CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

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Radio Noon - February 4, 2011

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Since December, ten people have been arrested for drinking and driving in Labrador West.
 That's way above the norm. The RNC say in a normal year they arrest a total of 22 to 30 drivers. Add in the horrible accident in Wabush on the fifth of December. When a couple walked home instead of driving, because they'd had a few drinks. Instead of getting home safely, they themselves were struck by a vehicle. Shane Mercer later died of his injuries.
 And Leisa Penney is still recovering from hers. The police have charged 29-year old Jeremy Shannon Reid of Wabush with impaired operation of a vehicle causing death, and other charges. What's behind the increase in drinking and driving in Western Labrador? That's a question that Mothers Against Drunk Driving is grappling with. Josephine Gaulton Rowe is the volunteer president of MADD in Labrador West. She joins me on the line now.
The whole reason the Waste Management Committee of the Great Humber Joint Council was put together was to do something about people dumping car wrecks and old washing machines and the like inside municipal boundaries. But the problem's not going away.
 In fact, thanks to satellite technology, the Committee's been able to identify 13-hundred pieces of junk dumped in the woods. And there are fears even more will be dumped in the future. Tony Oxford chairs the committee. He's also the mayor of Cox's Cove.
Today on the show, Search and Rescue Response times. Do you think they're fast enough?
 Military search and rescue personnel in Gander need to be in the air within 30 minutes of the call coming in. That's if it comes in weekdays, between 8 and 4 p.m. Otherwise, two hours is the window of time to get airborn. The House of Commons Standing Committee on National Defence has been holding hearings on the issue. It follows from the crash of Cougar Flight 491 in 2009. The crash that killed 17 people. On that dark day in March, the search and rescue Cormorants stationed at Cdn Forces Base Gander were in Greenwood, Nova Scotia on a training mission. It meant a one-hour delay in getting a Cormorant to the scene. Search and rescue response times have been an issue for fishermen as well. Some examples:  the sinking of the Ryan's Commander in 2004, and the Melina and Keith in 2005.  Are search and rescue response times fast enough? My guests in studio today are both members of the House of Commons Standing Committee on National Defence: St. John's East N-D-P M-P Jack Harris. And the Liberal M-P for Bonavista-Exploits, Scott Simms.