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Thursday, June 26, 2008

Reform and the Common Man

The nineteenth century novelist, poet and politician, Lord Edward Lytton, once said that “reform is a correction of abuses and revolution is a transfer of power”.

After decades of colonization, first by England and now by Canada, and make no mistake but that Newfoundland and Labrador is little more than a colony in Canada, the question lingers whether the sort of revolution or reformation needed to ensure the secret nation’s survival might ever come to pass.

The possibility of the one may exist, for the other it may already be too late.

The truth is that revolutions require fiery revolutionaries to lead them and the exuberance of youth to feed them. After decades of governmental softening and quiet appeasement the quickly aging population left rattling around Newfoundland and Labrador would make for a sad revolutionary movement indeed.

In this instance, the more pertinent question ought to be if the seeds of reform, rather than revolution, can be nourished and brought into the life giving light of day.

After decades of being the “odd man out” in confederation, after having their wealth of resources, both natural and human, siphoned off to feed the Canadian economic engine and after being reminded for decades to mind their place, will Newfoundlanders and Labradorians ever take a stand and make a change?

Why is such change needed some may ask. The “province” is finally turning a corner. Its economy is beginning to grow and the tide of out-migration is about to turn. Good times are just around the corner.

Are they? Has anything really changed other than the size of government coffers?

Is Newfoundland and Labrador now truly an equal partner in Confederation or have the yardsticks simply shifted economically?

Rather than citing the countless, and often discussed disparities, wrong doings and cultural atrocities that have been, and continue to be, perpetrated on the people of Newfoundland and Labrador perhaps the best testament to the reasons why such “revolutionary reforms” are needed can be found in the words of two well known historical figures.

The first is Nobel Prize winner (for Science) and author, Alexis Carrel, who wrote:

"The first duty of society is to give each of its members the possibility of fulfilling his destiny. When it becomes incapable of performing this duty it must be transformed."

And Abraham Lincoln who said, “If by the mere force of numbers a majority should deprive a minority of any clearly written constitutional right, it might, in a moral point of view, justify revolution”.

I’ll leave it to others to determine if those critera have been met or if enough spirit, vitality and fire remains in the people of Newfoundland and Labrador to respond should it be so.


calvin said...

“The “province” is finally turning a corner. Its economy is beginning to grow and the tide of out-migration is about to turn. Good times are just around the corner.”

OH really, and who would I have to talk to in the province to find someone to agree with that statement Myles.

On my little tour of the Bays this year I was shocked. That I guess would have to be the understatement of my life. What I remember of my community in just a year or two and what I see today is nothing. Decimation is a small word I believe that may shed light on what I am talking about

As I read this article Myles, and I listened to what you had to say, all I could think about was a previous article you had posted by a great advocate from out province Ms. Averill Baker.

I have added the clip for your viewing.

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, and 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.

I have always wondered Patriot why a country like Canada had done some of the things that it had. Why Newfoundland and Labrador never seemed to get anywhere.
Shows me one thing. That I and others like me really know what had happened. No matter what has transpired and what lies are told, the truth will someday come out. I just hope that there is someone left to hear it.

“ Republic Of Forever ”

Patriot said...


I trust you understand that the statement in my article:

"The “province” is finally turning a corner. Its economy is beginning to grow and the tide of out-migration is about to turn. Good times are just around the corner."

was prefaced with the words, "why is such change needed SOME MAY ASK"

Your response seems to indicate you belive this is my sentiment, which it is not. This should be clear in the paragraph following that statement which says,

"Are they? Has anything really changed other than the size of government coffers?"

I'm not sure if I am misunderstanding your comment or you are misunderstanding my article but either way I hope this clarifies my position.

calvin said...

Pardon me Myles for getting my wires crossed. Yeah, I guess I should have been a little more descriptive with what I was trying to get across.

"Why is such change needed SOME MAY ASK"

When I read this, all I could think of was “WOW” is he series or has his point changed like so many others now that Newfoundland and Labrador finally has a little money. I guess I misinterpret the point you were trying to get across

Livings were I do Myles, all I hear about is how well Newfoundland and Labrador is doing. You see Danny Williams has all this oil money now and everything is going to be alright for Newfoundland and especially Labrador, with all that electricity that it has.

I guess what I was trying to get at was, crap, the whole world still doesn’t have the foggiest idea of what has transpired at home. What the federal government has done to the people. Everybody in the rest of Canada just thinks were mad all the time because we were forced out of our fishing boats and forced to get a “REAL” job. They don’t see the true reasons why we were forced to move away.

The days of the “Happy “ Newfie going to Toronto is no more. Yes, they still show up in droves, but he rest of the country still does not know why we are angry over confederation and Canada.

This paragraph is still a main stay Myles.

“The truth is that revolutions require fiery revolutionaries to lead them and the exuberance of youth to feed them. After decades of governmental softening and quiet appeasement the quickly aging population left rattling around Newfoundland and Labrador would make for a sad revolutionary movement indeed. “

As I was saying Myles, when I did have the chance to get home this January, I simply could not comprehend all the people that have had to leave. Who can stay and fight when the bank comes calling wanting their money. The out ports have been drained, complete shore lines of communities have been left empty and they have had to join school boards because the population just isn’t there to fill what we have. Who is left to fight?

As one anon had said to myself and Mr. Byrne,

Nl-expatriate and Calvin, please make your voices heard in a much louder tone for this cause.

Again, the idea of having the fourth party known as Newfoundland and Labrador party is needed more than anything else on the political scene of Newfoundland and Labrador.

I hope this will be a successful venture for all of us.

June 24, 2008 10:49 AM

I would just like to say this Myles, and then I’ll stop ranting and leave you too your long weekend. There is a political party in Newfoundland and Labrador. I in no way can vote for this party, but I would like to add this. Even knowing that I could not vote for them I still bought a membership and did my best to try and send my support to it. Why would I do such a thing? I guess it’s like playing the lottery. Some hope, any hope is better then sitting and waiting for the vultures to finally land. As you may have noticed Myles they are still flying over our heads.

Thank god you still see that.

Enjoy your remembrance day my friend.

“Republic Of Forever”

Patriot said...


well said and well taken my friend. Glad we cleared theat up.

Anonymous said...

What did Smallwood say when he was trying to sell Confederation? Something like: "Instead of being Newfoundlanders under British rule we will remain Newfoundlanders under Canadian rule." He thought the issue was whether or not we would remain Newfoundlanders - not that we should rule ourselves. Nothing has changed in terms of who rules - it's not NL'ians that's for sure.

Anonymous said...

It really is time to take a hard long look at confederation thats for sure. God knows we got the short end of the stick.What were we thinking.

babe in boyland said...

"what were we thinking"?

like every time we vote, we (newfoundlanders and labradoreans, and in fact everyone who votes in every election or plebecite) were thinking we would be better off by choosing X instead of Y. that's it.

sometimes, probably most of the time, it's just as simple as that.

voting is an exercise of judgement and an act of hope. we judge as best we can what will be best for us and for society, and we do so in sincere hope for achieving the future we imagine.

sometimes we're wrong. sometimes we're right.