On Sunday (June 19th) an emergency resolution on the closure of the Maritime Rescue Centre was brought to the floor of the New Democratic Party convention in Vancouver, B.C.
The motion, which I submitted, read: “Be it resolved that the New Democratic Party urges the federal government to reverse its decision to close the Coast Guard’s Maritime Rescue Centres in St. John’s and Quebec City.
Given severe time restrictions, I was the only speaker on the motion.
The following is the text of my address to the 1,500 delegates:
“I stand in support of the resolution and condemn the closure of the Marine Rescue Centres in St. John’s and Quebec City and call on the Conservative government to reserve the decision.
The ocean can be a dangerous place. This decision by the Conservative government is reckless. If allowed to stand it will endanger lives.
We already have substandard search and rescue service in Newfoundland and Labrador.
The Gander-based helicopters operated by National Defence work on bankers’ hours, with a 30-minute response time between 8 and 4 and a response time of up to two hours after that.
That’s 2 hours after a distress call before a search and rescue helicopter must leave the ground.
Fishermen have died because of that policy.
By closing the Marine Resource Centre in St. John’s the Conservative government will only put our mariners at greater risk.”
The resolution passed unanimously.