The union representing Canadian Coast Guard communications workers blames the Harper government for a failure that left a big swath of the BC coast without marine communication and traffic services for hours.
Unifor says the Marine Traffic and Communication Services centre in Prince Rupert went down the night of August 17th which left an area, including the entire west coast of Vancouver Island, without the system that detects distress calls and regulating shipping movement between 12:50 and 3:45 a.m.
The union says the area was formerly monitored by the MTCS base in Ucluelet until it was shut down by the federal government in April.
Unifor says the Conservatives don’t seem to value keeping Canadians safe in coastal waters.
“The Harper government’s cuts have reduced the effectiveness of our coast guard,” said Gavin McGarrigle, Unifor’s BC Area Director. “When our coast guard is compromised, the safety of Canadians is at risk.”
Unifor says federal cuts to the marine safety network have impacted services on both coasts with the closure of six bases this year and the planned closure of two monitoring stations in 2015 and 2016.
The union says restoring funding to the coast guard would cost the government $5.5 million dollars a year, something it says is equal to 0.25% of the cost of the government’s income splitting program introduced this year.