BRITISH COLUMBIA – Forty years ago, the Canadian government introduced a moratorium banning oil tankers from the north and central coast of British Columbia. On the anniversary of the moratorium, the BC Caucus of NDP MPs released the following statement:
“As we approach the 40-year anniversary of the north coast tanker ban, the Conservative government is paving the way for unprecedented oil tanker traffic off BC’s coast and gutting the environmental review processes. In light of this, New Democrats are reiterating their call to uphold the ban, and protect BC waters from the risks of a devastating spill.
BC NDP MPs believe that the tanker moratorium is at risk due to the Conservative Government’s promotion of the proposed Northern Gateway Project.
The introduction of crude oil super tankers to BC’s North Coast proposed by this project would require eliminating the current tanker moratorium that has been in place for 40 years.
British Columbians have been clear – the risk of allowing super tankers off the coast greatly outweighs any benefit to our communities. An oil spill in the fragile coastal waters of British Columbia would irreversibly devastate BC’s coastline. Over 130 First Nations bands have also rejected the Northern Gateway project, as it tramples on the titles and traditional rights of these Nations. The Union of BC Municipalities also opposes the project.
In a historic vote on December 2010, the House of Commons passed an NDP motion directing the government to immediately introduce a legislated ban. The government has taken no action. worse, they chose to introduce massive regulatory changes in their 2012 budget which would weaken pipeline review processes and allow Ottawa to overrule any decision made by the National Energy Board.
British Columbians are proud of our stunning coastal waters. The coast directly and indirectly supports tens of thousands of jobs, brings visitors to our province and has deep spiritual significance for many peoples. Compromising this national treasure for short-term gain is short-sighted, irresponsible, and reckless.
We urge the Conservative government to bring forward a legislated ban on oil tankers to protect our coastline for future generations”