Nfld. & Labrador

Fish harvester won't apologize for comments to FFAW staff, says he was provoked

A fish harvester on the Burin Peninsula said he should not have told an FFAW representative that he would "knock his head off and shit down his neck" at a meeting of union members in Fortune this week.

Wayne Meade said comments were a 'figure of speech,' not threats

Fish harvester Wayne Meade says he won't apologize for comments he made during an FFAW meeting in Fortune on Tuesday. (Twitter/@TheBroadcastCBC)

A fish harvester on the Burin Peninsula says he should not have told a Fish Food and Allied Workers representative that he would "knock his head off" at a meeting in Fortune this week, but doesn't consider the comment a threat.

Wayne Meade told CBC News that he is the man the FFAW has complained about, but said his remarks should not be taken literally.

"You tell a fella you're going to knock his head off and shit down his neck, that's a figure of speech," said Meade. "If I wanted to knock his head off I'd have no trouble doing it. I don't know about shitting down his neck."

While he admitted to regrets — "I knows I done wrong ... I probably shouldn't have said some of the stuff I said,"  — he's not about to say 'sorry.'

"I'm not going to apologize to the FFAW," said Meade on Thursday. "There's not enough money in Newfoundland to make me apologize to the FFAW."

Felt 'provoked' after years of frustration

Meade told CBC that he was goaded by comments from an FFAW representative who said he wanted fish quotas all to himself.

"That makes me feel like I'm provoked," said Meade. "They're provoking you to say things." 

Meade is a supporter of FISH-NL which is currently on a card signing campaign to take over representation of fish harvesters from the FFAW.

He said that he attended the Fortune meeting as a member of the FFAW to get answers to questions he's been asking for a long time.

"I'm fighting for the rights of Newfoundlanders and I have been for the last 20 years trying to get things on the move because everyday they're taking something from us and changing regulations," said Meade.

"We lost all our scallop grounds. I had a licence for 25 years to fish the southern part of the bank and the middle part of the St. Pierre bank and they took our licences away overnight," said Meade. "And the union signed off on it."

He said fish harvesters asked the FFAW to organize demonstrations at Confederation Building but the union refused. 

"It is time for change," said Meade. "It's long gone past. Should have been 15 years ago as far as I'm concered."

The RCMP confirmed it is investigating a complaint made by the FFAW regarding threats, but hasn't laid any charges.

FISH-NL Vice President Richard Gillett told CBC News that he wants supporters of the breakaway union to be civil and called for people to make their voices heard by signing union cards.