While much of the province was deep in a turkey coma this weekend, New Democratic MP Ryan Cleary was on the job, and on his way to Alberta.
Cleary said when he travels, he’s often surrounded by Newfoundlanders and Labradorians on the plane.
This week, while the House of Commons is on a break, he’ll be going to visit those constituents.
“Every single week that I fly back and forth from Ottawa, I spend it on the plane with Newfoundlanders and Labradorians coming back from the West on rotation,” he said.
“I feel like in a way, I’m going to see a part of Newfoundland and Labrador I haven’t seen before.”
Cleary was scheduled to fly to Fort McMurray Monday to do a tour of the oil sands, and meet with municipal officials and locals.
Over the course of the week he’ll also travel to Edmonton and Calgary for meetings.
Cleary said Alberta has been a critical part of Newfoundland and Labrador’s recent history, and we owe it a debt of gratitude.
“We would’ve been a helluva lot worse off. It’s brought back a lot of money,” Cleary said. “If you drive around the bay, you see new homes, you see new rigs, and a lot of that money comes from Alberta.”
As far as the oilsands is concerned, he said, he doesn’t know about the environmental issues in too much detail yet, but he’s well aware of the economic impact it’s had on Newfoundland.
“When I think of the oilsands, I think, ‘thank God for the oilsands,’” Cleary said.
“If it wasn’t for the jobs in the oilsands, Newfoundland and Labrador wouldn’t have done as well as we’ve done over the past 15 or 20 years.”
He said in Fort McMurray, 17 per cent of the population is made up of Newfoundlanders and Labrado-rians.