NDP MPs Warn CETA Risks Loss of Canadian Maritime Jobs

Media Release

14 December 2016


NDP MPs Warn CETA Risks Loss of Canadian Maritime Jobs

OTTAWA – To protect our coast and coastal jobs, NDP MPs Gord Johns (Courtenay-Alberni) and Sheila Malcolmson (Nanaimo-Ladysmith) urged the government to reject the Canadian-European Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA) that would allow, for the first time, foreign-owned vessels and crews to transport goods between Canadian ports ("Right of cabotage").

"CETA will allow cheap foreign labour to replace our high quality, well-paid maritime jobs, something Canada has aggressively fought against for decades by protecting the right of cabotage," said Johns.

The Canadian maritime industry requires any vessel trading within Canada to be Canadian-owned, operated and crewed. Under CETA, this protection would be lost, allowing foreign workers to navigate on our coastal waterways.

"Allowing local jobs to go to foreign workers who do not have the same training, wages, and knowledge of our waters is unimaginable and we must stand very strongly against this threat," said Malcolmson.

The International Longshore and Warehouse Union says CETA will lead to the immediate loss of approximately 3,000 Canadian seafarers' jobs.

"Local knowledge of our waterways and weather patterns in coastal British Columbia is essential to protecting our sensitive ecosystems from oil spills," said Johns in reference to the recent sinking of the Nathan E. Stewart tugboat in northern British Columbia and the resulting diesel spill.

The October sinking of the tugboat near Bella Bella, BC has been strongly criticized by the Heiltsuk First Nations and environmentalists, in part because there was no Canadian pilot with local knowledge of the dangerous northern coastal waterways aboard the vessel at the time of the spill.

"With increasing vessel traffic on the Salish Sea, we are even more reliant on local knowledge to protect our sensitive coasts. We must protect those local jobs, so crews navigating vessels know the coast like the backs of their hands," said Malcolmson.

Yesterday, the NDP tabled a Motion to prevent the Standing Committee on International Trade from moving forward without testimony from maritime workers who would be impacted by the CETA provision related to cabotage, shipping and dredging.

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