Canada’s largest union throws its support behind Cullen’s tanker ban bill

Skeena — Bulkley Valley MP Nathan Cullen is optimistic his bill banning oil tanker traffic on the North Coast will find support.

Skeena — Bulkley Valley MP Nathan Cullen is optimistic his bill banning oil tanker traffic on the North Coast will find support after it was introduced into the House of Commons last Tuesday.

Cullen acknowledged his Act to Defend the Pacific Northwest bill, which would also encourage refining oil prior to export, is targeted specifically at stopping the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline.

“I’m not going to be happy until I see this company walk away and until we take the threat of another company showing up with the same idea completely off the table. That’s what this legislation does,” said Cullen, who noted the bill “does not take on the LNG debate”.

Cullen said the response to the bill during its first reading in the House of Commons was primarily supportive. The next opportunity for debate on the act won’t be until the new year, which will be followed by a vote.

“That vote is the critical first step for us and that’s why I’m taking this bill on the road and engaging residents,” he said, referring to the Take Back Our Coast tour that will kick off in Prince Rupert in October.

However, the idea has already found favour with Canada’s largest union, Unifor.

“The NDP’s bill puts Canadians first. It has a long-term vision that respects democracy and good jobs,” said Unifor’s western director Joie Warnock, adding he feels Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s resource development strategy “might as well have been written by foreign oil companies”.

Members of the public who would like to provide input on the bill are encouraged to attend the Prince Rupert event at the Nisga’a Hall on Oct. 14.