LOCAL NEWS - JULY 17, 2020 – THE PROTEST ENDS TEMPORARILY IN BLANC-SABLON
More delays being experienced today for Labrador Marine Inc. passengers and employees as local residents from the Municipality of Blanc-Sablon, approximately 20 in total, continued to gather peacefully at the federal wharf today. However, with a new development this afternoon, the protest will end temporarily as leaders from the region will have a meeting on Monday with Newfoundland and Labrador.
Speaking this afternoon with Wanda Beaudoin, Mayor of the Municipality of Blanc-Sablon, and Randy Jones, Warden of the MRC du Golfe-du-Saint-Laurent, CFBS was informed that a meeting will take place on Monday with local leaders on the Lower North Shore, Randy Jones and Wanda Beaudoin, as well as with Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Dwight Ball, Minister Hon. Lisa Dempster, and Mayor and Chairperson of the Combined Councils of Labrador, Mr. Chad Letto of L'anse au Clair. The purpose of this meeting is to discuss the protest and what can be done in regards to possibly granting access to residents of the Lower North Shore. This may not mean that a solution will be quickly at hand, however this will be the first part of talks to take place since the protest began yesterday morning.
CFBS was also made aware this afternoon that Quebec Premier, François Legault, has been made aware of the protest situation in Blanc-Sablon. No word yet on if communication between the two provinces will take place to address to concerns of the region.
Protest organizer, Melissa Lavallee, said the protest was arranged because many people of the area are upset at not being able to have ease of access to Newfoundland island. Many from the region depend on having access to essential services in Newfoundland, like eye exams, veterinary services, access to major retailers for school supplies, as well as access for those who contribute to the economy of Newfoundland from the Lower North Shore by having property or cottages on Newfoundland island.
Keep in mind that since the middle of June, the border check point between our two provinces was lifted at L’anse au Clair/Blanc-Sablon by the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, giving residents of the Blanc-Sablon area access to neighboring Labrador communities. However, to have access to Newfoundland, residents outside of the Atlantic bubble would have to apply on the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador website for an exemption order to be allowed to travel to the island. Which does not guarantee that all who apply will be accepted for exemption.
So far today, the two crossings at Blanc-Sablon have been delayed for the Qajaq W. and for now, the protest will hold until the pending outcome of Monday's meeting.
More to come ....