Cullen Demands Immediate Federal Help for Those Impacted by Fuel Spill

MP Nathan Cullen is calling for urgent federal action to help the Heiltsuk deal with the fallout from the sinking of a tugboat off the central coast.

The Skeena-Bulkley Valley New Democrat says the resulting fuel spll has been a "disaster", that has stretched the capacity of the Heiltsuk Nation to the limit.

And he says the government response has been woefully inadequate.

"It took a bunch of time, more than a day, and the booms aren't working because of bad weather and on and on it goes, so the Bella Bella people have been under huge strain and doing as best as they can, yet it's devastating their clam fishery, it's going to have impact on what happens with salmon and herring and their sport tourism, it's just -- we're only seeing the beginning of this story. Imagine if the oil barge had been full that it was towing, imagine if it had been one of these supertankers that Mr Trudeau might approve for the coast -- you just can't have this!" he said.

Cullen has written to four federal ministers (Environment Minister Catherine McKenna, Fisheries and Oceans Minister Dominic Leblanc, Transport Minister Marc Garneau, and Indigenous Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett), calling for the immediate replacement of the income of those working in the commercial clam harvest, which provides a livelihood for 50 families in the community.

He also demanded that the Trudeau government formalize a moratorium on crude oil tanker traffic on the North Coast, as promised in last year's Liberal election platform.

[Photo credit:  Heiltsuk Nation]