Alberta Premier Danielle Smith urges Trudeau to take action on B.C. port strike | Globalnews.ca

Alberta Premier Danielle Smith is urging Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to take action and address the west coast port work stoppages in a letter on Saturday.

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The strike, which began on Canada Day, has snarled traffic at the Port of Vancouver — Canada’s busiest port — and roughly 30 marine gateways across British Columbia. More than 7,000 B.C. cargo loaders are pushing for higher wages and job security in negotiations with their employers.

In the letter, Smith expressed concerns that the continued work stoppage will have “significant economic consequences” for both Alberta and Canada. According to Smith, $12.4 billion of Alberta’s merchandise exports, including grains and mineral products, were shipped through the ports of Vancouver and Prince Rupert.

She urged the prime minister to develop a new process to address the risk of work stoppages at ports in the future, the letter read.

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“The negotiations taking place between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) and Canada and the British Columbia Maritime Employers Association (BCMEA) are of utmost importance to Alberta. While we respect the collective bargaining process, we are very concerned about the effects of a prolonged work stoppage on Albertans and Canadians as they deal with serious inflationary pressures,” Smith’s letter reads.

“The stoppage of trade at the ports will have significant negative economic consequences that undermine both Alberta’s and Canada’s competitiveness and reputation as a reliable supplier to international customers. Prominent Canadian shippers have made it clear that the work stoppage is already affecting the flow of goods, including perishable goods. Should this labour disruption continue, it will have an increasingly severe impact on the livelihoods of Albertans, Canadians and Canadian businesses who rely on the safe and efficient flow of our supply chain.”

This comes after Smith and Trudeau briefly met on Friday to discuss carbon emissions and the B.C. port workers strike.

Both leaders were in town for the first day of the Calgary Stampede, a 10-day celebration of western culture that features a parade, rodeo events, pancake breakfasts and concerts. The meeting with Smith was his first stop on a two-day visit.

“We do have some serious things that we need to discuss,” Smith said. “We’d like to bring our emissions reduction and energy development plan with a targeted carbon neutrality by 2050 and line up with some of the objectives of the federal government. That will require us to have some conversations.”

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The prime minister said the working group between the two governments is a great achievement.

“We will be able to sit down and really look at what our experts are saying, figure out the common ground and figure out the path forward,” Trudeau said.

–With files from Bill Graveland, The Canadian Press, and Craig Lord, Global News.

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