Feeling good about the province
Premier designate Frank Coleman visited several communities in the Coast of Bays on May 30 to meet people in the area and to become a little more familiar with local issues.
© Clayton Hunt photo
Premier designate Frank Coleman was in Conne River of May 30 to attend the mini powwow held at St. Anne’s. Coleman took part in the Grand March with Chief Misel Joe, MHA Tracey Perry and aboriginal elders. Coleman said he would call the next provincial election within 12 months of officially becoming premier in July.
Coleman took time out to talk to the local Advertiser reporter while attending the mini powwow at St. Anne’s in Conne River.
Coleman addressed several local issues and topics of a more general nature.
Why he offered himself for the premier’s position
People have to offer themselves for public service. You don’t do this for monetary reasons; you do it because you are a patriot.
I’ve watched this province transform itself over the past 10 years and that’s what motivates me.
I don’t think I’ve ever experienced a sense of pride like I have in the past decade - how we moved off the equalization system; how we transformed ourselves from an employment point of view; how we’ve created poverty reduction programs and how we’ve invested in our health care system.
We invest more per capita in health care than anywhere else in the country, on average.
We’ve done things in this province that we all should be really proud of. The great thing that has happened to the people of the province is that they have a sense of pride they never felt before and I want to keep that going.
Would a Coleman government continue the strong Conservative support for aquaculture?
Absolutely! Aquaculture is what gave growth this year and last year to the whole fishing industry. Aquaculture is growing and the return on that investment the provincial government put into the industry is some 16 times every dollar government put in. So, there is great leverage from investments, and it’s a great industry and a great employer.
Possible relocation vote from 90 percent down to 80 percent?
Government has set the condition so high so that there is unanimity amongst peoples that live in remote communities.
I think this government has been a strong supporter of rural Newfoundland because it does have something special to offer the rest of the province.
There are services the province offers these remote communities, and before they can advocate relocation they have to be sure that most of the people, if not all of them, are willing to do that.
I think they set a high threshold to make sure there was conviction to leave. I’m not in a position to comment on or criticize that criterion at this time.
I’m a very positive supporter of rural Newfoundland, and I’m totally comfortable with that position.
Some people say you’re Danny’s guy
You can tell these people that the only person I really pay attention to is my wife.
Ideas/thoughts on how to help rural Newfoundland.
When I heard that the population growth of Conne River was robust, it didn’t surprise me given my dealings with communities in northern Canada and Alaska.
Rural Newfoundland has to embrace some of that special affection that aboriginal peoples bring to their community life, which is the value of ‘sacredness of place.’
There are industries that drive life in rural areas such as the fishery, aquaculture, forestry and mining. I think we have to promote as much development as we can and still respect the ‘sacredness of place’ where people life.
We value rural Newfoundland, and we should not let those people who live in those areas feel that we believe they should move to urban centers.
When we sit back and think about it, we value rural areas because that’s us - that’s our culture; that’s who we are; why we are; where we’ve come from and, to me, that’s important.
Every community in the province has a value to us, and once we recognize that I think we’re on the right road.
Why should people vote for Frank Coleman in the next provincial election?
From 1990 to 2006 we lost 70,000 people to out-migration. From 2006 to 2014 we’ve added 16,000 people.
We have one of the highest rates of home ownership in the country. We’re the province with the fewest number of mortgages. We’re investing $12 billion this year from investors.
We’ve seen our unemployment from being the highest to becoming the lowest it’s been in a long time. Our employment is growing faster than the Canadian average. We’ve seen our credit rating go from poor to the highest it’s ever been so we can do our work.
We’re emulated across the country. The Conference Board of Canada just said that our profile, from an economic point of view, is not only the best in Canada, but it’s better than that of the United States and the United Kingdom.
Our GDP is growing faster than China’s this year.
This government, since 2004, has solved a big piece of the pension problem, but there’s still work to be done on this issue.
I have a strong sense of pride and enthusiasm and optimism about being a Newfoundlander for the first time I can remember. We were the butt of mainland jokes in terms of economics for a long time.
We were on the equalization system for 60 years, and now we are one of four provinces that have unhooked the transfusion line -the other three provinces being Alberta, Saskatchewan and British Columbia.
When I heard the leader of the Liberal Party say at a recent fundraiser that we’re the least, last and lowest on many counts, I was appalled.
We felt that way for 60 years. We don’t have a right to feel that way any more. We should never say that about our people, ever again as they don’t deserve to feel that way.
How could anyone stand up and remind people about that depressing state of mind? To me it was unconscionable. It should never be done in the name of politics.
The leader of the Liberal Party could have said we can do better, and there’s work to be continued.
Every independent agency in this country, and outside, are saying that Newfoundland is the best in many economic trends and we’re leading the pack.
Newfoundlanders want to feel good about themselves, we want to feel that we are achieving great things, and we are. I’m going to tell people about this.
I don’t intend to destroy peoples’ self-image that we’ve worked so hard to build up over the last little while.