Seal money, kinda funny

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OK, so I promised I wasn’t going to be harping (see what I did there? That’s why I get paid the big bucks. Talk about clever wha’?) on the seal fishery, and I feel like I’ve been picking on government a bit lately, but I have to take the old critical hakapik out just momentarily.

See, I laughed so hard I almost had pups when I heard about the $3.6 million “boost” the province announced last week for the seal fishery by way of money for the Carino processing operation in South Dildo, NL.

Actually, let’s be specific.

The boost is a loan that the company will use to buy pelts and blubber from harvesters.

A loan has to be paid back. With interest.

Carino repaid a previous similar loan in full as of last year, so we know they’re good for it.

And I’m sure the cash is put to good use by the company and has indeed helped the troubled seal fishery get through some recent tougher seasons.

I’m just being critical of how government frames a loan as a “boost.”

When you go to the bank to renew your mortgage, does the bank insist it is giving you a boost? Or when you pay the light bill or get a credit card or apply for financing to buy a car — ever remember anyone suggesting they were giving you funding or a “boost” of any kind?

As far as I’m concerned it’s good that the industry will get access to money for operating capital and I’m sure the rate of interest will be palatable for Carino. It’s a smart move for the industry, the company and by government at the business level.

But I just think it’s a bit disingenuous to be suggesting that providing a loan is akin to providing actual funding to the industry.

It’s clear both the federal and provincial governments are getting out of the business of investing in the wild fishery, so I guess they have to latch on to anything they can to make it appear they are in some way supporting the $1 billion fishing industry and the 20,000 Newfoundlanders and Labradorians working in it.

Or maybe I’ve got a Monday morning bug in my bonnet.

Jamie Baker is the managing editor for The Navigator magazine, www.thenavigatormagazine.com

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  • Billy Hakapik
    April 08, 2013 - 20:37

    I hear what you say Jamie. Remember this helps troubled fishermen too - not just sealers as it is just short term fishery for some. Also let's not forget some IT companies who get $1 million non refundable grants to keep their business buzzing. One came from a Aero Technology support fund 2 years ago from provincial gov.