A Senate committee will hear from incoming premier Jason Kenney today on the federal government’s bill to ban tankers off the British Columbia coast. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Senate committee to hear from new Alberta premier on oil tanker ban bill

EDMONTON — A Senate committee is set to hear today from Albertans — including their new premier — on the federal government’s bill to ban tankers off the British Columbia coast.

The committee on transport and communications is holding public hearings in Edmonton on Bill C-48.

The bill would prohibit oil tankers carrying more than 12,500 tonnes of crude oil in the waters between the northern tip of Vancouver Island and the Alaska border.

The legislation passed in the House of Commons last spring and is being debated in the Senate.

An agenda posted online shows the committee is to hear from incoming premier Jason Kenney of the United Conservative Party, Chief of Ermineskin Cree Nation Craig Makinaw, Mayor Don Scott of the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo, as well as numerous academics from Alberta universities.

The committee heard earlier this month from outgoing NDP premier Rachel Notley, who urged the Senate to toss the bill “in the garbage.”

She said the proposed law is discriminatory because it wouldn’t be able to stop international tanker traffic, but would impede Alberta’s efforts to get oil to new markets.

Notley added that it’s a double standard given that Ottawa supports the liquefied natural gas industry, tankers on the St. Lawrence Seaway and Newfoundland’s Hibernia oil project.

“Let’s show Canadians that 90,000 jobs in downtown Calgary are just as important as 90,000 jobs in downtown Montreal,” Notley said on Apr. 9 via video link from Calgary to senators in Ottawa.

“Don’t block us, back us,” she added.

Kenney has also criticized the tanker bill. He agreed with Notley that it unfairly targets “ethically produced” Alberta oil instead of “dictator oil” imported from overseas.

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