Sun. Apr 21st, 2024

Only Liberal MPs will be present in the House for the NL budget.

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Police officers in riot gear are present in front of the entrances to the Confederation Building in Saint-Jean de Newfoundland.

  • Margaux Tertre (View profile)Margaux Tertre

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Second attempt for the budget to Newfoundland and Labrador and second fishermen's demonstration. After the presentation was postponed on Wednesday, the police were present in large numbers and in riot gear on Thursday. Due to the situation, no MP from the two opposition parties will be present in the House for the presentation of the budget.

Liberal Prime Minister Andrew Furey on Wednesday wanted the budget to be revealed Thursday if it can be done safely.

The authorities assure that the budget should be presented around 2 p.m. local time, despite the 300 fishermen present in front of the building who blocked the way. access for several hours. It should be

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Andrew Furey, Prime Minister of Newfoundland and Labrador, participates in a press briefing in Saint-Jean, March 4, 2024.

Certain ministers and senior officials were able to enter the building shortly before 10 a.m. through one of the doors which was not blocked by the crabbers, according to the office of the prime minister.

The budget will take place without the opposition parties who have decided to form a united front with the fishermen.

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The leader of the provincial NDP announced a little earlier that he would not sit in the House of Assembly out of respect for the protesters, but would attend the budget from a hotel in Saint-Jean.

According to Jim Dinn, the Prime Minister let the situation get out of control.

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According to Jim Dinn, the Prime Minister is responsible for the current situation.

The Progressive Conservative Party followed suit, as did the two independent MPs, Eddie Joyce and Paul Lane. Only Liberal MPs will therefore physically attend the budget in the House.

At least five media outlets in the province – CBC/Radio-Canada, NTV, VOCM, and St. John's Telegram – also chose not to participate in the budget because they refused to have to walk through the crowd of demonstrators with a police escort.

The situation seems less tense than Wednesday but the police presence is greater. Members of the Royal Constabulary Force are on site, equipped with riot helmets and shields. They are accompanied by members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police armed with batons.

No mounted police officer is on site unlike the day before. Early Thursday morning, discussions took place between protest organizers and police.

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The police face around 150 fishermen who demonstrate Thursday morning. The situation seems calmer than the day before.

Prime Minister Andrew Furey warned on Wednesday that there could be mass arrests if another violent demonstration were to take place on Thursday, even if this is not the outcome the government wants.

On Wednesday, a police officer was injured and taken to hospital for treatment of his injuries. According to the Prime Minister, civil servants suffered verbal attacks.

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On Wednesday, the police attempted to regain control of the situation early in the morning, notably using mounted police officers.

According to the organizer of the demonstration, John Efford, the demonstration was peaceful. The situation was calm until these [police officers] on horseback were pushed towards these fishermen, continues the fisherman.

The organizer accuses the government of having trapped them to give them a bad image with the public.

He has not closed the door to negotiations with the crabbers who have been demonstrating for several weeks. They demand more competition in their sector.

In particular, they want the market for snow crab, the most lucrative fishery in the province, to be opened to foreign buyers in Newfoundland. They are calling for an increase in the number of processors in the province and the processing capacity of factories.

They also want to renegotiate the formula for calculating the price of crab, set after negotiations between their union and the Seafood Processors Association. According to John Efford, organizer of the demonstration, this law protects and supports the cartel of seafood processors that he accuses of having bought out all the competition.

Last year, the fishermen had refused to go to sea for six weeks, judging the price offered by the processors too low to go out to sea.

With information from Patrick Butler andCBC

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