Madam Speaker, just to make sure I do not run out of time, I want to profoundly thank the coastal leaders who built this legislation and who kept this dream alive all this time.
The North Pender trustees on the Islands Trust Council, Steeves and Hancock, worked with me for years on this. Denman Island trustees Bell and Graham also worked closely with me. There was trustee Peter Luckham, who is now Trust Council chair, and Islands Trust staff, Adams, Gordon, and Frater. There was amazing female leadership and great wisdom that found solutions and helped coastal communities find their voice together to propose solutions and pitch them to provincial and federal governments.
From the Regional District of Nanaimo, I want to thank regional directors Stanhope, Houle, Veenoff, and Dorey, all within my region and all very strong partners. We would not have gotten as far as we did without them.
From Ladysmith, I thank former mayor Hutchins, current mayor Stone, and councillor Steve Arnett, who has been on this file with me the whole time, for 12 years at least. Duck Patterson and Carol Henderson, both councillors, have been very supportive. I thank the Ladysmith Chamber of Commerce. Rod Smith, at the Ladysmith Maritime Society, has been a treasure of information and someone on the water who gets these problems.
In Nanaimo, city councillor Diane Brennan has been working for years with me on this. Mayor McKay and councillor Bill Yoachim have both been really supportive. A former chair of the Nanaimo Port Authority, Jeet Manhas, has been a strong partner. I thank the Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce CEO, Kim Smythe. I thank the Georgia Strait Alliance and the BC Ferry & Marine Workers' Union. They are all right in Nanaimo and Ladysmith and have all been strong partners committed to finding a solution.
The men and women of the Coast Guard have again and again come to the fore. I want to thank the mayors of Victoria and Oak Bay and also my fantastic staff team: Jennie, Michael, Hilary, Lauren, and Mikelle. I also thank Scott and Karen, who used to work on my team. They have just blown this out of the water. We have finished our campaign significantly earlier than we intended to, but they put all horsepower into it the whole time.
I want to thank tremendously all the coastal voices, in multiple ridings, on both sides of the country, who, over the last couple of weeks especially, emailed coastal Liberal MPs, imploring them to give coastal voices an opportunity to be heard in the House and voted on. Together they sent 27,000 individual emails to coastal Liberals. They made phone calls directly to their offices and sent Twitter messages. I thank them. We pushed as hard as we possibly could have. We could not have worked harder to get consensus here to have the bill heard. That is a real point of pride.
That said, I want to flag, for our next chapter, that this is a problem across the whole country. There are thousands of abandoned vessels Transport Canada has identified. In Newfoundland, the Manolis L is one that 25 years later is still burping up oil and harming fisheries. My colleague has been fighting for six years, at least, the Kathrine Spirit , an abandoned vessel threatening drinking water in her riding in Quebec. There is the Cormorant, in Nova Scotia. All over we are seeing these. We have to work together.
We cannot characterize my proposal to make the Coast Guard the receiver of wrecks as turning the Coast Guard into a salvage operation. If I can say anything to the government, it is that it must recognize that asking people to take a constitutional lesson or read an org chart to figure out who might be able to help them with the problem is untenable. We are not asking the Coast Guard to do the salvage. We are asking it to hold the expertise and to navigate the system and talk to the relevant federal agencies to figure out who is actually going to take action. However, it should not be up to local governments, or ratepayer groups, or environmental organizations, or businesses, such as in Cowichan Bay, where they themselves paid to helicopter out abandoned vessels when they got fed up waiting for federal action.
Please, let us pull together on this for our economy, for the environment, for jobs, and to give people faith that the federal government can work together and solve problems that coastal communities identify. Let us work together. Let us get this done.
I thank everybody who tried their best to make it happen.