New Canada PM seeks to ban oil tankers from west coast

The oil and shipping industries are waiting to see if Canada’s newly elected Prime Minister Justin Trudeau acts on one particular aspect of his pre-election manifesto: a ban on oil tankers on the country’s western seaboard.

Trudeau’s Liberal party swept to office in Monday’s general election, ending nearly a decade of Conservative rule under Stephen Harper.

A large part of the Liberal constituency is environmentally conscious voters and they will expect the Trudeau administration to make good on talk of barring oil-carrying ships from the ecologically vulnerable north coast of British Columbia.

The party promises had even gone into specific locations, naming the Dixon Entrance, Hecate Strait, and Queen Charlotte Sound regions as potentially off limits.

In contrast the outgoing Conservative Harper had been more bullish on fossil-fuel exploitation, favouring new crude oil shipping terminals on the west coast to export crude oil from the Alberta and Saskatchewan oil sands.


Donal Scully

With 28 years experience writing and editing for newspapers in the UK and Hong Kong, Donal is now based in California from where he covers the Americas for Splash as well as ensuring the site is loaded through the Western Hemisphere timezone.


  1. In a plebiscite the people of Kitimat have already rejected Enbridge and the Northern Gateway pipeline. No tar sands tankers through the Dixon Entrance, because there is no world-class equipment to clean-up a tar sands spill from the bottom. No toxic, tar sands for British Columbia. Keep British Columbia beautiful.

  2. Add the loss of economic prosperity through the non-export of oil; add the loss of jobs and the taxes stemming from those jobs: its all very well having a beautiful State if no-one is working in that State.

  3. The Harper regime cut back the capabilities and resources of Canada’s Coastguard to such an extend that there could be no meaningful response to any potential accident, a fact that a recent small bunker spill in Vancouver harbour laid bare:
    Canada can’t have it both ways: it either commits the resources to world-class risk management and response for increased tanker traffic, or it has to except that the environmentally conscious citizens on the ‘left’ coast simply will not allow Alberta’s oil sands (or any new deposits of natgas) to be shipped through here. Trudeau, who grew up in Vancouver, knows that. The real test will be whether he will be able to withstand the pressure to change his mind.

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