Fishermen’s Union (MFU) of Canada, written by Sue Calhoun and titled A Word to Say, is both thought-provoking and enlightening. This is the story of the struggle of the fishermen of the Maritime Provinces to organize to protect the source of their livelihood, while retaining their autonomy.
This struggle is situated in the context of the ‘development’ of fisheries in Canada and the struggle of these communities to retain their Acadian roots. In this attempt, the author has tried to communicate the complexities of a mobilization process in a community that is geographically scattered and emotionally volatile.
The story focuses on the struggle of in-shore fishermen against the growing control of government over the fishery, on the one hand, and the domination of the fish processing industry, on the other—both of which seemed to want to wipe out the inshore fishery in favour of the growing offshore fleet. Over the years, the inshore fishermen had started co-operatives and joined associations. Neither had given them much strength. In 1973, these fishermen began talking about a union, but the existing labour legislation had to change first.