“Today, one of my first acts as Alberta’s new Premier was to appear before the Senate committee reviewing Bill C-48 — which would ban Canadian oil tankers off much of Canada’s west coast — to defend our province and add my grave concerns to the growing list of voices calling for this arbitrary, illogical and discriminatory bill to be killed.
“Our government is proud to stand up for Alberta’s 151,000 energy workers, its economy and its future. Bill C-48 is only part of a massive attack on Alberta’s — and Canada’s — natural resource economy under the current federal government’s agenda. And we will continue to fight back, because our track record in protecting the environment, our commitment to leadership in innovation and, above all, our success in sharing those benefits throughout the Canadian economy, are unmatched.
“This bill has been referred to as an oil tanker ban on Canada’s northern west coast. It’s actually a ban against oil only from Alberta. For example, Canada cannot stop foreign oil tankers passing through the same waters in which Alberta oil is banned. Loaded foreign oil tankers will continue to travel the British Columbia coast between Alaska and Washington. The result is two sets of laws here — one for Alberta oil, another for foreign oil.
“The bill also shows how deeply hypocritical and inconsistent the federal government is towards energy transportation along Canada’s coastlines. On the east coast, oil tankers are welcome through the environmentally sensitive areas of the St. Lawrence. They are even allowed to sail across the newest addition to Marine Protected Areas, the Laurentian Channel. Oil tankers regularly travel through the Bay of Fundy to Irving Refineries in Saint John. The Bay of Fundy is, of course, a well-known environmentally and culturally sensitive area. So why wouldn’t this legislation also apply there?
“Why is Alberta oil being singled out for attack? It is illogical and discriminatory, and its only justification is that it serves the current federal government’s desire to suffocate Alberta’s energy industry.
“If the defects I and many others have outlined are not addressed and Bill C-48 is forced through against the wishes of the Alberta government and many First Nations, the federal government will be responsible for an entirely avoidable threat to Canada’s economic union and to our national unity.”