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

A ball balances on the rim. New basketball court surfaces and nets will be installed as part of the McBride Street Multi-sport Court Redevelopment project to which Pembina donated $20,000. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
Nothing but net for $20,000 Pembina donation

McBride Street multi-sport court redevelopment project in the planning

Ben Spencer has overcome the challenges of having a tenth-grade education and imparts the importance of education by teaching Sm’alygax to students. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
Heart of our city: Ben Spencer

Teacher of traditional language and Sm’alygax fluency

FILE – Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs have agreed to sign a memorandum on rights and title with B.C. and Ottawa, but elected chiefs are demanding it be called off over lack of consultation. (Thom Barker photo)
Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs, Lake Babine Nation get provincial funding for land, title rights

Government says it’s a new, flexible model for future agreements between Canada, B.C. and First Nations.

I want to fly higher. Eva Moore and her brother Leroy Moore are treated to some high pushes from Simon Temple while swinging at Moose Tot Park on April 15. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
Photo Gallery: Prince Rupert tots enjoy fun in the sun

Warmer weather is attracting kids of all ages to play outside

The property on which a residential school (pictured) that was torn down years ago in Lower Post is to be the location of a cultural centre. (Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre photo)
Lower Post residential school building to be demolished, replaced with cultural centre

Project to be funded by federal and provincial governments, Daylu Dena Council

Vancouver resident Beryl Pye was witness to a “concerning,” spontaneous dance party that spread throughout social groups at Kitsilano Beach on April 16. (Screen grab/Beryl Pye)
VIDEO: Dance party erupts at Vancouver’s Kitsilano Beach to the dismay of onlookers

‘It was a complete disregard for current COVID-19 public health orders,’ says Vancouver resident Beryl Pye

Lord Tweedsmuir’s Tremmel States-Jones jumps a player and the goal line to score a touchdown against the Kelowna Owls in 2019. The face of high school football, along with a majority of other high school sports, could significantly change if a new governance proposal is passed at the B.C. School Sports AGM May 1. (Malin Jordan)
Power struggle: New governance model proposed for B.C. high school sports

Most commissions are against the new model, but B.C. School Sports (BCSS) and its board is in favour

Pall Bearers carrying the coffin of the Duke of Edinburgh, followed by the Prince of Wales, left and Princess Anne, right, into St George’s Chapel for his funeral, at Windsor Castle, in Windsor, England, Saturday April 17, 2021. (Danny Lawson/Pool via AP)
Trudeau announces $200K donation to Duke of Edinburgh award as Prince Philip laid to rest

A tribute to the late prince’s ‘remarkable life and his selfless service,’ the Prime Minister said Saturday

B.C. homeowners are being urged to take steps to prepare for the possibility of a flood by moving equipment and other assets to higher ground. (J.R. Rardon)
‘Entire province faces risk’: B.C. citizens urged to prepare for above-average spring flooding

Larger-than-normal melting snowpack poses a threat to the province as warmer weather touches down

Vancouver-based Doubleview Gold Corp. is developing claims in an area north of Telegraph Creek that occupies an important place in Tahltan oral histories, said Chad Norman Day, president of the Tahltan Central Government. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO)
B.C. Indigenous nation opposes mineral exploration in culturally sensitive area

There’s “no way” the Tahltan would ever support a mine there, says Chad Norman Day, president of its central government

Stz’uminus Elder George Harris, Ladysmith Mayor Aaron Stone, and Stz’uminus Chief Roxanne Harris opened the ceremony. (Cole Schisler photo)
Symbolic red dresses rehung along B.C. highway after vandals tore them down

Leaders from Stz’uminus First Nation and the Town of Ladysmith hung new dresses on Sat. April 17

A Western toadlet crosses the centre line of Elk View Road in Chilliwack on Aug. 26, 2010. A tunnel underneath the road has since been installed to help them migrate cross the road. Saturday, April 24 is Save the Frogs Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Progress File)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of April 18 to 24

Save the Frogs Day, Love Your Thighs Day and Scream Day are all coming up this week

Local carpenter Tyler Bohn embarked on a quest to create the East Sooke Treehouse, after seeing people build similar structures on a Discovery Channel show. (East Sooke Treehouse Facebook photo)
PHOTOS: B.C. carpenter builds fort inspired by TV’s ‘Treehouse Masters’

The whimsical structure features a wooden walking path, a loft, kitchen – and is now listed on Airbnb

The Attorney General’s Ministry says certain disputes may now be resolved through either a tribunal or the court system, pending its appeal of a B.C. Supreme Court decision that reduced the tribunal’s jurisdiction. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Court of Appeal grants partial stay in ruling on B.C. auto injuries

B.C. trial lawyers challenged legislation brought in to cap minor injury awards and move smaller court disputes to the Civil Resolution Tribunal

Most Read