Mr. Speaker, a fishing vessel out of Caraquet, New Brunswick went down early Monday morning. Two fishermen are presumed dead. The vessel was out in 50 knot winds and 20 to 30 foot seas near Anticosti Island.
The vessel's distress calls went unanswered because there was little or nor search and rescue coverage in the area at that time. Two search and rescue stations, Rivière-au-Renard and Saint-Pierre on Quebec's north shore, were not open as they had no staff and no vessels. This region has five relatively large vessels on the books. However three of the vessels were in the Arctic, one was in lay-up and the other was in dry dock for repairs.
Why was there no Coast Guard rescue capability in the area when it was obvious to everyone that a hurricane was on its way? Does the government not know that lack of coverage means no chance to save a life? It means loss of life.
The Liberal government has decimated the once proud Canadian Coast Guard search and rescue service since it came to office in 1993 and has put the lives of everyone on the water at risk, whether on the east or west coast.