Lori Dyson, seeking Liberal nomination, wants more resource benefits for Labrador
During a recent flight between Happy Valley-Goose Bay and the island portion of the province, Lori Dyson met a young man from Manitoba. After striking up a conversation, Dyson asked him why he was flying into Labrador. The man replied that he was working at the Muskrat Falls project.
© Derek Montague/The Labradorian
Lori Dyson, born and raised in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, will be seeking the Liberal nomination for the Lake Melville District. Dyson has been surrounded by politics all of her life and says she wants to ensure Labradorians get maximum benefits from their own resources.
Dyson then inquired what kind of job the man held, thinking he must be somebody highly specialized since he was flying in from all the way out west. His answer took Dyson by surprise.
“He said, ‘oh, just a labour job … my buddy got me a job,’” recalled Dyson.
“And that really bothered me, knowing that there are so many qualified people in the area, not to mention labourers … who are getting overlooked.”
Dyson is one of four candidates who are seeking the Liberal nomination for the Lake Melville district, along with Brandon Pardy, Waylon Williams and Perry Trimper. For whoever wins the nomination, Muskrat Falls will be a hot-button issue.
“I kind of make no bones about the fact that … I wasn’t a supporter of the Muskrat Falls project. That comes with what happened with the Upper Churchill development,” said Dyson.
“That being said, the Muskrat Falls project is here and I think that the people who should be benefitting from the project are Labradorians, first and foremost and, in a lot of cases, that’s not happening.”
Dyson believes that Labradorians, in general, don’t receive enough benefits from resource development in the Big Land.
“There’re a lot of resources leaving Labrador and I think it’s time that Labradorians are the first ones to benefit from them.”
Dyson points to the annual Labrador Expo as an example of Labrador’s resource exploitation. She notes that, at the tradeshow, so many business representatives come from outside of Labrador.
“You run into so many different business opportunities and different companies that are coming in, because of what’s happening in Labrador,” said Dyson.
“But it was sad on a certain scale to see very few local representation within the Expo. So you look around and you see all of these other businesses that are profiting off of businesses that we own.”
Dyson has been surrounded by political people all of her life. Her father, Gerald Dyson, had a reputation of being one of the most vocal “armchair politicians” in Happy Valley-Goose Bay.
“I grew up in a household that was political … I remember being a kid and, we sat down and we had to watch the news with our mom and dad, well mostly our dad,” said Dyson.
“Dad always said ‘you owe it to the world to know what’s going on around you.’ So that kind of rubbed off from my father for sure.”
Later on in life, she would marry Randy Edmunds, who would be elected Torngat Mountains MHA in 2011.
Dyson had been involved with volunteer work and non-profit organizations much of her life. While living in Makkovik, she even sat on the community’s town council. But after her husband’s election victory, Dyson realized she wanted to get involved with provincial politics.
“It’s something I seriously thought about since Randy got elected,” said Dyson. “Just by seeing the work that he does, and how he loves his job.”
Even though she is married to a provincial MHA, Dyson isn’t worried about living in her husband’s political shadow.
“I think people will probably associate me with being Gerald Dyson’s daughter long before Randy Edmund’s wife,” said Dyson.
“My dad was probably the biggest armchair politician in all of Labrador. He was very passionate about the environment … there wasn’t a community meeting that happened anywhere that didn’t either attend or know what was going on.”
Despite being a part of a mainstream political party, Dyson claims to have an individualistic approach to voting.
“I don’t really consider myself a party person. When it comes to voting, I try to vote for the person whose views are the same as mine,” said Dyson.
In fact, during the 2007 provincial election, Dyson supported PC candidate Patty Pottle.
“We were big supporters of Patty Pottle,” said Dyson. “And it wasn’t supporting the PC Party … we supported everything that she was doing to get elected.”