June 23rd, 2024

In Newfoundland, a tin of sardines in the premier’s office has something to say

By The Canadian Press on February 27, 2023.

Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Andrew Furey and Quebec Premier François Legault pose in the office of the premier, at the Confederation Building in St. John's, Friday, Feb. 24, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Daly

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. – History, emotion and a tin of sardines hung over talks last week between Quebec Premier François Legault and Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Andrew Furey.

Grant Boland’s painting “Canned Fish” has a prominent spot in Furey’s office and drew curious questions from onlookers when it turned up in photos of Furey and Legault.

The painting shows a metal can of sardines with its lid partially curled back to reveal the silvery heads of the fish.

Boland admitted in an interview that by appearances, the painting is an “interesting choice” for the premier’s office.

But he says “Canned Fish” is a commentary on the commodification of the province’s fisheries, which makes it a great fit for a place of provincial power.

Legault was in St. John’s Friday to discuss the 1969 Churchill Falls hydroelectricity contract, which has long been a source of bitterness in Newfoundland and Labrador because it allows Quebec to profit heavily from most of the cheap energy produced by the falls in Labrador.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 27, 2023.

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