Cullen bill takes aim at oil projects

  • Apr. 6, 2015 5:00 a.m.

By Stacey MarpleHaida Gwaii ObserverSkeena-Bulkley Valley MP Nathan Cullen is reaching out to Haida Gwaii’s municipal leaders for support of his new bill that, if passed, would essentially halt Enbridges Northern Gateway pipeline project in it’s tracks. Mr. Cullen’s bill is intended to protect B.C.’s pristine northern coast from risks associated with oil supertankers and the Northern Gateway Pipeline.The act, named Defend the Pacific Northwest, was inspired in part by Northern B.C.’s widespread opposition to Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline. Mr. Cullen’s bill would legislate immediate protection for B.C.’s North Coast from the threat of oil tankers, while addressing key concerns of the process that led to the Conservative government’s approval of the pipeline. For the first time in history, Mr. Cullen says, this bill would ban supertankers from transporting oil across the North Coast of BC. “This region is one of the most environmentally, culturally and historically important areas in Canada,” states Mr. Cullen in a letter to all Islands’ municipal councils.The bill would make the National Energy Board more accountable to ensuring adequate consultation occurs between the federal government and First Nations, provincial and municipal governments and local communities impacted by a proposed project. Bill C-628 will complement what Mr. Cullen calls significant Supreme Court decisions that have strengthened rights for First Nations people. He says the bill also complements his advocacy for a stronger green economy, and the NDP’s pledge to implementing a “polluter-pay” model, putting a price on carbon and eliminating the $1.3-billion subsidy to the oil industry.Queen Charlotte Village Council voted to support the bill in their regular March 16 meeting. A petition will also be posted all over the islands for residents to sign. Cullen says the petition is intended to draw attention of the Government of Canada’s failure in their constitutional duty to adequately consult with First Nations and other BC communities over Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline and the risk of potentially devastating bitumen spills. The petition also states that the Conservative government’s current policy of raw resource export is detrimental for the environment and for Canadian jobs.

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