Yesterday, I wrote a commentary highlighting how the Harper government is spinning the oil spill in English Bay.
It's Public Relations 101: distribute pictures of workers responding to the crisis, pin the blame on the ship, keep Conservative politicians away from microphones, and get a guy in uniform from the Canadian Coast Guard to be the frontman for repeated media briefings.
What the Coast Guard's barrage of media releases has not stated, however, is that the Conservative government imposed serious cutbacks in 2012 on how it responds to oil spills.
According to a Globe and Mail article at the time by Gloria Galloway, approximately 60 people with the Environmental Emergencies Program received notices that their jobs could be scrapped.
"The staff in the Environmental Emergencies Program co-ordinate the cleanup of spills that occur within federal jurisdictions including waterways, first nations and federal buildings," Galloway wrote. "They also provide technical advice when incidents occur elsewhere and collectively respond to more than 1,000 significant spills every year."
The Environmental Emergencies Program regional offices in six Canadian cities, including Vancouver, were closed.
This has left a preparedness and response team in Montreal, as well as a policy and regulatory team in Gatineau, Quebec.