"We can't allow things that are inaccurate to stand." — The Word of Our Dan, February 19, 2008.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Fairness is a one-way street

An odd bit of infotorializing (it can hardly be called reporting) on Wednesday from the Ministry of Truth:
Ore to be Imported for Processing in Province
January 10, 2007

Something of a rarity will take place in Newfoundland and Labrador in the next few weeks. It involves importing a resource for processing rather then exporting. Crew Gold Corporation from London, England acquired the Nugget Pond gold processing facility on the Baie Verte Peninsula from New Island Resources in a deal worth in excess of 6-million dollars. Jan Vestrum of Crew Gold says they are refurbishing the plant ahead of schedule in preparation for the first delivery of ore from its mine in southern Greenland, expected in early February. Vestrum says ore will be shipped through South Brook in Green Bay and trucked to Nugget Pond until a new multi-million dollar facility is constructed at Snook’s Arm this summer. He says this will enable the processing of ore several months earlier than originally anticipated and improve cash flow for the company.
A rarity? Really? That crypto-fact could have used a good fact-check.

Newfoundland firms have done not too badly over the years importing 0AB turbot – a resource – caught 1000 miles or more north of Newfoundland, in the Davis Strait, adjacent (remember that word?) to Nunavut.

Newfoundland fishers have at times been accused of fishing more than their share of the Gulf turbot — a resource — whose quota is shared with Quebec.

The late, lamented Abitibi paper mill in Stephenville, before “Plan C” was implemented, reportedly imported a significant proportion of its “fibre” – that means trees, a resource – from Nova Scotia, P.E.I., and Quebec.

Yes, Quebec.

Bentonite — a resource — is shipped and railed in from Somewhere Else as one of the ingredients used in the manufacture of iron ore pellets at IOC.

Hydro power – a resource – is imported from the Lac-Robertson station near La Tabatiere on the Lower North Shore to residential and industrial consumers in the Labrador Straits.

Crude oil – a resource – from other countries creates employment and petroleum products at the Come by Chance oil refinery.

For years, Cape Breton has complained about what many there call the “Newfoundland crab cartel” which controlled much of the crab processing in the region, and shipped raw crab – a resource – to Newfoundland for processing.

Nova Scotia clams – a resource – were processed by Clearwater in Grand Bank, Newfoundland.

And iron ore from Lac Bloom, across the border near Fermont, could end up lending new and extended life to the Wabush Mines operation in Labrador.

It is all very interesting to hear the usual Newfoundland nationalist line, whether in the media, or in the public at large, about the “giveaways”, “not one teaspoon”, “exporting our resources”, and so on.

But it’s even more interesting to see how extraordinarilly little attention is paid in Newfoundland to the other side of the ledger. Sadly, this one-sided analysis is, to the almost exclusion of any other kind, what “informs” public discourse. And so VOCM, to say nothing of other media outlets and pundits, treat raw-resource importation into the province as if is something rare.

It is not. It is a common and important feature of many of the largest industries in the province.

Perhaps those print reporters who are in the business of getting both sides of the story could do some more digging in this regard.

And none of this discussion here even gets into the brazen Newfoundland nationalist hypocrisy. It’s cause for secession if “one teaspoon” of resource, whatever resource, ends up leaving the province (never mind the economic puzzle of how you can obtain value for an economic resource if you never get it to market)… yet it’s perfectly OK for Labrador resources (nickel, fish, “fibre”, iceberg ice, berries) to be “imported” to Newfoundland in the name of progress and economic independence.

All one province, b’ye, all one province. (As one letter-writer puzzled a few years back on page 6 of The Telegram, when it comes to their own natural resources, why are Labradorians so “grabby”?)

Nor does anyone question the moral turpitude which would be inherent if Newfoundland were ever to realize the long-held fantasy of an aluminum smelter, using Labrador hydro, and Somewhere Else’s bauxite; that mineral being not found anywhere in the province in any meaningful quantity.

Or, for that matter, the moral turpitude which will some day attach to the operation of the Long Harbour nickel smelter. Long after the last teaspoon of Voisey’s Bay or other Labrador ore has been processed there, and the mine is a mere hole in the ground, Long Harbour, if it is to continue operating, will have to import its nickel concentrate – a resource – from Somewhere Else.

It’s OK to import resources to Newfoundland.

It’s OK for Somewhere Else to export them to you.

But heaven forfend any of your own, or Labrador’s, ever get delivered to market in Somewhere Else.

No More Giveaways!

But Takeaways? No prob.


At 9:50 AM, January 11, 2007 , Blogger Mark said...

And Kruger regularly piles wood from out-of-province at the mill in Corner Brook.


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