Note: Please see Update/Mea Culpa at bottom of post in which I (gasp!) actually apologize to the Wizards of Snooklandia...
It was Budget day in Lotusland today, which meant that almost everybody was focused on all matters revenue and expenditure since the beginning of business yesterday.
Which means that nobody tried to slip anything over on anyone by sliding in under the radar, right?
Now, to be clear, Snookland is only involved here by pre-Boss/no longer Kool association. Chris Montgomery has that story, and she is right riled-up for all the right reasons:
There’s not a whole lot that’s printable to say about breaking news this afternoon that the federal Conservatives have, without notice, suddenly closed the Kitsilano coast guard base.
Yes, they had announced its closure. Yes, they had said repeatedly — and recently— that they would not revoke the decision.
But they also said just a month ago that the base was to close this spring. No precise date had been set.
So to suddenly announce that the gates were being bolted today, without so much as brief advance warning to the crew, to the hundreds of boaters on the water (even in mid-February), or to the thousands of maritime workers who labour on and near the waters of Vancouver daily — well, that’s some kind of contempt for the public.
And some kind of cowardice....
... I don’t get, and refuse to accept, that any government elected to serve the people of Canada would get away with something like this — a giant, defiant, bare-knuckled middle finger to the public that pays for its marine safety system to be run as just that, a system that will keep them as safe as reasonably possible.
I also don’t get where all the real politicians have gone, the ones willing to make decisions and announce them and stand by them when people disagree — the ones willing to fall on their swords because they think they’re doing something defensible, not something to sneak in and do in the middle of the night while people are asleep. And then refuse to take calls about.
I don’t get what happened to the elected officials with … what’s that word we used to use in newsrooms … sack. Yeah, that’s it. Sack.
Let’s remember that the base is being closed to save a reputed $700,000 a year. Its rescue function will now — today, tomorrow, who knows? — be filled by a temporary rescue boat stationed at Stanley Park from May to September, and by search-and-rescue staff at the Richmond hovercraft base that is, on a good day, 30 minutes from English Bay and the inner harbour here. It’s an impossible plan. It won’t work. It will come to grief. Anyone who sails knows that.
The coast guard union will be joined by other supporters at 5 p.m. today for a vigil at Kits base, and I guess a protest, outside the base gates.
I’m hoping anyone who can make it will take a moment to set aside their anger at Ottawa and extend a hand of thanks to any of the crew present.
They’ve done a remarkable job, under enormous personal stress, to keep us safe on the water. I think they know where this decision will lead.
I can’t imagine being them today.
I’ve come to know a number of the Kits workers personally over the past 20 years. I interviewed them for years as a maritime reporter, tagged along with them on exercises, listened to them testify at hearings and inquests, held the phone patiently on the odd late night when one of them would phone to unload their grief over crazy management decisions.
I watched as some of them refused any personal credit for rescues that required them to risk their own lives to save somebody else’s.
I watched them offer a hand or a hug or a fistful of money to families of victims marine disasters.
I wish every single one of them well.
I sure wish they would quit with all the media manipulation strategies for awhile and just try actually governing, straight-up, and transparently for a nanosecond or seven.
Meanwhile, out in the waters of Active Pass, there's....this.
Budget Day plus one Update/Correction/Mea Culpa....Originally, I had two stories up here...The other one was about the way that the Wizards of Snooklandia buried the Boss Power debacle by suddenly settling out of court so that...The Dean, Vaughn Palmer had the story...But he had it last April, not yesterday...I goofed on the timing after it came up in the Twitterfeed of a concerned citizen I follow yesterday (not mentioning them because it was my oversight, not theirs)...Thus, I apologize to all Snooklandian Wizards everywhere for having had the temerity to suggest that they would use something like Budget Day as a way to slip something under the radar because, after all, they would never, ever do anything like that.....Right?