In this article for the Northern View, Marilyn Slett, CFN-GBI President and Chief Councillor for the Heiltsuk Nation, urges politicians to pass Bill C-48 to permanently ban large oil tankers in our territories. Below is an excerpt, but you can read the full version here.
When the Northern Gateway pipeline was proposed, our coastal leaders developed a declaration reaffirming our stance against oil tankers in our waters. Today, as we urge politicians to pass Bill C-48 to ensure a permanent ban, the words in that declaration still ring true, just as they have for thousands of years.
Our homeland for at least the past 14,000 years, the declaration stated, is a unique but fragile part of the world — a temperate rainforest where land and sea connect in a puzzle of islands, inlets and narrow, rocky channels. Our very existence as a people depends on these ecosystems and the healthy fish and wildlife that live here; they gave rise to our Nations, our cultures and livelihoods. That’s why our declaration reiterated our responsibility to care for these lands and waters for the sake of all future generations.
Like most of the world’s ecosystems, our coastal home is threatened by destructive and unsustainable industrial practices. But our declaration against large tankers and current support for Bill C-48 doesn’t simply decry those practices. More importantly, we’ve committed to restoring these ecosystems and wildlife, and the fisheries and livelihoods that depend on them, by building sustainable economies.