NDP stands with majority of BC to ban tanker traffic off north coast

Legislation would protect ecosystem and economies of coastal communities

OTTAWA NDP natural resources and oceans critics Nathan Cullen (Skeena-Bulkley Valley) and Fin Donnelly (New Westminster-Coquitlam and Port Moody) recognized World Oceans Day today by calling on the federal government to honor the wishes of British Columbians and immediately legislate an oil tanker ban off the North Coast.

“The voices of British Columbia First Nations, municipal leaders and residents are incredibly strong and united on the urgent need for a legislated tanker ban,” Cullen, the Official Opposition’s Western Canada Natural Resources critic, said today.

“A minor oil spill off BC’s north coast would devastate the ecosystem, the fishery and coastal communities,” said NDP Fisheries and Oceans Critic Fin Donnelly. “That why it’s time to introduce legislation to permanently ban tanker traffic.”

Cullen noted that polls consistently show between 75% and 80% of British Columbians support a ban on tankers off the North Coast, and the Union of BC Municipalities also passed a motion last year supporting a ban.

“That is the majority that counts, not Mr. Harper’s seat count in the House of Commons.  The Prime Minister has a responsibility to listen to this majority of British Columbians who are clearly saying no to tankers off our coast and no to a pipeline that brings our region few benefits and tremendous risks.”

The proposed Enbridge pipeline, slated to run from the Alberta tar sands to the BC coast, would bring more than 225 oil supertankers yearly through to the dangerous and remote northern BC coast, placing this diverse and fragile ecosystem at risk.

Today’s call for a legislated tanker ban follows Cullen’s victory last December in which he won parliamentary support for his non-binding motion urging a full ban on supertankers off the BC coast.   Cullen also received strong direction during a March telephone town hall with over 8,000 constituents to fight for an alternative to Enbridge and associated supertanker traffic.

Cullen also serves as Chair of the House of Commons Ethics Committee in the 41st Parliament, which began sitting for the first time last week.