13 July 2010

If you could get him for what he knew…

Some politicians just don’t know when to stop.

On Tuesday, new Democratic Party member of parliament Jack Harris (St. John’s East) did an interview with CBC’s St. John’s morning radio show.  The subject of the interview was news yesterday that an offshore supply vessel working for Suncor had reduced its on-call fast rescue craft crewing from two crews to one. 

That met Transport Canada’s regulations, a point Harris acknowledged during the interview very early on by referring to…well… “Transport Canada regulations”.  Harris expressed some concern – others have too – have any reduction in available rescue crews in light of last year’s offshore helicopter crash.

Fair enough.  It’s a good point and, later on Tuesday, the company restored the two-crew standard.*

Had Jack stopped there he might have been okay.  As it is, the program host tossed Jack a question about the potential role in all this for the offshore regulatory board.  Jack offered the view that, as some people have been suggesting to the ongoing offshore helicopter inquiry, this might be a good occasion to review the possible need for a separate regulatory agency that just looks after offshore safety.

Minor problem.

The offshore regulatory board doesn’t do safety regulations.

Jack obviously knows this, as he demonstrated earlier in the interview. This is one of those decisions that remain the exclusive jurisdiction of the Government of Canada under the 1985 Atlantic Accord.

Therefore – try and follow the logic – if the offshore regulatory board doesn’t do offshore safety regulations, then some other entirely separate organization must do it.


So what is the frackin’ point of studying the need for a separate regulatory board  for safety when there is one already called Transport Canada?

There isn’t any. 



Clarification:  Suncor will only have two crews on standby when there are two rigs.  They will add the second standby crew when the Henry Goodrich is back in the fall to do additional drill work.

As the online CBC story puts it:

John Downton, communications manager for Suncor's east coast operations, said a second dedicated crew will return to the Burin Sea this fall, when the Henry Goodrich returns to work at Terra Nova.

Downton said Suncor, which merged last year with Petro-Canada and is the operating partner of the Terra Nova consortium, has been following regulations established under Canadian law, which require one fast-rescue craft per offshore installation.

"We meet regulatory requirements," Downton told CBC News. "We don't set the regulations — we follow them."