Bill C-48 Ignores Canada’s East Coast + World Tanker Activity. Why?

What is Bill C-48? In short, it’s a piece of legislation that will absolutely destroy future opportunities for Canada's oil and gas industry to export oil by banning petroleum tanker traffic off the coast of British Columbia.

This ban extends from the northern tip of Vancouver Island to Alaska, shutting down any opportunities to export oil to international markets other than the United States (Canada's only customer, who buys >99% of our oil).

This bill means no to potential energy infrastructure projects like the Eagle Spirit Pipeline which is led by a large group of First Nations looking to benefit from the development of Canada's natural resources.

It also means no to thousands of families in Western Canada and across the nation that rely on oil and gas to make ends meet.

It’s a big no to increased tax revenues that help our governments pay for things like schools, hospitals, roads and everything in between.

A more formal, detailed version of what Bill C-48 is saying no to, straight from the Canadian Parliament’s website:

...prohibits oil tankers that are carrying more than 12,500 metric tons, or 90,000 barrels of crude oil or persistent oil as cargo from stopping, or unloading crude oil or persistent oil, at ports or marine installations located along British Columbia’s north coast from the northern tip of Vancouver Island to the Alaska border.”

According to, typical tanker classes range from 80,000 to 550,000 Max DWT (deadweight tonnage), which is the total weight a ship can carry including load, fuel, crew, etc (see tanker sizes and capacities below).

No buyer in their right mind is going to ask a tanker to load up nowhere near max capacity with 12,500 metric tons of oil, then travel hundreds, if not thousands of kilometres to drop it off. Also consider the economics behind shipping oil in a tanker that’s not full. It just doesn’t make sense.

The world needs oil, and lots of it. Oil-importing nations don’t buy a few thousand barrels here and there from empty tankers.

Clear Seas - Oil Tankers

Bill C-48: Why Not Ban Tankers on the East Coast?

Many Canadians are asking why Bill C-48 applies only to the west coast of Canada, and not the Atlantic provinces? An even better question to ask is why British Columbia is the only coastline in the world with an oil tanker moratorium? Why hasn’t any other nation tabled their own tanker ban legislation if tankers are such a problem for the environment?

Canadians need answers. For many, it’s simple logic that confronts the idea that somehow an oil tanker ban on Canada’s west coast – and not the east – will save our nation from total environmental destruction.

If oil tankers will destroy our shorelines and oceans via a spill, then why are there more than 7,000 of them operating across the world every day? Of the 20,000 oil tanker movements off the coasts of Canada each year, why hasn’t there been any catastrophic events that support the fear mongering and misinformation being spread regarding oil tankers – specifically, west coast tankers carrying oil from Alberta?

With all those tankers worldwide, there must be an overwhelming number of spills, right? Think again.

Clear Seas - Tanker Incidences Worldwide

Fact is the Trans Mountain Pipeline (TMX) has operated without marine incident since 1953. Also, failing to build the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion will actually do nothing to decrease the risk of an oil spill in the Salish Sea. See more:

On the Environmental and Social Consequences if the TMX Fails to Get Built

So really, what justification is there for implementing a full oil tanker ban off Canada’s west coast? We still aren’t sure, because there isn’t any.

Bill C-48 Just Doesn’t Make Sense

The more you think about Bill C-48, the more it just doesn’t make any sense. If you’re confused now, wait until you see these pictures submitted to the Canadian Senate Committee by Stewart Muir, Executive Director at Resource Works, at one of the hearings held in British Columbia concerning Bill C-48.

Note the different locations: South and South East Asia, English Channel, Gulf of Mexico, Venezuela, the British Columbia coast (barely any tankers whatsoever) and the world at the top.


If you’re shocked by these images, so are we. It just doesn’t make any sense to ban oil tankers off the coast of British Columbia and not simultaneously implement any such ban on the east coast. If this were about protecting Canada’s coasts, surely we’d have a ban off the Atlantic provinces as well?

As Canadians, we need to stand up to bad policies like Bill C-48 that will be detrimental to our natural resource sector. In 2017, 47% of Canada’s exports were from the energy industry. The same year, about 17% of our national gross domestic product was generated from these industries. Nationwide, nearly 2 million people are employed by the natural resource sector. The list goes on…

It’s time that we all take a stand against Bill C-48 and say no to this piece of legislation that is not backed by science and destructive to Canadian national unity. It’s time that we stand up for the industries that have provided so much wealth and prosperity in our great nation. Enough is enough! Learn more about what you can do:

3 Ways You Can Support Canada’s Economy and Future Prosperity


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