Private Member’s bill takes aim at North Coast oil tanker ban

MP Bachrach vows to fight attempt of repealling the moratoreum

Taylor Bachrach speaks during the Special committee Covid-19 pandemic in June 2020. The Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP is firmly opposed to a Conservative Private Member’s Bill to repeal the North Coast moratorium on Oil Tankers. (File photo)

Taylor Bachrach speaks during the Special committee Covid-19 pandemic in June 2020. The Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP is firmly opposed to a Conservative Private Member’s Bill to repeal the North Coast moratorium on Oil Tankers. (File photo)

An Alberta Conservative MP has introduced a private member’s bill to repeal restrictions on oil shipments from the north coast of British Columbia.

Bill C-229, “An act to repeal certain restrictions on shipping,” was tabled Oct. 28 by Edmonton-Centre MP James Cumming, taking direct aim at Bill C-48, the Oil Tanker Moratorium Act, passed last year. Cumming acknowledged the bill has little chance of succeeding, but said it was important to send a message on behalf of the Alberta oil industry, a key driver of the Canadian economy.

”[The moratorium] is an overt attack on Alberta’s resource sector,” Cumming said. “Some have suggested that my bill, Bill C-229, is a waste of a private member’s bill, but frankly, given the absolute sorry state of this country, it is anything but a waste. This bill would right a wrong and fix an incredibly discriminatory piece of legislation.”

Over concerns of severe environmental damage to B.C.’s coastline, a voluntary exclusion zone for oil tanker traffic has been in place along the north coast since the 1970s. Last year the Liberal government formalized the measure with the passing of Bill C-48, the Oil Tanker Moratorium Act, which banned the transport of more than 12,500 metric tonnes of oil between the northern tip of Vancouver Island to the Alaska border.

Bachrach said repealing the bill would place coastal livelihoods at risk, trample Indigenous right and threaten the integrity of the North Coast and Haida Gwaii, what he called one of Canada’s greatest natural treasures.

“Of course, on paper the oil industry continues to promise all manner of technology to respond to every situation and contingency, but … there is very little that can be done when the guy steering the boat falls asleep and runs it into the rocks,” Bachrach said, referring to a 190,000-litre diesel fuel spill near Bella Bella in 2016.

READ MORE: Senate to hold hearings in northwest B.C. on controversial oil tanker ban

“Indeed, it is striking that this bill comprises only a single clause, which repeals the oil tanker moratorium wholly and replaces it with, wait for it, absolutely nothing. It offers no alternative measures to protect the north coast. It does nothing to consider the views of the indigenous people and the communities in the area that is most affected.”

The moratorium ended plans for $7.9-billion Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline, running diluted bitumen 1,170 kilometres from the Alberta oil sands to a proposed shipping terminal in Kitimat.

A proposal by Eagle Spirit Energy for an Indigenous-owned pipeline along the same route was also stalled.

In the House of Commons Cumming devoted a considerable portion of his time to the importance of environmental protections, saying it’s a mistake to cripple energy companies investing heavily in green technology.

“Private sector innovation is what is going to lead us into the future and provide us with the technology we need to shift to global sustainability,” Cumming said.

“[But] by 2019, 100,000 jobs in this [energy] sector had already been lost because of Liberal policies. Capital investment in Canada’s oil and natural gas sector has dropped by over half since 2014. I cannot imagine what these statistics would mean in other industries, and what the reaction of the government would be.”

In October last year Calgary-based Melius Energy got around oil-tanker restrictions by using modified shipping containers to move bitumen by rail from Edmonton to the Port of Prince Rupert. The oil had been processed into a semi-solid form, to the consistency of butter, so it wouldn’t leak or mix with the natural environment if spilled.

The company said the demonstration was proof-of-concept that bitumen could be moved safely and efficiently through B.C., in adherence to Canada’s regulatory framework.

READ MORE: Prince Rupert final Canadian stop in first successful shipment of semi-solid bitumen, what are the impacts?

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

Just Posted

An aerial shot of Cedar Valley Lodge this past August, LNG Canada’s newest accommodation for workers. This is where several employees are isolating after a COVID-19 outbreak was declared last Thursday (Nov. 19). (Photo courtesy of LNG Canada)
41 positive COVID-19 cases associated with the LNG Canada site outbreak

Thirty-four of the 41 cases remain active, according to Northern Health

Snowplowing isn’t really our favourite pastime but it is something we have been doing a lot of lately. Winter is here folks get your shovels out! (Angelique Houlihan photo/Houston Today)
Canadian’s favourite pastime

Snowplowing isn’t really our favourite pastime but it is something we have… Continue reading

grad
Raising money

Recently 2021 grad and parents sorted through all the bottles they have… Continue reading

RCMP
Big shout out to Houston RCMP

A Houston resident submitted this photo of Houston RCMP lending a hand… Continue reading

A woman wears a protective face covering to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as she walks along the seawall in North Vancouver Wednesday, November 25, 2020.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
911 new COVID-19 cases, 11 deaths as B.C. sees deadliest week since pandemic began

Hospitalizations reach more than 300 across the province

More than 60 cm of snow has fallen at Ulkatcho First Nation near Anahim Lake in the Chilcotin since a snowfall warning went into effect Thursday, Nov. 26. (Graham West photo)
VIDEO: More than 60 cm of snowfall in Chilcotin since Thursday, Nov. 26

Graham West of Ulkatcho First Nation captures the scene on video

Screenshot of Pastor James Butler giving a sermon at Free Grace Baptist Church in Chilliwack on Nov. 22, 2020. The church has decided to continue in-person services despite a public health order banning worship services that was issued on Nov. 19, 2020. (YouTube)
2 Lower Mainland churches continue in-person services despite public health orders

Pastors say faith groups are unfairly targeted and that charter rights protect their decisions

A big job: Former forests minister Doug Donaldson stands before a 500-year-old Douglas fir in Saanich to announce preservation of some of B.C.’s oldest trees, July 2019. (B.C. government)
B.C. returning to ‘stand-alone’ forests, rural development ministry

Horgan says Gordon Campbell’s super-ministry doesn’t work

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Alexandre Bissonnette, who pleaded guilty to a mass shooting at a Quebec City mosque, arrives at the courthouse in Quebec City on February 21, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mathieu Belanger - POOL
Court strikes down consecutive life sentences; mosque shooter has prison term cut

The decision was appealed by both the defence and the Crown

Gold medallists in the ice dance, free dance figure skating Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, of Canada, pose during their medals ceremony at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Charlie Riedel
Olympic champions Virtue, Moir and Tewksbury among 114 Order of Canada inductees

Moir and Virtue catapulted to national stardom with their gold-medal performances at the Winter Olympics in 2018

Shoppers line up in front of a shop on Montreal’s Saint-Catherine Street in search of Black Friday deals in Montreal, Friday, Nov. 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Black Friday shopping in a pandemic: COVID-19 closes some stores, sales move online

Eric Morris, head of retail at Google Canada, says e-commerce in Canada has doubled during the pandemic.

School District 27 announced the first confirmed case of COVID-19 this week (Nov. 23) at Lake City Secondary School Williams Lake campus. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Entire gym class at northern B.C. high school isolating after confirmed COVID case

Contact tracing by Interior Health led to the quarantine

Most Read