Darrin "Tito" King's response to today's announcement by High Liner to close its modern secondary processing facility in Burin chaffed my ass.
Seriously, the Ministers reaction, that government's principal role is to "manage change" and that up to 20% of the provinces plants will close in the near future, was without vision. Of course the oft used line about assisting affected communities and laid-off workers was pulled from the speaking notes used to respond to the closure of the Stephenville Paper Mill, the Grand Fall's Paper Mill, the Marystown Fish Plant, The Port Union Plant, the Corner Brook Gypsum plant, Island Aggregates and Ready Mix and other industrial operations in this province over the past few years.
I have given the government credit for their investments in the one bright light in rural Newfoundland, aquaculture. Outside of that, what do we have to show for new industries outside the Avalon after a decade of governing? Not a heck of a lot, at least not on the island.
For all the talk of economic plans, of job strategies or diversification we are more dependent on a staple industry - oil - than we have ever been.
Managing change...how about failed leadership on the fishery. I am not arguing that there needs to be change in the fishery but this disaster capitalism, where the Henry Demones and the Sullivans call the shots, makes me want to scream.
The Progressive Conservatives, including Premier Dunderdale, rolled the dice on the future of Burin, Marystown, Fortune, Bonavista, Port Union when they threw a social minded fishery giant called FPI to the wolves. They allowed OCI and High Liner to cannibalize the best of FPI and leave Newfoundland communities holding the bag.
Managing change, more like washing their hands of the mess they created.