September 19, 2017

Justice Minister sends another strongly worded letter to Ottawa

BC’s Justice minister is demanding a meeting in person with the federal Fisheries minister after the sudden closure of Kits Coast Guard base.
 
Shirley Bond has faxed a letter to Minister Keith Ashfield expressing deep concern with the closure, especially how it was done.  
 
When it was pointed out previous letters on this issue have obviously gone nowhere, and maybe it is time for another course of action, Bond said.

“I have had personal conversation with Minister Ashfield before and I would like to have done that today and he was unavailable for that call and you know the interesting part of this is it crosses party lines, its you know the Mayor of Vancouver, its British Columbians saying we want to see this decision reconsidered.”

Bond is urging Minister Ashfield to reverse the decision before lives are lost on the water.

“Well I certainly don’t want to think about the significance of the risk as a reason for changing the decision after the fact I think that everyone looks at this and recognizes that it does increase risk and we know that now I think we want to encourage the federal government to respond appropriately to the concerns that have been expressed.”

Not everybody thinks safety is at risk, the federal government maintains closing the base will have no impact what so ever.

 

The letter from Minister Bond is below in full:

 

Dear Minister Ashfield:

I am writing to you once again to express our deep concern at the closing of Kitsilano Coast Guard Station. Your government has the responsibility to keep BC harbours safe and I am disappointed that you have chosen to proceed with the closure of this vital station, particularly in the manner it was done.

Your announcement regarding the relocation of one of the inshore boats to service this area is a good first step but does not go far enough. The drop in services this area will now experience, particularly during the eight months of the year that your inshore boat is no operational, is a significant concern for us.

I understand that fiscal priorities are important. The Province of British Columbia is also making difficult decisions in order to ensure that our fiscal house is in order. I urge you to reconsider this decision and find the funding to keep the Kitsilano Coast Guard Station open for the safety of British Columbia and our coastal communities. It is an important public safety priority.

The Canadian Coast Guard is highly regarded, both in BC and across our country, for its unwavering dedication to public safety. The Canadian Coast Guard deserves to be given the tools and the funding to continue this essential, life saving work.

My staff have called your office to request a time for us to speak in person and I am hoping that can be accommodated at your earliest convenience.

Sincerely

Shirley Bond

Minister of Justice

And Attorney General

CKNW Vancouver News

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