By BJ Bjornson
On Thursday, a search and rescue mission to pick up a father and son pair turned tragic when it was reported that one the soldiers who had taken part in the rescue did not survive the mission. Sometime between parachuting from a C-130 transport to where the two boaters where located and the time that the search and rescue helicopter made the 2,700km journey to pick the boaters and rescue personnel up, Sgt. Janick Gilbert perished.
The death has again raised a question that was posed after a First Air 737 crashed near the community of Resolute in August, the complete lack of search and rescue personnel and equipment in the entire north of Canada. In the case of the 737 crash, the survivors were almost impossibly fortunate to have crashed during the annual Canadian Arctic military exercise, located this year in the very community they crashed outside of, within hours of a planned simulation on how to deal with a potential airline crash in the area. In that case, anything less than a quite rapid and complete response would have raised a few questions to my mind.
For the boaters in Igloolik, the situation was far closer to normal, with local first responders doing what they could while they waited for a military search team that had to travel roughly the same distance as Chicago to Los Angeles, with that team waiting again while a rescue helicopter made the same journey.
There is no question that the Nunavut Territory is a vast landscape, almost more than most people can comprehend, even if you live here. But it is also true that any location within the territory would have been a lot closer to mount a rescue out of than bases in southern Canada where they are launched from now.
As of yet, there isn�t any word on how or why Sgt. Gilbert died, but if exposure to the elements played a significant part in his death, that time lag in bringing personnel and equipment up from the south is going to face more scrutiny, as well it should. For all of our Conservative government�s talk of asserting Canada�s Arctic sovereignty, their actual actions in this regard have been sorely lacking, such as PM Harper�s claim after the First Air crash that having a full-time rescue squad in the north was unreasonable.
It will probably continue to be �unreasonable� until someone decides that the number of lives lost that could be saved with a more timely response is even more unreasonable.
Farewell. The Flying Pig Has Left The Building.
Steve Hynd, August 16, 2012
After four years on the Typepad site, eight years total blogging, Newshoggers is closing it's doors today. We've been coasting the last year or so, with many of us moving on to bigger projects (Hey, Eric!) or simply running out of blogging enthusiasm, and it's time to give the old flying pig a rest.
We've done okay over those eight years, although never being quite PC enough to gain wider acceptance from the partisan "party right or wrong" crowds. We like to think we moved political conversations a little, on the ever-present wish to rush to war with Iran, on the need for a real Left that isn't licking corporatist Dem boots every cycle, on America's foreign misadventures in Afghanistan and Iraq. We like to think we made a small difference while writing under that flying pig banner. We did pretty good for a bunch with no ties to big-party apparatuses or think tanks.
Those eight years of blogging will still exist. Because we're ending this typepad account, we've been archiving the typepad blog here. And the original blogger archive is still here. There will still be new content from the old 'hoggers crew too. Ron writes for The Moderate Voice, I post at The Agonist and Eric Martin's lucid foreign policy thoughts can be read at Democracy Arsenal.
I'd like to thank all our regular commenters, readers and the other bloggers who regularly linked to our posts over the years to agree or disagree. You all made writing for 'hoggers an amazingly fun and stimulating experience.
Thank you very much.
Note: This is an archive copy of Newshoggers. Most of the pictures are gone but the words are all here. There may be some occasional new content, John may do some posts and Ron will cross post some of his contributions to The Moderate Voice so check back.
Tuesday, November 1, 2011
Rescue and Death in the North
By BJ Bjornson