UNDER NDP PRESSURE LIBERALS REVERSE CUTS TO BC COASTAL PROGRAMS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

OTTAWA – Following weeks of pressure from the NDP, the Liberal government announced a reversal of their decision to cut an important BC salmon-education program and the restoration of funding for a Search and Rescue dive team.

“I’m grateful to those British Columbians who raised their voices against these short-sighted cuts,” said Fin Donnelly, the NDP Critic for Fisheries and Oceans. “With this tremendous outpouring of support, we were able to get the government to back down.”

Two weeks ago, the government quietly announced the phase out of the Coast Guard’s only team of emergency rescue divers. On the same day, they announced the end of funding for the Stream to Sea program. This program has provided over a million students with a hands-on learning experience on the role of BC’s salmon in the province’s fisheries, ecology, history and First Nations culture.

The Liberal government’s plan to disband the search and rescue dive team came as a shock to BC mariners who already lived through this once before. In 2001, a previous Liberal government cancelled the dive team as a cost saving measure, but two days later, a man crashed his vehicle into the Fraser River and the Coast Guard was unable to rescue him from the waters.

“BC mariners are relieved they do not have to go through this nightmare again,” Donnelly said, “The Coast Guard Search and Rescue dive team is a unique service that saves lives. Disbanding it was irresponsible and made no sense at all.” 

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