Thursday, February 21, 2013
The Cons and the Angry Sea
As I've mentioned before, when I was a boy I lived by the sea.
In a place where men went out to fish in small boats.
Sometimes they would be caught in a sudden storm. Or run into some other kind of trouble.
And I'll always remember how thrilling it was to hear the thumping sound of a rescue helicopter from a nearby base heading out to help them.
So you can imagine how I feel about this story.
Residents of a tight-knit southwestern Nova Scotia community where five young fishermen were lost at sea are grieving today as it comes to grip with the news that the search has ended because there is little hope for the men’s survival.
So sad and so angry.
The father of one of the fishermen believed to have perished after their boat overturned off the coast of Nova Scotia in a storm is asking rescue teams not to give up their search for the five missing men.
George Hopkins, father of Joel Hopkins, said the Canadian Coast Guard has tracked the overturned ship, the Miss Ally, and he would like the 13.5-metre boat searched before it sinks to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean.
Because I can't help feeling that we give up too easily. I hate the fact that the only picture of this lonely life boat was taken by the U.S. Coast Guard....
And to me this story both symbolizes the deplorable state of our rescue services, and the lack of respect the Harper government has for the coastal communities of this country.
They've been closing search and rescue stations in Newfoundland and British Columbia.
The federal government has officially closed a Vancouver coast guard base that's considered to be the busiest in Canada. Fisheries and Oceans Canada announced Tuesday in a notice to mariners that the Kitsilano Canadian Coast Guard Station will no longer offer search-and-rescue services.
They've been cutting jobs and reducing services in other provinces, and callously dismissing the concerns of those who live there. Those who know the sea better than anyone, and must live with its sometimes merciless anger...
And my position is quite simple eh? I'm proud to live in such a beautiful and rugged country. I'm proud that we Canadians can take just about anything Mother Nature throws at us.
But when any of us gets into trouble I expect our government to have the best equipment, the best planes, boats, and helicopters available at all times to come to our rescue.
And that any and every search will continue until ALL hope is lost.
For I'll never forget how they couldn't get a chopper into the air to save a 14-year-old Labrador boy.
Burton Winters was last seen leaving his grandmother's home in the Inuit community of Makkovik on a Sunday afternoon almost eight weeks ago. He was reported missing that evening. The next morning, DND was asked to send a helicopter to help local searchers. But the military didn't dispatch a chopper for more than 36 hours and, by then, it was too late.
But somehow they could find a chopper to take Peter MacKay fishing.
And what more can you say eh?
Except may the angry sea hang its head for what it did to the young fishermen of Woods Harbour. And all those who loved them.
May an angry sea of public opinion cast the Harper Cons on the rocks of our contempt.
And drown them in disgrace...
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