Tories torpedo needed legislation

Private member’s bill on derelict vessels sunk by Harper government

A pair of boats continue to sit half-submerged in the waters offshore from Oak Bay’s Beach Avenue. The vessels – which represent both a navigational and environmental hazard – were first reported to Transport Canada in March.

Word arrived from Ottawa last week that help is definitely not on its way.

The Conservative government voted to kill a private member’s bill that would at least get something on the books regarding derelict vessels that threaten coastal environments.

Nanaimo-Cowichan MP Jean Crowder put a bill on the floor earlier this year that, if passed, would have made the Canadian Coast Guard the sole receiver of wrecks, taking responsibility for aging, abandoned boats in the country.

But Crowder is a member of the NDP, and the Harper government has shown time and again that it places partisan gain above the best interests of the Canadian people.

Cristopher Porter of WildVision Edutainment invested his own time, expertise and resources to remove some of the environmental hazards from the sunken boats in Oak Bay. The diver removed propane tanks and about eight bags of garbage from the pair of sunken boats.

Porter said the boats are still leaking fuel and oil, and there’s a big skim on the water. He also took off the ropes so animals couldn’t become tangled. “There’s so much life out there, it’s sad to see.”

What is truly sad to see is a federal government content to see private citizens take on the responsibility of protecting Canada’s natural habitat.

The Conservative government could have sent the bill to committee where it could have undergone substantial change to avoid the unthinkable consequences of giving credit to the NDP.

As evidenced by the systematic dismantling of Coast Guard operations on the West Coast, the protection of the environment, and potentially human lives, is simply not on the federal government’s radar.

And it is this disregard of seemingly commonsense solutions that could have voters looking for a change of course when they head to the polls this fall.