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Rex Murphy commentary about Newfoundland’s Clyde Wells

The Story


Clyde Wells, the measured and business-like premier of Newfoundland and Labrador for the past six years, resigned today. Not one for the populist oratories that characterized premiers like Smallwood and Peckford, Wells was instead known for his reasonableness and fortitude. He also had significant national impact and shepherded his province through the devastating collapse of the cod fishery. CBC commentator Rex Murphy, a fellow Newfoundlander, credits Wells with even more: Wells brought decorum to provincial politics. 

Medium: Television
Program: The National
Broadcast Date: Dec. 28, 1995
Commentator: Rex Murphy
Host: Anne Petrie
Duration: 6:40

Did You know?


• Unemployment has been a chronic problem in Newfoundland and Labrador for decades, exacerbated by the decline of the fishing industry. Between 1993 and 2003 official unemployment rates ranged from 15 to 21 per cent -- as much as twice the national average.
• In 1985 the provincial government established a royal commission to investigate the unemployment problem. The commission recommended emphasizing post-industrial business sectors like electronics and communications, and changes to the way employment insurance was administered.

• Another serious problem in Newfoundland and Labrador is "outmigration" -- people moving to other provinces in search of a better life. In 1997, St. John's East MP Norman Doyle told the House of Commons that his province was losing people at a rate of 7,500 a year; out of a population of only half a million.

• Rex Murphy was born and raised in St. John's, Nfld. A Rhodes Scholar, he went to Oxford University in 1968 (along with former U.S. President Bill Clinton). Back in Newfoundland, Murphy worked as executive assistant to the leader of the Liberal Party. He ran twice for office in provincial elections and lost both times. Rex Murphy contributes a weekly essay to CBC Television's The National and hosts CBC Radio's Cross Country Checkup.


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