CAW/Marine Workers Federation Urges Opposition MPs to Support Canadian Shipbuilding

March 12, 2009, 11:32 AM EST


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The CAW has outlined to opposition MPs in Atlantic Canada the pressing need for action to support the beleaguered Canadian shipbuilding industry.

At a recent meeting the Atlantic Liberal Caucus heard a presentation from the CAW/Marine Workers Federation on why the shipbuilding and marine industry needs government action now, to stimulate the economy, while supporting an industry of strategic importance to Canada.

"Some of our concern is over the present Conservative Governments' intent on possibly building our naval and coast guard vessels in foreign countries - such a decision would be a first for Canada and it would amount to a final death blow for the industry in Canada," said Les Holloway, CAW Atlantic Canada Area Director. Holloway and Wayne Butler, President of CAW/MWF Local 20 attended the meetings.

"It was an important opportunity to impress on the opposition parties the importance of a shipbuilding industry to Atlantic Canada, the lack of direction from the federal government, the changes needed in our industry and the policies needed to implement those changes," Butler said. "By working together with our union, the government and industry can achieve those changes".

There were more than 25 Liberal MP's and Senators in attendance at the meeting. Later that afternoon they met with Paul Zed, Michael Ignatieff's Chief of Staff, to discuss issues concerning the industry including policy initiatives that are  needed, as well as the one-sided trade agreements, such as the European Free Trade Association agreement, that is further placing the industry at a competitive disadvantage.

In meetings with the NDP Atlantic Caucus there was discussion on the issue after the CAW stressed the importance of doing whatever is necessary to ensure federal government procurement needs are met by using the Canadian shipbuilding industry and by employing Canadian workers to meet those needs.

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