Private member’s bill to repeal North Coast oil tanker ban defeated

The House of Commons voted down a private members bill yesterday that would have repealed the oil tanker moratorium on British Columbia's North Coast. 

The moratorium, which was put into place in June 2019, restricts tankers carrying more than 12,500 metric tons of crude oil or persistent oil products from stopping at any port in British Columbia north of Vancouver Island. 

The Conservative Party of Canada has staunchly opposed the ban, arguing it will damage Canada's energy sector. Last year, Conservative MP James Cumming submitted a bill to scrap it entirely.

In yesterday's vote, the bill was solely supported by all Conservative MPs as well as two independents.

Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Taylor Bachrach has been a vocal advocate for keeping the moratorium in place. He said he was pleased to see the bill defeated.

"There are over 50 years of hard work by communities that got us this tanker moratorium, and I don't think people are willing to let it slip through our fingers so quickly."

The bill to scrap the tanker ban lacked support from other parties in parliament, and Bachrach himself said he was optimistic it would be defeated. Nonetheless, he said it was still important to stand against it.

"We need to take every opportunity to make sure that people across the country know that our coast is a special place and that we're not willing to accept the risk of oil spills on our environment."

Bachrach also highlighted the work of Indigenous communities in advocating for a tanker ban. He said that yesterday's vote was a testament to their strength.

"When I talk to Indigenous leaders up and down the coast, they remain really resolute in wanting to protect our wild salmon and wanting to protect our coastal resources from that threat of oil spills. So certainly yesterday, when I cast my vote, I was thinking of all the indigenous communities up and down our coast and all of the communities that rely on the ocean and rely on our marine environment for sustenance and for economic development."

The moratorium is set to undergo a mandatory review in 2024.