Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to respond to the issue raised by my persistent colleague, the member of Parliament for Random—Burin—St. George's, regarding the consolidation of the rescue sub-centres in St. John's and Quebec City with the joint rescue coordination centres in Halifax and Trenton. As she said and knows very well, both the minister and I have responded to this many times.
We want to remind the member that Canada remains steadfast in its dedication to the safety of all Canadians from coast to coast to coast. We are a national and international leader in marine safety and the Canadian Coast Guard's search and rescue program is among the best in the world, and we are proud of it. We are delivering on the Canadian Coast Guard's mandate by ensuring that the safety and security of all Canadians is maintained unaltered throughout these challenging economic times.
Fisheries and Oceans Canada is providing a system that coordinates timely search and rescue response. We frequently review this system to identify lessons learned for the future. This enables us to continually improve upon this valuable service that we provide to Canadians and to international mariners in Canadian waters. The co-location of both air and maritime personnel in the same centre will facilitate the coordination of responses to maritime search and rescue incidents.
The decision to consolidate the two maritime rescue sub-centres into joint rescue coordination centres located in Halifax and Trenton resulted from the Government of Canada's strategic review exercise. This exercise provided us with the opportunity to deliver our services to Canadians in a more efficient and effective way. The decision was closely reviewed, and it was determined that search and rescue coordination services could be delivered in a more efficient and effective manner with no impact, and that I stress, on service delivery or safety.
I can assure the House that we are taking the implementation of this decision very seriously. Since the government's announcement, a project team and governance committee, composed of members the Canadian Coast Guard and Department of National Defence, have been set up to address a whole array of operational, human resource, infrastructure and technology requirements. Each of these requirements has been addressed in our implementation plan, which lays the groundwork for a successful transition.
As I have previously said, the decision to consolidate the rescue sub-centres will have no effect on the placement of air and maritime response assets. The locations of Canadian Coast Guard vessels are strategically selected to optimize search and rescue responses, and we will continue to evaluate our response coverage and ensure that the necessary knowledge and expertise is preserved. Our maritime search and rescue coordinators are highly trained professionals and any new coordinators will go through extensive formal and on-the-job training, as is the current practice.
As we have always said, the completion of maritime rescue sub-centre consolidation will be determined based on the maintenance of public safety. By working with our primary search and rescue partner, the Department of National Defence, we will ensure that all calls for maritime search and rescue assistance will be answered, that all existing search and rescue service standards will be maintained, that maritime expertise and necessary knowledge will be preserved and that services will be available in both official languages. The excellent service standard of maritime search and rescue that Canadians have come to expect, and indeed depend on, from their government will continue.