B.C. NDP calls for unity in fighting coast guard closure
B.C. New Democrat Leader Adrian Dix wants to work with the governing Liberals to halt the planned closure of the Canadian Coast Guard station in Kitsilano.
Earlier this month, it was announced the coast guard station in English Bay would be shut down as part of a massive round of layoffs underway at the federal Department of Fisheries and Ocean. Officials have said the next-closest coast guard station, located in Richmond at Vancouver International Airport, will be able to handle the Kitsilano station's calls.
In a letter to B.C. Premier Christy Clark, Dix said the federal government's decision will have "serious consequences for residents and businesses up and down the B.C. coast."
"On behalf of the official opposition," reads the letter, "I wish to propose united action inside and outside the legislature to reverse this unfortunate federal decision, including coming together this week to pass a motion of support for existing coast guard services."
Dix also proposed a full evaluation of the impact the cuts will have on local businesses and public safety, and a trip to Ottawa to "deliver a united message together."
"United action across party lines would demonstrate our commitment to seeing coast guard services maintained," he wrote.
The union representing workers at the coast guard station has launched a public campaign to pressure the federal government to keep the facility open.
Several Vancouver city councillors have already spoken out against the planned closure.
The station is staffed by 12 crew and responded to almost 300 calls last year, many involving recreational boaters.