IN THE HOUSE ~ Question ~ Conservative government deprived Coast Guard's program response capability to oil spills for over three years

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    Mr. Peter Julian (Burnaby—New Westminster, NDP): Mr. Speaker, for three years the Conservatives have known about inadequate equipment for oil spills and have done nothing.

    Our Coast Guard does not have the capacity to cleanup even a single supertanker spill. Yet, Conservatives want British Columbians to accept a massive increase in tanker traffic. “Just trust usâ€�, clearly is not good enough.

    Why has the minister failed to act when we have such a shoddy oil response capacity and why is he forcing British Columbians to pay the huge price when things go wrong?

    Hon. Keith Ashfield (Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and Minister for the Atlantic Gateway, CPC): Mr. Speaker, industry is the first responder to its own oil spills under the polluter pay principle. The Coast Guard, of course, is the lead agency for ensuring appropriate response to ship-sourced spills in Canadian waters.

    On March 18, 2013, the government announced the world-class tanker safety initiative that included an investment in the incident command system for the Coast Guard. This responds directly to the recommendations from the 2010 CESD audit.