The federal NDP held their national party convention in Vancouver recently, where among other things they passed a resolution making an oil tanker ban off the North Coast one of the party’s policy goals.
It was passed with every one of the 1,500 party delegates voting in favour of it.
“The motions allows us to say that there are certain places on BC’s north coast that aren’t suitable for supertanker traffic because of the dangers. The resolution was heard by the entire convention and was passed unanimously,” said local MP Nathan Cullen.
Cullen and other MPs recently reintroduced a private member bill that would legislate a ban into effect on the North Coast. The bill will be selected at random to be voted on by the House of Commons, and would almost certainly be defeated unless the Conservative majority in Parliament change their position on a possible ban. Cullen says, that the motion more than anything else solidifies his party’s stance on the issue.
“What this does is that it confirms the work we’re doing in Parliament at the party level. It’s an endorsement from the members of the NDP that what we are doing is right. It enshrines it in NDP policy, it says that it’s not just for the moment, but is a long-term fight,” said Cullen.
Another fight Cullen is involving himself with in Ottawa is the controversy over the Canadian exporting of asbestos, which while being illegal here is still used in developing countries. Canada recently joined with countries such as Vietnam, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan to block the addition of asbestos to a UN list of dangerous materials.
“I find it appalling that this government won’t allow it into the Parliament buildings and is spending millions to take it out of public buildings everywhere in Canada, but feels as though it’s okay for Indian workers and their families to be exposed to,” said Cullen.
Cullen says that he would like to see the Canadian workers who work for the asbestos industry transitioned into a different line of work with help from the Federal Government.
“We’re going to start meeting with people in those communities that would be affected…One thing we know is that this industry is dying, it’s either going to die a natural death or be forced out by legislation,” said Cullen.
Cullen also says that he is in favour of the NDP’s plan to try to force the abolishment of the Senate, rather than reform it into an elected body, which the Conservatives want to do. The NDP are hoping to get the government to stop funding the Senate in order to “bleed it dry.”
“The Senate is an antiquated relic from the past, it serves no plausible function, costs a lot of money and, boy, these guys know how to take their entitlements home…Showing up for work for two days a week and getting $140,000 with no responsibilities. That seems like a cushy job if it’s yours for life just because you knew somebody,” said Cullen.