Council of the Haida Nation says Ottawa’s oceans plan is a good start

Ottawa’s new oceans protection plan is a good start, says the Haida Nation, but not if the end game is exporting heavy oil and LNG.

Ottawa’s new oceans protection plan is a good start, says the Haida Nation, but not if the end game is exporting heavy oil and LNG.

Standing on a Coast Guard ship in Vancouver on Nov. 7, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a $1.5-billion, five-year plan to prevent and clean up fuel spills on Canada’s Pacific, Atlantic, and Arctic coasts.

The plan includes leasing heavy rescue tugs; new rescue stations; better Coast Guard communications, mapping, and towing capacity; tougher polluter-pays rules; research into oil spill clean up; and new indigenous community response teams.

Trudeau called the ongoing response to a diesel spill near Bella Bella “unacceptable,” noting that nearby Heiltsuk people were first to respond.

“As recent incidents show, First Nations are always first responders, and it’s important to work together to ensure they have the resources and authorities that they need,” said Trudeau.

In a press release posted the following day, Haida Nation President Peter Lantin, kil tlaats ‘gaa, welcomed the plan as a “good beginning.”

“We have pressed hard to have the federal government wake up to our reality,” said Lantin, noting that the Haida Nation has made better progress on the file with the Trudeau Liberals than it did with the Harper Conservatives in 2014, after the cargo ship Simushir nearly ran aground on Haida Gwaii’s west coast.

“These improvements to marine safety and response bring the federal responsibilities up to a good ‘median,’” said Lantin.

“When combined with a full moratorium on tanker traffic, as the Haida Nation has proposed, and the Prime Minister promised, we may finally realize a protected coast.”

Along with coastal First Nations, Ottawa has discussed its oceans protection plan with the B.C. government, which has its own 11-item wish list for “world-leading” spill response on the B.C. coast.

The list includes three new heavy rescue tugs costing up to $50 million each, and a new $6 million Coast Guard station in Prince Rupert.

Local NDP MLA Jennifer Rice has said that without a promised North Coast ban on oil tankers, all such measures will fall short.

“The best oil response is prevention,” said Rice. “Witnessing firsthand the situation in Bella Bella, it is clear to me that it is past time for Trudeau to implement his election promise of a legislated tanker ban.”

Speaking after Trudeau’s announcement, local NDP MP Nathan Cullen noted that nearly half the $1.5-billion oceans plan won’t kick in until the next federal election is over.

Cullen also noted that the plan comes about a month before the Trudeau cabinet decides on approving the expansion of Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline, which B.C. Premier Christy Clark had opposed for lack of spill-response capabilities.

“Christy Clark happily signed off on the plan, but that was pushing an open door,” said Cullen.

“She was looking for a number of years now for a way to say ‘yes’ to Kinder Morgan.”

 

Just Posted

Gudangaay Tlaats’gaa Naay powers up with solar panels and Tesla battery packs

Solar power got another big boost on Haida Gwaii last week, with… Continue reading

Sandspit candidates focus on ferries, housing, and emergency plans

It may be first, but restoring Kwuna ferry sailings isn’t the only… Continue reading

‘Police are ready’ for legal pot, say Canadian chiefs

But Canadians won’t see major policing changes as pot becomes legal

A “glamping” hotspot in Tlell?

Campers may soon find a way to go “glamping” in Tlell that… Continue reading

Odds ‘n Sods: Voting, stretching, and painting in Port

By Elaine Nyeholt We missed the mist of Misty Isles all summer.… Continue reading

Rick Mercer says pot is ‘excruciatingly boring’

Comedian hopes Canadians will move onto something else once marijuana is legalized

Canada Post union issues strike notice; rotating strikes could begin Monday

Union says rotating strikes will begin if agreements aren’t reached with bargaining units

Carole James avoids questions on B.C.’s payroll tax (with video)

Green MLA Adam Olsen cites huge tax increase for local business

BCTF wins grievance over teacher shortage in public schools

Arbitrator found Chilliwack school district did not hire enough on-call teachers or librarians

2 charged for feeding B.C. bear Tim Horton’s timbits

Court documents show that Randy Scott and Megan Hiltz have both been charged with feeding or attempting to feed dangerous wildlife.

Killer-rapist Paul Bernardo set for parole bid after 25 years in prison

Bernardo’s parole hearing at the Bath Institution is expected to attract numerous observers

Feds aiming to select preferred design for $60B warships by end of month

Defence insiders say the government wants to select a design by the end of the month from among three options submitted by several of the largest defence and shipbuilding companies in the world.

B.C. city wants control over its cannabis advertising rules

Without a say, towns and cities risk Washington-State-style flood of advertising, proponent says

Defence cautions against mob justice in Calgary child neglect trial

Jennifer and Jeromie Clark of Calgary have pleaded not guilty to criminal negligence causing death

Most Read