Decision Maker Response

Tom Mulcair’s response

Oct 9, 2015 — The Canadian Coast Guard has long been a symbol of service and safety for Canadians. Its services have a direct and important impact on the lives of Canadians by helping to ensure their safety and keeping our Canadian waterways protected.

When 2,700 litres of bunker fuel spilled from the MV Marathassa and quickly spread through the region, depositing oil on the shores of English Bay, Stanley Park, North Vancouver, West Vancouver and Burrard Inlet, and fouling wildlife, it became clear just how important it is to have a well-functioning Coast Guard service.

The Conservative government shuttered the Kitsilano Coast Guard station in 2013 to save cash. Regrettably, this decision continues to have a negative impact as was shown in the case of the MV Marathassa — the Coast Guard was slow to respond to — and unequipped to contain — the recent toxic fuel spill in English Bay.

Experts have warned that closing Coast Guard stations across Canada puts the public at risk. Response times increase and lives are threatened when the Coast Guard does not have the resources and stations they need to do their job properly.

That’s why it was so disappointing when Conservative MPs from B.C. failed to stand up for the West Coast and support an NDP motion in the House of Commons to reopen the Kitsilano coast guard station in Vancouver.

This is a dangerous precedent that Mr. Harper has set. But what we’ve learned is we don’t even have adequate response time for a moderately sized oil spill.

British Columbian’s deserve better.

A NDP government would take a first step to repair the damage that created by Stephen Harper and his Conservative government. We will:
• Reopen the Kitsilano Coast Guard base;
• Reopen the Marine Communications and Traffic Service Centre in Ucluelet;
• Stop closures of these centres in other locations; and,
• Provide adequate funding for search and rescue operations.
These services will be essential in any disaster near the Lower Mainland coastline. Canadians can count on an NDP Government to work with provinces and municipalities on disaster relief efforts to keep our communities safe. There is more than we can do to protect our communities and environment from disasters.

The Conservative decision to cut the Joint Emergency Preparedness Program (JEPP) and close the Emergency Preparedness College was short-sighted and will cost Canadians more in the long-term as first responders lack the training and equipment they need.
We’ve announced that an NDP Government will restore the $9 million annually in Joint Emergency Preparedness Program (JEPP) for provinces and territories to help communities invest in emergency plans, equipment, training and capacity building.
This is not about ideology anymore. This is about common sense. This is about protecting people, about protecting ecosystems, about protecting our communities. Things you can’t put a price on!

Best regards,

Tom Mulcair
Leader, New Democratic Party of Canada