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  • BR
    February 09, 2012 - 16:54

    My point is he was doing something he should not have been allowed to do, in my opinion. If he had an accident driving a car, would we blame General Motors? No, he shouldn't be driving a car. Parents, watch what your children are doing. He was only 14. Sorry for your loss.

  • Margie
    February 09, 2012 - 14:38


  • Frank
    February 09, 2012 - 13:53

    I work for the Department of National Defence and I am from Newfoundland. I have been living in Ottawa for 20 years now and may very well be a little out of touch with the issues of the day back home but this simply disgusts me. Every report that I can find and every statement leaves me a little angrier than the last. We have a tragic death here of a young boy and all anyone wants to do is to hide behind their “Standard Operating Principles”. I put it to you RAdm Gardham that you can not have Standard Operating Principles that govern SaR because no two incidents are alike. I challenge the authorities here to actually provide answers not deflection. It is not about having more helicopters, send the ones you have. It is not about the conditions and the cloud cover, these are elite trained pilots and SaR Techs who boast regular jumps of less than 2000 feet so what exactly was the cloud ceiling, “low” doesn’t define it sufficiently. The SaR Techs from the CF were first on scene for the tragic crash of a Hercules at CFS Alert and that jump was made in a blizzard on Ellesmere Island. Below are a few points that this boy’s parents deserve actual answers for, not political posturing: This from the Canadian Coast Guard website: Authority for the control of Search and Rescue (SAR) is vested in the Minister of National Defence (MND). A Cabinet Directive assigned responsibility for Search and Rescue to the Canadian Air Force in 1947, however, the Canadian Coast Guard is responsible to provide personnel, equipment, and infrastructure to ensure marine SAR services are provided. http://www.jrcchalifax.forces.gc.ca/JRCC_home_E.htm MND seems to be responsible for Air and Ground SaR according to this statement. Where is he, doesn’t want to comment in order to avoid the obvious taxi questions? This has further devolved to become a Canada Command responsibility but RAdm. Gardham is just hiding behind SOPs and procedures and deflecting the issues with any and every excuse he can muster, the weather, maintenance, and we called them back!! Really? June 2011 – SaR Coordination Centre in St John’s is closed and moved to Halifax. Concern was voiced by MP Jack Harris and Newfoundlanders alike but we were reassured with the following statement from Frank Stanek DFO Media Relations Manager: "By consolidating these services, CCG will continue to provide the same level of bilingual, on-the-ground SAR support in a more efficient way. By refocusing our services and eliminating duplication, we will be able to provide more efficient delivery — including in marine search and rescue," wrote Stanek. http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/story/2011/06/08/nl-rescue-centre-608.html One of the aircraft was undergoing long-term maintenance work, according to Col. Mark Chinner, officer in charge of the Air Co-ordination Component Element for the Atlantic region. While the second was initially thought to be ready for flight, a flight engineer conducting a walk-around that morning discovered a problem with an oil line requiring immediate repairs. Well I take the statement above as reducing the SaR capability in NL &Labrador to 1 helicopter; “long-term maintenance work” doesn’t sound like a capable helicopter to me, did it coincidentally start the day of this tragic failure on DND’s part or was the helicopter already in “maintenance” prior to Jan 30? That brings about the questions of how long was it in long term maintenance, when did the maintenance start and why a replacement capability wasn’t put in place since the operating level was only 50% at maximum and 0% in actuality. “There was not a serviceable Griffon that day to respond to the search,” said Chinner. I disagree, there was aircraft available that day since the repairs only took several hours and the military wasn’t contacted until after 9:00 a.m. The military was first contacted at 9:12 a.m. on Jan. 30, 20 hours after Burton was last seen and 13 hours after he was reported missing. At the time, the military determined weather in Makkovik would have made it unsafe to send aircraft. A second request for military assistance was made on Jan. 31 at 4:45 p.m., at which point two secondary SAR aircraft were dispatched, making use of night-vision capabilities. Gardam said the military had asked the previous day to be called back if their services were later required. Where were these Secondary SaR Aircraft when the initial request was sent and why weren’t they dispatched? Secondary Aircraft; so the helicopter from Goose Bay never actually made the scene? At the time of the incident, Cormorants usually stationed in Gander were in Nova Scotia on a training exercise. Why were all the elements of an essential service sent on a training exercise at the same time? Air Canada flies from Halifax to Goose Bay in 599 kms, roughly 2 hours for one of the cormorants that was there “Training”. This illustrates the results of the government’s pressure to “do more with less” approach that is the theme running through all government departments right now. I have to say that there are certain areas of government where that doesn’t apply; the safety of its citizens being top of the list.  Why, Minister McKay, not Associate Minister Fantino, was this allowed to happen? (anything short of an answer from the MND is not acceptable)  Where, Frank Stanek, is the efficient delivery you, on behalf of DFO, have promised, and  Why is no one feeling like answering the real questions here, can they simply be dismissed? o Who authorized a Long Term Maintenance stint reducing an essential capability to 50% but didn’t see fit to replace the lost capability? o Why did it actually take two days to get a presence there when it takes a couple hours to repair an oil line, alternately it takes a couple hours to fly from Halifax to Goose Bay? o Why were all the Cormorants allowed to go on training at the same time from CFB Gander? Who authorized that? o Why wasn’t training in Halifax interrupted for an actual emergency? Who decided against that? o Did the helicopter from Goose Bay actually make the scene, what were the secondary aircraft that were deployed and why couldn’t they be deployed when the initial request was received? These are questions that the young boy who lost his life while CF trained to save lives deserves an answer to. It pains me to say it because I know a couple of SaR Techs and they are passionate, courageous incredible men doing a dangerous job in the worst conditions but their motto “That Others May Live” sounds a little hollow when those giving the orders are doing it based on a political budget framework.

    • Quidi Vidi Coxswain
      February 09, 2012 - 23:35

      The answer to some of the basic issues that are raised by Frank here ( and carefully avoided or deflected by the military and the coast guard) probably can be explained by the fact that the policy for search and rescue in this country has never been fully developed or communicted to the citizens. What will be a shock to many people is that the CF and the CCG will argue till the cod come back to the waters of Nfld that their main responsiblity is only for air and marine SAR. Translated, that means, if you get into trouble and you are in an airplane or in a boat ( but only on the ocean or on the great lakes) the JRCC's will consider it their job to rescue you. Otherwise, the responsibility for SAR rests with the province and the police force. They can ask for JRCC assistance and if requested, JRCC might respond .but as we have seen here, they do not consider that their main priority and the results are not always satisfactory. That yellow helicopter that says Rescue on the side is not for every Canadian in distress. That should make citizens angry and upset. There is another twist to this story that most people probably are not aware. I didn't for many years but did you know there is a federal organization based in Ottawa that is supposed to coordinate SAR in Canada? Most people probably don't know that it exists or what it is supposed to do. Google National SAR Secretariat and read some of the sutff on their website. Or perhaps more accurate to say, try and find the stuff that should be there that isn't? if you have some time and want to get more upset than you are already, you can go to the Auditor General's website as well and do a search for SAR - I can't remember exactly but I think the last report was done in 1992 and 1994. The audit talks about all the things this organization was formed in the mid 80's to fix but the auditor's report found most of them had not been completed. I was at a SAR conference in St John's a few years ago and met some of these people - the ones I met seemed pretty committted to improve SAR but in a conversation with one of them, she told me about the audit. They had done their own internal review as well which I think is also on their website somewhere. After talking for a while about some of the issues that I had seen in Nfld, she admitted they they still had not even got close to doing what they had been directed by cabinet to do. She said they had tried to develop SAR policy and establish the appropriate levels of service for SAR in Canada but that they could not get support from the members of the interdepartmental SAR committee and the departments that are on it. Even more sadly, they could not even get the Minister who is responsible for all of SAR in Canada ( MND) to listen to them even though they work directly for him. Very bizarre - why wouldn't a Minister want to be involved with saving the lives of Canadians? I said at the time that could not be possible but with the Wells Commission into the Cougar crash of a few years ago and now with this ncident I can see more clearly that the CF has perhaps become a power unto itself and there is no oversight or accountablity for what they do with the trust that has been placed in them by Canadians. Which is sad because I have talked to some of the SAR folks from Gander - they don't sound or act like bureaucrats when you meet them but with the Admirals comments during the last week,, it sure sounds like there are bureaucrats alive and well in their system somewhere. Going back to the audit, there was a Royal Comission Inquiry into the sinking of the Ocean Ranger in the early 80's and the government demanded answers about SAR in Canada. . Somebody in the Premier's as well as the Prime Minister's office should be deminding those answers from the Lead Minister for SAR who happens to be Peter Mackay.

  • Margie
    February 09, 2012 - 12:16

    BR, Please, this is not the time to be putting blame on the parents. Surely they are going through enough heartache right now without you adding guilt to their agony. The ones standing in front of the cameras are some of the ones who should feel guilty, and rightfully so. I am so angry and very upset over Burton's short life being cut down for the sake of stupid insensitive decisions. Oh my heavens, what he must have gone through. And Peter MacKay makes me even sicker.....what if this was his son? But he doesn't even need an emergency event for Search and Rescue to pick him up free...on taxpayers' money, that is.....from his pleasure trip. I'd love to smack that smirk right off your face.

  • David
    February 09, 2012 - 12:07

    BR. what does the speed of a snow mobile have to do with this tragedy story?? what does it matter that he was 14 and riding a snow mobile? he was 14 for christ sake.. he was lost.. he needed help and the powers to be who are responsible for SAR "FAILED",, AGAIN

  • BR
    February 09, 2012 - 11:30

    It's a sad story but if you are looking to blame somebody, why do parents let a 14 year old take a machine that can do 70 kph by himself? They may be transportation in Labrador but parents should think about who is using it and where they are going. It's also ATVs. 10-12 years olds are on dirt roads going 30-40 kph or more. I just don't understand it.

  • Don II
    February 09, 2012 - 11:06

    The Military explanation is not acceptable. A review of operating procedures is necessary, I'll say and then some. More equipment, more all weather helicopters and more personnel that are strategically based around Atlantic Canada and Labrador. I got caught out in a blizzard years ago and nearly froze to death, I know what that poor child must have gone through. Sad!

  • KB
    February 09, 2012 - 10:28

    So the choppers sits around for weeks and when they are required THEN the military decides to do a walk around. When one helicopter is taken out of service it should be 100% sure that the other IS fit for service. This could have been many more lives on a sinking vessel but regardless is one was teenagers life who didn't get the chance to grow up and have a family and now the Gov is spinning out excuses....shame on you Harper and your cheap tactics. Peter McKay has a working chopper for salmon fishing. What a pitiful bunch you are.

  • Joanne
    February 09, 2012 - 09:48

    Well everyones comments are spot on.... and no doubt that if this were a child of a politician or some rich family who could afford the bill they would have been out in a flash... this poor kid perished in the freezing cold all alone. I know for a fact that if i left my animal out there unattended i would get charged with animal abuse... all the excuses in the world is not going to bring him back or give comfort to the family... we are supposed to moving ahead in time not backwards.... but Harper decided that going to China was important and McKay on his fishing expeditions and oh dont for get the Queens jubliee...or how much was spent on the Royal vist.. but this family, yours and mine alike are nobody...they dont pay for those excursions we do.... our tax money, so if thats what we are in for in the event of an emergency lets protest NOW...

  • bryan
    February 09, 2012 - 09:35

    If someone calls the fire department and says there's a house on fire, the fire department cannot make it at this time. It has to stand guard in case a bigger fire happens! Well, that's just what search and rescue did to the young man in Labrador. He was alone and only 14.....why waste the time of sending help to him.....after all, someone more important may need help.....like Peter McKay! Where is the MP from Labrador now? He had no trouble exerting his voice downing Ryan Cleary spoke about the seal fishery!

  • saddened
    February 09, 2012 - 09:06

    if you leave the scene of an accident you can be charged under the criminal code. this boy accidently got lost. it was the responsibility of SAR / DND to search for him, they have the mandate, equipment and personal along with the expertise all paid by public taxes. SAR choose not to do their job. all the excuses so far are total CRAP. you people in authority, looking after our best interests are a SAD patethic lot.

  • MBC
    February 09, 2012 - 08:37

    Didn't all these uniforms who are paid to serve and protect us sound and look like fools? One chopper not working, one chopper with mechanical problems and the other, was it being washed and waxed??? Give us a break...a 14 yr old boy missing. Did you have another chopper down Florida area for training?

  • Claude
    February 09, 2012 - 08:36

    So we can pick up Peter Mackay from a remote fishing lodge to attend an non emergency event. Yet this poor boy was left to die alone with no SAR helicopter dispatched to assist the two private helicopters.

  • catherine murrin
    February 09, 2012 - 08:24

    Come on! Leaving the fleet shorthanded in "case of an emergency at sea"???? What the hell was this if NOT an EMERGENCY!! A14 year old child missing on skiddoo is not Emergency ENOUGH??? This boy suffered unnecessarily and died , and his family is left with this kind of "ANSWER"...

  • Townie
    February 09, 2012 - 08:11

    Let's get this straight. We have tougher crime laws because of imaginery crime. We need to change the retirement plan because of an imaginery short fall. And now they can't send a rescue helicopter because of an imaginery bigger disaster. If only this government were an imaginery government!!

  • Don
    February 09, 2012 - 08:10

    This is a bunch of crap. It will go down in history as the "Great Cover Up". A child is lost in the Artic and DND won't send a SAR Chopper because "it might be needed somewhere else." Do they think we are so stupid as to believe that crap ??? Another need -- yes right -- Peter might need another taxi ride. And don't forget, the weather was to bad to fly, yet a Bell 407, with no search equipment was able to fly. Time to turn SAR over to Cougar, they can respond in 20 minutes.

  • McManus
    February 09, 2012 - 07:40

    I take serious issue with the logic of Rear Admiral Gardam's statement "...taking a Cormorant helicopter off its primary mission while two private helicopters were already on the scene Jan. 30 would have left his fleet shorthanded if an event at sea were to have occurred."... that is like calling an ambulance only to be told it cannot come because someone else might get sicker than you - just in case. SAR does good work and has saved many lives. But there was something wrong here - and spinning and flawed logic are not helpful in the discussion. Shameful response from the Rear-Admiral. Your pension awaits.

  • Leah
    February 09, 2012 - 07:25

    All of you standing there in the spotlight know that if Burton was your child or a politician's (especially Peter MacKay's), or from a well-known wealthy family, he would be ALIVE today. Did anyone go to Burton's funeral, or pay for it, or just go to Makkovik to spend a little time with the family and community? Don't say Peter Penashue because he's useless. He'd just sit there like a zombie. Talk is cheap, and every excuse that's come up so far makes it more obvious that SOMEONE is to blame for this young teenager's death, but no one is taking responsibility, just passing the buck, which is only adding to the family's agony. I just cannot get it out of my mind what Burton went through all alone with this horrific "lingering" death, and I hope it haunts all of you also. I'm heartsick. What a sin....poor darling.