Mr. Speaker, British Columbia's commitment to the Four Host First Nations and the green games had never been seen before.
Four years later, we hosted the games in Vancouver, and my special assistant was seconded from Calgary, Alberta. Her name was Wendy Tynan. She was an unbelievable partner, and her father was involved in Alberta House.
It was a real revelation to me that the public art installation in Alberta House was a digital readout of the price of oil that day. This is what Albertans wanted their guests to see. Cheers would go up spontaneously when the price went up, no matter what.
The reason I am mentioning B.C. House and Alberta House is not to oversimplify or waste anyone's time. It is to explain the challenge of governing for all parts of Canada, and the fundamental elements of the Trans Mountain decision.
I will begin with what are vital considerations for British Columbians. We take our responsibility for environmental protection and advocacy seriously. It is a public trust.
The previous federal government abandoned the public trust with regard to the natural environment, marine safety, and public engagement. It gutted the Fisheries Act and the Navigable Waters Protection Act. It closed the Kitsilano Coast Guard station. It diminished the importance of maritime safety and our capacity for proper protection on the west coast. It forsook the public's genuine and abiding interest in providing input to the National Energy Board. It muzzled scientists. It simply failed to recognize what it had done to the soul of those of us who lived on Canada's coastlines and the respect we had for the natural environment.
Every member of Parliament from British Columbia on the government benches arrived here to advocate for the protection of our coasts and marine ecosystems, and our government is unequivocal in its commitment to the protection of Canada's waters and marine ecosystems.
In November 2016, the Prime Minister launched the $1.5 billion oceans protection plan in Vancouver. This historic national investment will protect Canada's marine environments, improve marine safety, and ensure responsible shipping. It will provide indigenous communities and coastal communities with new opportunities to protect, preserve, and restore Canada's oceans and sea routes.
Under the OPP, we reopened and expanded the capacity of the Kitsilano Coast Guard station, which will now house two inflatable rescue boats, as well as a specialized pollution response vessel. As well, the Coast Guard's 24/7 response will be strengthened to protect Canada's waters and to lead in responding to marine emergencies.
To ensure world-leading marine safety and spill response, we are deploying two large heavy-tow tugs in British Columbia, the first coming into service this year, and the next one, next year. They are capable of towing commercial tankers and large container ships.
No doubt, members will remember when a Russian cargo ship, the Simushir, lost power in the fall of 2014 and began drifting toward Haida Gwaii. An Alaska-based tugboat, the Barbara Foss, was refuelling nearby, and was able to tow the cargo ship to safety. We simply lacked that capacity. The oceans protection plan addresses that.
We will also have new indigenous community response teams in B.C., offering training for search and rescue, environmental response, incident command, and for a greater role in marine safety.
Through the OPP, we are investing in British Columbia and across Canada to establish a world-leading marine safety system, and to expand the scientific foundation for spill response.
We have marshalled research capacity in labs in B.C., Alberta, Ontario, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland to spearhead wide-ranging new chemical and biological research into the behaviour and effects of dilbit in marine environments, and to build world-leading ocean modelling capacity to underpin risk-based spill response planning. We are also providing additional funding in science and research to improve technologies that will mitigate and prevent marine incidents.
In B.C., we are also establishing environmental baseline assessments at the ports of Vancouver and Prince Rupert in order to assess how human activities may impact our marine ecosystems over time. By doing this, we will better understand coastal ecosystems and the potential effects of regional marine vessel activity on the environment. I know this is central to the concern of the Government of British Columbia.
Certainly, our government's interest in developing the Department of Fisheries and Oceans lab in West Vancouver into the Pacific science enterprise centre and the partnerships that are already happening there, are entirely focused on science research and community engagement with regard to critical questions of marine ecosystems.
In 2016, an integrity review of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans was conducted and as a result, $1.4 billion was added to the base budget, reflective of the need to restore the devastation of the cuts made by the previous government and in order to carry out core functions of the fisheries department.
We wholeheartedly endorse the Cohen Commission recommendations and have now adopted 64 out of 75. We are working to implement wild salmon policy, at long last. We moved swiftly to ensure the salmon enhancement program was intact.
With respect to our commitment to marine protected areas, we are over halfway to our goal of 10% of Canada's coastlines by 2020.
Last week, the Minister of Fisheries announced the new Fisheries Act, to restore lost protections removed by the previous government. I look forward to debating that tomorrow. It is an exciting opportunity to advocate for wild salmon and the end of open-net salmon aquaculture, as I have mentioned in the House before.
The OPP and the renewed fisheries budget mean that $2.9 billion have been invested for coastal communities and the nation's waterways. We are devoted to working with the government of British Columbia on all of these initiatives. We know that by recognizing and balancing regional interests, we build the national interest.
Canada is a world-leading trading nation. Our economy and the ability to create good middle-class jobs depend on our ability to access and serve global markets, supported by our ability to access foreign markets through responsible shipping. We have to be committed to protecting Canada's coastlines and to every Canadian whose livelihood depends on the economic viability of Canada's waterways and natural resources.
Our government has consulted extensively. In 2015, in his mandate letter, the Minister of Transport was asked to legislate a tanker ban on the north coast of B.C. arising directly from concerns there. We listened. In January of 2016, we introduced a set of interim principles to improve on the process of assessing pipelines and projects. Public comment expanded, and we listened. In November 2016, our government rejected Enbridge's proposal for the northern gateway pipeline and endorsed the Trans Mountain project, attaching 157 conditions.
This demonstrates a balanced approach, a thorough approach, and one that has been achieved by acting in good faith.
It is the federal government's legal responsibility to ensure marine, rail, and pipeline safety, which we will uphold and endeavour to ensure reflects broad considerations and benefits most people.
The OPP, the new Fisheries Act, and the government's decision on the Trans Mountain project contribute substantially to strengthen the environment and the economy. There is no question that moving forward with Trans Mountain has been a difficult decision to make, and an even harder one for many to accept, particularly many in my community. However, now is the time to focus on the legislative strides we are taking to protect the coastal environment, wild salmon, ocean health, to tackle climate change, and embrace opportunities for innovation and renewable energy as we transition to a low-carbon economy.
I look forward to working with all British Columbians, Albertans, and Canadians toward our shared goals.