Da Legal Stuff...

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Monday, June 13, 2005

Federal Crusade or Nation Wide Spectacle?

The battle for the survival of Harbour Breton has heated up and it looks like practically the entire Province is backing the town. Fishery Products International (FPI) is being taken to task and is being pushed to make concessions in support of the area. It now appears that if the Feds step up to the plate and provide a fish quota for the town a deal can be sealed and this rural area will survive.

At issue is the fact that upon closing their fish plant in the town, FPI saw fit to walk away with the fish quota that was traditionally processed there. Now, in an effort to increase their cash flow they would like the Province to agree to changes in the FPI Act that would give them the ability to sell off a portion of the most profitable part of the company. FPI desperately wants this money and have made some movement to buy the support of the legislature through various commitments including giving the town of Harbour Breton the existing fish plant for one dollar.

A town owned plant would be a wonderful thing for the area, but without a quota to process in it, it is basically useless.

Enter Danny Williams to defend the town and push for more from FPI. He is looking for money to repair the plant and money to resolve certain environmental issues at the site. I believe he should be commended for taking the stand he has, and for taking the issue to Ottawa in an effort to secure a quota for the town.. What I question is his latest tactic of threatening to lead a delegation of people from the area up to Ottawa if a quota is not issued.

According to Premier Williams, he plans to take a delegation of people from the area, and I quote “Anyone else who wants to come along”. There is no doubt that the sight of a horde of down and out fisher families camped out on the steps of the Parliament building is not one that Paul Martin or his ailing government wants to contemplate. From this perspective, the threat itself may be powerful enough to force the hands of the Feds, but what if it isn’t? How will these people be regarded in the nation’s capital?

It will no doubt appear to the average Upper Canadian that Newfoundland is once again coming to Ottawa with its hand out. Once again it will look like the poor cousin is trying to get yet another free meal from the rest of the country. Of course talk will turn to the $2 billion plus provided in the Atlantic Accord deal and people will start to question when enough is enough.

I’m not saying they would be right in their arguments, in fact just the opposite. Never mind the fact that the Feds themselves, through DFO’s inept management practices, are as much to blame for the collapse of the Cod fishery as any other reason. Never mind too that as a result of that fishery collapse we find ourselves in the predicament we are in. These are facts that are all too clear to the people of Newfoundland. They are facts however that are not even on the radar in the rest of Canada.

I worry about how this type of grand standing will play out with the Starbucks set. I wonder if, after getting so much heat over the Atlantic Accord, does the Liberal Government have the stomach to make what would be very public concessions to our Province? Will Premier Williams and by association, the entire Province, look like a bunch of whiney kids grabbing for another cookie?

It’s a fine line between a crusade and a spectacle. Premier Williams has threatened to lead the crusade, the question is, will it be a crusade we can win, or will he simply make a spectacle of all of us?

2 comments:

Brian Williams, NL said...

Hoist de mainsail, sheet the jib. Down wit de maple leaf and up wit de jolly roger. Arh me harties, we are off to Ottawa in de marn'nin.

NL-ExPatriate said...

Justice shall prevail.

Our cause is a just one to bad our justice department isn't just one but rather Partisan appointment. Stacked in Ontario's and Quebecs favor.

Isn't justice about morals and ethics?
Do we not have morals and ethics?
Shouldn't NL'eans morals and ethics be represented in the highest court in the land?

I guess in order for NL to get justice we need to go to an outside agency like the United Nations or the World trade Organization! Oh the shame of having your highest court uncovered for what it really is.

Same thing could be said for the senate and NL moral and ethical representation.

Take a few rotten fish to stick on top of those nice wraught iron fences too.

I'm there if the boys go as will alot of other Expatriate I'm sure!