Federal minister meets with local leaders

Politics

Submitted /
July 31, 2014 08:54 AM

Pictured back row left to right: District of Squamish Mayor Rob Kirkham, Sunshine Coast Regional District board chair Garry Nohr, MP John Weston, Sechelt Nation Chief Calvin Craigan, West Vancouver Coun. Trish Panz, Powell River Mayor Dave Formosa; front row: Bowen Island Acting Mayor Cro Lucas, Federal Transport Minister Lisa Raitt, and Lions Bay Mayor Brenda Broughton.

Local leaders gathered Wednesday, July 23, in West Vancouver for a fast-moving discussion with Canada’s Federal Transport Minister Lisa Raitt.

West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky Country member of Parliament John Weston organized the meeting. The discussion centred around a variety of issues, such as world-class standards for tanker safety, reliable ways for shipping coal, and coordinating responses to abandoned and derelict vessels in our waters.

Participants included elected leaders from around the riding, as well as constituents who promote the compatibility of the environment and the economy.

“Improving Canada’s world-class tanker safety system (WCTSS) will ensure that the risks of an oil spill at sea are minimized, that we’re quick to act if one does happen, and that polluters pay,” Raitt said. “The new WCTSS will strengthen Canada’s marine oil spill prevention, preparedness and response, and liability and compensation system. Our government also remains committed to a good air quality system in the communities of British Columbia.”

Sunshine Coast Regional District board chair Garry Nohr said Raitt has a strong knowledge of marine services from her work experience before entering politics and could speak from personal knowledge on marine traffic.

“The focus of the meeting, for the local elected officials and organizations concerned about marine activity in the Georgia Strait and Howe Sound, was LNG tanker traffic,” Nohr said. “Discussions took place on issues such as a marine plan for the area, concerns about safe navigation, the dangers for boating tourists using the area, fear of damage to the foreshore, and the possibility of a marine tanker disaster in Howe Sound. Minister Raitt was very frank in her answers to all the concerns addressed by the people who live around Howe Sound, and said she was prepared to take these forward to her ministry.”

Weston said the meeting was a chance to share concerns — concerns that affect all the governments in the riding.

“As ever, constituents who care about issues enough to get involved are the key part of enabling governments to act effectively,” Weston said. “I am grateful so many thoughtful people participated in the meeting with the Minister, and offered relevant ideas for her consideration. This is what I mean by ‘shrinking the distance’: bringing Ottawa-based ministers directly to our riding. In addition to Minister Raitt, I have several such leaders lined up to hear from constituents this summer.”

— Submitted


© Coast Reporter

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