Dunderdale had a clear message for the province's processing sector Friday: don't expect me to save you.
Speaking about an hour before Ocean Choice International announced that it would be closing the Marystown and Port Union fish plants, Dunderdale said the government can't be relied on to keep them open.
"Some of them who have an instrumental role to play in a resolution of the issues in the fishery, use the easy way out and the cop out by calling on the government to come in and fix the problem," Dunderdale said. "What can you do? Businesses in this province have to operate profitably. That's for the fishery as well as for any other business."
She didn't offer much in the way of specific solutions.
With plants closing, she said the government will come in with the usual supports, helping workers transition to other industries.
However, anyone looking for a taxpayer subsidy to keep the plants open will be out of luck.
"Everybody in this province can't constantly turn to government and say, 'you fix it. You subsidize it.' We can't pay people to work. We can't pay people to live in communities in this province," she said.
In Marystown - the part of the province Dunderdale is originally from - she laid a lot of the blame at the feet of the union, which rejected a plan to keep the plant open earlier this year.
Union members voted against a plan to keep the plant open for 18 weeks per year for the next three years.
"Eighteen weeks' work opposed to no weeks work - that's what people have got to ask themselves now," Dunderdale said.
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