So the provincial government now has a new advisory body, the Minister’s Advisory Committee on Mineral Matters
In the past eleven years, cumulative mineral exploration expenditures in Labrador have outstripped those in Newfoundland, $364-million to $143-million; and annually, in all but three of those years. Labrador has the province's three most important producing mines: Wabush, IOC, and as of last week, Voisey's Bay; Labrador is also home to two of the most important quarries, the dimension stone operations on the North Coast.
Why then, is there not one Labrador representative on Ed Byrne's new advisory council?
There are three members from that famous mining town, St. Johns: Brian Dalton, Chris Verbiski, and Joe Shirley. Two from Baie Verte, not unreasonably, Allan Cramm and Roy Barker. Victor French of Bay Roberts and Larry Pilgrim of King's Point round out the Committee.
But no one from Labrador? That's an impressive accomplishment, even by Danny Williams' government's standards.
"Minister Byrne said in selecting the members he ensured that various sectors of the mineral industry were represented as well considering geographical representation."
Danny Williams, newly-minted leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Newfoundland and Newfoundland, said, in his inaugural speech (since consigned to the bit-bucket by the PC Party webmaster) on April 7, 2001:
"It's high time that Labradorians, instead of feeling like someone else's treasure trove, started feeling like an integral part of our province. We cannot expect fair treatment from Ottawa if we don't practise what we preach."
In Danny's 2003 election platform, he pledges:
"For far too long, the people, resources and potential of Labrador have been ignored and excluded from decision-making processes of the Province. We can no longer tolerate this atmosphere of exclusion, and we must recognize that Labrador will play a pivotal role in the future success of this Province."
"High time", "far too long", indeed.
In a not-unrelated development, the Minister of Justice was whining last week
that no Newfoundlander has yet sat on the Supreme Court of Canada:
"It’s important to have our perspective brought to the table so there’s someone there that understands our society and what’s important to our society and can make other[s] aware of our point of view."
Tom Marshall and Ed Byrne, go ask Danny: Can you expect expect fair treatment from Ottawa if you don't practise what you preach?