Union calls on governments to provide aid
Ottawa, Ontario – Once again the entire community of Churchill, MB has been devastated by circumstances completely out of their control. In a year and a half, the community’s largest employer, the Port of Churchill, laid off 10 % of the town’s workforce last season; winter storms that were unprecedented for more than a century completely shut it down; and now the communities only link by ground, the rail lines, is no longer viable.
As an isolated northern community, there were already existing challenges. The cost of basic staples such as bread and milk are very high. As a result of these events, the cost of shipping goods is now exorbitant.
“The people of Churchill just can’t seem to catch a break,” said Teresa Eschuk, the UCTE Regional Vice-president of the Prairies and the North. “They are in desperate need of fuel, affordable food and other staples. The impact is no different to this community than the flooding that happened in Eastern Ontario or Quebec just last month. This is an emergency.”
Governments have indicated that they are assessing the damages to the rail line and considering its options. The Union is calling on both Federal and Provincial governments to subsidize the costs of shipping goods in the interim while it conducts evaluations. “I can’t believe our 2 levels of government have abandoned us! To blatantly ignore our desperate situation here – we’re trapped!” said Diane Stevens, UCTE member and Churchill resident.