Shane Woodford | Email news tips to firstname.lastname@example.org
B.C's highest ranking Conservative MP is defending controverial cuts to marine services.
Heritage Minister James Moore says his government would never make a decision putting public safety in danger.
"Keep in mind that British Columbians -- we have more resources on the West Coast now than we did when we formed government, we have new harbour craft coming online next year, and because we're changing things doesn't mean things are being jeopardized."
Moore says the federal government will do regular assessments to reaffirm the cuts aren't putting safety at risk.
Ottawa is also moving to close down marine communications centres.
Martin Gregoire with the Canadian Auto Workers union says centres in Vancouver, Tofino and Comox will be shut down.
He adds a number of jobs are on the chopping block.
"Overall 77, but 184 of our members received letters today, so many members will have to move to maintain a job and in the end, there should be 77 (fewer) jobs."
The communications centres act like air traffic controllers for the harbor. Gregoire says closing them down creates a real safety risk.
Moore says the closures were done with broad consultation, but Vancouver’s mayor says that's not true.
Gregor Robertson says he had no idea three marine communications centres and the regional coast guard office are also closing until informed by a CKNW reporter.
"There has been no consultation, nothing with our police, or fire and rescue service, who are the default back-up if there is an issue. But they didn't hear anything about this. I know there has been surprise there and real concern about what this means for life safety on the water and in our harbour."
Robertson says the cuts are "brutal" and the risk to public safety on the water with the cuts is "scary."