Unions release poll results, MP Duncan defends Coast Guard decision

According to a poll conducted by unions representing Coast Guard workers, 79 per cent of 648 voters in the riding of Vancouver Island North MP John Duncan oppose the planned closure of the traffic services centre in Comox, as well as those in Vancouver and Tofino.

Furthermore, 76 per cent of those polled by Strategic Communications say Duncan’s support for the closures makes them less likely to vote for him and the Conservatives in the next election, says a press release from the Union of Canadian Transportation Employees, Canadian Auto Workers Local 2182, the BC Federation of Labour and the Public Service Alliance of Canada-BC.

Opposition to the closures includes 73 per cent of voters who supported Duncan in the 2011 federal election, the press release adds.

Duncan said government has made "unprecedented investments in the protection of Canadians at sea." Over the past six years, it has invested close to $1.4 billion in the Coast Guard fleet.

"As a part of Canada's Economic Action Plan 2010, our government invested $175 million in the Canadian Coast Guard to procure 68 new small vessels, 30 environmental barges, and to undertake major repair work on 40 of its largest vessels," Duncan said in a statement. "I want to assure you that decisions made by our government based on recommendations from experts at the Canadian Coast Guard are designed to protect the lives and livelihoods of Canadians.

"The Coast Guard will continue to use the same network of ships and responders on the Island to keep mariners safe in an emergency situation, and the ongoing renewal of Coast Guard resources will make Vancouver Island a safer place to be on the water. The Island will continue to be served by the same network of search and rescue lifeboats, and two helicopters."

The automated telephone poll surveyed voters in Vancouver Island North from Oct. 26 to 28, with a margin of error of +/- 3.8 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

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