Back in July I had the privilege of attending a political announcement for my job. Political speeches are nothing new, and often don’t say anything new. This one was different. In it, the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Dominic LeBlanc announced the government’s intent to enshrine the owner operator policy into the Fisheries Act. For fishermen, it means that the license holder owns and operates the boat; he (or she) is independent and not following the direction or control of someone else. For coastal communities in rural Canada, it means that the beneficial interest from the fishery flows from fishermen to the communities they live in. It’s something inshore fishermen have been fighting to maintain for decades, but particularly for the last five years when a Department of Fisheries and Oceans policy paper on “Modernizing the Fishery” omitted any mention of the owner operator policy. The fight has been long and the stakes are high. For many communities (like mine) fishery after fishery has become corporatized and those fishing boats, jobs, and money have left our island. Watching the corporate creep into the lobster fishery is like living the fishing version of Groundhog Day.
That’s why that July afternoon when the announcement was made, I freely admitted I got a little teary eyed. When I looked around the room full of burly fishermen and jaded industry reps, I wasn’t the only one. It was kind of a big deal, and we all knew it was. For that moment in time, there was a ray of hope against a backdrop of bureaucratic molasses climbing up a hill.
There’s been fear mongering from the other side about decreased license values and government taking licenses. It’s meant to distract and divert attention by people who have the most to gain from losing the owner operator policy. It’s a political tactic we’ve seen play out far too often on far bigger stages. I think fishermen are smarter than that. I think they’ve watched fleets and opportunities disappear from their wharves and they don’t want to lose any more. I think communities understand that if they want to maintain the way of life that they’ve had for generations, they need to make sure there is an opportunity for young people to enter the fishery as independent business owners, not as a paid per hour labourer for a corporate interest.
I think this because as the industry reps left the announcement in July and went home, we started having a similar experience. We were approached repeatedly in groceries stores, at the dentist, in the bank, at the wharf by different people with the same questions:
“Do you think they’re really going to fix owner operator?”
Do you think I’ll really be able to have my own boat and licence?”
That ray of hope I thought I’d glimpsed in other red rimmed eyes in Chester has spread. It’s an important fight; an important discussion. Too important to be distracted. Too important to lose.
Stay the course.
While I love to try new places to eat, I often find myself reverting to classic standbys when I travel particularly for work. Time is generally a factor as well as location. It’s far too easy to grab a quick bite at a fast food restaurant I know on my way somewhere. Last week at a meeting in Dartmouth I had a chance to try something equally quick but a bit on the quirky side.
Truckside Food Truck Food Court is exactly what it sounds like: a food court setting with food trucks offering different fair. It’s a fun atmosphere with something for everyone. Me, I had donair poutine:
With two so-bad-for-you-but-so-good foods combined together, it couldn’t be anything but great. (And it was).
I knew I’d been on a bit of a dishcloth knitting kick the last few weeks but I didn’t realize exactly how much I’d gone to my go-to mindless knitting:
Looks like everyone will be getting a dishcloth this Christmas.
(There may be another 3 in various stages of completion strategically stashed in various locations. Don’t judge.)
Pattern: Gaterlac Dishcloth
Yarn: Knit Picks Dishie; Hobby Lobby I Love this Cotton; Pisgah Peaches & Creme; (and I can’t remember what the blue/green/yellow/white was)
My love of visiting islands is no secret. While Big Tancook Island didn’t make my top 5 it has been on my radar for a few years as a place I’d like to visit.
I have a pretty clear definition of what makes an island an island. If you can drive there, your island status has pretty much been revoked in my mind. It’s the challenge of ferry service that sets island life apart from that of mainland destinations. The ferry to Tancook didn’t disappoint. I was fascinated by the loading/unloading process. No cars for visitors touring the island or for islanders heading to the mainland. Cargo is loaded into containers and hoisted on and off the ferry.
William G. Ernst
Before arriving on Big Tancook, the ferry stops at Little Tancook Island, just long enough to load and unload.
Unloading the ferry at Little Tancook
Little Tancook Island
Little Tancook Island
Continue reading “Trip to Tancook”
I have this love-hate relationship with knit toys. I love the end result, but they all seem to involve my least favourite part of knitting – sewing. For some reason I had this crazy idea that if I knit a toy as a flat square it would be more fun to assemble. Actually, it was more on the lines of: “a square is easy to knit. I’ll worry about the details later”. If I had a nickel every time I thought the last part of the that thought…
Anyway, I got to this stage:
…thought “WHAT was I thinking!” (again, if I had a nickel) and settled down with the instructions to figure it out.
The put together involved counting, and apparently also had some dependence on knitting the exact number of rows, not just knitting til it sort of looked like a square. As I got putting it together, I kept thinking:
“My that head looks small.”
I did the next couple of instructions, assuring myself it was one of those mysteries of the universe that would suddenly make sense when it was done.
It didn’t; the head still looks small.
Continue reading “The Saddest Weiner Dog Ever”
One of my favourite parts of work trips is when there is an opportunity to tour the area, particularly the wharves and harbours. While these stops used to make me crazy when I was growing up (I would have much preferred a gift shop or two) I’ve learned to appreciate the bustle and character each harbour possesses. Here are some highlights from last week in Cape Breton.