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Apr 19, 2014 at 12:59 AM


Welcome to my online office. I have set up this website to give you a chance
to interact with me directly and to learn a little bit more about my work to
Stand Up for St. Catharines in Ottawa. I hope you will take the time to read
my blog, check out the community calendar and look at the services available
through my Community Office. Most of all, I hope you will take the time to
communicate your ideas and concerns by commenting on my blog, voting for the
online polls or sending me an e-mail. This website is here for you, so
please share your thoughts and ideas.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Rick Dykstra

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage

 
 

Progress Made Against US Ballast Water Rules
Apr 17, 2014 at 08:36 PM

MPs Brown and Dykstra encouraged by Congressional response

St. Catharines – Members of Parliament Rick Dykstra and Gord Brown found strong bi-partisan support in the US House of Representatives in challenging costly new U.S. ballast water regulations that are discriminatory against the Canadian Great Lakes – St. Lawrence shipping industry. 

Earlier this week eleven Congressmen added their support to a bi-partisan letter to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) raising the issue of recent ballast water regulations that are discriminatory to the Canadian flagged fleet.  The issue was also raised at a Congressional hearing with a high level official out of the EPA’s Office of Water on March 4th. 

The recognition of the discriminatory rules is largely a result of a series of binational meetings in Washington D.C. in late February organized by the Canada-United States Inter-Parliamentary Group and led by its Chair and Vice-Chair, MPs Brown and Dykstra respectively.  The Inter-Parliamentary Group focuses on fostering ongoing bi-lateral relations and trade.   

MP Dykstra, whose riding of St. Catharines includes a portion of the Welland Canal said “As Chair of the Canada-U.S. Interparliamentary Committee, Gord’s leadership on the ballast water issue, especially with dealing with our US Congressional counterparts, has been exceptional.”  Dykstra continued, “Our focus on a solution is grounded in our concern on how this will impact our ridings first and foremost.”  

The recently introduced EPA ballast water rules, effective January 1st 2014, requires the use of ballast water treatment systems to treat a ship’s ballast water to limit the spread of aquatic invasive species.  While existing systems are cost effective and practical for salt water voyages, there are no current systems available for use on the freshwater Great Lakes.  Since 2006 and the introduction of mandatory binational screening of vessels, there have been no new aquatic invasive species discovered in the Great Lakes.     

Discrimination stems from the treatment system exemptions offered by the EPA, namely to those vessels built before 2009 solely operating west of Anticosti Island (near the mouth of the St. Lawrence).  While a least half of the Canadian fleet will not be eligible for an exemption under these criteria, the significant majority of the US fleet is found to be exempted. 

“This is extremely detrimental to the Canadian shipping industry,” says Brown.  “MP Dykstra has been instrumental in raising the profile of this issue in Washington and securing Congressional support for a harmonized bi-national solution.”

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CBSA launches new forecasted border wait times tool
Apr 17, 2014 at 02:18 PM

As the warmer weather approaches, so do higher traveller volumes at Canada’s borders. This Easter weekend is no exception, and the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) is introducing a new feature on its Web site to help travellers prepare for potentially longer border wait times (BWT) this holiday weekend.

The CBSA is now offering forecasted BWT for its 26 busiest ports of entry. These forecasted times are based on a statistical analysis of past traffic volumes and BWTs for regular travel days and busier times, such as statutory holidays. This new tool provides an overall indication of wait times at specific ports of entry and complements several existing resources including, current wait times, to help travellers plan their border crossing before even leaving home. The CBSA is constantly working to increase efficiency and reduce congestion at the border, and this initiative supports the CBSA’s commitment to service, facilitation and border modernization.

Quick Facts

The forecasted border wait time tool provides historical wait times for the 26 busiest ports of entry.
Over 100 million travellers were processed by the CBSA last year.
Current wait times at the border, updated hourly, continue to be available through Twitter at BWT_CBSA and on the CBSA Web site. You can also subscribe to our CBSA E-mail Border Alert Service notifying subscribers when an unexpected event causes a significant disruption to normal border services and once the operations resume to normal.
Travellers can also consult the Directory of CBSA Offices that features a list of all designated CBSA offices, service locations and hours of operation across Canada.

Associated Links

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UPDATED April 17: Canada Promotes Territorial Integrity and National Unity in Ukraine
Feb 28, 2014 at 12:00 AM

UPDATES

  • April 17, 2014: PM announces further measures to enhance security in Central and Eastern Europe
  • April 15, 2014: Canada Takes Principled Stand on Arctic Council Meetings
  • April 14, 2014: Baird to Travel to Central and Eastern Europe for Talks on Supporting Ukraine Amid Crisis
  • April 13, 2014: Canada Gravely Concerned by Escalation of Violence in Eastern Ukraine
  • April 12, 2014: Canada Imposes Additional Sanctions in Response to Crisis in Ukraine
  • April 07, 2014: Baird Condemns Provocateurs in Eastern Ukraine
  • April 01, 2014 : Canada Joins NATO Allies in Condemning Russia’s Actions
  • March 28, 2014: Baird to Travel to Europe to Show Support for Eastern European Partners
  • March 24, 2014: The Hague Declaration
  • March 22, 2014: PM concludes visit to Ukraine
  • March 22, 2014: Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe special monitoring mission in Ukraine
  • March 21, 2014: Statement by the Prime Minister of Canada announcing additional sanctions
  • March 18, 2014: Statement by the Prime Minister of Canada announcing additional sanctions
  • March 17, 2014: Statement by the Prime Minister of Canada announcing additional sanctions
  • March 16, 2014: Statement by the Prime Minister of Canada on the results of the Crimean “referendum”
  • March 13, 2014: PM announces support for economic stabilization and development In Ukraine
  • March 11, 2014: Canada Cautions Russia on Proposed Crimea Legislation
  • March 9, 2014: Canada and Turkey Concerned about Minority Groups in Crimea
  • March 2, 2014: Standing With the People of Ukraine

Feb 28, 2014: Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird today wrapped up a successful mission to Ukraine, where he and the Canadian delegation of parliamentarians and representatives of the Ukrainian community met with key members of the new government.

Baird met with acting president Oleksander Turchynov, Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, acting foreign minister Andriy Deschytsya, Ukrainian Democratic Alliance for Reform leader Vitali Klitschko, All-Ukrainian Union Svoboda leader Oleh Tyahnybok, Chair of the Canada-Ukraine Parliamentary Group Volodymyr Polochaninov, former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko, as well as other opposition and civil society members.

He also met with the major organizers of Maidan civil society, representatives from Ukraine’s religious communities including Crimean Tatars, and visited the medical centre at St. Michael’s Monastery, where he announced increased financial support for providing medical care to injured protesters.

Members of the Canadian delegation walked through the Maidan and paid their respects to the fallen protesters who died for the cause of democracy. “Their sacrifice in the defence of their democracy and freedom has brought change to this country,” said Baird. “They will not be forgotten.”

Baird congratulated the new government and emphasized the need to honour the 1994 Budapest Declaration’s commitment to Ukraine’s territorial sovereignty and national unity at this critical time. He also reiterated Canada’s support for Ukraine and its efforts to rebuild the country, including through the International Monetary Fund, following the instability and violence of the last 100 days. Many of his meetings featured discussions on ways to reduce corruption, combat money laundering and manage the financial transition.

“Canada remains committed to working in concert with our allies to develop a plan to assist Ukraine’s economic and democratic future,” said Baird.

The Canadian delegation consisted of Ted Opitz, Member of Parliament for Etobicoke Centre; James Bezan, Member of Parliament for Selkirk—Interlake; Senator Raynell Andreychuk; Victor Hetmanczuk, President and CEO, Canada-Ukraine Foundation; Paul Grod, President, Ukrainian Canadian Congress (UCC); Taras Zalusky, Executive Director, UCC; and Krystina Waler, board member, Ukrainian Canadian Professionals and Business Association.

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