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

Penticton, Kelowna, Osoyoos among most searched travel spots for Canadians

New data from Google shows many Canadians are searching for a vacation in the Okanagan

Kelowna man convicted of not paying taxes after turbulent trial

Man claims he doesn’t meet the definition of a ‘person’ under the federal Income Tax Act

UPDATE: Fire near Wood Lake a “smoke chase”

A water bomber reportedly took off from Penticton and is on the way to Lake Country

Accused in Kelowna’s 2018 Canada Day killing granted bail more than 1.5 years later

Esa Carriere was stabbed to death during the Canada Day fireworks in downtown Kelowna in 2018

Nakusp and Westbank First Nation groups meet to discuss regional partnerships

New Nakusp sawmill, restoration of old youth centre were some topics of discussion

‘Don’t kill my mom’: Ryan Reynolds calls on young British Columbians to be COVID-smart

‘Deadpool’ celebrity responds to premier’s call for social influence support

Captain Horvat’s OT marker lifts Canucks to 4-3 win over Blues

Vancouver takes 2-0 lead in best-of-7 NHL playoff series with St. Louis

Vernon pedestrian struck dies from injuries

Emergency responders are on scene on Main Street near the CIBC, traffic affected

Widow of slain Red Deer doctor thanks community for support ahead of vigil

Fellow doctors, members of the public will gather for a physically-distanced vigil in central Alberta

Protesters showcase massive old yellow cedar as Port Renfrew area forest blockade continues

9.5-foot-wide yellow cedar measured by Ancient Forest Alliance campaigners in Fairy Creek watershed

Taking dog feces and a jackhammer to neighbourhood dispute costs B.C. man $16,000

‘Pellegrin’s actions were motivated by malice …a vindictive, pointless, dangerous and unlawful act’

Two people dead after Highway 1 collision west of Kamloops

Two-vehicle accident closed Trans-Canada Highway for more than five hours

Racist stickers at Keremeos pub leaves group uneasy and angry

The ‘OK’ hand gesture is a known hate-symbol

Most Read