Adding in­sult to in­jury

The Southern Gazette - - FRONT PAGE -

Just when you thought the fed­eral Con­ser­va­tive gov­ern­ment couldn’t get any more ig­no­rant in its decision to ‘stream­line’ the coun­try’s search and res­cue op­er­a­tions, they once again outdo them­selves.

Wed­nes­day, the Cana­dian Coast Guard an­nounced the planned clo­sures of Ma­rine Res­cue Sub-cen­tres in St. John’s and Que­bec City would no longer be im­ple­mented as of June 2012.

Had the fed­eral gov­ern­ment fi­nally seen the light and de­cided to post­pone an ill-ad­vised decision? Nope, sorry. The an­nounce­ment last week wasn’t a de­lay, but rather a move to speed up the process.

Now the St. John’s site will trans­fer ser­vices to Hal­i­fax, Nova Sco­tia, Apr. 1, while the Que­bec tran­si­tion will take place in two stages. Some will go to Hal­i­fax next fall and the re­main­der will be re­lo­cated to Tren­ton, On­tario, in spring 2013.

The news of the ac­cel­er­a­tion was made on the same day mil­i­tary search and res­cue air­craft found the body of a 14year-old boy from the north­ern Labrador com­mu­nity of Makkovik. The youth had failed to re­turn from a snow­mo­bile trip three days prior. It only took the air­craft two days to join in the search!

The Depart­ment of Na­tional De­fense has since launched a probe into what took so long. It may very well boil down to le­git­i­mate rea­sons why there was a de­lay.

It doesn’t mat­ter ei­ther way. Work­ing at sea, or even liv­ing ad­ja­cent to it, is dan­ger­ous.

Of all the cuts to make – and it’s wise to be pru­dent in tough eco­nomic times – those that jeop­ar­dize the safety of Cana­di­ans should never be con­sid­ered an op­tion. No way, no how, never! The Union of Cana­dian Trans­porta­tion Em­ploy­ees has asked the fed­eral gov­ern­ment to un­der­take an in­de­pen­dent im­par­tial re­view of the Ma­rine Res­cue Sub-cen­tre clo­sures.

That seems like the very least it can do to put the minds of those who de­pend upon the sea, or live nearby, at ease.

Paul Her­ridge, As­so­ci­ate Ed­i­tor

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