In Solidarity with the Public Service Alliance of Canada:
On September 15, the Coalition to Save ELA stood in solidarity with the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) at the ‘We Are All Affected” rally held at Memorial Park in Winnipeg, Manitoba. PSAC members and their families, as well as labour and community organizations, gathered together to express how all Canadians are affected by the cuts to public services.
Diane Orihel, Director of the Coalition to Save ELA, spoke about the recent cancellation of the Experimental Lakes Area (ELA) program by the Conservative government. She explained that “ELA is a federal science program that helps to ensure that Canadian lakes and their fish are healthy for us, and for our children. This program has been in operation for 44 years, but the Harper Government has decided that protecting our lakes and our fish is no longer a priority, and announced the cancellation of this program on May 17 of this year”.
She defended the essential services to Canadians provided by the dedicated ELA science team. There are currently 13 positions for PSAC members in the ELA section of Fisheries & Oceans Canada. Of these 13 positions, 6 are vacant because the Government has not replaced people as they retired or left for other reasons. The remaining seven positions include: 2 field sampling technicians, 3 laboratory technicians, a computer programmer, and an operations manager. These people were served ‘affected’ letters on May 17, and will receive ‘surplus’ letters in the next 2 months, because the Government does not feel it is important for them to provide their services to Canadians.
Other speakers at the event included Robyn Benson, National President of the Public Service Alliance of Canada, Kevin Rebeck, President of the Manitoba Federation of Labour, and Karim Ammoumou, Manitoba Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students.
Photo Credit: PSAC
PSAC Winnipeg Day of Action