No re­spect for our fish­ery

The Compass - - OPINION -

Dear edi­tor,

The his­tory of the world has been one in which the life, wel­fare and pro­vi­sion of peo­ple are nearly to­tally de­pen­dent on re­gional nat­u­ral re­sources avail­able to the peo­ple of that area. A ne­ces­sity for peo­ple in any part of the globe to have a de­cent level of sub­sis­tence, and an ad­e­quate stan­dard of liv­ing, is that these peo­ple have ac­cess to these re­sources and the right to a fair share of the eco­nomic ben­e­fit of their devel­op­ment.

Since the be­gin­ning, rulers, whether they be an­cient kings, dic­ta­tors, em­per­ors, or mod­ern demo­cratic par­ties, have usurped power and pros­per­ity from re­sources for their own ends. This process put the mass of peo­ple to work on the re­sources for profit to the haves, mak­ing have nots and des­ti­tu­tion for them­selves.

For ex­am­ple, the present English demo­cratic sys­tem in­volv­ing priv­i­leges of the coun­try’s land Lords and Barons, signed into law in 1215 by King John in the magna carta, is a clas­sic ex­am­ple of the suc­cess — or fail­ure, depend­ing on your view — of el­e­vat­ing and in­grain­ing the elite on the backs of the com­moner.

This rule of English democ­racy has at its pin­na­cle the Queen, who is the rich­est women in Eng­land, per­haps the world, and made her the sin­gle largest landowner in all of the Bri­tish Com­mon­wealth. All this while mil­lions of Bri­tons are sub­sist­ing on un­em­ploy­ment, wel­fare and liv­ing at poverty level.

Us­ing the English as an ex­am­ple was not to find fault with their way of gov­er­nance, but to show that whomever con­trols the land, the nat­u­ral re­sources and its devel­op­ment will con­trol the wealth and pros­per­ity of the world.

The Cana­dian govern­ment’s au­to­cratic par­lia­men­tary treat­ment of this prov­ince’s fish­ing re­source, which came un­der its con­trol in 1949, has been no dif­fer­ent in prin­ci­ple from that of dic­ta­tor­ship con­trol and per­sonal use of a nat­u­ral re­source. The Cana­dian govern­ment’s treat­ment and dis­re­spect of a 500year-old Mar­tine cul­ture and sea­far­ing peo­ple is a dis­grace­ful dis­play, and a vi­o­la­tion of the hu­man rights of her own cit­i­zens — the coastal peo­ples of New­found­land and Labrador.

No doubt Cana­dian 21st cen­tury democ­racy is kinder to its peo­ple than gov­ern­ments of an­cient times, but the di­vi­sion be­tween the govern­ment elite and coastal poor is as wide as it ever was. For 60 years, Ot­tawa has taken for it­self, and used in any way pos­si­ble for its cen­tral strength, all the power and eco­nomic ben­e­fit it can from the fish­ery. In the process, it has aban­doned the re­source to its de­struc­tion by for­eign­ers and ig­nored the plight of dis­sem­i­na­tion and despair of a once great peo­ple.

The Cana­dian govern­ment has pur­sued a ne­far­i­ous path in its mis­man­age­ment of our fish­ery, one which al­lowed the de­struc­tion of the way of life of half the peo­ple who sur­vived off it for 500 years. They shat­tered a ma­rine cul­ture, re­plac­ing a once proud and skilled work­force with de­mean­ing un­em­ploy­ment.

They also have presided over 90 per cent of the re­source’s de­struc­tion with­out as much as ask­ing, to this day, why has this hap­pened? Or, how can this de­struc­tion of the world’s most pro­lific fish­ing grounds be halted?

Re­cent com­ments in the me­dia from fish­ers, may­ors, union heads, lo­cal min­is­ters, and the si­lence of our elected politi­cians in St. John’s and Ot­tawa, are a painful dis­tance from what is needed to save the fish­ery. MOU’s, re­struc­tur­ing and ra­tion­al­iza­tion are but the ac­cep­tance and sub­mis­sion to the age-old process of higher au­thor­i­ties tak­ing the wealth and power out of our fish­ing her­itage. They have milked it down to 10 per cent of its for­mer great­ness, and they con­tinue to suck the last drops of ben­e­fit out of it for their own greed and po­si­tion.

If the prov­ince does not stand up now and de­mand Ot­tawa pro­tect the re­source, it is over for us. Ot­tawa has no re­spect for our fish­ery; it never has. They have de­cided to give away our con­ti­nen­tal shelf and fish re­source to the EU and the world.

If we in this prov­ince can’t get the Wil­liams govern­ment to de­mand Ot­tawa make pol­icy changes that will pro­tect the re­source for our­selves, not for­eign­ers, the fish­ery will be no more.

Phil Earle Car­bon­ear

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.