A ship is moored in Prince Rupert, B.C. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)

Oil tanker ban off B.C. will divide country, Senate committee says

Senate alleges bill is based on belief that Liberals have few seats to lose in Alberta, Saskatchewan

A Senate committee says the Trudeau government’s bill to ban oil tanker traffic off B.C.’s northern coast will divide the country, inflame separatist sentiment in Alberta and stoke resentment of Indigenous Peoples.

Worse, the Senate’s transportation and communications committee says the bill is a cynical, intentional bid to cripple the economy of Prairie provinces, particularly Alberta, and curry political favour elsewhere in the country.

And the committee says it’s driven by the calculation that the ruling Liberals have few seats to lose in Alberta and Saskatchewan.

Those conclusions are contained in the committee’s report on Bill C-48, which formalizes the moratorium on tanker traffic in the ecologically sensitive waters off northern B.C.

The committee last month passed a motion to kill the bill, supported by Conservative members and Independent Sen. Paula Simons, who represents Alberta.

The report, written by committee chair and Conservative Sen. David Tkachuk, explains why the committee believes the government should not proceed with the bill; it was approved late Monday on division — that is, without a recorded vote, but noting some opposition.

The Senate as a whole must now decide whether to accept or reject the report and its recommendation to kill the bill.

The report has a sharp, partisan flavour, including an assertion that the bill is “not as advertised” — the same tag line Conservatives use in a series of ads attacking Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Combined with other Trudeau government measures like rejecting the Northern Gateway pipeline proposal and proposing more stringent environmental assessment rules for energy projects, the report argues the Liberals are “land-locking Prairie oil” and telling Alberta and Saskatchewan “that they have a lesser place in Confederation.”

“This is not just a matter of dampening the economic interests of specific provinces. It is a nationally corrosive and divisive policy which pits one region against another, inflaming separatist sentiment and stoking a misplaced resentment of Indigenous Canadians,” the report says.

READ MORE: Striking a balance with the oil tanker moratorium

The ban on tankers carrying diluted bitumen from Alberta’s oil sands appears to be ”intentionally designed to damage the economy of western Canada,” rendering the bill “both divisive and discriminatory,” the report adds, going on to say that ”targeting one region of Canada for economic punishment is unconstitutional and destructive to the fabric of Canadian federalism.”

The report also maintains that the bill is “motivated above all else by partisan political considerations” — the Liberals have only three seats in Alberta and one in Saskatchewan, compared to 17 in B.C. — and says it’s ”deeply inappropriate for a ruling political party to consider only the regions of Canada where it is electorally competitive when crafting legislation.”

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Clearwater mayor unimpressed with Forest Minister’s inaction on local tenure transfer

Mayor Merlin Blackwell says he’s ready to lead delegation to Victoria

Editor, The Times

Local vet valued for compassion and professionalism

Editor, The Times

Re: The World Thru the Eyes of the Rambling Man

Last weekend on the ice

This week’s featured player is #6 Zoey Fehr from the Clearwater atom Icehawks

District councillor trying to bring Men’s Sheds to Clearwater

Men’s Shed program gives members the opportunity to socialize and take on community projects

HIGHLIGHTS: Day one and two at the 2020 BC Winter Games

Athletes had sunny – but cold – weather to work with in Fort St. John

Zamboni driver, 42, earns NHL win over Maple Leafs

Emergency goalie called into action for Carolina Hurricanes

Governor general says multiple solutions needed for ‘complicated’ overdose issue

Julie Payette met at a fire hall with firefighters and police officers as well as politicians and health experts

Landlord ordered to pay $11K after harassing B.C. mom to move days after giving birth

Germaine Valdez was pressured to move just a few days after giving birth by C-section to her child

Heart attacks strike B.C. husband and wife just over one year apart

Courtenay couple share personal stories to bring awareness to heart month

‘Nothing surprises us anymore:’ U.S. border officials find brain in package

U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents found the brain packed in a glass mason jar in a Canada Post shipment

B.C., Ottawa sign sweeping 30-year deal for northern caribou habitat

West Moberly, Saulteau co-manage new protection on two million acres

Eyes on police after Trudeau orders blockades torn down, injunctions enforced

The RCMP in B.C. have sent a letter to the traditional leaders of the Wet’suwet’en Nation

B.C. massage therapist suspended following allegations of sexual misconduct

While suspended, Leonard Krekic is not entitled to practice as an RMT in B.C.

Most Read