Coal Association of Canada sends letter to PM Trudeau regarding proposed thermal coal ban

May 5, 2017

May 5, 2017 — The Coal Association of Canada has sent a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau asking him not to allow a ban or carbon-based levy on thermal coal transport through British Columbia. 


May 5, 2017

The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, PC, MP
Prime Minister of Canada
80 Wellington Street
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A2
By Email:

Dear Prime Minister Trudeau,

I’m writing to you regarding Premier Christy Clark’s proposed ban on thermal coal and a carbon-based levy on transport through British Columbia. As the President of the Coal Association of Canada, it is my most firm belief that this policy would be extremely damaging to the coal industry, as well as trade relationships across western Canada.

Alberta, British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Manitoba have signed on to a regional partnership agreement which was created in the spirit of reducing barriers to interprovincial trade and to ensure the economic stability and cooperation between the western provinces. The New West Partnership Trade Agreement (NWPTA), says “Each Party shall ensure that its measures do not operate to restrict or impair trade between, among or through the territory of the Parties, or investment or labour mobility between or among the Parties.” Premier Clark’s proposal is not in the spirit of barrier-free trade, and in fact proposes a measure that, under the guise of environmental conscientiousness, actively seeks to impair and restrict trade.

The proposed ban on thermal coal transport, and the proposed application of a cost-prohibitive levy in absence of a ban, is a large overreach of the Premier’s jurisdiction. This measure has a high probability of not only straining relationships amongst her fellow first ministers, but has significant implications for our trade relationship with the United States.

As many of our members will articulate, the economic contribution that is made by the coal industry are substantial; in Alberta alone it accounts for 550 direct jobs and close to 2000 indirect jobs. Alberta currently moves 2.5 million tonnes of thermal coal to the coast each year, a number which is expected to triple over the next 5 years. The economic advantage to British Columbia is similar – hundreds of jobs with the railways and port terminals. The current trade activity with the United States today has created millions in tax revenue to the federal and provincial governments in addition to hundreds of jobs for British Columbians.

Should the Federal Government capitulate to Premier Clark on this issue, it will set a tone across Canada that Federal jurisdiction is non-binding when the political atmosphere is ripe for dissent. It furthermore complicates transport of any good that might cause political agitation, whether it be coal, oil, or potash. As a representative of the Canadian coal industry, I ask that you refuse the Premier’s request and secure barrier-free trade across Canada and for Canadians.


Robin Campbell

Coal Association of Canada

Cc:       Rachel Notley, Premier of Alberta
Christy Clark, Premier of British Columbia
Brad Wall, Premier of Saskatchewan
Brian Pallister, Premier of Manitoba