Duncan vulnerable over Coast Guard closures

76 per cent say Duncan’s support for Coast Guard closures makes them less likely to vote for him

Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Minister John Duncan could lose his Vancouver Island North seat over his government’s plan to close Coast Guard stations and communications centres in B.C., a union-sponsored poll indicates.

The Strategic Communications telephone poll of 648 voters in Duncan’s riding was commissioned by the Union of Canadian Transportation Employees in late October. It found that 79 per cent oppose the closure of the Kitsilano Coast Guard Station and Marine Communications and Traffic Services centres in Vancouver, Comox and Tofino that direct and monitor vessels.

Of those polled 64 per cent strongly disagree with the government decision and 76 per cent say Duncan’s support for Coast Guard closures makes them less likely to vote for him and his party in the next election. Opposition to the closures includes 73 per cent of voters who say they supported Duncan in the 2011 federal election.

Regardless, the minister stands by the government’s actions. “I want to assure you that decisions made by our government based on recommendations from experts at the Canadian Coast Guard are designed to protect the lives and livelihoods of Canadians. The Coast Guard will continue to use the same network of ships and responders on the Island to keep mariners safe in an emergency situation and the ongoing renewal of Coast Guard resources will make Vancouver Island a safer place to be on the water. The Island will continue to be served by the same network of search and rescue lifeboats,and two helicopters. “

Union of Canadian Transportation Employees B.C. Vice-President Dave Clark, who represents workers at the Kitsilano Station, says: “The writing is on the wall for every Conservative MP who supports closing needed Canadian Coast Guard stations and centres in B.C. Voters will punish them for making a foolish decision and Coast Guard workers will make sure they know who shut down emergency search and rescue services.”

The poll of Vancouver Island North riding voting age residents should be seen by Conservatives as “the canary in the coal mine,” says Allan Hughes, Regional Director of Canadian Auto Workers Local 2182 which represents Coast Guard Marine Communications Officers.

“Voters in Vancouver Island North know how important their Marine Communications and Traffic Services centre in Comox is in coordinating Coast Guard search and rescue operations and safely directing vessel traffic at sea. To shut down such vital services in Comox, in Vancouver and in Tofino and attempt to run them remotely with cameras and radar is a recipe for maritime disasters.”

BC Federation of Labour President Jim Sinclair warns that while voters will hold all 21 Conservative MPs accountable for Coast Guard closures, those who won close election battles in 2011 will be targeted next time. “John Duncan won by less than 1,900 votes in Vancouver Island North. We will make sure every voter knows Conservatives cut the Coast Guard,” says Sinclair.

The government has announced the Kitsilano Coast Guard Station will be closed in early 2013, leaving all rescues to the Sea Island Coast Guard station in Richmond 17 nautical miles away.

Just Posted

Human remains found near Campbell River

Human remains were found in a rural area outside Campbell River, RCMP… Continue reading

BC Hydro warns of upcoming Canyon View Trail closures

BC Hydro is advising of two rounds of Canyon View Trail closures… Continue reading

‘You just don’t know when someone has a challenge’

Wounded Warriors Run BC spreads awareness of mental health, hopes to raise $100,000

SUV rolls down Campbell River embankment

A white SUV rolled down an embankment on Evergreen Road near the… Continue reading

Duncan family says care home switched mom’s cat with robot cat

Staff alleged to have said they were taking cat for bath, then replaced her with robotic stuffed toy

VIDEO: B.C. superfans soak in 2018 PyeongChang Olympics

Trio, including two from the Okanagan, have been cheering on Summerland Olympian Kripps among others in Korea

Suspect and Mountie bitten by police dog during arrest near Nanaimo

Two suspects were arrested in connection with a stolen pickup truck in Cassidy on Thursday evening

B.C. ski cross racer wins Olympic gold

Kelowna’s Kelsey Serwa wins the gold medal in thrilling fashion in PyeongChang

New charges against ex-Trump campaign associates

More charges were laid Thursday against President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman and his business associate

Man accused in death of Winnipeg teen Tina Fontaine not guilty

Raymond Cormier was accused of killing Indigenous 15-year-old and dumping her body in the Red River

Okanagan real estate agents brace for speculation tax impact

“There’s a real potential for a domino effect to hurt the market in Kelowna.”

Alberta drops B.C. wine boycott, Notley says Horgan ‘blinked’ on pipeline

B.C. government announces court reference on proposed diluted bitumen restriction

UPDATE: Northern Health dealing with lack of 121 registered nurses

Auditor General says officials need to improve internal management, track effect of new policies

B.C. businesses say new health tax will raise prices for consumers

Province announced that MSP will be gone by 2020

Most Read