Conservatives reject protections for BC's North Coast

OTTAWA - Tonight, Conservatives voted down Bill C-628, An Act to Defend the Pacific Northwest, which would have enshrined protections for British Columbia’s North Coast into law. The bill’s sponsor, NDP Finance Critic Nathan Cullen (Skeena—Bulkley Valley), made the following statement:

“Over 130 First Nations, the Union of BC Municipalities, the province of British Columbia, two thirds of British Columbians, and coalitions of engineers and oil spill response experts all agree: the Northern Gateway pipeline and supertanker project poses unacceptable risks to BC’s environment and economy. Tonight, Conservatives ignored the evidence and the will of British Columbians, and voted down a common-sense piece of legislation to protect BC’s North Coast against oil spills, require the government to fulfill its duty to properly consult communities and First Nations, and ensure that Canadians see the full jobs benefit from resource extraction.

“Parliament has been debating protections for this vibrant but vulnerable territory for over forty years. Bill C-628 would have been a generational step towards protecting these important waters for the communities and First Nations who call them home, and for the lucrative fishing and tourism industries that make their living here.

“Tonight’s vote was an opportunity, in particular, for Conservative MPs from British Columbia to show who they really work for: the Prime Minister and his oil lobby friends, or the citizens of British Columbia who sent them to Parliament to look out for them.

“The result of tonight’s vote is disappointing. But we take heart in the unity that has grown from this struggle to defend our coast, rivers and communities against Northern Gateway. The question before Parliament tonight was not a matter of left against right, but right against wrong.

“The NDP will continue to stand with BC communities and First Nations in opposing this dangerous project, and holding Conservatives accountable for their failure to protect this important territory.”


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