Saturday, October 31, 2009

Telegram letter: Oct. 31st

Time to act, not talk

Section: Letters to the editor

I agree with letter writer David Boyd of Twillingate ("Fishy deal," Oct. 28) that the little boats of Newfoundland are being starved out of the fishery. But I disagree that the biggest "mind-boggler" of all is that no one speaks up for the outrage.
We don't let up about it. There are as many so-called true Newfoundlanders, in terms of rants and roars, as ever. Check the open lines for proof.
Hand lines may be empty, but phone lines are as blocked as ever.
And there wasn't much to complain about in recent years. Rural Newfoundland did better than ever, the outports practically glowed (streetlights will do that). But Alberta oil only managed to fan an economic spark that was all but out.
When Western work tapered off, the outports again looked to the sea.
And, once again, the sea fails to provide for them, as does the latest make-work response. The $9-an-hour brush cutters on the Northern Peninsula will attest to that. NDP Leader Lorraine Michael will attest to how demeaning the work is (that, and having to pee in the woods).
More to be done
It's time for us not just to rant and roar, but to reason. We must draw up an economic model for rural Newfoundland that works. Not on government subsidy, not on make-work, but on its own, as a business as much as a place to live and prosper.
Rural Newfoundland must be rebuilt, from the foundation up. Custodial management is an absolute must, the ability to set and enforce quotas inside and outside the 200-mile limit. How can a farmer protect his sheep when there's no fence around his property and a pack of wolves living next door?
Fish must be put ahead of the people for us to have a chance. We must educate ourselves on who exactly owns the fish in the sea, learn to respect and nourish the stocks, and tie future quotas to the outport community so that it can take ownership.
We have lost the power to do for ourselves (if we ever had it).
No, Mr. Boyd, it's not just processors who are to blame, but each and every one of us. The way forward is to acknowledge the troubled waters we're in, chart a course forward, and then rise up for what must be done. That's the true Newfoundlander we should all aspire to be.

Ryan Cleary,
St. John'

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