This week, just as the 2012 Canadian Parliament is about to launch their Fall session, information has surfaced that appears to contradict Conservative Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, Keith Ashfield's claim that the decision to close the Kitsilano Coast Guard Station "was made with careful consideration."
A leaked July 17 internal CCG memo to regional Canadian Coast Guard management indicates that there was no consultation with any of the Search and Rescue expertise at the Victoria Joint Rescue Coordination Centre. These are the people who know; the waters of coastal British Columbia best; the capability and availability of all available response resources; how to get lifesaving resources to the scene of distress better than anyone else; consulting with them should have been Step One of "careful consideration". Their memo to management plainly states that: "Closing Kits will endanger the lives of mariners."
The memo concludes with the JRCC's recommendation that the decision to close the Kitsilano Coast Guard Station be reconsidered. It also casts into doubt the existence of any Risk-Assessment analysis or any Rationale Documentation that would support the closing of the Kitsilano Coast Guard Station - Steps Two & Three of what most would consider "careful consideration" Mr. Ashfield.
CCG's Website "Myths & Facts" Soundly Debunked
At the conclusion of a round table discussion hosted by Minister Ashfield in Vancouver on June 26 he told the assembled representatives of local marine transpotation, industry and recreation that "The decision to close the Kitsilano base will not endanger mariners in Vancouver harbour. Neither the Coast Guard nor I would make a decision that would put lives at risk." Minister Ashfield directed those of us present to visit the CCG website for information supporting the closure of the Kitsilano Coast Guard Station.
A second July 17 memo from the Maritime Coordinators of JRCC Victoria objected to the false and misleading information on the CCG website that Minister Ashfield wants the public to believe. Myths & Facts Debunked