Return of Marine Rescue Sub-centre a good move
On June 24, 2011 there was a rally held on the St. John’s waterfront against the closure of the Marine Rescue Sub- centre in Newfoundland and Labrador by the Harper Government.
At that time I was taking cancer treatment in St. John’s and was given a ride to the waterfront by my friend Mervin Wiseman, who was pushing the agenda.
Newfoundland and Labrador is a seafaring province stuck out in the North Atlantic. The closest to the shipping routes and massive fishing grounds we are blessed with, also where the offshore oil rigs are located and operating in ice infested waters and stormy seas — a very dangerous place as has been proven in the past.
To remove the Marine Rescue Sub-centre from this province closer to the action was nothing short of a disaster waiting to happen. To say we have been lucky would be an understatement.
At the rally in 2011 there was a lot of people including politicians thumping their chest and making the statement we are not going to allow this station to close.
Everyone walked away and that was the end of the protest, except for one person.
On Nov. 7, 2016, Fisheries Minister for Canada, Hon. Dominic LeBlanc was in St. John’s, son of former Fisheries minister Romeo LeBlanc, whom I had the opportunity to meet in the late ‘70s. He was a good minister for this province and I have to say Dominic is starting to follow in his father’s footsteps by being very kind to the people of this province by restoring the Marine Rescue Sub-centre to this province and enhancing what we had before with life boats stations in Twillingate and Bay de Verde.
We will finally have a Marine Rescue service in this province that will be equal to the task and the people using our waters will have the satisfaction of knowing if in trouble will be in a better position to be rescued.
This happened because of some people who saw the need.
On behalf of this province, my thanks goes out to Hon. Dominic LeBlanc, to Hon. Judy Foote for the continued work on this file, but most of all to Mervin Wiseman. Without him this would never have happened. For the last five years he was the one who kept fighting for what a lot of people thought was a lost cause, on radio shows, on TV — every opportunity he got. Many times on Open Line he would be rushed by the host to get it over with because it was never going to happen.
Sometimes it only takes one person who will take the bit in the mouth and is too stubborn to give up, to get something done that is of great benefit to a lot of people. The people of this province owe Mervin a great debt of gratitude for what he has done.
On behalf of myself and the people who sail our waters, we thank you very much.
Sometimes it only takes one person who will take the bit in the mouth and is too stubborn to give up, to get something done that is of great benefit to a lot of people.
(Ret.) Capt. Wilfred Bartlett writes from Green Bay South