Tax dollars in play here
I was more than a little surprised, in Monday’s Cheers & Jeers list, that you took the Canadian Coast Guard, DFO and Transport Canada to task over their reaction to the use of a Coast Guard helicopter pilot using his aircraft to land outside an O’Leary coffee shop (“seemed to get their knickers in a knot…”).
Thinking back to 2010, the Canadian media took then defence minister Peter MacKay to task over his use of a search and rescue helicopter to get back from his fishing trip in a remote Newfoundland community. I’m guessing some of this criticism appeared in your paper.
In my opinion, the use of these aircraft in the two examples above is absolutely inexcusable. All government departments have been cut back in funding (remember the 2012 closure of Newfoundland and Labrador’s maritime search & rescue centre?) so we don’t have lots of spare aircraft. What if there had been an emergency distress call while this guy’s getting his double-double? (“Can you make that to go?”). Sure, he could have been airborne in five minutes or so, but that’s five valuable minutes.
If that reason doesn’t ring true to you, consider the cost.
Seven years ago, MacKay’s ‘rescue’ copter cost $32,000 an hour to operate. That’s over $5,000 for a 10-minute coffee break. Cute? Not in my books.
You may not care how your tax dollars are spent, or the way our forces personnel conduct themselves, but I certainly do.
Lloyd Kerry, Charlottetown