NEW DEMOCRATS CALL ON HARPER GOVERNMENT TO SUPPORT COAST GUARD

Internal Audit Reveals The Coast Guard Is Unprepared To Clean Up or Contain Oil Spills

Ottawa – Today, New Democrat Fisheries and Oceans critic, Fin Donnelly (MP, New Westminster-Coquitlam & Port Moody) demanded answers on an internal audit of the Coast Guard that revealed the department is not prepared to contain or clean up oil spills.

“The Harper government has made it clear that they plan to forge ahead with risky, unconventional oil exploration and transport,” says Donnelly. “We know the irreparable damage to our coastal ecosystem if a spill were to happen – we have seen it recently in the Gulf Coast. It is unacceptable that the Coast Guard is ill-equipped and not properly resourced to protect our waters in the event of a spill.”

An audit conducted in March 2010 of the Coast Guard revealed a need for proper personnel training and the lack of a national training strategy. The audit also pointed to the aging fleet and outdated equipment to deal with oil spills.

“The Harper Conservatives have been sitting on this audit since March while continuing to push for increased oil production and transport. It is imperative that the government uphold its responsibility to protect our oceans and coastal communities from potentially catastrophic oil disasters by fully resourcing our coast guard.”