Thursday, March 18, 2010

Fish and porogies

I’ve been distracted lately so I’ve got some catching up to do …

First, to Bill Barry …

The west coast fish processor is going at it with the fishermen’s union, but then they’re always going at it.

Before I get to the latest spat, I’ve got to backtrack to Feb. 18, 2008, when The Globe and Mail carried a feature on Barry (The fishery is dead; long live the fishery).

Barry predicted that over the next 5 years the fishery is in for more change.

Plants will close, and yet more fishermen and plant workers will be forced to turn their backs on the sea.

Barry was pretty much on the mark.

He then he took a shot at the union: “the fishermen’s union will lose its power — and the quicker the better.”

So there’s no love loss between the two, just so you know.
Quick tangent.

Barry also had thoughts on the costs of Confederation with Canada:

“Newfoundlanders were the most self-reliant, independent group of people probably on the face of the Earth. It was a place that was hard to live in, and only the resilient could survive. But successive years of being looked after by Ottawa have not served us well … we were convinced by politicians that UI was the OK thing, that to work for (employment insurance) stamps was a legitimate process. That would have completely nauseated any of our ancestors.”

But then imagine how our ancestors would react if they knew the fish are gone …
In the latest spat, Barry went off his head over comments that Earle McCurdy, head of the fishermen’s union, made on radio about the herring fishery.

McCurdy accused Barry of having a monopoly over the herring fishery. In turn, Barry accused McCurdy and the FFAW of having a monopoly over fishermen.

The story made for an interesting business page, but little else …
Back to the 2008 Globe article …

I mention it because Barry isn’t a friend of inshore fishermen. It’s fair to say he would like them done away with.

Barry told The Globe two years ago that the Alberta oil sands will be the “saviour” of the Newfoundland fishery in that the drain of human capital will accelerate the end of the “old fishery” and herald in a new one with better jobs and bigger money.

The same amount of fish will be chased, but by fewer fishermen and plants.

The inshore fishery will die, but a more efficient, far less labour intensive killing machine will be birthed to replace it.

“The most important thing that could happen is for everyone to be brutally honest with each other, give each other a great big hug, and say it’s over,” Barry said of the traditional fishery.

For all that, The Globe described Barry as a “champion” of the Newfoundland and Labrador fishery.

The Globe got it wrong, of course.

Barry is a champion of the Barry Group.

Remember that every time you come across Barry in the news.
Next to Michael Ignatieff …

The leader of the federal Liberal Party was at O’Donel High in Mount Pearl Monday for a town hall-style meeting on the future of Canada leading up to the 150th anniversary of Confederation in 2017.

Incidently, there’s nothing like walking into a Liberal event with an orange New Democrat button pinned to your chest.

It’s quite exhilarating, just to see the look on the Liberal faces.

I bring up the town hall meeting because Ignatieff was obviously not in Ottawa, where the House of Commons is in session.

And he was slammed for it.

“After Eight Days, Ignatieff Prorogues Himself …,” was the headline of an internal memo sent by Tory party officials in which they noted the Liberal Leader was a no-show in the Commons on Monday.

The memo was carried by The Globe and Mail.

Let’s see if I have this straight, the Liberals hammer the federal Conservatives for weeks for proroguing Parliament, and then when the House reopens their leader takes off on a cross-country tour?

But then it’s not only the Liberal Leader …

MP Siobhan Coady was out of the Commons as well on Monday.

And again today.

Coady has a St. Patrick’s-themed fundraising dinner ($30 a plate) and silent auction with special guest MP Gerard Kennedy scheduled for this evening (Thursday, March 18th) in St. John’s.

I wonder if porogies will be on the menu?

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