CONSERVATIVES’ FAILURE TO PREPARE FOR OIL SPILLS PUTTING CANADA’S COASTS AT RISK

OTTAWA – This week’s bunker fuel spill from a vessel off the coast of Vancouver should serve as a wakeup call for Canadians. The Conservative government must do more to improve Canada`s ability to respond to spills in the marine environment. 

“It’s been almost five years since the Auditor General warned that Canada is not prepared to respond to major oil spills,” said NDP Environment critic Megan Leslie (Halifax). “Yet the Conservatives continue gutting environmental protections and slashing resources tasked with monitoring and responding to spills.”

Instead of following recommendations from the Auditor General’s 2010 report, the Conservatives cut Environment Canada’s 2012 budget. The cuts resulted in the closure of the spill response office in Vancouver, due to the consolidation of Canada’s regional spill offices.

“The Conservatives must take protecting our coastal communities more seriously,” said NDP Fisheries and Oceans deputy critic Fin Donnelly (New Westminster—Coquitlam and Port Moody). “The Conservatives` broad cuts to the Canadian Coast Guard, including the Kitsilano base here in Vancouver, and its Marine Communication and Traffic Centres across the country have only set the stage for an unthinkable disaster.”  

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