Ocean Villain spoils World Oceans Day celebration Print
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Wednesday, 13 June 2007 03:07
Ocean Villain spoils World Oceans Day celebration

TRAVEL JUST dubs Transport Minister Lawrence Cannon 'Canada's Ocean Villain of 2007"

Victoria , BC, June 7 - To draw national attention to the plight of Canada's Oceans on World Oceans Day (June 8th), the B.C.-based conservation group Travel Just declared federal Transport Minister Lawrence Cannon "Canada's Ocean Villain of 2007."

Minister Cannon approved amendments to the Canadian Shipping Act which in a recent ministerial statement were called "Regulations for the Prevention of Pollution from Shipping and Dangerous Chemicals," a name Travel just tags as a 'sextuplet-oxymoron befitting green-washed waste regulation.'

In commemoration of World Oceans Day, Travel Just seeks to 'out' Minister Cannon by calling this much ballyhooed Transport Canada regulatory reform 'the Harper government's third major greenwash.'

"The only ones honestly buying that the new regulations are a significant step in the right direction for large passenger vessel pollution are the Minister and whichever communications experts authored the ministerial release for him. Perhaps, not even the latter," says Howard Breen, spokesperson for Travel Just.

Travel Just calls Minister Cannon a 'coastal villain for caving in to well-financed cruise tourism lobbyists in Vancouver and Washington, D.C.'

The new regulations do not address incinerator ash, sewage sludge, and grey water effluent disposal at sea. No new stricter pollution regulatory standards that governed cruise ships than existed before under a voluntary agreement with industry were introduced. "Now that government and industry have 'sealed the deal' under statute, they have taken away any immediate opportunity to penalize the industry for polluting for the foreseeable future," says Breen.

"A poignant example of the sweetheart deal Cannon signed, is the practice of discharging industrial-scale volumes of sewage and greywater in protected ecologically-sensitive marine areas, which has now become legally sanctioned in Canada. Imagine motorists, buslines, railways or airlines routinely dumping human waste sludge or incineration waste in the lakes and rivers of Banff or Jasper National parks. Well that is precisely, the polluter's free pass that Cannon has gifted to this industry."

Breen says some 20 blue and red-listed endangered along B.C.s coast currently threatened by shipping pollution will now be 'taken to the cliff of extinction,' over the anticipated lifetime of the new shipping regulations.

"Its no secret that the industry has been in the dock manny times for eco-crimes amounting to almost $100M (Cdn) in fines  -- though not a single charge has been laid in Canada. Minister Cannon had the time and opportunity to impose meaningful ocean protection. Instead, he decided to treat these 30 knot "ocean motorists" like they were infraction-free drivers, deserving of a break, instead of the often reckless, unregulated repeat offenders we know them to be," says Breen.

"To add insult to injury, the Canadian taxpayer is fleeced to pay for any compliance inspections and many port infrastructure costs. The foreign fleet is financially secured in offshore tax havens which allow it to elude most taxes, labour laws and environmental wrong-doing must be first addressed to the nation under which a particular vessel is flagged (e.g. Liberia, Panama, Bahamas etc.), says Breen. "We are long overdue for a passenger tax to fund and recover the full cost of onboard inspections, port electrical hook-ups, and shore-side pumpout of roundtrip-sized holding tanks."

Travel Just urges eco-conscientious consumers to give cruise routes through Canadian waters a serious second thought until new cruise legislation is enacted that ends treating Canadian waters as the 'toilet of choice' between U.S. ports and destinations.

 
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For further information:

Howard Breen
Marine Campaign Coordinator
TRAVEL JUST
(250) 247-8813
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B A C K G R O U N D E R
 

For further insightful reading on the cruise ship industry see:

Canadian Professor Ross Klein's website  (Dr. Klein is author of several books, and many essays on the cruise industry)

http://www.cruisejunkie.com

 Telephone: (709) 747-2177


OTHER TALKING POINTS FROM TRAVEL JUST SPOKESPERSON HOWARD BREEN:

 
"Minister Cannon's regs allow the industry a free pollution pass to contaminate everything in our oceans with a pulse," says Breen.
 
"We had hoped that Cannon's new shipping pollution regulations would show the foreign fleet owners who's boss. Sadly, its still multi-billionaires like Micky Arison in Miami."

"Environment-altering events have a habit of being the catalyst for legislative initiatives. There should be no special deals. No offshore advantage to foreign-flagged polluters. No special treatment for the privileged few in Miami. Given the Minister's failure to rise to the challenge perhaps he should 'do the right thing' and resign."
 
Anticipating the minister's response: "Saying 'I've done nothing wrong, I can't see what the fuss is,' is exactly just like the cruise industry who keep on insisting they have every legal right to discharge in Canadian waters and pollute our airsheds. Yes, they can legally do this, but everyone is going to distrust any claims of ethical stewardship."

"In respect to lower GHG emissions from shipping the government should have sent out a sobering directive to the industry embedded in their new regs:
Last Updated on Wednesday, 13 June 2007 03:07