I do not think there was really any serious delay. As far as the advice being given by my officials is concerned, it had nothing to do with the legalities: these were being negotiated by Transport Canada. The advice that my officials gave was based on environmental grounds and we agreed finally with the decision, which was agreed to by all parties concerned, that the safest thing to do environmentally was to go into Port Hawkesbury.
I would say to the hon. member that there has been some oil-stained ice observed in the vicinity, or north of the entrance to Chedabucto Bay. It is oil-stained floe ice which we feel came into that area from the original site where the tanker Kurdistan broke up. We do not have a complete evaluation of it yet, but since we found it yesterday there have been a number of surveillance flights over it. To the best of our knowledge, there is really no danger at this point. This is not a slick; the officials are calling it oil-stained ice. There is no environmental danger observed. But we hope we will be able to get people on site and not just rely on aerial observations. We will be able to bring people on site today to observe exactly the condition of these oil stains, and if any clean-up action has to
be taken, we have plans and equipment and it will be taken once we have made the evaluation.
Topic: ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic: ENVIRONMENTAL AFFAIRS