By Susan White-MacPherson |
October 22, 2012
Former Newfoundland and Labrador premier Brian Peckford feels not only vindicated, but delighted, about the economic prosperity that is currently being enjoyed by many citizens of Newfoundland and Labrador.
Following a lecture to faculty members, staff and students in the RBC Atrium at the Faculty of Business Administration on Oct. 22, Mr. Peckford said, “Now my great saying – ‘One day the sun will shine and have not will be no more’ – has come true.”
Mr. Peckford spoke to the group of nearly 70 people about his role in developing the Atlantic Accord, the 1985 agreement between the governments of Canada and Newfoundland and Labrador to manage the province’s offshore oil and gas resources.
“It was a tough, tough time,” Mr. Peckford said of the road to signing the historic agreement, noting that the federal government tendency at the time was toward centralization with no thought of sharing resource revenues with the provinces.
“It was an unbelievably successful agreement for Newfoundland and Labrador,” Mr. Peckford said. “It just goes to show you that those who do their homework, and have a passion, and believe in what they do … can succeed against insurmountable odds.”
Mr. Peckford, who served as premier from 1979-89 and is currently touring the province to promote his new book of memoirs, One Day the Sun Will Shine and Have Not Will Be No More, was invited to speak by the Memorial University of Newfoundland (MUN) Marketing Association. The title of the book comes from a speech he gave in Gander during his time as premier.
“I think it’s just tremendous that Mr. Peckford took the time to visit with us,” said Dr. Kirby Shannahan, associate professor of marketing and faculty adviser for the marketing association. “What I hope everyone takes away from his talk is an appreciation for the business and management opportunities the Atlantic Accord was designed to provide.
“I also thought it was inspiring that he noted the importance of conviction and tenacity in conjunction with good information in the pursuit of a goal, no matter how challenging or unpopular that may be. That has great implications for academic, business and even personal pursuits.”
Lacey Thornhill, a bachelor of commerce student who is also a member of the MUN Marketing Association, says that among her generation, knowledge of the road to "have" status is lacking.
“It was great that he came in and I think it’s really important for our generation to have an understanding of all the issues that he spoke about,” she said.
Mr. Peckford was prompted to write his memoirs following the declaration in 2007 by then-premier Danny Williams that Newfoundland and Labrador was no longer a "have not" province.
“I thought it was time to put into historical perspective how important the [Atlantic] Accord was,” he said.
Mr. Peckford, who graduated from Memorial University with a bachelor of arts in education in 1966, added he was interested in speaking to this group of students to aid their understanding of how the agreement contributed to and is still relevant for the ongoing resource development happening across the province today.
“And any time I can advance reasonable discourse, well, I want to do that.”
The lecture also touched on wide-ranging topics including the role of the business community in pursuing long-term prosperity, the proposed Muskrat Falls project, the current state of the fishery and the sustainability of rural communities.