It is far too dangerous to have oil tankers along B.C.’s coast

Elizabeth May

Mr. Speaker, I am going to use my time to put a question to the parliamentary secretary, and in the context of that, answer the question from the member for Foothills.

This ban on the north coast of British Columbia against large oil tankers has been in place since 1972. It was only under the previous prime minister, Mr. Harper, that it was removed. It was honoured by every government, including Progressive Conservative governments between 1972 up to 2012.

I am originally from Cape Breton, and I asked those questions early on, and the reason it is different from the east coast has a lot to do with the intense ocean current action of the Hecate Strait and Dixon Entrance. These areas have an intensity far more than any of our coastal areas off Atlantic Canada. As well, geographically, what we used to call the Queen Charlotte Islands—Haida Gwaii—are right up against those channels. It is far too dangerous to have oil tankers on that coast, and the tankers on the B.C. coast are the only ones shipping dilbit. None in Atlantic Canada ship dilbit, which cannot be cleaned up.

Karen McCrimmon – Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for her education. I appreciate knowing that.

Knowing what the product is being transported, how it is going to act when it hits the water, and how currents are going to affect that product are absolutely key. We are undertaking that research to make sure we understand what that product would do, but we are not done yet.