The Haida Nation and other coastal First Nations are welcoming the news that Bill C-48, the Oil Tanker Moratorium Act, has passed its third reading in Canada’s House of Commons.
Although concerns remain as to the amount and type of fuel (such as refined oil products) that will still be permitted under Bill C-48, as well as the Bill’s provision allowing Canada’s Minister of Transport to exempt identified oil tankers from the ban, and the issue of tanker traffic along daawuuxusda Haida Gwaii’s west coast, the Haida Nation acknowledges the passage of the Bill as a step in the right direction.
“It is a good step, but does not go far enough to protect Haida and other communities along the north coast. [But] the moratorium is important in achieving long-term protection from the risks of oil tankers and oil spills,” says President of the Haida Nation, kil tlaats ‘gaa Peter Lantin.
It was nearly a year ago, in May 2017, that the Canadian government introduced Bill C-48, the Oil Tanker Moratorium Act. If legislated into law, the Oil Tanker Moratorium Act will prohibit any vessel carrying more than 12,500 metric tonnes of crude or persistent oil from accessing, loading, or unloading at any ports along siigaay Hecate Strait, Dixon Entrance, and Queen Charlotte Sound.
Now that the Bill has passed its third parliamentary reading, it must be passed through the Senate before it is implemented under Canadian law.
For nearly fifty years, Indigenous nations, environmental organizations, and political allies have insisted that oil tankers have no place in siigaay. In 2010, the Haida Nation, together with the Haíłzaqv Heiltsuk, Haisla, Maaxłakxaała Metlakatla, Gitga’at, Kitasoo/Xai’xais and Wuikinuxv nations, signed the Coastal First Nations Declaration, asserting that crude oil tankers are not permitted in our territories.