A Teaser from Fishing Measures: A critique of desk-bound reason
Memorial University Press
One evening in early March 1936 a very frustrated Sir John Hope Simpson sat down at his writing desk in the little office next to his bedroom in the Newfoundland Hotel and wrote a letter to his son, Ian. In it, he vented about his job as Commissioner of Natural Resources in the recently organized Commission of Government. Sworn in on 16 February 1934, it was comprised of six British-appointed Commissioners — three from the United Kingdom, and three from Newfoundland — with the Governor acting as chairman. The Commission of Government aimed to resolve Newfoundland’s immediate fiscal crisis and to bring the economy out of the Great Depression, following the relinquishment of self-rule in 1933. As Commissioner of Natural Resources, Hope Simpson — a seasoned British administrator with over 20 years’ experience in the Indian Civil Service — was charged with governing and modernizing Newfoundland’s key resource industries: fishing, pulp and paper production, and mining. This was a daunting task that demanded a gruelling work schedule, a real intellectual and physical challenge, especially for someone on the verge of retirement. “I am tired frequently,” he wrote, “…I almost said ‘generally,’ and that would be true at the end of the day.”
In his letter to Ian, Hope Simpson complained that Newfoundlanders refused to acknowledge that living conditions in Newfoundland would continue to be deplorable until circumstances improved in the country’s primary industry: the export of salted and dried cod to Southern Europe and Latin America.
–Excerpted from Fishing Measures: A Critique of Desk-bound Reason, by Daniel Banoub. © Daniel Banoub. Published by Memorial University Press. memorialuniversitypress.ca