A provincial Liberal MHA in Labrador is calling for a thorough review of search and rescue services in Newfoundland and Labrador following the death of a 14-year-old near Makkovik.
Randy Edmunds, who represents the Torngat Mountains District, wasn’t satisfied with the information Canadian Forces officials gave during a news conference on Wednesday.
"It’s clear that a comprehensive review of search and rescue (SAR) services is needed in this province," he said in a news release Thursday.
"The Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre in Halifax has all the SAR resources that Atlantic Canadians depend on, yet they failed to execute a timely response to our request."
Edmunds, who took part in the search for Burton Winters last week, was responding to the report of an internal investigation in which the Canadian Forces concluded that they "acted in accordance with current practices for ground search and rescue."
"The question remains, could this tragedy have been avoided had the SAR Coordination Centre applied its resources instead of holding back?" asked Edmunds.
"If so, we need to carefully examine what changes are required if the federal government is to fulfill its mandate of providing dependable SAR services. The value of life in our province should be just as important as in the rest of the country."
Edmunds also said he is "dismayed" by Premier Kathy Dunderdale’s "lack of leadership" on the SAR issue, including the slated closure of the Maritime Rescue Sub-Centre in St. John’s.
"The premier should seek an urgent meeting with the Prime Minister and demand a complete review of all SAR operations in the province," he said.
"Anything less than that is simply not acceptable. Lives in our province are more at risk now than ever before and unless current protocol is changed, more lives will be lost."