Re­liv­ing our past

The Southern Gazette - - EDITORIAL -

Jack­man, the prov­ince’s fish­eries min­is­ter for the past two years, in Burin Sat­ur­day af­ter­noon.

As the work­ers chanted slo­gans such as “Don’t lie like Clyde!” and “We want work!” be­hind him, Al­lan Moul­ton, pres­i­dent of the Fish, Food and Al­lied Work­ers (FFAW) union at the Marys­town plant, asked the pre­mier to level the play­ing field with the com­pany.

With the com­pany not pro­cess­ing yel­low­tail at the Marys­town plant at the mo­ment, the union wants the pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment to end an ex­emp­tion granted to Ocean Choice that al­lows it to send red fish out of the prov­ince un­pro­cessed.

Last week, the FFAW took down a picket line in Bay Roberts that was prevent­ing the depar­ture of one of the com­pany’s ves­sels fol­low­ing a Supreme Court in­junc­tion.

Stand­ing her ground, Mrs. Dun­derdale said she was not pre­pared to stop the ex­emp­tion, point­ing out agree­ments are in place and peo­ple are de­pen­dent on that op­er­a­tion for their in­comes as well.

The pre­mier told Mr. Moul­ton she was pre­pared to meet with the union af­ter the Oct. 11 elec­tion but not be­fore.

“We’re not go­ing to be black­mailed into do­ing some­thing that’s not ap­pro­pri­ate.”

Mrs. Dun­derdale said she be­lieved the Marys­town plant has a fu­ture but sug­gested the so­lu­tion must work for the em­ploy­ees, com­pany and peo­ple of the prov­ince.

“We want to deal with the struc­tural is­sues in the fish­ery, but ev­ery­one’s got to come to the ta­ble. The only one that’s been there so far is the Gov­ern­ment of New­found­land and Labrador.”

Mr. Moul­ton said work­ers had done all they could to make the Marys­town op­er­a­tion vi­able.

“We don’t want to be at this. This is the last thing we wants to be at.”

Ref­er­enc­ing the fight to keep the fish plant in Burin open back in the 1980s, a bat­tle for which she was on the front lines at the time, Mrs. Dun­derdale said she re­spected the work­ers and the dif­fi­cult po­si­tion they are in.

“It’s never been an easy in­dus­try to earn a liv­ing in, and I ap­pre­ci­ate that. I do. Look, I’ve lived it all my life. I un­der­stand it. So we’ll find a way for­ward, and we’ll do it to­gether, but we got to do in a sen­si­ble way, and we fi­nally got to find a so­lu­tion that works.”

‘FOUR MORE YEARS’

Once the group, which also in­cluded Grand Bank MHA and Hu­man Re­sources, Labour and Em­ploy­ment Min­is­ter Darin King, fi­nally made it in­side the Muriel Isaacs Build­ing, it was an en­tirely dif­fer­ent at­mos­phere.

A room full of en­thu­si­as­tic sup­port­ers of­fered cho­ruses of “Clyde! Clyde!” and ‘Four more years!”

Mr. Jack­man took it all in stride.

“The won­der­ful thing about democ­racy is that that stuff can hap­pen.”

Be­fore turn­ing it over to the pre­mier, he told sup­port­ers he was do­ing all he could for the Marys­town plant work­ers and noted he had firmly re­buffed Ocean Choice when the com­pany came to him last March, say­ing it was look­ing to close the fa­cil­ity.

Mrs. Dun­derdale, who ac­knowl­edged fam­ily and friends com­prised much of the au­di­ence, said she was a lit­tle emo­tional.

Like she had done with Mr. King ear­lier that morn­ing at his head­quar­ters in Grand Bank, she sang the praises of her two col­leagues and the jobs they have done in gov­ern­ment – both in rep­re­sent­ing their con­stituents and with their var­i­ous cab­i­net port­fo­lios.

“We work very well to­gether. Be­tween all three of us, we’ve had a smack a just about every­thing on the Burin Penin­sula – so­cial work, ed­u­ca­tion, fish­eries, you name it – we’ve been in­volved in com­mu­nity, and I think we un­der­stand that one very well.”

Ac­knowl­edg­ing the prov­ince is in ex­cel­lent shape but not­ing there are still some chal­lenges ahead, the pre­mier asked for the sup­port of those present on Oct. 11.

“Give me these two guys back be­cause I’m go­ing to need them in the next eight years.”

Af­ter Burin, the cam­paign was sched­uled to roll into Marys­town for sev­eral stops, be­fore head­ing back up the high­way for one fi­nal pause at the fu­ture site of the new health clinic in Pla­cen­tia West.

Dur­ing the day, the pre­mier also trav­elled around the ‘loop’, visit­ing a num­ber of com­mu­ni­ties, in­clud­ing La­ma­line and St. Lawrence.

FILE PHOTO

Upon ar­rival for a cam­paign stop with Burin-Pla­cen­tia West MHA Clyde Jack­man and Grand Bank MHA Darin King in Burin Sat­ur­day af­ter­noon, Pre­mier Kathy Dun­derdale was con­fronted by Al­lan Moul­ton, pres­i­dent of the Fish, Food and Al­lied Work­ers union at the fish plant in Marys­town, and dozens of up­set out-of-work em­ploy­ees from the fa­cil­ity.

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