MP lashes out at Premier Gordon Campbell

MP Nathan Cullen has accused former B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell of cozying up to the oil industry in order to ensure himself a job once he leaves office.

MP Nathan Cullen has accused former B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell of cozying up to the oil industry in order to ensure himself a job once he leaves office.

The accusations come after Campbell joined the Premiers of Alberta and Saskatchewan, in sending an open letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, calling on him to defeat a bill in the House of Commons that would ban oil tanker traffic along the north coast of B.C.

“It almost feels as though he’s padding his resume for his next job: Sitting on a board of directors or two in the oil industry,” said Cullen.

In the letter sent to the PM, Campbell, Ed Stelmach and Brad Wall call on the Conservative government to defeat bill 606, a private members bill introduced by Vancouver-based Liberal MP Joyce Murray. The bill, if passed, would change Canada’s shipping rules and would ban oil tankers from sailing the waters along BC’s northern coast and Vancouver Island.

This would almost certainly impact plans by oil company Enbridge Inc. to build a pipeline that would end in Kitimat, plans which have been fiercely opposed by environmental and First Nations groups.

Cullen introduced a successful motion in the House of Commons late last year that called on the Harper government to ban tanker traffic. He says that picking to side with the oil industry will only tarnish Campbell’s legacy more than the HST debacle already has.

“The premier has no legitimacy to talk about this. Personally, I find it offensive that somebody who campaigned for years on environmental issues and First Nations respect would choose this issue as his final legacy piece,” said Cullen.

But Cullen wasn’t the only one lashing out at the Premier for the letter.

“If Gordon Campbell is not prepared to protect the North Coast of BC from catastrophic oil spills it is good he is finished as Premier,” said Arnold Nagy, President of UFAWU-CAW Local 31.

“North coast residents have said no to oil pipelines and no to oil tankers many times over the years.  Sustainable economic development on the coast does not involve oil.  Oil brings with it huge economic risks and few benefits either in jobs or business,”  said Joy Thorkelson, Northern Representative for the UFAWU-CAW

A representative from the Prime Minister’s office says that Bill 606 puts the economic recovery of Canada in jeopardy and that the Harper government has every intention of voting against it.