Garneau slipped up by acknowledging the real reason the Liberals are driving the bill through parliament, in the teeth of fierce opposition
Marc Garneau probably wished he were back on the space shuttle. The transport minister — the government’s point person on C-48, the oil tanker moratorium act that is currently being dismembered by uncooperative senators — was called upon to defend the bill before the Senate transport and communications committee Tuesday.
The committee is made up of Conservatives and Liberal-appointed independent senators, who are proving more non-aligned than the government might wish.
Paula Simons, a former journalist who is now an independent senator representing Alberta, suggested to Garneau that Bill C-69 (the government’s environmental assessment reform that is also bogged down in the Senate) is a robust piece of legislation that would subject any plans for a new port on the west coast to the same rigorous scrutiny as any new pipeline. “Isn’t C-48 superfluous and redundant?” she asked.
Garneau brushed off the suggestion by saying C-48 is specific to a region — namely, it prohibits tankers carrying “persistent” oil (a defined list that includes crude but does not include propane or liquified natural gas) from unloading at ports on the west coast, from the northern tip of Vancouver Island to the Alaskan border.
But he slipped up by acknowledging the real reason the Liberals are intent on driving the bill through parliament, in the teeth of fierce opposition: “It follows from an election promise that was made.”