Julian blasts feds for closing regional office
In his role as NDP energy and natural resources critic, Burnaby-New Westminster MP Peter Julian declared the federal government's decision to close B.C.'s regional office for emergency oil spill responders "is reckless and dangerous."
"I'd like to ask the Minister for Energy and Natural Resources (Joe Oliver) what he was thinking," said Julian in a press release. "Closing the only west coast response centre for emergency oil spills, while on the other hand paving the way for increased oil tanker traffic – it's irresponsible and arrogant."
The cost-cutting measure, said the NDP, comes on the heels of pipeline proposals, including one that terminates in Burnaby, that could result in a threefold increase in oil tanker traffic off the B.C. coast.
"For the Conservatives to say to British Columbians, 'In the event of an environmental catastrophe, leave a voice mail message in Ottawa,' is shameful. How can they treat British Columbians so badly."
The NDP also pointed out a 2010 report from the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development determined the coast guard is ill-equipped to deal with oil spills and lacks emergency response capacity.
The move means the services will centralize operations in Quebec, which the Conservatives insist won't be a big concern.
"This will not impact Canadians or the environment," said Environment Minister Peter Kent's office in a statement. "These employees were not cleaning up spills. They were providing information about environmentally sensitive land and species at risk."