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Province doesn't understand outport life


Dear editor, The Grand Bruit resettlement is a situation that I lived through when my aunt Mag Feltham of Bragg's Island told me she would have to move soon as the government ordered them to do so. I lived on Bragg's Island for a number of my early childhood years with Mr. and Mrs. Elias Feltham. I was a good listener and got to absorb some of the emotional feelings many people were having at that time. I moved back to Wesleyville in Bonavista Bay and shortly after people started to resettle.

Letter to the editor - Dear editor,

The Grand Bruit resettlement is a situation that I lived through when my aunt Mag Feltham of Bragg's Island told me she would have to move soon as the government ordered them to do so.

I lived on Bragg's Island for a number of my early childhood years with Mr. and Mrs. Elias Feltham. I was a good listener and got to absorb some of the emotional feelings many people were having at that time. I moved back to Wesleyville in Bonavista Bay and shortly after people started to resettle.

I commented on this article because I know that further down the road, there will be many regrets and psychological problems, as in the past, especially for the older residents of Grand Bruit. There are many residents of the resettlement era today who look back on it all as a big nightmare!

There is absolutely no difference as to when Premier Smallwood had the people resettle from Braggs Island in Bonavista Bay, than today in Grand Bruit. Premier Smallwood admitted to uprooting the livelihood of many and they never got resettled again. The roots of the elderly died from the time they left the islands in Bonavista Bay.

Those in government don't have the slightest idea about the life of Newfoundlanders living in the outports. As one official remarked to me, do you know us people here in St. John's are paying taxes to keep people in the outports? Little do they know that it was the hard working fishermen, lumberjacks and miners of Newfoundland and Labrador that kept St. John's on the map. The people of St. John's squeezed every penny when times were bad in the fishery and forestry.

However, it is sad to see the government of Premier Danny Williams following in the same footsteps as the Smallwood government did. The officials are telling people you have no choice but to move on in your life. They don't care what happens to the elderly once they steam away from Grand Bruit with tears in their eyes and swallowing that emotional lump in their throats.

To get answers to questions from government officials has not changed since the 1950s. They have no answers as they don't get any constructive plans from government. The officials are the whips of government, so you must bow and move on like a dog with its tail between its hind legs. People should not be punished by telling them they have to move on, and they don't have rights anymore.

My late Uncle Roland and Aunt Sarah Lane of Bragg's Island resettled under the Smallwood whip in the late 1950's and their livelihood roots died with the first snap of the government officials whips and unanswered questions.

History will tell the true story once again when many of our elderly folks of Grand Bruit have passed on. It will all become another chilling story to absorb for our grandchildren in many years to come.

How unworthy we become when purse strings of governments are squeezed for dollars and cents at the human expense. It will once again cause many lifelong psychological problems as it did before. One should not be forced out of their childhood homes and communities if they don't want to, just for governments' conveniences.

Sincerely,

Frank Blackwood

Richmond Hills, Ont.

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