OTTAWA – Using last month’s massive earthquake off Haida Gwaii as a backdrop, MP Nathan Cullen rose in Parliament on Nov. 8 to press the federal government to properly fund emergency response and environmental protection measures in British Columbia.
“Mr. Speaker, the aftershocks of the massive 7.7 magnitude earthquake that struck off Haida Gwaii over a week ago were still shaking the B.C. coast last night,” Cullen said.
“It was a close call, far too close. Instead of cutting programs that help community emergency response, as Conservatives are doing, we need to make sure that every protection is available to our towns and villages in the event of a major natural disaster.
“Will the minister commit today to work with the people of Haida Gwaii and make all the necessary investments to keep our communities safe?”
Public Safety Minister Vic Toews replied that Ottawa has “worked very closely with local governments” on emergency response. He referenced recent federal funding for flood assistance to prairie and eastern provinces as an example.
Cullen’s supplemental question referred to the gutting of environmental protection in the Conservatives’ recent monster budget bill as a “direct attack” on the environment and a
“threat to the very resources coastal communities rely upon.
“When will B.C. Conservative MPs actually stand up for our beautiful province in this place? When are they going to stand up for British Columbia and stop selling it out,” Cullen demanded.
Denis Lebel, Minister of Transportation, Infrastructure and Communities, touted recent changes to the Navigable Waters Protection Act. He disagreed the omnibus budget weakens environmental protection, insisting that projects must still go through environmental assessments in a number of ministries.
Cullen has been working closely with Haida Gwaii communities for federal aid to shore up earthquake protection. He begins a four-day tour of the islands next week to continue this work and also participate in a number of Haida cultural events.