After crossing the finish line at the 2011 Telegram 10-Mile Road Race in St. John’s, premier Kathy Dunderdale was back to politics, being questioned by reporters on search and rescue services.
Dunderdale was asked about the speculation the federal government will be looking at the hiring of private operators to provide air search and rescue services.
A story in the Ottawa Citizen reported the privatization option will be up for discussion at a meeting between government procurement officials and representatives from aerospace firms in Ottawa Aug. 16.
“As soon as I heard the speculation Ottawa might be considering that, we contacted the Prime Minister’s Office immediately and said again to them the health and safety is the number one priority in this province. It’s an issue to which we’re highly sensitive, we’re still very, very upset over the Marine Sub-Centre, and we’re not letting that go. So please do not exacerbate this any further. And, before you have any consideration at all about changing the way you do this business, you come to Newfoundland and Labrador and you talk to the government of Newfoundland and Labrador and you talk to the people involved in this industry before you take any moves whatsoever,” Dunderdale said.
As for the response?
“Well, we didn’t get any at that point in time. They didn’t confirm nor deny. We passed the information on, and we’ll be in contact again. But before anything got anywhere with this, with the first hint of it, it was important for me to let the Prime Minister’s Office know that we have a serious issue here and if they were unilaterally going down this road, without so much as a by your leave to the people of this province, it’s not on.”
Not long after that statement, the premier made the point there is no issue yet, since the privatization of air search and rescue services remains only speculation.