Report of the committee

Monday, June 3, 2019

The Standing Senate Committee on Transport and Communications has the honour to present its

SEVENTEENTH REPORT

Your committee, to which was referred Bill C-48, An Act respecting the regulation of vessels that transport crude oil or persistent oil to or from ports or marine installations located along British Columbia’s north coast, has, in obedience to the order of reference of December 11, 2018, examined the said bill and now reports as follows:

By a vote of 6 to 6, your committee recommends that this bill not be proceeded with further in the Senate for the reasons that follow.

INTRODUCTION

According to the bill’s summary, Bill C-48 prohibits oil tankers that are carrying more than 12,500 metric tons of crude oil or persistent oil as cargo from stopping or unloading that cargo at ports or marine installations located along British Columbia’s north coast from the northern tip of Vancouver Island to the Alaska border. It also prohibits loading if it would result in the oil tanker carrying more than 12,500 metric tons of oil.

Bill C-48 was introduced in the House of Commons on May 12, 2017, nearly two years after the Trudeau government was elected. On October 4, 2017 it was referred to the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, which reported the bill with one amendment on November 29 of that same year. It passed third reading in the House on May 8, 2018 and was presented at first reading in the Senate the next day. On December 11, 2018,just prior to the Christmas recess the bill was referred to the Standing Senate Committee on Transport and Communications.

Your committee took its obligation to review and study the bill seriously. It held 22 meetings totaling 52 hours and 15 minutes.  It heard from 139 unique witnesses and travelled to the three provinces most affected by the Bill (British Columbia, Alberta, and Saskatchewan).

PRELIMINARY REMARKS

Your committee thinks that its recommendation to the Senate can best be understood within the context of an exchange between the Minister of Transport, Marc Garneau, the minister responsible for Bill C-48, and ISG Senator, Douglas Black, which took place during the committee’s final hearing on the bill, on May 14, 2019:

Senator D. Black: I will be brief. Minister, I know you will be, as well. I want to focus on your specific level of openness to two specific potential amendments. Would you be open to an amendment that allows the carriage of oil products on water from Prince Rupert or Kitimat in a specific corridor to the open Pacific?

Mr. Garneau: I have said in answer to a previous question that such would be like the analogy of having a cafe where you have no smoking but you allow one table in the middle to do that.

Senator D. Black: I just want to confirm: So the answer is “no” —

Mr. Garneau: The answer is “no” for the reason that you cannot guarantee that any spillage will stay in a corridor.

Senator D. Black: I understand. I just wanted either a “no” or “yes” on the record. We have a “no.” I presume the answer is also “no” to a potential corridor at the very northern end of the exclusion zone on the Alaska-Canadian border.

Mr. Garneau: Yes, because it’s in the defined area as well.

Senator D. Black: Thank you.

At that same meeting ISG Senator Paula Simons asked a question similar to Senator Black’s resulting in the exchange below:

Senator Simons: Following in the footsteps of my colleague Senator D. Black, would you under any circumstances accept an amendment that would either make this a real moratorium with a review after 3 to 10 years instead of a permanent ban, and will you be willing to accept an amendment that made this conditional on the acceptance and construction of TMX?

Mr. Garneau: We will receive any amendment that is proposed by the Senate and look at it very carefully. It is certainly my hope that we will be able to go forward with the Bill C-48 because it’s in my mandate letter. We will look at it very carefully before the next election.

Your committee concluded from these exchanges with the minister that even well-intended amendments to Bill C-48, that were the fruit of careful study over months of listening to witnesses on all sides and designed to address the concerns of those witnesses, would at best only be looked at carefully. In the case of some of the more meaningful amendments, they would be rejected outright.  There was no commitment by the minister to accept any of the amendments that the committee proposed, although he knew full well the scope of those amendments as they were described broadly to him.

When your committee began clause-by-clause consideration of Bill C-48 the following day, the minister’s carefully-worded response to questions about how receptive he would be to accepting amendments were fresh in the minds of senators. They were, if you will, the narrow context in which your committee entertained clause-by-clause consideration of the bill. But there was also a much wider context that informed your committee’s deliberations leading to its recommendation that the Senate not proceed with the bill.

THE BILL IN CONTEXT

Your committee believes Bill C-48 cannot be viewed separately from other government initiatives and legislation that, taken together, are having a ruinous effect on Canada’s resource industry and economy, most specifically in Alberta, home to Canada’s oil sands.

Your committee is cognizant of the fact that Bill C-48 was tabled on the same day that the government cancelled the Northern Gateway Pipeline project. It struck your committee as overkill to cancel a pipeline to the coast and then for extra measure, to introduce a bill that prohibits the loading and unloading of crude oil at ports or marine installations in case, by some accident and notwithstanding the cancellation of the Northern Gateway, a pipeline to those ports somehow miraculously appears.

In this regard, it is interesting to note that when the Liberals proposed a tanker ban as part of its environmental package announced on June 29, 2015, in Vancouver, ForestEthics Advocacy, an anti-pipeline group, lauded the Liberal’s proposal to formalize a tanker ban in northern British Columbia as the “final nail in the coffin” for the Northern Gateway Pipeline project.

The government that introduced Bill C-48 is the same government that added so many regulatory hurdles to the Energy East project that it made it impossible for the investor to proceed, and they walked away. They failed to take action to ensure that Kinder Morgan and the Trans Mountain expansion would proceed. It is now locked in limbo with the government refusing to identify a date on which construction will resume. They introduced Bill C-68, which industry representatives believe will put a halt to hydro projects in this country. They also introduced Bills C-55, C-81 and C-88.

They also introduced Bill C-69, a sweeping environmental assessment bill that upends the current review process in favour of a new and supposedly more rigorous one. The Senate is currently examining Bill C-69, the new Impact Assessment Act, which would set new standards for environmental assessment of projects such as new ports, new pipelines and new rail lines. Bill C-69 would require significantly more consultation with Indigenous communities, more consideration of the social and health impacts of energy infrastructure, and rigorous scientific studies of environmental impacts for new projects. Under that legal framework, no interprovincial pipeline or deep water port could go ahead without thorough consultation and study by an independent, arms-length agency. If we have faith in Bill C-69 and the new impact assessment regime, we should not undermine public confidence by imposing a ban that would short-circuit the new independent process before it starts.

Your committee is of the opinion that once Bill C-69 passes into law, if it is as advertised, it would surely make Bill C-48 unnecessary. The rigorous and far-reaching environmental standards and criteria it would impose on major projects, including pipelines, ports and marine installations would surely extend to the impact of relevant projects being developed in the area north of the 50th parallel.

Your committee is also of the opinion that Bill C-48 cannot be viewed separately from the Government of British Columbia’s decision in February 2018 to put a halt to the Trans Mountain expansion. The refusal of the federal government to exert its constitutional authority to push the pipeline through, on the basis of its interprovincial nature, cast doubt in the eyes of investors and of most Canadians – especially those in Alberta - as to the level of commitment the government had to getting any pipeline built to tidewater. 

Finally, during its deliberations your committee was extremely sensitive to the economic impact of Bill C-48 and similar bills on the Canadian economy and particularly to the economies of Alberta and Saskatchewan. The Bank of Canada’s Monetary Policy Report of January 2019 noted that the 2 per cent growth in GDP in the third quarter of 2018 was largely supported by government spending and that business investment in the Canadian economy fell in that same quarter, with notable weakness in the energy sector.  That sluggishness continued into the first quarter of 2019. A report in the Financial Times on April 30, 2019, noted that falling resource production was the main culprit, with the mining and oil and gas sectors down 1.6%, its sixth consecutive drop.

With this legislation, the cancelling of Energy East, and the indecision of Kinder Morgan, Saskatchewan and Alberta can only export oil to the United States, making us reliant on a foreign country (although a good neighbour). The previous President cancelled Keystone, a Canadian financed pipeline to the Gulf coast. That could happen again. Keystone is not finished yet.  Outside of pipelines (the safest method for moving oil) there is only rail and truck - hardly good methods in a so-called sophisticated transportation system. This creates competition for rail capacity traffic with Western Canadian agriculture and other resources like lumber, potash and finished manufactured goods. New railroads are a long way off. This is an indefensible strategy and puts the whole country in jeopardy. More competition for rail use makes it more expensive for other users.

The illogical arguments baffle the mind. Since the logic is to prevent oil spills by reducing the amount of tanker traffic coming and going into Canada then surely Energy East would reduce tanker traffic on the St Lawrence Seaway and the East Coast and for sure the Port of Vancouver. This situation will get worse as there will be increased energy demand in Canada, making us more dependent on foreign oil, which at the moment is not exactly fan friendly oil but rather the product of regimes where few Canadians would want to live.

The government’s inability to get pipelines built and bills like C-48 and C-69 have sent a signal to investors who are staying away from Canadian energy stocks, in spite of the recent, relative recovery in Canadian oil prices.

REASONS WHY THE SENATE SHOULD NOT PROCEED WITH THE BILL

The Bill Does Not Do what it Purports 

Your committee believes that Bill C-48 is a case of bait and switch. In the summer of 2015, in the lead up to the federal election campaign, Liberal leader Justin Trudeau travelled to Vancouver to announce his party’s plans for the environment. Included in that announcement was the intention to formalize the voluntary tanker ban off the coast of northern British Columbia. When Minister Garneau appeared before the committee on March 20, 2019, he referenced that announcement as the reason the government was committed to Bill C-48. It was the fulfillment of and an election promise he implied. His exact words were:

“The act formalizes a commitment the Prime Minister made in Vancouver on September 10, 2015, during the last federal election as one of the centrepieces of our plan to protect Canada’s oceans. This was later confirmed in my mandate letter. I want to be clear that we promised this to Canadians during the last election, and I am delivering on that promise. ”When he reappeared before your committee on May 14, 2019, he similarly stated:

“It is certainly my hope that we will be able to go forward with Bill C-48 because it’s in my mandate letter.”

It is worth quoting the portion of the mandate he is referring to. The Prime Minister writes:

“In particular, I will expect you to work with your colleagues and through established legislative, regulatory, and Cabinet processes to deliver on your top priorities.”

One of those priorities identified is to:

“Formalize a moratorium on crude oil tanker traffic on British Columbia’s North Coast, working in collaboration with the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, the Minister of Natural Resources and the Minister of Environment and Climate Change to develop an approach. ”

Your committee is concerned that the approach developed is not a formalization of a moratorium on crude oil tanker traffic on British Columbia’s coast, but more specifically a ban on the unloading and loading of crude oil of more than 12,500 metric tons in Canadian ports along British Columbia’s north coast. Your committee’s suspicions were confirmed in testimony from Professor Ted McDorman of the Faculty of Law at the University of Victoria. Commenting on the tanker restrictions contained in Bill C-48, Professor McDorman testified:

“The legislation that is before you that I have looked at indicates that its application is primarily to the ports. In other words, what it is prohibiting is the tanker traffic not within the waterway itself but from entering and leaving the ports that are designated in that area. As a matter of international law, it would be completely within the jurisdiction of Canada to do, without complaint by any other country.

Now, it is unusual, but it happens, that ports are closed to traffic. As a matter of commercial reality and good neighbourliness, you usually keep your ports open, but a country does have the capacity, as a matter of international law, to close ports to any and all vessels. As I understand it, that is what this bill would do. It closes the ports. It does not affect traffic in the waterway per se.”

Bill C-48 does not formalize a moratorium on crude oil tanker traffic on British Columbia’s north coast. It is not as advertised. While it will do nothing to address the risk of oil spills, it will be extremely effective in landlocking Alberta oil and preventing it from getting to ports in Asia.

The Science/Evidence-Based Case for Bill C-48 is Questionable

There was a lack of detailed scientific explanation or data about why this area specifically was to be subject to a ban on the movement of heavy oil. At best, the decision appeared to be based on outdated or incomplete information.

During hearings on February 20, 2019, Transport Canada Assistant Deputy Minister Lawrence Hanson was asked about this issue by Senator Julie Miville-Dechêne. His response was, in effect, that the government was bringing in the ban because it lacked sound scientific data. But it is illogical to bring in a sweeping public policy such as this as a response to a lack of information and studies. Their exchange follows below.

Senator Miville-Dechêne: On this question, have you done any assessments, studies, calculations or algorithms to measure the risks, or developed the risk index in northern British Columbia if there was an oil spill? If there were a pipeline passing through it or, indeed, greater oil transport in northern British Columbia, is there any data that would allow us to measure the risk of an oil spill?

Mr. Hanson: In fact, that’s one of the other reasons why the government views a moratorium in the current context as important. Frankly, that ecosystem and those waterways are less understood than those in the south. The actual impacts are less easy to comprehend because, on a scientific basis, we tend to know less about those waters.

So, consistent with the precautionary principle, in part because we know less about those waters — that was one of the reasons why the government wants to move forward with a moratorium.

Senator Michael MacDonald followed up on Senator Miville-Dechêne’s line of questioning. Again, Mr. Hanson responded that the ban was actually predicated on what he called the government’s diminished understanding of the regional ecosystem.

Mr. Hanson: Thank you for the question. Obviously the government is concerned about marine safety on all of Canada’s coasts and that is reflected in the Oceans Protection Plan commitment. Some of the issues that surround B.C.’s northern coast are kind of the nature of it is being a place that is quite remote. A lot of wilderness. It is sparsely populated. There is not the same level and capacity to respond quickly with marine response measures in the event of a spill. This is kind of further complicated by the fact it is an area where the actual ecosystem itself is less understood. That work is going on by Environment and Climate Change and Fisheries and Oceans to understand it better. The reality is that our understanding of that region is more diminished. These elements combined drive a precautionary approach for B.C.’s north coast.

It is illogical to make such an important public policy decision based on a paucity of information. Perhaps, a lack of good data might justify a three or five year moratorium, pending those studies. But it is in no way sufficient as a cause for a permanent ban.

Furthermore, your committee was disappointed that Bill C-48 does not take into account that oil spills from tankers are extremely rare, since the development of double hull technology and other improvements in navigation and tanker safety. In fact, oil spills from tankers have been non-existent in the area the bill applies to, even without Bill C-48. As Senator McCoy, who sat in on many committee meetings pointed out, there have been only three oil spills on B.C.’s coast since 2006 and Bill C-48 would have done nothing to prevent any of them. They were from a tug and passenger ferry and a leak from a 1946 shipwreck.

Yet, throughout our hearings, we were concerned to hear testimony from many expert and community witnesses about the lack of a robust and timely response capacity to deal with fuel oil spills that already take place in the region. There have been a series of accidents and near-misses that have severely polluted some areas and put others at serious risk. While Bill C-48 deals with the hypothetical risks of oil projects that don’t yet exist, it does nothing to address the problems caused by fuel spills from single-hulled cargo ships, tugs, ferries and cruise ships that already traverse these waters.

Nor does the bill do anything to stop ships – including foreign oil tankers – from travelling through particularly sensitive sea areas.

There are other options the government could explore, from working with local communities, Indigenous and non-Indigenous, to increased accident response capabilities in the region, to designating specific ecological zones as “particularly sensitive sea areas” under international convention. Such strategies could offer the coastline the protections it needs now, against real and present dangers.

While your committee was impressed by the minister’s commitment to keeping the North Coast of British Columbia pristine - in keeping with the testimony of the Indigenous communities that support Bill C-48 and inhabit and make their living in the area -  it was discouraged to learn that those Coastal First Nation witnesses along with the minister, discounted his own department’s - Transport Canada’s - confidence in their ability to clean up spills, should they occur. This, along with their contention that even the smallest risk of an oil spill is too big a risk, helped to convince your committee of the unreasonableness of the proponents of Bill C-48.

To use the entire east coast of Canada as a fully functioning commercial marine zone while treating the northern British Columbian coast as if it constituted a national park is an arbitrary and unnecessary measure, that is economically irresponsible, an affront to common sense, and represents a double standard that is unacceptable to the vast majority of Canadians.

While Bill C-48 will clearly not do what its proponents claim it will do it is evident that the bill is clearly not based on science. This is most obvious in the schedule of products banned under Bill C-48. The development of this list appears to have been completely arbitrary or worse, intentionally designed to damage the economy of Western Canada.

Critically, diluted bitumen is included in the list of banned commodities. The Government presented no evidence that diluted bitumen’s behavior in water warrants such a ban.

Recent government-produced science very clearly indicates that the opposite is true. For example, in a Transport Canada document dated April 26, 2018, entitled Our response to British Columbia’s Policy Intentions Paper for Engagement: Activities related to spill management, it is stated that:

Canada has advanced overall understanding of the fate and behaviour of petroleum products in ocean and fresh water. Based on current scientific evidence and limited real-world spill experience, diluted bitumen behaves similarly to conventional crude oils… Findings have shown that diluted bitumen behaviour falls within the range of conventional oil products and so conventional mechanical methods have been found effective…”

Your committee confirmed this finding during its study of Bill C-48. For example, on March 19, 2019, Dr. Heather Dettman, a research scientist at Natural Resources Canada, testified before the committee that: “Existing response measures are effective on working on diluted bitumen, to the same extent that they would be with other petroleum products. Some situations are more difficult than others, but it has the same potential to be recovered…”

The lack of scientific rationale supporting the Schedule of Bill C-48 – particularly the inclusion of diluted bitumen – has been vigorously protested before the committee by numerous stakeholders, including two consecutive Alberta governments.

Under former Premier Rachel Notley, the Alberta government wrote the committee a letter which reads: “Alberta maintains that the schedule of prohibited substances under Bill C-48 is not based on science.”

The committee also heard from the current Premier of Alberta, Jason Kenney, who testified: “There is no rhyme or reason to the list of prohibited substances.”

Based on non-partisan expert findings, your committee has come to the conclusion that diluted bitumen can be effectively recovered from water using conventional methods.  Furthermore, the committee notes that these findings have been clearly articulated by duly elected provincial governments representing opposite ends of the political spectrum.

However, the government clearly indicated that it is committed to ignoring its scientists and including diluted bitumen in the schedule of banned products under Bill C-48. The committee finds this to be indefensible.

Your committee can only speculate that the government chose to include diluted bitumen in the banned schedule precisely because it is an important export commodity for Alberta’s oil sands. This finding severely undermines the government’s argument in favor of Bill C-48 as science-based legislation, and contributed to the committee’s decision to recommend that the bill not be proceeded with.

The Bill is Discriminatory and Divisive

By singling out crude oil, bitumen and other so-called “persistent” oils for special exclusionary treatment, the bill is prejudicial to the economic and social interests of oil-producing provinces, particularly Alberta and, to a lesser degree, Saskatchewan. In the absence of a decision on TMX, Bill C-48 tells Albertans in particular that they may never be able to get their largest export to Pacific markets.

By landlocking prairie oil, both symbolically and practically, Bill C-48 tells these provinces that they have a lesser place in Confederation, that it is not an equal partner within Canada. This is not just a matter of dampening the economic interests of specific provinces. It is a nationally corrosive and divisive policy, which pits one region against another, inflaming separatist sentiment, and stoking a misplaced resentment of Indigenous Canadians. 

Your committee has concluded from the varied and quite passionate testimony put before it, from a broad range of witnesses who appeared in Ottawa, British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan, that Bill C-48 is both divisive and discriminatory. Rather than promoting reconciliation with Canada’s Indigenous people – as the minister claims - it favours the views and opinions of the Coastal First Nations communities over those of other First Nations that will equally be impacted.

Your committee was struck by how blasé the minister was about the interests of those First Nations who see an economic opportunity in building a pipeline to the coast. On March 20, 2019, he told your committee:

“Senators, you should know that I am well aware there are a variety of viewpoints among Indigenous communities on this issue. I know in particular the two coastal communities, the Lax Kw’alaams and the Nisga’a, are opposed to Bill C-48. Furthermore, I know that you will hear from Eagle Spirit proponents and the Aboriginal Equity Partners. It is important that you consider their views, as I did, but I will note these two groups — Eagle Spirit and Aboriginal Equity Partners — represent private commercial interests and I do not see them as being in the same category as coastal First Nations and Indigenous communities. The stakes are very different for private sector interests than for communities who would see potentially their livelihoods, culture and way of life imperiled by a serious oil spill.”

It beggars disbelief that the minister didn’t see the contradiction in his statement. That in defending the livelihoods of the Coastal First Nations (which are only hypothetically imperiled by a prospective oil spill, the risk of which is low to non-existent) he was more than willing to put in peril the livelihood of those other First Nations to whose commercial interests Bill C-48 presents a direct and intentional threat.

Your committee believes that the idea that some First Nations’ livelihoods deserve protection, while others’, whose livelihoods do not square with the ideological outlook of the Trudeau government, is appalling. And far from being reconciliatory, it is explicitly and avowedly divisive - pitting the interest of one First Nation against another.

Moreover, in making his case on March 20, 2019, the minister misrepresented the amount of support there is for Bill C-48 among even the Coastal First Nations. During his testimony he argued that:

“Aligned against those who oppose Bill C-48 is a coalition of all the remaining Indigenous communities along the coast, which incidentally represent a majority — the Haida, Heiltsuk, Haisla, Metlakatla, Gitga’at, Kitasoo, Gitxaala and even the hereditary leaders of the Lax Kw’alaams, who have consistently called for the formalization of the moratorium. They see the moratorium as essential for protecting their burgeoning renewable and sustainable economies in fishing and aquaculture. Furthermore, the water is a central part of their cultural and spiritual traditions. I have heard their calls and have been moved by their passionate advocacy. I urge you to listen to them carefully when they appear before this committee, as I know you will.”

Listen carefully to them we did. Your committee paid particular attention to a letter from the Melakatla Nation, addressed to the Chair in which it wrote: “Metlakatla is opposed to the Bill as written.” They further stated that the consultation on the Tanker Moratorium was inadequate and that they were not provided with enough information to make an informed decision.

Your committee confronted the minister with this contradiction during his testimony on May 14, 2019. His response was to say that he was speaking generally regarding the unanimity of the Coastal First Nations on March 14, 2019. However the transcript from that testimony clearly repudiates that. 

The Bill will Raise Constitutional Challenges 

The Lax Kw’alaams of northern B.C. have filed an injunction in the British Columbia Supreme Court against Bill C-48. The Nisga’a Lisims Band say Bill C-48 betrays the spirit of their treaty with the Government of Canada, violating their constitutional right to self-determination and share in the benefits of being Canadian. Your committee was persuaded that these challenges have a basis in law and that Bill C-48 should not be proceeded with on that basis alone.

While Bill C-48 was conceived and presented as a symbol of reconciliation, it fails to respect the treaty rights of the Nisga’a Nation, which is a signatory to a modern treaty with the Crown. The Nisga’a have argued that they were not properly consulted, as per Section 35 of the Constitution. They insist that Bill C-48 abrogates their right to economic self-determination and their right to develop infrastructure projects on their own treaty territory. While there are other First Nations who are divided on the bill, such as the Lax Kw’alaams, and tribes who are ambivalent, such as the Metlakatka, who favour a short-term moratorium, but not a permanent ban, the Nisga’a presented a united position in opposition to the bill. As the only nation in the region with a modern treaty, their case has a strong legal foundation.

“The Nisga’a Nation does not support the imposition of a moratorium that would apply to areas under our treaty,” Nisga’a president Eva Clayton testified before the committee in Terrace, British Columbia, on April 17, 2019. “We believe that Bill C-48 flies in the face of the principles of self-determination and environmental management that lie at the heart of the Nisga’a Treaty.”

“Allowing the provisions of our treaty to assess any potential project on its merits would ensure that scientific evidence plays an essential role in assessing impacts and informing decision-making, instead of the current approach, which unilaterally and arbitrarily enacts a blanket tanker ban over a particular region of Canada,” Clayton continued.

CONCLUSION

Your committee strongly maintains that targeting one region of Canada for economic punishment is unconstitutional and destructive to the fabric of Canadian federalism.

Committee members agree that a primary function of the Senate is to defend Canada’s regions. In this case, the government of the day has chosen to target one region, Alberta and Saskatchewan, with legislation that is unambiguously harmful to that region’s economy.

Crucially, the scientific need for such harmful legislation has not been adequately demonstrated by evidence. To the contrary, the government’s own published science contradicts the basic premise of Bill C-48. The committee heard no credible evidence that products banned by Bill C-48 are more dangerous, or less recoverable, than other products shipped by sea in Canada.

Your committee submits that Bill C-48 is an exceptional case in Canadian history. While it is atypical for Senate committees to recommend that a bill not be proceeded with, it is equally atypical for a sitting government to intentionally harm the economic potential of one region of Canada – without any scientific basis for doing so.

Your committee notes that the ruling political party has historically been unable to win a significant number of seats in the region targeted by this bill, and that all credible polls indicate the ruling party will be unable to win a significant number of seats in the upcoming federal election.

Your committee is worried by the cynicism of targeting one region, where the political rewards for the government of the day are few, in order to please voters in other regions of Canada – regions where the government of the day has far greater potential to win seats.

Your committee submits that in the case of Bill C-48, the government has failed in its obligation to fairly represent the interests of all Canadians. It is deeply inappropriate for a ruling political party to consider only the regions of Canada where it is electorally competitive when crafting legislation.

The crafters of Canada’s constitution created institutions such as the Senate and Supreme Court of Canada to check abusive behavior by the government of the day, particularly a majority government.

Your committee has concluded that Bill C-48 is meaningfully harmful, unscientific, discriminatory, and motivated above all else by partisan political considerations. Therefore, the committee recommends to the Senate that this bill not be proceeded with.

Respectfully submitted,

DAVID TKACHUK

Chair