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Mitchelmore to sit as an Independent MHA

October 29, 2013

I, Christopher Mitchelmore (MHA, The Straits-White Bay North) am announcing today that I notified the Speaker and will be sitting as an Independent when the House of Assembly resumes this coming Monday for the Fall sitting in the Legislature.

It is with much consideration and reflection that I have come to this decision. I cannot support the public handling of recent events that transpired to a clear question regarding the Newfoundland & Labrador New Democratic Party (NLNDP) Leadership. This matter will continue to have significant long-term consequences for advancing the Party. These events now create an undesirable work environment that would detract from being able to best serve my constituents.

I made a formal request with all members of the NDP Caucus, calling for a Leadership Convention in 2014. This followed a democratic process and I firmly stand by this position which is needed for future growth and renewal.  This should have been seen as an opportunity to test current Leadership, engage in the party building process, establish policy and develop messaging under a rigid timeline in preparation for Election 2015.

I believe all political Constitutions should have clear mechanisms for regular Leadership Review and Convention calls, as well as ensuring that changes to a Constitution follow the democratic process. The current Constitution does not have any mechanism for Leadership Review, despite the one being requested by NDP Leader.

In June 2011, I became a member of the NDP and worked diligently with fellow New Democrats to represent the core values of everyday people, serving in various critic portfolios, sitting on the Public Accounts Committee, engaging in dialogue across the province and serving almost one-year as Caucus Representative on the Party Executive.

Although, I am leaving the NDP Caucus, my approach to dealing with issues at the local, provincial or national level has not changed – I will continue to work tirelessly for a better District and a better Newfoundland & Labrador. I still believe we need a fairer society, one that is inclusive and brings the values of everyday people to the forefront in a multi-party system.  As the Member for The Straits-White Bay North my constituents continue to come first as I raise their concerns, present unique ideas and work with others to find co-operative solutions.

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Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA                                                                                                                                                                                   The Straits-White Bay North

Seeking a Unique Rural Experience? Raleigh has your Answer

The Raleigh Traditional Fishing Village is a unique rural experience. You can experience life as a fisher with an overnight stay in a bunk house. These hostel-style rooms have bunk beds for eight with feather mattresses and a wood stove for heat. There are no modern luxuries of television on site, but real rustic comfort. I hope to overnight there before the season ends, if not there is always next year.

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Raleigh is a place where you can get away from it all and truly enjoy some serene rest and relaxation. This traditional fishing village operated by the Raleigh Historical Society offers guided tours of the “fishing rooms” and provides opportunities to make a net, craft your own oar or prepare the boat. The society also teaches traditional rug hooking, offers boat tours, hiking tours, provides traditional meals and crafts. One can purchase a package at: http://www.raleighhistoricvillage.com/accommodations.php.

NDP Leader Lorraine Michael & I toured the offering at the fishing village on July 28th. It was evident that new marketing and cross-promotion needs to happen to see this site fully utilized within the season. This type of adventure and cultural tourism is a unique product offering on the Great Northern Peninsula. It has potential to be enlarged, create further employment and lasting experiences.

 

Last September on a visit to Iceland, they offered a package of “You can be a fisherman”, which consisted of living at a fishers home, eating traditional meals, touring a fish plant and also having the opportunity to spend a day or two out in boat with a fisher.

People are coming to rural communities craving authentic experiences. The people of the urban world are flocking to rural Newfoundland & Labrador, as they want to relax and learn something on their travels. We must find a way to reduce barriers that limit tourist from having a fishing experience, with real fishers in rural NL. There are mechanisms to make fisheries-tourism synergies work. This can create a win-win situation for Raleigh fishers and tourism operators in the region. Let’s work together to find the solutions. This is one of the many things to experience when visiting the Great Northern Peninsula! Be sure to add Raleigh Fishing Village to your list!

Live Rural NL –

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

 

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Another Summer of Come Home Year Celebrations

Last summer was another banner year for Come Home Year Celebrations with the Town of St. Anthony; Town of St. Lunaire-Griquet; Town of Main Brook; Town of Anchor Point and Deadman’s Cove each hosting events for a week or more. This summer, the Town of Conche kicked off celebrations on July 25th. On August 5th the Town of Roddickton will be holding a week of activities, followed on August 12th by the Savage Cove Come Home Year.

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One thing about Come Home Year celebrations, they are incredible social and economic contributors to the province and region. These locally organized events are helping to drive the Province’s tourism industry, that reached more than $1 Billion in 2012.  The number of travelers by Marine Atlantic, Deer Lake Regional Airport or personal automobile is in the thousands when you total up all the homecomers. Local businesses, such as gas stations, hotels, restaurants, grocery stores and retail outlets benefit from the influx of guests. In addition, hardware and furniture stores also see additional business because of renovations to one’s property whether in the form of flower bins, flooring or a new bed.

These celebrations instill great pride in the community of which you live, lived, have roots or a some other connection. They are pulled off by dynamic community leaders, who tirelessly commit hours of preparation time, make difficult decisions and spend every waking hour ensuring that everyone is enjoying the festivities. These individuals, who undertake such a big initiative are truly to be commended for all your hard work and efforts.

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I had the pleasure to take in the Parade and Opening Ceremonies of the Conche Come Home Year this past week. A long line of vehicles covered every roadway, including Crouse to turnaround. This was likely a record for the number of  vehicles there in such a short time span. After the parade, there were greetings by brought by the Deputy Mayor, Committee, myself and others. Conche’s own Clara Genge sang a song she wrote called “Northern Beauty” and local legend Danny Carroll belted out a tune or two. After the opening, one could get your memorabilia. I bought some placemats, mug, shot glass, Clara Genge CD, Apricot jam, Christmas ornament, Do Unto Others – Dower of Conche and a number of pieces of jewelry from Youth Ventures participant, Shelby. It is great to support local artisans.

Although weather did not co-operate well with the Conchers, they took it all in stride and re-scheduled several events. NDP Leader Lorraine Michael and I had the opportunity to take in some of the softball tournament, chat with locals and watch people get dunked. The variety show was a great mix of song, dance, recitations, and skits that displayed the abundance of local talent that exists in Conche. It was a fabulous week and enjoy taking in many of the events. The committee deserves a big bouquet. Now tomorrow, begins Roddickton CHY. I look forward to a follow-up posting.

Come Home Year celebrations can also bring people back, as the atmosphere creates that desire to be home, that renewed drive to retire or plan more frequent visits to the family homestead. In fact, it had that effect on me.  It was during a week-long Come Home Year Celebration in my hometown of Green Island Cove in 2009 that I decided to quite my job working for a Professional Association in Alberta and move back home at the earliest possible convenience. It was just three weeks later and I began my cross Canada tour with all my belongings packed strategically in my little Honda Civic. I’ll have to save that experience for another posting.

I started work in Community Economic and Business Development with CBDC Nortip and worked there for two years, before being elected to the House of Assembly as the member for The Straits-White Bay North under the New Democratic Party banner. As you can see, that decision has dramatically changed my life, but I would never look back. Being a politician is no walk in the park, but in my role, I see good things happening all around me. I encourage the people of the District to continue to work together, plan community and regional events and let us work together to ensure we are building resilient and vibrant communities.

Live Rural NL –

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

Mat Hooking Exhibition at Englee Worth the Visit

The Town of Englee is actively pursuing new economic opportunities and is the new home to an Exhibition of Hooked Mats at the Municipal Building depicting daily life, culture and heritage of the community.

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Funded through a Targeted Initiative for Older Workers (TIOW) program a couple of years ago, workers from Englee learned traditional mat hooking skills, as well as other textiles of knitting, embroidery, sewing and fabric works. It is positive to see a cultural tourism element added to the Town that will help regional tourism as the Northern Peninsula East Heritage Cluster continues to grow. Well posted signs in both English and French are at roadside and on the Town Hall. There is no fee for viewing these mats, but donations are certainly accepted. The Town has produced some of the pieces of artwork into matted and unmatted prints for retail.

I had the opportunity to view the exhibitions of colourful homes, fish drying on flakes, work & play, resettlement, mummering, landscapes and other aspects of daily life in the Town of Englee through art. A mat hooked in 1939 was also showcased, which pre-dates the Town (incorporated 1945). These are certainly treasures, both old and new.

The Town also is working with the French Shore Historical Society as a local worker is producing very detailed tapestry that will be part of a nine piece series of a travelling exhibit commemorating the 300 years since the Treaty of Ultrecht. An office space has been converted to a workers studio as she Bayeux stitch of the “Crown Jewels“. A follow-up post will provide additional details about these new tapestry developments.

The Town of Englee is to be commended for their vision, efforts and willingness to partner. It is positive to see new additions to our small communities. We should embrace our culture, heritage, history and tell stories through art. Each community in the District has a unique opportunity to do something creative that will help our region further develop.

Live Rural NL

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North
 
 

A Team of Labrador Huskies in Happy Valley – Goose Bay

NL NDP Leader Lorraine Michael (MHA Signal Hill – Quidi Vidi) and Christopher Mitchelmore (MHA Straits-White Bay North) had the pleasant opportunity to participate in a short ride at Northern Lights Mushings in Happy Valley- Goose Bay.

Ms. Michael after harnessing a husky took a seat on the basket sleigh as I had the opportunity to lead from behind wearing my seal skin boots. I have been on snowmobile over the years and loved the ride as a child, however, there is such a feeling of tranquility as the smooth ride one feels as the Labrador huskies gently pull you across the snow.

The pure bred Labrador Huskies are magnificent animals, who do their job well. I can only imagine in the early 1900’s when Dr. Wilfred Grenfell would take to the North Coast of Labrador and Northern Newfoundland via dog team to provide essential medical services. It is delightful to see that some people of Labrador are continuing the traditional way of transportation.

There is something unique about the Labrador Husky:

The Labrador Husky originated in the Labrador portion of the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador. The breed probably arrived in the area with the Inuit people who came to Canada around 1300 AD. Although they were once very closely related to other Northern breeds, such as the Siberian Husky, they became isolated in Labrador. Their history of being bred with wolves does not mean that they are wolf-dogs, nor do they have any recent wolf ancestry. However, they still retain some of their wolf-like physical features.

Of all the northern dog breeds, the Labrador Husky is one of the rarest, with less than an estimated 50-60 purebred Labrador Huskies currently identified in Labrador.[citation needed]. As a result, the breed is not well understood by many dog breeders. (Source:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Labrador_Husky )

My time with the Labrador Huskies was truly a remarkable experience. If you ever have the opportunity, I highly recommend you take the time to ask questions about the breed, their contribution to way of life in the “big land” and enjoy the ride.

A special thank-you to Northern Lights Mushings! You’re hospitality, knowledge and passion for the preservation of the Labrador Husky is to be commended. I hope you continue for generations to come!

Live Rural NL –

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North
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