House of Commons Hansard #135 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was rescue.

Topics

Opposition Motion--Coast Guard Search and Rescue Services
Business of Supply
Government Orders

4:20 p.m.

Conservative

Randy Kamp Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge—Mission, BC

Mr. Speaker, in answer to the latter question, they in fact can. We will have highly trained people in those centres to respond and they will provide coordination services. They will not be the ones going out on the water. They will provide coordination services to ensure that the response to the incident is an appropriate one.

That is in fact the way it works in the Vancouver harbour as well. The call does not go to the Kitsilano station. The call goes the joint centre and it tasks it, whether it be to Kitsilano, the auxiliary station at Indian Arm, Howe Sound or perhaps a vessel of opportunity that it knows is close by.

That is the way that it works. The personnel in these joint rescue coordination centres will be highly trained and able to do their job.

Opposition Motion--Coast Guard Search and Rescue Services
Business of Supply
Government Orders

4:25 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Andrews Avalon, NL

Mr. Speaker, I would like to go back to the member's comment of just a minute ago when he talked about where the calls would be going. That is exactly what we are arguing. The government is taking away that local knowledge. When it comes to dialect and an understanding of the geography in the area, it cannot all be isolated to one central location. That was the whole purpose of the local centre.

In his speech, the member made it sound as if we were still keeping that knowledge, but we are not. The local knowledge and local dialect that is so important is being taken away.

When people are in danger there is only a split second to hear where they are calling from. We cannot say that we will call them back or ask them to say it a second time. We are talking about seconds to save someone's life when it comes to understanding where they are calling from. It is not as simple as asking several questions. We need to know instantaneously where a person is calling from, which is the problem with the closure of these local centres.

Opposition Motion--Coast Guard Search and Rescue Services
Business of Supply
Government Orders

4:25 p.m.

Conservative

Randy Kamp Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge—Mission, BC

Mr. Speaker, I do not recall hearing how this member became an expert in these areas.

However, I can assure him that we do have experts in these areas. They have worked in this area for a long time. They have assured us that the consolidation of these centres will continue with proper training of these personnel. It is an important component, as we admit. That is why we are taking longer with the consolidation of the Quebec centre into Trenton: to make sure they have the necessary linguistic abilities, for example, and that they are also trained in the many other ways that will allow them to provide services in an effective, efficient way.

Opposition Motion--Coast Guard Search and Rescue Services
Business of Supply
Government Orders

4:25 p.m.

Conservative

John Weston West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country, BC

Mr. Speaker, first I want to pay tribute to two of those heroic auxiliary workers, Beatrice Sorensen and Angie Nemeth, from the riding I represent, who perished last weekend in the course of their duties.

There were four things missing when my colleague opposite, the member for New Westminster—Coquitlam, related what he said was happening. We did not hear about any dedication to reducing the deficit. We did not hear about inshore vessels, which the parliamentary secretary just mentioned were going to be added. We did not hear about the close proximity between the Kitsilano branch that is going to be closed and the nearest branch, which are closer than any other two in Canada. We did not hear about the engagement of local partners.

I would like the parliamentary secretary to reiterate all of the steps being taken to make sure there is no prejudice to safety while we deal with this deficit.

Opposition Motion--Coast Guard Search and Rescue Services
Business of Supply
Government Orders

4:25 p.m.

Conservative

Randy Kamp Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge—Mission, BC

Mr. Speaker, my colleague makes a very good point. On the other hand, I would say that this is not primarily a cost-cutting exercise.

We have said, though, that we feel, as every responsible government should feel, an obligation to take the available financial assets and make sure they are used in the most efficient and effective way.

When we took a look at search and rescue services in the Vancouver area, it became clear to us, after extensive analysis and consultation with our search and rescue partners at national defence, that it could be done in this way while providing the same effective level of service that mariners in the Vancouver area have come to expect.

Opposition Motion--Coast Guard Search and Rescue Services
Business of Supply
Government Orders

4:25 p.m.

NDP

Fin Donnelly New Westminster—Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, I remind my colleagues that the department is facing a $56 million cut. I am not sure how my colleague across the way can say with a straight face that marine safety will not be compromised.

If the most strategically located rescue station in Vancouver port, the Kitsilano Coast Guard station, is removed from the equation of marine safety, we then have to turn to the Sea Island hovercraft or to the Howe Sound or Deep Cove auxiliaries to fill the gap. All of those examples will take at least 30 minutes in good conditions, with availability, to get there.

How can the parliamentary secretary say with a straight face that marine safety will not be affected? If he had any analysis done, will he provide that analysis to the public? The public feels they were not consulted, and they want to hear the information.

Opposition Motion--Coast Guard Search and Rescue Services
Business of Supply
Government Orders

4:30 p.m.

Conservative

Randy Kamp Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge—Mission, BC

Mr. Speaker, I find it interesting that in his recitation, the member did not mention the new inshore rescue boat station, which in many areas of the country provides the first response.

They have boats that go at about 45 knots. They are capable and effective. The people who are part of that station are well trained, and they will be in the heart of the harbour somewhere.

Nor did the member mention the fact that we continue to have discussions with the Pacific auxiliary, the Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue people, about perhaps strategically locating another station. With these assets, in addition to the vessels of opportunity—the police boats, and so on—we are very convinced that we can do this in a safe and effective way.

Opposition Motion--Coast Guard Search and Rescue Services
Business of Supply
Government Orders

4:30 p.m.

Independent

Bruce Hyer Thunder Bay—Superior North, ON

Mr. Speaker, the parliamentary secretary talked about the need to balance fiscal responsibility versus public safety. That is valid.

However, this is from the party that has the largest deficit in the history of Canada, owing to huge tax reductions to big banks and big oil at less than half the U.S. rates.

In terms of public safety, the environment does not feel safe, pensioners do not feel safe, scientific researchers are certainly not safe and mariners are not safe.

The other big issue here, besides rescue centres, is the question of marine communications and traffic services. The government is going to kill the one in Thunder Bay, and then the closest one will be either in Sarnia or in B.C., and the government has picked Sarnia. How can staff there possibly understand and serve the needs of Thunder Bay with half the people and twice the workload?

Opposition Motion--Coast Guard Search and Rescue Services
Business of Supply
Government Orders

4:30 p.m.

Conservative

Randy Kamp Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge—Mission, BC

Mr. Speaker, the member clearly does not understand this issue very well.

We looked at our marine communications and traffic centres. We found out that we had quite a few across the country, and yet they were not as effective as they should be. At times centre A and centre B could not even communicate with each other.

It became very clear to us that if we were to keep, as we are doing, the same number of radio towers and the same number of radar installations, which really do the work on behalf of these centres, and put new technology into a smaller number of centres so there can be the necessary redundancy in case one service goes down as a result of an unexpected event, then we can do this task in an efficient and better way with this new technology in a smaller number of centres.

Opposition Motion--Coast Guard Search and Rescue Services
Business of Supply
Government Orders

4:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Bruce Stanton

Before we resume debate, it is my duty pursuant to Standing Order 38 to inform the House that the questions to be raised tonight at the time of adjournment are as follows: the hon. member for St. John's East, Fisheries and Oceans; the hon. member for Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, Fisheries and Oceans; and the hon. member for Acadie—Bathurst, Fisheries and Oceans.

I see the hon. member for Elgin—Middlesex—London may be rising on a point of order.

Procedure and House Affairs
Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

June 6th, 2012 / 4:30 p.m.

Conservative

Joe Preston Elgin—Middlesex—London, ON

Mr. Speaker, if the House gives its consent, I move that the 27th report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, presented to the House earlier today, be concurred in.

Procedure and House Affairs
Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

4:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Bruce Stanton

Is there consent?

Procedure and House Affairs
Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

4:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Procedure and House Affairs
Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

4:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Bruce Stanton

The House has heard the terms of the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Procedure and House Affairs
Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

4:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.