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Wednesday, May 25, 2005

The Big Land, Newfoundland or No Man's Land

We as a people have been treated like a poor cousin in Canada. We have been allowed to flounder around for decades. Our resources are taken to provide jobs in smelters and refineries. Very little funding is given for our infrastructure, roads, hospitals, etc. Infrastructure funds are usually doled out according to population base and we have such a small population. When an issue arises that is of great importance to us, we are the last to be heard because we have so few elected seats. The list goes on and on.

Stop for just a second....

I don’t know how many Newfoundlanders realize it, but when reading the previous paragraph, if you simply substituted the word Newfoundland for the word Canada in the first sentence, you would be telling the story of Labrador, and it’s treatment within the Province.

As much as we as a province feel left out and used by the Federal Government, so to do the people of Labrador feel abandoned by the Province itself. Many of us who live on the island don’t realize that we have a crisis within our own province that is a mirror image of the one we are having within the country. The people of Labrador are fed up, and rightfully so.

Labrador with a land mass 3 times bigger than the island only contains about 5% of the population of the province. This population is spread out over a huge geographic area and many places are cutoff from the world for months at a time. The big land is a treasure trove of minerals that are being used to feed the coffers of the federal and provincial governments. Very little of the wealth and fewer jobs – in the form of smelters, mills, etc. – comes back into the area.

Labrador has been a part of Canada for over a half a century and still it only has about 100 miles of paved road. Think about that the next time you complain about a pothole on the Prince Philip Parkway or on Main Street in Grand Falls – Windsor.

It amazes me that in a province so attuned to the way we are treated by the rest of the Country, we could be so blind to the way we are treating a segment of our own population.

We all know the arguments that Ottawa has given us over the years. The most common of which is that the population is too small to warrant such a large expenditure. In reality we know that we aren’t getting what we need because the money will buy more votes in Upper Canada. Knowing these things, how can our own Provincial Government turn around and make the same arguments to Labrador? How can they pander to the voting public on the island while neglecting a key member of our family?

I am a strong advocate for our fair treatment within the Dominion of Canada. Having said that, I couldn’t look at myself in the mirror if I didn’t support the people of Labrador. Their fight is a just one, a struggle for fairness and equality.

I put the challenge out to everyone on the island to look at yourself in the mirror and tell me what you see. Do you see someone who would fight alongside the people of Labrador, or someone who feels that they themselves deserve better, but to hell with everyone else. Think about it.

My mother always said, what comes around goes around. There are plenty of those types of sayings and we’ve all heard them over the years

As yea sow, so shall yea reap. Treat your neighbour as you would be treated yourself. These platitudes all say basically the same thing. Do the right thing and the right thing will be done for you. They have been passed down from generation to generation because they are more than just pretty words. They are words to live by.

In closing I just want to say that I know it will take a lot more fighting, dealing and pressuring in Ottawa for us to finally rise up to where we belong in this Country. We would do well to remember that we stand a much better chance of winning if we are all united and if we can show by our handling of Labrador issues that fair and ethical treatment is the hallmark of our people and our Government.

Before we can win the war we have a number of battles to fight and more than a few of them are with ourselves.


Labrador Independent said...

Its about time someone noticed!!!

We've been treated like second class citizens in Labrador for way too long and we're not going to take it anymore.

Thanks for the support.

MrChills said...

Very nice piece of writing, you have summed our situtation with our sister province very well.

Wince said...

You can have my support too Labrador Independent. I've said it for years that this part of the province treats the other part unfairly, and then we complain when it happens to us. I don't consider myself from Newfoundland and Labrador... just from Newfoundland. I was born on the island and I've never been to Labrador and probably never will (although who knows what the future holds). I've always believed, as I am sure people in Labrador must, that Labrador deservers to be a province of it's own or at the very least a territory.

You got a raw deal in this pairing just as we've gotten a raw deal in pairing with Canada.

Labrador Independent said...

Thanks Wince. Its nice to see what I've always suspected, most islanders are not against our getting ahead, just the government itself. If we can get our voice heard by more and more supporters on the island it sure couldn't hurt.

Goose said...

I for one have no problem with being a part of the province of Newfoundland and Labrador. I don't want to separate and I don't see Labrador as a province.

We have a lot in common with the people of the island and we should stick together. All I ask is that we get a better shake from our government.

I know that the people of the island don't have a problem with us and I long for the day that the provincial government will do the right thing and treat us like equals.

I love this province, both areas!!

Patriot said...

Some interesting and heart lifting comments folks. Keep them coming.

I am especially touched by the comment from "Goose". It is great to see someone from the big land that is truly and Newfoundland and Labradorian at heart.

I couldn't agree more with your comment Goose. I hope to see the day you are treated fairly as well. I also think that if we all stick together, including everyone on the island, to pressure the government, then that may become a reality some day.

There is amazing strenght in numbers and you can count on my support for one.

NL-ExPatriate said...

Great article and I couldn't agree more.

Never having been to the Labrador portion of my beloved homeland, it's hard to empathize totally, but I do sympathize.

I truely believe you have a just right to feel discriminated against. But be sure as to know who is discriminating against who. Most if not all revenues from minerals and resources go directly to Ottawa.

That great figment of A nation in the sky, because without the provinces and territories Ottawa wouldn't exit. It's only reason d'etre is for the benefit of the provinces (Ontario and Quebec) oops Faus pas :)

I'm not advocating separation, far from it I think canada and its people are great. Present Federal government excluded.

What I will advocate though is a change in our government. Starting with equal representation in the senate!
Vote here for A triple E senate.