There are many things that cross a Newfoundlander’s mind when they are faced with leaving home to find work; how they will miss the smell of the sea, how much they will miss their loved ones and, perhaps most of all, how they must face a country that has cast our people down since the day we joined in 1949.
A not-so-kind gentleman, Shawn Mitchell, had a Letter to the Editor published in the Calgary Sun this past week.
In it he called us unmannerly, uneducated, “job thieves.”
His random and unprovoked outburst of how Newfoundlanders “steal” Albertan jobs was a display of how unmannerly and uneducated he happens to be.
Such opinions would never be held by someone who was educated, and would never be said by someone with manners.
Newfoundlanders and Labradorians are world renowned for our hospitality, our kindness, and our fun-loving character.
We are some of the hardest working people on this planet and especially in this country have to call home.
For hundreds of years we lived off the sea, facing the waves that claimed so many of our young men, and faced the iron fists of fish merchants on land.
From the inshore fishery, to the seal hunt and the forestry, we worked from before the sun came up, to long after the sun had set, only to get up and do it all again the next day. We risked life and limb to work jobs that allowed us to flourish and thrive on a rock in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, and on the barrens and forests of the Big Land.
Outside of the fishery, jobs were hard to come by, but when we joined Canada more opportunities presented themselves.
Now, we still see many of our young men and women make the trek away from their homes and families to find work on the mainland, in oil fields, factories, and any other job they can find to provide for their loved ones.
Unfortunately, ever since we became “interprovincial migrants,” the sentiment held by Mr. Mitchell, as we all are aware, is all too common amongst our Canadian counterparts.
No Newfoundlander wants to leave home, no Newfoundlander wants to leave their family, and no Newfoundlander wants to face attitudes that are claim we are stupid and lazy because we are from Newfoundland and Labrador.
And no Newfoundlander should have to face such things.
Mr. Mitchell, if Newfoundlanders and Labradorians are able to fill Albertan jobs whilst under your assumption there are more Albertans than jobs, what does that say about the readiness and willingness of your province’s workforce?
It speaks for itself, and speaks for the quality of work we produce as Newfoundlanders and Labradorians.
There will be a day when the oil in Alberta dries up and the boom dies; when the jobs are to be found elsewhere in Canada; and when what Newfoundlanders have done for hundreds of years will be a way of life for Albertans.
But unlike the countless who share Mr. Mitchell’s hate and ignorance, Newfoundlanders and Labradorians will open their arms and work side by side with whoever happens to call our province home. God guard thee Newfoundland.