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One-time inshore fisherman headed to Ottawa; DFO Minister loses her seat

SEA-NL congratulates Clifford Small — the son of an inshore fisherman and a one-time fisherman himself — on winning his seat of the Coast of Bays-Central-Notre Dame for the federal Conservatives.

Clifford Small is from Wild Cove, White Bay.

From Wild Cove, White Bay, Clifford has his Class 4 Fishing Masters, and worked as an electrician before taking over the family fishing enterprise in 1994.

He fished crab, shrimp and seal, but is said to have sold out years ago. He began Smitty’s Restaurants in 2005, starting with the first one in Mount Pearl. Clifford has two grown children, and lives in Conception Bay South.

His uncle, the late Harold Small, served in the House of Assembly for the provincial Liberals in the early 1990s.

Young Clifford pictured with his father, the late Allan Small, when he was building his first longliner.

It's fair to say that independent licensed owner-operator inshore fish harvesters will be looking for a champion in Clifford Small given his background in the fishery/rural Newfoundland.

As a former Member of Parliament myself, it's fair to say that no matter what responsibilities/committees/causes Clifford takes on in Ottawa, the province's commercial fisheries must always be front and centre on his plate.

As the only Opposition member from Newfoundland and Labrador, Clifford will also find himself on his feet in the Commons more than other MPs from this province. He'll have to quickly find his parliamentary footing.

He's certainly proven himself capable in the challenges he's taken on so far.

Congratulations as well to the province's six Liberal MPs who won Monday night, including Yvonne Jones, Gudie Hutchings, Seamus O'Regan, Joanne Thompson, Churence Rogers, and Ken McDonald.

Onwards and upwards.


Bernadette Jordan, who served as federal Minister of Fisheries and Oceans between 2019-2021, lost her Nova Scotia seat of South Shore—St. Margarets.

Jordan took intense heat last year over her handling of the dispute involving Indigenous fishing rights in Nova Scotia when a conflict between commercial fish harvesters and Mi’kmaq fishers escalated and made national headlines.

Let's hope the next Fisheries and Oceans Minister is from Newfoundland and Labrador.

The last DFO minister from this province was Conservative Loyola Hearn (2006-2008).

After 13 years, we're due.

Ryan Cleary,


Independent licensed owner-operators are encouraged to join SEA-NL here. These blog posts will be public for a limited time, before becoming exclusive to the membership.

4,644 views2 comments


Sep 21, 2021

How perfect that you show joy for the extremely young Clifford, sitting happily alongside his dad, who was a part time boat builder, and now has risen to a level in government to help guide the fishery back to sustainable growth and eliminate destructive fishing and destructive gear use. He will be a voice calling in the wilderness of the blind and the deaf, but at least we now have a voice calling out. I also have a similar background in fishing and boat building.

I wish him every success.

Alphonsus Forgeron


Sep 21, 2021

Clifford Small in my opinion will be a voice for the fish harvesters.

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