As the newly appointed minister of natural resources, I was honoured to be invited to participate in the official launch and opening reception of Oil and Gas Week 2013 on Feb. 25 at the Marine Institute.
This annual event is a celebration of the oil and gas sector in Newfoundland and Labrador and an opportunity to engage with students in our province interested in this exciting field.
At this event, there were students from MUN, Marine Institute, College of the North Atlantic and St. John’s area junior and high schools.
This is in part why I feel compelled to write and express my disappointment with NDP Leader Lorraine Michael’s attempt to overshadow a wonderful event with political commentary focused not on the opportunities which exist in oil and gas but on the province’s current fiscal situation.
One of the primary objectives of Oil and Gas Week is to inform our youth and post-secondary students about the broad range of career opportunities available in this industry.
Opportunities do abound to establish satisfying and rewarding careers right here at home. We should applaud a sector that has provided secure economic and employment opportunities for our students and consider ourselves privileged that our young people — our children and grandchildren — have opportunity to work at home in Newfoundland and Labrador and share in the wealth of developing our natural resources.
Since the development of first oil, the provincial oil and gas industry has journeyed a long way and brought tremendous employment and financial benefits to the people of our province.
This event was not the time to play politics and showed a real lack of leadership and vision on the part of the NDP leader when it comes to the youth of this province and looking to the future.
This event was an opportunity to engage and encourage our students about the choices and opportunities available — the same youth who will shape the future of our province.
It is unfortunate that the NDP leader did not take a moment to applaud the sector’s achievements and acknowledge the hard work by all stakeholders, including our province’s academic institutions, to attract and prepare our students for current and future opportunities.
We should all welcome and support a sector that encourages our young people to consider a career path that would allow them to work and live here at home.
Minister of Natural Resources