Thursday, September 10, 2009

Newfoundland Labnomore

A guy that lives down the street drives a nice new BMW. I have a 2001 Chev; it's no BMW. I'm thinking about selling it, giving the cash to the Beamer guy and have him drive me to work. Sure I'll be without a car, and I'll be inconvenienced, and sure I may be stuck from time to time, and hopefully there will be no emergencies... but when I do get a ride I'll be in a Beamer! I haven’t really thought it out, but it could be good.

For the communities of Lewisporte and Flower's Cove who are seeing an erosion of their health care with the promise of better services in Grand Falls, Gander , or St. Anthony this sort of robbing Peter to pay Paul may sound a little familiar. As a matter of fact for anyone who lived through the years leading up to and following, confederation this may bring flashbacks of another time. Words like “Resettlement” and “Decentralization” making them sit upright in a cold sweat from a late summer slumber. Wasn't that the same logic they spoke of then? We'll move you to a nice place where your kids will go to a bigger school and you'll be on a main road. Sure you won't be near the water but who wants that anyway?

Sad thing is that the communities of Flower's Cove and Lewisporte are themselves hubs for other communities. So not only are we seeing a lose of services from smaller communities we are now seeing larger rural hubs lose the attention of the powers that be.

Why stop there? My neighbour has better books, Internet, they even eat more expensive food, nice packaged food from the mainland. Perhaps we should send our children there. Perhaps to some kind of residential school. Let's bypass Newfoundland and Labrador altogether and give our kids the true benefit of a quality upbringing in Halifax or Toronto.

It's only lab and X-Ray services. Sure who uses that anyway? Only people who are injured or sick. Just stay healthy and everything will be fine, but just in case better stay away from Lewisporte and Flower's Cove. Just to be safe let's all move to St. John 's.

Just remember years from now when people talk of the death of rural Newfoundland and Labrador that it didn't die of old age, but passed away in agony when a faceless bureaucrat yanked the plug. Is rural Newfoundland and Labrador dead? Not yet but I think someone is helping the Grime Reaper sharpen his scythe.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Lanier Phillips: Discovery in St. Lawrence

There are Newfoundlanders and Labradorians born and bred, and then there are those who have found meaning here entirely by accident.

Lanier Phillips was one of 46 men who survived the Truxtun disaster. His story is not a simple story of survival but a story of the power of humanity. In a world of segregation and racism Mr. Phillips credits the simple generousity of the people of St. Lawrence, NL, not only with saving his life, but with their compassion - changing it forever. As a black man in the segregated south of the 50's he has said: "To experience instantly love and humanity that I didn't think existed between the races — it just changed everything for me."

This is a story that begs to be told and has had some great interest in the Newfoundland and Labrador film industry. Now the story has caught the attention of the American film industry. It has even caught the attention of Bill Cosby who invited Mr. Phillips on stage and told his story. A full length feature film is finally in the works.

The story is remniscent of a film called "Amazing Grace" that Ray Johnson likes to quote when we meet with Community Linkages. Mr. Phillips story, like Amazing Grace tells of the power of the individual, when love and compassion are the motivating factors for change. The upcoming film will perhaps offer a rare glimpse of the true virtue of rural Newfoundland and Labrador and why we so passionately love this place.

CBC interviews Lanier Phillips: