Defence Minister Peter MacKay says it's not true that a search and rescue helicopter was retasked to pick him up at a fishing resort and drop him off at a Gander, Nfld., airport in 2010.The helicopter, a CH-149 Cormorant based in Gander, was a primary SAR aircraft and its crew was on 30 minutes notice for Search and Rescue tasking. If they were taken away from their primary role of being prepared to launch, on 30 minutes notice, on any mission assigned by Joint Rescue Coordination Centre Halifax, the role of that aircraft and crew was changed from "primary" SAR aircraft to "multi-tasked" SAR aircraft ... at the very least. There is every possibility that the aircraft was dropped in status to "secondary" SAR aircraft.
A primary SAR resource has no other purpose than to be prepared to deploy for SAR. If it is deployed for any other purpose it is no longer a primary SAR resource and it must be relegated to either "multi-tasked" or "secondary". That, no matter how you decided to cut it, is re-tasking.
A SAR mission coordinator at JRCC would have difficulty using an aircraft already under a different mission order since there would be a requirement to clear the aircraft from its operational commander to divert and then, with some additional difficulty, compensate for the differing time to arrive on-scene and the reduced endurance due to fuel consumed, flight time already burned off and the need to discharge the passenger prior to continuing on an operational mission.
Strangely, MacKay should be acutely aware of those conditions. He is, after all, the LMSAR - the Lead Minister for Search and Rescue and responsible for the National Search and Rescue Secretariat.
Either he's too dumb to hold such a position or he has yet to tell us the truth.