The federal NDP are pleased by Monday’s announcement by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau but noted many details were missing, including when legislation will be tabled in the House of Commons concerning abandoned vessels.
“I’m glad to see the government acknowledge the need to address abandoned vessels that pose a threat to our coasts,” said Sheila Malcolmson, NDP MP for Nanaimo—Ladysmith.
“But the Liberal announcement fell well short of a comprehensive plan and has left many questions unanswered.”
Trudeau’s $1.5 billion marine safety plan in Vancouver this week did not mention any measures that would prevent abandoned vessels from becoming a hazard in coastal municipalities such as Ladysmith.
In February, Malcolmson introduced Bill C-219 that would enable the Coast Guard to take preventive action and collect disposal costs from the original owners to reduce the burden on local governments and taxpayers.
“We shouldn’t waste this opportunity to create a truly national system designed to clean up these vessels and wrecks that threaten the environment and economies of coastal communities,” said Malcolmson.
Malcolmson added vessel abandonment is made worse by an absence of a turn-in program to make it easy for owner to dispose of their vessels and the need to expand local salvaging options, including facilities to dispose fiberglass and contaminants, none of which were included in the government’s plan.