Senate committee to hear from new Alberta premier on oil tanker ban bill - InfoNews

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Senate committee to hear from new Alberta premier on oil tanker ban bill

Premier-designate Jason Kenney addresses the United Conservative caucus in Edmonton on Friday, April 26, 2019.
Image Credit: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
April 30, 2019 - 12:11 PM

EDMONTON - A Senate committee is hearing from Albertans — including their new premier — on the federal government's bill to ban tankers off the British Columbia coast.

The committee on transport and communications is holding public hearings in Edmonton on Bill C-48.

The bill would prohibit oil tankers carrying more than 12,500 tonnes of crude oil in the waters between the northern tip of Vancouver Island and the Alaska border.

The legislation passed in the House of Commons last spring and is being debated in the Senate.

Senators are to hear later in the day from Premier Jason Kenney of the United Conservative party.

They have already heard from Mayor Don Scott of the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo and Chief Craig Makinaw of the Ermineskin Cree Nation.

Both expressed their concerns with the bill.

Scott said it's divisive and would threaten national unity, and it should die on the order paper.

"It should never become law," he said Tuesday morning.

Makinaw said there's a perception that all First Nations are against oil and gas development.

"There's a lot of misinformation and fear mongering," he said.

Senators asked whether they were consulted about the tanker ban and both said they hadn't been.

Makinaw said he's simply asking for a reasonable solution.

"Don't pick winners and losers," he said. "Let's find a way forward where we can all benefit."

Scott added that the bill would fundamentally undermine the community of Fort McMurray and the oilsands.

Several academics from Alberta universities and others from the oil and gas industry are also set to address the committee.

It heard earlier this month from outgoing NDP premier Rachel Notley, who urged the Senate to toss the bill "in the garbage."

She said the proposed law is discriminatory because it wouldn't be able to stop international tanker traffic, but would impede Alberta's efforts to get oil to new markets.

Notley added that it's a double standard given that Ottawa supports the liquefied natural gas industry, tankers on the St. Lawrence Seaway and Newfoundland's Hibernia oil project.

"Let's show Canadians that 90,000 jobs in downtown Calgary are just as important as 90,000 jobs in downtown Montreal," Notley said on April 9 via video link from Calgary to senators in Ottawa.

"Don't block us, back us," she added.

Kenney has also criticized the tanker bill. He agreed with Notley that it unfairly targets "ethically produced" Alberta oil instead of "dictator oil" imported from overseas.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2019
The Canadian Press

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