NDP does full court press on helicopter safety - by accident

James McLeod
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A Cougar Helicopters Sikorsky S-92 is shown in a file photo. - Telegram file photo

It's been a busy year for the NDP, but one issue they never seem to pass up a chance to talk about is Sikorsky S-92 helicopters.

It almost seems like the federal and provincial NDP representatives have been co-ordinating their message - except that they're not.

Both within the province and on the mainland, the NDP has been pressing the issue, talking about the helicopter's inability to fly for 30 minutes after losing oil pressure in the main gearbox.

"These helicopters were certified to fly with a 30 minute run-dry capability, and that wasn't the case," said St. John's MP Ryan Cleary.

In November, in the space of less than a week, Cleary and transportation critic Olivia Chow asked questions on the issue in the House of Commons, while provincial NDP MHA Dale Kirby was raising the same issue at the Hebron public review.

In the spring, NDP Leader Lorraine Michael raised the issue in the House of Assembly.

St. John's East MP Jack Harris has also been active on the issue - during the Wells Inquiry into the 2008 Cougar helicopter crash, Harris actively participated and questioned witnesses.

Both provincial and federal NDP representatives who spoke to The Telegram said it was pure coincidence that the two parties have both been pushing the issue at the same time.

"There's no strategy there," Cleary said. "It was coincidental, but it did work out well."

Kirby said the two wings of the NDP do talk back and forth, but there's no effort to be strategic about what they talk about, and when.

"It's less orchestrated than you'd actually believe, I'd say," he said. "I mean, we talk to each other. We're all friends. We see each other at events and we talk politics and policy, but we do that with just about everything."

At the same time, Kirby said, it's something they might look at in the future.

"We're co-ordinated insofar as we all know that we stand for the same things and we do talk about these issues when we do have an opportunity to talk on the phone," he said. "Maybe going into the future there will be more of it."

jmcleod@thetelegram.com Twitter: TelegramJames

Organizations: NDP, House of Commons, Wells Inquiry

Geographic location: St. John's, Hebron

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Recent comments

  • Doug
    January 13, 2012 - 13:45

    A party that cares about people instead of corporations. A party that is like a light at the end of a long tunnel. A party that actually cares about the welfare of our Canadian citizens. A party that does not get millions from multi-national corporations and businesses. A party that fights for the common people, the seniors, the students, the healthy and not so healthy. A party that cares about the country that we live in and who are champions of our environment. I am proud to say that I support the NDP.

  • William Daniels
    January 01, 2012 - 15:24

    They seem to be the only ones that care about this travesty.

  • Wild Rose
    December 31, 2011 - 12:14

    Give it up NDP socialists and let the party that real Canadains and Newfoundlanders choose to govern do their job!