Search and Rescue centre rally draws thousands
Around 2,500 people gathered at the waterfront in St. John's on Saturday for a rally against the federal government's decision to close the Maritime Rescue Sub-Centre.
Chanting, sign waving, live music and special guest speakers highlighted the event.
A very passionate St. John's Mayor Dennis O'Keefe told the crowd he hoped Prime Minister Stephen Harper and local Conservative MP Peter Penashue would hear the rally cry and reverse the government's decision.
"There will be a day of reckoning," O'Keefe added.
As part of the federal government's effort to save money, search and rescue co-ordination services in St. John's are slated to move to existing Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centres in Halifax and Trenton, Ont.
Katja Janssen of the Newfoundland and Labrador Labour Council was collecting signatures to fight against the impending closure.
"People are asking me, I'm not asking the people," she said. "People are on the ocean, they need help in minutes."
"It's a powerful, energetic crowd. I think that just goes to show how dissatisfied people are with this decision," he said. Today is just sort of the first salvo, I think there will be a lot after this."
Even though Harper has been firm on his position to close the centre, Dunne said it is still worth it to fight back.
"It sends a clear message to Harper and to the federal government that this decision is not going to stand. And that people are not happy with it, and they're not just going to sit back and watch it happen," he said.