"It was refitted at the cost of $30 million to taxpayers to research climate change. Not to look for oil for some of the biggest polluters on the planet." -- The thoughts of Nathan Cullen, NDP MP for Skeena - Bulkley Valley and Environment Critic, expressing his outrage at the use of a Canadian coast guard ship for research by a pair of oil companies.
There are more than a few raised eyebrows in Ottawa these days over the disclosure that a Canadian Coast Guard vessel, CCGS Amundsen, is being used to provide research material for two International oil companies seeking information on Arctic drilling prospects.
The Amundsen, the most advanced research vessel in the Canadian fleet, normally is used to track the changing nature of the environment and the impacts of climate change on the Canadian environment.
However in the last two years, six weeks of its tasking has been dedicated towards the impact of exploratory drilling plans for the Beaufort Sea in the Arctic Ocean.
British Petroleum and Imperial Oil both have chartered the vessel at 50,000 dollars a day for the six week period over two years, a move that the Coast Guard apparently has no qualms about but one which environmentalists and the Skeena - Bulkley Valley MP clearly aren't impressed with.
Gail Shea, the Federal Minister of Fisheries and Oceans seemingly isn't accepting the criticisms of the MP or the environmental movement, suggesting that the science from the BP and Imperial funded trips will benefit all users and provide a better understanding of the impacts of industrial activities in the Arctic.
The tempest that is brewing was featured on the CBC's website as well as on the National, items which you can review here..