Cullen says Northern Gateway decision was Trudeau’s only option

OTTAWA – Skeena—Bulkley Valley MP Nathan Cullen says the Trudeau government’s decision to nix the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline and supertanker project was not only the right choice – it was the only choice. “Over 130 First Nations, the province of BC, and Canada’s largest private sector union have all opposed this project. It isn’t a question of the environment against jobs – it’s a question of right against wrong.”

The prime minister also announced the government’s intention to formalize a moratorium on crude oil tanker traffic on BC’s North Coast in 2017, but accompanied the announcement with very few details. Cullen expressed cautious optimism about the tanker ban. “The devil is often in the details. We’ll have to wait to see the actual legislation next year.”

“Today is a victory for all those who have stood up for their home, and for a future where we make better plans for our planet and our people. For a decade, native and non-native, rural and urban citizens, hunters, fishermen, environmental advocates, and tens of thousands of ordinary Canadians have joined together to oppose this threat to our very way of life in the North.

“To be clear,” Cullen added, “the prime minister truly had only one choice to make on this matter – to respect the rights of First Nations that have been upheld time after time in the courts, and to honour his own declaration that the Great Bear Rainforest is no place for a pipeline.”

On November 28, Cullen put a bill on notice in the House of Commons to implement a full ban on crude oil tanker traffic on the North Coast. The new bill is similar to Cullen’s previous motion to ban oil tankers on the North Coast, which passed through the House of Commons in December 2010, but the minority Conservative government at the time refused to follow through with legislation. Cullen introduced his own legislation (Bill C-628) to protect the North Coast against the threat of oil supertankers in 2014.

He was an intervener in the federal joint review panel for Enbridge Northern Gateway in 2012 and 2013, where he cross-examined federal agencies and exposed numerous deficiencies in the government’s consultation and environmental protection plans. Cullen also spearheaded the Take Back Our Coast initiative in 2014 and 2015, a 45-event tour across British Columbia that engaged thousands of citizens.