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Federal parties pass tanker ban motion opposed by Conservatives

The Liberals, New Democrats and Bloc Québécois joined to pass a bill supporting a ban on tanker traffic on Canada's Pacific coast.

The three parties defeated Prime Minister Stephen Harper's minority Conservative government on the question with a 143 to 138 vote in the House of Commons.

The non-binding motion was brought forward by Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Nathan Cullen, an NDP representative in Ottawa whose name has been raised as a possible successor to B.C. NDP Leader Carole James.

“After years spent working to protect the coast and support sustainable livelihoods, the people of British Columbia do not want the imminent risk of an oil spill to destroy it all,” said Nikki Skuce from the environmental group ForestEthics in a press release. “Polls show that 80 percent of British Columbians support a tanker ban–this vote showed that most of our politicians are listening.”

“There are vibrant fishing, tourism and First Nations economies and cultures that would be threatened by oil tanker traffic and the risk of oil spills,” said Jennifer Lash of the Living Oceans Society. “The only way to stop an oil spill from causing irreparable harm to our coast is by keeping oil tankers off of it for good.”

The Dogwood Initiative, West Coast Environmental Law Association and the Wilderness Committee have also campaigned to ban tankers from the coast and declared support for today's vote.

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