Monday, January 31, 2011

Attention NL visionaries: please step forward

Newfoundland and Labrador has lost its vision.

Technically, it’s Danny Williams’ vision that’s been lost — not ours.

No difference — blind is blind when you’re wandering in the political marsh.

Say what you will about DW’s dream: he left NL a better place than he found it, and not all 8 premiers before him could say that.

As usual, however, we’re not quite there yet — poised for something just out of reach.

God knows what that something might be.

Greatness maybe.

But we could just as easily revert back to our former status as the world’s “most vast and scenic welfare ghetto.”

Newfies every one.

It’s a scary spot, economic limbo.

If more oil isn’t found the revenue taps will start losing pressure in 7 years.

Mind you, the Tory administration has been desperate for another discovery.

The province took the risk and allowed ultra-deep water drilling to continue last year off Newfoundland — the only region in North America to continue the practice after the Deepwater Horizon spill turned the Gulf of Mexico and half the Eastern Seaboard into a tar pit.

Desperate for it.


So how do we pay the bills — and we’re racking them up in record amounts — in the absence of oil windfall?

In his most recent report on the province’s spending, Auditor General John Noseworthy said NL has come to rely too heavily on oil revenues, describing government spending levels as “incredible.”

In 2000, the province’s entire budget amounted to $4.1 billion, the AG pointed out.

Today, the province spends $4.1 billion a year alone on health and education, and costs are constantly rising.

Could there come a day when our economic fortunes will sink and we won't be able to pay the bills?

What’s in our future post oil — deep government cuts and wholesale layoffs, or massive deficits and crippling debt?

Ireland turned out to be a Celtic (Paper) Tiger.

Will our success be just as shallow and fleeting?

Or will we heed the warnings and do a better job of diversifying the economy?

We’d better get to it.

Starting with our raison d’etre — the fishery.

If Norway’s fishing industry can set export records 7 years in a row, why can’t ours?

Norwegian seafood exports last year totaled 2.7 million tonnes —up 93,000 tonnes from 2009.

Which is apparently equal to 37 million meals of Norwegian seafood ever day.

We’re luck to have a scattered feed of cod tongues.


Where's the vision?

DW had a vision when it came to oil, when it came to our place in Canada, when it came to attitude.

He didn’t have a vision for the outports and the fishery.

In the end, DW was only the master of his own destiny.

Not ours, although he's to be thanked for issuing the challenge.

A federal election is expected this spring, and a provincial election is set for Oct. 11.

Now is the time for all good NLers to rise.


Jerome said...

"Say what you will about DW’s dream: he left NL a better place than he found it, and not all 8 premiers before him could say that."

Really Ryan, how could he have left it any other way?

Unlike his 7 predecessors, Danny had something to work with.
Whether NL is a "better place than he found it", remains to be seen.

Plan Ahead said...

Long term vision is lacking from our current system of government, attention spans of people are getting shorter, and our leaders only look ahead a few years to the next election and their gold-plated pensions.
Many of the challenges our society face are generational and take thoughtful, critical thinking and planning.
The fishery is a RENEWABLE resource that, if competently managed, could be the bedrock of the NL economy for centuries to come. Any government or Newfoundlander who has the best interests of our children and grandchildren at heart should consider the fishery as the top priority of economic policy. Anything less is immoral and history will judge us harshly if the fishery is destroyed on our watch. We should all be demanding to know how the NL fishing industry has been desolated under DFO management and why the groundfish still haven't recovered. When our current MPs don't even have the idea of an inquiry into the downfall of our fishery on their radar its time to get some new MPs.

LA said...

A new political party with a sustainable vision is in order. any takers for a pitcher plant or a blue flag iris alliance ?

Anonymous said...

A new political party with a sustainable vision is in order. any takers for a pitcher plant or a blue flag iris alliance

Do you want this new political party at the provincial or federal level or both.

At the federal level I am working to form the Newfoundland and Labrador Party (NLP)or the Newfie Bloc.

Wayne R. Bennett
NL Independent Candidate
Humber - St. Barbe - Baie Verte

Fisherman's Road said...

Any party named the newfie Bloc is doomed to failure. I allow most comments on my blog ... but you only get one warning re use of word "newfie" ....

The word that won't die said...

Ryan, I share your view of the N-word. Even though the context may explain your usage of it I was surprised to see it in your latest blog post on the nineth line : "N... every one"

Anonymous said...


My apologizes for the use of that term. I also take offence to it. I only used, as as a resident of this nation, for emphasis only.

Wayne R. Bennett
NL Independent Candidate
Humber - St. Barbe - Baie Verte

Anonymous said...

I have some trouble with the idea that we need a visionary or a new leader.

Individual NL'ers have to accept responsibility for their own political situation.

We need the average citizen of NL to take an interest in politics, we don't need people calling for the next great leader. is people demand our provincial government take responsibility for building a sustainable fishing industry the partisan politicians will soon follow.

Look to Egypt - people are taking responsibility for the future of their country, they aren't waiting for someone to come along and do it for them.

Why we NL'ers roll over and accept what comes down the political pipes I do not know, but it is in fact the case and that is the problem - not a lack of leaders!

Anonymous said...

^ I agree with the above comment.

If you think rural NL could be a prosperous place by developing a sustainable fishery then say so! say it publicly, talk to your elected representatives, talk to your family and friends and seek out others who think like you.

Leaders will emerge, but they need crowds of active citizens to lead any real political change in NL.

you cannot change your political situation by passively sitting in front of the TV or computer screen!

Brad Cabana said...

I believe NL's future lies in the renegotiation of the Upper Churchill, using the only chip we have ever had on Quebec - Old Harry. They want in, but can't get it til we agree on a maritime border. With a sizeable compensation for the last 30 years, which would be applied directly to the debt(wiping it out), a continual focus on oil and gas exploration/development our Province would be the wealthiest per capita in the country.
That would result in lower taxes, higher immigration, development, diversification, and heavy investment in the fishery. There is no point in selling NL to tourists if the rural area they come to see is boarded up. Anyone can see St John's in a day or two. They come here to see the rest.
Oh, and if you think I'm whistling in the wind about the Upper Churchill consider the fact that Lucien Bouchard was just hired as the head of the oil and gas industry in Quebec. The same guy who has been in exile in California for the last decade or so. He just so happens to be the last guy to reach a tentative deal with a NL premier - Tobin. The deal wasn't consumated, but it was reached and he knows the file. By the way, he can also use his seperatist cred to explain to all those folks there why PQ has to renegotiate and pay up.
Newfoundland and Labrador has got the massive short end of the stick for along time. I believe that is about to change with the right climate.

LA said...

Wayne, im interested in an atlantic bloc concept but think that when we fight alone we get the same results as we did with ABC, -a united front without any external backing save an unplanned independent variable like-the Conservatives actually winning? One of the ways Harper has found electoral success and has maintained longevity as Prime Minister of Canada in Canada is by reframing western discontent in a way that is amenable to francophone quebec and non-english or non-french canadians in ontario and BC-basically the numbers he needs to keep his governance 'happening'. Brad-When Danny Williams made the announcement that CFLco was taking Quebec to court AGAIN I basically laughed out loud as this has been attempted several times and has even gone to the supreme court of canada-the highest court in this country! now we are throwing tax payers money around again at Quebec lawyers, suing under a 1996 provision of the Quebec civil code this time, no less, when we couldnt get through the door with the supreme court of canada?
i truly wonder if NL politicos will ever be able to step outside the story of our seemingly 'unique' experience of alienation and been exploited through confederation with Canada and actually come up with energy policies that are not unduly retributive towards Quebec, but actually good for all Canadians going forward?

Anonymous said...


I draw your attention to a study and presentation done by AIMS ( Atlantic Institute for Market Studies).

They released their findings on the 10th of December 2010 and the premise of their study is for a National Body to regulate the inter provincial movement of hydro.

Very through and enlighting study.

I plan on using it to formulate my campaign platform for the fast approaching Federal Election.

As an aside, this past August I held initial discussion with the Atlantic Party (now a Prov NS Party) to take the AP to the Federal level and form a 32 seat voting block for Atlantic Canada.

This meeting was a follow on to discussions I had with Bill Cassey duirng the 2008 Federal Election.

My objective/goal is like that of the New Labrador Party and The Fishermans Union: gain the Balance of Power in a Minority Parliament and trade political support to address NL's long standing grievances.

Remember Chuck Cadman or look to the 2008 New Zealand election where One Independent MP helped form a Coliation Govt and for his support he is NZ's Minister of Revenue Outside of Cabinet (do not have to adhere to Cabinet solidarity or tow the party line).

Time for Real Change in this Country!

639.5350 (c)

NL-ExPatriate said...

If the provinces have no equality the nthe people in those minority population provinces are treated as minorities by ALL of the national parties.
We need another choice, in order to be able to make a change or to get representation.
As far as our fishery goes you would be better off convincing Ontarians and Quebecers to change the fishery because they own and control 66% of it through ALL of the national parties.

Mark said...

It may be very rare that we agree on things, Ryan, but on being offended by the N-word, at least we have found some common ground.