Wangersky’s column demands a response 

Wangersky’s column demands a response

Dear editor,

I wish to respond to Russell Wangersky’s Jan. 28th column (Fish harvesters have the most to lose), by noting with interest how Wangersky gets along with me, “on and off,” while he has known Lana Payne since the late 1980s when the two worked together at The Sunday Express.

Does that mean Wangersky loves Lana more than me?

I can’t quite tell.

I know that Payne calls me as a “narcissist” and “liar,” and Wangersky spits out the word nationalist when he tackles me on the page. Personally, I see myself more Newfoundland and Labrador first, as opposed to Wangersky, who’s more Canadian first, which, “on and off,” separates us.

Wangersky clearly states what he thinks about Newfoundland and Labrador opening the door to out-of-province fish buyers — he’s against it, “damaging the province as a whole by shipping a common resource out of province for the benefit of a few.”

The “few” that Wangersky refers to are the few thousand inshore fish harvesters left in this province who can’t survive on 60-cents-a-pound cod, certainly not when there’s little else left to catch.

Opening the door to outside buyers will break the grip of the local merchants, or, at the very least, keep them honest.

No one wants to see raw resources leave our shores. Period. But the powers that be gave up on fish plant jobs when they surrendered MPRs (minimum processing requirements) as part of the EU free-trade deal.

It’s not too late to save our inshore harvesters, who are feeling the pressure of declining stocks, low prices and a union that no longer fights for them — and are taking a last stand.

Wangersky writes that he doesn’t see “where a harvesters union is going to have any leverage,” praising the FFAW as a “big experienced union with deep pockets and expertise.”

He writes that “common sense would suggest it’s better to deal with internal disputes inside the big tent.”

But didn’t that happen with the various Church scandals and Mount Cashel, which, incidently, the Sunday Express (where Wangersky once worked) uncovered? How did that work out for the little guys?

The media has yet to dig into the scandals that dog the fishery and the FFAW.

Wangersky says it would probably be best for FISH-NL to fail, but to come close enough to scare the FFAW into doing a better job.

But the point that Wangersky is missing is that there’s no rebuilding the sacred labour trust that has been broken by so many conflicts of interest and so much secrecy and distrust.

Odds have always been against FISH-NL, but don’t underestimate the will of the harvesters.

Change is coming.

Ryan Cleary,

President of FISH-NL