The Canadian Coast Guard's decision to replace Search & Rescue personnel with auxilliary volunteers is a direct insult to mariners in Vancouver says UCTE.
Christine Collins , National President of the Union of Canadian Transportation Employees (UCTE) sees the Coast Guard as thumbing its nose at Search & Rescue professionals.
As part of its budget saving measures, the CCG had decided to close the search and rescue station in Kitsilano, BC. causing a public outcry. The new Auxilliary station will be located in Stanley Park.
"With five auxiliary stations in the Greater Vancouver area, one would think that CCG would want at least one base that would have dedicated, trained professionals with appropriate resources who can deal with any eventuality", said Collins. "This decision goes to show you that their bottom line doesn't consider the value of a human life."
"This is a shell game," said Collins. "The CCG is trying to create the illusion that all will be well but experience has taught us you can't replace skilled professionals with well-intentioned volunteer recreational boaters. It's like asking a St. John's ambulance responder to do the job of a paramedic. I'm afraid people will die before the decision makers realize that this isn't a game."
The Union of Canadian Transportation Employees, a component of the Public Service Alliance of Canada, represents the ships' crew and search & rescue specialists with the Canadian Coast Guard.