Victory for BC: NDP tanker motion passes in Parliament

OTTAWA British Columbia is one step closer to having a full legislated ban on supertankers off its north and central coasts after a motion introduced by MP Nathan Cullen received the support of Parliament just minutes ago.

“Banning tankers would protect the BC coast from Enbridge’s risky venture,” said an ecstatic Cullen following today’s vote which passed the House of Commons 143 to 138.  “This is absolutely one more marker along the path to defending the Northwest against the threat to our environment and way of life.”

“For years the people of British Columbia and concerned Canadians have been calling on the federal government to protect their coast from the risk posed by oil tankers,” echoed New Democrat Leader Jack Layton. 

“Now the government has clear direction from this House to move forward and bring in this much needed legislation.”

For Cullen, New Democrat Natural Resources and Energy critic, today’s victory is the culmination of years of hard work and consultation with communities, First Nations, and other stakeholders. 

“First Nations have led the fight to protect our environment and ocean economy every step of the way,” he said.

“They have been joined by the municipalities of BC, concerned citizens and now by a majority of elected MPs. The government must respect the will of the House and wishes of Canadians by immediately introducing a bill to stop these tankers once and for all.  If they need help, they can use our bill that we have already drafted.”

Since Cullen tabled and led debate on the NDP motion last Thursday, thousands of Canadians have stepped up to support the tanker ban online, through email and petitions and lobbying their MPs.

“The out pouring of support has been outstanding,” said Cullen.  “I think it shows people are engaged with what is happening politically, especially when it affects such an important part of Canada’s natural heritage as the BC coast. 

Contact: Tim Howlett, Office of Nathan Cullen, 613-993-8662

Following is the text of Cullen’s motion:

December 2, 2010 — Mr. Cullen (Skeena—Bulkley Valley) — That, in the opinion of the House, the government should immediately propose legislation to ban bulk oil tanker traffic in the Dixon Entrance, Hecate Strait and Queen Charlotte Sound as a way to protect the West Coast’s unique and diverse ocean ecosystem, to preserve the marine resources which sustain the community and regional economies of British Columbia, and to honour the extensive First Nations rights and title in the area.