Regional district backs MP’s tanker ban bid

Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Nathan Cullen's private member's bill is scheduled to be debated in Parliament Feb. 18

Directors of the Kitimat-Stikine regional district have voted to support a bid by Skeena-Bulkley Valley NDP MP Nathan Cullen to ban bulk oil exports by tanker off the north coast.

The decision came after Cullen briefed directors at the last regional district meeting on his ban bid via a private member’s bill in Parliament.

Cullen’s bill, Bill C-628, An Act to Amend the Shipping Act 2001 and the National Energy Board Act, is intended to amend the shipping act to define oil and “prohibit the transport of oil in an oil tanker in the areas of the sea adjacent to the coast of Canada known as Dixon Entrance, Hecate Strait and Queen Charlotte Sound.”

It was introduced last year in Parliament and is scheduled to be debated Feb. 18.

Cullen’s bill would amend the Energy Board Act “to include additional considerations when considering the issuance of pipeline certificates: the extend to which the pipeline is expected to have an impact on employment…” and “ensure the consultations have taken place between the Government of Canada and all other provincial, territorial, municipal and First Nations Governments, whose lands and waters will be affected, and take into account those positions and specify how each position was taken into account in the recommendation.”

The MP told regional district directors the “elephant in the room” is First Nations rights.

“I’m not convinced the Conservatives realize that reality,” he said.

Cullen has been taking his tanker ban crusade around the riding and elsewhere on the coast and province under the banner, “Take Back our Coast.”