MP Cullen’s bill passes Commons

  • Nov. 30, 2007 2:00 p.m.

Canadians may be better protected from potentially dangerous chemicals in the future thanks to a private member’s bill put forward by Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Nathan Cullen, which passed unanimously in Parliament last week. The unanimous support of all parties for a private member’s bill is a rare occurrence in Parliament. Mr. Cullen’s bill asks for stronger controls on three types of phthalates, a chemical used primarily as a softener in plastics. These chemicals have been shown to cause birth defects in infants and it is suspected that they may also cause some forms of cancer. “While it is impossible to directly link these substances to any medical conditions, the overwhelming evidence suggests that these links exist,” Mr. Cullen said. “The precautionary principle in the Canadian Environmental Protection Act allows the government to protect people in such circumstances.” At all stages, Mr. Cullen’s bill passed through Parliament with the consent of all four parties in the House. While there were some amendments to the bill that were debated at committee, all points of view were considered and a compromise was found. The bill now heads to the Senate where it must also be passed before receiving royal assent.