Mr. Speaker, I rise to introduce a bill that would ban oil tanker traffic in ecologically sensitive waters, and I appreciate the seconding of this bill by the member for Edmonton—Strathcona, who does so much for the environment.
Just two weeks ago, a freighter lost its steering and ran aground in Douglas Channel in northern British Columbia. Thankfully no one was injured, but the ship was seriously damaged, foreshadowing the disaster that would occur if an oil tanker were to spill into this fragile environment.
This bill would ban oil tankers from navigating Dixon Entrance, the Hecate Strait and Queen Charlotte Sound. This is a very critical area where the Queen of the North ferry sank. It includes waters that are very important to orcas which would be devastated, almost certainly irreparably, by any oil spill.
This bill also provides the authority for the government to ban tankers from other areas deemed to be ecologically sensitive.
British Columbia's pristine coastlines are a priceless natural resource. First nations, local communities and environmentalists have joined together to be responsible stewards of this shared resource by opposing the presence of oil tankers in these delicate waters.
I am proud to join them in these efforts and I urge my colleagues to support this measure.
(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)