OTTAWA – Government plans to de-staff 27 lightstations on the West Coast and nine on the shores of Newfoundland and Labrador are dangerous and must be reversed, say New Democrats.

“They want to run oil tankers in and out of some of the most rugged coastline in the world, and now they are saying they want them to do it without the help of lighthouse keepers,” said Nathan Cullen (Skeena-Bulkley Valley).

“This minister is completely out of touch with our coastal communities.”

“This decision is very short-sighted,” said New Democrat Fisheries and Oceans Critic Peter Stoffer. “The remaining lightkeepers at these stations provide very important services that, in the interest of public safety and security, cannot be replaced with automated equipment.”

“Quite frankly, our lightkeepers are the eyes and ears of our coastlines. I know personally of situations where, especially in storms, lighthouse keepers have made the difference,” MP Denise Savoie (Victoria) added.

Lightkeepers provide many benefits including search and rescue, distress calls, security presence on our coastlines, pollution prevention and control, and liaising with RCMP and other federal government departments.

“In light of the current global security concerns, we should not diminish the security presence on our coastlines,” concluded Stoffer. “We call on the Harper government to reverse this decision and keep the lightkeepers at these stations.”

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