May 26th, 2017

Trudeau must reinstate dive team immediately

Coquitlam - NDP Fisheries & Oceans Critic Fin Donnelly (Port Moody-Coquitlam) condemned the federal Liberal government for disbanding the Coast Guard’s only team of emergency rescue divers as reckless and dangerous.

“The last time the Liberals cut the coast guard dive team it led to preventable deaths on our coast.” Donnelly said, “Have they not learned from their past mistakes?”

In 2001, the Liberal government cut the Coast Guard Dive team as a cost saving measure. But two days after it was cancelled, a man crashed his vehicle into the Fraser River close to the Sea Island base. The Coast Guard arrived on scene minutes later but were unable to save him due to their dive equipment being taken away.

After political pressure and public backlash, the dive team was reinstated but it took years before the life-saving team was properly supported and allowed to do their important work.

“Cutting the dive team again takes us back over 15 years in terms of preventing loss of life,” said Donnelly. “We are about to enter the busiest boating season of the year. Justin Trudeau must live up to his promise and he must reinstate the Coast Guard Search and rescue dive team immediately.”

In 2015, Justin Trudeau campaigned on improving marine safety on the West Coast. But since forming government the Liberals have cut MCTS centres and now cut the coast guard’s only rescue dive team.