The Port of Churchill should be nationalized

The Port of Churchill is an important strategic location for Canada, and it must be protected

There is growing anger towards Omnitrax, the company that managed the Port of Churchill, after the announcement that all grain shipments would be cancelled and the port would be shuttered.

The announcement killed 50 jobs, and will have wide-ranging and damaging consequences to the community if not dealt with swiftly.

As Canada’s only arctic seaport, the Port of Churchill is an incredibly important strategic location. For Canada to project economic and military power in the north, the Port of Churchill must have a strong economy, strong infrastructure, and a strong future.

That won’t happen if it’s left in the hands of Omnitrax – who were unable to succeed in the market and then came begging for taxpayer funded bailouts.

No more corporate welfare

Omnitrax had their chance to run the Port of Churchill. They failed. That failure should not be rewarded with more bailout cash – money that was taken out of your pocket in the first place. If anyone needs support it’s the workers who lost their jobs. It’s time to look after the welfare of our people, not give corporate welfare to a big company.

The workers at the Port of Churchill should not be punished for Omnitrax’s failure. People need good jobs. People need to be able to support their families. And Canada needs the Port of Churchill to be strong and thriving.

That’s why the government of Canada must take direct public ownership of the Port of Churchill.

The future of the Arctic and Canada’s ability to project strength in our north will have a huge impact on the long term economic and political stability of our country, because without the Port of Churchill, Canada has no arctic future.

The Port of Churchill needs the sustained investment and commitment that is best provided by a national government with a clear strategic objective. The laid-off workers need to get their jobs back right away, and rail service needs to be restored. If Omnitrax won’t make it happen, the government needs to step in.

While I generally don’t favour nationalizations, there are specific instances where it makes sense, and the Port of Churchill is one of them. The combination of the ongoing damage to the community that will result if the Port of Churchill remains shuttered, and the immense national strategic importance of the Port of Churchill is why the government must take action.

It is time to nationalize the Port of Churchill to protect jobs, put the public back in control, and secure our arctic future.

Read more articles by Spencer Fernando

This article by Spencer Fernando was originally published at – Manitoba’s homepage