Friday, October 30, 2009

Government of Canada grants $133,540 in funding to the Council for Anglophone Magdalen Islanders

Support for tourism development in Grosse-Île

Grosse-Île, Quebec, October 27, 2009 – The Honourable Denis Lebel, Minister of State for Canada Economic Development, today announced that the Council for Anglophone Magdalen Islanders has been awarded $133,540 in non-repayable funding under the Community Economic Diversification Initiative – Vitality to establish a tourism development plan for Grosse-Île.

Every summer, a growing number of visitors make their way to picturesque Grosse-Île, drawn by the site’s unique character, the tree-covered points jutting out into the ocean and the warm hospitality of the small English-speaking community’s 550 or so inhabitants. To accommodate this increase in tourist traffic to the archipelago, improvements need to be made to the area’s reception infrastructure and new activities developed to meet the demands and expectations of the market.

“The Government of Canada is today reaffirming its commitment to support communities that, through projects like this one, are taking their future in hand and furthering the reach and reputation of their region. Through this plan, the Council for Anglophone Magdalen Islanders is seeking to establish a framework for tourism initiatives on Grosse-Île and support local concerted efforts to develop the cruise industry by capitalizing on the many tourist attractions the area has to offer. The entire Îles-de-la-Madeleine economy, which depends heavily on the fishery industry, is sure to benefit from this diversification measure,” explained the Minister of State.

“Implementing the recommendations of this plan could result in the creation of seasonal employment and encourage more young Magdalen Islanders to remain in the region. This project is well in line with the strategy our government has put in place through Canada’s Economic Action Plan to support communities that, despite the current economic downturn, are stepping up their efforts to succeed. This project could lead to concrete business opportunities for the region and allow it to face the future with greater confidence and optimism,” Minister Lebel added.

Tourism is the second most important industry on the archipelago and a key development priority for Canada Economic Development’s Gaspésie and Îles-de-la-Madeleine business office. It is estimated that some $50 million in economic spinoffs is generated by the 52,000 or so tourists who visit the region every year.

For more on Canada’s Economic Action Plan, see www.actionplan.gc.ca.

Magdalen Islands Drinking Water

A vast operation to dig for drinking water has been underway for two weeks now here on the Magdalen Islands. The objective of the work is to guarantee the provision of drinking water for the next 30 years.

Hydro-geologists, who are now here must dig 33 wells 200 feet deep between now and November. “What we want, is to determine the zones where we can dig the wells to connect to the [aqueduct] network already existing on the island of Grindstone with that on the island of House Harbour,” explained the Mayor of the Iles-de-la-Madeleine Municipality, Joël Arseneau.

Eleven wells will be put into production and branched to the aqueduct network over the course of the next year. The 22 other wells will serve for observation points, said engineer, Denis Richard, president of the firm, AGEOS. “We’re digging holes and we're measuring the evolution of the ground water, the depth and the pumping function that we can do from the production wells.”

The drinking water reserves of the ground water on the Islands, is precious and it must be managed with prudence. The pressure exercised on the aqueduct network and the production of the fish factories necessitates this additional production of potable water.

It is foreseen that in one well only, the island of Grindstone will need from 300 to 500 gallons of additional water per minute in 30 years. The contract of one million dollars for the work has been given to the consortium, Madelin’Eau.

It seems to me that, if anything, the municipality is destroying their own drinking water. How many times over the past few years have they say that the water table cannot take the drainage that 'we', the people of the Islands keep taking from it. The geologists have publicly said that there is a tender balance between the fresh water table and the salt water of the Gulf. That if we remove the ground water before it can replenish itself with melting snow, ice and rain, then the salt water will move it to take the place of the fresh water and eventually, we will be without drinking water.

Now I'm well aware of the nitrogen cycle and the water cycle and how the acid rain water gets filtered by the vegetation and layers of gravel it must go through to reach the water table. But if that water table turns salty then all but the most shallow vegetation, ie beach grass, will survive. It not hard to envision where that leaves the population of the Magdalen Islands.

Of course, that is enough doom and gloom. The Magdalen Islands has survived 50 million years, they can certainly survive the Municipality of the Iles-de-la-Madeleine. I hope the rest of us can.

Note: this is a blog and it is my personal opinion on the situation of the Magdalen Islands. It is not necessarily the news as it would be in a newspaper. I have never hidden the fact that I believe the Municipality of the Iles-de-la-Madeleine, for the want of a better word, stinks.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Harper Accused of Inertia In Seal Hunt Dossier

The president of the sealers association for the Magdalen Islands, Denis Longuépée, denounced the immobilization of the Harper government in the seal hunt dossier.

Mr. Longuépée deplores the mutiny of Canada at a time where the anti-hunt campaigns are multiplying around the world.

As well, recently, the group PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) has added its voice to those of the International Funds for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and to the Humane Society of the United States. The organization is going to start a vast international campaign on the internet with the film star, Canadian actress, Pamela Anderson. “We hoped that the international sales of the white coats will continue to diminish” preached the PETA speaker, Michel McGraw.

For Denis Longuépée, Ottawa must reply. He noted that since the summer and the announcement of the boycott of the hunt products by members of the European Union, the government has not done anything more in the dossier. He doesn’t have the money to defend and save the hunt, deplored the Madelinot, who’s worried for the future of the industry.

“The Canadian government, and others, the seal hunt is nothing more than a grain of salt. This is not important. But if we speak of petrol, it would be somewhat more important, and Mr. Harper would be somewhat more interested to help us that he is presently doing.” - Denis Longuépée, president of the Seal Hunting Association of the Magdalen Islands.

Ottawa contested the European boycott internationally, as always, according to Mr. Longuépée, Canada must therefore launch a vast international campaign of information.

You know, I really don't understand the position of the animal humane groups. I'm not one who agrees with killing animals but killing a seal is of no greater value than killing a cow or a pig for food. People eat seal meat and sell the pelts. People eat beef and sell the pelts. I remember having the most beautiful pigskin jacket when I was younger and I still eat porkchops.

Also the fat from the seal is rendered into omega 3 oil, which is well known for it healthy qualities.


NOTE: In the seal hunters favor, the white coats are not taken for pelts or anything else. It is against the law to kill a white coat or a baby seal. Contrary to PETA and IFAW statements, white-coats are not killed.

The Voluntary Vaccination Campaign Countering the Swine Flu H1N1

At a press conference held on October 22, 2009, the representatives of the Regional Organization of Civil Security and the Health and Social Services Agency of the Gaspesia and the Magdalen Islands presented the actions taken to counter the feared H1N1 pandemic by giving general information on the important vaccine campaign which will be progressively deployed in the region starting October 26th, 2009.

The region will receive, in a gradual manner at regular intervals, sufficient quantities of doses of the vaccine to counter the struggle against H1N1. The first people who will receive the vaccine will be the health workers and some priority clients, such as women who are pregnant, children from six months to five years of age, and people under 65 years who are chronically ill.

In that this concerns vaccinations destined to the population, the region has identified seventeen vaccination sites in each of the territories with health and social services centers of hundreds of people at the same time, seeing that, in certain places, a thousand persons per day can be vaccinated. The agency indicated that it will have sufficient vaccinations for the entire population.

A vaccination exercise similar was unveiled in the region in 2006 and justly aimed at the preparation for an eventual pandemic. This type of operation necessarily mobilizes the numerous care resources of the health and social service centers of the region, that is to say with five hundred people in each of the vaccination sites.

The vaccination constitutes the best means of effectively countering the grippe and stays one of the more secure and efficient measures of prevention in the history of modern medicine.

The agency reminds everyone that the vaccination is voluntary. Each health and social service center is responsible of informing the residents of their territory and the vaccination logistics. The population is invited to watch the local medias for messages concerning the public interest which will be broadcast over the course of the next few days.

It is possible to obtain all the information linked with the vaccination at the website – www.pandemiequebec.gouv.qc.ca
Starting Saturday, October 24th, 2009, the schedules and vaccination sites will be available in the section “In My Region – Gaspesie-Iles-de-la-Madeleine” at the government website.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Swine Flu Has Islands College Cleaning Up

The swine flu is being taken very seriously in the CEGEP college campus here on the island as well as in the Gaspesia and the Lower North Shore. Intervention plans are underway with preparations made in collaboration with the ministers of Education and Public Health. Classes will not begin before next Thursday, a full week later than originally planned. They are hoping to avoid a new outbreak of the viral sickness this fall.

As well, students, professors and staff members of the CEGEPS must pay special attention to quality hygienic measures. At the entrance, there will be antiseptic hand rinses installed at strategic places in hallways, entrances and the cafeterias.

The director for Human Resources for the Gaspesia and Islands Colleges, Nicole Brunelle has been assured that the hygiene material has been ordered and the recommendation of a firm specialized in this area, is being followed.

Maintenance workers will be asked to mop the floors more often on ramps and stairs, and clean counters and doorknobs. There will be notices and signs on the room walls, asking that each person does his part to help prevent the spread of this virus.

If the classes are suspended during the semester session, the establishments have already taken all precautions necessary to assure essential services, such as the student loans.

Most strange news cast indeed, since classes are starting on Tuesday, here at the CEGEP level. Registration is on Monday, the 17th of August. Hmmmmmmm!
There have been several cases of the H1N1 virus (swine flu) here at the islands hospital this summer. Visitation rights were often suspended and at least one nurse contracted the virus.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

The SEDNA IV Moves To Gaspe

According to the president of the organizing committee for the Gaspe festivities, Claudine Roy, the presence of the ship represents a veritable blessing. “It’s extraordinary. All in all, we are pleased in having her attached here for the summer financially. Then we will have free visits for the Gaspesians and the visitors who come,” said Mrs Roy.

The legendary ship will go into dry dock of the Maritime Shipyards Forillon in order to prepare for a two year scientific voyage around the world.

The man responsible for the Sedna IV’s missions, Jean Lemire, wishes to give leave to his crew, “The Sedna IV has become an ambassador who sails the world and we like that the scientific crew has a regional base. Why not the Gaspesia?”
The foundation of the Sedna IV has considered buying a house in Gaspe to create a museum. “There are many projects. We hope that we will be able to announce something soon. But the idea is to have a base port in the region,” commented Jean Lemire.

The Sedna IV is a steel sailing ship with three masts, which is 51 meters long. She was constructed in 1957, in Germany and underwent a complete refit in 1992 to respond to the needs of her private owner.

Acquired in June 2001 by a group of Canadian men of action, it has traveled the northern oceans and the Australian waters and has accumulated oceanographic missions, of which the Antarctic in the most popular.

The next mission, which will take on the loss of biodiversity and the access of potable water, is foreseen for 2010.

This is a surprise! The Sedna IV was supposed to be based in Grand Entry harbour. In fact, the new section of the harbour built in 2003 was made to accommodate the ship's berth. The company had bought the bar at Grand Entry Point to retain the records of the scientific escapades of the ship. Then they tore the historic bulding down after moving several small businesses out, all of which never recuperated. To my knowledge the ship was never brought to Grand Entry, not even for a visit. Occasionally she would appear in Grindstone harbour and tours would be given by the crew. The Sedna IV is a beautiful tall ship!

The ship sailed the Northwest passage in 2003.

Coast Guard Removed 650 bags of Contaminated Sand From Islands Dunes

The Canadian Coast Guard discretely unearthed 650 bags of sand that had been contaminated with PCB’s from the west beach of the Magdalen Islands last May.

These bags had been the waste of heavy oil that had been released into the Gulf when the oil barge Irving Whale sank in September 1970.

In December 2008, one of the islanders had found one of the bags on the West Beach, but because of snow and high tides, the work to recuperate the bags had been postponed until May 2009.

The recuperation of the bags left a large hole of around 25 square meters in the dune. More work will be necessary to restore the site, explained the superintendent of the Coast Guard, Martin Blouin, “The work has cause a cavity but not a breach, very near the area of the lagoon, therefore there will be some consolidation of the dune to do.”

It has been 39 years since the barge, Irving Whale sank to the north of Prince Edward Island, causing black sea on the beaches of the west side of the Archipelago. At that time, the authorities had decided to bag the contaminated sand that had been soaked with the oil and bury the bags in the dunes of the islands.

Some 200,000 bags in all had been buried. The burial sites had not been recorded. Since the ship wreck, 7000 bags have been found.

The Coast Guard will present it’s action plan to the municipality of the Iles-de-la-Madeleine this fall.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Parasite Affected Crab Has DFO Minister Worried

On June 29th, 2009, in a press communication it was said, that the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) was worried about the presence of a microscopic parasite that is both contagious and deadly which attacks the meat of the crab. The parasite has been identified in Nova Scotia and the Minister wishes to avoid a propagation in other fishing zones, such as the Gulf of Saint Lawrence.

The sickness developed by the parasite hits the crab during the molting season, when the carapace is changing. Then the parasite infects the blood, modifying the texture and the taste of the meat of the crab, before it finally kills the crab.

“It is not really a meat that is very interesting to eat. It’s texture and taste properties have been profoundly altered by the parasite,” indicated biologist, Bernard Ste-Marie.

The illness of the infected crab does not pose a danger for human health. However, it lowers the commercial value of the catch and the fishers of the crab are affected. The federal minister want therefore to stop the propagation, but also avoid an epidemic resembling that of the Alaskan infestation, where the parasite costs are approximately 5 million dollars a year for the fishermen.

“The fishermen are warned that if they find an infected crab, they are not to throw the crab back into the water, where it can infect other crabs in the area. They must bring it to shore,” explained the biologist.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Exact Air Island Air Service Suspended

The air delivery service between Mont-Joli and the Magdalen Islands will be suspended for the summer months starting on the 18th of June, 2009. The company Exact Air and the regional airport of Mont-Joli have decided on this decision because the service is used less at this time of the year.

In a daily flight, the number of passengers doesn’t cover the costs of the service. The direction of the airport stated that the link responded particularly to the business clientele and to certain institutional clients, whom are people who travel very little during the summer season.

The managers of the airport and of Exact Air wish to profit from this suspension of activities, to meet with the ministers, organizations and the businesses, who have shown interest in having this service put in place and in order to learn how to better respond to their needs.

Lobster Industry Crises: Financial Aid of Almost One and a Half Million Dollars

The Minister of Agriculture, Fishing and Food and the Minister responsible for the Regions of Chaudière-Appalaches and of the Centre-du-Québec and Deputy of Frontenac, M. Laurent Lessard, announced on June 9th, 2009 that a series of measures evaluated at almost one and a half million dollars is to be given in order to help the lobster fishing enterprises of Quebec. He is working in collaboration with the Deputy of Gaspe, Mr. Georges Mamelonet and the deputy of the Magdalen Islands, Mr. Germain Chevarie.

As well, the lobster fishermen can prevail on measures of transitory aide which will be in effect until March 31, 2009. The first measure is made up of an amount by the Minister, to be used to help with the interest on their loans. The second proposes to reimburse loans fof the fishermen profiting from government funding, in the form of a loan guarantee.

“It is well that the federal government had announced recently the funding of 10 million dollars for the commercialization and the promotion of lobster, this incentive will be in effect for the fishermen only for the year to come. The Minister of Fisheries and Oceans must accept her responsibilities and restructure the fishery, as the industry of Quebec requested and the other fishermen of the Atlantic. It is necessary to increase the minimal regulation size of the lobster, support the restructuring of the industry and allow fishermen to benefit from the employment insurance. The other provinces must be inspired from the industry of Quebec, to increase the quality of lobster and improve the value of their fishing businesses. I’ll continue to follow very close to the situation of the lobster fishermen over the course of the season, in order to assure the appropriate support,” Mr. Lessard said precisely.

Elsewhere, the Minister Lessard will follow his representations to the federal government in order that this last request be put to work on concrete solutions for the support of the industry of Quebec.

“The objective is the sort of aide for the fishing businesses, which were struck by the world wide economic crises, so that they can follow their activities, which represent an essential part of the economic development of the maritime regions of Quebec,” indicated the deputies of the Magdalen Islands (Germain Chevarie) and of Gaspe (Georges Mamelonet).

“The Fishermen Association of the Magdalen Islands (APPIM) and the group of professional fishermen of the south of Gaspésie estimates that Ottawa will use the example of the government of Quebec, which is to help it's fishermen victims of this major crises. The delivery of this funding program will allow us to concentrate on our work on a second level of aid to help the Quebec lobster fishermen,” declared M. Leonard Poirier and Oneil Cloutier, who had been encouraged by the support of the Minister Laurent Lessard.

The Quebec lobster fishing industry is comprised of 550 fishing businesses which supports 1,400 persons and which contributes in an important manner to the creation where it maintains some 2,000 employment positions in factories in maritime Quebec.

I'm thinking that fishermen of Quebec and the Maritimes don't benefit from a systematic Cooperative, such as that of the Cap Dauphin in Grosse Ile.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The New Entry Island Ferry To Start This Week

The ferry , Ivan Quinn*, was constructed at the Maritime Méridien Shipyard in Matane, will soon be starting her service of a daily delivery between Entry Island and Grindstone Harbours, on the Magdalen Islands this week. The ultra modern ship had been constructed in eight months at a cost of seven million dollars.

The president of the ferry society of Quebec (STQ) Georges Farrah, highlighted that the ship had been constructed on measure for to respond to the needs of some one hundred residents of Entry Island.

The managers of the STQ ad met the citizens for this project. They had concluded that a ship adapted to their needs. As well, the Ivan Quinn will transport heating fuel to Entry Island and will transfer waste products to the truck on the central island.

Moreover, those isolated who want to do their grocery shopping in Grindstone will have access to a refrigerator and a freezer during the voyage.

*Mr. Ivan Quinn was a colourful person of Entry Island. He was a warm store owner and the mayor of the island for many years. Mr. Quinn had also been known for his talents as a musician and a singer. He was a composer of country ballads on Maritime themes.

Possible Rise In Lobster Outfit Charges

It seems the Federal Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, Gail Shea, agrees to actual study of the possibility to raise certain charges that exist for the lobster fishers and put a rationalization plan in place.

Last Thursday, Mrs. Shea was hard pressed to try avoid of questions from the part of the deputies of the opposition in the Chamber of Commons, in Ottawa. The liberal critique in the matter of fisheries, Gerry Byrne, estimates that certain fishermen will be relieved to see a raise the charges they can demand for their permits.

Other people who intervene suggest that the number of boats be reduced, for example by 25% to 30% in the Northumberland Strait, which separates Prince Edward Island from Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.

The plan for the funding of 10 million dollars announced recently by the Federal Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, to come to the aid of lobster transformers in the Atlantic Provinces and Quebec has received a half-hearted welcome on the part of the fishers.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Clam Digging Areas Closed

On the Magdalen Islands there are few species that people don't need to have a permit to fish. Clam digging is one of those species. All you need is a digging tool and a bucket to carry the clams ashore. However, as in years past, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans have closed certain areas of the lagoons to clam fishers because the clams are contaminated with bacteria.

The reason for the pollution is not what we normally consider as pollutants. The problem is nature itself. There are certain areas of the lagoon where seal love to bask in the sun during the four seasons. Their waste products are polluting the areas where they tend to congregate.

The areas have probably always been polluted since the seal have always been in those areas. Most like there are no clams in the areas since the seal would eat them, so no human has become ill in the past from consuming these clams. However, the DFO sees fit to assure the public that the clams in these areas are unfit for consumption.

Areas Closed For Mollusks Harvest In the Clam Sector

Fisheries and Oceans Canada for the Quebec region, wishes to warn the population of the Magdalen Islands that the following clamming sectors are closed for the harvest of mollusks because of pollution and this in virtue of the ordinance mentioned thereafter and given in conformity with paragraph 3 (1) of the regulation on the consumption of contaminated fish:

Ordinance No.: QSN-416

House Harbour Lagoon, north-east sector, from the Narrows bridge (Detroit Bridge) for an approximate distance of 500 meters west.

Ordinance No.: QSN-417

Bassin Lagoon Brook, the brook of the Bassin lagoon and less that 150 meters along the water’s edge.

East of Pointe-aux-Loups, The foreshore and the waters of the large marsh, comprising between a point located to the south of the large marsh until a point located three kilometers east of Pointe-aux-Loups.

For more information on this subject you can call the Department of Fisheries and Oceans in Grindstone at:
ILES-DE-LA-MADELEINE                                           418-986-2095

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Lobster Industry In A State Of Crises


Lobster continues to be a serious issue on the Magdalen Islands!


The Magdalen Islands fishermen are to be paid five cents more per pound for their catch this week, but that is leaving the buyers in an unhappy state. The problem is not so much the price but the fact that the buyers can not easily find markets for their product and the many of the precious lobster are dying before they reach their destinations. Dead lobster does not help anyone.

The Quebec government started and advertising campaign early in May, within the province, with the slogan "Crack me open, I turn red!". However, it does not appear to be doing much good. Grosse Ile pound seems to be selling all the lobster they get in, but if the buyers can't re-sell the product quickly, then trouble is closer then the horizon, even for here.

Leonard Poirier from the Lobster Fishermen's Association for the Madalen Islands (l'Association des pecheurs proprietaires des Iles-de-la-Madeleine) is one of the members who has gone to Ottawa this week, to be a voice of reason for Quebec fishermen and for the 10,000 some odd fishermen of the Atlantic, their 25,000 helpers and the 25,000 lobster factory workers transforming the product (numbers are approximated). He denounced the the efforts of the governments, saying that they are not putting enough into the billion dollar industry, where the aide is needed. On May 22nd, Ottawa announced an offer of ten million dollars set aside for the fishermen of the Atlantic coast and Quebec to help in promoting their catches and bringing them to market.

The director of the Fisherman's Association will plead the cause of all Quebec fishermen today, May 26th, before the federal governments Fisheries and Ocean's Committee. Mr. Poirier believes that it will take sort term funding to cover a part of the costs of production for the fishing businesses. The money set aside to help the industry is not a solution for the immediate problem, as far as the fishermen are concerned. The proble right now is that there are not enough markets for the live lobster and this causes a risk fo general failure for the lobster fishery.

The three requests that were made to Ottawa by the fishing associations of Quebec and the Atlantic Provinces were basically all refused by the federal government.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Low Lobster Prices Causes Worry

The consumption of lobster, considered a luxury product, has dropped considerably on the American and Canadian markets during this period of economic recession. This drop in the consumption has caused a serious drop in price.

As well, the lobster fishermen of the Atlantic Provinces and of the Gaspesia request an emergency meeting with the Federal and Provincial Ministers to attempt to find a solution to this problem. In a communique, The Union of Fishermen, who represent some 9000 fishers, estimate that the authorities are ignoring the important benefits of this fish. The price paid for the lobster is actually somewhere around $2.75 to $3.50 per pound, which hasn’t been so low in thirty years.

The fishermen of Prince Edward Island are harvesting less lobster then they can, for fear that they will not be able to sell the product. They must limit their catches because the buyers on the wharves refuse to give them more than $3.50 per lobster.

For their part, the Fishermen’s Association of the Iles-de-la-Madeleine, the industry and the Deputy of Gaspesia have launched a vast campaign to convince consumers to buy Quebec lobster, last Friday evening.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Almost Six Million Dollars For Drinking Water In Grand-Entry

Today, May 11th, 2009, the Vice Premier, Minister of Municipal Affairs, Regions and Territory Occupation and the Minister Responsible for the Region of Gaspesia and the Islands, Mrs Nathalie Normandeau and the Deputy of the Magdalen Islands, Germain Chevarie, announced a financial aide of $5,630,215 in the framework of the Infrastructures Program Quebec-Municipalities (PIQM), for the construction of infrastructure for providing the distribution of drinking water in view of serving the future marine product transformation factory for the company, Cap-sur-Mer, located at Grand Entry. This last is the result of the merging of Madelimer inc. and Les Pecheries Gros-Cap inc., Madelimer and Big Cape Fisheries.

“The Madelimer factory employed around 320 workers before it was lost to fire in 2006. Taking in account held for this event and for the reorganization of the fishing industry in the last two years in the region, the construction project of the factory is linked to the restructuring of a new system to provide drinking water, and our government is proud to participate in raising the financial amount for the work,” declared the Deputy Chevarie.

The provision of drinking water is a primordial resource for re-launching the industrial activities, in the sector of Grand Entry. At the start of the new century, the enterprise Madelimer had problems providing water, with the existing wells. They had been using both Mario’s and John Fred’s water wells. However, minerals were deposited in the wells by the intrusion of sea water. These wells are no longer usable. After the infusion of salt water, Madelimer continued to use the water for the workings of the factory, but the sea water from the wells hastened the deterioration of the factory’s equipment. The construction project of the new factory, Cap-sur-Mer, is therefore linked directly to the re-drilling of a new system providing enough drinking water in this sector. For the first phase of the project, around forty-five residences will benefit from this investment in procuring quality drinking water. In the long term, the population of Grand Entry will be served by a providing infrastructure and a modern processing factory.

To accomplish this project, it is necessary to invest the amount of $5,926,542, in virtue of regulation 2.1 of the PIQM. The government of Quebec will contribute $5,630,215 and the Iles-de-la-Madeleine Municipality will provide the amount of $296,327.

“The aide agreed upon today with the Municipality of the Iles-de-la-Madeleine, nicely illustrates the engagement of our government, together with the communities in their efforts aimed at improving and having durable infrastructures. These investments written in the Quebec Plan for infrastructures, which will oversee more than 41.8 billion dollars for the period of 2008-2013, which 3.6 billion dollars will serve to maintain and update Municipal infrastructures,” said the Minister Normandeau.

For his part, the mayor of the Iles-de-la-Madeleine, Joel Arseneau rejoiced in having the support of the Government of Quebec for the accomplishment of this project, which allows the fishing industry to be restructured and his municipality to have it’s infrastructures rejuvenated.



Industry in Distress

The lobster industry’s fishermen for the Maritime Provinces, have called for an emergency meeting with the Federal and Provincial governments. Representatives of the lobster fishermen of the Gulf of Saint Lawrence have requested the meeting to discuss the crisis that their industry now faces.

They have asked the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, Gail Shea, to organize the meeting and that she convene the Ministers for Fisheries for the Atlantic provinces and Quebec.

The lobster fishermen on the Atlantic know the difficulties without precedent. The price they are offered at the wharf for their catches are lower then they have been for the last 30 years.

The weekend before last, the Federal Minister, Peter MacKay had indicated that Ottawa will look at many scenarios for helping the fishermen. Leonard LeBlanc, a fisherman of Cheticamp, isn’t rejoicing too quickly, “We are optimistic, but I think that we will have to wait and see exactly what it is they have to offer,” he said.

The fishers have three requests to ask of the Minister Gail Shea. Leonard LeBlanc explained that the first thing the fishers want is some security measures which will give all the fishermen admission to the employment insurance.

Second, the fishermen request that there be subsidies which will help them overcome the crisis.

Third, they request help to reduce the effort of fishing. “The third request, is for money from the Federal, Provincial governments and from the industry to repurchase long term permits,” Leonard LeBlanc said precisely.

They are now waiting for the response of the Minister, Gail Shea. The fishermen of the Gulf of Saint Lawrence dream of suspending the fishing, indicated Christian Brun, Speaker for the Union of Fishermen of the Maritimes (UPM).

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

European Embargo on Seal Products

It was announced yesterday that the European Community would no longer accept products made from seal, caught during the annual seal hunt, in Canada.

The embargo was put in place, on all seal products on May 5th, 2008. The decision had been voted on Tuesday, by the European Deputies, with 550 votes for the embargo and 49 against. The Parliamentary vote is yet to be taken by the governments of the European Union within the next several weeks. The prohibition will begin in vigor by the next seal hunting season.

This ban on seal products will not affect the Inuit Communities of Canada and Greenland, who can continue their traditional hunt. Of course, this decision depends entirely that they do not hunt a large scale seal hunt for the pelts, oils and meat of the seal for commercial purposes within the European Union.

Canada and Norway have already announced that they will contest this ban before the World Business Organization. The decision of the European Union came after the Canadian Prime Minister, Stephen Harper went to Prague, to participate in the launching of the negotiations of an economic partnership with the European Union.

The International Humane Society Organization is rejoicing the decision of the EU and views it as historic. “This ban marks the start of the end of the massacre of the seal of Canada, a massacre that the whole world disapproves of,” declared Rebecca Aldworth, director of the Canadian branch of the International Humane Society.

Joel Arseneau, mayor of the Iles-de-la-Madeleine, deplores the decision of the European Union. He had indicated that this prohibition would represent a challenge for the industry, which must now find other markets. Mr. Arseneau declared that he cannot immediately know the economic impact of this decision. The mayor of the Iles-de-la-Madeleine precisely said that the enterprises have already started to explore other sectors, such as those in the medical and pharmaceutical industries.

C.A.M.I. Will Receive A Grant For $24,725


The Council for Anglophone Magdalen Islanders will receive a grant for $24,725 from the govenrment of Quebec to help support a better quality of life for the elderly in the community of Grosse Isle.  This announcement came from the National Assembly of Quebec today.

The Deputy of the Magdalen Islands, Germain Chevarie mand the announcement in the name of the Minister Responsible for the Elderly, Mrs Marguerite Blais, the grant of $24,725, in a project that is  destined to improve the conditions of life for the elderly of the community, within the framework of the program, 'From the Heart of the Action for the Elderly of Quebec'.

“The power of this program rests principally on the doing what it takes to help the initiative of local organizations.  The Council for Anglophone Magdalen Islanders (CAMI) of Grosse Ile has been accorded this aide to accomplish some of the projects which will assure the active growth of the elderly and which will favour as well their participation in the Anglophone community of the Archipelago,” declared the Deputy.

This year, 80 projects have been given to those who work for the benefit Quebec, for the financial aide of the government of Quebec. The total annual budget of the program is 1.6 million dollars, and the maximum functional aide accorded, by the project, is $30,000.

In the framework of the 2008-2009 edition, particular attention has been given to projects associated with the struggle countering the isolation of elderly persons, to support the helpers of the elderly, to the promotion of the adoption and of the maintenance of healthy ways of life around elderly persons, to the struggle countering the abuses and the mistreatment and to the prevention of suicide. 

“I would like to highlight the important collaboration of the community organizations and the regional dialogue tables, for the improvement of the condition of life for the elderly.  The government of Quebec is proud to support their initiatives which have not only beneficial incidences for the elderly persons, but also for the whole of society,” concluded the Minister Blais.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Why I love Blogging!!!


I recieved this award for the Magdalen Islands Blog , from AngelBaby at "Your Caring Angels".  Angel writes and inspirational web log that is full of character and wisdom. When visitors leaveher blog, they leaves with a sense of wellness and spiritually happy. If you have the time for one more read, try Your Caring Angels. It isn't a waste of your time.
Over the past few years, I've been doing a lot of blogging. I really enjoy writing, researching and learning new things. I doing all of these on multiple blogs, I have come to meet many people all over the world, who give me great joy in the simple matter of communicating. From these people I have learned to be patient, to love myself as I love others, to learn until the day I die and then learn some more. My life is far fuller now then it has ever been in all my years. LOL, notice that I didn't say how many year that was.

Here are the rules for this meaningful award:
The aims of this award:* 
As a dedication for those who love blogging activity and love to encourage friendships through blogging.*
To seek the reasons why we all love blogging!*
Put the award in one post as soon as you receive it*
Don’t forget to mention the person who gives you the award.*
Answer the award’s question by writing the reason why you love blogging.*
Tag and distribute the award to as many people as you like.*
Don’t forget to notify the award receivers and put their links in your post. 

These are the bloggers that I am giving this beautiful award to:
Angel Baby  (I'm giving it back to here because she really is a caring angel, you know)
I'll think of a few others tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Canada Seal Hunt To Be Supported By A Song

This time of the year, the Canada Seal Hunt is always in the news. This time, at the suggestion of Senator Céline Hervieux-Payette, the senator and singer Jean Lapointe will consecrate a song to the seal hunters, on his next album.  
The initiative will be aimed as well at countering the groups who are putting the pressure 
on, to end the seal hunt in the eastern side of the country.

Mrs Hervieux-Payette estimates that the song entitled “La chasse aux phoques” (The Seal Hunt)
 represents a gift for the hunters of the Magdalen Islands, New
foundland and Labrador and for the North, as well as for all Canadians.
According to the Liberal Senator, the song sung by Jean Lapointe will also be broadcast in Europe.

The launch of Jean Lapointe's next album, entitled “L’eau” (The Water), will be first seen by its first audience on Wednesday, April 29th, 2009. 

Jean Lapointe is a Current Member of the following Senate committee(s):
Library of Parliament (Joint)  

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Possible New Control Position For Chandler's Docking Bay

Last December 22nd, a serious storm had damaged the electronic equipment of the landing dock of Chandler, which the CTMA Vacancier uses, during the summer season.

So to avoid having the situation happen again, the new control position will be mobile. The cost of the bill will rise to $300,000 and the insurance company for the town of Chandler does not cover these types of damages.

The mayor, Claude Cyr, has requested for the Minister of Transport of Quebec to pay the total of this sum.

As always, the time is short, because the CTMA Vacancier will be starting its first voyage to Chandler around mid-June.  This is why the town is not waiting the cheque from the Minister for to launch the work involved.

The director of the Groupe CTMA, Gérald Leblanc, explained that a 'plan B' is on the table if the docking bay of Chandler is not repaired in time.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Pilot Project Winter Ferry Service Declared A Success


The pilot project for the first winter ferry services between Souris Prince Edward Island and Grindstone, Magdalen Islands has been a great success this past winter.  The amount of usage for the service was largely surpassed.

According to CTMA employees, many Islanders are hoping that the service will be offered once again next winter. Robert Sumarah couldn’t confirm if the service will be offered again.
Nearly 3000 passengers had used the new service in February and in March.  That is almost one and a half times more passengers than was expected by the Groupe CTMA.  The number of vehicles on the ferry was greater than 75% more then expected.

The director general of the Groupe CTMA, Gérald LeBlanc, estimated that the winter service must be maintained. He said that in his mind, they would not have any difficulties finding 5000 to 6000 passengers for this crossing.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Canada Seal Hunt : The War On Bad Information

The seal hunters of the Magdalen Islands denounced the bad information broadcasted by the International Foundation for Animal Welfare (IFAW).

The organization alleged said the hunt was funded by Quebec and that Ottawa decided the quotas by the function of the wholesale value of the seal products.  It was affirmed in a communication that the price of $30 for each pelt payed to the hunters of the Magdalen Islands at the start of the month was a subvention or subsidy of the province of Quebec.

The Vice-President of TAMASU, Paul Boudreau, who bought 20,000 of these pelts, affirmed that these allegations were false.  “It is completely false, the same as the majority of the information which leaves the IFAW. There, we can contradict them completely,” TAMASU has benefitted from an $80,000 subsidy, which he has noted allows the company to follow its research on the heart valves of the seal.

The IFAW confirmed that they said that Fisheries and Oceans Canada decided that the quota that would be authorized would be as a function of the markets, and this was what the authorities of the Minister gave.  They say that this last information highlights that the viability of the herd is at the heart of all the decisions.

The President of the Association of the hunters of the Islands, Denis Longuépée, denounced these tactics used by the IFAW. He precisely said that some members of the organization have gone on to film the hunt around the islands, but that they have not found any infractions in the method of the killings.

Photo: PC/Jonathan Hayward

$107,644 Funding For The Material To Restore The Church of Saint-Francois-Xavier of the Bassin

The Magdalen Islands Deputy, Germain Chevarie announced in the name of the Minister of Communication and Conditions of Women, Mrs Christine St-Pierre, that a financial aide of $107,644 has been accorded to the materials for the accomplishment for the work of restoring the church of Saint-François-Xavier of the Bassin on Amherst Island.

“We have the collective responsibility to preserve and give to the future generations, the inestimable heritage that constitutes our churches and our link to our culture.  It is why we follow our efforts to restore and put a value on the more significant elements of this unique heritage,” declared the Deputy, Mr. Chevarie.

The church Saint-François-Xavier is marked by the quality of its architecture at the original time and is anchored into te countryside.  In effect, the two bells in the facade of the building is distinct of the Archipelago churches during which the siding is fo the wooden shingles painted is typical of the traditional architecture of the Magdalen Islands. 


The aide furnished corresponds to 70% of the total cost of the project and will allow the restoration of the exterior finishing and the windows of the church.  It is overseen by the intermediator of the Council of Religious Heritage of Quebec who administers the program under the restoration of Religious Heritage of the Minister of Culture, Communications and the Conditions of Women.

Photo: Gérard Verdier (Amherst Councillor), madame Laurette Deveau, President for the Fabrique of the Bassin and Germain Chevarie

Recycling : Magdalen Islanders Are Leading The Pack


Magdalen Islanders, who have been pioneers in the matter of the recycling of throw away waste products, for over 20 years now, have passed the objective fixed by the Quebec Political Management of residual material. 

In 2008, the residents of the Magdalen Islands had recycled 62% of the domestic garbage in comparison to the provincial objective of 56%. 

Recall that each person of Quebec generates 1.7 tons of wastes per year, while each Magdalen Islander generates less than one ton. 

The result of this study shows that the industries and businesses of the Magdalen Islands are not doing their part.  Only 43% of their waste products are being recycled and saved from elimination of incineration. The National objective is 72%.

Canadian Government Has Restored The Channel Depth To The Grindstone Harbour


Magdalen Islanders will benefit from the improvements made to the port of Grindstone and financed by the Canadian Government. The Canadian Minister for Governmental Public Works and Services and Lieutenant of Quebec, the Honorouble Christian Paradis, had officially declared the work of dragging the harbour finished, on April the 8th, 2009.
This investment, in the order of 1.2 million dollars, has allowed the restoration of this essential channel to maintain it’s original depth of 6.6 meters.  This project was vital in creating employment and will contribute to stimulate the economy.  The Grindstone harbour is the only port on the islands that serves te entire population of the islands.

“Our government assures us of maintaining the commercial and touristic exchanges, all in supporting the local economy,” declared the Minister Paradis.  “The port of Grindstone is one of importance capital for the Magdalen Islands because the ferry service constitutes the principal link with the continent,” added the Minister. 

Situated in the heart of the Archipelago of the Magdalen Islands, the port of Grindstone is considered as a remote site according to National Marine Politics.  It is the only commercial port of the Magdalen Islands which has different wharves dedicated to different works.  It has docking stations for the petroleum ships, commercial ships, deep-sea fishing boats, inshore fishing boats, for each of the two ferries coming in from Montreal and Prince Edward Island and the Provincial docking bay for the Entry Island ferry. The ferry service from Souris, PEI alone transports around 100,000 passengers a year, according to CNW Telebec.

This news story has a distinct off islander view to the islands in general.  It originated through CNW Telebec and I don't believe the history behind it is completely valid. I don't believe that the PEI/MI ferry has ever brough in 100,000 passengers. But I could be wrong about this, if islanders who come and go as well as the tourists.  The numbers seem a little high to me.

A New Building and Development Code for the Magdalen Islands: New Regulation Directives


The Agglomeration  council for the Magdalen Islands has finally adopted  the new building and development code for the Archipelago during its regular public meeting, last Wednesday evening.

The revision of this document, which possesses more than 250 pages, took thirteen years to do. After long bouts of work, the priority has been given to agriculture, tourism and heritage in this new building scheme.

Mayor, Joel Arseneau, highlighted that the weak, superficial habitable regions of the Archipelago, being it is 160 square kilometers, has force the people to make compromises.

Industrial Park Projects for example, have been abandoned. “It is necessary to restrain the development of unmovable (projects)”, added M. Arseneau, who admitted that there will be a lot of work to implant the new regulations.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Someone Is Reading The Magdalen Islands Webblog

There are twelve votes from people who would like to have a Magdalen Islands newsletter sent to their email inbox. I'm working now on fitting an opt-in box on this and other sites. It is difficult because there are financial constraints. But I'm learning how to get around those tiresome little bugs, lol.

I have been studying at the Niche Profit Classroom and learning how to work in such a way that I can afford to stay and do things like create newsletters. I know that is not important in itself unless I put what I learn to practical use. I still have many things to learn but as soon as I get the optin box in palce I'll offer a news letter which will not only give the news of the week but also a few interesting stories. 

I wrote a story about Lorne Clark's last boat that some of you might be interested in. It is at the Iles-de-la-Madeleine weblog at today.  I've put a tourist weblog at Today.com because they pay for interesting information about any topic, They chose to accept my proposal for a regional weblog, Iles-de-la-Madeleine.  The link is Iles-de-la-Madeleine.  The URL address is http://iles-de-la-madeleine.today.com.

I've also been writing at a niche weblog called "All Things Horse" This is of great interest to me and it is an enormously popular site. This site is a wordpress site and offers more flexibility then blogger. 

I'm a member of Twitter.com and my profile is Gimme A Dream, and I can be contacted there amongst the 8 million plus other people using twitter.

Soon there will be other sites, depending on how long it takes for me to learn how to place the opt-in box on individual sites.

Monday, March 2, 2009

To The Present, To The Future!

For those of you who are reading this web log, and I do notice there are a few you, I have installed an odiogo podcast for each article.  This causes the article to be read out loud for those of you who do several things at once on your computers and find the audio preferable to actually reading the post.  

I use odiogo on several other weblogs that I write for and thought to would be well suited here.  

I write three separate weblogs about the Magdalen Islands. This one has a lot of stories that have reached the islands present day news. The Iles-de-la-Madeleine web log is a paid blog which covers the culture and historical aspects of the islands.  It is called Iles-de-la-Madeleine and it's at http://iles-de-la-madeleine.today.com. It is wrote in English and there are no news worthy items listed.  There are legends, ecology, geology, historical and cultural stories there.

The other, I'm not sure about. It is called The Magdalen Islands Network at www.gimmeadream.com. It has many optional programs, most of which are up and running.  But I don't think it will pay me enough to continue with it, on a private level.  I think I will end up buying another domain name, with the Magdalen Islands in the name. I also will be buying a social network program to hook into it instead of using the NING network that is presently being used.  My plan is to have advertising pay for the site, the programs and at least my wage....  I don't think "Gimme A Dream" will do what I want.

Once I settle the Magdalen Islands site into something that has a future, it is my intention to start a newsletter. It will hopefully have a printed version for people who don't use computers regularly. That is, if the need warrants it.

If anyone is interested in horses, I also write for AllThings Horse.  This weblog started out as a practice to teach myself how to use a wordpress template, but without advertising, All Things Horse seems to have a good following, increasing by about ten people each day.  If its population continues, then I will take it out of wordpress and give it its own domain.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

An Islander Has Won First Place for the Radio-Canada 2008 Literary Prize

Jonathan Harnois from the Magdalen Islands has won the first prize for the Radio Canada - 2008 edition for literary creativity, for his short story called “Sonam”. The winners were announced by Christiane Charette on her radio show. 
The first prize is accompanied with a grant of $6,000 and the text will be published by the magazine “EnRoute”, sometime between March and August 2009.

Jonathan Harnois was born in Joliette in 1981. He published his first novel called, “Je voudrais me déposer la tête” (I want to Get Rid Of My Head), in 2005 with the publishers Éditions Sémaphore.  Claude Poissant has adapted the work for the theater in 2007, and a documentary has also been inspired from his universe.  An adaptation for the Cinema is in the works.  Sonam is Harnois's first short story.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Granting of the Exploitation Contract for the Entry Island/Grindstone Ferry

The Society of Quebec Ferries wants to inform you that the contract for the exploitation of the Entry Island/Grindstone ferry has been accorded to the CTMA enterprise of the Magdalen Islands, following a public call for tenders.



From the first of April, the internet
 site of the Society www.traversiers.gouv.qc.ca will contain a page, dedicated to the Entry/Grindstone ferry, which will furnish all the information and necessary links in order that the customers will be able to plan their trips.

The ferry service will start its 2009 season as usual, on the first of May.

By the improvements of the service that has been put in place to travel the Entry/Grindstone ferry, the Society has shown that it aims to contribute to the social, economical and touristic development of the islands, particularly in opening up a way for the isolated people.  The Society witnessed very concretely, that it will fill the daily engagements and to continue in its mission.

Well..., la, dee, da! Isn't that a fine how-dee-doo! To the best of my knowledge, the people of Entry Island are all of English background, but when I went to the given website, this particular story was given only in the French language, even though there was an English option to click on....

No Contaminants Found In The Drinking Water In Pointe-aux-Loups

The drinking water in fourteen Point-aux-Loups residences was tested recently. The study was done to find any indication of contaminants in the water table of the Magdalen Islands. The test was also done in the water system on Grindstone Island. All was declared at normal standards.

According to the superintendent of governmental intervention for the Canadian Coast Guard, Martin Blouin, some samples had also been sent to the laboratory for further testing for the Minister of Sustainable Development, Environment and Parks.

Mr. Blouin stressed that the analyses done was very sophistic and would have shown fit there had been traces of PCB’s contaminating the water. But there was no link involving the water table and the Irving Whale.

However, there are two pilot projects aloft to find a way to dispose the bags of contaminants that were buried in the sand dunes since the wreckage. The bags must ultimately be brought out.

The Irving Whale was a shipping barge belonging to the Irving Oil LTD., that had sunk in the Gulf 60 km north-east of PEI and North Point and south west of the islands on September 10th, 1970. She was carrying a load of heavy bunker C oil, which contained the PCB's.

Some of the oil escaped and washed up along 80 km of beach on the western side of the Magdalen Islands. The majority of the oil remained on board the barge, which laid 67 meters on the seabed. However, during the cleanup on the islands, almost 200,000 large garbage-sized bags filled to capacity of the PCB contaminated congealed oil were buried into the dunes on the Magdalen Islands.

During the autumn of 2008, some of those bags surfaced near Pointe-aux-Loups and have caused the residents of of the village to hold several demonstrations to petition to have the bags removed for Magdalen Islands soil. The reason for the removal is that it is an environmental time-bomb on an already fragile environment.

Did You Know:

• The Irving Whale sinking was blamed on stormy seas and unsecured hatches on the barge, which was being towed by a tugboat called the Irving Maple.

• Built in 1966, the Irving Whale was an oil supply barge serving the coastal areas of Atlantic Canada. It was about as big as a hockey rink and was laden with about 4,200 tonnes (about five million litres) of heavy bunker C fuel oil.

• After the Irving Whale sank, an oil slick covered an area of about 650 square kilometres. Divers secured the hatches to prevent the leakage of more oil, which was already slowing because the cold waters of the Gulf of St. Lawrence had made it congeal.

• The Irving Whale was owned by Irving Oil, a gigantic oil company and shipbuilder based in Fredericton, N.B. Founder K.C. Irving said the company was monitoring the situation "like a cat on a mouse" and, when asked who was responsible for the cleanup, said he hoped there would be nothing to clean up.

• When the federal government approached Irving Oil just days later to recoup over three million dollars in cleanup costs, Irving said that because the event had happened beyond Canada's 12-mile territorial zone, the company was not subject to Canadian jurisdiction. In fact, the law was on its side, rendering the government powerless and prompting new legislation aimed at bettering government control over oil pollution.

• Irving Oil was compensated for the loss by its insurance company, which in turn made no effort to recover the barge or its cargo.

• Environment Canada has predicted that "Based on current levels of tanker traffic, Canada can expect over 100 small oil spills, about 10 moderate spills and at least one major spill offshore each year. A catastrophic spill (over 10,000 tonnes) may occur once every 15 years."

• Between July 30th and August 8th, 1996, the Irving Whale was raised from its watery grave and brought to dry dock in Halifax, at the expense of Canadian taxpayers.


Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Cap-Vert Corporation Receives Funding

The new Deputy to the National Assembly, Germain Chevarie, of the Magdalen Islands has not sat on his laurels since starting office early in January. On February 19th, he was pleased to announce that the Cap-Vert Corporation would receive financial aide in the amount of $37,000 to accomplish Phase 2 of their revitalization plan, put in effect several years ago. 

These funds will go to the Corporation to allow them to quickly finish the work started in the second phase of the renovations, in order to complete it for the summer season of 2009. “This project is a perfect example that take charge of projects in the area by the people of the community allowing them to save the infrastructures and to assure as well the interesting quality of life, for our citizens,” said Germain Chevarie.

The funds received are brought to the Corporation from a subvention agreed upon by the Vice-Premier Minister of Municipal Affaires, Regions and Occupation fo the Territory and the Minister responsible for the regions of Gaspesia and the islands, Mrs Nathalie Normandeau. “This last response is positive to our requests and I have very much appreciate her excellent collaboration,” concluded the Deputy.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Economic Viability of Canada's East Coast Lobster Fishery

 On Friday the 13th, 2009,  the Honourable Gail Shea, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, today issued the following statement:

"Today, I met with my provincial counterparts from New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island and a number of industry representatives from the Maritimes to discuss the serious challenges faced by the lobster fishery, as well as opportunities to ensure the continued viability of this valuable contributor to the Canadian economy.

There’s no question that current markets for lobster are challenging.  Every lobster fishing group and association has expressed this concern. Today’s meeting identified several options for improving the situation, including finding ways to manage supply. I fully support efforts by industry and my provincial counterparts to improve market access for lobster, and I am optimistic that, working together, we will deliver concrete results. All of the participants in today's meeting recognize the need for immediate action to secure Canadian lobster in the global marketplace. Officials at both levels of government are working with industry on a range of marketing activities targeted at increasing the profile of Canadian lobster in wholesale, retail and food service markets.

The Government of Canada is providing support to industry sectors that are feeling the impacts of the global economic crisis. Our Economic Action Plan will help resource-dependent communities through initiatives such as the two-year, $1-billion Community Adjustment Fund, which can help by supporting economic diversification in communities affected by the declining global demand for seafood. We have also acted to improve access to credit for fishing enterprises, and to provide tax relief for small businesses.

It’s also clear that we must also look beyond short-term fluctuations in landings and market conditions to long-term conservation of lobster resources. If we don’t manage our fisheries in a sustainable manner, we will put the economic benefits we derive from them at risk. During recent consultations with lobster harvesters and fishing organizations, including a meeting in Moncton on February 11, most groups highlighted the need for a rationalization program as well as additional conservation measures. We will continue to work with the industry to provide flexible tools to reduce their operating costs and pressures on lobster stocks."

A number of years back, the DFO implemented a number of conservation methods here for the islands, for conserving the long-term viability of the lobster stocks and thus creating a sustainable industry.  The lobster stock around the Magdalen Islands seem to be in good shape as far as numbers and weight are concerned.  

However, the economic slowdown is definitely a concern for the fishermen here.  Many of the licences have been bought by younger fishermen for hundreds of thousands of dollars. The older fishermen are retiring at a younger age because of the ability to get such a high price for their paid for outfits. That leaves many younger fishermen, not all but definately many, heavily in debt, usually because when they buy their new fishing business, they also tend to buy a new truck and perhaps a car to save on gas, a new home morgaged to the hilt, a new larger boat with an engine to make the boat move at incredible speeds and some even buy new fifth wheels to vacation in.

It must be scary for these fisheren, when the price of lobster go from $7.00/lb in 2007 to less the $5.00/lb, as it did last year.  They say that the price will not be rising much any too soon and those younger fisheren are really going to have to scour the bottom to pay for their debts. 

Islands School Board To Receive Funding

Earlier today, it came down from the National Assembly in Quebec, that the Liberal government will invest a large sum of money into the Islands French Catholic School Board.  Our new Islands Deputy to the National Assembly in Quebec, Germain Chevarie was pleased to announce, in the name of the Minister of Education, Recreation and Sports, Mrs Michelle Courchesne, the governmental investment of $1,129,853 to the Islands School Board, Commission Scolaire des Iles, in updating its heritage real estate.

More precisely, this sum will serve to effect work on several of the French Catholic islands schools, on the Magdalen Islands.  This government aide was attributed to the Commission, in the framework measures of maintaining buildings and of the reabsorption of the maintenance deficit of the Minister of Education, Recreation and Sports.  The maintenance money will be available to the school board in two parts, with respective budgets of $230,500 and $126,700, during the year. These sums will be awarded to the school board for the all of the building under their jurisdiction on the islands, for the maintenance of the schools for 2008 and 2009. These measures have been registered with the Quebec Plan of Infrastructures.

“It gives me reason to rejoice, for the students and for the teachers, who will continue to benefit from these quality infrastructures for many years to come. Our government has put in motion, in a clear manner, by means of this investment in the education heritage and in offering to the population of the Islands, favorable places for meetings,” declared Germain Chevarie.

Although the English school will recieve none of this funding because all the Protestant schools are under the Eastern Shores School Board, in New Carlisle, on the Gaspesia Peninsula, this is nevertheless good news for the islands.  Our schools are getting older and more delapitated.  The schools amongst the Iles-de-la-Madeleine communities have had relatively little money re-invested into them for many years and all the schools are aged. Some of the elementary schools on the islands as well as the Polyvalente des Iles have had little or no renovations, in recent years.  None of Catholic schools have the fresh-air quality of the English schools of Grosse Isle and Entry Island.  Though very clean, they all seem to have that closed-in, over-populated, worn-out, concrete cinder-block atmosphere about the buildings.  The only institution which is condusive to learning is the College Campus, CEGEP de la Gaspesie et des Iles.

On that note, I will say that I truly believe that te governments of the past have over-looked the benefits of small schools, while consolidating the institutions.  It is my belief that there would be far less reason to have armed guards, patroling the hallways of our youths institutions if the hundreds and even thousands of students were not piled in on top of each other.  I would think it would be far cheaper to invest in more instructors for smaller schools then in maintaining extremely large multiple building institution and busing children away from their home.  Here on the islands, the youth of Grand Entry spend almost 2 hours a day on the school bus. For me - I find that ..., every negative word, I can think of.