VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – The leader of the BC Conservatives expects his former colleagues in Ottawa will eventually change their minds on closing the Kitsilano Coast Guard base.

John Cummins says the coast guard has suggested closing the Vancouver station before, and believes the federal government got caught up in their goal to cut back costs.

“The Coast Guard just brings this up to the fore again, and passes it off to an unsuspecting minister who really doesn’t understand the situation on the Westcoast,” he says. “It’s as simple as that. I don’t think there’s any malice or forethought Conservative Government.”
Cummins served almost 20 years as a Reform, Alliance, and Conservative MP, before bolting for provincial politics last year.

The politician shared the stage today with labour leaders angered by the closure. They joined together at a special blessing of the BC salmon fleet.

Ottawa’s decision has upset Irvin Figg with the United Fishermen and Allied Workers Union. He says increasing the reliance on marine search and rescue volunteers is not good enough.

“Sure, they can call all the auxiliary they want to call, but it’s a 20 to 30 minute response time for those guys to even get to their vessel,” he stresses. “Twenty to 30 minutes doesn’t cut it, you know?”

Figg says consolidating Coast Guard responses at Sea Island will put lives at risk, especially when there are multiple emergencies on the water around Vancouver.