Thursday, August 24, 2017

Fish adjacency back on the City Council correspondence menu

Dwindling employment options at
Prince Rupert Fish plants made for a
discussion theme at City Council
Councillor Joy Thorkelson has once again raised an issue related to the North Coast fishery for immediate action by Council, with the city council member and representative of UFAWU-Unifor asking for council to forward a correspondence to the Federal Fisheries minister, seeking to ensure that the theme of adjacency in the fishery is included in any potential review of the federal Fisheries Act.

Thorkelson raised the issue at the end of Monday's council session, noting that the city is facing a very short timeline in order to provide their contribution to the call for submissions related to the proposed review.

Noting that the deadline for those correspondences arrives on August 28th, she asked that council move forward on her motion.

As part of the discussion on the motion, Mayor Lee Brain, noting the time sensitive nature of the request suggested immediate attention on the topic, offering up a process of email tweaking of the city's correspondence prior to submitting it to the Federal government.

As we noted on the blog earlier this month, a double whammy of a poor fishing season and recent changes at the main employer in the region of Canadian Fish have seen workers hours reduced drastically this year.

Councillor Joy Thorkelson brought
issues related to the North Coast  Fishery
to City Council on Monday night
Through her review of the situation on the North Coast, Ms. Thorkelson noted the significant impact that the end of the canning lines at Canadian Fish have had on local shore-workers, observing that this season only 135 workers have been called to the plant, averaging only 2 to 3 days of work per week, which is about half the work that took place as recently as two years ago.

She also called on her long history in the fishing industry and took note that when it comes to the Fishery Act, its a rare  occurrence that there is a call for revisions to the Act by the Federal government.

"I just want to point out that the Fisheries Act is one of the oldest act standing, remaining in Canada and I think it's only been opened three times since Confederation to changes. So we really, it's not an act that is amended constantly. This Act, up to Harper it had not really been changed in my whole career, which is a long career now. What I would like to say is that is a one chance we're going to have ... now whether the Minister puts anything in there, about whether the government agrees to place anything in about adjacency is another matter"

Towards that goal, Ms. Thorkelson observed that other communities on the east coast are seeking adjacency and that it is important for Prince Rupert to put in a resolution, or report asking for adjacency and talking about the impacts on our community.

Councillor's Randhawa and Cunningham also offered up support for the motion, with Mr. Cunningham suggesting a strongly worded commentary be included as part of the city's response.

For Mr. Cunningham part, his observations included the advice that the letter should also include some background as to how the lack of local adjacency has provided for a worrisome social and economic impact on the community and how the current situation as it exists is devastating the industry in the region.

You can review the full discussion on the theme of adjacency in the local fishery from the City's Video archive, it starts at the 49 minute mark.

More items related to the topic can be reviewed on our Council Timeline feature, while further items of note from the Monday session can be examined from our Council Discussion page.

For a review of fishery issues in the region see our North Coast Fishing industry archive page here.

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