(Left to right) Jagmeet Singh, federal NDP leader; Zeb King, Saanich North and the Islands NDP candidate; Telaxten (Paul Sam), Tsartlip Nation councillor; Laurel Collins, NDP Member of Parliament for Victoria; Gord John, NDP Member of Parliament for Courtenay-Alberni; Murray Rankin, NDP candidate for Oak Bay—Gordon Head visited Deep Cove on Oct. 17. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)

(Left to right) Jagmeet Singh, federal NDP leader; Zeb King, Saanich North and the Islands NDP candidate; Telaxten (Paul Sam), Tsartlip Nation councillor; Laurel Collins, NDP Member of Parliament for Victoria; Gord John, NDP Member of Parliament for Courtenay-Alberni; Murray Rankin, NDP candidate for Oak Bay—Gordon Head visited Deep Cove on Oct. 17. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)

Federal NDP leader promises to champion freighter traffic control of southern Vancouver Island

Jagmeet Singh, local NDP candidates spoke in North Saanich Saturday morning

Federal NDP leader, Jagmeet Singh says he will take the issue of freighters anchored off Vancouver Island’s south coast to parliament.

Singh joined B.C. NDP candidates Zeb King, Saanich North and the Islands, and Murray Rankin, Oak Bay—Gordon Head, on Setchell Road overlooking Deep Cove in North Saanich early on Oct. 17.

The area is treated as a “parking lot” for large freighter ships that “drop anchor for weeks and months” in the cove while waiting to head into the Port of Vancouver, King said. Freighters dot waters off Cowichan, Nanaimo, the Gulf Islands, Chemainus and Ladysmith.

He added that a provincial NDP government would demand the federal government take action to manage freighters.

READ ALSO: Green Party calls Salish Sea ‘free parking lot for world’s largest container ships’

Rankin echoed the concerns, adding that the freighters pose risks to the environment as they may leak oil, run aground, or tear up the ocean floor with their anchors.

“I’m sick of the buck-passing,” he said, noting that the issue has been brought up many times with no result. “This is an issue that people care deeply about.”

Deep Cove is under the joint jurisdiction of the provincial and federal governments, Rankin said, adding that “in a world of cooperative federalism,” he expects to see both levels of government collaborate with the local First Nations people.

Singh emphasized that “there needs to be serious attention given to the potential environmental disaster” and that regulations are required. He said advocacy at the provincial level will get the attention of the federal government.

“This should not be used as a parking lot,” Singh said.

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Federal NDP leader, Jagmeet Singh, visited Deep Cove Oct. 17 to lend his support to provincial NDP candidates Zeb King (Saanich North and the Islands) and Murray Rankin (Oak Bay—Gordon Head) who announced plans to regulation freighter traffic. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)

Federal NDP leader, Jagmeet Singh, visited Deep Cove Oct. 17 to lend his support to provincial NDP candidates Zeb King (Saanich North and the Islands) and Murray Rankin (Oak Bay—Gordon Head) who announced plans to regulation freighter traffic. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)