The debate on West Coast oil tankers is intense. On Canada’s Pacific Coast, there is a gathering storm over the potential risks arising from the marine transportation of crude oil from Alberta’s oil sands through West Coast Canadian waters from a proposed new terminal at Kitimat, in the North, and Port Metro Vancouver on the South coast. As a result, there is heightened public interest, debate and coastal community protest as the respective factions seek to influence the outcome of pipeline development proposals. Canada led the way in developing a comprehensive pollution prevention regime for the marine transportation of oil that goes back to the grounding of the tanker Arrow in 1970 off the Nova Scotia coast.

A Vigorous Policy is Required for West Coast Oil Tankers

We need to rediscover this vigorous approach to examining new marine risks. Darryl Anderson and Joe Spear assert that we must look carefully at all marine transportation risks and those specific to increased tanker traffic. We need to engage all parties in this important discussion. The authors argue that this will require leadership and a robust policy analysis. The issue of West Coast oil tankers is too important for the debate to be based solely on rhetoric. International shipping of Canadian energy product matters to Canada’s future. We need to see a break in the gathering storm and chart a proper course as a nation. In this article in Canadian Sailings Anderson and Spears look at this issue in the broad national context to provide some insight to those following energy developments that are vital to Canada’s economic future.