Thursday, May 25, 2006

Outmigration

I'm a weeper and I love Newfoundland and Labrador. Love the place. So when I watch/listen/read the daily cavalcade of stories about people leaving here to go away, I usually end up bawling because to me, it would hurt so much to leave and I can't imagine having to do it if I really didn't want to, if I was financially forced to go. My husband though is annoyingly logical and he just says "well, he had to leave our home town to come in here to St. John's". Yeah, still Newfoundland is my response to such coldness .

But then the other day, when I was lamenting more guys we know leaving their families to go to Alberta to work, he said something that really hit home to me. He said how it was not that different than the way it's always been. The first settlers here were men who left their families to come over here and fish for a season. Years ago, men went to sea, either fishing or on supply boats, and left their families for long stretches. Men went to war and left their families for years. They went to lumber camps and worked on construction projects all over the island and Labrador and left their families. It was a part of life. I know more women are leaving now to and maybe that is different but in these days of equality for women we have to expect that. So, I wonder if it is really that different than it has always been or if the media are just playing this over and over, making a way of life into a story to pull at our heart strings, to make weepers like me bawl and to make us all think that rural Newfoundland is going the way of the dodo bird. What do you think?

4 Comments:

At 5:08 PM, Blogger Mireille Sampson said...

Media will generally sensationalise anything and everything possible.

Your husband's argument, while interesting and even true, is antiquated. We're well past WWII, the migration of initial settlement and the poverty of the early 20th century. NF is a resource-rich province in one of the most stable and financially successful countries in the world - so why are so many people (many of whom are highly educated) still forced to move to other provinces? It reads far too similarly to something you'd expect of a developing nation.

Afraid I don't know the answer, also afraid the various gov'ts of the near and middle future won't give a shit as long as they have lots of money from the oil royalties. Royalty money doesn't mean jobs...so far the oil industry doesn't seem to be the saviour reincarnated that it was made out to be.

 
At 6:34 PM, Blogger Cove Blogger said...

I left and would return if the appropriate conditions arose (read: comparable employment & remuneration).

I have often wondered about how pre-Confederation out-migration to US destinations like Boston, New York compares to what’s been the case since. The fishery has had a history of failing to deliver, though not as bad as what we have seen since 1989ish. When you account for lower birth rates, how different is it now?

 
At 11:09 PM, Blogger John Mutford said...

I feel like all I'm offering to this discussion is a sound bite, but it's been on my mind A LOT lately for personal reasons:

Patriotism is fine. Too bad you you can't eat it.

 
At 11:09 PM, Blogger John Mutford said...

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