I’m writing from the eastern flank of our great country, specifically the small community of Blackhead, Conception Bay, Newfoundland.
I am grateful that the technology of our times allows me to access your student paper and also to bring greetings from our beautiful province of Newfoundland and Labrador.
Perhaps you too feel a little left out of the federal loop on occasions when totally forgotten (ignored) by reporters and politicians of central Canada who only recognize Canada as being all that piece or parcel of land being situated more or less between Vancouver in the west and Halifax in the east, and more particularly described as Canada.
Here in Newfoundland, the incidents of omission are far more frequent than we care to acknowledge. Successive federal governments either by neglect, ignorance, or design have, for a long time, been adopting policies and enacting legislation that appears destined to stunt development and growth in this province. Every year sees some degree of federal job loss in this province and the low relative percentage of federal presence in Newfoundland and Labrador is an embarrassment. As a matter of fact, one of the most popular insults we get is when federal jobs in this province get transferred to either Nova Scotia or Québec. The most recent instance of this is when they moved our Marine Rescue Service to Nova Scotia this past summer. That service had been stationed in St. John’s and was manned by Newfoundland personnel. In that move there’s a major increase in risk to all who work in our fishery and Off-Shore developments. An intimate knowledge of our geography and the ability to understand the harried call for help from a stressed fisherman who likely has a localized vocabulary and unique accent is an absolute necessity. Our own operators were well qualified to handle such instances and bring them to successful conclusions. In language we are a unique people. We are proud of that fact and certainly do not apologize for it. To that end we have our own dictionary of Newfoundland words and our own unique encyclopedia. I don’t think any other province can lay claim to such outstanding assets.
We are not against growth in our sister provinces, but we are offended when it is at our expense as in the case of jobs transfer.
The best and most frequent recognition we get is just prior to elections and even then it’s a hit and run approach with overnight stays being rare. However, we can cope quite well with that because we neither ‘feel the love’ nor do we miss them.
I trust that Vancouver Island especially, and your fair province in particular, does fare better with federal policies than those that we have had to endure.
My wish is for the ongoing success of the Navigator and all its objectives as well as for the fulfillment of your student’s academic dreams.
Cheers from the lovely and peaceful province of Newfoundland and Labrador.
George Penney (retired)