There have been many names tossed around as perspective candidates for the lieutenant-governor’s position when John Crosbie retires at the end of his current term.
There is a general consensus that it should be a woman, finally.
There is a political precedent that it will be a Conservative, definitely.
Here is my reason why it should be Lynn Verge, unquestionably.
It began in 1979 with the help Lynn Verge gave to me and my friends when we were fighting to be hired as female labourers at the Corner Brook Pulp and Paper mill, then Bowater’s.
I want to share that experience so that her dedication to the equality of women can serve as justification for her consideration.
Searching for work
I was attending university and there seemed to be a significant difference between my girl friends and my male friends when we registered for school in the fall after a summer job.
My male counterparts always seemed to have the upper hand financially.
In Corner Brook, the largest employer was the pulp and paper mill.
That meant a significant number of young men could afford a good secondhand car, a better-than-average stereo and a big downpayment on their tuition.
All I could seem to do was a bike, a radio and some spending money.
Sure, the boys had to be available for ’round-the-clock shift work, to constantly fill bottomless pits of log grinders or roll 1,500 pounds of paper off conveyor belts, but I was not convinced that only men could do the job.
Two things changed my life forever: I met with management and I met with Lynn Verge.
She worked directly with us, advising us after every meeting or confrontation.
There were arguments, there was posturing, there was discouragement.
She lent the advice and the credibility, all without any financial compensation or personal gain. There were no guarantees. It was uncharted territory.
She was unwavering.
Behind the scenes
Moreover, there was no public acknowledgement as she had not yet thrown herself into the political foray for which she was later known.
Lynn Verge had done so for no other reason than to help advance the rights of women in Corner Brook and in Newfoundland.
Mind you, I gained considerably.
Three of my friends and I were hired as the first female labourers at the mill.
Besides better pay, I gained confidence and knowledge and a skill set that would serve me well for my entire life.
Further, I can imagine ours was not the only untold story; selflessness and dedication does not happen in isolation.
To that end, I would encourage anyone who needs a nudge in making up their minds for who would be best female Conservative for the job — it should be Lynn Verge.
Please send this or any other letter of endorsement to the very male prime minister to help him decide.
Here’s the address:
80 Wellington St.
Dr. Linda Goodyear writes from St. John’s.