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The government of Newfoundland and Labrador is throwing your future away.

Chitin and chitin-derivatives processed from shellfish byproducts were expected to be an 84 billion dollar global marketplace in 2015. We’re not even trying to tap into this market.

Right now the vast majority of NL’s most valuable byproduct is thrown right back into the ocean at a net loss to the producer instead of a benefit. We’re literally throwing money away.

If the government of NL had any foresight, they would have invested in industrial dehydrators already to prepare for the coming season. As it stands, most of that potential product will simply go back into the ocean as trash. They’ve known about the potential of the industry since 2015 but done nothing to move towards their promises of diversification.

Chitin and it’s derivatives are the second most abundant organic compound in the world. Cellulose from plants is the first. It has a complex interaction with organic chemistry that makes it ideal for use in a number of industries. Pesticide-free forestry and agriculture would be prime examples. It also has medical applications and can even be turned into a biodegradable plastic that comes apart if left in direct sunlight for a few weeks and turns into a fertilizer.

Instead of feeling guilty about throwing away a ton of plastic bags from the grocery store, we could have bags based on a renewable resource that could be used directly in home gardens. No more plastics filling our landfills, choking our rivers and streams and killing massive amounts of wildlife in the oceans.

Newfoundland and Labrador’s access to an abundant supply of chitin leaves us poised to become primary producers in the single most important marketplace of the green industrial revolution. It is a sustainable industry that goes beyond oil and simple food industries to become the foundation for a more sustainable future for everyone.

We don’t even have to get into secondary processing right away. We can simply store dried shell waste and sell that to secondary producers the same way we offload crude oil. The market is there and growing larger every day, but the government is making no effort to stimulate that portion of the economy.

Instead, they hand us a thousand little cuts that will do nothing but bleed the province dry so we can continue paying the padded salaries of public servants. People who likely spend their days on Facebook and Twitter, taking selfies and posting pictures about the expensive food they’re eating out of the public purse.

There is a distinct lack of vision and foresight in the current government. They’re so panicked over the price of oil they’re ignoring their campaign promise to diversify the economy. They’re robbing Peter to pay Paul Davis and can’t seem to plan their way out of a paper bag.

A smart government could turn our province into a leader in a renewable resources that will pave the way towards a green future for our children.

Instead we’ve got an ignorant and panicked elitist government that will wage class warfare and drown the province in debt rather than offend a few public servants with pay cuts. A government that makes the province a laughing stock by demanding a cover charge to work here that disproportionately targets the lower and middle class earners.

Did we elect public servants to office or have we gone back to the age of Kings?

This question needs to be answered.

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