‘FFAW given inside track in arbitration process’
The Association of Seafood Producers (ASP) has come out swinging today to news from the provincial government that Earle McCurdy – former FFAW President – has been appointed to the Standing Fish Price-Setting Panel, the arbitration body used to set prices in the fishery. The Association says the appointment is a clear conflict of interest, and an insult to members.
“Mr. McCurdy’s appointment is an insult to members, and undermines the independence of the arbitration process. We are going in the wrong direction, and this flies in the face of our calls for a more professional and independent arbitration model,” said Derek Butler, Executive Director, ASP.
Butler says McCurdy has spent his professional life fighting the interests of processors and undermining their contributions to this province.
“This process calls for someone who is capable of a wide perspective on issues. That is not Mr. McCurdy’s forte,” said Butler.
“No fair minded member of the public will see this any other way,” added Butler.
“Mr. McCurdy is the paragon of bias, representing one side of this industry unequivocally. He represented his side without apology, but independent he is not. Now the FFAW has essentially got one vote in their pocket on a three person panel. It is not fair, and it is not right.”
Mr. McCurdy served 21 years as head of the FFAW, and often appeared before the panel when its job was to arbitrate the price of fish if the two parties, the FFAW and ASP, could not reach agreement.
“Corks are popping at the FFAW headquarters in celebration of today’s news,” said Butler.
What’s more, said Butler, “government has added a larger measure of instability to an already precarious process, and placed the entire arbitration model and panel in peril. The process is hard enough as it is. This makes it worse. Why would the FFAW want to reach deals when they have the inside track?”
Butler is calling on government to cancel the appointment, and if not, for Mr. McCurdy to reject it.