Monday, July 6, 2009

The Asphalt Barrens

There's nothing at the end but ahhh the going is good. Lots of pavement being laid these days in many areas of the province (with the notable exception of Labrador). Is this "infrastructure" spending to revitalize rural Newfoundland and Labrador or just election asphalt?

An interesting article by the Telegram's Russel Wangersky and response by Community Linkages member D. Penton.

(click to read the full articles)


..You can argue until you're blue in the face about whether a government actually can do anything to mitigate the virtual collapse of fisheries markets, but the simple fact is, whether something can or can't be done, very little is being done...


Large longliners are all that is left and the ocean highway will soon be gone if Ottawa allows a change within NAFO ... It's not the pavement that we need to worry about, it's the complete collapse of rural Newfoundland and Labrador ... Do we want our children to live a rural Newfoundland and Labradorian life out of The Rooms museum?

1 comment:

  1. Just this past Saturday afternoon I happened to be watching the Discovery Channel when a quiz show came on, and one of the questions in it asked about the composition of asphalt. It should come as no shock, it is entirely the left-overs from crude oil.

    For what its worth, the thought of the Rooms being the only museum for Newfoundland Culture is a little bit daunting, but then again, part of me considers every community that intentionally decides to live as if the 21st Century hasn't happened as a "museum community". There are many "living heritage" sites to be found around all of Atlantic Canada. If *we* don't choose to live in honor of the culture that sprung us, I won't be bitching to the government to do something about it. The government has made it clear, many times over, that it would rather we didn't live in rural isolated situations. They are already doing something about it, by paving roads. If you can't beat 'em, get the hell out of Dodge and join 'em.

    I'd like my children to live in a place that clearly belongs to them, inasmuch as they also belong to it. I don't care, nearly as much, that large portions of our culture is worthy of being remembered in a museum, compared to the fact that the community which survived that self-same history has done so with appalling attrition, having failed to initiate their own into that community in a lasting way.

    And that should come as no shock, either! It is not like people started to move away from the outports only after 1992; no, they were driving out of many of those outports on the first roads that got to them, 40 years ago.

    I saw coastal Labrador before they got a road, and even with the benefit of cable television, CAP sites, dial-up internet, and well-educated teachers, the children in those communities had to be educated into the ways of the world. For example, there was no concept of "stranger" in those communities, so the teachers informed me; but the schools were not the only point of contact between the youth and the community.

    If young people are not encouraged to engage in all the various processes of community life, why are we surprised when the bright and talented "youth of tomorrow" move away, lured by the freedom of an open road, and more reasonable prices for "essentials" like gasoline? Why is it so easy to blame the government for failing, when they've been doing a remarkable job since the early 1960s? Resettlement was a stated goal, once upon a time.

    Even if there is no fishery, I'd choose (and am in the process of choosing) a rural situation to live in. Cultures change, even sometimes for the better. However, I see very little hands-on direct action being exercised on the Island of Newfoundland, by the people who are raising up young people as members in a global society and expecting them to assume a burden as "collateral for the future of Newfoundland", or even of Canada. It goes to show what happens to socialism when it is left in the hands of the Parties, and not the Communities.