Mitchelmore joins Bennett as fishery critics

Juris Graney
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Expect some vocal critiquing of the province's fishery from the Northern Peninsula when the House of Assembly opens in March.

Expect some vocal critiquing of the province's fishery from the Northern Peninsula when the House of Assembly opens in March.

Member for The Straits-White Bay North, the NDP's Christopher Mitchelmore, last week landed himself the key fisheries and aquaculture critic portfolio and will join St. Barbe's Liberal MHA Jim Bennett in tag teaming the government's newly minted fisheries minister Darin King on topics relating to one of the cornerstone's of this province.

Mr. Mitchelmore, who created one of the surprise results of the October provincial election in toppling incumbent Liberal MHA Marshall Dean, has also been appointed critic roles for innovation, business and rural development; forestry and agrifoods agency; research and development corporation along with Service Newfoundland and Labrador.

The NDP caucus - leader Lorraine Michael, Dale Kirby, George Murphy, Gerry Rogers and Mr. Mitchelmore - met last week to decide on the appointments based on their level of expertise.

Considering Mr. Mitchelmore's background in economic development and his close ties to the Northern Peninsula fishing industry, his appointments came as little surprise.

"We all have a broad level of experience and we have spoken about being critics in certain areas, but we will also be serving each other in a backup role so if someone is absent, the questions will still be raised," he said.

"It's a very exciting time to be with the NDP right now coming from a party of one to a party of five.

"There's certainly going to be a lot more voices in the house to represent the people's views."

Mr. Mitchelmore said the red and orange tint of Northern Newfoundland and Southern Labrador could affect real change for those living in the region.

"I'm very encouraged by the stronger opposition on both sides," he said.

"There's an ability now to create a more balanced and level playing field when it comes to making sure we get the best programming and the best available tax dollars for the people of the province.

"And when it comes to the fishery, we want to correct some of the problems and challenges that are there and I think having two people critiquing the government in that field, and working with them in cooperation, could achieve some of these goals."

Mr. Mitchelmore said he was more than happy to work with the government if it meant better results for those who voted for him and the province as a whole.

"My candidate card said ‘I will work to raise the issues and work to find cooperative solutions' and they can't be achieved just by myself," he said.

"I'm very eager to work with the current government as well, because we do have to cooperate and it seems like the current government is wanting that as well."

Mr. Mitchelmore is still in the process of opening two constituency offices - one in Mr. Dean's former digs in St. Anthony and a second to be based out of his home in Green Island Cove - but he has hired his constituency assistant, Lavinia Crisby.

The early days of his fledging political career have been busy, Mr. Mitchelmore said, meeting with town councils, constituents while attending a host of public engagements across his district, and further afield at events such as the Municipalities of Newfoundland and Labrador convention.

Meanwhile, Mr. Bennett and Mr. Kirby were officially sworn into the House of Assembly last Wednesday, two weeks after the majority of elected officials took their oaths. Both men were unavailable to attend the gala event because of work commitments.

Organizations: NDP

Geographic location: Northern Peninsula, March.Member, Northern Newfoundland Southern Labrador St. Anthony Green Island Cove Newfoundland and Labrador

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