I think I am on a roll.
Last week I was speaking to the NewfoundlandOcean Industries Assocaiton heralding the Atlantic Accord showing how we can in Newfoundland do the big things right if we put our mind to it . No one can doubt that, given the Accord’s provisions , and how it is the chief resource revenue generator for the Province , that this is a valid statement . Of course, there are still some partisans around, not true Newfoundlanders , who just can’t admit that we really did the Accord. They remind me of the lady in Marystown when I was a young lad. The lady was the Mother to my friend. And he invited me to his house for lunch. When I was eating my lunch , I mentioned to the lady about a new building being constructed just down the road . The lady became agitated —-exclaiming –‘that’s Uncle Joe’s boy, , Joe was never no good, nor is his son.’
I mean you gotta keep that local boy down. Eat your own where ever possible.
Of course, more often than not we have shown how we can do the big things wrong. Witness the Muskrat Falls Project. It is amazing that after a disastrous Upper Churchill contract in the 1960’s , and one that has haunted the Province ever since , we could turn around now and perform a similar feat on the lower part of the same river. And having Nova Scotians getting the real deal like the Quebecers already have on the Upper. It boggles the mind. And I have just issued a statement on this Muskrat tragedy , requesting that an audit on the project be undertaken now. The revelation of the SNC Lavalin risk report is surely the last straw, replete as it is with the sorry state of the project, known just four months after it was sanctioned . To think that it is somehow alright to leave this off for a couple of years before scrutiny in the face of the what has been revealed leaves me —speechless –well , if not speechless, then dumbfounded.
Let me complete the trifecta —now the fishery. With all this time with a moratorium on the ground fishery , one would think that the Province would have used the opportunity to propose a new arrangement with the Federal Government. Most now agree that the terms of union with Canada left the new Province with little say over its main industry at the time. Of course, it took a long while for us to realize that this was really a mistake. We had to endure the ‘ industrialize or perish’ frenzy of Smallwood , the mana from heaven syndrome that all good things flowed from Ottawa, and really a collapse of the ground fishery . There were times in the 1980’s when it seemed I had more support for more say over the Fishery from my colleagues in Alberta and Saskatchewan than I did from my own Newfoundlanders. Nevertheless , we soldiered on and almost reached a new fishery deal during the constitutional talks. I actually traveled across Canada arguing our case. My book ‘The Past in the Present’ details how to do a new arrangement on Federal Provincial powers over the Fishery . Of course, both the Harris Report and later the Royal Commission On Renewing and Strengthening Our Place in Canada referenced a new fishery management agreement was necessary. Sadly, this after the animals had left the barn, or better said ‘ the fish left the grounds.’
So what has the Province done since the early nineteen nineties? Have they made any proposals to the Federal Government ? If they have it is one of the great public policy secrets of the last few decades !
Fishery , Water Power and Offshore.
Sounds awfully familiar.
Fishery , even after a collapse— done little, water power –Oh, my God , and Offshore —remains the only shining star.
Isn’t it time to do something on the Fishery? What if the ground fishery returns as indications seem to indicate now . Are we ready?
Let’s try and make it two out of three.