A life engaged in some of the most important policy issues that have dominated the post-Confederation era is not easily ignored.

Cabot Martin’s sudden passing, in September, stirred his friends, colleagues, and others familiar with his work; many want to honor his memory and encourage continued work in applied research and public policy development.

A “Friends of Cabot Martin” Committee has been formed to begin raising funds in support of a “Cabot Martin Award for Research in Regional Policy and Development” at Memorial University. The goal of the group is to raise approximately $100,000. “The Cabot Martin Research Award” will be conferred each year for six (or more) years, valued at up to $15,000, based on criteria to be developed and applied by Memorial University.

Memorial University has established a Web Site giving additional details of Cabot’s life, found at Cabot Martin, Giving to Memorial, Office of Development, Memorial University The public can donate on the site. All donations are tax deductible.

The Award will honour Martin who defended the province’s claim to ownership of our offshore resources, and later participated in the negotiations which led to joint Federal/Provincial management in the 1985 Atlantic Accord. The Accord guaranteed that provincial royalty revenues would be treated the same as if the resource was located on land.

In making the announcement, the Committee heralded what underlay Cabot’s natural resource focus which it defined as the economic independence of the province through local and careful management of our petroleum and fishery resources and, more recently, renewables such as wind and green hydrogen. Members suggested that this focus served a single goal: “to wrest control of our destiny and shape a better future.”

Though Cabot was best known for having advanced provincial management of the petroleum industry, as “a tireless promoter and protector of the fishery” he advocated the adjacency principle, giving first claim to inshore fish harvesters of the resource; he also advocated the “precautionary principle in fishery management” which spoke to the need to guard against overfishing. In addition to “Muskrat Madness” in 2012, and many Papers and Blog posts, he published “No Fish and Our Lives” well in advance of the Cod Moratorium of the 1980s.

He had an enormous influence on public policy at the early stage of the province aquaculture industry. As David Vardy likes to say, Cabot was not just a “thinker”, he was a “doer”. After he left the provincial government in the mid 1980s, he helped pioneer cod farming and later became involved in on-land oil and gas exploration in the Deer Lake Basin.

Committee Member Ray Andrews wrote that “Cabot’s unwavering enthusiasm to support the NL fishery, especially the inshore, was evidence in his untiring efforts, which on some occasions were considered outside the box.”

Always guiding Cabot Martin’s work was the conviction that the best public policy decisions result from informed citizen engagement. It seems fitting that one of the conditions of the Award is a public lecture by the recipient on their findings.

Stated David Vardy, “Cabot was a tireless promoter of the resources of the province. Advancing applied research projects, even on a modest scale, seems a fitting way to acknowledge the lifetime that he spent promoting responsible resource development based on sound public policy.”

Committee Member, Pat Laracy added: “Cabot had an insatiable curiosity which led him into many ventures throughout his life, all of which were motivated with the best interests of the province in mind.”

The Friends of Cabot Martin Committee hope that, in addition to members of the public, the offshore oil and fishing industries will give their support and contribute to the Award. 

Members of the “Friends of Cabot Martin” Committee include Des Sullivan, Chair, David Vardy, Ray Andrews, Diana Baird, Jonathan Moir, Carol Osmond, Rob Strong, Phonse Fagan, Con O’Brien, and Douglas Moores.

Memorial University has established a Web Site giving additional details of Cabot’s life. Donations to the “Cabot Martin Award for Research in Regional Polcy and Development” may be made on the site at Cabot Martin, Giving to Memorial, Office of Development, Memorial University or by mailing a cheque or money order payable to:

Memorial University

Office of Development

Cabot Martin Award
P.O. Box 4200
St. John’s, NL A1C 5S7

All donations are tax deductible.

Des Sullivan
Des Sullivan
St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada Uncle Gnarley is hosted by Des Sullivan, of St. John's. He is a businessman engaged over three decades in real estate management and development companies and in retail. He is currently a Director of Dorset Investments Limited and Donovan Holdings Limited. During his early career he served as Executive Assistant to Premier's Frank D. Moores (1975-1979) and Brian Peckford (1979-1985). He also served as a Part-Time Board Member on the Canada-Newfoundland Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board (C-NLOPB). Uncle Gnarley appears on the masthead representing serious and unambiguous positions on NL politics and public policy. Uncle Gnarley is a fiscal conservative possessing distinctly liberal values and a non-partisan persusasion. Those values and opinions underlie this writer's views on NL's politics, economy and society. Uncle Gnarley publishes Monday mornings and more often when events warrant.


Bill left public life shortly after the signing of the Atlantic Accord and became a member of the Court of Appeal until his retirement in 2003. During his time on the court he was involved in a number of successful appeals which overturned wrongful convictions, for which he was recognized by Innocence Canada. Bill had a special place in his heart for the underdog.

Churchill Falls Explainer (Coles Notes version)

If CFLCo is required to maximize its profit, then CFLCo should sell its electricity to the highest bidder(s) on the most advantageous terms available.


This is the most important set of negotiations we have engaged in since the Atlantic Accord and Hibernia. Despite being a small jurisdiction we proved to be smart and nimble enough to negotiate good deals on both. They have stood the test of time and have resulted in billions of dollars in royalties and created an industry which represents over a quarter of our economy. Will we prove to be smart and nimble enough to do the same with the Upper Churchill?