HUGHES CALLS FOR REINSTATEMENT OF JOINT PREPAREDNESS PROGRAM:

Heavy search and rescue undervalued by surplus-hungry government

Ottawa – Heavy search and rescue teams across the country are being starved for resources while a surplus-hungry government hordes cash to lure voters with, according to Algoma-Manitoulin-Kapuskasing MP, Carol Hughes.

Hughes grilled the government about 2012 budget cuts to the Joint Preparedness Program after last week’s report from the Elliot Lake Inquiry recommended a bigger federal commitment to heavy search and rescue teams across the country.

“The final report of the Elliot Lake inquiry underlined the critical importance of a quality heavy urban search and rescue response in such situations,” said Hughes.  “Rather than improve these services, in 2012 the Conservatives cut funding for the program that supports these units across the country.”

Hughes feels the cuts would have gone unnoticed if disaster hadn’t struck and wants to make sure that the memories of Lucie Aylwin and Doloris Perizzolo are properly honoured by acting on the Inquiry’s recommendations.

“Is the minister going to learn from the tragedy of Elliot Lake and stop cutting programs for the safety and security of Canadians?,” said Hughes. "It's not about taking it under advisement, it's about taking action!"