OTTAWA, ON, Nov. 2, 2012 /CNW/ - A CAW delegation representing 350
Marine Communications and Traffic Service officers from across Canada
will outline the dangers to marine safety from Coast Guard service
cutbacks at Canadian Marine Advisory Council meetings starting November
CMAC, which runs November 6 to 8 at 'Old City Hall' in Ottawa located at
111 Sussex Drive, is a forum mandated by legislation to consult on
issues related to maritime safety in Canada. More than 550 delegates
including ship owners, ship officers, crew union representatives, as
well as government representatives will be on hand to discuss various
maritime related issues.
On May 17, 2012 The Canadian Coast Guard informed 184 MCTS Officers
working at 10 centres across Canada that their centre was closing.
These centres are located in St. John's and St. Anthony, NL, Saint
John, N.B., Rivière au Renard and Montréal, PQ, Thunder Bay, ON,
Vancouver, Tofino and Comox, BC. This is in addition to Inuvik, NWT
closing at the end of 2012.
Chad Stroud, president of CAW Local 2182, which represents the
communications officers, said "this drastic reduction of essential
services was done to save money, not to save lives. The reduction in
MCTS centres will result in a decreased ability to hear that critical
'mayday.' It's hard to hear when no one's there," Stroud said.
The CAW delegation to CMAC will include affected employees. They will
outline their concerns regarding the pending cuts and also circulate a
petition to be presented in the House of Commons calling on government
to reverse its decision on cuts scheduled for 2014-15. The petition
will also be available online.
The new Coast Guard plan is to provide service from a distance, said
Stroud. For example: Vancouver, which is the busiest port in the
country, will now have their marine communications and traffic services
provided from Victoria, BC.
"This approach may work well for air traffic control, however, with
marine traffic, it is different," Stroud said. "Local knowledge is most
important, knowing about currents, tides, local users and geography is
critical when providing assistance to mariners and regulating marine
traffic," he said.
"Prime Minister Stephen Harper's cost cutting agenda represents a total
disregard for marine safety," Stroud added. "After cutting important
rescue coordination service in St. John's, NL and later this fall
similar cuts planned for rescue coordination in Quebec City, government
has turned its axe on important MCTS centres that play a significant
role in the Search and Rescue and other safety infrastructure of this
country," said Stroud.
Another important feature of the Harper cuts is the serious lack of
analysis and consultation with maritime community stakeholders across
Canada. Even CMAC, which has legislative responsibility to deal with
matters of maritime safety, has been void of any consultation around
the pending cuts to Coast Guard safety services in Canada. This
anomaly is not lost on the delegation attending CMAC in Ottawa.
"We will take that message to senior Transport Canada officials who are
mandated to administer the CMAC process," Stroud said.
SOURCE: Canadian Auto Workers Union (CAW)
For further information:
For more information please contact CAW Local 2182 President Chad Stroud, 250-922-4396 or CAW National Representative Joel Fournier at 416-727-8991 or visit www.caw.ca/safeseas