Cullen bill puts protection back into Act for major Northwest rivers

PRINCE RUPERT – MP Nathan Cullen has moved to put the protection back in the government-gutted Navigable Waters Protection Act (NWPA) with a Private Member’s Bill proposing to protect the full lengths of the Skeena, Nass and Stikine rivers.

“I have submitted a bill demanding these internationally significant salmon-bearing rivers in our riding be fully protected under the NWPA,” Cullen said at Prince Rupert’s Rotary Waterfront Park this morning.

“Our rivers, lakes and ocean are key to who we are as people of the Northwest,” he noted.  “They define us culturally and economically.

“We will not allow a misguided Conservative government to destroy our lives and livelihoods by turning a water protection act into a pipeline protection act.”

In the 2012 omnibus budget, the Conservatives stripped 99% of lakes, rivers and streams protected under the NWPA.  This piece of legislation dates back to 1882 and continued to set the bar globally for guarding the rights of navigation and environmental protection.

In Skeena—Bulkley Valley, only parts of the Skeena River were left protected.  All other lakes, rivers and streams are now without protection from major developers.

Cullen encourages constituents to log onto to highlight other rivers and lakes meaningful to them for inclusion in a companion Private Member’s Bill he would introduce in the fall.

“Last December, the people of the Northwest showed Shell the door from the Sacred Headwaters,” Cullen said.

“With this Private Member’s Bill, we are showing the Conservative government that we will continue to defend our rivers.”

Cullen submitted his Private Member’s Bill last week before the House adjourned for the summer and waited for his return to the riding to announce it publicly.  The bill is now in rotation for debate by MPs later in the parliamentary session.

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