Tag Archives: Ports

Keeping workers and society safe and defending workers’ rights

By Rob Ashton

BC longshore workers stand in solidarity with striking Montreal Dock workers, April 27, 2021.

Rob Ashton is the President of The International Longshore and Warehouse Union Canada

We’ve been fairly successful in keeping COVID-19 off the waterfront. In the longshore industry we’ve been able to, from March to March, keep it to about 140 positive or presumptive cases out of 7,000 people. We have really good protocols in place on the waterfront that we’ve developed over the last year, most developed jointly, some by the union locals. Each local has their own protocols with the employers. If we do have a bit of an uptick, if someone tests positive, it gets squashed quickly because of the policies we have in place. We changed the way we do dispatch in a couple of the locals until the pandemic is over because we can’t all come into one place for dispatch now, so some locals went to an automated or phone dispatch. Everybody does the check-in at the start of the shift. There are cleaning crews at most sites, almost every shift, depending on the terminal. Continue reading

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Warship Watch. French nuclear-powered submarine, US guided-missile cruiser in Halifax

2018.10.05.FS Amethyste arrives at Shearwater.Tim Krochak

FS L’Améthyste arrives at Shearwater on October 5 | Tim Krochak, Chronicle Herald

A French nuclear-powered submarine arrived in Shearwater on Friday for the first time in two years. Continue reading

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Maritime workers take action to oppose Trudeau government’s anti-national Preclearance Act

“We are Going to Have to Fight It Through the Regulations” — Interview, Rob Ashton, President, International Longshore and Warehouse Union, Canada

 

Maritime Workers at the port of Vancouver as well as ports throughout the country have been standing up to the Trudeau government’s Bill C-23, An Act respecting the preclearance of persons and goods in Canada and the United States. This legislation expands “preclearance,” a process for clearing customs of the destination country before leaving the country of origin, from select airports in Canada to land and water crossings. It permits preclearance of cargo in Canadian facilities by U.S. agents, and authorizes them to carry weapons and detain, search and use force against Canadians within those facilities. Continue reading

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Billions in state funds for transportation corridors to serve US-dominated empire-building

Federal government marches further into dead end of nation-wrecking. The working class is determined to affirm its right to build the new! Report from WORKERS’ FORUM

Transport Canada has announced another $2.1 billion of state funds for the Trade and Transportation Corridors Initiative to serve the global oligopolies and their control of the Canadian and international economy.[1]

A Ministry press release on July 4 states the Trade and Transportation Corridors Initiative is “[to] build stronger, more efficient transportation corridors to international markets…. Canadian businesses will be able to better compete, grow and create even more jobs well into the future.” Continue reading

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Vigorous day of action to defend maritime jobs against neo-liberal free trade with Europe

(January 20, 2017) – On January 12, sailors, longshoremen, seaway and other workers took part in militant demonstrations against the neo-liberal Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). Demonstrations were held in St. John’s, Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver, Victoria and Prince Rupert. In St. John’s, the action was held at the constituency office of MP Seamus O’Regan. In Montreal, the action took place in front of the constituency office of Transport Minister Marc Garneau. In Toronto, workers marched to the constituency office of Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland (who oversaw the CETA file while International Trade Minister). In Vancouver, workers protested at the constituency office of Liberal MP Hedy Fry, while in Victoria the action took place at the docks in Ogden Point, and in Prince Rupert workers rallied at the Transport Canada office. Continue reading

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Maritime strategy of the Quebec Liberals: Serving the interests of the United States of North American monopolies

For your information: two articles on the Maritime Strategy of Quebec – the latest plan of the ruling circles to build infrastructure and establish Gateways and Trade Corridors across Canada to facilitate the transportation of energy resources and manufactured goods to North America, Europe and Asia.

The Couillard government promotes its Maritime Strategy.

By LOUIS LANG

The statements of the Couillard Liberals promise economic growth and thousands of jobs all over Quebec. In fact, it would seem that what is being proposed is a new version of the Security Prosperity Partnership (SPP). The SPP, in which the Paul Martin government was involved, was a plan integrating the Canadian, U.S. and Mexican economies into the United States of North American Monopolies. This was to form a trade and military bloc in the inter-imperialist striving over control of world markets, spheres of influence, cheap labour and resources and zones for the export of capital. The Maritime Strategy being put forward by the Quebec Couillard government as a “pivotal project“ to develop the economy of Quebec is not a plan to build an independent national economy for the benefit of the people of Quebec but rather it is to put the resources and transportation infrastructure of Quebec in the service of North American monopolies. Continue reading

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Workers’ Forum – Seafarers boldly declare: No quarter for neo-liberal free traders!

Annul the Canada-Europe Free Trade Agreement!

Annul the Canada-Europe Free Trade Agreement!
• Seafarers Boldly Declare: No Quarter for Neo-Liberal Free Traders!
• What the Workers Had to Say
• CETA Opens the Door to Dismantling the Marine Transport Sector – Interview, Patrice Caron, Executive Vice-President, Seafarers’ International Union of Canada
• European Seafarers’ Solidarity Statement
• U.S. Seagoing Unions’ Solidarity Statement

For Your Information
• CETA Breakdown – Seafarers’ International Union of Canada Continue reading

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US chemical weapons dumped in Okinawa

The US has refused to clean up chemical weapons left on its military bases in Okinawa from the Vietnam War – over 40 years ago – despite their serious threat to the safety and well-being of the people of the Japanese island. “Decades of Pentagon pollution poison service members, local residents and the future of the island,” writes JON MITCHELL.* Reminiscent of CFB Gagetown in New Brunswick, which it sprayed with Agent Orange during the 1960s, “The Pentagon continues to do everything it can to evade responsibility for the damage its bases cause.” When the US ratified the Chemical Weapons Convention in 1997, it falsely said it had not left chemical weapons in any other nation’s holdings. The fact remains that it is the US that poses the greatest potential and actual danger of unleashing biological, chemical and nuclear weapons against humanity.

Barrels of unidentified U.S. chemicals lie strewn across land in the Northern Training Area, 1972. Courtesy of Robin Poe. (Click to enlarge)

Barrels of unidentified U.S. chemicals lie strewn across land in the Northern Training Area, 1972. Courtesy of Robin Poe. (Click to enlarge)

The Asia-Pacific Journal – In June 2013, construction workers unearthed more than 20 rusty barrels from beneath a soccer pitch in Okinawa City. The land had once been part of Kadena Air Base – the Pentagon’s largest installation in the Pacific region – but was returned to civilian usage in 1987. Tests revealed that the barrels contained two ingredients of military defoliants used in the Vietnam War – the herbicide 2,4,5-T and 2,3,7,8-TCDD dioxin. Levels of the highly toxic TCDD in nearby water measured 280 times safe limits.1

The Pentagon has repeatedly denied the storage of defoliants – including Agent Orange – on Okinawa.2Following the discovery, it distanced itself from the barrels; a spokesperson stated it was investigating if they had been buried after the land’s return in 19873 and a U.S. government-sponsored scientist suggested they may merely have contained kitchen or medical waste.4 However, the conclusions of the Japanese and international scientific community were unequivocal: Not only did the barrels disprove Pentagon denials of the presence of military defoliants in Japan, the polluted land posed a threat to the health of local residents and required immediate remediation.5 Continue reading

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Flaherty should be held responsible for economic damage, wrecking Canada, criminalizing Canadian workers and repeated war budgets

He was a political representative of the financial elite and a neo-liberal champion of its anti-union, anti-worker, anti-social and anti-national offensive. The media and political parties of the establishment are politicizing and manipulating the death of Jim Flaherty, giving the battle-cry “Glory to the Harper agenda – to its heroes glory!” | TONY SEED

Workers demonstrate outside of Flaherty’s campaign office in Whitby-Oshawa during 2008 election.

(Apr. 11, revised Apr. 13, 15) – THE MEDIA is going non-stop in its eulogizing of Jim Flaherty, who passed away suddenly on April 10. Until his retirement recently, Flaherty had been federal finance minister since the 2006 electoral coup that brought the Harper government to power and one its most powerful and prominent figures. On the basis of a motion by NDP leader Thomas Mulcair, the House of Commons immediately suspended its regular business on the afternoon of April 10 and devoted a session to tributes from all parties before adjourning. Opposition MPs reportedly hugged Conservative MPs. Media accounts highlighted plaudits from the major banks, which they called “the business community.” “I will miss working with Jim,” TD Bank president Ed Clark gushed. “I greatly admired his passion for improving the lives of Canadians.” The media created online books of condolences.

The dominant media and political discourse advances the view that regardless of one’s individual views on Flaherty’s policies and budgets, he had human qualities; he “put partisanship aside” in the common pursuit of “growing the Canadian economy,” and hence “politicians of all stripes are mourning him.” The illusion is spun that capitalism can be reformed and saved from its basic contradictions through fiscal and budgetary policies such as those implemented by Flaherty that generally reduce state investments in social programs and increase the amount given directly to finance capital.

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Ukraine: Strategic and geopolitical implications of Crimea’s decision

Prof Michel Chossudovsky explains the strategic and geopolitical significance of the referendum results. The union of Crimea with Russia redefines both the geography as well as the geopolitical chessboard in the Black Sea basin, Professor Chussudovsky writes. “It constitutes a major setback for US-NATO, whose longstanding objective has been to integrate Ukraine into NATO with a view to undermining Russia, while extending Western military presence in the Black Sea basin,” he adds. An excerpt of Professor Chussudovsky’s article follows.

* * *

WITH the March 18, 2014 Treaty signed between Russia and Crimea, the Russian Federation will extend its control over the Black Sea as well over the Sea of Azov, the West coastline of which borders on Eastern Ukraine and the Donesk region. (see map below) Continue reading

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Canada’s further integration into U.S. Homeland Security

ON DECEMBER 19 the Executive Committee of the Beyond the Border Action Plan made up of officials from the executives of the U.S. and Canada released its second report on how it is implementing the Beyond the Border Action Plan signed in 2011. This year’s report outlines pilot projects which place Canada’s security apparatus under U.S. command and control, in particular at key ports. Also highlighted are ongoing steps to hand over vast amounts of information to U.S. officials on who is travelling to and from Canada. Already there are reports that more Canadians are being harassed at entry to the United States on the basis of private information about their mental health taken “legally” from Canadian databases. There is also an increase in the number of unmanned drones flying in Canadian civilian airspace through the implementation of the Beyond the Border Action Plan. Continue reading

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CFB Suffield: Britain to train thousands of troops in Canada

The CFB Suffield announcement was made as “business as usual” to keep Canadians unaware of the extent to which the territory of Canada is being consistently used by the NATO powers – the USA in the first place, which considers Canada to be its front yard – to prepare war and even as a launch pad for intervention against other nations and peoples.

By TONY SEED

110625-StJohnsMarineRescueCentre-02WHERE does the British Army send its troops to train for war when it has been kicked out of a North African country asserting its independence and sovereignty?

Which country then allows the British Army to use its territory to wage war against an independent and sovereign country in Latin America?

And which country recently changed all the names of its armed forces units to re-incorporate the word “Royal”? Started to share its embassies? Grovels before its queen?

The Right answer is Canada and for all the wrong reasons. Continue reading

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Embedding in a Canadian warship

The American Seafood Company vessel American Dynasty (right) collides with the docked HMCS Winnipeg which has just undergone a massive refit and upgrade in Esquimalt, B.C., Tuesday April 23, 2013. The BC Ambulance Service says six people were taken to Victoria General Hospital with minor injuries.THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Chad Hipolito

The American Seafood Company vessel American Dynasty (right) collides with the docked HMCS Winnipeg, which had just undergone a massive refit and upgrade in Esquimalt, B.C., Tuesday April 23, 2013. The BC Ambulance Service says six people were taken to Victoria General Hospital with minor injuries. | CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito

(Updated April 24) YESTERDAY MORNING a U.S registered fishing trawler tried to reel in a Canadian warship, the HMCS Winnipeg. One problem. It was docked at CFB Esquimalt’s “C” jetty, the remote naval base on Vancouver Island. The Canadian government designated by Order-in-Council on 31 October 2002 the harbour of Halifax and the British Columbia naval bases at Nanoose and Esquimalt “military security zones” as a measure to “fight terrorism.” [1]

Without explaining why the huge U.S. vesssel, aptly named American Dynasty, was there in the first place, the Victoria Times Colonist – portraying the “accident” as a bizarre incident – reports: Continue reading

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Militarization of Canadian ports: Violation of rights of Maritime workers and annexation in the name of ‘security’

By TONY SEED

REPRESENTATIVES of Canadian maritime port workers have denounced draconian “security” measures aimed at criminalizing their rights. Under the aegis of the “war on terror” of the Bush administration, the federal government announced by executive order on 16 November 2006 that maritime port workers in Canada will be required to pass background checks. News agency reports are vague about both the origin of the demand and the content of the new Marine Transportation Security Regulations. Continue reading

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No harbour for ‘military zones’

By TONY SEED*

First of a series on Canada’s involvement in the Iraq war

HALIFAX (17 January 2003) – IT IS A dangerous situation indeed when the Canadian government and major media make themselves instruments of war preparations, repeating outright lies as if they were facts. One of these is that the Canadian government designated by Order-in-Council on 31 October 2002 the harbour of Halifax and the British Columbia naval bases at Nanoose and Esquimalt “military security zones” as a measure to “fight terrorism.” In fact, these zones give extraordinary and unlimited powers to the Minister of Defence and are a prelude towards establishing martial law to protect American warships and troops in Canadian harbours and waters. All the laws of the country and provisions of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms are suspended in these zones. They do not even have to be pubicly announced. Continue reading

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Canada’s transport infrastructure taken hostage

The U.S. Customs Service is sending “special agents” to the ports of Halifax, Montreal and Vancouver. GARY ZATZMAN

HALIFAX (19 March 2002) – More than 40 per cent of Canada’s gross domestic product (GDP) derives from exports, and more than 85 per cent of that is with the United States. With their road-rail links and container-handling facilities, the ports of Halifax, Montreal and Vancouver play an especially crucial role in providing essential transportation infrastructure. As of March 25, the US Customs Service is sending “special agents” to each location to monitor cargo handling in the name of stepping up the so-called “war against terrorism” of the Bush administration. Continue reading

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