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Letter: Protecting N.L.'s renewable resources — our fisheries

It is roughly 70 years ago that Newfoundland decided to join Canada which they thought was with great promises for the future. Imagine, if you were a teenager at that time and sitting on the wharf, watching the boats going to the fishing banks, eagerly waiting for the time when you can join your father and brother in plying the N.L. fishing industry. Those were the days when England controlled our fishery and we were a colony.

Now compare it to today, when a teenager sitting on the wharf is wondering if the government will allow one week or two weeks of general recreational fishing in the Atlantic. Yet the fisheries minister of Canada stands by as the premier of his province, with hypocrisy, lauds the benefits of the Energy East Pipeline.

Premier Gallant of New Brunswick says it is time to replace conventional oil from Saudi Arabia and other lawless countries from being shipped up the waterways of Eastern Canada, then at the same times states the oil will be sold to China and India, two of the largest climate polluters in the world. In fact it indicates that the Premier Gallant is a hypocrite and is sacrificing the Atlantic Fishery to possible catastrophic consequences in order to build an oil terminal in New Brunswick.  Such pipelines would provide further deterioration of the Fisheries. Unconventional oil has an 18 – 20 per cent larger effect per barrel on the climate than conventional oil. The offshore Atlantic oil is conventional, why not promote that in Canada rather than steal the Eastern markets.

After 70 years we are now in the position that our resources — hydro blocked by Quebec, oil market taken by N.B. who have no oil, and imperfect oil being shipped in our waters to the detriment of our fisheries by a Canadian government who is dedicated to climate change.

Welcome to the new colony.

Maybe we should consider doing what England is acting on, separating from its European Union. We could separate from our 1949 Union.

Neither myself, nor my family, have been involved in the fishery, but have only enjoyed the benefits of their hard work. To me the fishery has always meant one thing “he’s the man that catches the fish.” I believe that would be the harvesters and they are the ones that risk their lives on the ocean to feed our family with a healthy product.

That is not to say that the Food/Allied workers are not doing their part in processing and maintaining a healthy product, but, that the conditions of their labours are completely different. The only issue they have in common is the size of the catch and its weight to maintain a healthy product.

The man that catches the fish is an entrepreneur, the Food/Allied worker is an employee. The owners of the plants are entrepreneurs. 

After 70 years there does not seem to be unanimity in the ranks.

The entrepreneur and the employees should be separated so that there are two voices at the table, not one. A compromised voice doesn’t necessarily make good sense, two voices are needed.

As the fishery has to move toward unanimity and cooperation, then so does the province.

It is necessary for the province to interact with the other Atlantic provinces in an attempt to have a common front on the possible consequences of the supertankers to our fishery. As we know that Quebec is not in favor of the Energy East Pipeline we should openly support Quebec’s bid to deny its approval.

It is in both our interests.

George E. Colbourne

Corner Brook, NL


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