Skeena — Bulkley Valley MP Nathan Cullen was in Prince Rupert last week gathering input on his private members bill that would prevent oil pipelines, including Enbridge’s Northern Gateway Project, from seeing light.
The Prince Rupert event was the first of the Take Back Our Coast Tour, a series of townhall discussions Cullen is hosting in 20 British Columbia communities over the next three months, mainly outside the riding.
Approximately 60 people were at the Prince Rupert event on Oct. 14, with Cullen explaining the bill before allowing for questions and feedback.
The Act to Defend the Pacific Northwest is proposing to ban supertankers from transporting oil on the North Coast, which despite initial reports would include refined oil. The ban would not apply to the transportation of gasoline, aviation fuel, diesel oil or fuel oil intended for use in coastal and island communities.
Cullen said the bill’s purpose is conservation for the North Coast, but also to change how the government considers oil projects across Canada. The bill would also make the National Energy Board (NEB) more accountable for ensuring adequate consultation takes place, and mandate it to consider impacts to the country’s upgrading and refining sectors, and whether a project would add value to Canada’s natural resources as part of its public interest criteria.
Cullen said the bill received support following its first reading in the House of Commons.
“New Democrats are supportive, Liberals have indicated initial support, Elizabeth May (Green Party leader) co-signed the bill and initial indication from the independents and the (Bloc Québécois) is support,” he said, noting the support of eight Conservative MPs is needed for it to pass.
During his tour, Cullen is collecting names of supporters and asking they spread the word of the online petition, so he can present B.C.’s Conservation MPs with a list of their constituents who support the bill in an attempt to sway them.
When the Act to Defend the Pacific Northwest is voted on in the House this January, it will be the first time in 42 years that Canada’s Parliament will vote on a tanker ban.