|SKIPPER'S BLOG: Fish Minister Musical Chairs
A colleague of mine recently visited the provincial
Fisheries and Aquaculture building in St. Johnís recently and was taken aback
by the sheer number of photos he saw on the wall.
The photos were of all the people who had held the
position of Fisheries Minister.
There have been a lot of them since Confederation, but
we have never seen the disgusting and disturbing amount of turnover we have
seen in the last few years.
From 1949 to now, including new minister Derrick
Dalley, there have been 26 fisheries ministers (one acting).
Joey Smallwoodís government lasted 23 years, and in
that time there were five fisheries ministers. Thatís an average of 4.6 years
The Frank Moores/Brian Peckford Tory government lasted
17 years and produced eight ministers, for an average of 2.1 years per
The Clyde Wells/Brian Tobin/Roger Grimes
administration lasted 14 years and put six ministers in place for an average of
2.3 years per minister.
And now we have the Danny Williams/Kathy Dunderdale
government, which has been in power for nine years and produced seven fisheries ministers ó
thatís a new minister every 1.3 years.
And ladies and gentlemen that is absolutely not
acceptable, and the game of musical chairs needs to stop.
How can a department be progressive and sensible by
recycling ministers, and changing direction and leadership on average once a
Just when did the Department of Fisheries and
Aquaculture become such a damn wasteland?
There was a time when the job carried prestige and an
opportunity for whomever was in the big chair to be seen and heard publicly on
a regular basis and to cut their political swath across the landscape. It
wasnít like tourism where all you had to do was shut you face, make happy
announcements and cut ribbons from time to time.
There was a time when the top jobs in the NL cabinet
included Health, Justice, Finance, Education if there was some possibility of
strife, and yes, Fisheries.
Think of the people who have held the job: John
Crosbie, Walter Carter, Frank Moores, John Efford ó they are political
heavyweights all, and they all made their hay in the Fisheries Ministerís
Today, the job has become so interchangeable and
undesirable now that you may as well put a yellow dog in the job.
There was a time when being named minister of
Fisheries as an invitation to the political penthouse.
Now, it may as well be an outhouse.
Check back tomorrow: I'll give you some more food for thought by taking a glance at the people who have tended to that outhouse.
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