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O’Regan for Fisheries and Oceans minister; time right for Atlantic 'Fisheries' Accord

Updated: Oct 19, 2021

There’s practically zero chance MP Seamus O’Regan will be replaced as NL’s federal cabinet rep — and even less hope this little ol' province with only 7 of 338 seats across Canada will get two ministers — so here’s to O’Regan stepping forward to take on Fisheries and Oceans.

Taken from MP Seamus O'Regan's Twitter feed. O'Regan's federal riding of St. John's South-Mount Pearl includes the fishing community of Petty Harbour.


I say step forward because Justin Trudeau probably won’t want to punish his friend with what's seen as a second-tier cabinet post (the Prime Minister is set to unveil his cabinet on Oct. 26th), so O’Regan would have to push for it.


The late John Crosbie once wrote that his toughest job in 30 years in politics was his last one — Minister of Fisheries and Oceans. He also said that no matter what responsibility a NL MP is shouldered with in Ottawa, they're always responsible for fish.


So there's a chance O'Regan would embrace Fisheries and Oceans.


He has the pull with the Prime Minister's Office to push for monumental change.


O'Regan's political legacy could include an Atlantic Fisheries Accord (similar to the Atlantic Accord for oil and gas) to ensure NL is principle beneficiary of all adjacent fish stocks. (Because we're not.)


Masters of our fishing destiny has a great ring to it, but that's a long way off when NL only has one fish plant operating year-round.


The Big Reset — the report of the premier's economic recovery team released last spring — recommended the development of policies that would make NL an "equal custodian" of adjacent marine resources.


Here's a quota from that report:



It will take a policy REVOLUTION for NL to get an "equal" voice in fisheries management policy and decisions, but go big or go home.


MP KEN MCDONALD

McDonald is chair of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans, who's most recent work has been investigating foreign control of offshore fishing licences, and he'd be more than capable of taking on the cabinet post.


But again — O'Regan is Trudeau's Chosen One for NL and that's that.


Many owner-operators have faith in Clifford Small, the only Opposition MP in the province, representing the Coast of Bays-Central-Notre Dame for the federal Conservatives.


Small is also the son of an inshore fisherman and a one-time fisherman himself so it's fair to say he knows his way around a boat.


He's also destined for a position in Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole's shadow cabinet, so let's hope it's Fisheries and Oceans.


That would most definitely be a baptism by fire, but hopefully the flames would be high enough to reach Ottawa's arse.


Ryan Cleary,

SEA-NL


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