22 March 2011

Fried Clyde dumps Danny’s fish policy

Remember earlier in the month when fisheries minister Clyde Jackman abandoned the fisheries reform process?

Let’s just take a jump back to something that stood out from his newser at the time:

What Jackman did mention one too many times for comfort was the idea that some people think time will take care of the whole thing.  In other words, in an industry dominated by people rapidly approaching retirement, most of the people who would be “restructured” will simply leave the industry on their own if nothing else happens. He also talked about signs that prices might be climbing again soon, perhaps another clue as to what some in the provincial government might be hoping for.

No surprise, then, that Jackman is on the front page of the Telegram on Tuesday with this to say:

“…how can I justify, going forward looking for $190 million dollars, to justify a 30 per cent reduction (in harvesting), when the report clearly says that if you leave it alone it will restructure to an even greater degree than the ask that the FFAW put forward?”

How indeed, except that there is a difference in sheer human cost between an organized series of cuts and the wholesale slaughter that may well leave nothing much in the fishery to restructure when it is all over. You can see the same thread running through the front end of the letter Jackman sent to the processors and the union representing fish-plant workers and fishermen, now called “harvesters” in polite circles.

Perhaps the most interesting thing about Jackman’s letter is that he winds up abandoning the position he and his colleagues championed for seven years. Gone is taxpayer-funded bailouts and buyouts.  In two successive federal elections, Jackman and his colleagues tried to get commitment after federal commitment to doing just that.

What’s even more bizarre  - some might say disingenuous - about the Dunderdale’s government’s supposed concern for public spending is that it doesn’t apply to things like Muskrat Falls. 

It’s also a bizarre strategy to take in an election year especially when there are so many rural seats the Tories currently hold but where their grip might be weakening a bit.

- srbp -