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
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.