3 Canadian Coast Guard communication centres closing in B.C.

The federal government is moving ahead with plans to close three Canadian Coast Guard communications centres on the West Coast.

According to union spokesperson Scott Hodge, staff received notices last week confirming the closures.

The Tofino centre, which is actually located in nearby Ucluelet, will close April 21. Vancouver’s — at 555 West Hastings Street — will cease operations May 6 and the Comox centre will shut down sometime in early 2016.

The closures are part of a plan announced in 2012 to reorganize Coast Guard operations, including the controversial closure of the Kitsilano Coast Guard Station.

Altogether 10 communication centres will be shut down across Canada, leaving a total of 12 nationwide.

Consolidated operations

The marine communication centres are responsible for listening for distress calls and guiding ships, much like air traffic controllers at airports.

On the West Coast the communications operations will be consolidated at upgraded centres in Victoria and Prince Rupert.

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Coast guard spokesperson Michele Boriel said the upgraded centres will enhance operational effectiveness.

“Equipment will be more reliable, service disruptions will be reduced, and coverage will remain exactly as it is today because the network of radio and radar towers across Canada will not change.

Boriel notes in the 1990’s new technology allowed the coast guard to reduce the number of communications centres from 44 to 22 nationally.

‘Blind spots’ concern union

Nevertheless, Unifor Local 2182 spokesperson Scott Hodge said he’s worried about what this means for monitoring Burrard Inlet.

“In Vancouver for instance, the traffic centre is located on the harbour. They have radar coverage in most of the harbour. There are blind spots in the radar, but when you view out the window you can see the entire harbour,” he said.

“Once the centres move to Victoria, that’ll be lost.”

Staff at the Comox and Vancouver centre will be transferred to Victoria, while staff at the Tofino centre will be transferred to Prince Rupert.

Hodge is also concerned about the noise in the larger centres.

“You have people talking all the time. If you can imagine a 911 centre in a party line, and what that would be like trying to listen for adult conversation going on for the one person in trouble,” he said.

Leading UK Sceptic Group Promotes Koch-Funded Canadian Climate Denier

by Kyla Mandel

Canadian climate denier Ross McKitrick has officially taken over as chairman of the academic advisory council of Lord Lawson’’s controversial climate-denying charity, the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF).

The economics professor is also a Senior Fellow of the Koch- and Exxon-funded Fraser Institute, a libertarian think tank based in Vancouver, British Columbia.

McKitrick succeeds British economist David Henderson, 87 – the man responsible for inspiring Lawson’’s climate scepticism over a decade ago.

Henderson, who stepped down at his own request on 1 January 2015, had been chairman since the GWPF’’s inception in 2009. Prior to that he was the head of the Economics and Statistics Department at the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) from 1984 to 1992.

A visiting professor at the Westminster Business School, Henderson is also an advisory council member of free market think tank, the Institute of Economic Affairs.

Lawson’’s Inspiration

Lawson and Henderson knew each other long before they started talking about climate change. This fateful conversation would begin at the end of 2004, when Lawson revealed his interest in climate change during a lecture at the London School of Economics.

As Lawson recalls: ““I said there were two issues… that really did not come across my desk at the time I was Chancellor in 1989, which are now two big issues, which were the European Monetary Union and climate change, global warming. And, I made an allusion that I was rather concerned that the climate change issue was not being analysed in economic terms, and this whole dimension appeared to be missing and concerned me.

““After that, David Henderson, whom I had known for many years, who had been taking an interest in the subject for some time, starting talking to me about this,”” he explains.

So much of an inspiration was Henderson that Lawson even dedicated his book, An Appeal to Reason: A Cool Look at Global Warming, to him. It reads: “”To David Henderson, who first aroused my interest in all of this.””

Henderson also knew McKitrick in the lead-up to the GWPF’’s debut. In 2007, he spoke alongside the Canadian at the Fraser Institute’’s launch of their Independent Summary for Policymakers.

McKitrick was also invited by Henderson to speak at small, informal discussion panels in England with other like-minded individuals, including ‘global lukewarmist’ Peter Lilley.

Instrumental Feedback

But Benny Peiser, director general of the GWPF, seems a little confused about Henderson’’s role in the charity.

Speaking to Brendan Montague, editor of DeSmog UK, back in 2010, he said: “”David Henderson was heavily involved … The original idea was Lawson’’s but Henderson was instrumental by giving feedback.””

Later, in 2013, he said: “”David Henderson, to my knowledge, had nothing to do with GWPF … He wasn’’t involved in the set up.””

And as Sir Ian Byatt, member of the GWPF’s academic advisory council, told Montague: “”David knows the importance of getting influence on these things, and one of the great things that David did, which has all carried on in the Global Warming Policy Foundation, is the bringing together of science, economics and politics.””

McKitrick’’s Promotion

His successor certainly has some big shoes to fill. While Henderson will continue to remain an active member of the council, what does McKitrick’’s promotion signify for the future of the GWPF?

A member of the council since 2010, McKitrick was chosen from a slew of renowned climate sceptics. Other members include heir to a vast British coal fortune, Lord Matt Ridley, and Richard Lindzen, one of the original sceptic scientists to emerge during the 1980s.

Perhaps McKitrick’s contribution to climate sceptic blogger Steve McIntyre’’s critique of Michael Mann’’s hockey stick graph was one point in his favour. After all, the GWPF has praised McKitrick for being ““instrumental in exposing the fatal flaws of the so-called Hockey Stick.””

McKitrick has also authored a couple reports that have been submitted to the GWPF, including a 49-page report calling for ‘radical reform’ of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and another arguing for an ‘evidence-based approach to pricing CO2 emissions’.

He has also become a regular speaker at the Koch-connected Heartland Institute’’s annual International Conference on Climate Change. So, whatever the deciding factor, McKitrick’’s climate denial stock has just gone up.

@kylamandel

Photo: Guelph University Wikimedia Commons