PIPSC Members to Join Concerned Citizens, Fellow Public Service Employees in Rally Against Cuts to Environmental Protection and the Canadian Coast Guard
VANCOUVER, May 6, 2015 – Members of the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada (PIPSC), representatives of other public sector unions (including CAPE, PSAC and UNIFOR), and concerned citizens will come together at the former Kitsilano Coast Guard Station today from noon to 1pm to remind Canadians of how federal government cuts to public safety and environmental protection programs and services have seriously weakened the protection of British Columbia’s coastline.
The Professional Institute will be formally represented at the event by Regional Director Robert MacDonald, who will address the participants.
The current government has implemented a series of dramatic cuts to federal programs and services. Notably, the 2012 Federal Budget included a wide range of cuts to environmental protection. Cuts to British Columbia’s environmental emergency response capacity and the closure of Coast Guard facilities have resulted in the loss of organizational cohesion in case of emergency – with predictable results.
“There’s a saying in the emergency response business: An emergency is no time to be exchanging business cards,” said PIPSC President Debi Daviau. ‘‘Unfortunately, there seemed to be a lot of business cards being exchanged after the English Bay spill. The response would have been very different had Environment Canada responders still been in place. They would have provided critical, timely coordination between all the stakeholders involved. Within a few minutes, representatives from the City of Vancouver, the province, the municipalities, and the First Nations would have started working together. There would have been science instead of spin. Instead, there were delays and problems with allocating scarce resources”.
“All this could have been avoided had the Kitsilano Coast Guard Station not been closed, and the government not foolishly cut back on emergency response personnel. The English Bay spill is a clear warning that closing Coast Guard facilities and eliminating regional emergency response teams is the worst policy possible,” concluded Daviau.
The Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada represents some 55,000 professionals across Canada’s public sector. Approximately 140 Environment Canada employees are amongst the more than 6000 PIPSC members who have received “affected” notices from the federal government since 2012.
For further information: Pierre Villon (613) 228-6310 extension 2228 (office)
(613) 794-9369 (cell)