December 23, 2015
Liberal MP Pamela Goldsmith-Jones has been sworn in as the Federal representative for the Howe Sound region. The Squamish Chief quoted our new MP at a December meeting in Squamish saying ““Our riding has a leadership role to play in the country. It’s a huge responsibility,” “I expect our riding to be as vocal as it always is,” she said. “I don’t think it’s going to be easy, but it’s something we need to do, and I am prepared to take a leadership role in that regard.”
For the future of Howe Sound, we look forward to leadership on issues related to:
Action on Derelict vessels – Former MP John Weston, if re-elected was confident a private member’s bill would have been supported by the Conservative Government. The bill would have seen $1 million per year, starting 2016-2017, to cover one-third of the cost of removing priority derelict vessels. While Bowen Island has resolved to take control over abandoned vessels in Mannion Bay, good samaritans are left to deal with vessels and other unwanted debris that pollutes Howe Sound.
More robust scrutiny of the Woodfibre LNG and Eagle Mountain pipeline Environmental Assessment – the BC Government granted the Woodfibre project an Environmental certificate on October 16th, 2015. According to staff at CEA, there is no specific deadline for the Federal decision. The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency is reviewing the report and consulting with First Nations. MP Goldsmith-Jones stated the Environment is “a key aspect of Canada’s role in the world,”
Marine protection for glass sponge reefs: Fisheries and Oceans Canada granted temporary closure of fishing over the newly discovered glass sponge reefs this past summer, but permanent protection is needed if the sponge reefs to survive in Howe Sound in the future. The Liberal Government promised to increase the amount of Canada’s marine and coastal areas that are protected – to five percent by 2017, and ten percent by 2020. To help achieve this, they promised invest $8 million per year in community consultation and science. The Liberals are also committed to meaningful consultation and participation with First Nations. The Squamish Nation have committed to marine planning that will include some protections for areas of Howe Sound.
Improved Emergency Response: The reopening of the Kitsilano Coast Guard Base provides some comfort that emergency response is closer to Howe Sound should another spill or emergency happen. Recently, a cargo ship ran aground at Squamish. No harm appears to have been done, but it is a reminder accidents can happen. Continuing to implement “World Class Safety Standards” including SIGTTO risk reduction recommendations for LNG carriers is important for Howe Sound.
Protecting Species at Risk: The Liberal Government’s promise to “help fish stocks recover, support eco-tourism, protect coastlines from erosion, ensure ecological integrity and protect species at risk.” bring hope for the protection of the recovery of Howe Sound from decades of industrial pollution.
The newly elected Federal leadership could provide a promising future for Howe Sound.