Senators Must Respect Will of Voters on Oil Tanker Ban

(Vancouver, BC) May 28, 2019 – Canadian senators must respect the will of voters as expressed in the 2015 election and pass Bill C-48 banning oil tankers from Canada’s north Pacific coast, Coastal First Nations president Chief Marilyn Slett says in an open letter to Parliamentarians.

The letter notes that, unlike Members of Parliament, senators are not elected and can’t be replaced should they vote to overturn Bill C-48, which was popularly endorsed when the Liberal Party won the 2015 election.

“We are asking you in this letter to abide by the wishes of the electorate and, moreover, to respect your own constitutional role as an appointed chamber,” said Chief Slett. “Please defer to the will of the people and pass into law the oil tanker ban.”

The letter notes that the pledge to formalize a moratorium on oil tanker traffic was made as part of a campaign policy to protect Canada’s oceans, made by then Liberal-leader Justin Trudeau, who went on to win a majority government.

The bill was overwhelmingly endorsed in a vote of the House of Commons, with MPs from four of five parties voting in favour. It arrived in the Senate more than one year ago and was first debated on June 5, 2018.

In their letter, Coastal First Nations said killing the bill will lead voters to wonder whether promises made in future campaigns will be respected by the appointed upper chamber.

Chief Slett said: “Coastal First Nations – and other Canadians – will be left wondering whether promises made during an election campaign mean anything at all.”

Click here to read the full letter.


For further information, please contact:
Coastal First Nations