September 16, 2021 – Today, the Fish, Food and Allied Workers Union (FFAW-Unifor) released its federal election report card, grading responses to a questionnaire on key issues affecting the Union’s membership.
FFAW-Unifor sent the questionnaire to all three political parties and received responses from the Liberal Party and the New Democratic Party. Union members were disappointed to find that the Conservative Party failed to acknowledge the questionnaire.
“There hasn’t been enough focus during this federal campaign by candidates on the matters that the FFAW have brought forward. However, the responses provided by the Liberals and NDP on where they stand on important issues affecting FFAW members is constructive and valuable,” said Keith Sullivan, FFAW-Unifor President.
The Union is pleased that all parties who responded to the questionnaire seem to understand that the Blue Economy must by founded on the protection of the owner/operator inshore fishery through the enforcement of the Owner-Operator and Fleet Separation regulations. Both parties also committed to enhance harvester participation in fisheries management decisions, acknowledging that it is critical for formal consultative processes to integrate the experience and perspective of harvesters into all aspects of policy and governance decisions.
On adjacency, only the NDP stated that this principle should be a cornerstone in the allocation of quotas together with accurate stock numbers. On a question specific to inshore access to the emerging redfish fishery, the Liberals provided a vague response, stating that their government will continue to make fisheries management decisions based on the best available science. On the recommendation for a commitment of a significant portion of the new redfish fishery to be allocated to the inshore fleet, the NDP wrote that with the evidence of the stock’s growth, at least 50% should go to the inshore.
On the matter of addressing seal overpopulation and its impact on various fish stocks, the Liberals cited that they would continue to study the relationship between seals and the health of cod and capelin stocks to inform decisions around the management of the seal harvest, which is indicative of an unchanged strategy. The NDP did state that the impact of the seal population is concerning and that a review of the Department’s management of the population is necessary, however, they did not expand on their plan for action.
The Liberal government also cited what its government has already done to advance EI reform and provide supports for new entrants to the industry, without providing a vision for how their government will improve on existing processes. The NDP stated a firm commitment to EI reform, but their explanation for what and how supports need to change within the current system is very brief. All parties were clear that we must find new ways to help young harvesters enter the fishery through education, training, access to capital and enforcement of the fleet separation policy.
“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 in the best interest of political parties to engage in discussions on matters that directly impact the quality of life and livelihood of our membership. When a party chooses to not participate in such discussions and in a critical time, it sends a message that their government will also be disinterested in matters of importance if elected. Without a doubt, FFAW-Unifor members will be vocal and persistent in holding the government to account once the ballots are counted on September 20th”, Sullivan concluded.
For media inquiries, please contact:
Courtney Langille, FFAW-Unifor Communications Officer