Cuts to Coast Guard Station Put British Columbians at Risk

OTTAWA – New Democrat Deputy Fisheries and Oceans Critic, Fin Donnelly (New Westminster-Coquitlam and Port Moody) and National Defence Critic, Jack Harris (St. John’s East) addressed reporters today to discuss the Conservatives’ dangerous cuts to the Kitsilano Coast Guard Rescue Station in Vancouver.

“The Kitsilano station is one of the busiest in the country. There is simply no justification for its closure,” said Donnelly. “Marine safety should be a priority for this Government not the first thing up on the chopping block.”

In addition to the closure of the station at Kitsilano there will be cuts to Marine Communications and Traffic Service Centres across BC. The cuts in BC follow similar search and rescue centre closures on the East Coast and in Quebec.

“The Finance Minister has said that their cuts will only affect so-called ‘back office operations’,” said Harris. “The Coast Guard and search and rescue services are not back office operations they are front line life saving services. People who use the ocean for work and for recreation understand that. It is very unfortunate that the Conservatives do not.”

Donnelly and Harris are hosting a town hall meeting tonight in Vancouver to hear from residents about how the Kitsilano Coast Guard Station closure will affect them.

“People are angry and rightfully so,” said Donnelly. “It is very sad that the Conservatives are willing to put people’s safety at risk.”