Liberal Leader Gerry Reid says it is time for the premier to stop the
political rhetoric and chest thumping and get down to the job of creating
employment in this province, especially in the troubled fishery sector.
The Liberal Leader was reacting to the audacity of John Risley and FPIís
demand for a $2.65 rollback in the wages of its workers before contract
talks resumed. Approximately 1000 workers in Fortune and Marystown workers
have been without a contract for the past year. Union officials have
characterized FPIís recent pre-conditions to contract talks as unrealistic
"The latest move by FPI is further proof that this company is not at all
serious about reopening its plants in Marystown and Fortune. I am convinced
that FPIís ultimate goal is to have its groundfish quotas processed
elsewhere," states Reid. "What is even more unacceptable is that while FPIís
board of directors runs roughshod over its workers in this province, the
premier does nothing but talk tough. This is the same premier who boasts
that he is not afraid to take on the big oil companies, but is prepared to
sit idly by and watch the John Risleyís of the world destroy a
made-in-Newfoundland and Labrador company.
The Liberal Leader states that the answer to the FPI situation is simple.
"Iím firmly convinced that the current quotas traditionally processed in
those communities can be kept there to keep these plants from permanently
closing. The premier has made absolutely no attempt to secure these quotas
from the federal government. Yet, he has no problem going to Ottawa seeking
the fedís help in forcing oil companies to use their resource or lose it.
"The premierís silence and inaction on this issue is being mistaken for
consent by this company. It is high time to send a clear and strong message
that FPI cannot continue its path of destruction in this province which is
contributing to a wave of outmigration the likes of which this province has
never seen. Ironically, while droves of people are leaving, the premier is
beaming over a Bank of Montreal report which predicts that this province,
together with Alberta, will lead the country in economic growth this year.
"The premier prides himself as a great fighter. Well, itís time for the
posturing and the shadow boxing to stop on the fishery matter and for some
real work to start. It is simply not good enough for the premier to
nonchalantly characterize those who are leaving or contemplating leaving as
homing pigeons. As premier, he has a moral obligation to find solutions for
the mass exodus of people out of this province."