Tax dol­lars in play here

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - EDITORIAL -

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

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