POLITICS

Protesters try to send 'search party' for MP Penashue

01/26/2012 12:35 EST | Updated 03/27/2012 05:12 EDT

About 30 protesters tried to overshadow 50th anniversary celebrations for the Canadian Coast Guard in St. John's Thursday.

The protesters, who call themselves the May Day Coalition, chanted outside the coast guard building on the south side of St. John's harbour.

They called their action a "search party" for Labrador MP Peter Penashue, who was attending the event inside the building. They wanted to explain to Penashue why they think it is a bad idea to close the Maritime Rescue Sub-Centre at the Canadian Coast Guard base in St. John's.

Penashue, who is also Newfoundland and Labrador's cabinet representative in Ottawa, has refused to meet with the group on the issue.

"We asked him to please listen to us," said Merv Wiseman, a spokesperson for the May Day Coalition, and a union representative for Canadian Coast Guard workers. "In the interest of public safety, please listen to us."

Penashue said it would be pointless for him to meet with the protesters because his mind is made up on the matter.

After the event at the Coast Guard building, Penashue left using the back entrance.

Wiseman said although Penashue may not want to talk, federal Fisheries Minister Keith Ashfield has agreed to meet with him to discuss the closure of the Maritime Rescue Sub-Centre early next month in Ottawa.