Mr. Speaker, I rise under Standing Order 52(2), asking leave to propose an emergency debate on the closure by the Government of Canada of the marine search and rescue coordination centres in St. John's and Quebec City.
The people of Newfoundland and Labrador and Quebec are still in shock over the decision to reduce the ability of these marine coordinating centres to do the work that they do in saving lives.
There is a failure of the government to consider the continuing need for the centres because they provide the necessary local knowledge of the conditions, and in the case of Quebec City, as was pointed out during question period, the knowledge of the language to be able to respond immediately to requests for coordination of rescue.
They have been called call centres and dispatch centres. These are rescue coordination centres. Experienced Coast Guard officers with many years of dealing with these instances are dealing with matters of life and death.
The government is moving with undue haste with respect to these centres. I understand that notices have already gone out. The government is moving very quickly before there can be proper consideration and debate of this issue.
We think this meets the conditions for the need of an emergency debate, to hear more information about the matters, including information that has come to light since then. And much more will come, as to the actual life-saving capacity of these centres because of the quick action and local knowledge that they have of the areas in which they serve.
This is something that is of grave importance to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador. We have been struggling to improve search and rescue facilities and ability. This is a backward step.
It needs an emergency debate by this House pursuant to Standing Order 52(2).