June 13th, 2012

Statement by NDP National Defence Critic Jack Harris on rejection of motion on search and rescue response times

We are very disappointed that the Conservatives refused to support my Private Member’s motion, M-314, calling on the government to adopt the common international readiness standard of 30 minutes at all times in response to search and rescue incidents.

Canada’s response times to search and rescue incidents lags well behind international standards and the government has failed to take the necessary action to remedy the situation.

Conservatives have chosen to put the lives of Canadians at risk by allowing a dangerous double standard to continue. Presently the response time is 30 minutes on weekdays between 8am and 4pm but 2 hours the rest of the time, during the period when over 80% of search and rescue taskings occur.

The Conservatives rejected motion M-314 and the opportunity to improve search and rescue in Canada.

While the Conservatives have closed Search and Rescue Coordination Centres in St. John’s and Quebec City and shut down the Kitsilano Coast Guard Rescue Station, increasing risk to mariners and those at sea, the NDP will continue its fight to make better search and rescue services a priority for government.