Kitsilano (Vancouver) Coast Guard Station Closure by Harper

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Officials hint Vancouver oil spill worse than estimated

An official with Environment Canada suggested that early statements pegging the size of the spill at 2,700 litres were conservative.

Crews on spill response boats work around the bulk carrier cargo ship MV Marathassa after a bunker fuel spill on Burrard Inlet in Vancouver on April 9, 2015.


CBC News is reporting that more than 4,000 people have volunteered to clean up the English Bay oil spill.


but the coast guard has told people to stay off the shores and leave the clean-up to the professionals. ...

Robertson is hoping to have a plan in place shortly to mobilize volunteers to monitor the shoreline.

"I expect to hear back from our city manager on Tuesday at our report to council on what the volunteer program will look like and how we will have eyes and ears on the beaches here and we are making sure the waters are being watched."


The large number of people volunteering for the clean up show how deeply Vancouver care about their marine enviroment. However, it is good that it is being left to the professionals as the bunker fuel from the spill is highly toxic,


Vancouver city officials posted a boater and watercraft alert on Twitter early Thursday, saying that the spill is “bunker fuel” and that it is toxic. They are warning people not to touch the fuel.

Bunker fuel is a type of liquid fuel used on ships which is fractionally distilled from crude oil. It is extremely crude and highly polluting.

Since bunker oil fumes that evaporate from a spill can cause headaches and respiratory problems this also raises questions about what whether a major evacuation would be needed in the case of a major spill.



And it's not just the Kitsilano Coast Guard Harper has shut down. The Marine Communications and Traffic Services office in Vancouver is scheduled to close this spring, along with the Regional Marine Information Centre - both providing marine traffic monitoring and safety services. A bizarre move from a government that is planning on a 300% increase in tanker traffic on BC's coast.

Botched English Bay oil spill confirms BC ‘woefully unprepared’ for more pipelines, tankers: Open letter



I felt embarassed by the Coast Guard spokespeople over the weekend.

Retired coast guard captain insists Kits base would’ve helped English Bay oil spill response

A retired Canadian Coast Guard captain who spent his 32-year career in the Vancouver harbour insists the Kitsilano Coast Guard station would have made a “huge difference” in the English Bay oil spill response, despite claims from the commissioner that Kits would have played no role in the response.

Capt. Tony Toxopeus, who was a coxswain at the Kits station and a trained pollution response technician, said Monday the base could have had a boat with oil-containing boom by the vessel’s side within an hour of the spill.

“They’re downplaying it to such a degree it’s shameful, it’s terrible, it’s dishonest,” Toxopeus said.

“There was a 40-foot boat that was purpose built for oil pollution response,” he said, adding the base also had 150 metres of Kepner self-inflating boom, 150 metres of 24-inch fence boom, 30 metres of oil absorbant boom, a skimmer and absorbant pads.

“That was probably the best equipped station on the B.C. coast,” he said.


jas wrote:

And it's not just the Kitsilano Coast Guard Harper has shut down. The Marine Communications and Traffic Services office in Vancouver is scheduled to close this spring, along with the Regional Marine Information Centre - both providing marine traffic monitoring and safety services. A bizarre move from a government that is planning on a 300% increase in tanker traffic on BC's coast.

Botched English Bay oil spill confirms BC ‘woefully unprepared’ for more pipelines, tankers: Open letter



 The cuts are all part of the Con-corporate deregulation agenda that has resulted in 27% cut to marine and 20% to rail and aviation, as well as food inspection cuts, over the last six years. Of course the cuts are even deeper when inflation is factored in. We have all seen the results - Lac Megantic, increased food poisoning, increased pollution and oil spills from pipelines, rail lines and our waterways. 

However, people worry about one terrorist killing in Canada, when many more die in Lac Megantic or from food poisoning.

The Con strategy of denial by lying as typified the faux reassurances (see end of quote below) that no oversight activities are part of the cuts -its all waste and bureauracy that is being eliminated - have reached the absurd level with the reassurances that only 6 litres out of 2700 litres remain uncovered. Even the people who don't pay attention to these issues know this is a lie. These absurdities are destroying Con credibility even amongst some who are low info voters in Vancouver. Many of them now understand if this much damage can occur from a relatively small spill. then a large spill will be catastrophic. Something has snapped, at least in Vancouver, because of this spill.

Meanwhile the mainstream media continues to ignore the ramifications of these cuts except when a crisis occurs.


The latest figures from the federal government’s public accounts show actual spending by Transport Canada on marine safety has plunged 27 per cent since 2009-10, while aviation and rail safety spending are both down 20 per cent or more.

Budget cuts to marine and rail safety have come over a particularly sensitive period, during which oil-by-rail shipments increased exponentially and the government spent millions promoting the safe transport of oil by tankers on Canada’s coasts in order to bolster pipeline approvals.

Last month, Transport Minister Lisa Raitt announced that 10 additional rail safety auditors would be hired across Canada in response to last year’s horrific oil train crashin Lac-Mégantic, Que., which claimed 47 lives.

Raitt says Transport Canada has plenty of budget room to handle the new hires without additional funding.

“While there have been spending cuts, rail safety oversight activities have not been cut,” Ashley Kelahear, Raitt’s spokeswoman, said in an email Monday.

“The safety and security of Canadians remain our government’s top priorities.”

An official with Transport Canada said in an email that “core services remain properly funded and aligned with departmental priorities.”

“Savings were deliberately focused on reduction of overhead, consolidation of administrative and support services.”




jerrym wrote:

Meanwhile the mainstream media continues to ignore the ramifications of these cuts except when a crisis occurs.

Yes, I was hard pressed to find even one mainstream news source (besides a mumbled mention on the Coast Guard website itself) confirming the MCTS and RMIC closures.


The outsourced clean-up company (supposedly 100% industry funded?) apparently finds no shame in reporting their 1.3 hour response time:



jerrym wrote:

As mentioned in the article, it's important to clarify whether this new privatized marine disaster response that now replaces the federal agencies is, in fact, 100% funded by industry (as reported by their website) or is simply owned by industry, which means taxpayers still pay for the cleanup, and possibly even pay more for a lower quality service.


The reassurances offered by Coast Guard spokesperson Girouard in this article and other statements sound like they come right of the mouth of James Moore and his Con cohorts, especially when contrasted with statements and evidence from others.


Investigations will be carried out to determine if oil is below the surface of English Bay or on the ocean floor after a spill from the cargo ship Marathassa, but not until the surface cleanup effort is complete, the Canadian Coast Guard said Sunday. ...

Industry material safety sheets for marine fuel oil classify bunker fuel as hazardous and very toxic to marine life, with long lasting effects. They also show that bunker fuel contains components that float and others that sink, forming tar balls on the sea bottom. ...

While the federal agencies continued on the weekend to tout the efforts of the coast guard in responding to the spill, a former commander at the now closed Kitsilano coast guard station said Saturday that had the station still been open the response time would have been less than 10 minutes.

Fred Moxey estimated the response time would have been about six minutes, not the six hours it took the coast guard to arrive from Richmond.

The response time needs to be as fast as possible because “once the oil starts to move around and time goes by with the wind and tide it starts to collect around other ships and it gets harder and harder to determine which vessel is discharging the oil,” said Moxey, an outspoken opponent of the closure.

Girouard said he’s satisfied things wouldn’t have been much different if the Kitsilano coast guard station, closed by the federal government two years ago, was still open, but several leaders disagreed. ...

Although federal officials believe the damage to the shoreline was minor, they estimate that the cleanup will take a few more days.

Scientist Peter Ross, a marine pollution expert with the Vancouver Aquarium, told The Vancouver Sun that the fallout from the spill could last years. He said bunker fuel is harmful to fish, shellfish and marine plants.



The spill now seems to have been worse than originally estimated.


Officials in charge of cleaning up a bunker fuel spill in Vancouver’s English Bay now say the estimate of what leaked from a grain carrier was a conservative figure.

Owen Rusticus with Environment Canada says the 2,700-litre spill estimate wasn’t based on gauges, but was gathered using sensors on the thickness of the oil in combination with the size of the spill on the water.



I suggest that you contrast the words coming out of the mouth of the Coast Guard spokesperson (spoken by Con ventriloquist James Moore) with those of the harbourmaster of the neighbouring American city of Bellingham in my next post on what a so-called "world-class oil spill response actually is.



The Canadian Coast Guard is continuing to defend its response to the oil spill in Vancouver's English Bay last Wednesday, despite criticism from city and provincial officials.

Commissioner Jody Thomas said she was "enormously pleased" with the progress of the cleanup, and called the co-ordinated effort "unprecedented" while giving an update on the situation Monday morning.




The harbourmaster of Bellingham, Washington, a small city of 83,000 80 km south of Vancouver, says, unlike what happened in Vancouver, he would have a boom around the oil spill and have tried to seal the leaking vessel within an hour.

It's nice to know what a world-class spill response (or something approaching one) actually is. The obvious question is if a small city like Belllingham can do this, why can't the Con government do this for the busiest port in Canada, which also has the most non-commercial marine traffic, do even better than this, especially after having promised BCers just such a world class oil spill response system.

Furthermore, how much closer would we be to such a system if the Cons had simply maintained the $700,000 a year Kitsilano Coast Guard station and its response capabilities?



In the event of an oil spill, the harbourmaster at the Port of Bellingham said he would immediately attempt to seal the leak on the vessel, call in response agencies and have a boom in place within the hour. ...

“If it’s continuing to pump right in front of me, my first obligation is to stop that,” he said. “The response is absolutely key.” ...

Randolph maintains it’s crucial that local police and fire are contacted as well as anyone else who “might have been able to lend a hand.” ...

Coast guard officials Monday insisted they were “pleased” with their response. The vessel’s owner had at first denied they had a problem, which made it a tricky situation, but they are now co-operating fully. ...

Meanwhile, retired Coast Guard Capt. Tony Toxopeus maintains the English Bay spill could have been contained within half an hour if the Kitsilano base was still operating.

The Coast Guard insists the station was only a rescue boat station, but Toxopeus, a coxswain who worked out of Kitsilano, said the base was equipped with a purpose-built oil pollution response vessel, 300 metres of self-inflating boom and other equipment. Crews were trained regularly to deal with oil spill response.

“As soon as we saw there was bunker (oil) we would have hit the alarm button and got moving,” Toxopeus said. “We could have backed the boat in, towed the boom there and be alongside the boat in 30 minutes.”

Toxopeus maintains the small base had been involved in “countless small spills in Vancouver’s waters over the years” and was also the main point of contact for local boaters. “This is what’s so important,” Toxopeus said. “Now that little base is gone, the boaters don’t know who to call.”

Toxopeus said the situation is likely to get worse with Ottawa’s plans to close Vancouver’s Marine Communications and Traffic Services Centre, and shift the services to Victoria. ...



Harper and James Moore reassure us that they are giving Vancouver a "world class" act with regard to oil spills and every other issue.



Stephen Harper's Con Clown Circus Strikes Again

They were already the worst government Canada has ever known, a freakish horror show and a fascist circus. 

But as the economy heads south, and their desperation grows, Stephen Harper's Con clowns are sinking to new levels of depravity and incompetence.

Because everywhere you look they are making fools out of themselves...

Mr. Magoo

LOLZ!1  That fourth guy is a PENIS!  See?  A PENIS!!


The English Bay oil spill is a relatively small oil spill but this does not mean it does not have serious ongoing effects.


The oil spill in Vancouver's English Bay last week was relatively small, but the highly toxic bunker fuel spread quickly, and will keep washing up on beaches, said city manager Penny Ballem in an update to council. ....

Ballem said it's still not clear exactly how much Bunker C fuel oil spilled from the grain ship Marathassa on April 8, despite estimates from the coast guard that approximately 2,700 litres were released.

But Ballem said the fuel is highly toxic and very viscose or thick, so it forms globs that are carried to distant beaches, including some 12 kilometres away from the spill site at New Brighton Park in East Vancouver....

Ballem said, there is still bunker fuel stuck below the ship, that crews are working to surface and contain with the booms, and cleanup continues on beaches and the hull of the ship.

"There's a bathtub ring around the ship that's very significant and it's quite toxic," said Ballem.

Vancouver Coastal Health said there is no timeline for when closed beaches will be reopened and considered safe for people and pets.

Oil globs will continue to wash up

The city expects that oil globs of the toxic bunker fuel will continue to wash up on city beaches, and Ballem said there needs to be a plan to deal with ongoing contamination.



If so much damage can be caused by a small 600 gallon oil spill, what about a big tanker or pipeline spill -something that the likelihood of which would grow sevenfold ( if the Kinder Morgan pipeline were to go ahead?

The following article discusses the 10 largest oil spills in history. While the largest was the destruction of the Kuwaiti oil fields during the 1991 Gulf War, the fourth largest involved two oil tankers colliding (Atlantic Empress, 1979) to release 88.3 million gallons. For single tanker collisions, the largest released 80 million gallons (ABT Summer, 1991, 7th largest oil spill); Castillo de Bellver, 1983, 78.5 million gallons 8th largest); Amoco Cadiz, 1978, 68.7 million gallons, 9th largest); Odyssey Oil Spill, 1988, 700 nautical miles off the coast of Nova Scotia, Canada, 43 million gallons 10th largest). In other words a single tanker spill often releases more oil than many major oil field calamities.

The 11 million gallon Exxon Valdez 1989 tanker oil spill off Alaska was only the 34th largest in history. Yet, its continues to cause major damage more than 25 years after the spill.


Direct contact with the oil slick killed at least 140 bald eagles, 302 harbor seals, 2800 sea otters and 250,00 seabirds within a few days. Four people died as part of the clean-up efforts. ...

Even though it was only the 34th worst oil spill in history, its impact on the Alaskan shoreline made it the nation's biggest environmental disaster since Three Mile Island. (Source: Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council; Fry, D. Michael,How Exxon's "Video for Students" Deals in Distortions)

Economic Impact of Wildlife Loss:

Wildlife value is measured by the cost to obtain or rehabilitate them. ... Total cost for just these four species (otter, harbor seals, sea birds, and eagles) in the first week was $218.6 million. (Source: Replacement Costs of Birds and Mammals)

Economic Impact of Exxon Oil Spill:

Fisheries for salmon, herring,crab, shrimp, rockfish and sablefish were closed, with some Shrimp and salmon commercial fisheries remaining closed through 1990. Herring and salmon species never fully recovered, which means the commercial fishing industry that depends on them haven't either. Over 2,000 Alaskan Native Americans and 13,000 other subsistence permit holders lost the source of their food. This continues today, as many are afraid of being poisoned by contaminated fish.

The tourism industry immediately lost over 26,000 jobs and more than $2.4 billion in sales. By 2003, it had recovered somewhat. Passive use cost the state $2.8 billion, and it too has never fully recovered since vacationers still think of the area as contaminated. (Source: NOAA)

Now, 20 years after the spill, about 20 acres of Prince William Sound shoreline are still contaminated with oil. Two species have never come back, ten species haven't quite come back, and five are unknown. ...

Economic Impact to Exxon:

Exxon spent over $3.8 billion to clean up the site, compensate the 11,000 residents and pay fines. However, it could have been $4.5 billion more. The Alaskan court ordered Exxon to pay $5 billion in punitive damages in 1994. After 14 years of lawsuits and appeals, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Exxon only owed $507.5 million - about 12 hours of revenue for the giant oil company. (Source: Larry West, Guide to the Environment)


We simply can't risk such catastrophes. 



On Saturday of this week, the NDP will be holding a day of action in response to the English Bay oil spill and the failure of the Con government to deal with it effectively. Here's the info on when and where:

Protect our Coast- Stop the Cuts to Marine Safety Day of Action Saturday,

April 18 at 12:30 pm PDT

Davie and Denman St.





The slow and inadequate response to the English Bay oil spill combined with the closing of the Kitsilano Coast Guard station and the prospect of a sevenfold increase in tanker traffic in the port of Vancouver if the Kinder Morgan pipeline is completed, could cause the Cons major political damage in Metro Vancouver and environmentally-conscious Vancouver Island as the following articles attest. There could well be a significant drop in Con popularity in BC in upcoming polls as a result of the oil spill.

ETA: This is compounded by the 27% cut to the marine safety budget, along with the 20% cuts to rail and aviation budgets and food inspections that have significantly increased the risk of accidents, disease and death for all Canadians. 


[The Cons are] hoping to contain political damage and save the seats of Conservative MPs. Two of the most vulnerable are the North Shore's Andrew Saxton and John Weston. However, a large enough backlash against the spill can also undermine Conservative hopes in Vancouver Quadra, Vancouver Granville, and Burnaby North—Seymour, to cite three other ridings that the party is targeting.



“This is one of the issues, the local issues that I had more phone calls and emails and concern about than virtually anything else in the time I have been a Member of Parliament,” [Vancouver Quadra MP Joyce] Murray told the Courier. “The citizens of Metro Vancouver get it why there needs to be good response capabilities right here in the harbour and for some reason the Conservative Members of Parliament and Conservative government just completely ignored those concerns and now we see the cost.”



The political fallout from Wednesday's English Bay oil spill may prove as hard to contain as the toxic fuel that outpaced and eluded Canada’s sluggish cleanup response. ...

The stakes are high. The Harper Government has been busy touting Canada’s oil response capabilities as “world class” while aligning itself with major pipeline projects that would see supertankers filled with oil become regular fixtures in English Bay, Burrard Inlet and northern coastal waters.

The spill comes in an election year, and experts say it could harden resistance to Kinder Morgan’s proposed Trans Mountain pipeline expansion and damage the Conservatives in some south coast ridings. ...

New Democratic Party MP Kennedy Stewart said problems managing a relatively minor spill underscore concerns about Kinder Morgan’s proposed expansion and raises doubts about the federal government’s long-standing pledge to create a “world class” tanker safety system.

“When the public health authorities are saying ‘don’t touch this stuff because it’s toxic, don’t go to the beaches,’ it’s a wake-up call for folks here,” said Stewart, the MP for Burnaby Douglas. ...

Liberal MP Joyce Murray, representing Vancouver Quadra in Ottawa said Lower Mainland Tory MPs like Industry Minister James Moore (Port Moody-Westwood-Port Coquitlam), Minister of State (seniors) Alice Wong (Richmond), John Weston (West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky Country) and Andrew Saxton (North Vancouver) will be targeted for not speaking out against the cuts. She cited Transport Canada documents indicating that marine safety spending went from $82 million in 2009-10 to $57.5 million in 2015-16.






Have a day of action about C-51 down her on saturday. Hoping for a big turnout.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

As fuel spill pollutes beaches, destination of toxic material remains unclear

Nearly a full week after the toxic spill in English Bay, key details regarding the clean-up and disposal of contaminated articles remain unclear. 

After the grain ship MV Marathassa spilled in English Bay on Wednesday, responders agreed on Saturday – days after the incident – to hire a contractor to dispose of items contaminated with the leaked bunker fuel, the Vancouver Observer has learned....


epaulo13 wrote:

"A spokesperson for WCMRC, a privately funded firm..."

This is odd language, and keeps getting repeated in these articles. Of what relevance is their "funding"? And what does that even mean? In this context, they're either a private firm or a public agency. What is this continual reference to "privately funded"?


Their website info is equally obfuscatory:

Who pays for marine oil spill clean-up?

In accordance with the Marine Liability Act, the owner of a ship is strictly liable for oil pollution damage including reasonable costs for clean-up, monitoring, preventative measures, and reinstatement measures. This is referred to as the “polluter-pay principle.”   The Ship-source Oil Pollution Fund (SOPF) is Canada’s domestic fund and is under an independent administration. It is liable for claims relating to oil pollution damage, costs and expenses of oil spill clean up, and preventative measures and monitoring from all classes of vessels.

So some kind of Canada "domestic fund" (which wasn't anyone's question) figures into this, but we don't what this is or how it is funded.
And then the question that no one would actually ask, because the real question is not who pays for the office and filing cabinets, but whether taxpayers will now be paying oil companies to clean up their own spills.
How is WCMRC funded?

We are completely funded by industry.  Our shareholders are the 4 major oil companies (Imperial Oil, Shell Canada, Chevron and Suncor) and Trans Mountain pipelines.  Our membership of more than 2,000 marine operators, air services, lumber mills, fishing camps, ferries, port authorities and cruise ships annual dues assist in WCMRC’s funding.

BC NDP MPs are demanding that the Cons reopen the Kitsilano Coast Guard station in order to provide better protection and a faster response to oil spills.


B.C.’s NDP Members of Parliament are calling on Prime Minister Stephen Harper to immediately re-open the Kitsilano Coast Guard Station in the wake of the toxic bunker fuel spill in English Bay last week.

Lower Mainland residents “aren’t buying it” when the Conservatives call the response led by the Canadian Coast Guard “world class,” New Westminster–Coquitlam & Port Moody MP Fin Donnelly said at a news conference in front of the defunct, fenced off station on Tuesday.

Based on statements from the former base commander Fred Moxey, who is now retired, the 12 NDP MPs in the province believe the Kits station could have quickly responded to help contain the oil. ...

The MPs sent a letter Thursday demanding Harper re-open the station along with the Ucluelet Marine Communication and Traffic Service Centre and stop plans to close similar centres in Vancouver and Comox.

“You’re seeing a pattern of cuts from the Harper Conservatives while they want to increase tanker traffic,” Donnelly said.






Vancouverites are concerned about the immediate ramifications and the long-term implications of the English Bay oil spill, especially with regard to the prevention of and responsiveness to a much larger spill. There is also a significant concern about the spill's toxic brew moving up the food chain.



The City of Vancouver remains worried about the immediate and long-term repercussions of the English Bay bunker fuel spill, but the most important thing on its to-do list is planning for a larger scale emergency, city manager Penny Ballem told council on Tuesday. ...

“We were lucky… we need to be prepared for a much bigger, much harder and much faster response,” she said. ...

The city is conducting sampling of the water and sediment around its beaches to monitor environmental changes. It is concerned the oil will impact mussels and plankton and subsequently get into the food chain.

It’s also worried if it will be reimbursed for its costs, Ballem said. The ship’s owners are responsible to pay for the entire clean up, but this is expected to involve prosecution so the city has lawyered up. (The ship flies under the Cyprus flag but is managed by a company based in Greece.)


English Bay Oil Spill Map


Ballem suggested the city meet with officials from the Canadian Coast Guard, Transport Canada, Environment Canada and West Coast Marine Response Corporation to discuss what could happen in a larger spill, what equipment would be needed, where to put it and how to mobilize a quick response. ...

It may have been a small spill, but it impacted six kilometres of beaches and affected 30 birds. There is no timeframe to re-open the beaches to the public.

As a precaution, Fisheries and Oceans Canada has closed all recreational crab and shellfish fishing between Point Grey to Point Atkinson to the west side of the Lions Gate Bridge.




British Columbia's NDP MPs are demanding that the Con government immediately reopen the Kitsilano Coast Guard station and the Marine Communications and Traffic Service Centre in order to improve regulation of marine traffic and greatly reduce the reduce the response time both for oil spills and first responder rescue in the case of marine accidents.

If the Cons do not do this, they promise that an NDP government will. 

ETA: Also, here's a reminder on the NDP's day of action with regard to the oil spill.

Protect our Coast- Stop the Cuts to Marine Safety Day of Action Saturday,

April 18 at 12:30 pm PDT

Davie and Denman St.





“An NDP government will immediately re-open the Kitsilano Coast Guard base, re-open the Marine Communications and Traffic Service Centre in Ucluelet, and stop closures of these centres in Vancouver and Comox,” said NDP Fisheries and Oceans deputy critic Fin Donnelly (New Westminster—Coquitlam).

“But these steps to protect our coast are too important to wait until the next election,” Donnelly said, at the site of the former Kitsilano Coast Guard base. “That’s why we’re urging Prime Minister Harper to listen to the public and act now. Last week’s oil spill in Vancouver Harbour illustrated just how much is at risk.”

This morning, BC’s 12 NDP MPs wrote a joint letter to Harper, asking him to take immediate action to reverse cuts to Coast Guard services. The New Democrats have also launched a petition campaign. ...

NDP candidate Constance Barnes (Vancouver Centre) said it’s time for the Conservatives to listen to British Columbians on this issue. “When I sat on the Vancouver Parks Board, we fought hard on this issue, but the Conservatives would not respond. I hope this incident will finally get their attention.”


 North Vancouver NDP candidate Carleen Thomas said she is pressing the Conservatives for immediate action because the coastline is too crucial to the ecosystem, economy and culture.

“We have a duty to protect the marine environment and communities that depend on it,” said Thomas, who works for the Tsleil-Waututh Nation’s Sacred Trust Initiative.


Carleen Thomas is a First Nations activist, who works for the Tsleil-Waututh Nation’s Sacred Trust Initiative, and is the NDP nominee for North Vancouver. Having already seen the down the of the fishery for First Nations and others in the Vancouver region, she knows how important an oil-free marie environment is to First Nations.



The Musqueam First Nation is issuing a public notice to its fishers that the Musqueam Fisheries Department is closing all aquatic harvesting in the English Bay,  .... and.... areas until further notice. This includes the removal of prawn, crab and .... Due to the bunker oil  spilled in English Bay Musqueam is asking its members to take all precautions, including reporting any related oil that may be in the waters or onshore.



Despite reassurances from the Cons in the past and after the current oil spill that oil spill liability funds would cover the cost of cleanups, it looks like the City of Vancouver and others are going to have to go to court in order to get any money, which could take years and could lead to out-of-court settlements for less than the full cost, as well as secrecy agreements where the public does not even know exactly what is in the settlement agreement.

Furthermore, this is over a relatively minor spill. For a major spill the ship owner's liability fund wouldn't even begin to pay for the costs. For example, Exxon had to pay $3.8 billion (in 1980s-1990s dollars) in cleanup costs for the Exxxon Valdez, which was only the 34th largest oil spill in history.



The City of Vancouver has hired an outside lawyer to pursue a possible lawsuit over the bunker-fuel spill in its harbour last week, to ensure it recovers the money it has had to spend.

And that’s apparently not the only lawsuit on the horizon. ...

Ms. Ballem said the city is determined to get repayment for what it has spent on its own part of the response, as she briefed Vancouver city councillors Tuesday on the events since the freighter MV Marathassa began leaking oil in English Bay sometime last Wednesday. She did not have a figure for how much the incident has cost the city so far. ...

That promise of litigation comes as questions are still swirling in Vancouver about how much fuel was actually spilled, whether the response time was too slow, how much oil has been recovered, and what long-term impacts there will be.

Ms. Ballem noted that the Greek company managing the ship at the time of the mishap has a liability cap of $28-million. The Canadian Ship-source Oil Pollution Fund, created and maintained by the federal government, provides up to $162-million for damages caused by oil pollution from international shipping. ...

She said the kind of fuel that spilled doesn’t stay on the surface but sinks. As well, the estimates she has had from the agencies the city is working with indicate there is still 40 square metres of oil under the hull of the boat.

Deputy city manager Sadhu Johnston noted that San Francisco, another major West Coast port, has found pockets of oil “under rocks and in nooks and crannies” for years after spills.










The mainstream media's failure to deal with the risks of oil spills and climate change on an ongoing basis rather than on a crisis of the moment is a major problem. In some cases, such as Global BC's Keith Baldrey, it amounts to complete denial as exemplfied in these Baldrey tweets after the oil spill:


Burrard Inlet and English Bay are WORKING HARBORS.! You're not going to get rid of ships. #bcpoli


Oh what nonsense:VancouverSun: Oil spill could tarnish Vancouver's 'green' #brand http://


The good news is


Keith Baldrey and Mike Smyth in dead heat as most disliked B.C. political journalistby on September 19th, 2013 at 10:57 AM


Of course his approach doesn't simply extend to these issues.


I wrote the real story on the BC Ferry cuts last month, I wrote how Christy Clark and the BC Liberals were exacting revenge on NDP held ridings, I also highlighted the fraud and financial trickery surrounding the quazi private corporation...

We also slammed Keith Baldrey, Billy Good and Vaughn Palmer for being BC Government cheerleading pom pom girls on CKNW where the three stooges fought with every caller..

Anywho, I am no fan of Keith Baldrey`s writing skills or his innuendo laced tactics, clearly Baldrey is a hack who follows reporting orders on bended knee..

And Keith Baldrey wasn`t finished with his meme that those who voted for the NDP will be punished..

I suggest you read the latter part of his article, Baldrey suggests that the unions backed the wrong horse(face) in the election and were now prepared to embrace the dynasty of Christy Clark...

Of course Keith Baldrey and Global news are BC Liberal stooges and promoters, when they ran a story about rising support for Enbridge northern gateway pipeline Global BC`s Facebook page and line item on that story lit up, hundreds were screaming at Global BC that they were full of shit and that no one had changed their mind on Enbridge/CONOC nothern gateway pipeline project(Yes, China owns nearly 50% of that project, and if built the entire gateway pipeline was to be sold to China)...When I pointed out to Keith Baldrey(on Twitter)..I asked Keith Baldrey to check out Global BC`s Facebook page...Well..



Unifor gets the threat represented by the English Bay oil spill even though some media people, like Keith Baldrey, pooh-pooh the threat.


Unifor Local 3000 via Unifor CanadaApril 13 at 7:08am ·  

Stephen Harper simply doesn't care about rapid response on our coast. Watch Unifor member Allan Hughes explain how Coast Guard cuts will threaten our response to the next spill.

Union warns imminent Coast Guard closures will hurt spill response - CHEKThe Coast Guard says the waters of English Bay are now clear of bunker fuel oil, after four days of clean-up operations following a leak from an anchored cargo.



Another horror show!  Frown

Still believe what the oil industry tells us?

The Gulf of Mexico oil spill ongoing for the last decade, that barely anyone has heard of


Following the English Bay oil spill, the NDP is taken action. Finn Donnelly, NDP critic for Fisheries and Oceans, will introduce a motion in Parliament this week to reopen the KItsilano Coast Guard Station, as well as the recently closed Ucluelet marine traffic centre on Vancouver Island, and call for a stop to planned closures of similar centres in Vancouver and Comox.

The NDP has also pledged to reopen these facilities if they become government.

The Cons continue to engage in wars that provide zero security to Canadians while killing civilians, but eliminating government marine, rail, air and food inspection programs that threaten our environment and cost lives. They have already cut marine safety by 27%, and rail and aviation safety by 20% since 2009-2010 (

The url below includes a statement of Tom Mulcair announcing this on a Vancouver Beach, accompanied by Finn Donnelly and Constance Barnes, NDP candidate for Vancouver Centre, and a former member of the Vancuver Parks Board. 


Mulcair said a recent toxic fuel spill in English Bay is a “wake-up call” and Conservative cuts are threatening British Columbia’s coast.

“This is not about ideology anymore. This is about common sense. This is about protecting people, about protecting ecosystems,” Mulcair told reporters gathered at English Bay.

“This is a dangerous precedent Mr. Harper’s set. But what we’ve learned is we don’t even have adequate response time for a moderately sized oil spill.”



The Squamish First Nation recognizes the danger that oil spills represent to their fishery and the marine environment and are insisting that they receive the same priority as Vancouver and the provincial government in terms of being informed of future incidents so that they can respond as quickly as possible. They also want the tanker safety system to be upgraded in a major way from the weak system that the English Bay oil spill demonstrates is all that we have currently.


The Squamish Nation says it is determined to protect valuable fisheries and other marine resources within its territory, which spans Vancouver Harbour, English Bay and the beaches of North and West Vancouver. ...

Chief Ian Campbell says the recent spill shows the federal government has a long way to go before it meets a commitment made last year to have a “world class” tanker safety system including marine safety in aboriginal communities.

He says the incident shows that a bigger spill response system must include all marine traffic in Vancouver’s port, not just focusing on oil tankers.

Campbell says his nation is insisting on being called first after a spill, on the same priority list as the City of Vancouver and the provincial government.




The Coast Guard continues to deny there was any problem with the oil spill as the Cons continue to act as ventriloquists putting their words in the mouths of the Coast Guard spokespeople. Everyone else continues to think the opposite.


The Canadian Coast Guard — which has described its response as “exemplary” — has faced harsh criticism for its response. A recreational boater noticed the spill at about 5 p.m. on April 8, but it took six hours for the coast guard to arrive at the scene and another seven hours for a private company it contracted to secure an oil-absorbing boom around the vessel.

“This was a relatively calm day. It was in good conditions and we could not get a response within minutes. When you’re dealing with first response in emergency issues, time matters,” said [NDP Ocdans and Fisheries critic Finn] Donnelly.

Former Kitsilano Coast Guard commander Fred Moxey has said his station would have been able to respond to the spill in about six minutes. It could have been contained within 30 minutes were the base still open, said retired Canadian Coast Guard captain Tony Toxopeus.

But active coast guard officials have been adamant that the Kitsilano base was not equipped to handle this type of spill, and Conservative MPs have applauded the coast guard’s response.

“It really is shocking that they’re trying to defend the decision to close the Kitsilano Coast Guard station and to close other coast guard infrastructure,” said Donnelly. “It was a question of penny-wise, pound-foolish.” ...

North Vancouver’s Squamish Nation demanded on Saturday to have a “priority-one role” in future spill responses — meaning it would be called first, on the same priority list as the city and the province.Chief Ian Campbell said the federal government has a long way to go before it meets a commitment made last year to have a “world class” tanker safety system including in aboriginal communities.“The English Bay heavy oil spill has the potential to damage our sensitive marine habitats in our waters. And the cleanup response can hardly be called ‘world class.’ In fact, the response was inept and sluggish,” he said in a statement.


The Cons do this with every issue.  They put their own propaganda out there and try to lie about what other people have actually said.

Jason Kenney got caught doing this a few week's ago concerning the Department of Defense.


Wow.  Look at the huge crash the Conservatives had in British Columbia!  Must be the oil spill.


Liberals score highest on Nanos Index, as West drives negative trend for Tories

Tuesday, April 21, 2015



jerrym wrote:
“This is not about ideology anymore... [Mulcair]

Not sure what he intended by this comment. I think it's pretty obvious it's entirely about ideology -- an extremist, corporate welfare / P3-ist ideology that is lividly opposed to any kind of common-sense economic practices.

Great to hear about Constance Barnes, though. I certainly remember the Barnes name from earlier years. Lucky Vancouverites who have someone to vote for. * Sigh *.


 See the You Tube delivery of toxic debris from the Kitsilano oil spill to Conservative MPs at:


epaulo13 wrote:
... & Effigy Beating


But I think, if you really want to speak their language, you'd need to burn the effigy, preferably under a large stone owl, while berobed and chanting occult incantations. At least, that's how you get through to American politicians..


Duffy backroom conduit between big oil and PM?

Vancouver Observer

Apr 22nd, 2015


Redacted diary reveals oil's hidden route to Harper

April 22nd 2015

Redacted entries in Mike Duffy’s diary suggest he was in regular undisclosed contact with pipeline giant Enbridge during the height of the federal government's scorching attacks on environmental activists and charities in 2012.

The suspended senator’s journal shows a flurry of conversations and emails with or about top-level Enbridge executives, then PMO chief of staff Nigel Wright and the Prime Minister between January and June of 2012, just as the National Energy Board started its hearings on the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline proposal.

During this period, the federal government launched three parliamentary hearings, a senate inquiry and a major Canada Revenue Agency audit initiative focused on the activities of environmental charities, many of which opposed Northern Gateway.

None of the apparent contacts with Duffy were reported by Enbridge to the federal lobbyist registry, and Duffy's office redacted several key mentions of them.

The redacted entries include two exchanges between Prime Minister Harper and Duffy about Enbridge pipeline issues.



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Ucluelet Coast Guard station closure will erode coastal safety: union (updated)

The union that represents Coast Guard officers is sounding the alarm over the closure of a three ship traffic monitoring stations today, including one in Ucluelet.

The federal government's strategy of closing Coast Guard bases to save money has been under fire following a 2,700 litre bunker fuel spill in English Bay on April 8. Critics such as Fred Moxey, a retired Coast Guard captain, have said the now-shuttered Kitsilano Coast Guard station would have responded quicker to the spill.

"The fuel spill in Vancouver's harbour this month was within sight of a closed coast guard station," Chad Stroud, president of Unifor Local 2182, the union representing coast guard communication officers, in a release. "Fewer officers means reduced capacity to monitor traffic, distress communication, and coastal communities are more vulnerable."

Vancouver's marine communications and traffic centre is also slated to close on May 6, and the Comox station will close sometime next winter or spring, said Scott Hodge, a spokesperson for Unifor Local 2182. Vancouver traffic will be monitored via radar from Victoria, while Ucluelet will be monitored from a communications centre in Prince Rupert.

Coast guard communications officers are particularly concerned about the Vancouver closure, which will leave B.C.’s busiest location in terms of ship traffic without visual checks.

“It’s like having a control tower at an airport and not being able to look out the windows,” said Hodge....


The following article by Harry Wruck of Ecojustice, Canada’s only national environmental law charity, makes it cleat that the English Bay oil spill shows that Canada’s not ready for a major oil spill Response lacking; that Coast guard’s claim 80 per cent was recovered is ludicrous; and that despite the Cons' claim to the contrary, our weak spill legislation make it unlikely that the costs of the spill will be anywhere near fully recovered



In the wake of the toxic fuel spill in English Bay two weeks ago, officials at all levels of government were playing the blame game and pointing fingers over a not-so-world-class spill response plan. But beneath all that posturing and righteous indignation remains one simple fact: Canada — from its spill response teams to its legislative framework — is not ready to handle a major spill. ...

Compared to the Exxon Valdez spill (more than 40 million litres spilled) or even the Nestucca spill, the English Bay spill was small. Still, Canada bungled its response, proving that its emergency protocols are ill-equipped to handle a spill of any size. This is not a big surprise: While much has been made of recent cuts to the coast guard, we cannot overlook the fact that Canada made the foolhardy decision in the early 1990s to sell off its oil spill cleanup equipment (at the time thought to be the best in the world) and leave emergency cleanup to the private sector.

It is easy to take issue with the coast guard’s sluggish, wholly inadequate response to the spill, but I’m particularly troubled by its claim that it was able to recover 80 per cent of what was spilled. Such a claim is, quite frankly, ludicrous. ...

The coast guard also appeared to be misinformed when it stated that it would recoup the full costs of cleaning up the spill — what it fails to appreciate is that this is much easier said than done. In dealing with recouping costs and seeking environmental damages, a number of complex legal questions arise: Were the costs incurred reasonable and necessary? How do you quantify impact on wildlife or ecosystems with no market value? What happens when an endangered species is destroyed?

Unfortunately, these are all questions Canadian law is not equipped to effectively and efficiently address.

Canadian politicians like to claim our environmental laws and regulations are world-class, but this is simply not true. Whether we are looking at improving drinking water standards, regulating greenhouse gas emissions or prosecuting polluters, the laws and regulations that are supposed to protect Canadians and the environment are increasingly falling behind those of other industrialized nations.




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Vancouver Oil Spill March and Noise Demo

Wednesday, April 22 at 5:30pm

English Bay, First Beach

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MOVED TO SATURDAY: Vancouver Oil Spill Noise Demo & Effigy Beating

4:00pm Saturday, April 25

English Bay Morton Park, corner of Denman and Davie right by the Amazing Laughter sculptures.


@niknanos says the recent oil spill in Vancouver has lead to increased support for the Greens.


The following letter to the editor of the Delta Optimist reflects the anger of so many residents of Metro Vancouver towards the Cons because of their approach to the closing of the Kitsilano Coast Guard station and the English Bay oil spill.



The recent toxic bunker fuel spill in English Bay should be the final straw for our federal Conservatives, at least in B.C. Industry Minister James Moore tries to tell us the response was "world class." Third World, maybe.

Well, I decided to ask, via e-mail, our MP, Kerry-Lynne Findlay, if she felt the response to the spill was world class. I kindly asked her if she will support the NDP's motion to re-open the Kitsilano Coast Guard station and properly support the busiest station in Canada. I'm sure most, if not all, of her constituents would be in favour of such.

As per usual, I have yet to receive a response. Heck I'm still waiting for a response to all four emails I have sent her since December 2013 regarding numerous issues. ...

Findlay, you have forgotten who you work for. You work for the people of your riding, not Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his reckless agenda. Your disrespect towards your constituents has proven you are not up to the task of representing us.

I look forward to the next election.

Darren Garbutt




The article below discusses Con Industry Minister's lies about the English Bay cleanup and his denial that the closing of the KItsilano Coast Guard station meant that this delayed the response to the spill, making the spill even worse. It also discusses the lack of information concerning the disposal of the toxic waste by the private sector West Coast Marine Response Corporation (a subsidiary of the big oi corporations) and their subcontractor, TerraPure Environmental.

It also has a You Tube link to activists delivering toxic wastes from the English Bay oil spill to a group of Con MPs.



After touting English Bay cleanup, industry minister confronted by activists with oil-covered rocks Canadian politics, Environment, MP James Moore, MP Andrew Saxton, Coast Guardscreencap from YouTube

In a video on YouTube, Industry Minister James Moore grimaces as a group of activists approach him with debris covered in bunker fuel that spilled from the vessel Marathassa in English Bay. ...

The video by political activist group Sh*tHarperDid has since drawn attention on Reddit. It was shot last week at a government press conference to celebrate authorities' "world-class" oil spill response. ... He has repeatedly said the clean-up as "world class," claiming that 80 per cent of the toxic bunker fuel was cleaned up within the first 36 hours. Moore also said 95 percent was cleaned up as of April 11.


@mathrassa 80% of the spill was cleaned up in the first 36 hours, 95% was cleaned up in the first 60 hours. That is a job well done.

— James Moore (@JamesMoore_org) April 12, 2015

Moore has also stated the now-closed Kitsilano Coast Guard station — a casualty of a Conservative government plan to amalgamate coastal response services with private firm West Coast Marine Response Corporation (WCMRC) — would have made no difference in spill response. 

Minister Moore repeatedly dodged questions about his cleanup statements. In response to email questions about where he got his information, Moore's office wrote back: 

"Operational questions should be directed toward the Canadian Coast Guard. Contact information can be found here:"

Moore's numbers have been questioned by retired members of the Coast Guard station, including retired Commander Fred Moxey, who is featured in the video and has stated he is willing to sign an affidavit to support his claims. 

Moxey told the Vancouver Observer he and his crew at the Kitsilano station were equipped and trained to respond to oil spills. He said their response time to the bay would have been six minutes, had the station remained open.  ...

Disposal of toxic waste material pulled from English Bay

The destination and disposal of debris and contaminated clean up materials has yet to be fully disclosed. 

The City of Vancouver has stated shoreline clean-up is under the direction of West Coast Marine Response Corporation (WCMRC). 

WCMRC told the Vancouver Observer disposal of waste has been contracted out. 
TerraPure environmental, a subcontractor hired by WCMRC has confirmed for theVancouver Observer that they received "hydrocarbon (bunker fuel) contaminated water, as well as oily solid waste materials from the shoreline cleanup (oily booms, pads, driftwood, seaweed, PPE, etc.)" at their facility in Surrey. ...




Once again the Cons have been caught out in their big lies about the English Bay oil spill as they continue to follow the Joseph Goebbels school of propaganda:

If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie.

The trouble for them is that their are too many contrary voices speaking out. Only hard-core party members are likely to believe this, and even their it's somewhat doubtful. After the negative feedback James Moore and other Cons received because of their everything's OK approach to the oil spill, they are now leaving all their speaking to the Coast Guard managers who echo what the Cons say.


A U.S. oil spill expert says he never described the Canadian Coast Guard’s response to a fuel leak on Vancouver’s English Bay as “exceptional,” despite the Coast Guard’s claim.

In fact, Steven Candito, president of the National Response Corporation, one of the largest oil-spill removal operations in the world, says the Coast Guard’s response may have been too slow. ...

The Coast Guard’s response has been criticized by Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson, B.C. Premier Christy Clark, and some area residents. Mr. Robertson has said it took too long for the boom to be put in place, and has also taken issue with the fact the city wasn’t notified about the spill for more than 12 hours after the original report.

The Coast Guard has vigorously defended its efforts. In a lengthy statement April 12, Commissioner Jody Thomas said: “The Canadian Coast Guard’s response to the Marathassa spill was exceptional by international standards, a fact corroborated by a U.S. oil spill expert.”

The Twitter account for Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s Pacific region also referenced an unidentified U.S. oil spill expert. It initially said the expert called the response “adequate.” It later said the expert deemed the response “quick and effective.”

A request to the Canadian Coast Guard last week for more information on the U.S. expert was referred to Transport Canada. A Transport Canada spokeswoman then said the question should be redirected to the Coast Guard. A Coast Guard spokesman this week identified Mr. Candito as the expert.

Mr. Candito, in a phone interview, said he has not followed the Vancouver spill very closely, though he did conduct an interview with CBC on April 10. He said he was surprised his comments had been referenced by the Coast Guard.

Mr. Candito noted that at the time of the CBC interview the Coast Guard said the boom had been in place by midnight, a response he then characterized as “fairly good.” The Coast Guard later revised the containment time to just before 6 a.m., which Mr. Candito told The Globe seemed slow for a spill that took place so close to a major city.

“It sounds like it took too long,” he said.

“… These are obviously very difficult things to evaluate if you don’t have all the facts. In that context, yeah, I would say to get [the] boom in the water around a vessel that’s berthed in a harbour like Vancouver where there’s presumably a lot of resources, it shouldn’t take 12 hours, right?” ...

Frank Stanek, a Fisheries and Oceans Canada spokesperson, in an e-mail Thursday said it still considers the Coast Guard’s response “exceptional, as evidenced by the trace amounts of oil remaining on the shores.”



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Kinder Morgan CEO slams critics, asserts that Trans Mountain will be built

Kinder Morgan CEO Richard Kinder said he is "astounded" by opposition to the proposed Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project. He said if Ottawa approves it, the company will start putting shovels in the ground next year.


“I don’t know what the hell they are going to replace [fossil fuels] with,” he said.

“I believe that Canada, like the U.S., has the rule of law, and I think if you have a valid federal decision to go forward, the project will go forward,” he said, noting that at some point the "public good" should outweigh individual protesters.

"We intend to get it built. And we hope to see it in service in the third quarter of 2018.”....


Meanwhile, the recent bunker fuel spill at English Bay has raised alarms about the capacity for oil spill response in Vancouver and in B.C. generally.

Corrigan said the response to the English Bay oil spill has confirmed the fears he shares with residents about the impacts of spills, and that the increase in tanker traffic is another point the NEB is unable to consider in their recommendation to the government.

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Earthquake off Haida Gwaii shakes up debate on B.C. tanker traffic

A magnitude 6.2 earthquake off the coast of Haida Gwaii has shaken up the debate over possible impacts of an earthquake near the Northern Gateway pipeline termination point or bitumen tankers in hostile open water. 

Proposed shipping routes bring tankers close to the edge of the island chain near the epicenter of this morning's quake, which registered approximately 186 kilometres west-south-west of Bella Bella.


"It's a big concern," Yovanovich said in a telephone interview with the Vancouver Observer.

 "We're pretty remote up here and after watching how mishandled the response to the English Bay spill has been it makes me wonder if all the homework has been done."