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Lawrence MacAulay, MP

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Lawrence MacAulay

Cardigan MP Moves Motion in House of Commons Urging Federal Government to Commit to Funding Stability for Wood Islands Ferry

Posted on March 30, 2015

OTTAWA – Cardigan MP Lawrence MacAulay has introduced a motion in the House of Commons to urge the federal government to commit to long-term funding stability for the Northumberland Ferry Service between Wood Islands and Caribou, NS.

The motion comes in the wake of a short-term two year extension in the 2014 federal budget and previous controversy over a 2010 public service review and constant short-term contracts since that time. MacAulay says with a federal investment of $6 million per year, the ferry service brings an economic impact of over $27 million to Prince Edward Island annually.

MacAulay recently gave notice of his motion and believes it will come up for debate in the House of Commons sometime in May.

“Since the Conservatives came to power, all we have seen are short term contracts from the federal government – always designed to just barely get them through the next election”, said MacAulay. That is unacceptable – we need stability and a real commitment from the government that this critical service will continue well into the future with service levels being maintained or exceeded.”

“We know that to continue growing our economy, we need to have a safe, reliable and sustainable infrastructure and transportation system in place and that includes the ferry service which is so important for eastern Prince Edward Island. In 2010 when the issue came up there was a lot of talk of going to a one-boat service or ending the contract altogether, and that cannot be allowed to happen. We can’t simply settle for this. Each year this ferry service takes nearly a half a million passengers and 200,000 vehicles between the Island and Nova Scotia and there is no way to underestimate its importance to Prince Edward Island. I hope this motion and the debate in the House will send a message to the government just how important this truly is.”

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Background:

The text of MacAulay’s Motion is below:

“That, in the opinion of the House, the government should ensure a safe, efficient, and sustainable transportation system for Prince Edward Island by (a) recognizing the integral economic importance of the ferry service between Wood Islands, Prince Edward Island, and Caribou, Nova Scotia; and (b) committing to stable, long-term, sustainable, and adequate funding, notably by ensuring that all future contracts (i) are for no less than five years, (ii) maintain or exceed current levels of service.”

MacAulay Calls on Shea to Fix Lobster Branding Problem

Posted on February 27, 2015

News release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 27, 2015

OTTAWA – Cardigan MP Lawrence MacAulay is calling on Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Gail Shea to fix a problem which will see Canadian lobster products being branded as American in order to gain access to European markets.

“We all know how important marketing and branding are for our world-renowned lobster products”, said MacAulay. “It is beyond belief that we would have to brand our products as American in order to gain access to the European market. It is even more beyond belief that Minister Shea’s office thinks that this is just fine because we can ‘still stick a maple leaf on the package or whatever’.”

“For the last several years the Minister has being telling everyone how wonderful the European trade agreement will be for the lobster industry. Not only has the government completely failed to get the trade agreement through because of a lack of provincial collaboration, but it would seem they have completely neglected to fight for any kind of Canadian branding for our products. How is our industry supposed to benefit if someone in Europe doesn’t know if they are eating lobster from Massachusetts or Prince Edward Island?”

“I am calling on Minister Shea and the Conservative government to immediately pick up the phone and deal directly with the Europeans in order to get this situation straightened out. They simply cannot ignore this problem, just as they ignored the price crisis in our lobster industry two years ago. Proper marketing and brand recognition for our products is essential and I truly hope that all the time and effort that has gone into putting lobster marketing levies in place has not been wasted due to this government’s incompetence.”

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Speech on Bill C-638, An Act to amend the Canada Shipping Act, 2001 (wreck)

Posted on February 27, 2015

Hon. Lawrence MacAulay (Cardigan, Lib.):

Mr. Speaker, first of all I want to thank my colleague from Nanaimo—Cowichan for bringing Bill C-638 before the House of Commons. Coming from the west coast, she fully understands what an issue this is, and coming from the east coast and living on an island with a lot of ports and wharfs around, I fully understand the problem that the bill is trying to address.

Abandoned and derelict vessels are a serious concern for community harbour authorities and shorelines and also property owners. They can create obstacles for mariners and impact on the environment and commercial and recreational activities. Their removal requires financial and technical resources, and often it is not possible to identify the vessel’s owner to seek compensation.

This results in the financial burden falling on the property owners, community organizations, or municipal or provincial governments. This issue is particularly difficult because it crosses so many areas of jurisdiction. Many different agencies and governments are responsible for dealing with these hazardous boats, which creates misunderstanding, uncertainty, and frustration.

Therefore, it is important to clarify which agency will deal with the wrecks and derelict vessels and to ensure all possible measures are taken to identify and locate the owners of the wrecks. The Minister of Transport can become involved in instances where a vessel is the cause of an obstruction to navigation.

The Canadian Coast Guard responds to incidents where pollution can be a threat and can recover the cost of its expenses to deal with pollution from the ship source oil pollution fund. But once the pollution and the sources are dealt with, it does not have the authority to deal with the abandoned and derelict vessel itself.

If an abandoned or derelict vessel is not a major environmental concern and is not posing an obstacle to navigation, there is usually no action taken by government, and these vessels can remain hazardous and an eyesore for communities and harbour authorities—and a great expense for harbour authorities, I might add.

This issue has become a growing concern over the last few years and will continue to be a major issue as commercial and recreational fleets age and numbers grow. Currently there are 2.6 million pleasure craft licensed in Canada. A few years ago, I was pleased to be part of a study by the fisheries committee into the country’s small craft harbours.

The report, entitled “Small Craft Harbours: An Essential Infrastructure Managed by and for Fishing Communities”, included a section on derelict vessels and recommended that Fisheries and Oceans Canada consider legislative changes to facilitate the removal of abandoned and derelict vessels from its harbours. The government supported this recommendation, but unfortunately no action has been taken, as of yet, and that is too bad.

We know that approximately $1 billion has gone unspent at DFO since the government came to power. We know that the government has cut the budget for small craft harbours from $200 million down to now under $100 million. Conservatives are promising more money now right before the election, but the harbour authorities I talk to say, even with the new money, the problem in this country with our harbours and wharfs will not be properly addressed.

During the fisheries committee study, we heard the harbour authority representatives say that they do not have the proper authority and budget to deal with derelict vessels. We heard that there is no long-term plan for dealing with derelict vessels and there is a need for legislative changes to facilitate the removal of the abandoned and derelict vessels.

As Ben Mabberley of the National Harbour Authority Advisory Committee put it:

“The truth is that one sinking of a derelict vessel at your harbour can bankrupt the harbour authority. It’s that simple. We need to find a solution for it. This is going to be an issue right across the country.”

As he indicated, it is becoming much more of an issue on the east coast.

More must be done to assist with the problems associated with these derelict vessels. The federal government must show leadership and work in collaboration with provincial and municipal governments, harbour authorities, and community organizations to deal with this. This is simply not going to happen under the present government.

Bill C-638, while perhaps not providing all the answers, is a step in the right direction. This bill seeks to amend the Canada Shipping Act, 2001, with respect to wrecks by designating the Canadian Coast Guard as the receiver of wrecks, by requiring the receiver of wrecks to take responsible steps to determine and locate the owners of the wrecks, and by providing the power to the Minister of Transport and the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans to enact regulations that must be followed by receivers of wrecks to remove, dispose, or destroy the wrecks.

Bill C-638 would also require the Minister of Transport to file a report every five years before each house of Parliament regarding the operations of part 7 of the act. Currently, the receiver of wrecks is an officer of Transport Canada who acts as a custodian of the wreck in the absence of the rightful owner. The receiver has a responsibility to attempt to locate the owner within 90 days.

If after this period no owner is located, the receiver may dispose of the wreck to the salvor or sell it through public sale. The cost of removing a vessel or wreck can be significant and can include environmental and technical assessments, investigative work to determine the owner, salvage contracting for the removal, bringing equipment to the site, preparation for removal, removing the vessel and associated waste, managing final disposal and, finally, the legal fees associated with this.

Stakeholders, while in favour of this bill, have also stressed to me that funding is the key issue to deal with this problem. As has been indicated here, Washington State has set up a fund, and over the last number of years it seems to have made some progress on this issue while here in Canada the government has made absolutely no progress.

In 2009, the fisheries committee submitted a report to the government on small craft harbours, which included a recommendation and a lot of testimony on dealing with abandoned and derelict vessels. In 2012, Transport Canada put out a study on abandoned and derelict vessels in Canada. It is now 2015 and the government has still not taken any real action or shown leadership. It is time for the government to step up, work together with municipal and provincial governments, harbour authorities, and all stakeholders to deal with this issue.

These derelict or abandoned vessels are an environmental problem, a navigational problem and, of course, they are a bigger problem on the west coast. We also have to realize that there are 2.6 million pleasure crafts registered in this country and I can only see this issue becoming a much bigger one. I hope that the Government of Canada will support Bill C-638, take some appropriate action for the environment, safety, and navigation around the ports and not leave it to the port authorities, which do not have the financial capacity to handle these issues.

I am very pleased to indicate that the Liberals will be supporting this bill and we very much hope that the government will take up its responsibility and put the money where it should be.

Conservatives let nearly $1 Billion go unspent at DFO

Posted on January 27, 2015

OTTAWA – Cardigan MP Lawrence MacAulay says it is unacceptable that the federal Conservative government has let nearly $1 billion go unspent at the department of […]

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Oceans warming, more acidic, Arctic sea ice disappearing

Posted on January 19, 2015

Published in ‘The Hill Times’ January 19, 2014 When it comes to climate change, sometimes the changes taking place beneath the surface of the ocean can […]

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Question Period October 20, 2014

Posted on October 21, 2014

Coast Guard Hon. Lawrence MacAulay (Cardigan, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the Russian container ship that drifted off the west coast raises serious concerns about the response capability […]

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Debating Bill S-3, An Act to Amend the Coastal Fisheries Protection Act; September 18, 2014

Posted on September 19, 2014

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Speech on Bill S-3, An Act to Amend the Coastal Fisheries Protection Act; September 18, 2014

Posted on September 19, 2014

Hon. Lawrence MacAulay (Cardigan, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to speak to Bill S-3, an act to amend the Coastal Fisheries Protection […]

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Question Period – June 20, 2014

Posted on June 25, 2014

Hon. Lawrence MacAulay (Cardigan, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister claims that record out-migration from Prince Edward Island is not caused by his EI changes when […]

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Question Period – June 12, 2014

Posted on June 12, 2014

Hon. Lawrence MacAulay (Cardigan, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, a record number of people are leaving Prince Edward Island due to the Conservative cuts and changes to EI. […]

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