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Canso deserves our support

by the Fish Site Editor
11 June 2007, at 1:00am

CANADA - Plant closures, with the loss of hundreds of jobs in each case, have made headlines this year. Cansos modern plant employs 300 to 400 people. It may not open this year. Yet if the Seafreez plant in Canso does not process fish this year, the relative impact will be worse than past closures.

Canso sits in the middle of a rich, 500-year-old fishery. It has one of the region’s best multi-species fish packing and storage facilities. The talented workforce is eager, but they see work going to Newfoundland, despite the clear agreement by federal and provincial governments that Canso deserves a supply of fish to be processed at that plant.

Today, boats out of Canso are shrimping, but once the product is landed, it is trucked to Newfoundland for processing. Once processed, the shrimp is trucked back to Canso for storage in a freezer that Nova Scotians helped pay for, to secure processing jobs in Canso. This situation cries out for action by the province and the federal government, yet it appears there have only been quiet expressions of concern.

I met recently with people in Canso. I have urged the premier to intervene on their behalf. I intend to return to Canso later in the summer, to show that the town and its workers are not forgotten. They are Nova Scotians who deserve the vigorous support of their elected representatives and government.

Those who manage the Atlantic fishery know that the economic needs of coastal communities like Canso must be a priority. Peter MacKay said as much a few years ago, when he represented Canso in the House of Commons. With or without the headlines, securing work for the Canso fish plant is an important goal for Nova Scotia.

Most Nova Scotians live outside Halifax Regional Municipality. Tens of thousands of value-added jobs exist in the keystone industries that are based outside HRM. Keeping those jobs and building our economic base require the use of every possible means of attracting and keeping sustainable jobs.

Source: The ChronicleHerald.ca

the Fish Site Editor