Mr. Speaker, once again Nova Scotia has been visited by an air tragedy.
A month ago it was Swissair Flight 111. This time a search and rescue Labrador helicopter returning to its home base at Greenwood, Nova Scotia crashed in Quebec, killing all six of the crew.
Some of the victims of the crash had been part of the Swissair rescue mission. They were angels of mercy. It is very sad. I wish to extend my deepest sympathy to the family and friends of the victims.
The CH133 helicopters are old. They have had a long history of engine related problems and a string of accidents over the last six years. Experts say that these copters are now too risky to fly.
As defence spokesperson for the NDP, I deeply regret the delay that has been shown by the government in replacing these helicopters. A number of replacement helicopters could have been purchased off the shelf for emergency use. Instead we must wait another two years before delivery of a new fleet.
I call upon the government to ensure that no more lives of our search and rescue squadron are risked in the meantime.