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Thursday, April 14, 2005

CROSS-EXAMINATION by Averill Baker

The following is an article recently published in the Express. I would like to thank the Author, Ms. Averill Baker for allowing us to re-print it here. Thank-you Averill.

They’re just jealous of Newfoundland

I think it’s just a case of jealousy, not politics.

In the past two weeks Ottawa approved: the movement to Quebec from St. John’s of federal scientists studying Newfoundland and Labrador East coast fish; tens of millions of dollars to pay legal fees for lumber producers although this province’s producers refused the assistance saying it was a subsidy and a waste of taxpayers dollars; and the largest income support program in Canadian history - for farmers and cattle workers mainly in Alberta and Ontario because, Ottawa claimed, after all Newfoundland fisheries workers got income support years ago.

Ottawa and the other provinces are just jealous of this province.

Ever wonder why homes in tornado and hurricane areas of the USA built with lumber from Newfoundland do not require the high insurance costs of homes built with lumber from central and western Canada?

Ever wonder why fish caught on the coast of our province are recognized as “cleaner” than fish from other provinces?

Add to that the new export figures from the federal finance department that show that this province per capita contributes three times as much to the Canadian economy than any other Canadians and you’ve got the makings of some serious jealousy.

The reason why US home builders prefer Newfoundland lumber is because “the nails stay in”. They claim that in hurricane and tornado areas Newfoundland lumber has twice the longevity of lumber from the other provinces.

The reason why our fish are “cleaner” than fish from other provinces is because they have fewer parasites – especially worms. Yes, the worms found in abundance in other provinces and the coastal US are removed by hand on the processing line. Perhaps Ottawa believes that our “cleaner fish” reputation will rub off on other provinces if our scientists are sent halfway up the polluted, parasite-infested St. Laurence River just outside Montreal.

In last week’s announcement of direct income support, cash-in-hand, to farm and cattle workers, Ottawa approved another $1 billion and said that the subsidy had cost $4.8 billion in 2004. In 2003 it ran at approximately $4 billion. That’s $1 billion every three months.

Compare this cash-in-hand income support for central and Western Canada with the so-called income support we received. Keep in mind that under the Constitution the fishery is a federal responsibility and farms and cattle ranching are provincial responsibilities.

Did we get cash income support to bring workers’ income up to their average income in an average year like the workers in central and western Canada got? Not on your life.

We got works programs to do up federal wharves, slipways, breakwaters, and federally-owned buildings, heaving around rocks in the winter with snow up to your armpits. We had to work for our so-called income support. If you dare suggest to the farm and cattle industry that they would have to work in the winter for their income support you’d probably get a smack up the side of the head.

The fishing industry in all of eastern Canada got a total of $800 million spread over three years; the farm and cattle industry in central and western Canada receive $1 BILLION every three months.

What an embarrassment it must be for Alberta and Ontario to be begging for support programs at the rate of $1 billion every three months. What an embarrassment it must be to be receiving tens of millions of dollars to pay legal fees after Newfoundland producers turned down the money and called it a subsidy and a waste of taxpayers’ dollars.

Many have called the movement of federal employees from St. John’s to Mont Joli, Quebec, a matter of politics.

Well if they are right, and if we want to get the jobs back, we have some thinking to do before the next election.

You see Mont Joli voters vote overwhelmingly separatist in every election. It has a separatist provincial member, a separatist federal member, and in the town is found the headquarters of Gilles Duceppe, the leader of the separatist party, the Bloc Quebecois.

4 comments:

Henry H. in Gander said...

I guess it's a good thing we here in Newfoundland keep taking and taking and taking rather than giving anything back to the great country of canada. (If you can't read the sarcasm in that statement then you must be from Upper Canada)

Great piece Ms. Baker, keep them coming.

John Q Public said...

Isn't it interesting that over the past 30 years so much effort has gone into keeping Quebec inside Canada. I realize that most people want the country to remain whole, but at what price?

In the past 3 decades or so, so much money, development, industry, jobs and infrastructure has been put into Quebec in this effort, that if they ever decided to leave, the rest of the country may be so unable to do without them that we may eventually end up begging to join the Country of Quebec.

Not a pretty thought, but our government keeps making the ridings in Quebec richer and richer in an effort to sway them from the separatist movement. Instead this has the effect of making the political leaders in those areas (Block and Parti) look good for keeping the area vibrant.

Its a viscious cycle that has to end eventually and I hope soon.

Anonymous said...

Spend, Spend, Spend. The feds are great at that.

Peter said...

Ms. Baker,

Are you sure about those numbers? I'm not disputing them, but it seems to me that when the cod moratorium came in, there was more federal money than that spent.

Just curious.