Fish­ery re­mains im­por­tant to Lib­er­als, says Ball

Lib­eral Party leader ad­dresses Burin Penin­sula Cham­ber of Com­merce


Lib­eral Party leader Dwight Ball said the provin­cial govern­ment has done a poor job in di­ver­si­fy­ing New­found­land and Labrador’s econ­omy over the past decade.

Speak­ing at the in­vi­ta­tion of the Burin Penin­sula Cham­ber of Com­merce in Marys­town Thurs­day evening, he pointed to the siz­able gulf be­tween the “boom­ing” north­east Avalon and ru­ral ar­eas of the prov­ince as ev­i­dence of the dis­con­nect that has arisen.

Where as the over­all un­em­ploy­ment rate hovers around 12 to 13 per cent in the prov­ince, Mr. Ball sug­gested any­one in the St. John’s metro re­gion and sur­round­ing area who truly wants to work could read­ily find it.

Mr. Ball pointed to the fish­ery as one of sev­eral “pil­lars” of fu­ture em­ploy­ment for ru­ral ar­eas, men­tion­ing forestry, agri­cul­ture and min­ing as oth­ers.

“I heard from people in this prov­ince, all of last year, the im­por­tance of the fish­ery and that there are still op­por­tu­ni­ties,” he said, “and the Lib­eral Party will not give up on the fish­ery in this prov­ince, I can as­sure you that.”

Mr. Ball talked in broad strokes about nu­mer­ous eco­nomic is­sues, in­dus­tries and de­vel­op­ments, both re­lat­ing to the Burin Penin­sula and prov­ince as a whole, dur­ing the evening.

He pointed to in­creased ac­tiv­ity at Ocean Choice In­ter­na­tional’s fish plant in For­tune and the suc­cess of Dy­namic Air Shel­ters in Grand Bank as good news sto­ries while not­ing small busi­ness ac­tiv­ity in the area is grow­ing.

Dy­namic Air Shel­ters, in par­tic­u­lar, he said is a story that needs to be told.

“What it does, it re­ally once again high­lights what you can do in ru­ral New­found­land and Labrador,” he said, re­fer­ring to the com­pany, which man­u­fac­tures pro­mo­tional, in­dus­trial, first-re­sponse and blast re­sis­tant shel­ters that have been sold around the world.

“It’s a na­tional and, re­ally, in­ter­na­tional story, one that we all need to be proud of.”

Mr. Ball also of­fered ac­knowl­edg­ment and cau­tion of the Al­berta-in­flu­ence, as thou­sands of trades­peo­ple con­tinue to com­mute west for work.

“There is an econ­omy in it­self that has de­vel­oped there,” he said. “But we must con­tinue to make sure, though, that those men and women will con­tinue to call New­found­land and Labrador home, and the onus is on govern­ment to let people have that choice,” he said.

Mr. Ball talked for about half an hour be­fore tak­ing ques­tions from the au­di­ence.

Burin Penin­sula Cham­ber of Com­merce pres­i­dent Don MacBeath said the in­vi­ta­tion to the Lib­eral leader was ex­tended as a part of a con­tin­u­a­tion of the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s role as a voice for busi­ness in the area.

The re­gion’s econ­omy is do­ing well at the mo­ment, he sug­gested, thanks to the fish­ery, steady work on the He­bron project at Peter Kiewit and money from a large con­tin­gent of the afore­men­tioned trades­peo­ple work­ing in Al­berta.

“All ar­eas of the penin­sula, gen­er­ally, are on an even keel fi­nan­cially, I would say, but there’s al­ways room for im­prove­ment, and the Cham­ber has a num­ber of projects un­der­way to en­hance and fur­ther de­velop the econ­omy of the Burin Penin­sula,” Mr. MacBeath said.

Lib­eral Party leader

Dwight Ball

pher­[email protected]­

Paul Her­ridge Pho­tos

Lib­eral leader Dwight Ball (left) stopped to chat for a while fol­low­ing his speech. One of the people he spoke with was Guy Brock­erville.

Lib­eral leader Dwight Ball was the guest speaker for a din­ner hosted by the Burin Penin­sula Cham­ber of Com­merce Thurs­day in Marys­town.

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