Bill C-48 — the Oil Tanker Moratorium Act — would prohibit oil tankers carrying more than 12,500 tonnes of certain types of oil from stopping or unloading at ports on B.C.'s North Coast. (Chris Corday/CBC)

Bill C-48 — the Oil Tanker Moratorium Act — would prohibit oil tankers carrying more than 12,500 tonnes of certain types of oil from stopping or unloading at ports on B.C.’s North Coast. (Chris Corday/CBC)

A federal ban on tanker traffic off BC’s north coast has been defeated in a Senate committee.

On a 6-6 vote, the Senate’s transportation and communications committee rejected Bill C-48 Wednesday night.

The bill would put into a law a rule forbidding ships carrying more than 12,500 tonnes of crude oil from loading or unloading between the northern tip of Vancouver Island and the Alaska border.

Sen. Paula Simons of Alberta cast the deciding vote against amending or advancing the bill. She said she felt it was her duty as an Alberta senator to vote against it in its current form.

“I am very aware of how extraordinarily beautiful and sensitive that particular ecosystem is and I very much want to see it protected. But Bill C-48 was not going to give that strip of land and sea the protection it rightly deserved,” she said.

“And at the same time, it was going to so severely prejudice Alberta’s energy industry that in good conscience as an Alberta senator, I could not vote in favour of the bill unamended.”

Conservatives in the Senate say defeating the bill is a win for Canada’s energy industry.

The House of Commons passed the bill a week ago and its failure in a Senate committee doesn’t mean it’s dead, but the vote is a defeat for the Trudeau Liberals.

Along with Bill C-69, which is meant to reform the federal assessment process for national-scale construction projects, Bill C-48 has enraged many backers of the Canadian oil industry, including Alberta Premier Jason Kenney.

 

with files from CP and CBC

 

Ben O'Hara