The Senate’s Transportation and Communications committee has in effect voted to reject bill C-48.
The Oil Tanker Moratorium Act described as a “stampede of stupid” by former premier Rachel Notley, received a 6-6 vote from the Senate committee forcing it back to the full chamber for debate.
The bill–if put into effect as currently written–would prohibit tankers carrying 12,500 tonnes oil from docking from the northern tip of Vancouver Island to the Alaska border. This policy has been called out by some for providing a weird East/West dichotomy as the Port of Montreal handled five million tons of crude in 2018 alone.
A 6-6 vote functions as a rejection as the committee requires a majority to support a bill. It is essential to point out that while the Senate committee has rejected the proposal, the Liberal Senate could and will likely bring the bill back.
The tie vote occurred as a result of the committee’s five Conservative members as well as Alberta independent Senator Paula Simons voting against.
Senator Simons has posted a Twitter thread detailing why she voted against C-48, noting that she was “appointed by the prime minister to be independent and represent” and that while “he may not agree with her vote”, she feels like she lived up to the trust the PM and Albertans at large placed in her.
You can view the full thread here.
Senator Simons was not alone in her worry regarding potentially damaging results if C-48 went through.
According to the CBC, Alberta Sen. Doug Black took a far harsher line than Senator Simons commenting that the bill goes through, it would be the only oil tanker ban in the world.
“Through testimony, it became clearer day over day over day that in fact, the government is pursuing this tanker ban because the prime minister made a political commitment in the last campaign. No research, no development, no investment, no meaningful consultation with First Nations,” he said.
Newly elected Alberta Premier Jason Kenney also tweeted in support, writing that “This is a victory for common sense & economic growth.”
Some journalists such as David Staples even called the bill out for being “repulsive and discriminatory.”
While many in the West have celebrated, as noted above, the Senate can and will likely bring the bill back for a third reading, potentially after discussing the committee’s report sometime next week.
At this point, the only thing really holding back a decision is the national sentiment. With the Trudeau government free-falling in the polls, but desperately needing the green ideology motivated seats in southern B.C., voter pressure could be building on their government to push forward radical policies.
What do you think will occur? Will the Senate and the government accept the committee’s recommendations?
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