The House of Commons has adopted an NDP motion calling for a ban on crude-oil tanker traffic off British Columbia's north coast.
But the motion, which was passed 143-138, is non-binding and is likely to be ignored by the Conservative government.
Canada has had an unofficial moratorium on tankers off B.C.'s north coast for decades. But New Democrat MP Nathan Cullen, the B.C. MP who put forward the opposition motion, said it is vital to enshrine the unwritten moratorium in legislation.
It comes as Calgary-based Enbridge Inc. has proposed sending up to 225 oil tankers every year out of the port of Kitimat to carry crude oil to new markets such as Asia and the western United States as part of its Northern Gateway project, which also includes a proposed pipeline from Alberta to the port.
A coalition of First Nations, commercial fisheries and environmental groups from the Pacific Northwest Coast has called for a ban on oil tankers in the region, claiming the local economy is in jeopardy because of increased traffic.
More than 13,000 jobs are directly related to coastal industries, and generate millions of dollars.
Enbridge has insisted the proposal is safe for the environment and will provide massive economic benefits for the region. The company's application will be assessed by a joint review panel established by the Minister of the Environment and the National Energy Board.