FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Friday, Aug. 26th, 2022
National Defence runs Canada's fleet of Cormorant search and rescue helicopters, including those based in Canadian Forces Base Gander.
Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (SEA-NL) joins Indigenous leaders in expressing disappointment that search and rescue (SAR) services for Labrador are not Ottawa’s highest priority.
“For as long as the entire Labrador coastline is void of a dedicated Canadian Coast Guard ship, and a dedicated Cormorant helicopter to carry out primary SAR missions, the issue must top all agendas,” says Merv Wiseman, a member of SEA-NL’s executive, and outspoken advocate for stronger SAR services.
Defence Minister Anita Anand visited Canadian Forces base 5 Wing Goose Bay Wednesday to reiterate Ottawa’s $38.6-million funding commitment over 20 years to improve the country’s military bases.
Infrastructure at 5 Wing Goose will reportedly be upgraded, including new surveillance and air weapons systems.
Indigenous leaders representing the NunatuKavut community council, and the Nunatsiavut government expressed disappointment following the minister’s visit at the lack of federal commitment to improved SAR services for Labrador.
SEA-NL passed a resolution at its founding convention earlier this year that Fisheries and Oceans Canada dedicate a primary Canadian Coast Guard vessel to Labrador; and that National Defence assign a dedicated Cormorant helicopter to 5 Wing Goose Bay.
“SEA-NL will be calling on the Defence Minister to seize the opportunity that still exists to establish 5 Wing Goose as a legitimate search and rescue base for Labrador,” Wiseman said.
Labrador represents one of the largest geographical areas in Canada without a dedicated SAR air or maritime resource stationed in its region.