By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, February 26, 2013 - 0 Comments
Further to this, CBC reported last week that the government will close eight Veterans Affairs offices. Christie Blatchford has reported that military reserve budgets are being slashed. The Canadian Forces recruiting centre in Windsor has closed. And Canada Post is considering service cuts.
Meanwhile, there are new concerns being raised about the end of the Police Officer Recruitment Fund—see previously, The Demise of the Police Officer Recruitment Fund. Vic Toews defends the fund as a “one-time investment.”
In Vancouver, the Kitsilano Coast Guard station was quietly closed last week, apparently to the surprise of Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson. Global News wonders if the closure has something to do with selling the land the station is located on.
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, October 1, 2012 at 9:00 AM - 0 Comments
“The reality is that the City of Vancouver and all of British Columbia have more Coast Guard resources, have better Coast Guard protection, than any other port and any other coast in all of the country even with the changes in Kits,” he told reporters following his address at the Union of British Columbia Municipalities convention. Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson is one of many critics who oppose the Kits closure, but Moore claims that Robertson has never contacted him about his concerns. “Gregor Robertson has never picked up the phone to call me or talk to me on this subject, he’s never phoned me, he has never contacted the prime minister,” Moore said. “I think there’s a difference between being seen to be wanting to be the defender of Vancouver versus actually being an effective representative.”
Vancouver Councillor Geoff Meggs, however, said otherwise “The mayor wrote on behalf of council to the prime minister on June 14,” he said. “It’s really not a question of who wrote to who first, we’d like a stand-up discussion on how to protect services and we haven’t had that yet.”
Here is a copy of that letter.
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, September 12, 2012 at 4:00 PM - 0 Comments
The Vancouver Province obtains an internal memo detailing concerns about the closure of the coast guard base in Kitsilano, BC.
The email is dated July 17, 2012 and is purported to be from maritime coordinators of the Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre in Victoria to their bosses … “We, the Maritime Coordinators of JRCC Victoria, object to the proposed closure of the Kitsilano Coast Guard Base (Kits) as there was no consultation with any of the SAR [search and rescue] at JRCC Victoria, Sea Island or Kitsilano,” reads the opening of the email. “Closing Kits will endanger the lives of mariners.”
A related email, also dated July 17, systematically tears apart statements made on government websites about the closure of Kits. “These websites are misleading to the public to the extent that they are incorrect,” reads the second email, pointing to such flaws as comparisons between Vancouver harbour and much smaller jurisdictions in Halifax and Montreal, along with misleading response times for Kits and the regular unavailability of the Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue volunteers that are supposed to replace Kits.
Conservative MP James Lunney was moved to complain about the cuts in June.
See previously: The quiet cuts
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, June 19, 2012 at 10:47 AM - 0 Comments
Mr. Speaker, there seems to be some denial on that side of the House about the implications of Bill C-38. Last Thursday, on a local radio station, the member for Nanaimo—Alberni lamented the closure of the Ucluelet communications centre and the Kitsilano Coast Guard station. However, Instead of taking responsibility, the member blamed “bureaucrats in Ottawa” for these closures. Ironically, he made these remarks less than 12 hours after he voted on the Trojan Horse budget bill, the very bill shutting down these stations.
When government MPs cut services in Ottawa, they should at least have the courage of their conviction to defend them at home. However, Bill C-38 represents more than just cuts to Coast Guard services, cuts to OAS and cuts to health care. It represents the erosion of the once strong and independent voices of Conservative MPs. As we approach the end of the session, I am hopeful more Conservative MPs find their riding voice and speak out against these cuts. Maybe one day, with some practice, they will be able to use that voice in Ottawa.
Last night, Mr. Lunney issued a statement explaining his position.
In recent weeks, I have met with responsible authorities in Ottawa and written suggesting more workable solutions. I trust the public uproar has helped underscore my concerns and I remain hopeful that a more promising solution can be embraced for coastal BC.
Update 12:28pm. The office of Fisheries Minister Keith Ashfield writes to say the coast guard changes are not part of C-38. I am trying to ascertain the correct origin of the changes and will report back when that is clarified.
Update 3:55pm. Minister Ashfield’s office clarifies that the cuts are part of the spending review laid out in Budget 2012, but the cuts themselves are not included in the budget bill.