09 November 2016

The real news in one sentence #nlpoli

According to its supporters, we need to have a special office for search and rescue in St. John's because Newfoundlanders spoke English so poorly that no one could understand us.

Lives would be in jeopardy because Merv Wiseman lost his job. Wiseman was one of the loudest critics of the federal government's 2013 decision to close the Maritime Rescue Sub-Centre.

That's the full extent of the argument advanced by Wiseman,  then-member of parliament Jack Harris, and a raft of others.  There were all sorts of hysterical claims about the decision, including the old chestnut that the evil Stephen Harper Conservatives were punishing the people of the province for something or other.

Well, the federal Liberals have promised to put the office back.  It will take them another two eyars, meaning that we will have a total of five years without it.

In the past three years,  no one has died because Merv wasn't on the phone to decipher whatever words some poor old fisherman yelled into his radio.

There's absolutely no evidence that anyone was in any jeopardy at all.

And in the next two years,  nothing bad will happen either because there isn't a sub-centre doing anything with maritime rescue in St. John's.

Luck  - magic - had nothing to do with this.  Nobody died and nobody will die in the next two years because the sub-centre simply did not do anything useful anymore.  

Establishing something called the Maritime Rescue Sub-Centre is an example of politics over necessity.  It will transfer some federal jobs into St. John's and the relative cost of it is small against the political reward it should bring.

From a pragmatic standpoint, though, other parts of the federal announcement this week will do more to protect the lives of people working offshore Newfoundland and Labrador than a dozen offices of people manning telephones.  The federal government will build two new lifeboat stations on the northeast coast and build a couple of coastal surveillance radars.  

That news  - the real meat of the story  - took up precisely one sentence in the CBC version of this story.  Everything else focused on the meaningless, superficial, and utterly irrelevent story about Merv Wiseman's old job. 

One sentence.

The Telegram story was the same and added refurbishment of the existing lifeboat station in St. Anthony to the list. Ditto V-O.

One sentence of hard news.  The rest about the sub-centre.