CONSERVATIVES VOTE AGAINST PROTECTING BC COAST

NDP Fisheries and Oceans deputy critic Fin Donnelly (New Westminster—Coquitlam) made the following statement on the defeat of his motion:

“New Democrats know that the government has a clear obligation to help protect our sensitive BC coast from the threat of oil spills.

“This is why we have repeatedly urged the Conservative government to reverse cuts to marine safety, oil spill response and environmental clean-up capacity on the West Coast.

“The recent toxic bunker fuel spill in Vancouver’s harbour is an urgent reminder of the fragility of our coastal waters. The NDP dedicated our first opposition day following the fuel spill to again urge the Conservatives to reverse their reckless cuts.

“Had the Kitsilano base still been operational, it could have responded to the spill in six minutes with the proper tools to prevent the oil from spreading. Instead, only a single, unequipped rubber boat was available. 

“The fuel caused untold damage to marine life and forced local authorities to close 16 beaches due to health concerns. Instead of taking this spill as a wake-up call and taking immediate action to improve BC’s ability to respond to marine spills, the Conservatives are pushing ahead with these irresponsible closures.

“Canadians deserve better.

“An NDP government will immediately reverse the Conservatives’ closure of the Kitsilano Coast Guard base and the Marine Communication and Traffic Services centre in Ucluelet; and will stop the closures planned for Vancouver and Comox.

“The coastline is crucial to our economy, ecosystem and culture. Canadians can trust Tom Mulcair’s NDP to fix the damage done by Stephen Harper’s Conservatives.”