Madam Speaker, I just want to start by stating into the record what an absolute pleasure it is to have such a dedicated colleague like the member for Nanaimo—Ladysmith. We are fortunate enough to be neighbours on beautiful Vancouver Island. We share a coastline. We both have a connection to Jean Crowder, the former member of Parliament Nanaimo—Cowichan. We often like to joke that it took two of us to replace Jean, because that is how good she was.
I want to set the stage for my constituents back home who may be watching this. We are here debating, and we have been given one hour for my colleague's Bill C-352. We are here because the Liberal government has used its majority, and has used bully tactics to silence her voice, to silence her right to take forward legislation in this House on behalf of her constituents.
The procedure and House affairs committee deemed this bill non-votable. The member for Nanaimo—Ladysmith appealed to this House and, for the first time ever, we had a historic secret ballot vote. We lobbied Liberal members of Parliament. We sent almost 30,000 emails to them from strong voices in coastal communities. However, still, the Liberals decided they were going to quash the member's voice and not let her stand in this place to bring forward legislation, as is the right of every member of Parliament in this place. That is why we are here today.
My riding has a long history with abandoned vessels. I could write a whole book just on Cowichan Bay and what it has gone through. In fact, we still have the SS Beaver below water, waiting for action to happen.
I have had a long history with abandoned vessels. The biggest problem with abandoned vessels has been the jurisdictional finger pointing. If it was laying on the seabed, it was the jurisdiction of the province, unless it was a municipality that had that particular foreshore; if it was an obstacle to navigation, the Coast Guard was called, which more likely than not would just tow it to the nearest sandbar and leave it there. In other instances, the port authorities could be involved. The main point is that constituents, when they found an abandoned vessel, had no idea who to turn to, and would just completely get the runaround.
I appreciate the government's efforts on Bill C-64. I am very glad that the House gave unanimous consent to move that important piece of legislation to committee. The argument that my colleague from Nanaimo—Ladysmith has made is that her bill fills in some important gaps, and the two bills complement each other. It comes down to coastal voices. We have worked so long on this legislation, for many years. We have had the backing of the Union of B.C. Municipalities, and many different organizations that are involved in protecting our coast.
For the Liberals to use their majority just to silence us, and to not even bring forward this bill for a vote shows an extreme lack of courage on their part. I would have loved to have seen coastal British Columbia members of Parliament—