The article you just read was brought to you by a few thousand dedicated readers. Will you join them?

Thanks for coming by The Tyee and reading one of many original articles we’ll post today. Our team works hard to publish in-depth stories on topics that matter on a daily basis. Our motto is: No junk. Just good journalism.

Just as we care about the quality of our reporting, we care about making our stories accessible to all who want to read them and provide a pleasant reading experience. No intrusive ads to distract you. No paywall locking you out of an article you want to read. No clickbait to trick you into reading a sensational article.

There’s a reason why our site is unique and why we don’t have to rely on those tactics — our Tyee Builders program. Tyee Builders are readers who chip in a bit of money each month (or one-time) to our editorial budget. This amazing program allows us to pay our writers fairly, keep our focus on quality over quantity of articles, and provide a pleasant reading experience for those who visit our site.

In the past year, we’ve been able to double our staff team and boost our reporting. We invest all of the revenue we receive into producing more and better journalism. We want to keep growing, but we need your support to do it.

Fewer than 1 in 100 of our average monthly readers are signed up to Tyee Builders. If we reach 1% of our readers signing up to be Tyee Builders, we could continue to grow and do even more.

If you appreciate what The Tyee publishes and want to help us do more, please sign up to be a Tyee Builder today. You pick the amount, and you can cancel any time.

Support our growing independent newsroom and join Tyee Builders today.
Canada needs more independent media. And independent media needs you.

Did you know that most news organizations in Canada are owned by just a handful of companies? And that these companies have been shutting down newsrooms and laying off reporters continually over the past few decades?

Fact-based, credible journalism is essential to our democracy. Unlike many other newsrooms across the country, The Tyee’s independent newsroom is stable and growing.

How are we able to do this? The Tyee Builder program. Tyee Builders are readers who chip into our editorial budget so that we can keep doing what we do best: fact-based, in-depth reporting on issues that matter to our readers. No paywall. No junk. Just good journalism.

Fewer than 1 in 100 of our average monthly readers are signed up to be Tyee Builders. If we reach 1% of our readers signing up to be Tyee Builders, we could continue to grow and do even more.

If you appreciate what The Tyee publishes and want to help us do more, please sign up to be a Tyee Builder today. You pick the amount, and you can cancel any time.

Support our growing independent newsroom and join Tyee Builders today.
We value: Our readers.
Our independence. Our region.
The power of real journalism.
We're reader supported.
Get our newsletter free.
Help pay for our reporting.
News

Maritime Workers Protest ‘Flat-Out Assault on Maritime Jobs’

Fear of privatization and federal support for trade deal prompt protests across Canada.

By Andrew MacLeod 12 Jan 2017 | TheTyee.ca

Andrew MacLeod is The Tyee’s Legislative bureau chief in Victoria and the author of A Better Place on Earth: The Search for Fairness in Super Unequal British Columbia (Harbour Publishing, 2015). Find him on Twitter or reach him here.

image atom
Already under the existing rules, Canadian seafaring jobs are disappearing, says ILWU Canada president Rob Ashton. Photo: ILWU Canada.

Maritime workers are protesting today in three British Columbia cities, as well as Toronto and Montreal, saying the federal government is attacking their jobs and putting Canada’s coasts at risk.

“We’re trying to protect our seafarer and our coastline,” said Rob Ashton, the president of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Canada, in a phone interview.

The International Transport Workers Federation Secretariat and the Seafarers International Union are also participating in the protests.

A statement on the ITF’s Canadian website said, “Join us in the fight against the federal Liberal government’s ignorant and flat-out assault on maritime jobs — and its plans [to] sell us out to corporate greed.”

Ashton said the unions are upset about the Canada Transportation Act (CTA) Review Report submitted to Marc Garneau, the minister of transport, in July.

Former MP David Emerson chaired the review committee, which Ashton said recommended privatizing Canada’s ports and eliminating the cabotage rules that protect Canadian maritime jobs. Cabotage ensures that any vessel trading within Canada is Canadian owned, operated and crewed.

Ashton described the report as an “attack on the Canadian seafarer and the destruction of good-paying, family-supporting jobs” so that companies that own vessels can save money.

If Emerson’s recommendations are followed, it will be easier for companies sailing within Canada to replace Canadians who are paid $20 an hour or more with international crew who are often paid less than $2 an hour, he said.

Nor does it make sense to follow the recommendation to privatize ports “so hedge funds and pension funds can earn profits on the backs of Canadians,” he said.

The unions are also concerned that the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement that the federal government and the EU signed in October will make it harder to enforce safety and environmental standards, Ashton said.

“There’s lots of nasty stuff in this and we’re saying ‘no, it’s not good for Canada,’” he said.

The protests against CETA were inspired by Wallonia, the region of Belgium that delayed the EU signing the deal, he said. “Our decision to hit the streets was [made] when Wallonia said, ‘We’re not doing it.’ If they can do it, why can’t we, as Canadians?”

Ashton said his union depends on trade, but it needs to be fair to Canadian workers. “We’re for trade. We just don’t like seeing it when this trade is at any cost and is wiping out industries.”

The protests are planned for newly appointed Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland’s office in Toronto; Garneau’s office in Montreal; MP Hedy Fry’s office in Vancouver; the Transportation Canada office in Prince Rupert; and Ogden Point in Victoria.

Already under the existing rules, Canadian seafaring jobs are disappearing, Ashton said.

The SIU, which is participating in the protest, represents 104 Canadian seafarers that Woodward’s Coastal Shipping in Newfoundland, which distributes fuel to communities in Labrador and Nunavut, laid off in December and replaced with foreign workers.

Ashton said he’ll be in Victoria where the ship Cable Innovator, which is owned by British company Global Marine Systems and lays and repairs optic cable underwater, has a waiver to use a low-paid foreign crew until 2025.

The government’s ignoring that issue, too, Ashton said. “We have to make our government understand.”  [Tyee]

Read more: Labour + Industry

Share this article

The Tyee is supported by readers like you

Join us and grow independent media in Canada

Facts matter. Get The Tyee's in-depth journalism delivered to your inbox for free.

LATEST STORIES

The Barometer

Are You Concerned about Rising Support for Canada’s Far-Right Parties?

Take this week's poll