Nfld. & Labrador

N.L. minister vows to fight for rescue centre

The province's fisheries minister is vowing to keep up the fight to save the Maritime Rescue Sub-centre in St. John's.

The province's fisheries minister is vowing to keep up the fight to save the coast guard's Maritime Rescue Sub-centre in St. John's.

As part of the federal government's effort to save more than $50 million, search and rescue co-ordination services in St. John's are being moved to existing Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centres in Halifax and Trenton, Ontario.

Newfoundland and Labrador Fisheries Minister Clyde Jackman met with his federal counterpart in Ottawa Thursday, but could not change Keith Ashfield's mind.

Jackman says the loss of local expertise puts mariners in jeopardy.

"These are life safety issues. The people who work in these offices know our coastline. They know what boats are out in the areas. And they know the intimate details of what occurs off our shores," said Jackman.

He is urging the public to take up the fight to reverse the decision.

"I've encouraged people, you know, to write to the minister to do what they have to get their points across," said Jackman.

In the House of Commons Thursday, opposition politicians questioned Ashfield about the decision, saying it would jeopardize safety.

Ashfield defended the decision.

"Safety and operational needs will not be compromised by the closure of these call centres," he told Parliament.