Nathan demands that Minister not downsize Coast Guard Search and Rescue

Nathan Cullen (Skeena—Bulkley Valley): Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives’ reckless plan for Coast Guard vessels is putting the people of B.C.‘s coast at serious risk. Their plan to replace the Point Henry from Prince Rupert and the Point Race from Campbell River with so-called motor lifeboats must be thrown overboard.

How can the Conservatives justify their reckless cuts to the Coast Guard’s lifesaving equipment? The new boats carry less than half the people, travel less than half the distance and can only stay on the water for less than a third of the time of the current ships.

Can the minister justify why she would even consider replacing these vital Coast Guard vessels with dinghies that simply will not do the job?

Gail Shea, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans: Mr. Speaker, the Coast Guard’s top priority is the safety of Canadians and our priority is also the safety of our very own crews.

The previous government let our Coast Guard rust out or left the vessels tied to the wharf because it could not pay for the fuel. Since then, we have made an historic investment in our fleet, including five new Coast Guard vessels that were built in Victoria for British Columbians, and these ships are very capable craft.