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

BC SPCA constable visits Haida Gwaii

Special Constable John Meneray shook plenty of hands and a few paws… Continue reading

Nathan Cullen hosts ‘Create Your Canada’ contest

Local MP Nathan Cullen has a contest for people who catch themselves… Continue reading

In Pictures: Masset Main Street packed for Harbour Day

Sunshine and a fun set of games, sports, BBQs, fish bakes, pancake… Continue reading

Province to fund social housing in Queen Charlotte

People who are homeless or at risk of homelessness will soon have… Continue reading

Study highlights Queen Charlotte housing needs

A new housing report highlights lack of social and seniors housing

VIDEO: After the floods, comes the cleanup as Grand Forks rebuilds

Business owners in downtown wonder how long it will take for things to go back to normal

Union calls on prime minister to step into ‘stalled’ Phoenix compensation talks

For more than two years, thousands of federal workers have been affected by Phoenix system

Judge: President Trump can’t block critics on Twitter

The judge had suggested that Trump mute rather than block some of his critics

NFL owners adopt new policy to address anthem protests

Commissioner Roger Goodell said the change was approved unanimously by owners

Unicyclist starts his cross-Canada trip in Vancouver

Taylor Stark started his journey May 7

Film Review: On Chesil Beach

Saoirse Ronan continues to shine in adaptation Ian McEwan novel about young newlyweds on their wedding day

B.C. patients lost nearly $500,000 due to medical wait times: report

Fraser Institute report shows Canadians as a whole lost $1.9 billion

Rain, melting snow pose flooding concerns across B.C. as evacuations lift

There are still about 300 Canadian Forces personnel, 380 wildfire crews helping with flood response

PNE’s Summer Night Concerts by Village People, Lauper, Goo Goo Dolls, more

Mostly retro sounds at this year’s fair in Vancouver, starting Aug. 18

Most Read