away from oil and gas and toward renewable forms of energy.
The reasons are clear. The science is overwhelming. The world is burning so much carbon from oil, coal, and gas that we are changing the climate. We have now passed 400 parts per million, a historic high. We are well on our way to an average warming of 2o C, which global scientists warn us will have a dramatic impact on human civilization, our economies, our communities, and all others we share this planet with. That is not just in the future. That is happening now, and we are seeing it in the form of floods, fires, and impacts on our planet.
This means that sometimes we have to say no. We need to say no to things that we know will harm us. This is one of those times. Banning oil tanker traffic off B.C.'s north coast is the right thing to do.
Another one of those times is the Kinder Morgan pipeline project which, if built, is planned to bring a 700% increase in oil tanker traffic to the Vancouver port in Burrard Inlet. For the past two years, my colleague, the member for , has been working hard to raise awareness about the detrimental impacts of that Kinder Morgan project, how the risks far outweigh the benefits of this proposal. He knows, like I do, it is times like these that we must take a strong and principled stand on projects that will not bring prosperity to the country that we love and that we know is full of promise. Worse, it will have a detrimental impact on the existing way of life and on future generations.
I am very disappointed the government is sticking to its decision to move ahead with the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline. This pipeline would triple the amount of tar sands oil being moved to the coast of British Columbia where it will be loaded onto oil tankers and headed out to sea and directly through critical habitat of the endangered southern resident orca, and other marine life. Not only does this significantly increase human caused noise and ship strikes, but it also increases the risk of catastrophic oil spills in southern resident orca habitat, which would be devastating for this endangered iconic species and the entire ecosystem of the Salish Sea.
The government tells us not to worry, that it has everything covered with its so-called oceans protection plan. The problem is the government has no marine mammal response plan for an oil spill. As I and others have said many times in the House, the tankers would be carrying diluted bitumen and there is no technology in place today to clean it up. It simply does not exist. On top of that, the rugged B.C. coastline and often challenging weather conditions can make response efforts extremely difficult.
The government's record and its ability to respond to emergency incidents have been causing many on the B.C. coast concern. Response to the 2015 Marathassa spill in Vancouver's English Bay and the 2016 Nathan B. Stewart spill near Bella Bella proved that Canada's response plan is completely lacking. The government keeps making funding announcements for the oceans protection plan, but all the money in the world will not change the fact that the impact of an oil spill on B.C.'s rugged coast would be devastating.
I want to conclude my remarks by referring to DeSmog's summary of what it wants Canadians to know about Bill .
One, DeSmog indicates that a tanker ban will not ban supertankers of refined oil from the coast. While the proposed legislation does prevent supertankers of crude oil and similar hydrocarbon products from moving in and out of northern ports in large quantities, it does not prevent refined oil products from doing the same. This leaves the door open for future major oil refinery projects on B.C.'s north coast. There are two proposed refineries, one in Kitimat called Kitimat Clean, which would refine 400,000 barrels of oil per day, and the Pacific Future Energy refinery project, which would refine 200,000 barrels per day. Those are the projected refinery amounts.
Two, DeSmog is very concerned that tankers carrying 12,500 tonnes or less of oil are excluded from this ban. This is a huge amount of oil. Once passed, the bill would only prevent vessels carrying more than 12,500 tonnes of crude oil from stopping at coastal ports. This is a big concern to its readers.
Three, DeSmog indicates that the tanker ban would not prevent another Nathan E. Stewart incident from happening. The tanker ban was first announced by the federal government after the travelled to the Heiltsuk territory to witness a diesel spill from the Nathan E. Stewart, a sunken fuel barge. This spill had a devastating impact on the local fishery and shellfish fishery.
Jess Housty, a tribal councillor from the Heiltsuk First Nation said that the tanker ban “changes nothing”. She is adamantly concerned about tanker traffic and the types of products that will be transported off the north coast of where she calls home.
Fourth, DeSmog indicates that the south coast of B.C. near Vancouver and Victoria is still not protected. DeSmog is concerned that this tanker ban would not impact tanker traffic off B.C.'s south coast near the terminus of the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline in the Burnaby-Vancouver port.
The fifth concern that DeSmog would like to bring to the attention of all Canadians is that the details of the banned fuels are subject to change. I talked about ministerial discretion. There is a concern that the tanker ban will prevent the movement of large amounts of crude oil from traversing coastal waters in B.C. and the ban will also cover heavy hydrocarbons known as persistent oils in the schedule. DeSmog is concerned that there are many other types of deleterious substances that will be transported which could have an impact on the coastal way of life.
This is a huge concern to many coastal communities, first nations, and others on Canada's west coast. It is a growing concern to many throughout this great country.
This is a good first step to ban oil tanker traffic off the north coast, but we still have a way to go to deal with the impacts of a changing climate, the impact of losing species at an alarming rate, and transitioning in a just and fair way toward a sustainable way of life.
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 .
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 back in 2010. Today, I am so grateful and appreciative to our for having tabled this bill, Bill , 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 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 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 has done a full and deep job of consulting with people across the country. As the proponent of Bill 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 . 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 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.