Mr. Speaker, I rise again to describe the abandoned vessel that sank in Ladysmith Harbour, the 90-foot, 100-year-old Anapaya. It has been on Transport Canada's vessel inventory of concern since 2014. It had been identified as a risk to sink. When it went down, after being overwhelmed by rain and the bilge pumps could not keep it up, the Coast Guard, bless it, took action. It boomed the wreck and contained the oil spill. That was so important for Ladysmith Harbour, because there are shellfish jobs at risk from even the smallest oil spill. The Coast Guard acted, which we are very grateful for. It lifted this 90-foot-long, beautiful old wooden boat from the bottom of the harbour, with everyone saying the whole way along that it would have been much easier to have prevented the boat from sinking in the first place.
A significant take-away for me afterward was that the previous owners, in fact the people who had been living on the Anapaya, knew that she was nearing the end of her life. She was an abandoned boat by the time she sank. The previous owners said they did not have the economic means to prevent her from sinking, but if there had been a vessel turn-in program, the same that Oregon and Washington states have very successfully used to get at the backlog of abandoned vessels, it would have prevented it from sinking and becoming a problem in the first place. This was a significant element of my abandoned vessel legislation, Bill C-352, which was famously blocked in the House. It was the first time that had ever happened to a bill. I went through all the appeals and was told that it was the Liberal majority that squashed it in the end.
The interesting thing is that now that we are studying the transport minister's bill, Bill C-64, at committee, I have been able to ask all kinds of witnesses if they wish that a vessel turn-in program were still part of the legislative offer for Canadians. It makes sense. It has been proposed by local governments in British Columbia for many years, and it was on that basis that I included it in my legislation, Bill C-352.
In the last few days, there has been testimony from Troy Wood, the manager of the derelict vessel removal program in Washington state, saying that the vessel turn-in program was the prevention arm of their very successful derelict vessel removal program. Sara Anghel, president of the National Marine Manufacturers Association, said there is no place to take boats before they become a hazard for her industry, which is significantly made up of vessel manufacturers and marine operators. She said they would welcome the opportunity to create a viable recycling program and there needs to be a place to take them.
The committee also heard from Kyle Murphy from Washington state, Peter Luckham, chair of Islands Trust Council, and Anna Johnston from West Coast Environmental Law. Georgia Strait Alliance said very clearly that in the transport minister's bill, it is left wondering about the absence of a voluntary turn-in program that could deal with this backlog and help vessel owners, who do not have the means to dispose of them responsibly and do the right thing.
I ask the government why it did not include a vessel turn-in program in its legislation to resolve abandoned vessels.