MP Bernadette Jordan has tabled a private member’s motion in the House of Commons which would call on the federal government to take action on the issue of derelict and abandoned vessels. The motion, M-40, proposes the government explore legislative options prohibiting the abandonment of a vessel, suggests an educational component on responsible vessel ownership, recommends improving vessel registration and ownership identification, and calls on the government assist in the removal of abandoned vessels in cases where its presence creates an economic burden on a community.
Jordan’s motion asks the government to act within six months of its adoption by the house. She adds, “The people in coastal communities have been waiting long enough for a resolution to this issue; we feel it is imperative that the government act quickly to deal with this problem”.
Transport Canada estimates that there are over 600 derelict and abandoned vessels across the country. Canada participated in the International Marine Organization convention on the Removal of Wrecks in 2007 but has not acceded to the convention, which Jordan suggests considering as part of the motion.
Jordan is in the top thirty for the Order of Precedence for private member’s business and is no stranger to the issue. Two towns in the riding of South Shore—St. Margaret’s have been struggling with a revolving door of large abandoned vessels for years. Meetings with municipal officials and a town hall with the public early in the year highlighted what many perceive to be a legislative loophole; currently the federal government can intervene in cases where an abandoned vessel is a threat to public safety, an environmental hazard, or blocking a navigable waterway. Most other cases are left to civil courts.
“I have witnessed the effect of these large abandoned vessels on public morale over the years and understand the very real economic burden they have as well.” Jordan explains. This is a great opportunity for the federal government to take leadership on what has long been a thorn in the side of coastal communities across Canada.”
The second hour of debate will happen on Monday, October 24th at 12pm Atlantic and the vote will be on October 26th. Tune into CPAC, or online at parlvu.parl.gc.ca to watch the debate.
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