Film: Betrayed: The Story of Canadian Merchant Seamen

Betrayed

Betrayed: The Story of Canadian Merchant Seamen tells the story of the little-known struggle of merchant seamen to save the merchant fleet and their livelihood. It traces the history of Canadian shipping from the international strike of l949 to the globalization of coastal shipping in Australia by Canada Steamship Lines -- owned by the family of Canadian prime minister, Paul Martin.

Although Canada is surrounded by three oceans, there is not a single deep-sea ship flying the Canadian flag today. Sixty years ago, Canada had the fourth-largest merchant fleet in the world. Canadian ships brought vital supplies to allied forces in Europe during World War II. The men sailing those ships were war heroes who suffered terrible losses. Their union, The Canadian Seaman's Union (CSU), brought the eight-hour day, sick leave and pay increases to an industry known for low wages and brutal working conditions.

After the war, when the Liberal government of Louis St. Laurent began to privatize the merchant fleet, the CSU strongly opposed the sell-off. The Canadian government and ship owners initiated a campaign to discredit the CSU. It was a time of fear, confusion and betrayal.

"Betrayed is a must see for those want to understand the ruthless globalization of one of the most important industries today -- international shipping."
- Mark Achbar, Director/Producer The Corporation

"Elaine Brière sets the romance of the sea beside the reality of government duplicity and corporate greed in a film that should be seen by every Canadian who cares about our past and our future"
- Mark Leier - Director, Center for Labour Studies, Simon Fraser Univesity

"Brière drags an important piece of our past back out of the memory hole, and shows why it’s still relevant today."
- Goeff Olson, The Vancouver Courier, November 22,2004

You can see an excerpt from Betrayed by clicking on one of the links below.

QuickTime (10.6 MB download)

 

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