Kitsilano Cut an Unacceptable Risk for BC: Donnelly

VANCOUVER - The Harper government’s short-sighted cuts to Coast Guard stations will put British Columbians at greater risk, according to New Democrat Deputy Critic for Fisheries and Oceans for the West Coast Fin Donnelly (New Westminster-Coquitlam).

Donnelly spoke today at an event hosted by the Union of Canadian Transportation Employees, the Vancouver Parks Board and others to denounce the closure of the Kitsilano Coast Guard Station and stressed this and other coast guard cuts are eroding safety across BC’s coast.

“The Kitsilano Station is one of the busiest Coast Guard Stations in the country. This cut will unnecessarily increase risk to British Columbians,” said Donnelly. “The Canadian Coast guard is essential for marine safety on BC's coast and the Conservative’s plan to shut down not only the Kitsilano Station, but also Marine Communications and Traffic Service Centres across BC, is very worrisome.”

Last week, the Conservative government gave staff at the Kitsilano Coast Guard Station notice that it would be shut down. There is no evidence of consultation with this move, which would double response times to mariners in distress. The Kitsilano Coast Guard station responds to hundreds of calls a year, ranging from broken down vessels, suicides and persons in water.

“Canadians want their government to make jobs a priority, they don't want them cutting critical services that keep us safe,” said Donnelly. “These cuts show how disconnected the Harper Conservatives are from the priorities of British Columbians.”