Plaque debate ongoing

Council decides tonight where to locate plaque commemorating 1976 wildcat strike

The debate over where to place a plaque commemorating the 1976 wildcat strike continues, with a final vote at last Monday’s committee of the whole meeting failing 3-3. Councillor Mary Murphy was absent.

Councillor Mario Feldhoff made a motion to place the plaque in the museum courtyard, which was one of several options provided to council by staff, as well as for council to advocate for the placement of a plaque at the Vancouver Convention Centre. Other locations included the originally proposed Centennial Park, Lions Park, and Coghlin Park, among others.

“I don’t recall the placement of a plaque ever creating so much community animosity,” said Feldhoff, referencing the strong response council has received from community members in regards to the project, which is spearheaded by the BC Labour Heritage Board, and initiated in Kitimat by Unifor 2301.

When it was first announced that council would be supporting the placement of the plaque in Centennial Park and providing financial support of up to $1,000, many residents wrote letters to the District stating that they were worried the commemoration would correlate to a celebration of an event that drove a wedge through the town. Many residents also took issue with the proposed placement in Centennial Park, where most of the monuments recognize those who have given their lives in war or in the workplace.

The strike was a result of union members in Kitimat who were unhappy with federal wage control measures, and culminated in workers walking off the job in protest. The RCMP were brought in, and there is still seemingly a lot of bad blood in the community over the event.

“There are some vivid opposing memories of the CASAW wildcat strike of 1976, and how that should most appropriately be remembered,” Feldhoff continued. “Many of us on council did not become aware of those divisive feelings until after our original July 18 motion.”

At the subsequent council meeting following the initial decision to support the plaque on August 2, council voted to reconsider the motion, which prompted a presentation at the August 15 council meeting by members of Unifor 2301 and the retirees chapter of the union.

Those presentations asked council to continue to their support of the project, as they believed it was an important event to remember, to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

After discussion amongst councillors regarding the history of the event and the appropriateness of the plaque being located in Centennial Park, councillors asked that the motion brought forward by Feldhoff be split into three separate parts to be voted on.

Council voted unanimously to support the placement of the plaque, with a location undetermined, while councillor Rob Goffinet voted against advocation for a plaque at the Vancouver Convention Centre.

Council also voted unanimously to provide financial support up to $1,000 for the project, but during the vote for placing the plaque in the museum courtyard, mayor Phil Germuth and councillors Edwin Empinado and Mario Feldhoff voted in favour, while councillors Larry Walker, Claire Rattee, and Rob Goffinet voted against, which negated the motion.

The matter will be discussed once again at the council meeting tonight.


Just Posted

B.C. freestyle skier wins gold

Cassie Sharpe of Comox shines in the halfpipe

Terrace RCMP arrest Kitimat man for drug trafficking

A police investigation has led to the arrest of a Kitimat man… Continue reading

Communities need to drive support for LNG

“If you want these projects to go ahead you have to support the people speaking out.”

Ladies rock the Valentines Bonspiel

The 1980’s themed event is geared at fun, and drew rinks from Terrace, Kitimat, and elsewhere

Natural gas pipeline repairs could cost consumers

Last fall’s heavy rains exposed sections of Pacific Northern Gas pipeline

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

OLYMPIC ROUNDUP: Canada rounds out Day 11 earning gold in 2 more events

Comox Valley’s Cassie Sharpe and fan-favourites Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir all earned golds

Trudeau announces two-way $1 billion investment deal with India

Some of India’s biggest companies to invest more than $250 million in Canada in the coming years

’60s Scoop group educates survivors, pushes rejection of federal settlement

Federal government’s compensation proposal includes $50 million for an Indigenous Healing Foundation

As ‘Black Panther’ shows, inclusion pays at the box office

At the box office, inclusion is paying — and often, it’s paying off big time

Washington senator wants B.C. to follow suit and phase out net-pen fish farms

An American ban will be less effective in the shared ecosystem of the Salish Sea, senator says

Virtue and Moir end ice dance careers with Olympic gold

Virtue and Moir’s gold medal win at the Olympics makes them the world’s most decorated figure skaters

Canadians find living in small spaces teaches creativity

Canadian families choosing to live in small spaces to bring closeness to children

Most Read