CAW Urges Public to Join Campaign Opposing Harper Coast Guard Cuts

February 8, 2012, 2:00 PM EST

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CAW President Ken Lewenza welcomes the release today of a public petition to the House of Commons opposing the decision of the federal government and Canadian Coast Guard to cut service hours at 11 of 22 Marine Communications and Traffic Services centres, and close another by the end of 2012.

"This government has to wake up to the fact that it's simply not worth putting Canadian lives at risk to save a few bucks," Lewenza said.

"These marine communications officers are the eyes and ears of our coastal waters and play an integral part in rescue support efforts during times of crisis. Cutting these hours only creates conditions for failure."

The public petition was officially released earlier today in Ottawa at a joint press conference that included CAW Local 2182 President Martin Grégoire and CAW Local 2182 Pacific Region Director Allan Hughes alongside NDP Opposition Critic for Fisheries and Oceans Fin Donnelly and Deputy Critic for Fisheries and Oceans Phillip Toone.

Lewenza said he hopes other federal politicians lend their support to the union's effort to reverse these cuts.

"The federal government's relentless push for cost savings under its national austerity program is proving reckless, especially when it directly interferes with the ability of workers to ensure the public is safe," Lewenza said. "We cannot support these efforts and must speak out against them."

MCTS cuts came into full effect on February 1 and have impacted stations located in Vancouver, Victoria, Tofino, Comox and Prince Rupert, British Columbia; Sarnia, Ontario; Quebec City and Les Escoumins, Quebec; Saint John, New Brunswick; Halifax, Nova Scotia; and St. John's, Newfoundland.

The CAW represents 350 marine communications and traffic services officers across Canada.

The petition can be found at:

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