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Wednesday 8 June 2011

And so it begins...

Many in NL, and across Canada have expressed serious concerns regarding the authority and direction of the current Harper led administration. I added my voice to those with concerns with this article and today we see the first significant piece of evidence that indicates the contempt that Prime Minister Harper has for NL. When the campaign was in full force the Canadian Conservative Party spoke about issues around keeping Canadians safe. Apparently NL doesn't fall within Harper's definition of Canada.

This article over at the CBC indicates that the NL Maritime Rescue Sub-Centre in St. John's is going to close. This centre is run by DFO and will see the loss of 12 jobs and the work move to other areas in Nova Scotia and Ontario. To put it in perspective the story reports that the site responds to an average of 500 emergency situations involving 2900 per year for the areas offshore of NL. These responses will now be coordinated from an extra 1400kms away, at least.

In part this is an issue of job cuts from a federal department in a province that already has a minimal federal presence anyway. But the real concern here is the safety of those folks who have chosen a career in the offshore. They will now have to place their lives in the hands of others who might not know the North Atlantic quite as well as the 12 people who are about to lose that responsibility. This move is being touted as a part of a much larger initiative to save $56 million from DFO, a department that could use more investment, instead of less. Whatever the attempted explanation, there is no justification for the removal of vital safety services from what is already a very dangerous environment. Shame on the Conservative Government of Canada. Lets just hope this isn't a sign of things to come...

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