A Westerly News reader sent in this photo of an Omega Pacific barge that was heavily damaged during two storm events last month and is believed to be the source of thousands of Taplow Feeds feed-bags washing up throughout the West Coast.

VIDEO: Courtenay-Alberni MP Gord Johns slams government for keeping thousands of spilled aquaculture bags a secret

“Clearly this government cares 1,000 times more about its image than protecting the environment.”

Courtenay-Alberni MP Gord Johns is demanding to know why Canada’s Liberal government did not notify local communities when thousands of empty aquaculture feed bags were found washed up within the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve.

Parks Canada officials found the bags on Nov. 10, but the public did not hear about them until media reports on Nov. 17.

“A leaked Parks Canada memo alerted British Columbians that thousands of plastic feed bags escaped from an aquaculture farm and washed ashore in the Broken Group Islands yet, for some reason, the Tseshaht First Nation and other local groups were never notified,” Johns said in the House of Commons on Wednesday.

He said the leaked Parks Canada memo suggested the spilled bags were not immediately made public because of concerns about potential negative media attention.

“Clearly this government cares 1,000 times more about its image than protecting the environment,” he said. “Will the Liberals apologize to Vancouver Islanders and finally act to create a permanent, dedicated, annual fund to help with marine debris cleanups?”

In response, Canada’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change Catherine McKenna assured the government cares about the environment, though she did not speak to why surrounding communities were not notified of the spill by Parks Canada.

“I can assure the member opposite that we care greatly about the environment that we are concerned about this incident, that Parks Canada is involved in the cleanup and that we will continue to work very hard to ensure that we protect our oceans,” she said. “We are absolutely committed to protecting our oceans and protecting the environment.”

After hearing about the spill on Nov. 17, local volunteers spent the weekend cleaning plastic bags off West Coast beaches. The bags all had Taplow Feeds’ logo on them and are believed to have spilled off an Omega Pacific barge during two storm events last month.

Just Posted

Somass River sockeye fishery estimates cut in half

Local fisheries closed; poor ocean survival a prime suspect

‘Lightning’ hits Sproat Lake for annual regatta

Alberni Valley Regatta Association hosted sixth annual races

Port Alberni track and field athletes excel at BC championships

Pair brings home titles in javelin, hammer throw

City of Port Alberni to discuss train station in committee of the whole meeting

City has received two “high quality” expressions of interest in redeveloping the train station

New gazebo for Alberni’s Heritage Place

SONJA DRINKWATER SPECIAL TO THE NEWS Residents of Heritage Place Assisted Living… Continue reading

‘Bad choices make good stories’: Margaret Trudeau brings her show to Just for Laughs

Trudeau says over the decades she has been suicidal, manic, depressed

UPDATE: Youth seen with gun at Nanaimo mall, suspect now in custody

Woodgrove Centre shut down during police incident

B.C. man dies from rabies after contact with Vancouver Island bat

Last known case of human rabies in B.C. was 16 years ago

Crown recommends up to two-year jail term for former Bountiful leader

Crown says sentence range should be 18 months to two years for Bountiful child removal case

VIDEO: Wolf spotted swimming ashore on northern Vancouver Island

Island wolf population estimated at under 150 in 2008, says VI-Wilds

Diversity a Canadian strength, Trudeau says of Trump tweets at congresswomen

Trudeau avoided using Trump’s name when he was asked about the president’s Twitter comments

B.C. couple bring son home from Nigeria after long adoption delay

Kim and Clark Moran of Abbotsford spent almost a year waiting to finalize adoption of Ayo, 3

Garneau ‘disappointed’ in airlines’ move against new passenger bill of rights

New rules codified compensation for lost luggage, overbooked flights

Mercury tops out on top of the world: Alert in Nunavut warmer than Victoria

It’s the latest anomaly in what’s been a long, hot summer across the Arctic

Most Read