Upset Quebec sub-station staying open while St. John's facility closed last year
Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Steve Kent called the media to Confederation Building this afternoon to once again call on the federal government to improve search and rescue services in the province.
© James McLeod
Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Steve Kent called on the federal government to improve search and rescue services
Kent was reacting to the announcement that the Quebec marine search and rescue co-ordination sub-centre will stay open, even as the St. John's office was closed in 2012.
He told reporters that he's written a letter to his federal counterpart, and he's demanding beefed up SAR resources.
“I think it makes great sense for the federal government to take action now as they’ve done in the case of the Marine Rescue sub Centre in Quebec,” he said. “We need more resources here in Newfoundland and Labrador.”
The work that used to be done by the sub-centre in St. John’s is now done out of the Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre in Halifax, which tasks air and sea resources.
Kent acknowleged that he knows of no incident since the St. John’s sub-centre closed in 2012 where anybody on the water was put at risk because of the change, but he said that didn’t matter.
“One incident would be too many,” he said.
He said that if the Quebec sub-centre was kept open because of linguistic issues, then the St. John’s centre should be open for the same reason.
“We have unique language ourselves,” he said. “I’m not suggesting they’re the same, but I would argue that we have linguistic challenges here in Newfoundland and Labrador as well.”
On top of re-opening the sub-centre, Kent said he’s calling on the federal government to add planes, helicopters, personnel and 24-hour support for search and rescue services in the province.
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