Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to present a petition from a large number of residents of St. John's and other parts of Newfoundland and Labrador who are opposed to the decision to close the marine rescue coordination centre in St. John's. They are concerned that the government needs to understand and acknowledge that the closure of the centre will mean the service will suffer and lives will be put at risk.
As I was looking through the list of names, I noted that one of the petitioners was actually a survivor of a marine rescue at sea and also appeared before the defence committee when it visited St. John's last year.
This search and rescue centre in St. John's is responsible for 900,000 square kilometres of ocean and 28,000 kilometres of coastline, and that is just in the Newfoundland and Labrador region. This is a big and important country and we need to protect our citizens. These rescue coordinators have local knowledge of the coastlines, of the people involved and of the dialect and language that has been spoken. It is very important that this rescue centre be kept open. The petitioners so ask this honourable House.