Tis the season! Hot Toddie's, egg nog and campaign signs. (and we thought the vandals had fun with the municipal election signs!) Ok fine, if Ottawa is going to drag us kicking and screaming into the voting booth now is as good a time as any for a good accounting of the feds in 2005. I thought about the title "A year in your-rear the DFO pains in the arse for 2005", or quite simply "DFO Rear-end Review."
1. It is January of 2005. With Auld Ang Sin still ringing in their ears the workers at NDI get a letter from Geoffrey Regan. It is a notice of termination of contract to the Newfoundland and Labrador company based in St. John's. The company filed under backruptcy protection so the agreement could not be broken. By all indications from The Telegram, since Scrooge Regan's letter NDI has won every court case and appeal against DFO. The attempted termination has resulted in enormous legal fees yet to be made public, as well as the involvement of another federal agency ACOA and their legal fees. DFO and ACOA in conspiracyng with DFO to terminate this Newfoundland and Labrador business have not had success. Also the action has resulted in a legal suit which by all present indications will result in a multi-million dollar settlement from the taxpayers coffers.
2. In a courtcase regarding a Newfoundlander's sale of Blueback pelts, Geoffrey made the erroneous statement that it is illegal to kill Bluebacks. In fact it is perfectly legal to kill bluebacks but sale of the pelts is illegal. Geoffrey's lack of knowledge of the issue and flippant misunderstanding of the law in his own portfolio resulted in St. John's lawyer Averill Baker to call for his resignation.
3. In a meeting in N&L Geoffrey and federal croonies from International Trade say they couldn't understand why Europe was charging a 20% tariff on shrimp caught by Newfoundlanders and that they would beg of Europe to drop the tariff. Of course when Ottawa allows these same foreign nations to catch their own unlimited amounts of shrimp on the continental shelf it is a hard sell to get them to buy shrimp caught by Newfoundlanders. Bit like trying to sell a bag of turnip to a turnip truck.
4. As the food fishery opens up in Nova Scotia Newfoundlanders and Labradoreans are left wondering if they will get a chance to hit the water for a jig. Geoffrey's complete lack of communication with N&L on the issue resulted in an act of civil disobedience called the protest fishery were N&Lers demanded a statement from the minister. The statement would come monthes later with the call of an election in January 2006. As it turns out we now have Geoffrey's attention. He has promised to look at the issue of a Newfoundland and Labrador food fishery. Although the impression was that the review was eminent, a letter to one of the organizers of this years protest suggests the review will take four years. (Note four years federal government time translates to roughly five days our time. It's a complicated formula but roughly it accounts for the five minutes of actual work done by bureucrats on Wednesday morning before coffee break.)
5. An audit of DFO under Geoffrey's reigns showed that; surprise of surprises, the department is not particularly deligent with the federal purse. A result of this particular audit trickled down to some lower end public servants resulting in their dismissal. It turns out when responsibility and accountability are called into question all the old gents at the top never take the fall. How convenient is that.
6. The resurgence of the circus that is the animal liberation front on the seal hunt. Terrorists who in the same breath support voilence against humans and compassion for animals. The lack of monitoring the activity on the ice by DFO resulted in a protestor/sealer pushing match. The seal hunt protestor was later proven to be a terrorist. This particular issue resulted in the seal hunters name being posted on the web resulting in his family receiving vicious threats, racial taunts and other malicious forms of harrassment.
7. ...Lets see what else has Geoff Regan done for N&L this year? There's the axing of the world class cod research being done at MUN by Dr. George Rose. Another smack on the arse from Mother Canada. Of course this goes to the general decline of the federal presence in Newfoundland and Labrador in general - but that's a blog of a different colour.
So at year's end where has Minister Regan taken the province in this great dominion? Foreign vessels continue to overfish at the expense of N&L without DFO interference and even with their blessing. Refusal to get a set of kahooas and declare a costodial management strategy on the nose and tail beyond the 200 mile limit, pandering to countries across the pond. ... and I can't begin to speak of the cost-cutting policies which allows our countrymen to drown because they didn't have the courtesy to have their disaster during regular business hours...
A great year overall for Newfoundland and Labrador thanks to the Honorable Member from Halifax West. But what can we do? Well ... as those of us with the distinct pleasure of calling Newfoundland and Labrador home know; Santa Claus himself is a Newf. Recently while he was reviewing his list from a Portugal Cove home I had the great fortune of seeing the "Naughty and Nice" list. Being the Sleeven I am sometimes known to be, I filled up the Jolly ole Elf with Date Squares and Purity Syrup and when he went to the John I managed a look at the list. (He takes quite a long on the can because of his poor diet and age. Salt Meat and Cabbage, Turr and Flipper pie from January to December 24 and nothing but cookies and purity syrup for about a week) Anyway I digress... I looked up Geoff Regan on Santa's list. Not Good Geoff, Not Good at all!
He knows when you've been sleeping, he knows when you're a fake, he knows if you've been wasting cash - so resign for goodness sake.