Good Week / Bad Week

Good News for exports, farmers, and those aboard a sinking ship, and bad news for aqua-farmers, booklovers, and every single one of us. But hey, no one was hit by that meteorite.

Congrats, you’ve survived another week of work, chores, commitments, and worse. In case you missed it while you had your head down …

Some Good News This Week …

Newfoundland Leading the Country in Export Growth

Export Development Canada’s global export forecast predicts a 17% growth in the province’s export market for 2017, placing Newfoundland and Labrador second to no one (but Alberta) for growth in this period. The report goes on to say that in 2018, our province will lead the nation with another 12% jump. These jumps are largely tied to oil rebounds and Hebron coming online, but also to things like selling boatloads of seafood products into China in particular.

Newfoundland Amping Up Agricultural Efforts

The Provincial Government launched 43 actions this week to double the province’s food self-sufficiency. This was announced at a new Centre for Agriculture and Forestry Development in Wooddale. The new facility includes a tree nursery, fruit and vegetable crop development, bee keeping, and other research activities to advance and diversify our agriculture sector. In addition to the new facility, there are new supports in place for the food industry to leverage the competitive advantages we have in global markets, as a result of our climate requiring less use of pesticides than other jurisdictions; our having one of the last remaining healthy bee populations in the world; our having renowned lamb (from their being raised near saltwater); and our having a number of highly popular and lucrative berries including partridgeberries, cranberries, and blueberries.

3 Burin Fishermen Saved a Few Lives … Twice in a Night

Ralph Paul, Brian Paul, and Steve Caul form the 3-man crew of a Burin-based fishing boat, The Burin Breeze. On their way home Wednesday night, they received a mayday call from a nearby vessel six miles away, whose ship was sinking. It had sunk by the time the Burin Breeze arrived on the scene and saved the day. Later that same night, they received another call, this time from the Coast Guard, that another vessel was nearby and taking on water. Off they went to say the day for the second time in a night. The crew of the second ship were abandoning it upon the Burin Breeze‘s arrival.

And Some Bad News …

Salmon Farms Hit By ISA Virus

Aquaculture has truly emerged a new economic driver of the province, but it remains plagued by valid concerns about the health and safety of caging up fish in a natural environment. For example, viruses, feces, and sea lice can and often do contaminate these dwellings (and who wants to eat fish farmed from such an environment?). Lo and behold, this week, 5 in 35 fish in 1 of 6 cages on a Southcoast Salmon farm tested positive for the ISA virus, forcing a mass harvest of 50,000 farmed salmon by Cooke Aquaculture in Gaultois. Fisheries Minister Byrne was quick to say the infection was naturally occurring and harmless to humans. Fish harvested from this infected fish kennel will now be sold, and not labeled as being this site. it is worth noting that the ISA virus plagued local aquaculture in 2013.

AG Report Says We’ve Never Been This in Debt

The good news is the 2016-17 deficit has successfully been reduced to almost half of the deficit over the previous year. The bad news is, we’re still screwed. Our deficit as a percentage of GDP is the highest in Canada, and substantially so. Our latest deficit is the second highest deficit ever recorded in Newfoundland and Labrador, which contributed to a substantial increase in the net debt of the Province. We now owe $13.6 billion – the highest in the history of the Province. Interest payments on that debt is immense. Our problem is not revenue, we do as well or better than most provinces. Our problem is that we spend more per capita than every other province, because of our unique challenges in providing public services in an economically efficient manner (we’re top-heavy with old people, we have a small population spread over a huge space that all need services, our import/export fees amount to a financial nightmare).

Afterwords Bookstore is No More

There are few downtown sights more iconic than David Benson in a dapper 3-piece tweed suit, puffing on an old pipe outside his bookstore on Duckworth, looking like a master of the universe. Everybody’s been in there, running their eyes along worn book spines, waiting to find something to take home and get lost in. That small pleasure, like the store itself, is gone now, along with the weird and wonderful mish mash of notebooks, minerals, and miscellany lining the cash counter. Thank you, Chapters.ca and Amazon.ca, for crushing another real-world  public space we could go get lost in, with those deep discounts that simultaneously crush the very publishers of the books we can no longer hunt for at the historic Afterwords book store.

Head-turning Headline of the Week?

A Meteorite Hit St. John’s, for the First Time in Recorded History

A dozen people witnessed a green ball of alien light soar into the Southside Hills on Sunday night. It’s assumed to have been fallout from this weekend’s Orionid meteor shower. The light in the sky lit up phones at the local cop shop, but no one was hurt in any way.Afterwords

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