Born in Channel–Port aux Basques, Cabot Martin was a tireless advocate for the province and people of Newfoundland and Labrador. He used his voice to fight for what he thought was right, through a long career in public life and politics.
He served as an advisor on law and resource policy under Premiers Frank Moores and Brian Peckford. He studied law at Queen’s University and ocean law at the University of Miami. His advice, as an advisor to government, and his private contributions later, have had a major impact on his native province. Indeed, Cabot’s vision for the province’s oil and gas industry shaped its growth and development over a period of more than 50 years.
Cabot defended the province’s claim to ownership and later participated in the negotiations which led to joint management of offshore resources and to the 1985 Atlantic Accord which guaranteed that provincial royalty revenues would be the same as if the resource were located on land, rather than under the sea.
He combined his professional training with an indomitable will and indefatigable energy. His focus was on how we can improve our province by seizing control of its destiny and shaping a better future. Our abundant natural resources and their sage management were the keys to unlock and shape this better future.
Cabot had a vision for the fishery as a renewable resource whose management should rest more fully with those living adjacent to the resource, particularly inshore fish harvesters. He vigorously voiced the precautionary principle in fishery management to guard against overfishing. His vision for offshore oil and gas framed public policy in the province long before any drilling had begun, and he was instrumental in shaping the emerging industry so that its development would bring maximum benefit. Cabot believed these two sectors, the old fishery and the new petroleum industry, could make a better future for Newfoundland and Labrador if we managed them intelligently.
Just before his passing on September 2, 2022, he spoke out about the need to accelerate progress on natural gas, drawing upon gas hitherto used primarily to maintain pressure on existing oilfields but also to move our natural gas discoveries into production. He wrote about the need for citizen engagement on major renewable energy projects designed to produce green hydrogen using our abundant wind resources. Cabot believed that the best public policy decisions emerge when citizens are active participants and fully informed of the facts.
He will be remembered for his love of conversation, unwavering dedication to the province, his incredible energy and drive, and his passion for knowledge and friendship.
The Cabot Martin Award Fund for Research in Regional Policy and Development has been created in his memory.
The Cabot Martin Award Fund for Research in Regional Policy and Development
The Award is designed to honour Cabot’s contribution and to encourage practical applied research into the challenges facing Newfoundland and Labrador. It is intended to span a wide compass, directed toward the governance and policy issues which were so central to Cabot’s thinking, his writings and his public commentary. The Fund will be administered by the Harris Centre at Memorial University, enhancing the long-standing applied research support program offered by the Harris Centre in support of its “regional policy and development”. The Fund will support applied research projects of modest scale and may also be used to seed larger projects which might require supplementary funding from other sources. One research award valued at up to $15,000 will be conferred each year until funds are fully expended. Recipients will be required to give a public talk on the research results, with the talk to be called the Cabot Martin Lecture on Regional Public policy and Development in Newfoundland and Labrador.
Tax receipts will be provided for all donations.