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

Just Posted

Nanoose Bay carver goes all-in on projects

Bellis creates eight-foot totem as Christmas gift for wife

Oceanside RCMP auxiliary officer earns top honour for volunteer work

Dally presented special award by Island Commander

‘A really kind person’: Parksville’s Nick Major remembered by instructor

Outpouring of support in the days following death of young man

Qualicum Beach council talks East Village plans, traffic calming

Ideas floated for village as a pedestrian-friendly area attracting tech, digital arts industry

VIDEO: Young couple found dead in northern B.C. had been shot, police say

Chynna Noelle Deese of the U.S. and Lucas Robertson Fowler of Australia were found along Highway 97

VIDEO: Man found dead near B.C. teens’ truck could be linked to a double homicide

RCMP said they are looking for Kam McLeod, 19, and Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, of Port Alberni

Latest plan is to fly trapped fish by helicopter over Big Bar slide

Multi-pronged plan set in motion to freesalmon blocked by landslide in the Fraser River

Family of missing B.C. senior with dementia frustrated with situation, heartened by community support

Nine days since Grace was last seen the question remains: ‘How can an 86-year-old just disappear?’

Police ask for help locating missing men last seen in South Surrey

Jeep that Richard Scurr and Ryan Provencher were in has been located unoccupied in Logan Lake: RCMP

Islanders have new cancer screening option with $6.5 M diagnostic suite in Victoria

The Gordon Heys Family PET/CT Suite was unveiled at the BC Cancer Centre-Victoria

Unsealed record suggests U.S. man convicted of murdering Vancouver Island couple left DNA on zip tie in 1987

William Talbott is set to be sentenced Wednesday in the murders of Jay Cook and Tanya Van Cuylenborg

Vancouver Island teens missing after vehicle found ablaze near Dease Lake, BC

RCMP say a body discovered nearby not one of the missing teens

B.C. Ferries crew member’s medical emergency causes cancellations on Nanaimo route

One sailing from West Vancouver and one sailing from Nanaimo cancelled Monday

Most Read