Press Release

NDP MP Lisa Marie Barron (Nanaimo-Ladysmith) is celebrating that Members of Parliament agreed to the NDP’s amendments to Bill C-33 to get freighter anchorages out of the Salish Sea. These changes are a much-needed first step in bringing relief to coastal residents, and First Nations dealing with the pollution and waste these anchorages bring.

The NDP passed an amendment to Bill C-33: the Strengthening the Port System and Railway Safety in Canada Act that, should the bill pass, would require the government to direct vessels out of the area if they’ve been anchored for longer than 14 days. Currently, there is no time limit on how long freighters can be anchored, with some spending months parked in the southern Gulf Islands and the east coast of Vancouver Island – jeopardizing local marine habitats and ecosystems and impacting the lives of coastal residents with light and noise pollution impacting them in their homes.

“Right now, the coast of Vancouver Island is being used as an industrial overflow parking lot for the Port of Vancouver, its disturbing our marine systems. Thankfully New Democrats were able to push the government to finally recognize the harm these vessels have on our communities and waters,” said Barron. “While the recently passed amendments are just the beginning and the bill will need to pass, they are a critical step to give nearby delicate marine ecosystems a needed break from disruption and pollution.”

Over the past several years, environmental groups, First Nations communities, and coastal residents have made repeated calls to the Liberal government to protect ancient clam beds, prawns, oysters and endangered species from the environmental impact of the anchored shipping vessels – including local First Nations and local groups like Gabriolans Against Freighter Anchorages and South Coast Ship Watch Alliance. But the Liberals and the Conservative’s before them, refused to act.

“After years of New Democrats pushing for these changes alongside residents of Vancouver Island, we’ve finally forced the Liberals to act,” added Barron. “New Democrats know protecting our ecosystems and oceans is vital for food security and our local economy. And we’re not done yet; the NDP will keep pushing to get more regulation on these anchorages to protect our oceans.”

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