Local CBC Radio ran an interview with Political Scientist Mario Levesque on the Wednesday edition of On The Go.
The topic was Fisheries Minister Darin "Tito" King's suspension of any provincial funds that were being provided to the FFAW. The money was not core operational money but money that was used to lever funds for fishery science and marketing.
You might recall that King's former boss was so dismayed with cuts by successive Liberal and Conservative governments to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans science budgets that he not only took over the enforcement of inland waters but directed millions of provincial tax dollars be spent on collecting fisheries data.
He launched a $14 program of fisheries science and research, even though the area is the jurisdiction of the federal government.
The government chartering the Celtic Explorer, a 65-metre research
vessel from Ireland, to undertake an acoustic survey of northern cod this past year. It also created the Centre for Fisheries Ecosystem
Research, based at Memorial University's Marine Institute.
The Centre sponsored inshore fisheries research. Guess who partnered with them to do some of that research? The FFAW! So who really gets hurt by the Tito's temper tantrum? The union, no, but Danny William's fishery research program does. Talk about biting of your nose to spit your face. Is the research important? Where we getting value for our investment or was the government just giving the union a little swag? I would like to think this was valuable research? If that is not important, than perhaps the Auditor General or the Public Accounts Committee should investigate if taxpayers are getting value for money?
I wonder what would happen to Director George Rose, a former federal research scientist who has been
outspoken about fisheries management issues for years, if he questioned Minister King's process for awarding and discontinuing research monies? Would he find himself cut off like the FFAW? Like Child and Youth Advocate Darlene Neville and others, that have not towed the partisan line?
Which brings me back to the purpose of this post, the interview Political Scientist Mario Levesque. What are the possible implications of King's approach for other agencies, not-for-profits, companies and the like that do not tow the PARTY LINE?
I wonder what the repercussions of having an opinion that does not jive with the PARTY LINE might mean for a lowly public servant like myself?
One never knows!