Monday, June 9, 2014

No ice compensation - period

Mr. Speaker, hundreds of fishermen have been without income since mid-April because of severe ice conditions, and the government keeps putting them off. The minister told me yesterday that she was misquoted in the media and she is not willing to compensate fishermen and their families. Instead, she is prepared to extend the crab season so fishermen can catch their quotas.
That does nothing to address the lack of income right now. Food has to be put on the table. Bills must be paid.
Cutting to the chase, will the minister agree to clear up the confusion? Will there be ice compensation, yes or no?
Mr. Speaker, the confusion is on that side of the House. I regret that ice and weather conditions have affected fishers in some areas of Atlantic Canada, but if conditions remain as predicted, the one remaining closed area will open at 6:00 a.m. tomorrow. However, weather and ice conditions are unpredictable, so I do urge fishers to exercise caution.
I must say it is surprising to hear this new-found concern for fishers coming from this member, who once referred to fish processing plants as stamp factories and said that dependency on the federal government “has slowly rotted outport life to the core”.

NOTE: The quote Shea references comes from a 2008 column I wrote as editor-in-chief of The Independent newspaper.

Find a reference to the column here. I came out against a job-sharing project aimed for the Cooke Aquaculture Inc. operation in Harbour Breton in which the company agreed to hire upwards of 300 people on a job sharing shift-schedule so that a greater number will qualify for EI.

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