Before I look forward, I must look back on the year that was. In fact, on the last day of the year I pulled out a book from the shelve my father made me some years ago. It was a Christmas present my cousin gave me in 2011 that I had yet had the opportunity to read. It was, Steve Jobs’ Biography written by Walter Isaacson. I think the sheer size and weight made it a little intimidating, since I’ve yet to complete War & Peace after several attempts. My new role as a politician has not helped my reading for pleasure, as I generally focus on reading reports, news and current affairs. However, since I’ve picked it up, I’ve been reluctant to put it down – even pulling it from my nightstand at 4 AM to continue on. I am fascinated by the creativity, determination, flaws and charisma Jobs had – his influence revolutionized the way we think of the computers, electronics, brand loyalty and consumer behaviour. I’m about halfway through Isaacson’s biography of Steve Jobs and look forward to the next opportunity to pick it up. It’s certainly a worthy read.
I dog-eared page 217, which had the quote:
“Here’s to great ideas, great experiences and a great friendship! John.”
This line resonated with me, because life is truly about this – great ideas, great experiences and a great friendship. I only hope we act on this line more in life.
I reflect on my blog, as a means to share ideas, experiences and a great friendship with the world as well. In 2012, http://www.liveruranlnl.com received more than 100,000 hits across 166 countries around the globe. To me that is exponential growth, since sharing stories, culture, ideas, heritage, landscapes and other experiences would be quite difficult to reach through traditional means, since I live in a community of 167 people, represent a District of less than 9,000 people and live in a Province of just over 500,000 people. I was able to add just 87 posts for a grand total of 339 posts.
I’ll share with you some of this past year’s highlights:
January 2012 (48 posts)
I rang in the New Year in the Capital city of St. John’s, Newfoundland & Labrador with a Swiss and German friend, whom I met while studying in Prague in 2007.
On January 2nd we visited beautiful Bell Island, had some Dicks’s Fish & Chips and explored. The chilling air would not deter us from experiencing the well-carved coastline.
My friends and I had ice-fished, mummered, visit Gros Morne National Park, fjords, L’Anse aux Meadows, Norstead, Tea House Hill & Grenfell Historic Properties, Jordi Bonet Murals, Snowmobiling, Screech-ins, Night at the Cabin, North Atlantic Aviation Museum, Joey’s Lookout, Deep Cove Winter Housing site and more. Needless to say January 2012 was quite eventful.
As MHA, I continued to hold Town Hall Meetings, in Conche and Main Brook, as well visited the communities of Wild Bight, North Boat Harbour, Croque and St. Julien’s/Grandois. I called into question the future of the Marystown Fish Plant Facility and repeated calls for the removal and remediation of the Englee fish plant. I also toured GNP Craft Producers, as I continue to advocate for the local marketplace and development of the sealing industry with future value-added products. Also attended pre-budget consultations hosted by Minister Marshall in St. Anthony.
February 2012: (16 posts)
Returned to Cuba.
Served as an opportunity to travel the province with NDP Housing Critic, Gerry Rogers (St. John’s Centre) attending the Housing Roadshow, which started in St. Anthony. This continued to Norris Point, Corner Brook, Stephenville, Grand-Falls Windsor, Clarenville, St. John’s, Happy Valley-Goose Bay and Marystown.
As NDP Fisheries Critic, I joined with three NDP MHA’s to support the picketers at Bay Roberts to oppose scab labour on an offshore vessel.
Gerry & I toured the French Shore Interpretation Centre – getting a view of the 220 foot tapestry designed by the local women of Conche on Jacobian linen. While there I got to purchase an amigurumi seal. It would be during summer that I would meet the creator during the Conche Garden Party Celebration.
We experienced traditional food at Lumberjack’s Landing and also toured Holson Forest Product, getting a demonstration on pellet heating.
Attended a Fisheries Forum
I returned to Labrador – visiting Happy Valley-Goose Bay with NDP Leader Lorraine Michael. The highlight of my visit was to experience a traditional ride on a pure bred Labrador Husky Dog Team with Northern Lights. A remarkable experience.
March 2012: (0 posts)
The House of Assembly opened on March 5th, 2012. The first time since I was elected on October 11, 2011. I raised issues of air ambulance, Englee Fish Plant removal, alternative fisheries models, fishery research funding, roadwork, cutting small business tax, co-ops, improved broadband, enhanced cellular coverage, 911 service, search & rescue and safe drinking water.
I also attended the Federal NDP Leadership Convention, supporting Thomas Mulcair for Leader. With thousands of New Democrats present in Toronto and 9 candidates, Tom Mulcair was voted Leader of NDP and Leader of the Official Opposition.
April 2012: (4 posts)
I had visited Trinity Bay North, as they had been dealt two economic blows – the closure of the OCI fish plant and sealing plant in 2012. I spoke with locals, visited Seaport Inn, and Coaker Foundation. Port Union is the only “union-built town” in North America.
Easter had me visiting Hockey stadiums – in St. Barbe, Placentia and St. John’s as I cheered on District teams.
Attended the Seal of Approval Dinner to support Seal Industry. NL’s top chefs prepared delicacies.
May 2012: (1 post)
Launched Orange Tent Tour in Corner Brook & attended the Trails, Tales & Tunes Festival
I also spend many weekends attending graduations in the District.
June 2012: (0 posts)
The House of Assembly continued to sit through the month of June and a number of rural issues continued to pressed including, alternative energy (wind), energy efficiency program for non-profits, agriculture development, fleet separation, lobster co-op, wood cutting permit discounts for seniors, aquaculture, forestry certification, Regional Economic Development Boards, Englee & Sandy Cove fish plants, condition of primary & secondary roads, crown land & land use planning, a host of petitions and a number of other issues.
My first experience with a filibuster – Bill 29: Access to Information, which led to 70 hours of debate. Government passed a bill that increases secrecy and reduces transparency and accountability.
I participated in the annual Iceberg Festival and got to meet the Ennis sisters, Karen & Maureen for the first time. Also, continued to attend graduations in District.
July 2012: (1 post)
- Participated in Memorial Day events at St. Anthony Legion War Memorial
- NDP MP Ryan Cleary’s Empty Nets event: 20 Years after the Cod Moratorium
- Community Meetings: Roddickton-Bide Arm, St. Anthony, St. Lunaire-Griquet & Flower’s Cove, visted residents of Eddies Cove East
- Added Salmon Fest with Aerosmith in Grand Falls-Windsor
- Experienced the South Coast – visiting Bay D’Espoir, Belleoram, St. Alban’s and Harbour Breton.
- Camped on Brimstone Head on Fogo Island, met Philanthropist & visionary Zita Cobb, visited Seldom, Little Seldom, Fogo, Fogo Central, Joe Batt’s Arm (get Growler’s Ice-cream & eat at Nicole’s Cafe), Tilting and attended Stag Harbour Days
- Grand Opening of St. Anthony Come Home Year
- NDP MHA Dale Kirby (MHA, St. John’s North) visits Public Library, College of North Atlantic Campus, meets with residents in St. Lunaire-Griquet
- Re-opening of L’Anse aux Meadows UNESCO Site with Senator Norm Doyle
- Visited Green Island Cove & Englee residents
- Grand Opening of St. Lunaire-Griquet & Gunner’s Cove Come Home Year
August 2012 (0 posts):
- Announcement by Government that Englee Plant would be removed and site re-mediated
- Grand Opening of Main Brook Come Home Year
- Visit from NDP Leader Lorraine Michael (Sandy Cove, St. Anthony, Main Brook)
- Tour of Southern Labrador -Port Hope Simpson, Mary’s Harbour, West St. Modeste, Pinware, Forteau, L’Anse au Loup, L’Anse au Clair
- Grand Opening of Anchor Point & Deadman’s Cove Come Home Year
- Attended Canadian Public Accounts Committee Conferece in Iqaluit, Nunavut (Aug 19-21)
- Joan Simmonds, French Shore Historic Society Presented with Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal at MHA Tea Party
- 1st Public Accounts Committee Meeting after 6 years of dormancy
September 2012: (0 Posts)
- Labour Day with Federation of Labour and St. John’s District Labour Council at Swiler’s Rugby Club
- 102 NDP MP’s congregate in St. John’s/Hosts Kitchen Party at O’Reilly’s Pub on iconic George Street
- NDP Municipal Affairs Critic George Murphy (MHA St. John’s East) visited Town of Englee, toured Roddickton-Bide Arm, held St. Anthony Public meeting and discussed regionalization in The Straits
- Guest Speaker at St. Anthony & Area Chamber of Commerce
- Visited Czech Republic
- Toured Iceland Fish Plants, Buyer’s Markets, Geothermal Facilities, Gullfoss Waterfalls, Glaciers and many other natural wonders
- Spent a weekend in Copenhagen with friends from Switzerland and Sweden. Riding the World’s Oldest Rollercoaster and experiencing the culture
- Visiting Liverpool and taxi touring the old stomping groups of larger than life Beatles. Spent three days soaking up the culture and enjoyed visiting the Cavern.
October 2012: (6 posts)
- Participant at the International Fisheries Symposium held in Norris Point by CURRA
- Reflected on my first year in offices. There were accomplishments and so much more to achieve
- Suggested opportunities for expanding tourism opportunities
- Participated in Public Account Committee hearings
- NDP Convention
- Re-newed call to support sealing industry. Purchased sealskin coat to show support industry (see pictured below with co-owner, Kerry Shears of Natural Boutique).
- Met with protesters from Fortune on the steps of Confederation Building
- Turned 27
- Enjoyed Halloween as Professor Plum from Clue, made costumes from a Salvation Army visit. Those who know me well, know I collect Board Games.
November 2012: (10 Posts)
- Marketing Rural Newfoundland & Labrador dominated the postings
- Visit to residents of Englee, Great Brehat, Green Island Brook, Pine’s Cove and Shoal Cove East
- Attended Remembrance Day Ceremonies & annual hockey tournament in St. Anthony.
- House of Assembly re-opened November 19th
December 2012: (4 posts)
- Third ecounter meeting Ennis Sisters. They perform in St. Anthony
- Participate in the St. Anthony & St. Lunaire-Griquet Christmas Parades with Granny & Mummer’s
- Attend Straits Regional Fire Department Appreciation Dance
- Englee Christmas Tree Lighting & Diamond Jubilee Awards to Mayor Rudy Porter and Councillor Robert Keefe.
- SABRI Christmas Party
- Filibuster #2 – 86 hours that would run until December 22nd
- Fisheries Minister sells out Rural Newfoundland & Labrador Friday, December 21st at 7 PM (http://www.nlndpcaucus.ca/nr122112QuotaSellout)
- Returned home in time for Christmas Eve, wonderful holidays with my family
- Record-breaking mummer’s parade with 40 mummer’s participating in 3rd year
I’ve shared with you a sampling of some of my experiences during 2012. I’ve had the opportunity to visit many rural places on the Great Northern Peninsula, Newfoundland & Labrador and beyond. Many more than I’ve actually been able to write about; however, I look forward to sharing with you great ideas, great experiences and continue that great friendship in future posts of 2013.
Happy New Year to All –Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA The Straits-White Bay North
- Show Your Support for the Canadian Seal Hunt (liveruralnl.com)
- Government not doing enough for cod fishery, says FFAW (cbc.ca)
- 3rd Annual Mummer’s Walk Continues to Break Local Record (liveruralnl.com)
- Enchanting Englee on a November’s Day (liveruralnl.com)
- Marketing Rural Newfoundland & Labrador & the VTTA (liveruralnl.com)
- Year-round tourism would get boost from snowmobiling (christophermitchelmore.com)
- L’Anse aux Meadows, Newfoundland (tkmorin.wordpress.com)
- Caribou Crossing on Viking Trail (liveruralnl.com)
- Giving the Gift of something Handmade cannot be Beat (liveruralnl.com)