WINNIPEG – The union representing the Port of Churchill workers sent a policy brief to Minister of Transport Marc Garneau today urging the Minister to convert the Port of Churchill into a Port Authority under federal jurisdiction.
“This is a real chance to save a community that faces an uncertain future. It would benefit not just the community, but the whole country,” said Teresa Eschuk, Regional Vice-President of the Union of Canadian Transportation Employees (UCTE), a component of the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) and the Union that represents the workers at the Port. “The Liberals have the power to convert Churchill into a Port Authority but we are waiting to see if they have the will.”
The UCTE/PSAC policy brief is backed by Keewatinook Aski NDP Member of Parliament Niki Ashton, who aims to raise the brief in the House as it reconvenes this week.
The policy brief outlines how the Port is increasingly strategic given that climate change is melting ice sheets and making Northern sea transport a reality. The report further notes that the Minister of Transport has the authority under the Canada Marine Act to amend the list of regulated port authorities by Order in Council or regulation.
“Given what’s happening in the North, it is time to bring the Port of Churchill back into national ownership,” said Marianne Hladun, Regional Executive Vice-President for the PSAC-Prairies Region. “This can be a huge catalyst for the local community and make an impact internationally. This is the kind of real change and leadership they need.”
The PSAC-Prairies represents Port workers and made repeated attempts to meet with the Pallister government and with the Trudeau Liberals to no avail. The UCTE/PSAC have met with the provincial NDP’s official opposition labour critic, Tom Lindsey, along with federal NDP MP Niki Ashton and the Mayor of Churchill, Mike Spence.