Nfld. & Labrador

'Year of the Cod' and 2 other policy resolutions the Liberal Party passed this weekend

A year-long celebration, a plastic bag ban and funding for in-vitro fertilization. Here's a look at three resolutions passed by the Liberal party this weekend.

Ball non-committal on 'Year of the Cod'

Members of the Liberal Party cast votes on policy resolutions during the annual general meeting in Gander. (Peter Cowan/CBC)

Dwight Ball managed to fetch 90 per cent of his party's support at this weekend's Liberal annual general meeting, but the leadership vote wasn't the only question posed to party members.

There were also several policy resolutions proposed — some accepted, others rejected.

Here is a look at three resolutions the party accepted in Gander on Saturday: 

1. "Year of the Cod"

Despite the commercial cod fishery being gone for 24 years and with no clear indication of when a booming fishery will return, the party intends to declare 2019 the "Year of the Cod."

The resolution, titled "Celebrating Cod Culture," proposes to mark the 25th anniversary of the cod moratorium in 2017, before going all out in 2019 with a week-long celebration of the province's "pride in being People of the Cod."

The resolution passed easily inside the Gander Hotel, but the reaction was different online, with many jabs and jokes.

In support of the motion, Gerry Byrne, minister of advanced education, made a jab at the previous government.

During a media scrum on Saturday night, Ball said the motion acknowledges the province's origins, but noted not all passed resolutions meet the same fate. 

"You always see resolutions that come from these conventions," he said with a grin. "Some of them see the light of day... so we'll see. We'll do some analysis on that."

2. Supporting the plastic bag ban

Furthering a story that's been in the news a lot in recent months, the Liberal party voted to ban disposable plastic shopping bags from stores in the province.

"Be it resolved, the Liberal Party of Newfoundland and Labrador urge the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador to adopt immediate legislation that implements a complete ban on plastic shopping bags," the motion read.

The City of St. John's has spent nearly half a million dollars to build a fence to keep plastic bags contained in the Robin Hood Bay Landfill. But as you can see, many bags still pollute the woods nearby. (CBC)

The issue has been tossed around since Nain ditched the bags in 2009. Fogo followed suit in 2015, and St. John's city councillor Sheilagh O'Leary urged the city to advocate a province-wide ban in September.

According to the Liberal resolution, Canadians use an average of 200 bags per year each, which they say equals 100,000,000 bags in N.L. annually.

3. Funding in-vitro fertilization 

Newfoundland and Labrador and Prince Edward Island are currently the only two Canadian provinces where in-vitro fertilization (IVF) is not available.

With a declining population and a non-sustainable fertility rate of 1.45 children per woman, the party proposes to cover IVF under the provincial medical care plan (MCP). 

This resolution was the second longest in a book of resolutions, clocking in with 13 points.

Dwight Ball gives a speech to party members last weekend at the Liberal Party annual general meeting in Gander. (Peter Cowan/CBC)

Other points raised included:

  • Women are putting off having children for career and economic reasons, with a lower chance of conceiving later in life
  • Hopeful parents travelling out of province are inclined to "opt for multiple embryo implantation" to increase the odds of conceiving, resulting in higher incidence of twins and triplets.
  • The expertise required is already present in the province and an IVF program could be in operation within two years.

With files from Peter Cowan