Federal opposition parties are committed to protecting BC from Enbridge oil spills

Contact: Eric Swanson 250-858-9990

As Enbridge faces criticism in the United States for their 4 million litre spill into the Kalamazoo River, which is inflicting harm on people, communities, and the environment, Canadians can take comfort in a commitment by federal opposition parties to protect BC’s coast from a similar incident.

On June 21st Michael Ignatieff and the Liberal Party of Canada committed to legislating a ban on oil tanker traffic through British Columbia’s Pacific north coast. In so doing they joined the federal NDP, who have tabled Bill C-502 to ban oil tankers, and all nine coastal First Nations, who have declared their own oil tanker ban using their traditional laws. A legislated oil tanker ban would have the effect of preventing Enbridge’s proposed 1,100km crude oil pipeline from Alberta to Kitimat, as well as CN Rail’s proposed ‘pipeline on rail’ to Prince Rupert.

“Given the unfolding damage in Michigan, we’re thanking the federal NDP and the Liberal Party of Canada for committing to protect BC’s coastal and interior communities, and our salmon rivers,” says Eric Swanson of Victoria-based Dogwood Initiative.

Continues Swanson: “There are only two kinds of federal politicians with respect to Enbridge in BC: those who support a legislated ban on oil tankers through the north coast, and those who don’t. The Conservatives are those who don’t.”

Polling shows that opposition to Enbridge oil tankers extends to about 80% of British Columbians, and crosses party lines.

“We hope that all opposition parties can work together this fall to enact a permanent, legislative solution to the threat of Enbridge oil spills in BC.”

Background:

  • Enbridge is proposing an 1,100 km crude oil and condensate pipeline project from Alberta to the coastal community of Kitimat, BC. This ‘Northern Gateway’ pipeline project would bring 225 supertankers per year to BC’s north coast, including the coast of the world renowned Great Bear Rainforest.
  • The proposed Enbridge pipelines would cross over 700 streams and rivers, including the Fraser and Skeena watersheds, two of Canada’s most important salmon watersheds. A report by the Pembina Institute states that “Pipeline construction, ruptures and leaks all pose serious risks to salmon, making the Enbridge project a toxic proposal for salmon and the communities that depend on them.” Click here to read the report: http://pubs.pembina.org/reports/oil-and-salmon-dont-mix-fact-sheet.pdf
  • The proposed Enbridge oil tankers would put at risk approximately 650 salmon spawning streams on BC’s coast. 
  • The Liberal Party of Canada and the New Democratic Party of Canada have stated commitments to a legislated ban on oil tankers through BC’s north coast. The Bloc Quebecois have also indicated openness to supporting such a ban.  
  • 28 individual First Nations have expressed opposition to Enbridge’s oil pipeline and tanker project, founded in the risk of spills and their broader interests in asserting their aboriginal title and rights. 

 

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