Here's to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the
round pegs in the square holes... the ones who see things differently -- they're
not fond of rules... You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify
them, but the only thing you can't do is ignore them because they change
things... they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the
crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that
they can change the world, are the ones who do.

Steve Jobs
US computer engineer & industrialist (1955 - 2011)

Saturday, February 26, 2011

The Gutless II

Clyde Jackman, the provincial Minister of Fisheries, did not reject the findings of his own government's commissioned report on the fisheries. His only problem was the price tag or "ask" as he referred to it. You know you are getting arrogant beyond belief when you publicly refer to a financial request to help the fishery as an "ask". I suppose the next line will be a "beg". In any case, during his news conference he constantly waved the document about (in Mulroney Meech Lake style) and berated it as not being the answer.

What will happen to the poor fish plant worker he wonders? How does this rationalization help them? What of the "little people" he might well have said. Very sensitive, and in touch with rural Newfoundland and Labrador, is his motto. He doesn't see how this brutal downsizing could help the rural areas of this province and it's people. All of this sounds good, except for the rest of what he had to say.

Yes, Clyde's big idea is to "treat the fishery as a business". The first thought that came to my mind was which kind of business? The business that is a friend of the PC government and gets untendered contracts and preferential treatment? No, I guess not, as he has already said that he was not prepared to take the "ask" to Cabinet for discussion and the doling of massive amounts of cash. Was he referring to the Nalcor kind of business where they gamble $25 million like it's coffee money, or invest in mega projects that bankrupt at least the next four generations? No, I don't believe so, as there is no new cash for them. He must be talking about the rural Newfoundland and Labrador kind of business! The one where you get all the inflation of the boom, but none of the benefits. The one where they are allowed to die a lonely death of attrition. Yes, that sounds like the one. He even referred over and over again to the "rationalization" of the fishing industry, but without their money to compensate anyone for their losses.

It appears to be what many fishermen have been telling me for awhile now: "Danny Williams did a lot for the oil industry, but he didn't do a damn thing for the fishing industry in all his time." As if to reinforce that point, Mr Jackman stated in his press conference that he had been in touch with his federal counterpart on the phone. Any guess on the nature of that conversation? I'm going to go with: "Hey, they want $500 million plus to do this MOU thing, and cut the number of people in the industry by at least half. Are you guys going to pay in?" I'm going to further speculate that the answer was: "click..." The logical conclusion to Mr Jackman's bizarre rant on treating the fishery as a business must be that if the federal government isn't chipping in we aren't, and therefore she must die a long and painful death.

So much for his concern of the fish plant worker. So much for his concern about rural Newfoundland and Labrador's way of life. A pathetic and too typical spin for his own government's glorification. The bottom line for them is they are not putting any of their money in, and they want the federal government to pay it. This at a time when they just leased an Irish fishery research vessel (at $20-40 million) for the purposes of studying cod stocks. That shows they are committed to the fishery you say. On the surface yes, but fish quotas are the jurisdiction of the federal government. They could find the mother load of fish, but the feds will be the ones to say how much of it is caught. So what's the point? Politics. It's us vs. them. We don't trust them and we don't want you to trust them either. At a time when the Minister of Fisheries says the fisheries should be treated like any other business, meaning allowing them to be rationalized by attrition, he leases a very expensive boat to try and embarrass the federal government over the fisheries. So when he says business he must mean politics, when he says politics he must mean fed bashing, and when he says fed bashing he must mean "show me the money".

Yes, Mr Jackman, your concern for the fishers, the plant workers, and the rural way of life in Newfoundland and Labrador is overwhelming.

Thanks to Polemic & Paradox for the picture of Mr Jackman washing his hands.

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