Adding insult to injury
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