Tough derelict issue

Boat licencing is provincial domain; life cycle management of boats is a regulatory oversight too long neglected.

John Harding’s editorial ‘Derelict politics’ (The NEWS, May 21) critiques federal management of a vexing coastal issue.

Canada is a big country; we share not only the Pacific coast, north and south with the U.S., but the Great Lakes and Atlantic coasts as well. Boat licencing is provincial domain; life cycle management of boats is a regulatory oversight too long neglected. Fixing it requires both provincial and international engagement.

Solutions need to address the root issues and avoid perverse incentives that perpetuate and compound the problem.

The U.S. has similar challenges; they are responding through ramped up life-cycle management, ownership identification and tracking, licensing provisions and finances that cover disposal of derelict vessels.

Creating a unilateral federal responsibility for disposal of abandoned vessels is a famously NDP solution. Socialists have never encountered a problem that their neighbour’s money wouldn’t solve. Rewarding irresponsible boat owners and drug smugglers is simplistic and counter-productive. Removal of just one sunken vessel in Nanaimo off Protection Island was estimated to cost $40,000-$50,000.

As important as this issue is to our coastal communities, NDP MP Jean Crowder’s bill, like all misdirected approaches, has the further perverse effect of diverting the public and provincial engagement necessary for advancing sustainable solutions while people watch to see if the feds will take sole responsibility. I’m all for establishing a fund to accelerate the disposal of such vessels; but resolution must include necessary licensing and regulatory measures.

James Lunney, MP Nanaimo-AlberniNanaimo

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