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Government-Led Closures of SAR Stations Causes Outrage

September 27, 2012


Political paritsanship and the divide between parties seems to grow exponentially by the day. Perhaps one could blame the evolution of the 24-hour news cycle and the unrelenting cycle of noise that it produces. Or perhaps that blame should just fall solely on the parties themselves. Most people know that working with others in a civil manner is not a fundamentally difficult task, but those on Parliament Hill can often make it look about as easy as pulling teeth. With that being said, there are still a few issues that should never be about partisan politics. And that short list starts with public safety.

In the past week, the Conservative government has come under fire for its questionable decision to close Search and Rescue stations across the country in an effort to cut costs and amalgamate Coast Guard stations into more centralized units. The west coast is currently the epicenter of the outrage, with even Conservative MPs speaking out against this decision -- and the closure of SAR stations in BC comes on the heels of other recent closure announcements for SAR centres in Quebec City, Newfoundland, and St. John's. 

Cost-effective measures are generally welcome in government, but not when it's at the cost of public safety, and it is being reported that up to 763 positions will be eliminated from the SAR community. What this boils down to is the rare political issue that shouldn't be political at all. This is about the safety of all Canadians, and continuous government cuts like this only serves to further underscore the vital role that volunteer search and rescue organizations play. Auxiliary organizations, with the proper support from their communities, have the ability to avoid the partisanship and problems often brought about by government. And with our Coast Guard resources stretched nearly paper thin, Canadian communities need these volunteers more than ever. 

(Photo courtesy of The Province)

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