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

Plane crashes in Okanagan Lake

RCMP say wheels left down caused landing plane to overturn on lake

Mellalieu running for Greens again in Central-Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola

Robert Mellalieu ran for federal Green Party in 2015 election and provincial Greens in 2017

Where is your water before you drink it?

A new water facility official opens in Lake Country

Lake Country celebrates clean water project completion

New raw water reservoir site means safe drinking water for residents

Multiple crashes slow traffic on Coquihalla south of Kamloops

Drivers are expected to be stuck for up to 90 minutes

Video shows fireworks shot at swan in Alberta

Alberta Fish and Wildlife is investigating the incident in Grande Prairie

Man accused of assault at South Okanagan beach gets bail

Thomas Brayden Kruger-Allen was granted bail at the Penticton provincial courthouse on Monday

‘Text neck’ causing bone spurs to grow from millennials’ skulls, researchers say

Technology use from early childhood causing abnormal bone growths in 41 per cent of young adults

B.C. teen killed by fallen tree on field trip remembered as hero

13-year-old Tai Caverhill was the first to spot the tree falling and warned his friends

Surrey RCMP raises Pride flag amid din of protesters

There were about 30 protesters on either side, and 20 Mounties doing crowd control

Should B.C. get rid of Daylight Saving Time?

The province wants to know, as state governments down south make the move

Air Canada reviewing how crew left sleeping passenger on parked plane

In a Facebook post, the woman said she woke up ‘all alone’ on a ‘cold dark’ aircraft

Canadians crash out of Women’s World Cup in 0-1 loss to Sweden

Canada missed a chance to tie the game on a penalty shot

Four-year-old boy assaulted at B.C. soccer game

It happened at a weekend tournament in Ashcroft

Most Read