Saturday, May 31, 2008

We have a nice dusting of snow this morning

Or maybe I should say it would be nice if it was December and not the end of May. Either way it is better than the rain and wet snow of yesterday.

I have mentioned often the price of fuels, but it was pointed out to me this week that we on the North Coast now have the cheapest fuel prices in the Province. The Avalon has 141.3 for unleaded gas, ours is 140.6.
Stove oil in St. John’s is 123.48, us 109.85. Of course the city price includes delivery, ours is fob the tank farm.
I see in Montreal gas is now 144.00.

As usual any perception of a good thing always comes to an end. Once the tanker arrives with fresh stock our prices will go up like the blazes, it will be a real kick in the arse for sure. But we are used to getting kicked in the arse on a regular basis up here, life goes on.
I wonder how much of the old stock is mixed in with the new stock? Could be quite an extra profit for the operators if it is substantial.

Coincidently: After me mentioning the treatment centre in North West River yesterday low and behold CBC reported last evening that the centre is to be shut down. The report quoted the NG saying there were too many complaints about the programs not helping the people, plus many of the clients had had bad experiences at the boarding school that operated there back in the days before schooling became more community orientated.

Replacement treatment programs have not been identified as yet according to the report. Some alternatives could include land based, and smaller community based programs.
According to the mayor of NWR the announcement of the closure came as a bit of a kick in the arse [my words]. He said that the lose of the jobs along with the closure of the NG health department awhile ago will have a negative impact on the community.
While the impending closure of the treatment center had been known the announcement came as a shock for the community, right out of the blue.
Further to the CBC article: I could not help noticing one bird brain commenter; they are referring to North West River as an Indian reservation.
I’m sure most people there would be very upset at that description of the community. Any way it is not an Indian reservation or any other type of reservation. It is just a common little town like may other provincial little towns.

There is a Community with reserve status across the river from NWR called Sheshatshiu.
With some of these announcements perhaps things are finely starting to move at the NG top levels. Slow but sure is one saying. Slow it is [this consultation was back in 2005], sure is still up for debate, time will tell if the new programs and direction is what is really needed.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Well my wish for some spring corn was granted yesterday

The fresh food shipment arrived very early, very unusual. So I purchased some corn and it is now fermenting away nicely in one of my brew buckets. Should be some nice bio-fuel just in time for the ski doo season.
Just kidding on the bio-fuel, corn whisky anyone, just kidding on the whisky.

The corn was sweet and fresh to the pallet, not like the moldy tasting corn we have had over the winter, whether it was spring corn or not does not seem to matter if it tastes fresh.

Following along with the alcohol ban or not to ban or let’s just keep talking about what we intend to do story.

First Minister Tony Andersen of NG was interviewed yesterday by Mitch White of CKOK. The whole interview was on the substance abuse report that NG seems to be struggling with, plus some meetings NG held recently with provincial departments and airlines.
It sounded to me Minister Andersen was more relaxed and comfortable at CKOK than he sounded at CBC HV-GB. That may have to do with being in a nice new building or perhaps the fact than the ventilation/air exchanger is now working in the new building-way cooler up in those airtight studios now sure.
Or it could have nothing to do with the new building.

Back to the subject at hand; with more time and less questions being fired at him Tony managed to get his message out in a more understandable manner. The message has little to no substance yet he did get it out.
It has no substance because it is the same message that NG has been putting out for too long. I.e. more consultation, more meetings, deflecting the processes and accountability to other entities.

Tony sounded very forceful and it was repeated often; that is the NG is very committed and determined to deal with the drug and alcohol problems on the coast.

One thing that was highlighted from his CBC interview was that it is not the intent to have a total ban on the sale of alcohol, or the total ban of the flow of alcohol into the communities. It is more about the control of the flow at the moment.
Also emphasized was; NG expects all other groups to be onside in these attempts, whatever that may turn out to be.

There was no mention of getting to the core of why many people drink and take drugs.
No mention of starting up grass roots programs like getting to the kids in their own environment [on the streets], no mention of establishing a safe place staffed by people who can relate to the kids, or rather the kids can relate too.
All the recreational facilities in the world will not get most of these disenfranchised kids to participate. Recreation facilities are good, but they do not deal with the hard core area of society, the real target groups.

No mention of finding a way to get people to start talking openly about why? IMO this is fundamental in dealing with people’s pain, whether it is race based, economics based, relationship based, whatever.
Now I would not expect people to reveal publicly all of their dark personal secrets if they so choose. But talking about the basics is essential.

There is a lot more can be done in treatment services in the area of mental and substance abuse too. Minister Andersen mentioned that according to many who have been there the treatment centre in North West River is not working for many people. There is little to no follow up programs when clients return home. Grass roots again, when will they get it?

All there seems is a plan to discuss the issues [further] in the NG assembly and the community government.

If, as we are told, the community governments have power to pass by-laws in this area why have they not gotten to that stage already?

Now it seems obvious that any restrictions on the flow from outside will not have much of an effect on the bootlegging trade, it may slow it down, make it more expensive.
It will force people to resort to other substances like home brew, after shave, scope and the like.
There are just too many complexities and nuances involved in trying to police the flow from outside under the present federal and provincial laws.
That is unless all the communities are declared dry by NG and the community governments, and I’m sure not many people [especially politicians who want to be re elected] would touch that with a forty foot pole.

So it would seem that the control has to come from within the communities. Maybe have an entity that has the power to restrict numbers of bottles across the board. Then they would have to have the power [and the chutzpah] to either restrict further, or an out-right ban, on people who are in the courts and convicted on substance abuse related charges.
Then you have to deal with the sale of alcohol at the hotel, plus the sale of beer at the retail outlets [who already have self imposed restrictions].
Then there is the drugs.

This is getting too long and the surface has just been scratched.
I do not mean to be overly critical of Tony Andersen and the people in the governments, just a little, that is where the buck stops I believe.

The criticism would be less if they could find a way to be more open and inclusive, and have something of substance [no pun intended] to say in shorter time frames.

The evenings have cooled down a bit, in the low minuses last couple of nights, days not too bad from 5 to 10 c. The ice is still in the harbor but a decent out wind may open things up.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Some more shots from yesterday, wont be long [we hope] and things will be greener looking.
CBC radio is breaking the news that two communities in Nunatsiavut will have restrictions imposed on them by the Nunatsiavut Government.
There will be a limit on how many bottles of liquor an individual can purchase and be shipped to you by the Liquor Cooperation store.
The intent is to restrict bootlegging.
Stay tuned on that.
Up date on the booze thingy:

CBC’s Paul Pigot did not hold much back in an interview with NG first minister Tony Andersen this morning.
Seems NG does not have many details after a meeting with several players except that they [NG and Community Inuit Governments of Nain and Hopedale] will introduce a limit on how many bottles [perhaps a month] that any one can order [by fax and with a credit card] from the NLLCB.
It will be several months before any changes are noticed according to the first minister, who was obviously uncomfortable with the way the questioning went.
I guess when you don’t have any answers and you seem to be passing the hard decisions off to another authority, hard questions should be expected.
Having said that all the flack should be directed at the NG alcohol committee as well as the local alcohol committee, not just their spokesperson.

It may be a first step in a long process of dealing with substance abuse, or it may be just the status quo. I would hope there are more concrete pro active solutions that will be implemented sooner rather than later, after all there have been years of studies, trips to parts afar, committees, meetings, time to act one would think.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Soon be spring corn time.

Nice ol day for a walk, sct. cloud, quite breezy.
If you can imagine the pictures joined you would get an idea of the panorama that never ceases to humble me.
Ice looks ominous, those large darker patches are shadows from the clouds. The little red dot in the first pic is a chopper landing at the chopper pad.
We should be getting some spring corn in soon??? Depending if it all has not been used for ethanol I s'pose.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Oh look,

i found a banana for me cake. Ever heard the axiom "for gods sake rotate your stock".
Just kidding though, I am the culprit for this fossil, I was cleaning out the back of bottom of the kitchen cupboard this morning, found this right in the back corner. I
I usually store bananas in the cupboard rather than the fridge, you have to keep your eye on the ripeness, I missed this one obviously.
Any way store A had some bananas this morning but they are too green for my liking.
This is just speculation on my part, but I get a sense from rumblings in the woods that the fish plant will open in Nain this year after all, most likely just to process char, but who knows. I get the same feeling from similar rumblings that the Postville plant may open too.
Time will tell.
Starting to get some rays the last couple of days, scatted cloud but some good sunny breaks, up to 13 yesterday and almost there today.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Tis the time of year

where one can feel a little on the disconsolate side, a little melancholia sets in, one feels a little blarh, ok you get the point.
In years yore it did not affect me that much, but the past few years I notice a change in mood come the middle of spring.
It could be that the springs seem to be longer, the transition from pure white pristine snow and ice to the clean fresh colors of summer seems to take forever.

No one can deny that the browning of the town along with refuse of winter blowing constantly around town is less than attractive. Despite many householders cleaning and raking up around the homes trash seems to blow in from all over the place. Even after the “town clean up” the thoughtless continue to not use the trash receptacles at any time, so it is constant. We have cleaned along my place and the land next door 4 times since the snow went, invariably in a couple of days it looks like no one bothered to clean up, pisses me off no end, and lets not get into the plastic bags.

The week long RDF did not help, and then one goes into the stores with their ever depleting stock, it is no ones fault just the way it is. We are far from starving but it is the little things that can effect ones mood and w feeling of well being.

Take yesterday for example. Having been informed that freight planes with fresh food supplies were coming in we sauntered down to the shops later than usual, around 11. In store A they had only a shipment of fresh bread in, the fruits and vegetables were still to come in. In store B they had not even the bread let alone the fresh stuff. No big deal, still lots of root vegetables and cabbage, but we had that in the larder.

Around 4 we go down to store B to see if anything had come in. The shelves still empty except for some tomatoes and 2 lettuce that were not there in the morning. The manager informed that their shipment came in around 1, by 2 all had been scooped up. Seemed store A had still not received their fresh so we did not bother going down there. So we wait till next Thursday, weather permitting.

On a not unrelated issue is the closure of the fish plant this year, or rather the non opening of same.
I admit to being a neophyte in marketing, but it would be nice if some one could explain how the product from the local plant is marketed. I have never come across any of the product in local stores, nor in any of the other coastal communities I have visited. I do not shop in Goose Bay that much, but from what I gather it is not sold in local stores either.
I am aware that the product is available at the office of the TFPCO in GB, but that does not help us, not many others.

So why is it that one can’t buy local scallop, fresh frozen and smoke char from Nain, crab from Makkovik and rock cod from Postville in the shops????

Not that this type of food is not available, why just this week some frozen product came into store A. Small packages of the following were in the freezer: Cooked shelled shrimp @ $37.39 a Kg.
Scallops @ $40.49 a Kg.
Cod @ $29.59 a Kg.
Salt cod @ $19.24 a Kg.

Now in the past decade or two we have been able to buy fresh and frozen char from the fish plant. It cost us $4.00 a pound for the larger scallop frozen, and $3.50 for fresh.
And here they are bringing in scallop from who knows where and it cost us $18.40 a pound. That’s if you are stupid or rich enough to pay for them.

Maybe it’s just me but something just does not seem copacetic with that.
Alas even if the plant does open this year [there is rumblings it will] it would only be for a short time to take in and process char. No rumblings of it taking in scallop. So if char is processed why can’t that be sold regionally instead of it all being shipped out side? Outside being of Labrador.

Having said all that, I just had to take the picture at store A. There are just too many ironies with locaation of the card table and the little display just being one {by the way the ATM is not working, waiting on a part from Winnipeg}.
Least of the ironies is the fact that the stores walk around space is at a minimum, you are constantly bumping into staff and customers.

So having a hankering for something different to placate my taste buds I made up a banana/walnut cake, omitting the walnuts and bananas as there were none in the stores and substituting carrots/zucchini for the bananas and red berries for the walnuts just because I felt like it. I guess I could have just made a red berry carrot cake, or a red berry zucchini cake, but I could not find a recipe I liked on the day.

I am told that the zucchini will help maintain moister in the cake, it taste good but is lacking the walnut taste that for some reason I was hankering for.

Friday, May 23, 2008

On the Seventh day.


Unlike not so long ago people these days are reluctant to predict weather changes, at least the ones I speak to.
No one is willing to come out and say, "it will clear off tomorrow". You get more like "I hear it may clear", or "they say it will clear", or "do you think it will clear". Nothing definitive like days yore.

So it comes as some what of a surprise to see at least a 1500 ft ceiling with no fog and reasonable visibility this morning.
That's not to say it will stay like that.

Get them boarding passes out every one, I know a couple of ladies in Hopedale who will be relieved, not that there is anything wrong with Hopedale.

Serotine to the flights:
Nain is getting direct flights from GB, not so lucky for the folks in other communities so far, still down and miserable mostly, even GB is down now, but they have that big airstrip and controls.

This story caught my eye, particularly this line; Waste beer is the beer that's lost during packaging, or which is considered substandard.
From my exposure to American beers our fuel shortages are over.

Back to reality; The price for fuels has been 'unfrozen' down Southern Labrador. They have the same price for fuels as us in the Winter, with the ice clearing before ours they go up before us. [which raises some interesting questions].
So stove oil [at the tank farm] has gone up 34.79 cents a liter down there. Given that, I just saved about $180.00 bucks by filling my tank yesterday.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

On the sixth day.

Some may have noticed the appearance change of this page. I was happy with the old but it was getting me down looking at a grayish screen and then looking out to a grayish scene outdoors. Change is good as a holiday eh, and way cheaper.

I’m not shedding any tears for Tom; his only saving grace in my opinion was he returned the shipment of marine freight directly from Lewisport to the coast, albeit for partisan reasons.
Previously the Liberals had botched things royally, and played partisan politics, by first insisting that freight be roaded from the Island to Cartwright then loaded on ships, then change that to being shipped to Cartwright, off loaded and re loaded before shipment north. Made no bloody sense then and no bloody sense now at all for the end users, and the end users voices were ignored in the initial decision before one Liberal minister had some sympathy and took the road thing off the table.

And what about the Minister of Transports role in all this? Or did she have a role given the Danny style?

Since the above media release many of the freighter runs originate in Lewisport, this cuts down on run time, double and triple handling, less damaged and lost/stolen freight.

I have respect for Wally for his research abilities and commitment to Labrador. But at times he needs to remove that red woolen blanket from over his eyes.

Fog again, six days and counting. We did have a little break last evening, fog and wet snow.

CBC Labrador Mornings Paul Pigott played an interview with a spokesperson from Canada Coast Guard {CCG} this morning, supposedly, updating the McNally Olympic situation.
Sounded to me like the CCG think it’s funny that the only ground bound winter visitors to the site were polar bears and a few hunters from Nain. If it had not been for some photographs sent to CCG by the hunters no one would have any idea of the ground conditions, like 12 feet of ice.

The CCG guy spent a lot of time telling us of his vast 24 years experience with environmental dealings and how he spent 2 weeks at the site last fall. It was high energy, high energy, high energy, OK we get the point. Alas he did not have any answers to questions of why no one has been on the ground when conditions allowed. or if there will be any.

No one responsible has any idea if the 90.000 plus liters of oil is still on board or some place else.
According to CCG the responsible party {the owners of the barge} did some over flights of the area during winter. I and many others were of the understanding that because of the very rough conditions pre winter that closer inspections were to be carried out during winter or spring. I would be surprised if fly overs constitute closer inspections.
The CCG spokesperson said that past years research showed very little freeze up in that area. That does not explain much except lack of interest.

To date no one seems to know, including CCG, what plans if any the owners have for doing a discovery inspection to find out if any contaminants are still on board.

So answers are still being sought, seems like only CBC are asking and a lonely Blogger is doing little follow ups.

Out of sight out of mind?

I tried to speak to a NG environmental department official this morning, he is stuck in Goose Bay. When weather clears I will attempt contact again, the barge is stuck on Inuit lands.

A small plane landed in Nain yesterday in some bad weather, 500 ft ceiling and 11 miles visibility. Hope the people who chartered it think the risk was worth it.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

scoop de do.

Two Pictures of the swearing in of the first elected president of the Nunatsiavut Government. First right shows the swearing in table [John Jararuse, Tony first Minister Tony Andersen, Jim Lyall, NG member for Nain and Minister William Barbour, AgajuKKak for Nain Sarah Erickson.

The ceremony was short with Elder John Jararuse swearing in Jim [see above].

Jim acceptance speech was to the point and humbling to a degree. Jim said there is a hard road ahead if he is to accomplish some the promises he made during the campaign. The speech centred on the social aspects of society with emphasis on youth, elders, job creation and the less fortunate.
Jim quoted from Martin Luther King, quite a change from previous such speeches.

For the “from a ways”+ payback time.

Took a walk on the fogy side this morning.
Nothing much moving around town, certainly not in the air. I took these shots with the fog somewhat lifted, it trends to do that, lift slightly; you think you can see the sun peeking through to the east, then bam.

The first photo is taken from one of the favorite fishing spots, that is once the ice breaks up and allows the char to move out from the ponds and brooks.
While out there were a number of people going off and coming back on ski doos, it would be a wet slow somewhat dangerous trip at the moment.

There are two choppers at the heli pad and another huey up at the air strip terminal. I would not want to be paying for them sitting around the last five days.

I guess things are really fogged up down in the provincial capital these days. Old Tom Rideout just resigned over not getting enough road monies for his district. It is more convoluted than just that, be interesting to see what spin the emperor puts on it.

On a closing note, Jim Lyall will be sworn in as President of Nunatsiavut at the NG board room this afternoon at 3.
Some day the sun will shine, like tomorrow please.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Low pressure ad nausea I um

Safe to say that we are under a large stationary low pressure system, and will be for the next several days.
The long weekend was a washout literally, light to heavy rain, fog, not the best of times for anyone camping or gardening or hunting or trying to get to where you want to go.

We have not had a plane since Friday and the choppers operating in the area have been grounded also.
Sunday was so bad that we did not even venture out with the dog, not a good idea either as in the evening Siutik decided she had had enough of this inaction and took several fast runs around the inside of the house.
There was a little break of just light drizzle so we managed to get out for an hour yesterday. With no chance of planes I let Siutik run along the airstrip, lots of new smells and sights along there.

It was also a good day to make some bread; I did several loves of honey whole wheat, turned out very light and tasty.
With left over dough I did a thin crust pizza and a couple of calzone like thingy’s. I used some left over mash spuds with left over meat from the Sunday BBQ ribs. Mixed this with several different chesses like feta, havarti and fresh caribou mozzarella and some herbs.

Ok it was not caribou mozza, but it was fresh. Like fresh several weeks ago, in one of those packets full of water, keeps pretty good.

Any way it was a good meal on such a crappy weather day, the white wine helped it along too.

On our walk to the shops on Saturday we came across three of the military personnel mentioned in an earlier post. Of course they were taken with Siutik and had to play with here and mention their dogs and how they miss them.

One of the group had a Scots accent; he was a three piper of the Royal Marines.
When I asked what part of Scotland he was from he expressed surprise that I had picked up on it.
Long story short, he was from, and had lived in, some of the towns of south east Scotland that I had visited back around 1981.
The conversation was going great guns until this sergeant of the Canadian contingent dragged him away to meet their obligations.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Not to be outdone.

Many of the Blogs I check regularly are putting up photos of their gardens progress this spring, fall down under. Many flowers a blooming, grass a greening, piles of leaves a raking.
So I thought I would give some idea of the conditions here on this date.
Keep in mind that the harbor is still frozen with people still ‘going off’ on ski doo.

Not a lot of a greening yet eh? Except for the evergreen spruce things have a ways to go. You can see one or two sprigs of green grass at the front; there is some slight greening of introduced species [not seen in photo].

With this rain and some heat later things will really green up quickly, how long from now is the unknown. People from away ask if I have my greenhouse up and running, I just look at them, nod to the ice and nod to the sky.

CBC has had on going coverage of tracking of the
Lesser Scaup duck program. Sounded interesting so I followed it up. Ruby Rose spent last summer in Northern Labrador; two other tagged ducks also spent time up there. The researchers say that LS being this far east is unusual. Hunter in the area say they have seen them here for years. But then maybe those were greater scaup, who knows.
Any way Ruby Rose is ahead of last years schedule and a little further north east with here track.
If the link to Ruby Rose deas not work you can go here and track her and all the other ducks.

To follow up on the Olympic McNally barge that went aground last year. Hunters passing the area say that the barge is still in the same position, frozen in.
Owners of the barge have no comment as to the status of the oil that was on board and no one has anything to say as to whether an assessment of the contents was carried out over the winter.
I’m sure I heard some one say that a check of the contents would be carried out this winter. Must have missed heard.
So would not this be a good time for the owners and the Federal agencies [responsible] to come out with an update.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Foged and freezing rained in.

Nain has been chosen as one of the sites for a military exercise this weekend. Up to ten members of the Military are in town to brush up on the communications and interpretation skills. Amongst the group are two wee members of the Royal Marines Reserve of Scoootlund.

The intent is to break up into three groups, surround the town and ambush any suspicious people skulking around. The skulkers will be taken to a secret local and given lots of water to drink until they tell them what they know. OK I’ve been exposed to way too much American Media.

The real action plane is to break up into three groups and then go interview organizations or groups who have Inuktitut speaking skills.

Originally the intent was to have a military Video Crew with them to film the whole exercise, the video would then be used to train personnel in communication skills who were destined for overseas theatres like Afghanistan.
Unfortunately as of last evening the video crew had not arrived. They were in a separate convoy at the rear, changes in weather patterns [that were predicted in advance] meant that they did not get into Nain. A good lesson there one presumes.

Another up coming event for Nain is a meeting between the Community Government and the Torngat Fish Producers Co Op. I presume this is pertaining to the non opening of the fish plant this year. The AngajukK√Ęk is asking the public to come out for this meeting, at this time I do not now the date, time, place, but keep your eyes open for this event.

I hope that people of the coast have some pennies put away in the piggy bank. As we all know the fuel prices have been frozen our way since last November. Outside, the cost of gas and especially heating fuels have been very volatile, mainly in an upward spin.
With the freeze due to be lifted next month some time it may be a smart move to stock up on fuels, depending o the piggy bank size that is.

Since the freeze, and using HV-GB as the reference point, gas has risen 17.2 cents a liter.
Stove oil has risen 30.03 cents a liter, plus taxes.

At the moment gas is 140.6 and stove oil 109.85 plus tax and plus delivery.

With the world finances in a mess, natural disasters all over the place, no end to the mess in the middle east and oil companies continuing to make record profits one would not be far off predicting that fuel prices wont be coming down in the very short term.
So if you can afford it fill up or at least partly fill the old tank soon.

So the weather is the pits today, fog, rain, freezing rain forecast, so wont be many people out to be ambushed, sorry, interviewed by the forces group. I’m sure they have things strategize though.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Another hug-a- minister.

Another area that needs some attention in fairly quick time is Tourism Nunatsiavut.

Tourism is relatively new to Nunatsiavut, it should not be but it is in its infancy just from neglect and the approach that has been taken over the past years. Most of the neglect falls in the Provincial lap, but LIA and now NG have fallen into the same traps and malaise.

There are all types of tourism and target areas. The target and the types of tourism for this area have been discussed, consulterized [my new word] almost to death. Tourism and its promotion for the area is way behind the 8 ball.

Parks Canada [PC] is now involved in the area with the inception of Torngat National Park Reserve. A great venture with a great future for the area if handled correctly.

PC has oodles of dollars that are being thrown around rather haphazardly according to some. One area of puzzlement is that PC seems to be dictating what happens within the larger Tourism areas of Nunatsiavut. Getting involved with what should be community development and the like. Marveles what oodles of tax payer’s money will do sometimes?

The PC approach seems to be stacked heavy with people from different bureaucracies slash consultants [some times the lines are blurred]. I witnessed a presentation at a tourism conference recently by one of these slash people. I was shocked to hear the same information and spiel that I had heard 5 or 6 years ago at another tourism workshop, all be it by a different slash person.

At this recent conference there was heavy criticism from an outside source that the whole shebang was stacked heavy with these slash people along with favored people waiting for the usual largesse.
Also criticized was the fact that very few local businesses not in the LOOP were not invited to attend.
Also mentioned was the lack of real vision of how to tackle the complicated situation of tourism in the area.
The slash person using his visit to a Buddhist Temple in Cambodia as an example had no relevance to the task at hand IMO.

Then there is this trip to Ecuador and the Galapagos islands. 12 people, 150 grand, way down in the equatorial area of South America.

I don’t know, maybe it’s just me [though I think not] equatorial-sub arctic, something just does not gel.

Any way in keeping with the stated aims of the President Elect of NG, more openness, accountability, and inclusiveness is in order in tourism too.
I understand that nepotism is hard to avoid in small communities, the opemess and accountability can help reduce any real and perceived concerns in that area.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Hug a bear, hug a minister.

Good thing I did not fall for the old [good run of fine spring weather] trick. We now seem to be caught in a big hole of cloud and cooler weather pattern so my decision to not get overly excited about sowing seeds seems the correct one. I have some sprouting, but will do it in stages, unlike some past years.

So, this is the 9th day since Jim Lyall was elected President of NG. Actually it’s the 7th day if you count the withdrawal of any run off candidates but who’s counting, right?
Any way my life has not changed one iota, nor has any one I know……………just kidding.

NG has a huge job ahead of it to win back any respect by respectful people. I sure do hope that Jim can start injecting some common sense and respect back into the civil service and the assembly. I believe he can, but it will be not without assistance and cooperation, not to mention many bad days and a lot of inner strength from Jim and others. I am keeping my finger crossed.

All the candidates in the election priorized openness and accountability near the top of their agendas. So why not start here, the official web site of NG is way out of date, an on going problem going back to it’s inception by LIA.
One does not have to be a genius to figure out computers and communicating through them is prolific within the NG territory and without. The web sites and FacBooks put up during the election cement that fact.
So let’s keep the web site updated on a regular basis, [the last media release is October 06, the department make ups have changed are just two examples] maybe even put in a comments section, or at least a place for people to ask questions of ministers. This “oh you can go into any NG regional office and read this and that” has to change.

There are many other ways to communicate to the people, all established and under underutilized, again you do not need to be a genius to figure out what they are and how to use them to the benefit of all, you just need to have the will.

Another area that needs a good look at as early as possible is the Department of Health and it’s minister Greg Flowers.

Both have come under media scrutiny lately due to the propane sniffing and subsequent fire incident this week in Nain. One could call it reactionary by the media if they want, the fact is that incidents like this highlight the woeful inaction by NG in dealing with the deteriating social well being of a large portion of the population.

The minister was on radio and television the last couple of days responding to questions about what the NG is doing about the substance abuse problem.
I will not criticize his hesitant manner or what seemed like loss of words. I would be the same I think, it is very nerve racking being interviewed for public display, especially for the uninitiated and the shy.

That said I think he and his department need criticizing for their inaction, and according to the minister ‘no made in Nunatsiavut solutions and accountability’.
All we got from him was the same spin that has been spun since the report on substance abuse was released last year. That is; “we have formed a committee [the second one], we are seeking meetings with the RCMP, NL liquor board, airlines, provincial department of justice. I was blown away when the ministers response to the question ‘what are you as a government doing about the problem”. Paraphrased the minister said “he is talking to the people to see what they want done”. Bloody hell, the asking and talking has already been done; the report is out and has been for some time.

I thought that forming your own government meant making decisions and taking responsibility for those decisions, apparently not so at the NG. Good place to start right their JIM.
If the NG is not set up and ready to govern and take responsibility for their actions then don’t they have the responsibility to at least admit this to the people of Nunatsiavut?

To hug em or to shoot em? Not that I'm recommending anyone hug a polar bear.

One positive thing the Inuit of Labrador have been consistent on, not without pressure to do so, is there have been no spots hunting of any kind of any species, to my memory at least. Not withstanding the disastrous attempt at a caribou spots hunt my the provincial government some years back.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Continuing the bad news theme.

The power went out early Sunday morning, thought nothing of it at the time, turns out the outage was a precaution.
An almost abandoned house was destroyed by fire; three people were medi--vaced out to hospital, one to St. John’s, with varying degrees of burns to their bodies.

That’s what can happen when there is an open flame or spark and you are sniffing propane……………Kabooom.

It seems propane sniffing is still a problem, not that many instances but just one is one too many.

Speaking of explosive substances; is it just me or are the ongoing actions of the up jumped Premier and his ginger crested parrot [i.e. Justice Minister] wearing rather thin.

Let the Cameron Inquiry take its course, mistakes were made, people died. The public has and still suffer at hands of the inadequate health care system, and it has nothing to do with the Inquiry. Rather it has more to do with politicians past and present and there decisions.
Sure health staff may be under stress, and more than just the group the Premier spoke to last week.
Past and present patients are under just as much stress not knowing if the system can be trusted, we do know it is inadequate.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Not so great start to the week.

So the talk amongst many is the announced closure [non opening] of the fish plants in Nain and Postville for this fishing season. Torngat Fish Producers said that any plans for the future years of these two plants has not been discussed but for this year TFP can not afford to operate them.

Postville plant is a small one, it acted as a holding unit to feed the larger Makkovik plant plus it processed rock cod.

The Nain plant employed up to 72 people last year, including fishers, it had in the past employed 180 on two shifts.

It is going to be a very different feel to the dock area come summer, the plant here has played a major role in the community going back many decades.

The writing was on the wall for some time, the failure to find other species to process, plus not developing secondary processing looked to me like an inevitable closure, but it still hurts when it comes.
Scallop and arctic char is a very competitive area with farmed and overseas char and scallops from producers closer to the market being just a couple of the factors I would think.

So we have heard from the Province and NG representatives this morning. The province is looking at the possibility of some sort of help for the fishers affected, NG has not started to talk about it as yet [well knock me over with a feather] but the fisheries minister for NG did mention that he has concern for his constituents in Nain [now that is a change of tone]. The NG Executive council will discuss the issue at their next meeting.

There have been ongoing talks [see third story down] for some time as to the future of the fishery on the coast of Labrador, apparently nothing has come of these talks to date.

I don’t know, but if governments are going to put any dollars in would it not make more sense for it to go towards keeping the plant open to employ people gainfully than to offer hand outs individually. Keeping in mind the plants were run on an effective basis that is. Sounds like an oxymoron I know, but what makes sense these days any way.

Some more bad news for Nain is that the school is reported to be losing 8.5 teaching positions.

The NLG has announced a large province wide cut back in reaching positions, only the minister of education has said anything publicly, no one to my knowledge has talked about the effects on JHMS.
It seems strange for sure as we have been hearing for years how the population growths are in Labrador coastal communities. But I hear it may have something to do with the large drop out rate with youth over 16.
Pity there is no information and any debate, why we might find out something might n we.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

To all who are

Happy Mothers Day.
Martini optional.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Back in the nick of time.

Video 1 of the take off from Goose Bay airport, 8th may, 08.
Not much military activity anymore. The large blue hangers are empty; they were built by the Germans for low level flying. Behind them are empty hangers formerly used by the British. All in all the entire base has a desolate feel about it.
Any way, most of the first video is of the taxiing, just after the trucks and yellow line you hear the Twin Otter increase power and lift off. You can see the "Canadian Side" and hangers that house chopper company's now.
Just as it started to bank I stopped filming. The still is to show we were still in the air, it shows the bottom end of Terrington Basin with Lake Melville in background.

Video 2 is after about 70 minutes flying time, mostly above the clouds. We dropped down just south of Nain and came in directly at the airstrip from that direction.

Video 3 shows the approach; we were below many of the hills. The vertical face is Mount Sophie that overlooks the town.
Just after that I ran out of card space, we got down safe other wise you would not be reading this post.

Back in the nick of time too, it’s some sort of freezing rain/snow mix out there this morning.

Home again.

I’m back, feeling a little better than when I left, after the manipulating/adjustment pain subsides I hope to be feeling a lot better.

A nice flight home, as was the one out, delayed departure due to fog on the coast, no big deal.

Had the opportunity to have Natan Oben come over and speak to me at the Goose Airport, he informed me of his decision to not contest the second round of the election for president of NG. Pity, but I respect and understand his position. We [three of us] had a good chat before he had to board.

Let’s hope that the open and frank discussion that resulted from Natan’s Candidacy {IMO] will continue into the future. Let’s also hope that just because you do not agree with some ones opinion or stand on an issue that it is not the correct one, and visa versa.

Also hope there is a change in the youth’s attitude towards voting, seemed they did not get out in the numbers expected, or should have. I can understand there negativity towards the system, but exercising their vote is one big way they have to effect change.

Looking at my stats over my absence makes me pleased. Most hits from Google searches pertained to the NG election one way or the other. Two others are food for thought,
One was from Germany “Life as it should be” and another from the US of A “”It takes guts to leave the ruts”, ominous or just coincidence?

I took some video of taking off from GB and landing in NN, hope they are reasonable enough for me to put up later.

Upper d date:

NG has a new president, the third placed candidate expressed no interest in contesting a run Jim Lyall is the man.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Respect, does it mean anything today?

Below is just one section on the Labrador Inuit Constitution.

Human Dignity

2.4.5 Every Labrador Inuk has inherent dignity and the right to have his or her dignity respected and
protected; and every Labrador Inuk has a responsibility to treat others with respect and to
contribute to the wellbeing, safety and freedom of all members of Labrador Inuit society.

In referencing it I point out it has nothing to do with anything I have posted to date, certainly, from my perspective nothing to do with the Elections to be held on Tuesday.

I will elaborate further at a later date, suffice to say for now it is close and personal but I want to give a little more time to see if there is some dignity and respect for others left in certain sections of the society that will be the target of my pique if not forthcoming.
Most likely nothing will eventualize, but I will feel better.

The man with all the details has some interesting $ figures on income distribution in the province. Nunatsiavut has some high paying jobs by the look of it, because there sure are a hell of a lot of low income people and fixed income people around.
Guess the Nunasiavut Government, the other two levels of government and the mining industry workers bump the average up quite a bit.

Youz all will have to get your Jolly's another way for a few days, I'm off to experience the delights of central Labrador, weather permitting, the Fog depositing ice looks ominous but is supposed to burn off.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Another great day in the offing.

Three short videos of a typical early May Saturday afternoon in Nain.

First on taken from over at the ball park, you can hear kids [in background noise]at the playground next to the ball park.

Second video taken from the dock, a family out for a short ride on the ice.

Third taken from the dock, the family came up onto the dock area, kids playing around n stuff, and the 'dog whisperer' is out doing her stuff.


During my morning swiffer sweep Siutik is often sprawled out on the Celtic Knot rug, the sun [which is often out up here] shinning on her [now slim] body.
As is her wont she wont budge an inch so the swiffer cuts a swath around her outline.

On the topic of the sun, she be out again this morning, did not get the fog of the last two days, the snow is getting cut fast now and the roads are quite dry now in most places.

Along with the vehicles there are many bikes are out now, alas mine wont be one of them until I get back from seeing the chiropractor. Even then I may have to curtail riding for awhile, shank's pony it seems in the medium term.

Last minute election chit chat.

Just came across another candidate web site.

It has been a real delight for me reading the posts and comments on the web sites and the facebooks of the four candidates. It may be part of the NEW WAY; I see it as a positive part of that way. If you pick the good of any culture and throw aside the negative then society is better off. Difficult to impossible I know, but we can but try.

Any way over at the Voicing Our Concerns there is some very interesting posts on the language and culture issue. All are great but two resonate with me, guess it is the eclectic side of me.
Both say the same thing in different words and tone.
I reference Beni Andersen on the main page and Tony W under the ”language” issue on the discussion board. I hope they dont mind.

No worry about paths up this here way.

Bike, spring, stupid

Friday, May 02, 2008

friday this n that, but mainly politics.

c'est moi, this would be my response to your comments:

My views on prohibition have been voiced many times and are parallel with yours; if it was my community then I would speak out against that approach.

The situation in Natuashish is something for the Innu to work out.
I will say that the situation of a ban arose because bootlegging and drug dealing was not dealt with adequately. There was a public meeting called by the band chief, a public vote took place, yes for ban one side no for ban other side. This approach was criticized by some members of the band, but it carried anyway. So it is a good first step IMO, it was people motivated.

I should have mentioned too that a large portion of the community is out on the land at moment. Innu families go out every spring and spend time hunting etc. Land based activity gets strong support within the Innu society; individual addiction counseling also takes place in land based camps at times.

Inuit in Labrador talk about community land based camps but very little is done about it. The odd language camp, one maybe two healing camps that I can think of. Powers that be don’t like those things for some reason ;-]

Innu society is more bottom up decision making, Inuit is more top down, at least that is my observation.
I’m not sure if this top down is actually an Inuit custom or was introduced over the last couple of decades. What ever, it is a great way for controlling the populace.

Since starting this muse I not1ced another anonymous comment on the subject. Those comments are welcome and valid. All I would say is that there is always some ones rights violated, in this case the right to have a drink with family or friends in your own home. It is true others rights have been violated for years with the bootlegging, drugs, the inability for society to come to grips with settling land claims in a timely and equitable manner.

To c'est moi again: Booze is very much controlled by the NL government. Beer is sold in corner stores; we have a beer outlet here, runs out about February, re stocks when boats start again.

All other booze has to be purchased through the NLCB stores. The store in Happy Valley serves the entire coast. A credit card and fax machine is all you need to place an order. Airlines pick it up and deliver to their agents in each community; it’s a good source of revenue for all involved.
Bootleggers use any means available, plane, boat [large and small], ski doo, who knows what other means.

To any ol one: Whoever wins the presidency of the NG on Tuesday will have a very large job ahead.
All candidates have made many promises. No one person no matter the position can make meaningful change without help and support, it will take a concerted effort. Attitudes both within government and especially from the people have to change.
Those entrenched parochial attitudes both within the bureaucracy and elected members will not change unless pressure is bought from the electorate.
Do not be afraid to voice your opinions, it is your right. Do not be frightened by words like “collective”, “activism”, “people power”.
The entrenched will make out those words create division, are not the Inuit way, yadda yadda yadda.
The truth is that the entrenched ways have created the division, taking the power away from the people. Lack of openness in government, lack of accountability, lack of communication with and to the people have all to be corrected firstly before anything else IMO.

The fog did not lift until around noon yesterday, when it did what a great day. Many flights were playing catch up then, choppers taking off, town emptying out of visitors.
She be fogged in again this morning, the airlines say all is on shed., must know something.... or not.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

It’s pay back time

or so it seems. All my bragging and pot shots at the Avalon on the weather has us socked in in fog this morning. Must have attracted the ire of the Danny Williams Government or the weather spirits, some say they are one and the same, whatever.
The fog seems to have knocked out the weather station too; most of the readings are not available early.

There is some good news out of Natuashish, depending on your point of view, this morning [no link up on CBC site yet].

Seems the two month ban on alcohol is having a positive effect with crime rates down and open drinking non existent.

Some say the authoritarian approach is the only way for them to break the cycle of addictions, others say that their rights and freedoms are being violated and it is there right to choose.

It’s a shame it had to regress to the point where people rights are violated, but then something had to be done, I am sure the Innu will work it out eventually, maybe less outside influence/interference will speed up that process.

On the NG election front; the 6th fast approaches, advance polls are under way.

One thing that may have escaped some, though it has been on the airwaves, is the fact that an absolute majority of all votes cast is needed to declare a winner. In the event that there is no candidate with an absolute majority then a run off vote has to take place between first and second in the vote count.

I hear that this round of voting will cost around 60 to 70 grand. In the event of a run off NO BUDGETTING has been allocated. Another oversight from those high priced consultants? Or something else?

As mentioned earlier, no weather station readings are up. I just tried to call out long distance, problems with the lines or the fog is disrupting the micro wave signal, could not get through, got through and the line dropped, bad ol DWG.
Streaming audio is also being disrupted.

The K to 3 Inuktitut Immersion program at JHMS seems to be working well, I have it on good authority that the children are doing really well with their speaking skills. I hope that the powers that be will see there way clear to expand the program, need continuity in these things.