Mr. Speaker, search and rescue is an important role for our military. It is important in the Arctic, on the west coast, the Great Lakes, in the Maritimes, off the coasts of Newfoundland and Labrador and on the great land mass of Canada. SAR service responds to over 6,000 incidents a year, saving thousands of lives, but why do we lag behind the rest of the world on response times?
In Norway, its air force gets rescue choppers in the air in 15 minutes around the clock. In Australia and in the United States, the response time is 30 minutes around the clock, seven days a week. Canada has a response standard of 30 minutes but only from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekdays when less than 20% of incidents occur. Otherwise, it is two hours. Lives are lost.
The defence committee heard from a survivor of a sunken fishing vessel who watched two others drown 15 minutes before a Canadian Forces helicopter arrived, which had left one hour and twenty minutes after being tasked. This must change. We can do better. We deserve better.