Conservatives vote against protecting BC coast

NDP Fisheries and Oceans deputy critic Fin Donnelly (New Westminster—Coquitlam) made the following statement on the defeat of his motion:

“New Democrats know that the government has a clear obligation to help protect our sensitive BC coast from the threat of oil spills.

“This is why we have repeatedly urged the Conservative government to reverse cuts to marine safety, oil spill response and environmental clean-up capacity on the West Coast.

“The recent toxic bunker fuel spill in Vancouver’s harbour is an urgent reminder of the fragility of our coastal waters. The NDP dedicated our first opposition day following the fuel spill to again urge the Conservatives to reverse their reckless cuts.

“Had the Kitsilano base still been operational, it could have responded to the spill in six minutes with the proper tools to prevent the oil from spreading. Instead, only a single, unequipped rubber boat was available. 

“The fuel caused untold damage to marine life and forced local authorities to close 16 beaches due to health concerns. Instead of taking this spill as a wake-up call and taking immediate action to improve BC’s ability to respond to marine spills, the Conservatives are pushing ahead with these irresponsible closures.

“Canadians deserve better.

“An NDP government will immediately reverse the Conservatives’ closure of the Kitsilano Coast Guard base and the Marine Communication and Traffic Services centre in Ucluelet; and will stop the closures planned for Vancouver and Comox.

“The coastline is crucial to our economy, ecosystem and culture. Canadians can trust Tom Mulcair’s NDP to fix the damage done by Stephen Harper’s Conservatives.”

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NDP moves to protect BC Coast from oil spills

In the wake of the recent toxic fuel spill off the coast of Vancouver, the NDP is reiterating its call for the Conservatives to immediately reverse reckless cuts made to marine safety and will bring the issue to Parliament for debate in its next opposition day motion.  

“This spill needs to be a wake-up call – Conservative cuts are threatening the BC coast,” said NDP Leader Tom Mulcair. “An NDP government will immediately reverse the Conservatives’ closure of the Kitsilano Coast Guard base and the Marine Communication and Traffic Services centre in Ucluelet; and will stop the closures planned for Vancouver and Comox.”

On Monday, NDP Fisheries and Oceans deputy critic Fin Donnelly (New Westminster – Coquitlam) will introduce the motion calling on the Conservatives to reverse cuts to marine safety, oil spill response, and environmental clean-up capacity off the British Columbia coast. 

“The coastline is crucial to our economy, ecosystem and culture. We have a responsibility to the generations that follow us to preserve it,” said Donnelly. “Canadians can trust the NDP to fix the damage done by Stephen Harper’s Conservatives.” 

The motion reads as follows:

“That, in the opinion of the House, the recent toxic bunker fuel spill in Vancouver Harbour represents an urgent reminder of the fragility of our coastal waters and, therefore, the government must reverse its cuts to marine safety, oil spill response, and environmental clean-up capacity in Vancouver and elsewhere on the coast of British Columbia by: (a) re-opening the Kitsilano Coast Guard Station; (b) re-opening the recently-closed Ucluelet Marine Communication and Traffic Service Centre; and (c) halting plans to close the Vancouver and Comox Marine Communication and Traffic Service Centres.”

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Overheard this week: A “vague waffler” who has “more in common with Harper”

This week, Justin Trudeau couldn’t decide from one day to the next if he was in favour of working with the NDP to oust Harper or not:

“Trudeau might be open to the idea of forming a coalition with the NDP”

—   CBC TV, Tuesday, April 14, 2015

“Justin Trudeau says he is ‘unequivocally opposed to a Liberal-NDP coalition”

—   Global TV, Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Some political watchers even suggested Trudeau might be more comfortable in a coalition with Stephen Harper:

“Trudeau has more in common with Harper than Mulcair … Under Mr. Trudeau’s leadership, the Liberals on most major files have become virtually indistinguishable from Stephen Harper’s Conservatives. On the question of taxes, for example, the Liberals would retain all the Conservative measures, save for a minor income-splitting tax cut. The NDP, on the other hand, would raise corporate taxes. On the environment, Mr. Trudeau appears content to allow the provinces to lead the fight against global warming, as does Mr. Harper. Mr. Mulcair is committed to compulsory national standards to reduce carbon emissions.”

—   John Ibbitson, Globe and Mail, April 15 2015

Meanwhile, Tom Mulcair’s strong leadership continued to win praise:

“Mulcair is the better debater. We have seen that in the Commons and outside. He is a master of the specific. He has an organized and well-focused mind. Trudeau is a vague waffler — he has a patter of stock phrases about values and being Canadian, which sell well in fan gatherings, but don’t impress in closer encounters.”

Rex Murphy, National Post, April 10 2015

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NDP calls for emergency debate on Wheat Board transfer

NDP MP Pat Martin (Winnipeg Centre) has sent a letter to the Speaker of the House of Commons calling for an emergency debate on the transfer of a majority stake in the former Canadian Wheat Board (CWB) to foreign hands.

“It is unacceptable that the Conservatives dismissed a bid from Canadian farmers and chose a foreign-owned company instead,” said Martin. “An emergency debate is required in order to allow parliamentarians to address the substantial negative consequences this decision will have on western grain producers and the competitive marketing and transport of grain in Canada.”

This decision by the Conservatives will grant a majority stake in the former Canadian Wheat Board to a partnership between an American company and a wealth management fund for the Saudi Arabian government. Until it was dismantled by the Conservatives, the CWB pooled the selling power of multiple small farmers and handled transaction costs, playing a critical role in reducing risk and maximizing profits over the long run.

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NDP demands a public review of Cirque du Soleil takeover

According to the NDP, the Cirque du Soleil’s takeover by foreign interests must be reviewed publicly.

“This transaction is subject to the Investment Canada Act; and the Conservative government has the obligation to ensure that this foreign takeover will offer a clear advantage to Canada. This review must also be transparent,” said the NDP Heritage critic Pierre Nantel (Longueuil—Pierre-Boucher).

Under the Investment Canada Act, a review process must be launched for all acquisitions of Canadian cultural companies worth more than 5 million dollars by foreign interests. This transaction is valued at $1.5 billion US, according to media reports.

“The Cirque is part of our culture and we must make sure that this cultural gem will continue to make Quebec shine internationally. Let’s not forget that this great company started with a $1.5 million  grant from the Lévesque government to Guy Laliberté’s troupe,” added Nantel.

The Cirque du Soleil employs nearly 4,000 people throughout the world, including 1,500 at its Montreal headquarters. The NDP demands a comprehensive review of this transaction and its possible impact on Canadian jobs.

“The new owner says that the headquarters will stay in Montreal, but we need more than promises. The Cirque is a strong creative force and an important vehicle for economic and cultural development in our country,” said Nantel.

 

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