07 July 2008

Going it alone, the federal version

The year:   1983.

The issue:  restructuring three bankrupt private fish companies into what would eventually become Fishery Products International.

GlobeFPIfederal The solution:  the federal government decided in late June 1983 to bypass the provincial government and invest $75 million in federal cash.  The resulting company was supposed to be entirely in the private sector with the federal government owning shares along with other investors.

The source:  A Globe and Mail story - left -  by Michael Harris. [Note:  To read the article, click on the picture and you can open it in a larger version.]

The previous May, the federal and provincial governments had a memorandum of understanding - according to the story signed by then fish minister Jim Morgan - but after a series of changes and further disagreements, federal fisheries minister Pierre de Bane turned up in St. John's to announce the "go-it-alone" option.

This is offered only as a curiosity since there are plenty of more clippings and many more details to the fishery restructuring in the mid-1980s and the eventual creation of FPI.

Still, it is interesting to see the federal and provincial governments in a disagreement.

It's even more interesting to see the willingness of the feds to go it alone on a fisheries issue.

Doesn't sound like the story you get from the usual sources, does it?


Update:  The story appeared on the front page of the Globe and Mail.  There's another little thing the local myth-mongers won't like.  The paper they love to hate as the read it every day actually put a major story about this province on the front page.


Mark said...

Among the interesting bits in the story is the federal government's alarm at the overcapacity in the processing sector. 25 years later the provincial government has still done very little to address this, although one might argue that the market surely has. The second is the general notion that at least when the federal government runs a front page headline grabbing statement professing to "go it alone" they actually follow through...

Edward G. Hollett said...

Yeah I noticed that, too.

Suggestions on how to reduce capacity which, coupled with a couple locally produced fisheries reports suggested in the mid-1980s that steps needed to be taken to forestall a collapse of the entire fishery.

No steps.

Predictable result.

Enough blame for everyone.

Again, not the story peddled by the local mythmongers.