Nfld. & Labrador

King freezes funding to FFAW, citing criticism of province

Fisheries Minister Darin King says government will stop providing cash to the Fish, Food and Allied Workers union, effective immediately.

Union is 'part of the problem' with Newfoundland and Labrador fishery, minister says

Fisheries Minister Darin King says funding to the FFAW is frozen, effective immediately. (CBC)

Fisheries Minister Darin King says the Newfoundland and Labrador government will stop providing cash to the Fish, Food and Allied Workers union, effective immediately.

King, in an interview with CBC’s Fisheries Broadcast, cited the union’s criticism of the provincial government as driving the decision.

"No matter what we do in this province, the FFAW are more concerned with their own self-interest than they are with the interests of the industry," King said.

"And to be frank with you, as I see it in the fishery in Newfoundland and Labrador, you’re either part of the solution or you’re part of the problem. And I see the FFAW right now as part of the problem."

The union has received nearly $1.3 million in grant money from the province over the past five years for things like research, seafood marketing and fisheries technology programs.

That ends now, King said.

"We’re putting a freeze on any further funding of projects for the FFAW until I’m convinced through a personal review that the projects that we support are of value and benefit to the industry in Newfoundland and Labrador, and not just to the FFAW," the minister said.

King said he is tired of hearing FFAW president Earle McCurdy taking shots at the provincial government. The most recent volley was critical comments about a federal review of the fleet separation policy that keeps big fishing companies out of the inshore fishery.

"It’s very, very tough to build a working relationship with a group that continues to criticize," King said.

"The FFAW can either work with us or stand by the side. We’re going to move forward, and we’re going to make changes that we feel are in the best interests of the industry. But we’re not going to spend much more time, frankly, having public debates every chance Mr. McCurdy gets to bash government because he doesn’t like something that’s happening in the industry."