Malcolmson steers us on right course

On the issue of derelict and abandoned vessels. Isn’t it about time our government got the message?

Nanaimo-Ladysmith MP Sheila Malcolmson (NDP) has tabled the third private member’s bill to be heard in the House of Commons in the past year on the issue of derelict and abandoned vessels. Isn’t it about time our government got the message?

Her predecessor Jean Crowder’s (NDP) bill was defeated by the Conservative majority in the House in February, 2015. West Vancouver – Squamish – Sea to Sky MP John Weston (Conservative), who introduced a private member’s bill in June, was defeated in the Oct. 19 federal election.

The Liberal candidate in that election, Tim Tessier, said the time was “way past due” for the problem to be dealt with, and that he would “work with local and provincial officials to establish a plan for cleaning up the mess.”

So Malcolmson has relaunched the NDP initiative, this time from the opposition side of the house, with the Liberals under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau occupying the government benches.

Hopefully the House will be third-time-intelligent and  actually pass Malcolmson’s bill. Hopefully they will do more than that, and provide the leadership and funding needed to get disasters in the making, like the Viki Lyne II, out of our harbours.

That would be a start. But more needs to be done, and only the government can take the necessary measures to effectively clean up B.C.’s coast and eliminate threats to the environment and to the commercial and recreational opportunities coastal communities rely on.

Liberal MPs in B.C. and their colleagues on the East Coast, need only look toward Washington State, just south of the 49th Parallel, for a possible solution. There, boats are licensed and a portion of the licensing fee goes toward the removal and disposal of abandoned and derelict vessels.

It’s a model that works and one that should be considered in Canadian waters. In the meantime, we can only hope  Malcolmson’s private member’s bill will be given thoughtful, non-partisan consideration.