Copyright © 2019 Senator Dennis Patterson.

Northern Resupply

1st Session, 42nd Parliament
Volume 150, Issue 241
Tuesday, October 30, 2018
The Honourable George J. Furey, Speaker

Hon. Dennis Glen Patterson: I’d like to welcome the minister. I also thank you for the recent announcement of the creation of an Arctic region for the Coast Guard. This is very welcomed in the North and now you have to do the same with DFO.

Hon. Jonathan Wilkinson, P.C., M.P., Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard: We did.

Senator Patterson: That’s not my question. It’s about northern resupply, minister. We had before the Special Senate Committee on the Arctic last night the Director General of the Canadian Coast Guard, Gregory Lick, who stated that our expert crews aboard the ice-breaking fleet ensures safe navigation through ice that assures critical supplies and goods get to communities.

Despite northern resupply being identified as an important ice-breaking activity, my impression is these activities are not prioritized. In fact, the Coast Guard has otherwise said that all distress and emergency situations take precedence over the provision of normal services.


This late summer, when the special committee was in the North, the President and CEO of one northern shipping company, NEAS, explained how due to this policy of responding to every distress and emergency situation, one icebreaker was redirected to a stranded pleasure yacht, and another was sent to sit with a cruise ship that had run aground after sailing through uncharted waters. Then one icebreaker was diverted for three days due to a mandatory crew change. The commercial ship was stuck trying to get through ice-jammed Bellot Strait with vital cargo for communities in the Western Arctic.

I’m wondering, minister, in light of that event — and there are others I’ve heard complained of by northern shippers — will your department consider prioritizing community resupply which is vital to the survival of northern communities by either revising your policies to prioritize community resupply over non-life-threatening distress situations or perhaps by encouraging the government’s sister Department of Transport to establish and regulate a safe marine corridor for Arctic shipping or requiring bonding from adventure travellers in the Arctic?


Impact Assessment Bill Canadian Energy Regulator Bill Navigation Protection Act
Bill to Amend—Second Reading—Debate Continued

Hon. Dennis Glen Patterson: May I ask a question of the senator? Thank you.

Senator Harder, I guess I believe in the old adage of if it ain’t broke, why fix it? This bill — let me use a dramatic word — trashes the National Energy Board and the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission. They are gone. Canadians were told that the National Energy Board, in particular, had lost credibility as a prelude to these changes.

The National Energy Board, I would say, has an international reputation for rigorous and effective work. Would the Government Leader in the Senate agree that the National Energy Board and the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission have lost credibility?

Senator Harder: As I look behind me at a former chair of the NEB, I’d be hard-pressed to trash it quite the way the honourable senator would perhaps suggest I should.

The fact of the matter, senator, is you said you believe in the adage if it isn’t broken —

Senator Patterson: If it ain’t broke, why fix it?