MOU an exercise in futility, lacks vision
Once again the fishing Industry has been given the royal shaft by the government, producers, and the Fish, Food and Allied Workers union (FFAW). Yet, it’s not a big surprise to those that work in the industry because once the MOU started missing deadline after deadline for its release date, the majority of those that had a stake in the process knew that this probably was another exercise in futility to reorganize the fishery.
The question is who do we blame for this waste of time? The government, the Association of Seafood Producers (ASP) and the FFAW are blaming the messenger and author of the MOU, Mr. Tom Clift, but they failed to accept responsibility for its failure themselves. Everyone should be aware that the MOU report was authored based on the recommendations, observations, selfish needs and aspirations of the FFAW and the ASP.
The news conference aired on the Fisheries Broadcast by Minister Clyde Jackman on Friday, Feb. 25 was a total embarrassment for the minister and his department, and also for the provincial government. I was amazed at the unprofessional, confused, and uninformed responses Jackman made to questions.
The minister didn’t give any real reasons to totally disregard the MOU report. However, the sad part about Jackman in this whole process was he made it into a political issue based on a vote count in the next provincial election instead of a real commitment to solving this crisis. I can guarantee you that if the election was last month that Jackman’s response and actions to this report would have been completely different.
Jackman doesn’t want to appear to be shutting down rural Newfoundland and Labrador this close to an election, even though a forced resettlement agenda is exactly what this provincial government wants along with the producers and the FFAW.
The FFAW’s response is as expected, blaming the government for shutting down their half a billion dollar-plus of taxpayers’ buy-out money. What amazes me is the FFAW’s response to the fishing crisis and the fact it’s been the same since 1992 tells me there isn’t any way possible that the FFAW wants to fix the crisis because if they did they would have come up with a solution that would NOT put the burden on the backs of the taxpayers.
Mr. McCurdy and his cronies must realize that governments and the public will not accept another buy-out/TAGs program: it’s just not going to happen. Mr. McCurdy continues to falsely advocate for rural areas, but in the meantime he is working hard to remove fishers, crewmen, plant workers from their work and their chosen way of life by living and working in rural areas.
The only thing in this process that makes any sense is the producers because it is clear what their objectives are and that is to continue to monopolize the fishery by controlling the government and the FFAW in order to maximize profits. Nobody can blame them on this point because that’s their primary goal in life and if government and the FFAW don’t stop being puppets to the producers the status quo will continue till some government or union leader grows a pair and takes on the producers.
Now where does this development leave us? The status quo with a government that has little or no time for the traditional fishery, but all the time in the world for aquaculture. A union that is so backward in its thinking that it can’t even come up with a constructive idea. The producers continue to have a stranglehold on the fishery because of the control they have over their puppets the FFAW and the government. The producers do not have to contend with direct competition for their product from outside sources because the government and the FFAW will not allow that to happen.
Look, change is hard, change is difficult, change is necessary and change will come only when the attitudes of the lead players in this crisis changes from playing political games to saving the fishery; not for the producers, but for fishers, plant workers and rural Newfoundland and Labrador Brian Pollard Bishop’s Falls