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Letter: Another nail in the coffin of the N.L. fishery

['Wayde George handles pelts at the seal tannery in Dildo. It’s a labour-intensive process that takes more than three weeks to fully cure and tan a sealskin.  —Photo by James McLeod/The Telegram']
Seal skins being tanned. — File photo

This is in response to a letter published in the Telegram June 30 by Premier Dwight Ball titled “PC’s ill-informed on Trade Matters,” where he states “I am amazed that the PC Finance critic, Keith Hutchings, is so ill-informed on a trade related matter.”

It’s like the pot calling the kettle black.

This letter is not to defend MHA Hutchings and the PC’s — they are quite capable of defending themselves — but to point out the lack willingness of this premier to negotiate in good faith for the people of Newfoundland and Labrador.

He goes on to say “my government and Corner Brook Pulp and Paper are fighting for our forestry industry and we have both engaged legal counsel that specializes in United States anti-dumping and countervailing law.”

I don’t know why we are spending our tax dollars fighting for this company. This is a big company with many paper mills that has got a lot of help from the taxpayers of this Province.

Just a short while ago, on April 10, Corner Brook Pulp and Paper destroyed one of its oldest and reliable contractors, Arthur Fowlow Ltd. from the Green Bay area, by not renewing their contract. In 2010 Arthur Fowlow Ltd. was chosen as best overall forestry contractor in Atlantic Canada by the Canadian Woodlands forum. We have lost 24 well-paying jobs and my inquiries as a member of the public advisory Committee with Corner Brook Pulp and Paper for 15 years, I was not given an answer as to where they could save one dollar.

Canada, with the blessing of the N.L. Liberal government, has entered into an agreement with the E.U. where we will accept all of their goods duty free, while at the same time not one of them will allow our seal products to be sold in their countries.

N.L. was built on the wealth of our ocean and it is still our biggest employer but we have been under attack because of bad management practices by the federal government since we joined Canada.

Now, we face low fish populations and an exploding seal population that is impeding the growth of our fish stocks because of the amount of fish they are consuming and these countries are refusing to allow our seal products into their countries.

I have pleaded with both federal and provincial governments not to enter into a deal with the E.U. unless they agree to take our seal products, but both governments, Trudeau and Ball, haven’t got the guts to stand up for this province.

So, Premier Ball, don’t blame the PC’s for all the problems we are facing. You have been in power long enough to show some leadership and do the right things for the people of this province.

Ball goes on to say “my government recognizes the vast resources that exist across various industries and most importantly within our people,” but when it comes to the fishery — our main reason for being here — the province does very little. 

The premier is all for supporting large businesses but for the thousands of small business involved in the inshore fishery there has been little support of any government to try and restore our fishery to its rightfully place in the world as one of the top fishing nations.

Not including our seal products in the E.U. agreement is another nail in the coffin of the N.L. fishery.

(Ret) Capt. Wilfred Bartlett

Green Bay South

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