MEDIA RELEASE: FFAW Releases Results of Federal Election Questionnaire on the Fishery
October 17, 2019
The results of the Fish, Food and Allied Workers Union (FFAW-Unifor) federal election questionnaire released today show mixed commitments from the four major political parties on key issues related to fish harvesting, processing and labour relations.
“In the midst of the federal election campaign, it can be hard to ensure there is enough discussion on the fishery. However, we are pleased to have received responses from the four major federal parties in advance of election day,” says Keith Sullivan, FFAW-Unifor President.
FFAW-Unifor sent a questionnaire to four political parties and received responses from all; the Liberal Party, Conservative Party, New Democratic Party, and the Green Party. FFAW-Unifor summarized the responses to each question under four categories; full commitment, partial commitment, no commitment, and no response. While the responses from each of the four parties varied from question to question, the New Democratic Party and Liberal Party provided the most concrete commitments, while the Green Party and Conservative Party provided fewer details or in some cases, no response at all to the questions posed by FFAW-Unifor.
“Any party that is vying for your vote this election must understand the importance of the inshore fishery to our rural communities and to our province. We ask that FFAW-Unifor members consider the issues that affect their families and their communities, review the responses from parties, and ask hard questions of candidates before casting their ballot,” continues Sullivan.
The Union is pleased that three parties clearly committed to and understand the important role renewed groundfish fisheries will play in the future of the inshore fishery. The Liberals, NDP and Greens affirmed their support for the previous federal government’s commitment that the first 115,000 metric tonnes of northern cod be allocated to owner-operator fish harvesters and Indigenous groups, however the Liberals stopped short of committing to formalize this in a new groundfish integrated fisheries management plan (IFMP). The Conservative Party made no commitment.
FFAW-Unifor members consistently raise the need for reforms to the Employment Insurance system to bring consistency and fairness on wait times, sick benefits, work incentives, and rate of compensation. The NDP made a full commitment to address this, while the Liberals and Greens made partial commitments and the Conservatives did not respond to the question.
On the issue of applying economic, social, and cultural factors to the setting of quotas and allocations of various fisheries to ensure Newfoundland and Labrador harvesters have access to their fair share of fish resources on our doorstep, the Liberals and NDP committed to ensuring these factors are prioritized in decision making. The Greens made no commitment in their response, while the Conservatives did not respond to the question.
“FFAW-Unifor members live in hundreds of communities around our province and our votes can have a significant impact on the outcome of the election. It is unfortunate that some political parties have not spoken more directly to the issues important to our members,” says Sullivan. “Without a doubt, FFAW-Unifor members will continue to be vocal and persistent in holding the government to account once the ballots are counted on October 21st.”
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