OTTAWA, Feb. 20, 2013 /CNW/ - "I can't understand why the Conservative government is doing everything in its power to put Canadians at risk," said Christine Collins, National President of the Union of Canadian Transportation Employees in response to yesterday's phone call from the Canadian Coast Guard (CCG) advising of the immediate closure of Kitsilano Search and Rescue (SAR) Station in Vancouver, BC.
The closure comes as part of a long line of attacks on CCG's ability to do effective search and rescue. To date, the CCG has closed the Marine search and rescue station in St. John's, NL which monitored Canada's longest coastline and now the Search and Rescue Station at Kitsilano, BC which is the busiest port in Canada. The marine search and rescue station in Quebec City, Quebec is 50% closed until qualified bilingual staff can be found and moved to Trenton, ON.
In all instances, public outcry has been tremendous in questioning the rationale for these Conservative government cuts. "Experts, search and rescue professionals, various levels of government officials, mariners from coast to coast to coast and regardless of political or social beliefs, everyone has come out saying these cuts are dangerous," said Collins. "I question it over and over again - what is the value of a life to this government? Canadians will have to pay a high price to find out."
The Union of Canadian Transportation Employees, a component of the Public Service Alliance of Canada, represents the ships' crew and search & rescue specialists with the Canadian Coast Guard.
SOURCE: Union of Canadian Transportation Employees
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Communications & Special Projects Officer, UCTE