If the nods of agreement around the meeting room or the lunchtime discussion that followed are any indication, Danny Dumaresque landed himself a few more tunnel supporters on Saturday.
Dumaresque was one of two speakers to address the Great Humber Joint Council during its meeting at the Holiday Inn in Deer Lake.
Building a tunnel 1,000 feet below sea level across the Strait of Belle Isle to connect Labrador with the island portion of the province is a topic Dumaresque has been preaching about for 20 years.
And in a speech similar to those he’s given on numerous occasions, he talked about a tunnel project in Norway and the cost and benefits to building a tunnel here.
Following the speech, Dumaresque said the thing that keeps him going in his quest for a tunnel is the same passion he had when he graduated from high school.
“I believe in good government,” Dumaresque said. “I have a passion for good government. And I’m always continuously looking at how I can make a real change for the better and this project has been with me for 20 years and it continues to excite me as I get more and more information on how it can be done.
“And it also continues to motivate me when I see the state of affairs that is a direct consequence of having a connection to the island by a ferry.”
Dumaresque said not having a reliable transportation link to the island is causing all kinds of problems that cannot be tolerated.
In his speech he spoke of a number of things including lost tourism revenue, unreliable ferry service and high-food costs.
“And I want to continue to promote this project because I absolutely know the kind of things that will come from it that will secure communities that are going to die in the next 20 years,” he said.
Dumaresque said a fixed-link tunnel will reverse a predicted outmigration and take a stagnant tourism industry and double the numbers of visitors.
“If P.E.I. can get over a million tourists a year with Green Gables, I’m telling you we can get two million people to come here with all the culture and the World Heritage sites that we have and the tourism package we have in every part of this province,” Dumaresque said.
A former Liberal MHA, Dumaresque is hoping to be a part of the next government with the party and he told the members of the joint council the party is committed to the tunnel project.
“I’m certainly going to try, and I can tell you without equivocation that this is the major project that I’m going to promote whether I’m on the opposition or in government,” he said.
He told the joint council that nothing happens without political will and with both a federal and a provincial election coming up they can play a role in getting the message out.