Cheers & Jeers
CHEERS AND JEERS: To the province’s financial situation. Cheers to Finance Minister Siobhan Coady’s mid-year fiscal update recently that showed the province is currently in a stable financial situation with a strong economic outlook. That’s good, no doubt, and provides a strong base on which to continue to build. But it flies right now in the face of most people struggling with the rising cost of living, and the ongoing crisis situations of homelessness and in health care. And yet, frustratingly, we are a province rich in raw materials and natural resources but crippled with a debt of billions. We see most of the money from megaprojects built on our resources head to outside corporations and their shareholders. Other megaprojects that we try to do ourselves — like Muskrat Falls — well, you only have to go back and read the inquiry report into that boondoggle, and the auditor general reports, to see why we are burdened with that financial elephant. It could be so much better for the people of this province. CHEERS: To the establishment of a Women in Resources Advisory Committee. Announced Nov. 2, the committee comes amid a long-recognized need for better representation in the workforce at all levels of the resources sector in Newfoundland and Labrador. According to the news release, the committee will advise and inform the minister of Industry, Energy and Technology on issues, concerns and needs of women in resources. It will gather advice in a number of areas, which could include addressing women’s underrepresentation in the resource sector, including young women; the promotion of leadership opportunities; and ensuring the work of government meets resource sector needs and demands. Congratulations on those selected to the committee and let’s hope their hard work will result in positive steps to addressing the shortcomings in the resources sector. JEERS: To hate and racism in any form. We published a disturbing story out of Lewisporte recently in which Dr. Gerges Ambarak spoke out on social media about how his family has been victimized by some members of the community. The doctor — who had bought a house in Lewisporte and was planning on staying to provide health care to residents — says they are now considering moving from the town. The town’s mayor, the province and many local residents have come out in support of Ambarak and his family. Hopefully the show of support will help rid the town of this hate and racism and allow Ambarak and his family to continue to stay and provide the important health-care service that is needed in peace. Newfoundlanders and Labradorians are better than this. There’s no place for that kind of behaviour. CHEERS: To steps taken to help eliminate poverty. The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador announced Nov. 8 a $85-million poverty reduction plan for the province. Its three main objectives are to reduce childhood poverty, improve incomes supports, and encourage meaningful and sustainable employment. It’s part of an anticipated overall and yet-to-be announced social well-being plan. A poverty reduction plan for seniors is also expected in the coming months. JEERS: To unsecured loads carried on the province’s roads and highways. A Spaniard’s Bay man was injured on the evening of Nov. 9 when his vehicle collided with bales of hay that reportedly were lost from a pickup truck onto the Trans-canada Highway near the Holyrood Access Road. The man reported that several bales of hay fell off the pickup truck and, while he swerved to avoid the first bale, he hit three or four more, causing his car to fishtail and do a full spin. Unsecured material being lost from vehicles is a constant threat on the province’s roads and highways, one that no amount of awareness seems to be able to eradicate. Those caught could receive fines under the Highway Traffic Act, but is it enough of a deference? It doesn’t take a lot of time to properly secure items placed in pickup trucks, utility trailers or roof racks, etc. Drivers need to think of the safety of other motorists before taking chances with unsecured loads. CHEERS: To local sports heroes. Congratulations to the Brad Gushue Rink, which captured the 2023 Pan Continental curling championship earlier this month in Kelowna, B.C. Congratulations to the Newfoundland Growlers on regaining St. John’s native Zach O’brien to its roster. O’brien had been playing in Slovakia for the first part of the season and now finds his way back to the Growlers. Go Growlers Go! Congratulations to volleyball player Sylvie Lemoine — currently captain of the AAAA women’s volleyball team at Corner Brook Regional High — who has committed to join the Thunderwolves of Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ont., next year. And congratulations to Hudson White of St. John’s, who has signed with Illinois State University to play baseball next year.