MP Fin Donnelly asks the government to defend our coast from oil spills

 Fin Donnelly (Port Moody—Coquitlam, NDP):

Mr. Speaker, it has been 12 days since the Nathan E. Stewart ran aground spilling diesel fuel into the traditional waters of the Heiltsuk first nation. The situation is being described by first nation leaders as an environmental disaster and the government response has been an abject failure. First massive delays then a vessel hired to help with the cleanup began to sink and yesterday oil booms failed because of rough weather.

What is the government doing to prevent further damage? Is this what the minister meant by a world-class response, and if so, what planet is he living on?

Hon. Marc Garneau (Minister of Transport, Lib.):

Mr. Speaker, our government remains committed to improving marine security. That is why I am working with my colleague the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard to come forward with a coastal strategy that will improve marine safety. Certainly the tragic events of the Nathan E. Stewart tug sinking is a clear illustration that we need to do more. We are working with the local community. I spoke today with the Heiltsuk chief of that region and we are working with them.

We will be coming forward with better measures in the future to address marine security.