November 27, 1979 (31st Parliament, 1st Session)


Margaret Anne Mitchell

New Democratic Party

Mrs. Margaret Mitchell (Vancouver East):

Mr. Speaker, I would like to speak briefly on this matter as an ordinary citizen because I consider myself neither an expert in the technology of this particular problem, the transportation of dangerous goods, nor in a legal sense with regard to this legislation. However, I am beginning to conclude having stud-

November 27, 1979

ied some of the material relative to this question tonight, that I live in and represent a potential bomb in Vancouver East. 1 suppose the explosive situation in the port of Vancouver applies to other ports in Canada. I sympathize with the members on the other side who expressed equal concern for small communities across the country which experience dangerous situations that do not hit the national press. 1 also would concur with the last speaker, and to me it makes great sense that the solution to this problem in major urban centres is to relocate the potential danger spots outside densely populated areas.
With regard to Vancouver East, I am sure that my constituents would want to be assured that this bill is broad enough to take into account all modes of transportation. There is a convergence in Vancouver East of major railway lines from across Canada carrying explosive materials from other parts of the country. There is also a convergence of heavy trucks bringing in explosives and other such materials to our port. These transportation modes co-ordinate with airlines going over to Vancouver Island, and they, too, carry dangerous materials. These transportation modes also co-ordinate with both the ferry shipping industry and major deep sea shipping where goods are transferred from trucks and rail cars to the ships.
It seems to me that the nature of the problem we are talking about tonight is quadrupled in an area such as the port of Vancouver. It makes me shake a little, and I am sure that I will lose some sleep when I think about the topography and the fact that we are surrounded by mountains which will keep gases over the city should we have an accident. Most of our area is connected by bridges and waterways, and this is detrimental to evacuation. This concern is so great in Vancouver that the mayor and representatives from the Greater Vancouver Region have been holding meetings with regard to evacuation and safety measures which can be co-ordinated at their level.
Today I received a report from the CTC's dangerous commodity review committee. I will not go into it in detail tonight, but I can assure hon. members that there are about ten different trouble spots in and around the port of Vancouver. In places where the railways connect with the ships, there is no other solution, but through relocation. In September, 1978, we had a very serious scare in Vancouver East when a truck overturned at Main Street and Third Avenue. Liquid chlorine spewed out on the street and, the area had to be evacuated. There was no real evacuation procedure to follow, but fortunately there were people in charge who were levelheaded and moved quickly. Approximately 78 people went to hospital, and the whole area could have easily blown up were it not for the excellent preventive work of the fire department.
In the downtown area of Vancouver, behind the Holiday Inn, where many members have probably stayed while visiting Vancouver, there is another powder keg. Trucks and railways connect with CPR ferries there. A year ago there was an accident, but fortunately the cars involved were carrying wheat. It could have been explosives. Many cars carrying
Transportation of Dangerous Goods chlorine and liquid natural gas transfer their load to ferries at this point behind the Holiday Inn.
I refer the minister to an article in the Vancouver Sun which mentions Yumahide Maru, a floating bomb which regularly carries liquid petroleum gas through our port. It has carried 3 million barrels over the past 14 years without incident. However, you just have to read this article to know that any day there could be a major accident there.
The Vancouver Sun of November 15 states that overheated CP Rail axles which caused the Mississauga accident could happen again, very readily in downtown Vancouver.
I hope the minister and the committee will look in great detail at the dangers inherent in all these modes of transportation, particularly at the very serious situations in the ports of our country, especially the port of Vancouver.

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