Judy Foote, Member of Parliament for Random-Burin-St. George’s is pleased that the report of the Offshore Helicopter Safety Inquiry includes a call for a dedicated first-response helicopter. Foote’s private member’s motion, which received the support of Parliament last year, called for a dedicated search and rescue helicopter to service the off-shore.
“The tragic crash of the Cougar helicopter on March 12th claimed 17 lives. We have to learn from that tragedy and make every effort to ensure it never happens again. The unavailability of the first-response search and rescue resources in the offshore was identified as a significant concern early on in the inquiry. In spite of the very best capabilities, commitment and knowledge of our pilots and search and rescue workers, we simply need a dedicated first-response helicopter to have a chance at averting future tragedies and loss of life,” said Foote.
“My motion received support of the House of Commons one year ago, without any support from Conservative Members of Parliament. It is my hope the Conservative government will review Commissioner Robert Wells’ report and invest in improving the search and rescue capabilities in our country,” said Foote. “This issue is a serious one for the people of Newfoundland and Labrador, and all those who work in our offshore, in the oil, fishing, tourism and export industries.”
“The Conservative government points to budget constraints whenever they are asked to fund something that isn’t part of their narrow agenda. However, Harper Conservatives repeatedly defend the almost $1-billion spent on a three-day summit for the G8/G20 in June. I find it indefensible that this government has driven Canada’s finances into a $55.6-billion deficit but refuses to fund a dedicated first-response helicopter. Where has the money gone?” said Foote. “It is impossible to tell the offshore workers who are living in fear that the federal government recklessly spent nearly $200,000 on a fake lighthouse and another $200-million of taxpayers’ money on glow sticks, bug spray, sunscreen and snacks for foreign dignitaries visiting Canada for three days in June so now the Conservative government has nothing to contribute to protect their safety.”
“Commissioner Wells also calls for the federal government, in cooperation with the province, to establish, mandate and fund a new, independent and stand-alone Safety Regulator. I call upon the Conservative government to make this agency a safety regulator for the offshore industry a priority,” said Foote.
Judy M. Foote-(709) 832-1383