Monday, July 21, 2014


The great folks of St. George's - Stephenville East are without an elected member to the House of Assembly.

Joan Shea (Burke) stepped down on July 02nd  after serving as a Tory MHA and cabinet minister from 2003. 

There has been talk of a couple of scenarios related to the timing of the by-election. One scenario has the by-election take place in August, another the week after the PC Leadership convention in September.  The call for the byelection has to be made by Aug. 2

The tories are in need of some real electoral momentum. They have lost a number of high profile by-elections in the face of declining pubic opinion polls. The loss of both former Premier Dunderdale and Former Finance Minister Jerome Kennedy's old seats couple with the defection of two PC caucus members to the Liberals, has the PC's yearning for a bounce.

St. George's - Stephenville East is a swing seat, it likes to be on the government side. The seat is the amalgamation of the old St. George's and half of the old Stephenville seat (prior to 1996). The seat has a long history of having strong Cabinet Ministers like Kevin Aylward, Ron Dawe and more recently Joan Shea. 

However, in 1985 the Stephenville seat went against the Peckford tide and elected a 22 yer old Liberal Kevin Aylward who kept the seat Liberal for 17 years.

Having a member on the government side, access to the treasury for municipal infrastructure and economic diversification & local representation will certainly be key issues.

A sign that the by-election may come earlier appeared on Friday when the PC Party opened the nomination process for it's candidate. The PC's have been trying to convince popular Mayor Tom O'Brien to seek the job. A few others have said no -  leaving  Educator Wally Childs as the sole person pursuing the job. 

Nominations close at noon tomorrow. (July 22)

The NDP have selected Bernice Hancock who flew the party's standard in the 2011 General Election. 

The poll leading Liberal Party of Newfoundland selected Dr. Scott Reid who was born in the Codroy Valley, grew up in Bay St. George South and attended the College in Stephenville before leaving the area to pursue his masters & PhD.  He is well known party organizer, senior staffer and has a lock on a cabinet job if the Liberals win the government next year.

The Grits and the Dippers have had a few week jump on the PC's. The candidates have been knocking on doors and putting together their respective organizations for a couple of weeks while the shell-shocked PCs attempted to find a stellar candidate.

I suspect that the call will be made today or tomorrow. 

Got your motor running!

It is going to be interesting to learn what the pundits, media and partisans have to say about the result of this by-election.



I have to admit that the P.C. Leadership Process is starting to get my attention.

Three candidates, delegate selection processes, platform announcements and one-one one radio appearances is creating a buzz that has people tuning in despite the Summer holidays and heat.

Mount Pearl MHA Steve Kent, who has entertained questions on The Telegram's Lunch Naked Lunch forum,will be taking calls from the public on CBC Radio's Radio Noon Program today. The other perspective leadership candidates have already participate.

If you feel like participating, throwing a flower or chucking a brick the numbers are 709-722-7111 // 1-800-563-8255 // @CBCCrosstalk



It looks like the province's 6,000 teachers will have a signed contract in the near future.

Anyone who questioned Provincial Finance Minister Charlene Johnson's promise of a commitment, last month, to a productive and successful collective bargaining process  might want to give her some credit.

I first caught wind of a possible deal on Twitter  yesterday afternoon and this morning learned that the rumors were true. The NLTA says the vote will take place on Sept 25th.

No details have been released on the sticky issues like substitute time,  wage increases or pension changes.  The government responded to concerns expressed by Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of School Councils about the negotiations saying that it was not looking to change family leave or assigning substitutes.

A vote on the collective agreement is scheduled for Sept. 25.

Teachers in Newfoundland and Labrador’s Public School System have been working without a contract for more than a year and a half two years .  The contract between the NLTA and the provincial government expired in August of 2012.


For the second year in a row, the start of the Recreational Cod Fishery was marred with the news that a man drowned. Tragic irony:  it is national drowning prevention week in Canada,

The latest  victim drowned off Bell Island when a boat carrying three people capsized.

It is a bit early to comment on water safety - the condition on the boat and the use of life jackets - but Capt. Kimberly Lemaire indicated that life-jackets were among the items recovered from the water.

With the demise of the fishery, many people in rural Newfoundland and Labrador have sold or allowed their sturdy dories and boats fall into disuse. The result is less maintenance. A fleet of less than safe water craft have emerged. Despite a catch limit ties to three individuals, people pile into these boats in great numbers.  The result is instability.

As well, many of the recreational fishers do not understand the challenges of fishing on the Atlantic. Some go out without oars, grappling hooks, compasses or a GPS. They may not understand the tides, local currents, hidden rocks or winds.  

It is a scary situation. 

Despite the refrains of play it safe, some just do not get it. Some people are so eager to drop their lines that they drop their common sense as well.

Last year on the first day of the fisherry a a 51-year-old man drowned near Bonavista. He wasn’t wearing a personal flotation device (PFD).

The maddening part of these senseless deaths is that water safety is preached, promoted and pushed. It must be terribly frustrating for organizations like the RCMP, Transport Canada and The Red Cross to learn that there efforts are not getting through to everyone.

Let's face it none of expects to get into a car accident when we leave home for a run to the grocery store. We slip on our seat belts just in case to limit the potential injury that an accident can happen. No one expects to fall out of a fishing boat but it happens, particularly when boasts are loaded with people standing on the sides trying to catch a cod. That instability great enhances the potential for a spill or the boat capsizing. Wearing a PDF ensures your survival.

The food fishery in Newfoundland and Labrador continues  until Aug. 10. It resumes in the fall from Sept. 20-28.


It has been a hell of an exciting time for the Colony of The Avalon!

Visitor attendance numbers were up in June indicating a good season but the recent discovery of a 400-year-old copper crucifix at the site has created an international buzz.

The small crucifix, 2.8 cm in width, broken at the top but showing a simple representation of Christ on the front and the Virgin Mary and Christ Child on the back. 

The discovery in itself is incredible but more important from my perspective is proof that this was a colony of new hope, of religious tolerance from the religious tyranny in England.

As a member of the  Board of Director’s at the Colony, the discovery comes at a very strategic time as we embark on a fundraising and marketing development program to sustain and enhance one of North America’s premier archeological


Governor  George Calvert of Baltimore, established his colony in Ferryland at a time when practicing the Catholic faith was risky business. Religious tolerance is the Anglican word was unheard of. Calvert’s dream was to establish a  colony where Christians, Catholic and protestants alike could practice their faith without fear of arrest or death.

The colony was established, in 1621. Most people have no idea that permanent European settlement in North America dates so far back, and that Newfoundland played such an important role.

The Ferryland settlement was "forgotten", and its remains lay undisturbed for centuries .The site is now being excavated and archaeologists have uncovered over a million artifacts from the stone constructed buildings including gold rings, Portuguese ceramics and other unusual objects. It is considered the best preserved early English colony in North America,

At the Colony of Avalon, the stories of Lord and Lady Baltimore, Sir David and Lady Sara Kirke and other early settlers are brought to life for visitors through guided tours and demonstrations of life in the 17th century.

Site features include an Interpretation Centre, active Archaeological Dig, Conservation Laboratory, 17th-century Kitchen and Gardens, and an award-winning Gift Shop. Special programs and packages include Archaeologist for a Day, Dig & Dig In, Land and Sea Explorer, and more.
Become a member of the Colony of The Avalon  Help support the continued investigation, interpretation, preservation and promotion of the archaeological and historic resources of Ferryland and the southern Avalon Peninsula.