George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, has issued the following statement with respect to the Senate Standing Committee on Transport and Communications hearings on Bill C-48 (the Oil Tanker Moratorium Act):
“British Columbia’s northern coast is a unique, ecologically rich marine environment valued internationally and even more so by the communities whose histories and futures are tied to its health and protection.
“Our government has been very clear we are committed to protecting our environment, the economy and our coast from the devastating impact a heavy oil spill would have. British Columbians expect nothing less. We oppose the expansion of the movement of heavy oil through our coastal waters and we have been consistent in this position.
“We acknowledge the measures included in the federal government’s Ocean Protection Plan. However, more investment is needed in marine oil spill preparedness and response along B.C.’s coast to ensure that proven systems are in place to effectively respond to oil spills.
“B.C. is committed to true reconciliation with Indigenous peoples and, in particular, the right of Indigenous peoples to pursue development in keeping with their own needs and aspirations. This means that an informed and meaningful opportunity for dialogue with Indigenous groups whose rights may be impacted is required.
“The Province also acknowledges the outstanding legal challenges on the adequacy of Indigenous consultation and respects the rights of Indigenous nations to bring forward these challenges. As such, we support Bill C-48 on the understanding that the federal government is ensuring fulsome and meaningful consultation with Indigenous communities.”