Letter: Boat response prompts revisit on revitalizing Canada’s Coast Guard

Search and rescue should not be dependent on police

To the Expositor:

Richard and Gail Foucault: I appreciate your December 9 letter to the editor in the recent edition of The Manitoulin Expositor, (‘Improve emergency response for boat access cottagers,’ Page 4). It reminds me of my previous rant that Alicia McCutcheon published about two and a half years ago: ‘Revitalize Canada’s coast guard.’

Much of my letter focused on how the government could easily pay for this, by reducing the propping up of the largely foreign-owned fossil fuel industry and to re-establish the original agenda of The Bank of Canada, to provide the government interest free loans for essential programs.

Here is an excerpt:

“As a lifelong lover of nature and water sports, years ago I had a profound experience as a volunteer with the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary on the west coast of British Columbia. I continue to be outraged that previous Liberal and Conservative governments have contributed to the ongoing reduction in funding for the Canadian Coast Guard. Despite the stalwart efforts of devoted volunteers, there is only a minimal coast guard presence on either the coastal salt water or central Great Lakes fresh water territories. An improved search and rescue capacity for both commercial shipping and recreational boating, let alone the monitoring and maintenance of the sovereignty of Canadian water, is more necessary than ever.

“Due to spending my life by the water in rural parts of the country, I’m unimpressed by the cavalier attitude of provincial and federal governments to the desperate need for greater protection for those who ply the water, let alone the water itself. Major investment is required to build various Coast Guard bases on each of the Great Lakes, let alone throughout the Arctic, the B.C. and Maritime coasts. Manitoulin Island is perfectly situated for a central base and Coast Guard Training Centre, to spearhead this initiative.”

Search and rescue for land and sea across Canada should not be dependent on the police, who have enough on their plates, or on devoted volunteers.

This service is a real job and the hard-working individuals that provide this service should be well paid and supported by both the federal and provincial governments.

All the best with your related lobbying efforts.

Merry Winter Solstice and a happy Christmas,

Derek Stephen McPhail