$75 each, please

To put this $7.5 million loss into context: that’s about $75 per elector on Prince Edward Island. Question: if, by some direct mechanism, you had been asked “can I take $75 of your money and invest it in a fish processing company?” would you have said yes?


Steven Garrity's picture
Steven Garrity on February 6, 2004 - 16:15 Permalink

That depends, is it Pat Mella asking, or Pat Binns? Also, do they do fish-sticks? That’s really the only kind of seafood I eat.

Dan James's picture
Dan James on February 6, 2004 - 16:22 Permalink

Isn’t it more like 150/elector? There is a loan of equal size that hasn’t been paid down yet either. If the shares are worthless it’s probably safe to say that the companie’s not in great shape to pay back any substantial part of that money.

Maybe if Captain Highliner asked me I would give him 150.00 Or maybe Howard Dean :-).

Rob Paterson's picture
Rob Paterson on February 6, 2004 - 18:04 Permalink

My understanding is that the entire lobster industry as we know it is finished. When the big bill comes in expect it to closer to $100.00 million.

This will also be the year that much of the potato busines folds. Expect desparate cries for a bailout of even larger proportions.

History tells of of King Canute, a king of England who tried to use his kingly power to push the tide back. He got his feet quite wet. I am so sad that many of us have tried for years now to show that the commodity system will take us down but those involved refused to see what we could see. It is no satisfaction to have been right.

The work now is not to svae what cannot be saved but to rebuild our food system. The only way in my view is to build a local community based food system and to give up trying to sell commodities to those that don’t want them and who will not pay for them. My fear now is that more money will be spent in the futile desire to hold back the tide and thus will leave nothing to find out how to build the new.

The good news is that the days of silly spending are over. With healthcare costs growing at 9% and maybe our economy shrinking in the next 3 years by 2-3%, we will have the type of crisis that forces reality back on the table

Alan's picture
Alan on February 6, 2004 - 19:04 Permalink

Someone should ask how many of the “business leaders” who were brought together by government to create this firm retired far more comfortably than they would had they not had the infusion and amalgamation. Was anything else by not allowing the marketplace to determine a winner achived other than 14.5 million of your money written off?

Rusty's picture
Rusty on February 6, 2004 - 19:14 Permalink

Its funny that umpteen millions have been “written off” (read: blown) to prop up an unsustainable business and line the pockets of a few but the provincial government can’t come up the the $80,000 (according to Development Minister, Mike Currie) to keep the Island Plastics company going which uses waste material, saves trees and saves landfill usage for everyone.

Ken's picture
Ken on February 7, 2004 - 02:16 Permalink

A completely new food system would be nice. Start with zoning a 5 mile belt around Summerside & Charlottetown as an organic only area to provide a pesticide buffer and a small mobile farmer’s market. Partner with ADL to make Buffalo Mozzeralla — start at least four small Buffalo ranches. And pay to pasture sheep along main highways, because I like to look at them and I think tourists will think it’s nice to see sheep. And billy goats and other visually exciting livestock, like llammas or whatever. The government should pay a visual enhancement grant to farmers willing to do this. And in Borden fly in a real French baker from France in the summers to run a proper baguette operation, right next to where the portable farmers market sets up once or twice a week. Include the cheese lady’s gouda. Get the vet college, and the culinary institute to manage the New Food System. Make it a quality of life thing, being able to buy fresh produce in your neighborhood once a week.

Marcus's picture
Marcus on February 7, 2004 - 08:21 Permalink

It’s true — Northumberland’s lobster fleets are too large and they must be reduced. Unfortunately because these fleets were increased due to political & scientific pressures by the federal government, some lobster fishermen will lose their livelihoods. Polar Foods was another fiasco — provinces should NEVER NEVER NEVER give out corporate welfare… Binns stuck to his principles against the Irvings when Ghiz/Callbeck/Milligan prostituted themselves before Mary Jean & JK’s companies. Hamm & his predecessors (Liberal & Conservative) in NS have given $ millions to his friends the Sobeys. NB does the same with the Irvings & McCains. When are we going to wise up and stop this neo-white collar crime that continues to happen?

It’s funny — I’m not a huge fan of ideologues like we see in the old Alliance but I’ll give credit where credit is due and Stephen Harper made an interesting comment tonight (well a few hours ago anyway) in Halifax, something to the effect that “50 years of federal management of the east coast fisheries has destroyed 500 years of conservation.”

I think it’s true, that BOTH federal conservatives & federal liberals (capitals on each) have contributed to the problem by allowing quota to be adjusted and licenses to be issued for political gain. DFO has a long-standing policy of “commercializing” the Atlantic fishery so that they can reduce the number of small harbours they look after, reduce EI payments to people employed seasonally within the fishery, and eventually move away from federal government regulation to industry self-regulation. Don’t believe me? Look at their Groundfish Management Plan for Scotia-Fundy Fisheries.

It is long past time that the Constitution Act 1982 (nee BNA Act 1867) be rewritten so that the federal government no longer has sole responsibility for managing saltwater fisheries. There should be a new management & enforcement organization equally responsible to the federal & provincial levels of government (the current DFO could form the basis for such an organization, albeit with significant changes). DFO science (only those responsible for marine fisheries), should be made a completely seperate organization whereby scientists can have a completely politically-free opportunity to aid in policy-making without fear of interferance.

I had access to catch-effort data from DFO in a former job and I doubt many Atlantic Canadians (or Canadians for that matter) are aware that out of the several thousand fishing baots in Atlantic Canada, 15 large factory trawlers run by Clearwater, FPI & Natsea (fleet since sold to Clearwater) are responsible for catching 80% of all fish in Atlantic waters… The other problem facing us is that federal politicians keep encouraging (and DFO scientists keep accomodating) the expansion of licenses in the inshore…. hence the problem in Northumberland and other areas.

Why oh why do we keep electing these idiots at all levels of government who contribute to our economical and environmental demise? I’m 27 and would sure as hell like to be able to take my grandkids in 2054 (God willing) down to the harbour at Covehead, Naufrage, Launching Pond or Miminegash and point out the fishing boats. There may be smaller fleets, they may be reverting to smaller boats as we “hopefully” will have moved to promote conservation over profit during what I’m predicting will be an environmentally idealistic 2010’s and 2020’s.

Atlantic Canada’s identity is tied to the marine fishery and I’d sure like to see this industry continue with the appropriate changes in public policy.

Casper's picture
Casper on February 7, 2004 - 19:38 Permalink

Marcus, it must be great to be young and principled, and to have genuine hope that people will smarten the hell up. But, God help us, I’m beginning to doubt we’ll ever smarten up. It’s been more than a decade since the destruction of the East Coast cod, and DFO is still hard at work wrecking what’s left of the fishery. We don’t seem to have learned a damn thing. It’s bizarre to see John Crosbie — now free to speak his mind — holding forth about how political considerations will always lead to disaster in the fishery. (It’s like listening to Howard Stern lecturing on the decline of social graces.) Crosbie is also pretty blunt in saying that the irresistible forces of short-sighted greed and political expediency are firmly rooted in guys like him, and people like his constituents.

charles's picture
charles on February 8, 2004 - 15:23 Permalink

Hmmm, good question Peter. Given that the 7M is now worth a dollar, I don’t think I’d invest in it as my investment would now be worth less than enron stock.

What I am quite curious about is how much the managers of this publicly supported company earn?

Perhaps a pay cut for them and our elected officials is in order.

I think the mla’s and premier should try and live on minimum wage for a couple of years.

Casper's picture
Casper on February 8, 2004 - 22:00 Permalink

It’s always fat city for the Island’s political porkers and their pals; that’s one enterprise that never fails on PEI. Remember when the Liberal govt and Tory opposition went sneaking into the legislature one evening and quietly zoomed through an outrageously huge pension increase for themselves? And several years went by before the news media and public even woke up to the fact that this had taken place. These characters are always inventing new ways to double- and triple-dip, and so many citizens can’t see anything wrong with this “quaint” system. People hope that sleazy old uncle so-and-so will win his MLA seat, and will be able to set them up with a fine job as a snowplow wingman — and will mindlessly spread some pork around the community. But the big money is always larding the accounts of the Island’s shameless little aristocracy.

Kevin's picture
Kevin on February 11, 2004 - 21:42 Permalink

Our government has to get real on some things relating to the future. And while I’m at it, I was ranting a few weeks back about what Chretien’s legacy was to be, we have our answer now in a name; Paul Marting (I wonder how that makes Jean feel). Anyway, the point is I would say the Binns legacy is heading down a similar safe “manage it all the way to the ground” type of economic piloting as the Chretien legacy became during its latter days, weeks and months.

We should declare the entire province an organic agricultural zone, declare a fifty mile limit around the province’s waters for similar treatment (no dumping etc…) and suffer about eighteen months of economic downturn as a result. Then we can watch as the world discovers the real PEI, thanks us for taking this lead, and rewards our economy with steady SUSTAINABLE growth into the future — and how nice it would be to let our kids go out an play in the fields again!