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B.C. MP's anti-tanker bill not expected to pass

04/01/2015 03:29 EDT | Updated 06/01/2015 05:59 EDT
Members of Parliament will vote on a private member's bill on Wednesday afternoon that would keep crude oil tankers off of British Columbia's North Coast.

However, Bill C-628, introduced by New Democrat MP Nathan Cullen, likely has next to no chance of passing due to the fact that not a single Conservative MP in B.C. appears to support it.

"So far, we can't get a Conservative B.C. MP to stand up for the constituents and vote for it," Cullen, who represents Skeena-Bulkley Valley, told Daybreak North.

"We have support from the Liberals and from the Greens and from the Independents. The Conservatives are not willing to bend the Prime Minister's will on this thing."

If passed, the legislation would ban tankers from the province's north coast and require the National Energy Board to take specific factors into account before approving pipeline projects such as Northern Gateway.     

The $7.9 billion-pipeline project was approved by the federal government last June, pending 209 conditions recommended by the NEB. The B.C. government has also set five conditions that must be met before it allows the Northern Gateway pipeline to be built across the province.

Conservative MP for Prince George-Peace River MP Bob Zimmer says Cullen's bill is bad news for the economy.

"This bill would limit further diversifying energy exports with countries other than the United States, which would severely impact our economy, jobs, everything," he said.

Though Cullen doubts he can get at least 10 of 20 British Columbian MPs to vote for his bill, University of Northern British Columbia political science professor Jason Morris says Cullen's efforts are still worthwhile.

"Private members bills are an excellent opportunity for backbenchers in government and opposition to raise a matter in a legislature that is perhaps being ignored by the government, by the ministers," Morris said.

"It's also a great way that they can articulate the interests of constituents whose voices otherwise might not be heard."

To hear the full story, listen to the audio labelled: MPs to vote on anti-tanker bill

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