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.
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.