With the page turned on another calendar year, Churence Rogers, MP for Bonavista-Burin-Trinity is looking back at the year that was, while preparing for 2019.
“I inherited a couple of challenges,” said Rogers, who noted the potential job losses throughout the province when he first took the federal seat left vacant by now Lieutenant Governor of Newfoundland and Labrador Judy Foote, “I think we were successful in fighting that one and getting it back on par.”
Another issue was the decision by then-federal Fisheries minister Dominic LeBlanc to issue a fourth license for Arctic surf clams, which lead to concerns in the community of Grand Bank, while talk of a sea cucumber quota was a cause of concern for fishers on the province’s south coast.
Rogers noted he is still working to address some concerns of people within the fishery.
“I’ve been doing a lot of consulting and talking to industry people…to try and make sure that what’s done going forward is done with information from our province, with information from our fishery, (and) the people in the industry that know the industry so that we make decisions that are in the best interest of Newfoundland and Labrador…and Canada,” he said.
Rogers added that over the past year a lot of work has been done by the federal government in relation to tourism, including the federal and provincial levels of government partnering with cell phone providers to expand coverage on the island.
“I think it’s a motivation for private sector when we inject some public funds and to partner with them to make these services available to the people we represent,” he said. “It’s really an investment in the communities that we represent, it’s an investment in being able to provide for instance a small business the opportunity to be able to be connected to the internet — to be able to promote whatever it is they do online and be able to sell that online provincially, nationally, (and) internationally.”
Rogers, who is chairing the Liberal Party’s Caucus for Seniors, explained that going forward into the new year, one of the major areas he will be focusing on is seniors issues.
“We’ve been consulting with seniors’ groups across the country and trying to put together short-term initiatives that might help seniors and make their lives more comfortable financially,” he said.
The group is also putting together a long-term strategy that will be presented to the Prime Minister.
“I think there’s more that needs to be done to help look out for the seniors that we represent,” he said.
Rogers said he would also like to see the federal government invest in a communications infrastructure program that would help ensure all communities across the country have access to cell phone and broadband coverage.
“I think that would be a huge boost to everybody in those communities, and of course the travelling public who come to visit our communities,” he said.