I'ts not easy to slow down or alter the Conservative agenda, but it seems that a common front of residents, boaters, tourist operators, towns and villages, and the union representing Parks Canada workers have succeeded in saving the season for the historic Rideau and Trent Severn canals in 2013. This fight is far from over, but if the communities and organizations that came together to defend the canals remain united and stay vigiilant, this precious part of Canadian hertiage and identity may survive the Harper era.
Here is the statement issued by the Union of Canadian Transportation Employees, a component of PSAC:
UCTE congratulates communities for keeping the canals and waterways open
OTTAWA, Oct. 19, 2012 /CNW/ - Christine Collins, National President of the Union of Canadian Transportation Employees, was pleased to hear the government's announcement last night to keep the 2013 canal season the same.
"The public and our members should be proud of the fight they put up this season. More than 8,000 people signed petitions, there were community town halls, and businesses organized themselves to voice their concerns, " said Collins. "It was hard for Parks Canada and Minister Kent to ignore the mounting evidence of the negative impacts associated with a reduction in the canal season whether it be economically, environmentally, or socially on so many people who depend on the men and women who work on the canals."
The announcement by the Honourable Peter Kent, Minister of the Environment, indicates that the 2013 season will remain from Victoria Day to Thanksgiving as in previous years. Still of concern though is the part of the announcement that indicates a reduction in the hours of operation and personal service during the shoulder season.
"Our members and the Union as a whole are willing to work with Parks Canada as they begin the work to assess how best to address operational use," said Collins. "This is an opportunity to consult with Parks Canada's canal professionals to develop a model that will minimize the impact on the canal workers but also has functionality for communities and businesses along the waterways."
The Union of Canadian Transportation Employees, a component of the Public Service Alliance of Canada, represents the unionized canal workers at Parks Canada.
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