Approximately 50 union members, mainly from the MTD-affiliated SIU of Canada, marched in a cold drizzle on April 21 calling on the Canadian government to reject the proposed Canadian-European Union Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA).
The protest was called by the Canadian Maritime and Supply Chain Coalition, of which the MTD is a member. It took place within blocks of the Canadian Parliament building in Ottawa where the Canadian Maritime Advisory Council was meeting. Joining the Seafarers were representatives from the ILA, Teamsters, UNIFOR and the Canadian Union of Public Employees – all of whom also belong to the coalition.
SIU of Canada President Jim Given said the location was chosen to remind the maritime council that the voice of maritime workers was not sought when trade pact was being negotiated in secret.
“This agreement could eliminate Canadian cabotage and half of our jobs,” stated Given, who serves as the MTD Eastern Area Executive Board Member. “We are going to continue to call the public’s attention to this very bad deal. We won’t allow the Harper government to ram this through.”
As Given spoke, passing traffic blasted their horns in support of the protesters waving signs stating “Stop CETA” and “Stop Harper,” referring to Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
Given vowed that coalition protests will continue as the Parliament as well as the provincial governments debate whether or not to accept CETA.