Government’s Non-answer on Gabriola Anchorages Speaks Volumes

OTTAWA— Sheila Malcolmson, Member of Parliament for Nanaimo-Ladysmith, asked a direct question about new bulk anchorages proposed just off the coast of Gabriola Island, but it was met by a non-answer from the government.

This morning in Question Period, Malcolmson asked the Minister of Transport to reject five new commercial anchorages for freighters transporting Wyoming coal to China.

Malcolmson had previously voiced concerns in Parliament about the proposed anchorages, citing threats to sensitive coastal ecology, the risk of oil spills, and interference with sport and recreational fishing in the region.

“The Liberal government should not use Harper's environmental rules to assess this project,” warned Malcolmson. “It is bad for our local economy, bad for climate change, and there is no upside for Canada.”

Disappointingly, MP Karen McCrimmon, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport, ducked Malcolmson’s question.

The answer was not what members of the group Gabriolans Against Freighter Anchorages (GAFA) were hoping to hear.

“I'm sure I speak for most Gabriolans in expressing our strong disappointment with the non response today from the federal government to what was a very direct and important question from our Member of Parliament,” said Chris Straw, of GAFA. “We are very concerned that Transport Minister Garneau is putting the interests of the international shipping industry ahead of those of British Columbia coastal communities.”