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LETTER: Time for a Newfoundland and Labrador agenda … not a Liberal or Tory one

A pair of crows sit on the front bridge of an empty house in the resettled outport of Grand Bruit. - File photo
A pair of crows sit on the front bridge of an empty house in the resettled outport of Grand Bruit. - File photo

We all have been out around the bay — you know those places that used to be a bustle of life and character, which are now shadows of their former selves. We see properties that are being slowly overtaken by nature.

So many of these homes that once held proud families of tried and true Newfoundlanders, have been abandoned, yet still remain standing.

While many may view this is a sad state of affairs, or inevitable repercussions of the moratorium, it offers me a different perspective.

It is the foundations of these homes I find so amazing. They have stood in communities for generations laying atop shards of shale rock. That rock which provides the rugged beauty of our landscape, has been holding up our families, and everything we hold dear, for generations. I find these homes to be symbols, they mirror the resolve of the people who inhabited them.

They have held fast in 150 km/h wind gusts and the worst that any Newfoundland winter could throw at them. Keeping families protected from the elements, all while being perched upon stones that make the homes uninsurable, because they have no foundation.

While it may not be a “foundation,” it is our Foundation, that rock is our Rock.

It is that sense of strength we need to draw on right now, in this time of six-figure payouts for job separation and golden parachutes for those attached to the government in power.

The average Newfoundlander wonders how their light bill is going to impact putting food on the table for themselves and their families. The communities of N.L. have real issues to tackle, like making sure there is clean drinking water for people in smaller communities and making sure that the roads that lead them to the hospitals and supplies are passible.

Imagine if we used the $3,000 a month living allowance for a contractor making $350,000 or the $2 million that has been handed to three dismissed Nalcor employees in the last 12 months, and sunk that money into a small community having problems with their drinking water or in need of infrastructure work.

$36,000 a year goes a long way to help with maintenance for drinking water and, surely, $2 million will fix a bad road or two.

How many more of these people are we flipping the bill for? You only see the tip of the iceberg, typically, just imagine what lies beneath.

Our home is built on that shale rock and — piece by piece through nepotism, corruption and blatant mismanagement of resources — it’s being pulled out from under our feet. Our home is not a game of Jenga, It’s our lives, families and our hearts. We have been bled almost dry by people who are supposed to be working in our interest, a failed greenhouse here a golden parachute there, from Churchill and Muskrat Falls to the Atlantic Accord.

Enough is enough!

The government structure depends on our loyalty and, let’s face it, we Newfoundlanders are loyal to a fault.

Look back at our history, where has it gotten us? What position is N.L. in now?

We border on bankruptcy, we have taken the brunt of raw deals and misguided plans, all thanks to the people we have elected and given our trust.

No party has earned the loyalty that the people of N.L. have afforded them.

We do not need a Liberal agenda or a Conservative one.

We need a new agenda for N.L., an agenda that holds the people and their vision paramount; one that acts in accordance with the future prosperity of this land and its people — all of its people; an agenda that does not sell our future for a Band-Aid on the present, but rather positions us toward a brighter future.

If we do not do it now, soon enough the last piece will be pulled out from under us and we won’t have to worry about it anymore.

The foundation will collapse and we will be left without our home and just like the people of Merasheen, Little Bay and Fair Islands we will be resettling, while Newfoundland becomes a footnote in history, until it is forgotten.

Patrick Antle,
St. John’s

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