Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to present a petition signed by over 2,000 people calling on the government to reverse its decision to close the marine rescue sub-centre in Quebec City and maintain all marine rescue coordination operations at the Canadian Coast Guard base in Quebec City.
That centre serves an area between Lake St. Francis and Blanc-Sablon, including the Gaspé Peninsula and the Magdalen Islands. I would remind the House that the centre was created in 1977 after many deficiencies were identified in the management of rescue operations, which at the time were coordinated by the centres in Trenton and Halifax. One particular concern was the fact that those centres could not provide services in French. Let us not forget the fishermen from the Magdalen Islands who died on the Acadien II in March 2008.
Despite that tragedy, the Conservative government announced in the last federal budget that it is closing the Quebec City rescue centre in the spring of 2012, and any distress calls from the St. Lawrence River or gulf will be handled in Trenton, Ontario, or Halifax, Nova Scotia. In other words, all marine rescue operations for the St. Lawrence River and gulf will no longer be coordinated in Quebec City. Instead they will be transferred to Halifax or Trenton. It makes absolutely no sense, which is why I support this petition and I call on the government to stay the closure of the marine rescue sub-centre in Quebec City.