Karen McCrimmon, OMM, CD, MP
249 Wellington Street Room 118
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A6
March 14, 2018
Dear Ms. McCrimmon,
Thank you for the opportunity to share my thoughts on various transport-related issues. As the Member of Parliament for Saanich-Gulf Islands, and the Leader of the Green Party of Canada, I have engaged on many transport-related issues, be it in the House of Commons or in my riding. I have briefly summarized my thoughts on some of these issues below.
I was glad to hear the federal government confirm it will be contributing to financing the proposed Lac-Mégantic rail bypass, the construction of which I have long supported. Residents of Lac-Mégantic, many of whom are still affected by post-traumatic stress from the derailment, deserve to live in peace and security. Hazardous trains should not travel through downtown Lac-Mégantic, and I hope the government will act quickly in building this rail bypass.
It appears that Transport Canada has no intention to put in place proper regulation and setbacks for liquefied natural gas (LNG) tankers and proposed transit routes. The LNG project in Squamish, B.C., should never have been approved without a clear regulatory framework for setback zones for LNG tankers. Approving LNG projects that drive up Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions hinders the efforts to meet our targets under the Paris agreement.
The expansion of the Ridley Terminals Inc. will further hinder any action in the face of the climate crisis. Like the now-shuttered asbestos industry, it is wrong for Canada to profit from the export of coal destined to be burned in foreign power plants to create pollution and dirty energy abroad, while at the same time we work to eliminate its use within Canada. We must do our part by curtailing the export of thermal coal from Canadian ports.
Bill C-69, An Act to enact the Impact Assessment Act and the Canadian Energy Regulator Act, to amend the Navigation Protection Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts, should never have been presented as part of an omnibus bill. However, the navigable waters section of the bill holds out hope that protections will be restored for some of the waterways that were left vulnerable under Harper. But it provides for a strange and convoluted process whereby it must be proved that a waterway is used by humans for navigation before it can be added to the protected list. The Navigation Protection Act does not go far enough to restore protections for Canada’s waterways. I look forward to the bill being studied at committee, and hope that it may be improved with amendments.
As you know, I presented amendments to the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities on Bill C-64, the Wrecked, Abandoned or Hazardous Vessels Act. I am pleased with the progress this government has made on the issue of derelict vessels, which is such a pressing issue in our coastal communities. I hope that Transport Canada will be given adequate resources to aid communities with the management and disposal of derelict vessels.
I also introduced a Private Member’s Bill in December 2017: Bill C-387, An Act to continue VIA Rail Canada Inc. under the name VIA Rail Canada and to make consequential amendments to other Acts. I hope the government will support this effort to ensure VIA Rail, as a crown corporation, is governed by the laws of Canada, with a mandate to expand passenger rail service, to modernize passenger rail service, and to ensure that our key routes as they now exist are protected. It is similar to Bill C-370, presented by the honourable member for London-Fanshawe. Ideally, these two bills would be brought together as one and brought forward by the Honourable Minister of Transport to increase its chances of passage in the House of Commons.
While there are many other relevant issues that may fall under your mandate as parliamentary secretary, those mentioned above are some of the most pressing in my mind. I would be happy to meet with you and your staff to discuss these and other issues further.
Elizabeth May, O.C.
Member of Parliament
Leader of the Green Party of Canada
A PDF copy of the original submission is available here.