Newfoundlanders and Labradorians rely on industries such as our offshore oil and gas every day to keep the bills paid and food on the table.
Due to the ongoing pandemic for many, incomes have been cut drastically. I question whether the federal government has done enough to support cash-strapped Newfoundland and Labrador during these unprecedented times?
The short answer is no.
Canada needs to offer incentives for offshore exploration, right here off the coast of our province. The argument can be made that the price of oil is low and why develop more when the demand isn’t there but look at it this way: the world needs oil and gas, Canada needs oil and gas.
We need to produce more of our own oil and gas, not rely on other countries such as Saudi Arabia.
Why? Because we use oil and gas every day to fuel our vehicles, it provides a source of electricity, it’s used as stove oil heat our homes — the list just goes on and on.
Along with the direct use of oil and gas in our lives, this industry employs thousands, both directly and indirectly here in the province.
For example, our industry employs SAR techs, welders, mechanics, cooks, deckhand, sea captains, drillers. Onshore we see secretaries, HR staff and assistants employed at Noia or businesses like Cahill or Atlantic Towing, the list just goes on and on.
Businesses are going under, they are downsizing operations and pulling up stakes here in our province — this just can't continue.
Our offshore oil and gas is the single greatest contributor to our economy, we need it to prosper and be explored to attain the best outcome. To achieve this outcome which would allow our province to return to surplus and balance our budgets, we need to renegotiate our Atlantic Accord along with having our elected officials in Ottawa putting Newfoundlanders and Labradorians’ best interests first, not Ottawa's.
Why not allow our offshore to be eligible for the Atlantic Investment Tax Credit? Its initiatives like these that will get boots on the ground and people back to work.
It has been done before, it can be done again; It is time for Newfoundlanders and Labradorians to finally get a hand up, not a handout.