Monday, June 25, 2012


As the media and government commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Cod Moratorium, Ed Hollett over at The Bond Papers points out that the great exodus of rural Newfoundlanders to the promised land of Alberta is gathering steam.

In fact, he proves that emigration from this province to Alberta is rising!

This comes as no surprise to me. Newfoundland and Labrador has been hemorrhaging economic opportunities outside of the off-shore oil industry and government for a decade. People are simply migrating to where the best opportunities exist for meaningful employment.

For nearly a generation, Alberta has been starved for tradesmen and laborers. Newfoundlanders have answered the call in slaughterhouses and the ever expanding oil industry. Many re-located, moving lock stock and barrel to their new homes and leaving this province behind.

Thousands make the transit to Alberta, leaving their families for weeks and months at a time. They shuffle back and forth, sending their incomes back to the province where it is used to buy groceries, cars, quads, homes, taxes and support dying local economies.

Ed's extrapolations show the changing demographics, the reality of failure of successive provincial governments to diversify the economy and create opportunities.

As oil prices tumble and government budget estimates based on higher oil revenues falter, one can only imagine the level of destitution that would be in existence in our province if these great oil discoveries had not been made?

We have simply traded fish for oil?

Except, that we are more dependent on one source of revenue, than ever before.


Uncle Gnarley said...

The comment is excellent but I would add that it is not merely if the oil discouveries had not occurred, but if Brian Peckford had not insisted that this province have both sharing of jurisdiction and revenues of offshore oil and gas resources. Perhaps most people now take that issue for granted and after several years of minimal offers from both Trudeau and Chretien it sure looked like our offshore would be administered out of Nova Scotia. So, while your point is spot on, the oil alone did not guarantee Newfoundland and Labrador anything; indeed, only the Atlantic Accord secured the current revenue stream and a local benefits package administered by C-NLOPB.

Anonymous said...

We can thank two Brian's for the Atlantic Accord.... Peckford and Mulrooney. Successive Liberal governments provincial & federal have not served us well, and many will not admit or acknowledge that simple fact.

Uncle Gnarley said...

You are quite right. The two Brians were critical to that outcome.