Madam Speaker, last month a 90-foot vessel, the Anapaya, sank in Ladysmith Harbour while leaking fuel into the ocean. In 2014, Transport Canada had identified this 100-year old boat as a vessel of concern. The government knew it posed a threat, but took no action until it sank. We are grateful for the Coast Guard's swift action. However, this is yet another example of the failed Liberal boat-by-boat approach to abandoned vessels.
For too long, jurisdictional gaps have left coastal communities with nowhere to turn when an abandoned vessel presents an emergency situation in their communities. Oil spills and marine debris from thousands of abandoned vessels pollute our waterways and put local fishing and tourism jobs at risk. We have raised this in Parliament, I think now, 86 times since the 2015 election.
I built 15 years of coastal community solutions into my legislation, Bill C-352, to fix vessel registration, to pilot a vessel turn-in program, to support good green jobs and vessel recycling, and to end the run-around by making the Coast Guard the first-responder and the receiver of wrecks, with a one-stop shopping approach for coastal communities.
Over 50 coastal organizations across the country supported my bill, from Tofino, B.C. to Fogo Island, Newfoundland and Labrador, to the Union of B.C. Municipalities, the City of Victoria, the Town of Ladysmith, and the BC Ferry and Marine Workers Union. There has been so much support from all sectors.
On November 9, the Liberal majority on the procedure and House affairs committee blocked my bill, which was an unprecedented interference. The government's new legislation, Bill C-64, tabled on October 30, complemented my bill. However, I do not believe the transport minister's bill will succeed without mine. For example, how can a penalty be imposed on an abandoned vessel owner, as the minister proposes in his legislation, without his being able to find the owner? That is where the element in my bill to fix vessel registration was so vital. Moreover, the transport minister's bill does not deal with the backlog or specifically support vessel recycling.
With the help of members of Parliament, both of the bills could have proceeded. No one had used the appeal tool before that we used in the House to have a secret ballot vote, in this case on the question of whether my bill should be deemed votable. It was a really historic moment and I am grateful to the Conservative, Bloc, Green, and New Democrat caucuses for saying that they planned to support making my bill votable.
Had the majority of members voted yes, it would have meant yes to over 50 coastal organizations who had endorsed the bill, yes to the 27,000 letters that were sent from Canadians to Liberal MPs that week, yes to standing with local governments and having their solutions brought into this House, yes to filling gaps in the transport minister's bill, yes to cooperation across party lines to solve intractable problems like the oil spill risks that come from abandoned vessels, and yes to restoring the one chance I had as an MP to have my community's legislation heard in this House.
Why would the transport representative not support hearing my bill?