Tanisha Salomons —
Coastal nations are calling upon the Canadian government to enact the ban on oil tankers in coastal waters including siigaay Hecate Strait, Dixon Entrance, and Queen Charlotte Sound as promised.
For decades, Indigenous nations along the Pacific north coast and Haida Gwaii have insisted that oil tankers have no place in siigaay. The unpredictable weather conditions, fast currents, shoals and shallows of these waters create inherent navigation risks that have already resulted in catastrophic oil spills that have devastated coastal ecosystems, economies and traditional ways of life.
Ǧáǧvi Marilyn Slett, Chief Councillor of the Haíłzaqv Heiltsuk Nation, has initiated an online petition (see below) to Canada’s House of Commons that calls for permanent protection of siigaay from the risk of oil tankers. The petition is supported by the nine members of Coastal First Nations, other Indigenous nations and the Union of BC Indian Chiefs. The petition is sponsored by NDP Member of Parliament for Skeena-Bulkley Valley, Nathan Cullen.
This petition will be open for signatures for the next 120 days. After July 25, if it has garnered over 500 signatures, MP Nathan Cullen will present it to the House of Commons. The government of Canada is required to respond to the petition within 45 days of it being presented to the House.
In May 2017, the Canadian government introduced Bill C-48, the Oil Tanker Moratorium Act. This new legislation would prohibit any vessel carrying more than 12,500 tonnes of crude or persistent oil from accessing any ports along siigaay. The bill had its second parliamentary reading in October 2017, and proposed amendments to the bill were presented the following month, but the bill has not yet been tabled for its third reading. Bills require three parliamentary readings to become law.
PETITION LINK HERE: https://petitions.ourcommons.ca/en/Petition/Details?Petition=e-1601