At the provincial Liberals’ annual general meeting last weekend, leader Dwight Ball said in his speech to delegates that when he becomes premier, he will be taking more money from oil royalties and investing it in the future of rural Newfoundland.
That has a familiar ring to it.
Almost every time a new premier takes office, they all claim to have the desire and ideas to fix the problems plaguing rural Newfoundland.
Danny Williams went as far as to take the lead himself, seeking to cure all that ails our small outports which are withering away due to outmigration stemming from lack of opportunity. He failed miserably.
It’s an easy promise to make, but not an easy one to keep.
Truth be known, it may be impossible to return rural Newfoundland to a state approaching what it used to be when there were thousands of fishermen and plant workers scratching a comfortable living. There are still some outports that remain economically strong, but they are becoming fewer and further between with the passage of time.
Young people are scrambling to leave communities where generations of their families have resided.
They aren’t interested in the dangerous and uncertain life in the fishery, or trying to get by on a few weeks work a year in a fish plant, supplemented by meagre employment insurance.
They want better for their children and themselves so they pack up and move west where they can get steady work, a decent salary and a better way of life.
So good luck, Mr. Ball. We hope you have the answers that others have failed to find.
Seeing the bedrock of this province — our outports — disappear is difficult to watch, but no amount of money or goodwill is likely to turn the tide.