Tuesday, September 12, 2006


A war thats just from the Independant

Article by Ryan Cleary from The Independant

It’s shockin’ to say, but I believe in
war. Not the kind of fighting that
goes on in Afghanistan, that’s just
wrong. Canada should no more be
over there than Stephen Harper should
be voted in a second term. Canada, as
a peacekeeper, was a great country,
known for fine and noble deeds. Not in
Newfoundland and Labrador, mind
you, but pretty much everywhere else.
As a foreign invader, Canada has
lost its appeal in terms of sewing a
Canadian flag on a backpack and
traipsing around the world. You might
just get shot in the head.
The Maple Leaf has been transformed
into a bull’s-eye. The Leaf has
been mulched with the Stars and
Stripes and raked into one ugly military
lump. I may be a Newfoundlander
first, but Canada is changing before
our eyes, and it’s a sin to see. Fighting
Newfoundlanders are falling as I write
this, and they shouldn’t be.
Not in a war that is not Canada’s,
and not our own. Our soldiers aren’t
supposed to join in a fight so much as
ensure two sides get along after dusting
off and shaking hands.
There are also times when war is
unavoidable, or at least the threat of
war, although that’s useless without
intent. Some things are worth fighting
for — the Grand Banks of
Newfoundland being one of them.
Tobin had the right idea when he
went after the Spanish trawler Estai.
He got the world’s attention before
being distracted by the makeup and
mirror. In the end, the Turbot War wasn’t
so much a war as a Turbot Tussle,
with no lasting effects besides the flash
in the pan that was the Tobinator’s rise
and fall. The charges against the Estai
were eventually dropped, the cargo of
fish returned, and the Spanish were
paid for their trouble.
The tiny turbot were the big losers.
So were we — in case you missed the
vacancy signs hanging in the outports.
Iceland knew how to get things done
— it didn’t tread water for more than
30 years, dipsy-doodling diplomatic
rubber daggers as its culture and economy
slowly faded from the land. It
declared Cod Wars and got things
Iceland’s Cod Wars, three in all, didn’t
involve bullets, but scissors —
giant net cutters.
The first Cod War took place in
1958 when Britain tried to prevent
Iceland from extending its fishing
limit to 12 miles from four miles.
Snip, snip — Iceland won that one.
The second Cod War was waged
from 1972-73 when Iceland extended
its offshore reach to 50 miles.
Snip, snip — Iceland won that one
When that agreement expired on
Nov. 13, 1975, the third Cod War
began. Iceland wanted a 200-mile
limit, which was practically unheard of
at the time (imagine the gall, the
audacity of the fighting Icelanders).
All hell broke loose on the high seas.
David struck back at Goliath by once
again dragging giant scissors behind
its Coast Guard cutters and snipping
the nets of British trawlers. The UK
brought in almost two-dozen frigates
and flexed some mighty muscle to
scare the Icelanders back to their
wharves and villages.
Iceland went so far as to threaten to
close the NATO base at Keflavik,
which would have threatened NATO’s
ability to defend the Atlantic from
Soviet incursions.
Few shots were fired, but several
ships were rammed during the conflict
and some damage was inflicted, with a
few injuries sustained. Iceland was
motivated by declining cod stocks —
a grave situation given Iceland lived
on fish. Iceland won the third Cod War
and the British trawlers eventually
withdrew, leaving behind about 23
million pounds of catch a year.
Thousands of British fishermen and
plant workers lost their jobs, but that
was that.
Iceland’s giant underwater scissors
were the envy of the downtrodden fish
nations of the world for the longest
while. John Efford and crew had an
Icelandic skipper brought over here in
the early ’90s to show Newfoundland
fishermen how it’s done … how to use
a pair of scissors to clean up the Nose
and Tail.
Efford et al. could talk the talk but,
in the end, they couldn’t walk the
walk. The federal government came up
with another package, some more
make-work and an EI top-up or two
and the rabble quieted down and settled
in for a long winter’s nap.
Which brings us to today, and
Danny’s recent trip to Iceland and
Norway to see the sights. Tom
Rideout, the Fisheries minister, was by
the premier’s side.
“There are many lessons the
province of Newfoundland and
Labrador can learn from the Icelandic
fishery,” Rideout said when he got
The minister talked of new ideas
like “consolidation, rationalization,
and diversification” … meaningless
words when there aren’t any fish in the
water. Turns out Iceland also has fish
science — can you believe it! More
than that, the fish managers also work
hand in hand with university and
industry. Who knew?
Again — that’s not much good without
Danny and his Fisheries minister
didn’t breathe a word about scissors
when they got back from Iceland —
but you can be sure they heard a tale or
two on their travels.
Danny’s latest row with the prime
minister is a prime example of
Ottawa’s will to buck the status quo on
our behalf. The Government of
Canada has chosen the side of the oil
companies — nothing new there.
Likewise, the federal government
won’t be moving anytime soon to end
foreign overfishing. Ottawa has its
own demons to fight.
Our enemy is within.

Harper pledges to defend the fishery.

Hearn Pledges to defend the fisheries in response to St John's board of trade questions.
"Foreign Overfishing
Our Party initiated the idea of custodial management. We had a resolution to that effect passed in Parliament. In our policy statements we commit to taking custodial management if we become Government."
Comments: Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Subscribe to Posts [Atom]