An Act to amend the Canada Shipping Act, 2001 (wreck)


Sheila Malcolmson  NDP

Introduced as a private member’s bill. (These don’t often become law.)


Introduced, as of Feb. 4, 2016

Subscribe to a feed (what's a feed?) of speeches and votes in the House related to Bill C-219.


This is from the published bill. The Library of Parliament often publishes better independent summaries.

This enactment amends the Canada Shipping Act, 2001 to strengthen the requirements relating to wreck by ensuring that regulations are made to establish measures to be taken for their removal, disposition or destruction. It designates the Canadian Coast Guard as a receiver of wreck for the purposes of Part 7 of the Act and requires receivers of wreck to take reasonable steps to determine and locate the owner of the wreck.


All sorts of information on this bill is available at LEGISinfo, provided by the Library of Parliament. You can also read the full text of the bill.

Motions in amendmentWrecked, Abandoned or Hazardous Vessels ActGovernment Orders

June 19th, 2018 / 12:55 p.m.
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Alistair MacGregor NDP Cowichan—Malahat—Langford, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is a great honour for me to partake in today's debate, especially since I am speaking here today as a proud coastal member of Parliament who comes from a neck of the woods just south of the riding of the member for Nanaimo—Ladysmith. My riding, Cowichan—Malahat—Langford, and my colleague's riding together formed what was known as the riding of Nanaimo—Cowichan.

This is a problem that coastal people have been dealing with for far too long, no matter what part of Canada they live in. Abandoned vessels not only pose threats to our environment, and in some cases threats to navigation, but they are an eyesore. They cause real harm to communities that are trying to build up an image of a sustainable community, a place tourists would want to visit.

I spent seven years working as a constituency assistant to former member of Parliament Jean Crowder in the riding of Nanaimo—Cowichan. As a constituency assistant, I was often on the phone with constituents who were outraged at the runaround they were getting and the jurisdictional finger pointing. They had gone to the municipality and to the regional district. They had gone to the port authority, to the province, and to the federal government. Every one of those agencies basically pointed at someone else, saying, “It's not our problem.” All those calls and the many years of problems building up prompted Jean Crowder to take action, and I will get to that in a moment.

I want to go over a bit of the history of how my particular community has experienced this problem. Right in the heart of my riding is lovely Cowichan Bay. I hope some members in the House get a chance to visit Cowichan Bay. It is a quaint, ideal little place on the coast. It has a great history of being a big industrial area that transformed itself into this great little community, which tourists come to every year by the droves.

We have had our ordeals with abandoned vessels. I will go back to the Dominion. The Dominion was a large Japanese fish-processing ship, which was towed to Cowichan Bay in 2007. The new owner of the vessel thought that he could buy it as an investment, sell it a few years later, and make a quick buck off it. Unfortunately, the Dominion stayed in Cowichan Bay from 2007 until 2013. It was filled with a variety of hazardous substances. It was subject to vandalism. There was the constant danger, whether from high tide or strong storms, of that gigantic ship coming loose off its mooring and plowing into other ships.

We had the SS Beaver, which was in such dilapidated condition that it sank in 2014. It still rests at the bottom of Cowichan Bay.

As a result of the lack of action, last year six derelict vessels were removed by the combined efforts of private companies. These companies were sick and tired of no government authority taking responsibility or having the resources to remove them. I want to recognize Western Forest Products, Western Stevedoring, and Pacific Industrial & Marine for taking on that initiative as responsible corporate citizens of the area. It affects their livelihoods, too, and they had the means to get it done. However, it should not have come to that.

I also want to give great recognition to Lori Iannidinardo. She serves as the area director for Cowichan Bay in the Cowichan Valley Regional District. A lot of individuals have been involved in this fight over the years, but as the area director, she has had the unique position locally of bringing so many stakeholders together, along with public and community forums, and pushing for action. Lori and Jean worked together hand in glove to try to address this problem.

Now let me turn to the efforts of Jean Crowder in the 41st Parliament. She introduced Bill C-231 in 2011. She saw a way to improve her bill, and it ultimately turned into Bill C-638, which had its opportunity for debate and a vote at second reading at the tail end of the 41st Parliament.

I will note that the Liberal Party at that time voted in favour of this bill, and among those members, there was the Prime Minister, the Minister of Transport, the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, and others. In fact, there are various ministers, parliamentary secretaries, and chairs of standing committees in the House today who back then supported this bill. We are happy to see Bill C-64 moving ahead, but as the member for Nanaimo—Ladysmith has so clearly laid out, there are a lot of gaps that her private member's bill certainly could have filled.

I am happy to say that after years of advocacy, New Democrats and the coastal communities have really informed our work, and all that work is finally paying off. We are very proud that the action to clean up our coasts and waterways from abandoned vessels are finally under way.

I will now turn to the 42nd Parliament, the one we are in now, and the efforts of the member for Nanaimo—Ladysmith. The first version of her Bill C-219 very much built on Bill C-638, which was introduced in the previous Parliament. However, after a lot of consultation with different coastal organizations and coastal communities, she really took their feedback, which is evidence-based decision-making and evidence-informed policy-making. She incorporated their suggestions, because these are the people who are on the front lines, and introduced Bill C-352.

One of the greatest privileges we have in this place as private members is our ability to bring forward legislation on behalf of our communities. What is really unfortunate about last year is that the Liberals denied her the ability through the procedure and House affairs committee, and then the secret ballot that we had here in the House of Commons, to effectively advocate on behalf of her constituents and various coastal organizations in this place. We know it was the Liberals, because that is where the majority of the votes are coming from, who denied her the ability to at least bring this bill forward for debate and a vote. They deemed it to be non-votable, and argued that Bill C-64 covered all the conditions. In fact, we can see that her bill was actually filling in the gaps that are very apparent in Bill C-64.

However, New Democrats do not give up when they face set backs, and so the member for Nanaimo—Ladysmith tried to work at committee. She brought forward a series of amendments to Bill C-64 to actually strengthen the bill and make it reflect the conversations that she had had. We wanted to implement a vessel turn-in program, create a dedicated fee to help the cost of vessel disposal, and we wanted to formalize the Coast Guard's role. The Coast Guard's main role is to guard our coast, but I would argue it is not only to guard against smugglers but also to make sure that our coastal environment is safe, sound, and environmentally secure. She tried to make sure that we could copy Washington state's model, because we do not need to reinvent the wheel. We have many other jurisdictions, one right in Washington state, and we could basically borrow the best elements from its program and transpose them here in Canada. She also wanted to try and give the receiver of wrecks the responsibility and accountability to determine the owner.

Every single one of those amendments was defeated by the Liberals in spite of all of the testimony that we had heard at committee. That is the real shame of this. The Liberals in the previous Parliament were fine to go along with the provisions that were included in this bill, but once they got into government, and flying in the face of the evidence they heard, they refused to go ahead with that.

The bill from the member for Nanaimo—Ladysmith was endorsed by the Union of B.C. Municipalities, the Association of Vancouver Island Coastal Communities, the City of Victoria, the City of Nanaimo, the Town of Ladysmith, over 20 more local governments, the Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce, Vancouver District Labour Council, and the BC Ferry & Marine Workers' Union. These are organizations and local governments that deal with this problem and confront it on a daily basis. To have those kinds of endorsements behind the member for Nanaimo—Ladysmith really speaks to her perseverance, and it is sincerely unfortunate that the government did not allow those.

I will conclude by saying that we are not going to throw the baby out with the bathwater. We will support Bill C-64, but I hope the government will at least listen to us and accept our amendment at report stage so that we can at least have some accountability for federally owned vessels, because that is a major loophole that exists.

November 9th, 2017 / 1:15 p.m.
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Sheila Malcolmson NDP Nanaimo—Ladysmith, BC

Thank you, Peter.

There were two bills, Bill C-352 and its predecessor, which I tabled as Bill C-219 in February 2016, just a month after we had been sworn in. Then I reintroduced a new version of it in April 2017: Bill C-352. It's very skinny. The government's bill, tabled 10 days ago, Bill C-64, is much more hefty. That's my first point of comparison.

I will show you how these two bills are not redundant and how they are not contradictory. I urge you to deem my private member's bill votable.

There are a number of points of comparison.

With regard to national strategy, Bill C-64 is not a national strategy. The word does not appear once in the legislation. The government's briefing notes make that clear as well. It's not a national strategy; my bill is all about developing a national strategy.

The next comparison is with regard to royal recommendation. Bill C-64 requires the appropriation of public revenue and, as such, has received a royal recommendation. My bill does not.

With regard to penalties, in Bill C-64 there's a compliance and enforcement regime that is extensive. It creates a whole new set of violations and penalties for abandonment of vessels. My bill does none of these things. Arguably, my bill would make it easier to actually enforce those penalties in Bill C-64.

Another related point of comparison is enforcement tools. In Bill C-64, there is a whole suite of tools for enforcement provided to the Minister of Transport, a number of fines. My bill does none of these things.

With regard to enforcement officers and the justice system, they're also very different. Bill C-64 creates powers for enforcement officers, for the Transportation Appeal Tribunal, for the justice of the peace, for the Attorney General. Bill C-352 does none of these.

With regard to receiver of wreck, my bill designates the Canadian Coast Guard as the receiver of wreck. This was the same in Jean Crowder's bill in the previous Parliament, which a number of members of the government supported at that time. In the government's bill, that's not the approach. Bill C-64 keeps it as a multi-jurisdictional approach and keeps the receiver of wreck within the umbrella of the Minister of Transport, so again they are different approaches, not duplicative.

With regard to consultation, in my bill the Minister of Transport would consult with stakeholders and coastal people to discuss the development of a strategy. That's not envisioned in Bill C-64.

With regard to international conventions, Bill C-64, the government's bill, would implement the Nairobi International Convention on the Removal of Wrecks. My bill requires the government to assess the benefits of acceding to that convention. Again, they're compatible, not duplicative or in conflict.

A vessel turn-in program is something that coastal communities have been requesting for more than a decade. On the model of the cash-for-clunkers program, this would be a way to deal with the backlog of abandoned vessels. Bill C-352 has that as one of its key elements. This bill has been endorsed by the Union of BC Municipalities and, across the country, by at least 50 different coastal organizations and harbour authorities. That is not a part of Bill C-64. Again, they're completely different. Bill C-64 does not legislate that.

In order to deal with the backlog of abandoned vessels, my bill has a number of measures that would legislate to address the backlog of what Transport Canada says might be thousands of abandoned vessels. Bill C-64 does not have measures to deal with the backlog, so again they're not in conflict, not contradictory, but arguably compatible.

A fund for vessel disposal modelled on what Washington state implemented 15 years ago is not addressed in Bill C-64, and the transport minister's briefing notes make that very clear. A fee associated with vessel registration going into a pool to deal with emergency removals is not something that is in Bill C-64. It is in my bill.

Amendments to other acts are another point of difference. Bill C-64 amends other acts, including the Navigation Protection Act, the Oceans Act, the Canada National Marine Conservation Areas Act, the Crown Liability and Proceedings Act, the Customs Act, and the Transportation Appeal Tribunal of Canada Act. My bill does none of these things.

Turning to review mechanisms in Bill C-64, there's a review proposed on the fifth anniversary of the day the bill comes into force. That would be to the committee of the Senate, the House of Commons, and/or of both Houses of Parliament. My bill only requires the transport minister to prepare and table a report to Parliament.

There are many more points of comparison. I haven't run through them all. I just hope that is sufficient to convince you that these two bills are distinctly different. They're not contradictory; they're arguably compatible. They have the same big-picture aim, but the House can absolutely hear both of them, and I sincerely believe the minister's bill would do better with mine in place.

I urge you to reject and overturn the subcommittee's ruling and I urge you to rule that my abandoned vessel private member's bill C-352 be deemed votable.

I'll turn it back to my colleague, Peter Julian.

The EnvironmentPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

May 15th, 2017 / 3:25 p.m.
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Sheila Malcolmson NDP Nanaimo—Ladysmith, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise to present a petition calling for federal leadership to clean up the coast and take action on abandoned vessels. This would have helped this weekend when volunteers in Cadboro Bay, on Vancouver Island, brought together dozens of volunteers to remove abandoned vessels but met a shortfall in funding.

I look forward to Parliament's support for my bill, Bill C-219, to ask the Coast Guard to take the lead on the removal of abandoned vessels and to be the singular responsible agency. I look forward to Parliament's support toward ending the long-standing economic and ecological harm done by abandoned vessels and the oil spill risks they pose.

Canada Shipping Act, 2001Routine Proceedings

April 13th, 2017 / 12:15 p.m.
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Sheila Malcolmson NDP Nanaimo—Ladysmith, BC

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-352, An Act to amend the Canada Shipping Act, 2001 and to provide for the development of a national strategy (abandonment of vessels).

Mr. Speaker, for decades now, all three of Canada's coasts have been experiencing repeated calls from coastal communities about the repeated occurrence of the issue of abandoned vessels. These risk oil spills . They risk jobs in our communities, jobs in aquaculture and the commercial fishery. A no man's land of jurisdiction, a hole in responsibility, has been identified.

My predecessor, Jean Crowder, brought similar legislation to the House. Last February, more than a year ago, I tabled Bill C-219. Today I rise to update that legislation in response to repeated calls from local government and the failure of the Liberal government to meet its six-month deadline imposed by this Parliament to table solutions before the House.

Together, let us end the runaround and name the Canadian Coast Guard as the agency responsible to act on abandoned vessels. Let us fix vessel registration and get the costs off taxpayers. Let us build a coast-wide strategy in co-operation with provinces and municipalities. Let us act before vessels sink and spill oil by piloting a vessel turn-in program. Let us create good green jobs by supporting local marine salvage companies and recycling.

This legislation is built on the good work of many local government associations, the Union of B.C. Municipalities in particular. Just this Sunday its local chapter for Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast unanimously endorsed this legislation in an emergency resolution. I am grateful for the support, I look forward to the debate, and I look forward to receiving the support of the House for this long-standing marine pollution problem.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

The EnvironmentAdjournment Proceedings

March 9th, 2017 / 6:20 p.m.
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Sheila Malcolmson NDP Nanaimo—Ladysmith, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am once again standing in the House to talk about solutions to deal with Canada's long-standing problem of abandoned vessels in our marine environment.

The imperative we have talked about many times. There are hazards to navigation, visual pollution impacting tourism, a very strong threat of oil spills that can impact local jobs in the area of aquaculture, oil spill risks that can affect the marine environment and sensitive coastal ecology, and the fact that there is no government in Canada that will actually take ownership. This is a hole in jurisdiction that is recognized by all parties that we are working very hard to fix. It will make it easier for coastal communities if we do.

I also want to salute the patience and persistence of coastal communities. They have been trying ad hoc solutions one vessel at a time in the absence of the federal leadership that we are seeking. There are costs. I note it was picked up in the media just a few weeks ago, where a member of the legislative assembly in British Columbia, Andrew Weaver, who is the Green Party representative, quite improperly scolded the municipality of Oak Bay, saying that it should do what the municipality of Saanich has done. In fact, we cannot pit one community against the other.

His criticism also reveals a misunderstanding of the fact that if we leave this to the high-capacity municipalities to deal with issues in their own harbours, that squeezes problem vessels out into unincorporated areas or more remote regions, which is why, again and again, we have been calling for a comprehensive coast-wide solution to the problem of abandoned vessels.

Let us talk about solutions. My private member's bill, Bill C-219, proposes to make the Coast Guard the go-to agency on abandoned vessels. The men and women of the Coast Guard are already doing a good job. They are doing it off the side of their desk, but they do not have clear authority. My bill proposes to give them that authority, to make the Coast Guard the receiver of wrecks. We are also pushing very hard for full resources for the Coast Guard, so it can do that job as one of its central responsibilities, one that is well funded.

Other solutions that I have been proposing that the government supports are fibreglass recycling; finding new markets for these materials; boat amnesty, where people can bring in their boats; fixing vessel registration, which has really fallen into disrepair; and mechanisms to take a load off taxpayers, such as sending vessel registration funds to a fund, as Washington state has done, to deal with vessels on an emergency basis.

Just this past week, I sat down with some local community leaders. We are planning our presentation to the AVICC convention, which is a local government association that represents the Vancouver Island and Sunshine Coast local governments. On April 8 we are presenting together on solutions to deal with the abandoned vessel problem. This includes Ladysmith Mayor Aaron Stone, Stz'uminus Chief John Elliott, and one of the operators of the local marina, Rod Smith from Ladysmith Community Marina. They are asking what the details are of the coastal protection plan, and I am really hoping to be able to bring that to the convention April 8, so I can give some good news.

It was announced four months ago by the government that it is reopening a Coast Guard station in St. John's. I wish it was reopening the Comox Coast Guard station on my coast that the Liberal government closed. There were very few details otherwise, so I am hoping that the representative for the Minister of Transport can tell us when the legislation is coming, when the funding is going to be available to coastal communities, and what the specific mechanisms are that the government is proposing. I am concerned the only one that it has raised is criminalizing vessel abandonment, and I surely hope that is not a path the government is going to go down. We are looking for solutions on the ground.

TransportationAdjournment Proceedings

February 1st, 2017 / 6:15 p.m.
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Sheila Malcolmson NDP Nanaimo—Ladysmith, BC

Madam Speaker, I am still eager to hear when this legislation is going to be tabled. So far, it is only New Democrats who have ever brought legislation to the House. I would love to know if the member intends to support my Bill C-219.

We hope to have it debated this spring. Will the government legislation beat me to it? I would love to know that there is a comprehensive solution out there. However, we need to legislate a solution, so details, please.

Coastal people have been very patient, but I am hearing that with another boating and tourist season advancing, with jobs and the shellfish industry at risk, even the smallest spill from an abandoned vessel would put jobs, the ecology, and community at stake.

Frankly, I am feeling optimistic, yet fed up. We need to know when you are going to table this legislation, so we can give that assurance to coastal communities.

The EnvironmentAdjournment Proceedings

November 30th, 2016 / 7:15 p.m.
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Sheila Malcolmson NDP Nanaimo—Ladysmith, BC

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the government's announcement that it intends to act on abandoned vessels, which would prevent oil spills, if we get ahead of them, and prevent them from sinking.

We are still looking for the detail that was expressed by coastal communities in the consultation this summer, and has been expressed by local governments for 15 years. We still have no detail in the plan.

The announcement did not say how the federal government was going to fix the mishmash of responsibility in our current laws. My private member's bill, Bill C-219, would do that by making the Coast Guard the first stop. We need to resource the Coast Guard well to do that.

We need to have new money and a broader mandate for the Coast Guard. We heard this summer about preventative action before the vessels become a hazard. We are looking for a turn-in program, a bring in a boat program, to make it easier for owners to do the right thing. We are looking for support around vessel salvage and fibreglass—

Abandoned VesselsPrivate Members' Business

October 24th, 2016 / 11:30 a.m.
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Alistair MacGregor NDP Cowichan—Malahat—Langford, BC

Mr. Speaker, as a proud representative of a coastal community on Vancouver Island, I am pleased to stand today to speak to the motion. I would like to thank the member for South Shore—St. Margarets for bringing it forward.

This motion is a good step in the right direction, as it certainly encourages the government to create a mechanism to assist in removing abandoned vessels. As we all know, the NDP has worked on this issue for many years now. My colleague from Nanaimo—Ladysmith has tabled Bill C-219, which I think will take the real action needed to solve this problem.

There are so many different stakeholders involved in this issue. Many members of the House are involved, but it is of real significance to members who are lucky enough to represent coastal communities, and even to members who have large lakes or rivers in their ridings, because wherever there is a standing body of water that is navigable by a vessel, that body of water is in danger of having abandoned vessels left in it.

I worked on this issue for many years in my riding when I was a constituency assistant to Jean Crowder, the former member of Parliament for Nanaimo--Cowichan, and it is something that does not seem to go away, so I am really glad to see the House taking this issue much more seriously than in previous years.

My riding of Cowichan—Malahat—Langford is home to a long stretch of Vancouver Island's coastline, both on the east coast and on the west coast. There are places where there are many abandoned, derelict, half-sunken, listing boats that can easily go down in a storm. In fact, in 2014, we had the story of the SS Beaver II, which basically rolled over and sank in Cowichan Bay. It had been identified as a hazard for many months previously, and lo and behold, the thing sank, not to much surprise.

Before that, residents of Cowichan Bay had to deal with the Dominion, a trawler that was basically towed to Cowichan Bay and left there for five full years. It was left there so long that thieves stole fuel from it and started doing damage to the boat, It was listing. It became such a concern and there was such a concerted effort from the community that we finally had the Coast Guard come and take the vessel away.

It is an old problem. It is one that seems to be getting worse. There are a growing number of abandoned vessels on Canada's coasts. Boats are getting older every year, so this is a problem that gets worse over time. The longer we leave this problem, the higher the cost of taking care of the problem will be and the greater the number of vessels we will have to deal with.

Transport Canada has conducted some surveys on the breadth of the issue. It has a list of over 600 abandoned vessels of various types and sizes, but I am sure that the actual number is much higher now, and it is expected to go up.

Furthermore, not every municipality has had the chance to respond. In British Columbia, the last report listed 245 vessels, but that was only from the municipalities that bothered to respond.

A number of proposals came forward in the House in previous years. In 2010, Keith Martin, the Liberal member of Parliament from Vancouver Island, moved a motion for the government to strengthen legislation to deal with derelict vessels and also to impose penalties to recover the cost of cleanup from registered owners.

In the 41st Parliament, Jean Crowder moved two bills. One of them had to come back on the Order Paper because of prorogation, and unfortunately, it was defeated by the Conservative government at the time. I would certainly hope that our Conservative colleagues are having a bit of a change of heart in looking at this issue, because I think it is a non-partisan issue. It is about taking real action on behalf of all coastal communities.

I want to point out to my Liberal colleagues that a number of them still sit in the House today who voted in favour of that bill, Bill C-638. Of note, the current Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, the Minister of Transport, the Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs, and the Prime Minister are all on record as having voted for that legislation, and I will expect to see their votes stand up in this Parliament when we get to Bill C-219.

In 2015, in the dying days of the 41st Parliament, we had a half-hearted attempt by a Conservative backbencher, Conservative MP John Weston, to bring in a bill. It had a legal fine of about $100,000 and jail time for those who abandoned, but it was too little too late, in my opinion.

We have had action from the NDP, the Conservatives, and the Liberals on this issue. It is certainly one that all parties are very well aware of.

I will be voting in favour of the motion, but I want to make sure that the House is aware of the contrast between this motion and the bill from my colleague for Nanaimo—Ladysmith, Bill C-219. The Liberal motion points to the need for a legislative solution, but unfortunately, it does not compel the government to act.

Motions are great, but we have to look at the very first line, which says, “That, in the opinion of the House”. The government of the day is not bound to follow this motion. It is not a binding motion. I will take note of all the MPs who support it, and it will be great to contrast that with Bill C-219 later to see if the action will be there to back up the words.

The motion compels the federal government to act only if there is an imminent danger. The issue is the fact that the federal government is the only body that can designate someone to intervene before a vessel becomes a hazard. This means that the responsibility falls on us to protect our coastlines. I appreciate the wording of the motion, but I think we need to have further action, and that is why I really want to see action on Bill C-219 later.

It is good to see that there is a six-month timeline in the motion. Hopefully, we will see the government stick to that. I think vessel owners certainly need to be educated about identifying the problems that can come if vessels are abandoned, and so on.

The motion did have an amendment. Several amendments were proposed. One was from my colleague for Nanaimo—Ladysmith, and of course, the Liberals ended up amending their own motion.

The troubling amendment is this:

replacing the words “create a mechanism” with the words “identify mechanisms”

I think this shows that the government is actually a bit scared to take action on this file, because if we go from “creating a mechanism”, which is an action word, to “identifying a mechanism”, we are kind of giving the government a route out, and that, to me, is troubling.

The other removal by the Liberal Party was that consideration be given to “acceding to the Nairobi International Convention for the Removal of Wrecks, 2007”.

This is something that was recommended by Transport Canada in 2010.

We want to see the government take some meaningful steps on this problem. The motion from my colleague for Nanaimo—Ladysmith was that we see, within six months, the dismantling of any abandoned ships or wrecks that lie in waters that are a source of drinking water, threaten the environment, or obstruct navigation. I think that would have made the motion a lot stronger. Unfortunately, it was not passed, but again, we will have time to revisit this issue, hopefully by next year, with Bill C-219.

The problem at the heart of this issue has always been that we live in a land of jurisdictions, as every MP knows. Not only do we have three federal agencies that are responsible for this, Environment Canada, Transport Canada, and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, but we also have conflict with the province, and sometimes with municipalities, first nations' territories, and even port authorities. I have seen issues in my own riding where there has been just a bunch of finger pointing. We just go around in circles. That is why taking action at the federal level and showing true leadership is so urgently needed.

We absolutely need to pass this motion, but more importantly, we need to compare what the Liberal government is prepared to do, when it comes to real legislation on this matter and their votes at the time, with what they did in the past.

We need to create more recycling facilities and support more salvage businesses. We certainly cannot, as my friend, the member for Courtenay—Alberni said, do this with a ship-by-ship approach. It is an urgent problem. If we do not deal with it immediately with concrete action, we are going to be affecting first nations' traditional waters. We will have more oil and sewage spills. Sensitive ecosystems will be affected as well as migratory bird and fish habitat. Of course, it will also affect tourism, which is so important to communities like mine. We get so many American tourists, and the last thing they want to see is an abandoned vessel that has been left on the beach or is listing off to one side.

If we do not take action, municipalities are going to continue to bear the burden.

The main issue with the motion is that it would be non-binding on the government. We hope that will change with a vote on Bill C-219 at a later point.

I would like to thank my colleague from South Shore—St. Margarets for bringing forward this important motion. She certainly has my support on it.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

September 29th, 2016 / 2:50 p.m.
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Sheila Malcolmson NDP Nanaimo—Ladysmith, BC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Union of B.C. Municipalities called upon the government to deal with abandoned vessels.

Earlier this year, I introduced Bill C-219 that would create a federal responsibility for dealing with these vessels, which are a black mark on our local environment and economy. We need to stop passing the buck to local governments. We need federal leadership.

Will the government support my bill and get to work cleaning up abandoned vessels?

The EnvironmentAdjournment Proceedings

September 19th, 2016 / 6:30 p.m.
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Sheila Malcolmson NDP Nanaimo—Ladysmith, BC

Madam Speaker, in April when we discussed the longstanding problem of abandoned vessels, Transport Canada said it was developing options, that it was on top of it, that it was taking care of the issue. It said it was developing a comprehensive approach and was addressing the issue as quickly as possible. All of those things were said in our debate on that day. That was five months ago when a solution sounded imminent.

I am interested today in hearing what the elements of the government's plan are now, five months later. In the spring, I secured a Department of Fisheries and Oceans agreement to remove the Viki Lyne II, an abandoned vessel that had been languishing in Ladysmith Harbour for four years since Transport Canada towed it there. It was deemed by the Coast Guard to be at imminent risk of sinking.

It is great news that the government agreed with my proposal to remove it. The government is now negotiating a bid, and we hope that the contract will be awarded shortly.

However, the worrying part is that initially DFO thought that the vessel would be removed by the end of August. Now we are at the end of September. We still do not have a contract in place. These things are moving slowly.

This summer I heard the views and advice of 2,500 community members on abandoned vessels. We heard from marina operators, businessmen, businesswomen, and local governments. They all told me that the abandoned vessel problem has not gotten better but worse. We know that not dealing with the problem has real costs.

A BC Ferries vessel hit a submerged vessel in the spring, and that ferry service has said that abandoned vessels endanger the safety of its passengers and crew and that it has cost them in terms of travel delays.

The shellfish industry says that jobs are at risk. If an abandoned vessel is submerged, shellfish harvesting is shut down. As Kathleen Nicholls from Limberis Seafood Processing in Ladysmith says, “we... suffer economic losses (no product = no sales)”.

Tourism operators on our coast throughout our region say that it costs them. It is frustrating to see problem vessels shifted from one bay to another.

What are the solutions? We need to end the run-around and finger-pointing by adopting Bill C-219 to designate the Coast Guard as the responsible department to deal with abandoned vessels; to build Coast Guard budgets and staffing back up, so that we can look after our coast responsibly; to create more recycling facilities for fibreglass and support local salvage businesses; to create a vessel turn-in program, like Oregon state has; and to update the vessel registration system and use license fees to pay for disposal costs, like Washington state has.

There are great ideas out there. I am eager to hear the government's plan. What is your good news? How fast is your timeline? Five months ago it sounded like the work was well under way. We want to hear the elements of your plan to solve the abandoned vessel problem once and for all, and to protect our coasts from their environmental and economic risks.

Abandoned VesselsPrivate Members' Business

June 6th, 2016 / 11:30 a.m.
See context


Sheila Malcolmson NDP Nanaimo—Ladysmith, BC

Mr. Speaker, I stand in support of Motion No. 40. I thank my colleague for bringing it to the House.

First, the problem of abandoned vessels is urgent and there is on-the-ground harm being done, including to B.C.'s ferry fleet. Second, local governments have been passing motions like this for over a decade. Third, I will tell members about the legislation I tabled in the House in February. Finally, since the problem is urgent, I will argue that the federal response also be urgent. The New Democrats want to turn words into action.

Here is the problem. A legislation gap allows for the abandonment of vessels that are not an immediate navigational or environmental hazard. No one department is responsible to prevent these vessels from becoming a greater hazard to the environment or navigation. When communities try to take action, they get the run around.

First, I want to give some good news. I have stood in the House at least three times since the beginning of the year and have asked for help with the Viki Lyne II. It is a 100 foot trawler abandoned four years ago. Transport Canada towed it into Ladysmith Harbour where it has sat ever since.

It did not originate in Ladysmith. The federal government brought it in, and local governments and communities have since been asking the federal government to get it out.

Four years ago, the Coast Guard filed a report with Transport Canada and Fisheries and Oceans saying that this vessel was an imminent risk to sink and that it was full of contaminants. It recommended full removal, yet that has not happened.

However, the good news is that partly with the excellent advocacy of Ladysmith city council, Stz'uminus First Nation, Georgia Strait Alliance and also a very big on-water rally of residents of Ladysmith last summer, after four years of rotting in the harbour, I was delighted to tell all the local community representatives, when I was back in the riding the week before last, that I had secured an agreement from the former fisheries minister, the member of Parliament for Nunavut. He agreed that the Coast Guard would remove this vessel by August.

We are delighted. I was so glad a week today to be able to thank him in person for taking that action on behalf of Ladysmith.

That it took four years and ministerial intervention is a major problem. The federal government must understand the urgency of the abandoned vessel problem, which has spiralled out of control over the past decade. Some 400-plus abandoned vessels litter our harbours and waterways all over the country. These are end-of-life freighters, large ships, and small recreational craft.

Why are there so many right now? Fibreglass is reaching the end of its lifetime, there are more intense storms and changed weather patterns on our coasts, there are changes in the coastal fishery which have moved some boats out of commercial use, and, finally, economic hardship has resulted in the abandonment of responsible ownership by some people.

Why does it matter? Oil and solvents pose environmental risks when these vessels inevitably sink. They can harm sensitive ecosystems and threaten shellfish and aquaculture industries that provide jobs in our region. They are eyesores that blight otherwise picturesque harbours on our coasts.

Like Ladysmith Harbour in my riding, former mayor Rob Hutchins, described spending millions on waterfront beautification only to have the harbour blighted by almost 50 abandoned vessels evicted from Vancouver harbour and Nanaimo harbour. It was not Ladysmith's problem, but became its visual pollution.

This is like Shelburne, Nova Scotia, where last week the mayor applied for an arrest warrant for the owner of the abandoned vessel Farley Mowat, and the CAO called for the federal government to help overwhelmed municipalities like theirs with federal legislation.

Municipalities have been calling on the federal government and the province for help for years to no avail. For 12 years, I was elected to local government and we passed resolutions calling on action on abandoned vessels every year. The Union of BC Municipalities, the Association of Vancouver Island Coastal Communities, and the longtime regional district of Nanaimo chair, Joe Stanhope, all stood together, with strong advocacy and encouragement to no avail.

As chair of Islands Trust Council, three times I led delegations to the provincial government and to the responsible minister. One time, 19 local governments stood with me. Gary Holman, the New Democrat provincial MLA for Saanich--Gulf Islands, has pushed hard on this issue and it has all fallen on deaf ears. The B.C. Liberal government has not acted on this file.

We did get an inventory, a fact sheet, and a working group, which was good, but those actions did not remove a single vessel from our waters. These motions fell on deaf ears. This undermines the confidence the coastal communities have in senior levels of government, which is a problem. It is one of the reasons I ran for federal government. I wanted to bring legislation to the House to act on this issue once and for all.

The member of Parliament for South Shore—St. Margarets had options in front of her to either bring legislation or to bring a motion. She chose to go with a motion, and it is a good one. I will vote in support of it. Honestly, however, I have been voting on motions to fix abandoned vessels for 15 years, and the problem has only grown. It is not what people have been asking for, and it is not what the urgency of this problem requires.

By contrast, Bill C-219, the bill I introduced in February, could become a law. It would solve the inaction on abandoned vessels federally. By making the Coast Guard the responsible agency, we would end the runaround, and that is the biggest frustration. We do not know which ministry to ask. The government would have the mandatory obligation to deal with the removal and recycling of these vessels once and for all, and it would be responsible for the collection of the cost from the original owners as well.

I hope to have support from the Liberal government for my abandoned vessel solution, as it supported former MP Jean Crowder's almost identical bill a year ago.

Other countries have comprehensive legislation. I have visited Norway and the coastal authority there takes action when there is an abandoned vessel. It does not mess around to find out who owns it. It gets it out of the water where immediately it can protect the ecological and economic values of the region. Then it passes on the bill to the responsible owner.

I helped to bring the Washington State derelict vessel program manager to Canada. She met with Transport Canada representatives so they could learn how well a comprehensive solution could work here.

Canada also needs a national plan, not a ship-by-ship approach. We cannot just shuffle this problem from one community to the next.

We also heard in the House of when the Silver King started to sink in Baynes Sound, mid-Vancouver Island. My colleague for Courtenay—Alberni worked very hard to protect the aquaculture and migratory bird habitat. He secured Coast Guard removal, but the Silver King was towed from his riding to mine in Ladysmith Harbour. It sat there for months instead of the days that were originally promised, and that was right at the beginning of tourist season.

Nanaimo Port Authority, to its credit, has acted, although it does not have to, on vessels both inside and outside its waters. However, it is also pleading for federal leadership and a comprehensive approach. Right now, it is costly and uncoordinated.

The costs of not dealing with this are real, and I have a brand new example of the cost to coastal communities in B.C.

In the course of our research, we spoke with the BC Ferry and Marine Workers' Union and with BC Ferries management . We heard that the Queen of Oak Bay, a public ferry which has the capacity to carry 1,500 people, hit an overturned sailboat, an abandoned vessel. Vessel Traffic Services and the Coast Guard were involved and had to stay at the scene of the collision until it was clear, and the Queen of Oak Bay was cleared to resume its trip.

Collisions like that endanger the safety of passengers and crew. They create travel delays and economic costs. Additional staff had to be assigned to monitor the ferry afterward to ensure it was safe. It is dangerous, time consuming, and expensive. That collision in March was just one of three hits or near misses in just a few months this year.

While I support the motion, it will not help coastal communities as fast as we need. A legislated solution binding future governments will. Therefore, I really hope the government will bring in full legislation or else support mine. Until then, action is needed so communities can see immediate results.

Therefore, I would like to seek the consent of my colleague who sponsored the motion to propose the following amendment: That the motion be amended by adding after the words “abandoned and derelict vessels” the following words: “including the dismantling of abandoned ships or wrecks that lie in waters that are a source of drinking water, or threaten the environment, or obstruct navigation.

Canada Shipping Act, 2001Routine Proceedings

February 4th, 2016 / 10:05 a.m.
See context


Sheila Malcolmson NDP Nanaimo—Ladysmith, BC

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-219, An Act to amend the Canada Shipping Act, 2001 (wreck).

Mr. Speaker, for too long, coastal communities have been given the runaround when an abandoned vessel washes up on their shorelines or enters their harbours.

I worked with a community organization in Galiano that, for 10 years, tried to find a government ministry that would take responsibility. If it is a hazard to navigation, it is one department. If it is an oil spill, it is another. If it is maybe going to sink but is not yet an oil spill, no one will touch it. If it washes on the shoreline, maybe it is the provincial crown. It is frustrating. It is creating environmental problems and great economic uncertainty, especially for beautiful communities in my riding like Nanaimo and Ladysmith that have made significant investments in their waterfront. They now have the interference of unsightly and polluting vessels drifting in their harbour.

I rise with my colleague the member for Salaberry—Suroît to propose once again the bill that former member of Parliament Jean Crowder brought to the House. It was supported by the Liberals but defeated by the Conservatives. We ask Parliament to work together to designate the Coast Guard to be one-stop shopping, so we can eliminate this uncertainty and resolve this problem once and for all for coastal communities.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)