December 4th, 2023
NDP holding Liberal Government to account for failure to keep West Coast mariners safe
NANAIMO – Last week, NDP Fisheries and Oceans critic Lisa Marie Barron sent a letter to the Minister after reports that life-saving direction-finding technology, a key tool in search and rescue efforts has not been available. Barron’s call comes after two locals died, and one is still missing because their vessels were unable to be located.
“Over the last few weeks, communities on Vancouver Island have been devastated by this loss. My heart goes out to their families and loved ones during this difficult time,” said Barron. “This cannot be allowed to happen again. It is deeply concerning that the technology that the Coast Guard needs to find mariners when they need help in the case of an emergency on the water is out of commission.”
Over the last decade, Harper’s Conservatives set the plan in motion to close Coast Guard Communication Centres and essential infrastructure, a plan that was finished by Trudeau’s Liberals with the closure of ten Coast Guard Centres across Canada. Most notably on Vancouver Island, we saw the closure of Coast Guard Communication Centre in Comox, BC. This closure was met with ample concerned islanders highlighting the detriment to mariners safety that would result, yet these concerns were ignored by the Liberal Government.
Now, this vital technology has fallen into disrepair, and mariners say they weren’t notified about it.
“Those on the water deserve to know that in a time of need, the help will be there to find them,” added Barron. “The Liberals and Conservatives have hurt our communities by undercutting the work of the Coast Guard, and people deserve an explanation. New Democrats want to see coastal communities get answers and assurances that this technology will be fixed.”