Mr. Speaker, my bill would amend the Canada Shipping Act by prohibiting the transportation of oil in oil tankers along the north coast of British Columbia, specifically in Dixon Entrance, Hecate Strait and Queen Charlotte Sound. It would also allow the government, on the recommendation of Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, to designate other areas of the sea in which the transportation of oil by oil tankers could be prohibited.
I feel the introduction of this bill is timely. On March 24, 1989, the Exxon Valdez oil tanker ran aground on Bligh Reef, causing one of the most devastating environmental disasters in North American history. The environmental impact of the Exxon Valdez spill was enormous, killing thousands of birds, sea mammals and others.
This week first nations groups, businesses and other community activists from all across British Columbia came together to denounce the proposed Enbridge pipeline, which would bring 225 oil tankers a year through Hecate Strait and Queen Charlotte Sound to move crude oil to markets abroad. This traffic could endanger countless marine species, first nations and coastal communities. As lawmakers, I believe we have a duty to protect B.C.'s coastlines for generations to come.
I strongly encourage the federal government to protect B.C.'s coast, our salmon fishery and our amazing coastal ecosystem and invest in a new renewable energy future. It can start to do this by voting for this bill.
(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)