Sup­port­ing salmon an­glers

The Western Star - - EDITORIAL -

Are you a lit­tle salmon hop­ing to visit the prov­ince of New­found­land and Labrador this sum­mer? Do you have in­ten­tions of bring­ing both mem­bers of your im­me­di­ate fam­ily and ex­tended fam­ily to ex­plore our rivers? Be­fore you pack your bags and book that so­journ on Trip Ad­vi­sor, you should know this prov­ince has the wel­come mat rolled out for you and your salmon bud­dies.

Not only is the wel­come mat out but also there are a plethora of groups hop­ing your hol­i­day stay will be an en­joy­able one. Groups like SAEN (Sal­monoid As­so­ci­a­tion of East­ern New­found­land), CORA ( Cit­i­zens Out­door Rights Al­liance), SPAWN (Salmon Pre­ven­tion As­so­ci­a­tion for the Wa­ters of New­found­land), ASF (At­lantic Salmon Fed­er­a­tion) and the Bay St. Ge­orge Salmon Stew­ard­ship Group (to name a few) all want to en­sure a mem­o­rable swim­ming ex­pe­ri­ence for you in our wa­ters. With­out a doubt, bring a com­mu­ni­ca­tions team to han­dle all your pub­lic­ity. Whether it be me­dia in print, ra­dio, tele­vi­sion or dig­i­tal plat­forms, the me­dia will want to speak with you. Right now all mat­ters per­tain­ing to salmon are in the news cy­cle 24/7. Let­ters to the Editor, sup­per­time TV news cov­er­age, fo­cused re­port­ing on NTV’s “Carter File,” VOCM’s “Night­line” panel and CBC’s “The Broad­cast,” all will keep your com­mu­ni­ca­tion spe­cial­ists man­ag­ing their Black­berry’s at light­ning speed. Also be pre­pared for our premier’s me­dia call to a news con­fer­ence in his own dis­trict (as he did May 25th to an­nounce the price of a $5 li­cence to catch one of you guys). Yes, upon your ar­rival here you will be the dar­lings of the me­dia cir­cuit.

But, lit­tle salmon, you should be aware of an im­por­tant fact. While the wa­ters you swim in here might be en­joy­able, there is a not too dis­tant storm brew­ing that will make the fi­nan­cial wa­ters in this prov­ince un­bear­able for many of our res­i­dents.

You see, we have this pro­ject called Muskrat Falls ready to come on stream that will neg­a­tively im­pact cit­i­zens. Elec­tric­ity rates as­so­ci­ated with this pro­ject are ex­pected to dou­ble. Many fam­i­lies will strug­gle fi­nan­cially to pay their elec­tri­cal bills. Out of a pop­u­la­tion of about 525,000 of us 155,500 re­ceive gov­ern­ment in­come sup­port to the tune $65 mil­lion and an­other 47,000 se­niors re­ceive $56 mil­lion in se­niors’ ben­e­fits (source: pro­vin­cial bud­get 2018). To put it an­other way, ap­prox­i­mately 39 per cent of our pop­u­la­tion re­lies on some form of gov­ern­ment fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance. How pray tell will these fam­i­lies man­age a dou­bling in elec­tri­cal rates? To quote The Telegram’s Pam Framp­ton from her re­cent article “The bur­den on those who will have to pay for Muskrat Falls is the most press­ing cri­sis fac­ing this prov­ince.”

If the ef­fort be­ing put in to rate mit­i­ga­tion (a help to off­set high elec­tri­cal bills) only slightly mir­rors the Her­culean ef­fort of the salmon pros­per­ity plan that in­cludes such no­ta­bles as:

(1) ad­dress­ing salmon is­sues in the var­i­ous me­dia

(2) gar­ner­ing pub­lic con­cern via pub­lic fo­rums on catch and re­lease or catch and re­tain and

(3) launch­ing the sale of salmon li­cences by hold­ing a spe­cial me­dia an­nounce­ment hosted by Premier Ball in his own dis­trict, then rate mit­i­ga­tion mea­sures to help all our peo­ple will be a slam dunk.

So en­joy your sum­mer va­ca­tion in our beau­ti­ful prov­ince lit­tle salmon. Al­ways re­mem­ber, we’ve got your back. Let’s just hope the pow­ers that be have the backs of the rate pay­ers.

Bern Kenny

Cor­ner Brook

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