22 August 2013

Liberal Party Fact Check: Search and Rescue #nlpoli

What is it about politicians in Newfoundland and Labrador and search and rescue?


Newly minted Liberal MHA Lisa Dempster issued a news release on Thursday about rumoured changes at SERCO in Goose Bay.

And that’s where the problems start.

Libs   SAR

The news release includes a lovely photograph of a yellow helicopter.  The first problem is that it isn’t Canadian.  What they’ve got is a Royal Air Force Sea King helicopter.  You can see the letters RAF clearly on the forward part of the fuselage.Libs   SAR closeup

The second problem is that Canada doesn’t use Sea Kings for search and rescue.  They use Cormorants and sometimes Griffons.  They might, possibly, theoretically bring in an RCAF Sea King under extreme circumstances, but they are grey, not yellow.

Read the release and things don’t get any better.

In the first paragraph, you see not one but two linked shag-ups.  First,  Dempster’s release is based solely on the claim made by a union official about staff cuts at the weather office at Goose Bay.  The second and more significant part of that twin cock-up is that she accepts without any information at all this guy’s claims about the impact this will have for search and rescue.

Here’s a prediction:  it will have nil effect.  none.  Zip.  Nada.

Then there’s this complete pile of gibberish:
“Our province has been plagued with search and rescue issues under this government and they talk about search and rescue, but little action has been taken to deal with these serious shortfalls,” said Dempster.
SERCO is contracted by the federal government to provide support service at 5 Wing,  part of National Defence, which is a federal department.

The search and rescue implications the union guy as talking about are…wait for it…federal.

The problems Dempster is talking about are actually entirely provincial responsibilities.  But Dempster’s predecessor and  - apparently – Dempster herself – don’t have a clue about who does what with what, where, when, why, and how.

There’s more.

The next paragraph begins with this:
The federal Auditor General conducted a report on Search and Rescue operations across the country and identified many gaps in our province’s system.
Again.  Same confusion.  The federal Auditor General reviewed search and rescue services provided by the federal government.  Our “province’s system’ hasn’t been reviewed by anyone, which is one of the reasons why the system continues to have huge problems.

Dempster gets bonus points for humour, though for this inadvertent joke:  “There was also confusion surrounding the federal and provincial search and rescue roles and responsibilities.”

Not was.  Is.  As in Dempster is confused.  Terribly. And the confusion is in the minds of politicians like Dempster,  whoever wrote this news release for her, and - to be fair  - Premier Kathy Dunderdale who has also carried on with the same sort of foolishness as Dempster and her predecessor.

Not surprisingly, a news release painfully free of facts adds this completely false statement:
The closures of the Marine Rescue Subcentre in St. John’s and Marine Communications and Traffic Services Centres in St. Anthony and St. John’s, has also had an effect on search and rescue efforts.
There’s no evidence yet that any of that is true.  Sure people like Merv Wiseman claimed it, but that doesn’t make it true.  He’s said lots of crap before.

Now this release will get lots of play and Dempster will be a hero in her district.  But she won’t accomplish anything other than make noise, just like her predecessor did nothing but screech and bawl.

They won’t actually bring any serious improvements to search and rescue because they don’t know what they are talking about.

And that is embarrassingly obvious.