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Cullen invites new fisheries minister to tour northwest

Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Nathan Cullen

Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Nathan Cullen has wasted no time in inviting new federal fisheries minister Jonathan Wilkinson (North Vancouver) to visit northwest B.C. and hear directly from residents about the critical state of salmon stocks.

“The ocean is essential to the cultural and economic well-being of so many people in our region and along the whole West Coast,” Cullen said, in a news release. “I’m very pleased the government is acknowledging this with the appointment of a B.C. MP as the new fisheries minister, the first West Coast fisheries minister appointed since 1999. I hope Mr. Wilkinson will understand and act on the crisis that Northwest residents face with plummeting salmon stocks and a particularly tight fishing quota this summer.”

Cullen was keen to underscore that more needs to be done to ensure the coast and waterways in B.C. remain protected for future generations. This includes the risk posed by the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline, which would result in a seven-fold increase in oil tankers travelling the ecologically sensitive Salish Sea.

“Unfortunately, Mr. Wilkinson has been a vocal supporter of the Liberal government’s reckless purchase of a 65-year-old leaky pipeline,” noted Cullen. “Mr. Wilkinson has made protecting the remaining southern resident killer whales and the chinook salmon on which they depend a priority; I can only hope he will put these unique asserts of the BC coast ahead of the interests of oil corporations.”

Cullen noted that marine experts have frequently highlighted the negative impact increased tanker traffic may have on killer whales due to rises in noise pollution and ocean contaminants, regardless of the risk of a major spillage of diluted bitumen.

Cullen also noted the strong opposition in BC to the Trans Mountain expansion.

“I hope Mr. Wilkinson listens to the concerns of B.C. residents regarding risks of this project to the federal government’s relationship with Indigenous peoples, the environment, and to the economy for blowing billions of taxpayer dollars and raises a strong voice in cabinet against this ill-considered expansion.”

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