Re­turn of Marine Res­cue Sub-cen­tre a good move

The Compass - - EDITORIAL -

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

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