Make N.L. great again

The Gulf News (Port aux Basques) - - ED­I­TO­RIAL -

Bring back the “lo­cal pref­er­ence policy.”

I never did agree with the gov­ern­ment con­cept of “open sourc­ing,” whereby a bi­lat­eral bid­ding process on lo­cal gov­ern­ment con­tracts opened to door to com­pa­nies across Canada to be able to bid on work in New­found­land and Labrador, the con­cept be­ing that other Cana­dian ju­ris­dic­tions would also open their bid­ding op­por­tu­ni­ties to N.L. com­pa­nies. Part of the rea­son was that it would en­sure that lo­cal com­pa­nies did not take ad­van­tage of lo­cal con­tracts and also that the price that was ten­dered was the low­est pos­si­ble. Is this the best ap­proach to­day?

On the face of it, it seems to level the play­ing field, but in­stead it is the thin end of the wedge. By that I mean that main­land com­pa­nies won bids on lo­cal work, but due to economies of scale, smaller N.L. com­pa­nies could not gen­er­ally com­pete in larger, more lu­cra­tive, mar­kets such as On­tario, for ex­am­ple. Isn’t it time that we went back to ba­sics and put N.L. com­pa­nies first?

Why have we spent mil­lions of dol­lars in Ro­ma­nia to built un­re­li­able fer­ries that have robbed the Marys­town ship­yard of mil­lions of dol­lars of well paid and des­per­ately needed jobs that would have kept the ship­yard in busi­ness for years? So what if it did cost a few mil­lion dol­lars more — the spinoffs and rip­ple ef­fects are far and wide for the long term.

Has any­one mea­sured the so­cial eco­nomic im­pact, ac­tual losses in in­come, cost of EI, loss of spend­ing in the lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties in rev­enue, etc., com­pared with the small cost ben­e­fits of build­ing the ves­sels over­seas? Would we not have bet­ter re­li­a­bil­ity and war­ranty guar­an­tees if the prod­ucts were home-built? Per­haps; not nec­es­sar­ily, but I am sure that we would have had a bet­ter over­all ex­pe­ri­ence! Cer­tainly thosethat-built-it-must-fix-it would be more en­force­able! What is the cost to ser­vice and sup­port an over­seas­built prod­uct over the life of the fer­ries, as an ex­am­ple? Do we even know?

We have to get back to ba­sics. Why are we not self-suf­fi­cient in lo­cal pro­duce, lo­cal agri­cul­ture, etc? We can be; we have been in the past. Why are we im­port­ing fruit and veg­eta­bles that are rot­ten when they get to our ta­bles and cost a for­tune? Are we too lazy to grow them our­selves? Isn’t fresher, bet­ter? We buy lo­cal veg­eta­bles and the taste is awe­some! Why doesn’t ev­ery­one do this?

We need a groundswell of sup­port to make N.L. great again. It is pos­si­ble. We just need the old-fash­ioned “hard work” ethic and the drive and en­thu­si­asm to make it work. Isn’t it time to sup­port our own lo­cal busi­nesses above all oth­ers? It’s what our his­tory has been built on!

Come on, gang — are you up to the chal­lenge?

Dave Rud­of­sky

St. John’s

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