Canada sending four war ships to Louisiana
personally I don't know if this is good or bad what do you folks think? Do you necessairly need this form of response? Do you think this is a bit overkill?
Canada sending four ships to Louisiana: Graham
CTV.ca News Staff
Defence Minister Bill Graham has announced that Ottawa is sending three Canadian warships and a coast guard vessel packed with relief supplies to the hurricane-ravaged U.S. Gulf Coast.
Graham said the destroyer, HMCS Athabaskan, and two frigates, HMCS Ville de Quebec and HMCS Toronto, are being readied for deployment and should leave Halifax in three or four days. They will be accompanied by the CCGS Sir William Alexander.
It will take another three to four days before the ships arrive in the Gulf of Mexico.
Organizers of the mission, dubbed Operation Union, said the ships are expected to provide humanitarian aid, along with divers, and engineering expertise for reconstruction.
As well, three Sea King helicopters will be sent to ferry personnel into the devastated areas.
Commodore Dean McFadden, who will command the deployment, said they were discussing with their American counterparts what their role will be during the expected month-long mission.
He thought their duties will involve reconstruction, health care and humanitarian aid.
"We will have the capacity to move people. We'll have the capacity to bring medical supplies and fuel capabilities,'' McFadden said as he stood on the dock next to destroyer HMCS Athabaskan, the command and control ship for the mission.
"The specific jobs we're going to do, I'll wait until the Americans tell us what help they need.''
Earlier, Prime Minister Paul Martin told reporters in Saskatoon that "whatever aid is required [Canada] will provide it."
The prime minister rejected the suggestion that Canada has been slow to react to the growing crisis.
"We're not waiting to be asked for help," Martin told reporters at a pancake breakfast commemorating Saskatchewan's centennial celebration.
"We're waiting to be told how our aid can best be directed.
"The Americans have said to us, 'Listen we're not in a position to take this. We have to set up coordinating bodies.' Once they are set up, we will be able to do it. But for us just to land there in the midst of a lot of chaos really wouldn't do anybody any good."
Ottawa is also responding on another front.
Martin announced Friday that Canada will increase oil exports as requested by the International Energy Agency.
"Our goal will be to help stabilize the existing situation but not in any way that will impose any diminishing supply for Canadians," Martin said.
If the other 26 member countries do the same they will help stabilize the world market in the wake of the storm, which badly damaged the U.S. Gulf Coast oil supply.
Martin said he had consulted with the province and oil companies before making his decision.
He said the aid effort won't result in a shortage in Canada.
Canadian drivers have been hammered at the gas pumps in recent days due to energy price spikes cause by the hurricane.