Fin in the News "NDP Fisheries and Oceans critic Fin Donnelly urges Trudeau government to bring back Coast Guard dive team"

by Charlie Smith on May 26th, 2017, The Georgia Straight

The only MP who swam the length of the Fraser River says it's foolhardy for the federal government to eliminate the Coast Guard's only team of emergency divers.

Fin Donnelly (Port Moody–Coquitlam) pointed out in an NDP news release that Justin Trudeau campaigned on improving marine safety on the West Coast.

The NDP fisheries and oceans critic said that it's "reckless and dangerous" for the Liberal government to have eliminated the team on the Sea Island base this year.

“We are about to enter the busiest boating season of the year," Donnelly said. "Justin Trudeau must live up to his promise and he must reinstate the Coast Guard Search and rescue dive team immediately.”

Donnelly noted that when a previous Liberal government disbanded the team in 2001, "it led to preventable deaths on our coast."

As an example, he cited the death of a man who crashed into the Fraser River close to the base on Sea Island just two days after the decision took effect that year.

"Have they not learned from their past mistakes?" Donnelly asked.

The Coast Guard has claimed that the savings from cutting the dive team is being reallocated in other areas of marine safety, including the purchase of four new search and rescue boats and increasing search and rescue staffing levels in B.C.

After Trudeau became prime minister in 2015, the Liberal government restored the Kitsilano Coast Guard base, which had been closed by the previous Conservative government.

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