I can't help but be pleased that the Provincial Government is taking a tough stance with the blackmail tactics of the disaster capitalists at Ocean Choice International.
The Sullivan/Penny cabal have been trying to restructure the provincial processing and harvesting sectors in a way that maximizes private profits from public resources. The private sector has to make a profit, but not at the expense of workers, plants and communities that rely on the common resource for subsistence.
Over the past couple of months, the government has failed to facilitate the OCI experiment in disaster capitalism. The company has been rebuffed. The blackmail tactics of union busting, failing to pay taxes and playing one fishing community against the other, has failed.
The courts ruled that they had to pay their municipal taxes. The provincial government has rebuffed several requests to export unprocessed red fish and yellow tail to China for processing. Last December, OCI tried to blackmail the government into providing permission to export 75 per cent of its yellowtail flounder catch. In return they promised to make major investments at the Fortune Plant, and process the the remainder of its
yellowtail quota there. The proposal came weeks after permanently closing the Port Union and Marystown fish plants.
The hardball approach by the company is not working. They are earning a reputation as a pariah. The union busting strategy related to the Newfoundland Lynx fiasco has the government considering anti-scab legislation!
This is a company that says it is being sensible and reasonable. Perhaps from a corporate piracy point of view, but from the perspective of ensuring that the people get maximum return from their resources, OCI looks like a greedy corporate bully.
They need to change approach. Rethink their corporate agenda.
Government should now reconsider all the temporary exemptions that are in place, analyze each and every one. A policy should be adopted where other Newfoundland companies should have first crack at processing any species that another company wants to export.
Despite government assurances that the terms and commitments of the FPI purchase have been honored, the Public Accounts Committee should hold hearings to review the agreements and investigate the companies performance.
The people of this province, the government and the union deserve more transparency and accountability.
Arrogance, greed and disrespect should be met with all of the legislative levers that are available.