Monday, November 22, 2010

Closing Staffed Lighthouses

Canada's federal government is once again pushing to close the last staffed lighthouses on the west and coast. Surprise Surprise.

This is yet another attempt to pander to the no tax crowd from which the current version of the Conservative Government draws support.

Lets see here's $16 billion for 60 jet fighters so a couple of dozen jet jockeys can race back and forth across the country protecting us from USSR cold war bombers. Wait I just looked it up in Wikipedia and the cold war is over.

So we can throw away billions but can't spare a few million to keep lighthouses staffed.

It's been argued that our east and west coast can be protected just like our northern boarder where there's a string of automated radar huts protecting Canada's sovereignty. Those huts where built as a result of a United States initiative and were initially staffed with Canadian and American soldiers to protect us from the Reds coming over the Arctic Circle. The Grunts are gone but the sites remain.

Unfortunately because we have such an invisible presence in the Arctic the Americans, Russians, and Danes to name a few don't recognize Canada's dominion over this area. Here's hoping the Northwest Passage doesn't thaw further.

Well it occurs to me that staffed Lighthouses are remote points of sovereignty. Cue the Molson Canadian commercial. Patriotism was contracted out in the 2008 Federal Budget. Coastal Search And Rescue responsibilities of the coast guard were divested to volunteers as a cost saving move years ago.

Now staffed light houses will go. Soon those lost or in peril on our coasts will be able to count on the same world class service we provide for those lost or in danger in the remote northern regions of Canada.

Up north your emergency warning beacon sends a flash signal to an orbiting satellite which relays the signal to Canada's Command SAR centre in Trenton Ontario which is actually south of Portland Oregon.

From there highly trained and dedicated crews climb aboard their vintage 1950 four engined propeller driven planes and fly non stop for as much as 48 hours to get on site and tag your remains.

OK; on the coasts the SAR techs will show up in a 50 year old Sea King helicopter. Take comfort.

Men who go to sea in ships should not hold domain over those who stand sentinel ashore. It's bad policy.

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