No cuts to the Canadian Coast Guard, including services on Lake Of the Woods in northwestern Ontario, are imminent, according to the federal government.
Dominic LeBlanc, Canada's Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Coast Guard, told the House of Commons that search and rescue operations on inland waterways will not be reduced.
"On inland waterways where we're currently providing a search and rescue service, there will be no cuts," he said in response to a query by James Bezan, the Conservative MP for Selkirk-Interlake-Eastman in Manitoba. "In fact, there will be increases in the capacity of the Canadian Coast Guard to provide these search and rescue services."
The back-and-forth in the House stemmed from reports that operations in Gimli and Selkirk, Man., along with Kenora, Ont. would be cut this year. Those concerns were raised by officials with the Union of Canadian Transportation Employees, the union that represents coast guard employees.
Planned coast guard navigational aid review scrapped: Kenora MP
The other issue facing coast guard operations in the Kenora area was a planned review of how the coast guard would deliver navigational aid services on inland waterways, like Lake Of the Woods. Those services include the provision of things like buoys, lights and other markers.
On Wednesday, coast guard officials told CBC News that a review was scheduled over how those will be provided in the future, but the following day, Kenora MP Bob Nault said, in a written release, that the review is no longer happening.
"Simply put, the proposed changes to operations at inland waterways, specifically those on Lake of the Woods, are no longer under review and will continue to function in the future as they have in the past," he was quoted as saying.
"I want to reassure everyone that that there will be no reduction in the[coast guard's] presence in inland waterways."
Prior to Nault's announcement, Kenora Mayor Dave Canfield told CBC News that the navigational aids are very important on Lake Of the Woods.
"Being an international waterway and a lake that is very unique with all the islands and the shoals and the reefs and everything else, it would probably be suicide for the coast guard to pull out of here and pull the navigational aids," he said.
"It's something that's been there for a long time ... to get rid of it, obviously, you're not providing a service when you know there's a danger there."