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Hello everyone! It’s great to be back in Vancouver.
Thanks, Marc, for your hard work, for the warm welcome, and for everything you do as Minister of Transport.
It’s an honour to be here today on the traditional territory of the Coast Salish people, home of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh.
As many of you know, Transport Canada has been working hard with Indigenous communities across the country lately. So thank you, Marc – to you and your entire team.
And I’d also like to shout out Vancouver Centre’s fantastic and much-beloved Member of Parliament, Dr. Hedy Fry. She continues to do great work on behalf of the people of BC in Ottawa. Thanks for being here, Hedy.
And thanks to our entire BC team.
Thank you, everyone, for being here. This is a really exciting day for Canadians from coast to coast to coast, and I’m glad you could join us.
Let me start by saying that it’s great to be here at HMCS Discovery, and it’s a real pleasure to be back in beautiful British Columbia.
This amazing province is, in many ways, home to me. It has been my whole life –as a kid, as a young adult, and now, as a father and husband. And I’ve got some particularly cherished memories to show for it.
I remember, as a kid, being brought by my grandmother to sailing lessons at Jericho Beach– great memories set against bright blue water and gorgeous views of the North Shore.
And I also remember exploring Cypress Creek with my younger brothers, Sacha and Michel, and my Grandpa Jimmy.
As a young man, I taught French and math at schools across Vancouver, including West Point Grey and Sir Winston Churchill.
And even now, as a father, husband, and leader, I always find myself coming back to the coast.
I kicked off the federal election campaign marching in Vancouver Pride.
I hiked the Grouse Grind last summer.
And a few months back, I spent some quality time with my family, exploring Tofino and surfing at Chesterman Beach.
Now, you may be wondering: Why am I reminding you of all this? Why am I sharing these memories with you?
Well, it’s because I want you to know why I cherish this place. I want you to know why it’s important to me. And I want you to know that, in my capacity as Prime Minister, I will do my best to ensure that my kids – and all of your kids – get to enjoy the West Coast just as I have, just as we all have, for many years to come.
The ongoing incident at Bella Bella is unacceptable. I know this. You know this. Canadians know this. It’s time for a change.
As a community, we need to protect our magnificent oceans – and re-opening the Kitsilano Coast Guard base this summer was an important first step.
But indeed, that was only a down-payment on our larger plan. We must make sure we protect all of our coastlines, not just the one we’re on right now.
As we know, Canada is blessed with some of the most spectacular coastlines in the world. They give Canadians and visitors alike places to live, work, and play.
Our coasts are the traditional territory of Indigenous communities; they are habitats for rich biodiversity and precious ecosystems; and they offer unparalleled economic, recreational, and tourism opportunities.
And it’s up to all of us to keep it that way.
That is why, today, I am very pleased to announce the Government of Canada’s Oceans Protection Plan.
This robust, national plan will protect our oceans and coastlines from the damage that comes from shipping and pollution.
These measures are progressive and proactive, and will ensure the health of our oceans for generations to come.
With this new plan, Canada will have one of the best marine safety and emergency preparation systems in the world.
These strong measures are urgently needed and long overdue. This represents the most significant investment ever made to protect our oceans and coastlines.
So let me tell you about just a few of the measures outlined in our plan.
We’re going to strengthen the Canadian Coast Guard and boost their presence to ensure our waters are better protected 24/7.
We’re going to get tough on businesses and industries that pollute along our coasts.
We’re going to preserve and restore our marine ecosystems, by introducing a new fund for coastal habitat restoration. In that same vein, we will introduce new legislation to increase vessel owner responsibility and liability for abandoned and wrecked vessels.
We’re going to re-open the Maritime Rescue Sub-Centre in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador.
We’re going to collect and share better information on marine tanker and vessel traffic with coastal communities, so we can work together to prevent spills.
And, most important, we invite Indigenous communities to partner with us to effectively co-manage our oceans. This includes launching Indigenous Community Response Teams here in BC to help respond to coastal emergencies, if and when they arise.
All this is in addition to many other important measures that will protect our coastlines, and the people who call them home.
This ambitious, forward-thinking plan is all about protecting the environment, ensuring efficient transportation, maintaining public safety, and yes, creating jobs.
Our Oceans Protection Plan will result in a truly world class system for marine protection and emergency preparedness – one that will meet or surpass the world-leading marine safety practices of Alaska and Norway.
And as a grandson of BC, I’m thrilled at what this means for folks out here.
You know, as a government, everything we do, and every action we take, is done with one goal in mind: We want to leave our kids and grandkids with a better place to live – whether we’re creating good, well-paying jobs for the middle class; ensuring our communities are safe and protected; or taking the necessary action to safeguard our environment.
And by working together with our partners along the coasts and across the country, I know we can preserve our coastlines for generations to come.
Thank you very much for being here today.