One step closer to a legislated ban on crude oil tankers on B.C.'s north coast

Liberal MP Joyce Murray moves Bill C-606 forward for debate: One step closer to a legislated ban on crude oil tankers on B.C.'s north coast

Media release February 15, 2011

OTTAWA - Yesterday, Vancouver Quadra Liberal MP Joyce Murray announced that C-606, her private Members' bill to ban oil tanker traffic off B.C.'s north coast, has been officially submitted to proceed to debate next month.

"We are now one step closer to a legislated oil tanker ban on B.C.'s north coast - the only way to protect our oceans and communities from a catastrophic oil spill," stated Murray. "If disaster were to strike in our northern coastal waters, B.C. - and Canada as a whole - would never be the same."

Bill C-606 legislates a crude oil tanker ban in the dangerous inland waters around Haida Gwaii known as Dixon Entrance, Hecate Strait and Queen Charlotte Sound. The bill would not affect current deliveries of diesel and other oil products to local communities.

Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff has repeatedly called on the Harper government to commit to safeguarding B.C.'s coast from the social, economic and environmental destruction that would result from a major oil spill. The Conservatives have ignored Mr. Ignatieff, claiming there are enough safeguards and technologies in place to prevent and clean up a spill.

"We've witnessed the Gulf of Mexico and Exxon-Valdez oil spills. It's just not worth the risk," stated Ms. Murray. "In perfect conditions, industry considers 15 percent recovery of oil a success, but a recent report by Canada's Environment and Sustainable Development Commissioner raised serious doubts about the Conservative government's ability to even respond to a spill."

Bill C-606 is expected to be debated toward the end of March. In the time leading up to its debate, Ms. Murray will be meeting with local communities and stakeholders in B.C. to gain further support for the protection of B.C.'s north coast. A 2010 Mustel poll finding indicated that eight of ten British Columbians support a tanker ban on B.C.'s north coast.

"I am reaching out to all Parties to support Bill C-606 and I urge all Members to support protecting our oceans and our communities," added Ms. Murray. "This is a test for the 22 Conservative MPs representing B.C. ridings. Are they going to vote for British Columbians' interests, or are they going to be told how to vote by Ottawa?"

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