Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Yes, it would appear that the new equalization formula which has been variously decried as scandalous, a betrayal, valueless, and an overall insult to Newfoundland and Labrador has been signed by the government. Even the Fighting Newfoundlander must throw in the towel on some matches, and certainly this was a battle where the odds weren't in the province's favour. Despite the Premier promising just a short while ago that he was ready for a "new round of fighting," it looks like we'll all be going home, disappointed and sober, after the first round.
To some, this might look like a capitulation of Six Day War proportions; to others it'll resemble more of a Chamberlain-like compromise. In actuality, it's more of the latter; despite very strong implications and overtones of "never give in, never surrender" in the Premier's rhetoric since March, he avoided making any sort of definite statement a la Stephenville Mill with regards to the adoption of the equalisation formula. In Williams' own words, this is a sell out.
Politics, of course, is all about conflict, compromise, and the occasional flip-flop. This is nothing new, and this sort of quietly changing the course is a staple of almost every time a government has ever loudly fought a battle it couldn't win.
However, it's the fact that this is nothing new that's precisely the problem. The Premier and his government have built themselves up as the Fighting Newfoundlanders, eschewing the old ways of doing politics that have gotten the province so far in the hole and let our resources be exploited to the brink of no return; this is a Premier that promised to "stay the course" on getting our fair share and doing not only what is best, but what is right for the people of this province; above all, this is a Premier and a government that have proclaimed, on a large number of occasions, that there will be no more giveaways. And, as they should rightly do for that sort of representation, the province gave this government a positively monolithic mandate.
What we've got now, today, with the signing of the new equalisation formula, is a de facto admission that the new politics and new hope for change promised by the Premier was in fact simply rhetoric. A Fighting Newfoundlander who gives up when the going gets rough; a captain who is only steady at the wheel in calm weather, and who will avoid the risks of uncharted waters in exchange for a smooth, if rather lackluster, ride; a sudden switch to pragmatism from principle because it's "what's best for the province."
The actual mechanics and costs vs. benefits of this deal are essentially irrelevant (although it bears repeating that both the government and the economists who've looked at it have dismissed its worth) at this point, because ultimately what this deal means to the people of this province is that we're just getting more of the "politics of mediocrity" that the Tories vowed to do away with.
And unfortunately, that means that the credibility of the Leviathan we elected is the only joke in this entire entry.
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
This shouldn't come as a surprising development for anyone, of course - it was painfully obvious watching the man over the past year that he didn't want the job of Opposition Leader. And who could blame him? Personally, I wouldn't want to meet the man who was eager to play the part of Judas in what is very much Danny Williams' passion play. That, and his decision to step down should have been obvious to anyone who heard his concession speech, during which his emotional display ranged somewhere between "winning the lottery" and "holding your child for the first time."
Speaking of passion plays, the Premier, in his infinite mercy and compassion, doled out praise for Reid in his performance as the Moriarty to his Holmes; apparently underneath the vendetta politics and accusations of being a totally incompetent, ineffective and useless Opposition Leader who would destroy the province if elected Premier, there were actually no hard feelings on Danny's side of things and Reid really wasn't as bad as previously depicted. If I hadn't decided at twelve that the only appropriate emotional response to my first breakup was to become cold, detached and dead inside, this display of
Reid's accomplishments (or lack thereof, depending on your political orientation) as Opposition Leader aside, his decision to step down is a pretty intelligent one. Personally, as alluded to, it not only allows him to be done with the thankless job of criticizing the most popular Premier since Joey, but also to finally enjoy the pension that is the raison d'etre for most of the PC backbenchers elected a month ago.
That said, the downside to Gerry Reid throwing in the towel is that this allows the rest of the old guard to step into the ring again for another shot at getting the blood money entitled to Judas. Not surprisingly, John Efford is still jumping at the opportunity for
And therein lies the true brilliance of Gerry Reid's curtain call - say what you will about him, but he's not stupid. The "New Liberalism" theme was thrown around alot on the campaign trail, but in the end it was little more than a cheap air freshener hanging from the rearview mirror of a campaign bus reeking something fierce; Reid is fully aware of this, and is equally aware of the fact that no one in this province will want to ride the Liberal bus come next election if they try to cover that stench with a few spurts of Febreeze.
No, the only way the Liberals will get rid of that smell is to take out the trash once and for all.
Saturday, November 10, 2007
He lurched out into the kitchen and squinted at the floor, averting his eyes from the rays of sunlight that cut through the room like blades. He flailed his arms blindly at the curtains in an attempt to get them shut, but the curtains relented until the curtain rod itself snapped in half and the whole fixture fell into the kitchen sink. He sighed, unsurprised. Abject failure was not a new sensation for him. He poured a pot of water into his coffee machine, and tore another page off his 365 DAYS OF GARFIELD calender. November ninth.
Had it really been a month? The fruition of a month of seeing the city dyed in blue with the occasional red or orange highlight, CBC's news anchors feigning surprise when announcing the Tory majority after 20 minutes, the happiest speech of Gerry Reid's career as Liberal leader, the coronation of the new Caesar in the Fairmont's open bar, all of that happened a month ago? That night seemed to have happened in both the immediate past and some ancient, primordial memory only dimly recalled when smelling homemade bread or that perfume your highschool sweetheart used to wear. He raised a cup of black coffee to his lips and sighed again, thinking yes, that certainly was an election all right.
He walked into the living room and looked over to the corner at his computer, its hard drive whining at him under the strain of a thousand different trojans and spyware programs because he refused to upgrade from Windows 98. Slurping loudly on his coffee, his thoughts returned to his neglected corner of cyberspace, buried under the weight of a thousand documents that needed immediate attention and an overpowering sense of political nihilism. What was the point? Luther could nail 95 Theses of Local Politics to the doors of the Confederation Building and it wouldn't make a lick of difference to anyone except that he'd be blacklisted from working in the civil service; an unread blog certainly wouldn't fare any better, even if time and workload permitted it.
He shrugged the thought off and sat down in front of his computer and cracked his knuckles. Might as well get some work done, then. As he opened up his inbox to check for new email, he noticed an advertisement at the top of the page and immediately spit out his coffee. He blinked and rubbed his eyes. No, it was real. He leaned back in his chair and raised an eyebrow contemplatively.
He thought for a moment at the inanity of it all, and took another sip of coffee. You know, he thought, maybe there is a need for Richard Raleigh after all.
Monday, October 8, 2007
You could even say that it could be the deciding factor for where we should be casting our ballots tomorrow.
If you're still in any way undecided about tomorrow, of if you're harbouring any lingering doubts about the candidate to whom you've tentatively pledged your vote, just remember this:
You can't spell Danny Williams without Slimy Anal Wind.
Someone once said that all of life's wisdom can be revealed through anagrams, for anagrams never lie.
Think about that on your way to the polling booth tomorrow.
In the meantime, I shall see you all tomorrow evening once we've passed through the veil into a brave new world that will likely resemble the one we've got now except the Premier will probably take a few more seats, unless something magical happens and the Liberals take those 6-12 seats that some people have been whispering about.
Until then, of course, may the best men, women, and, in a couple cases around the metro region, children, win. Regardless of what happens, here is to another four years of hilariously absurd governance in Newfoundland and Labrador!
Monday, October 1, 2007
Anyways fortunately enough this election has been really bizarre in the sense that not a whole lot of noteworthy events have really been constantly happening but the things that have made the news are just short of scriptedly-absurd. I mean, we haven't quite reached the "Dick Cheney shoots a man in the face" level of just-add-water political satire but my God we can't be far off. Personally I was
So, since I have been unfortunately absent from the internet for too long so far I'm going to attempt and cover my bases by providing the Reader's Digest Condensed NL Election Campaign 2007 Lexicon And Run-On Sentence Extravaganza! I hope you like rehashed 2-week old jokes because that is what you're all in for!
And so, without further ado:
1. Leader's Debate 2007 or How Fred Hutton learned to stop trying to keep order and just kind of roll with it
I am not even able to exaggerate when I write the following sentence: that was the worst hour of television I have ever experienced in my life. It was painful. But it wasn't painful in any sort of partisan sense - every leader's performance was cringe-worthy in its own special way. Lorraine Michaels looked like she was doped up full of Vicodin or something, and in between trying to feign excitement for possibly running 37 whole candidates in the election and uttering the phrase "well, I don't really know if we'd do a better job than the Liberals" I kind of hope she was really high or something, because if not then that party is in much harder shape than originally thought.
Meanwhile, poor Gerry Reid sounded like he was jonesing something awful the whole time, and while he managed to drop a few ice burns on Danny Williams ("You haven't done anything for rural Newfoundland and you know it!" and "Well, I'd like to comment on the MOU but that would require the Premier to have released some details about it to the public" were some of the more memorable ones) they were lost when he and the Premier engaged in a shouting match reminiscent of a bad divorce.
Speaking of the Premier, I really hope someone sent him a memo regarding posture. I mean, I understand that his slouching in over the podium was probably meant to send the message that Danny Williams is a pretty cool guy you could just go grab a beer with and it would be all casual-like but instead he just looked incredibly smug. Like, the kind of smug that you only get from your six-year-old nephew who willfully destroys your old and incredibly valuable baseball cards but you're the only one who sees him and so his mother yells at you for being some kind of monster for daring to suggest that her little angel could do something and while she's busy hauling him away muttering about how this is why you will die friendless and alone he gives you this look like he knows that he can get away with whatever he wants without suffering any negative consequences - that was the attitude the Premier had throughout that entire debate.
To make a long story short, I guess, I'd rather read a Dan Brown novel than sit through that debate again. Yes, it really was that bad.
2. Danny Williams is such a nice guy he'll give you a thousand dollars to have unprotected sex!
This has been beaten to death but really it is worth mentioning again as it is one of the worst ideas ever. I mean this is a terrible idea on tons of levels, but even if you skip over the fact that this is only appealing to people in situations of endemic poverty who are all out of options, or the fact that these birth bribes as a method of population growth didn't even work for the Nazis, you're still left with the fundamental problem of not having enough jobs for their parents or even the children whenever they grow up. The best way to keep people in the province is probably to create jobs or something like that but hey we got that MOU so construction on the eighty thousand oil rigs are going to start in the fall, right?
All this aside, if there are any attractive ladies out there in internetland feel free to drop me a line and go halfs on a baby or something, because I could totally go for 500 free dollars.
3. "What health care crisis? ...oh, shi-"
As someone all too familiar with Grand Falls I probably found it a lot funnier than I should have that it would be the site of one of Williams' more amusing moments of the election, but the image of Danny saying "You can't be serious" when told just how bad the hospital situation will forever be etched in my mind. It leaves almost a little hope that maybe Danny really is up there doing his best and his ministers are actually hiding this stuff from him so he doesn't look bad, but then you remember that even if that was the case instead of the Punch-and-Judy puppetshow that is the Williams administration then its still pretty sad that the premier would be so clueless as to the state of the healthcare system to be pretty shocked by actually going to a hospital beyond the overpass. What was it he said about St. John's being neglected? Also, saying that the hospital will be standing in line with deteriorating schools and roads was a nice touch too. That's cool, I'd rather die from lupus while being treated for the flu than hit a pothole, too.
Of course, there is a lot left to the election (read: 8 days) and ideally I will be able to cover things as they develop rather than assault the English language and break your scroll button every other week so we will see how it goes. Things you can expect to be on the agenda of business which could be considered serious:
- Election Predictions 2007: The Roland Butler Appreciation Station and I am going to hope, for the sake of the future of political comedy in this province, that the Natural Resources Minister is beaten by a 20 year old political science major
- An in-depth analysis of why this election is quickly turning into a contest to see which party is made up of the least people from St. John's
- And other hard-hitting reporting on Election 2007 as it develops, etc.
Remember, folks: if it happens in the election season, you'll hear it at Serious Business
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
Anyways with the election campaign just around the corner I figured this would be prime time to actually re-establish a connection with the outside world. Elections are like the Stanley Cup playoffs for me, and since I don't watch hockey I need to find some way to vent about deficient players and which team captains should be fired and how most of the time the referees are making calls that are mindblowingly terrible. I'd go on about the similarities between hockey and politics but that would require me to actually know anything about hockey, so I'll stop here because this digression has just gotten outrageous.
Assuming the people who might be reading this follow current events, I'm sure by now you're well aware of the government's new energy plan which was released yesterday. While this move is sure to please the large demographic of people (this includes candidates in the upcoming election, just so you know) in this province who can't tell the difference between an MOU and a deal that has construction on oil rigs starting next week and who also cannot be bothered to actually read anything the government releases, I think it should be worth at least a glance over. While I again freely admit that I am no economist, I have given it a few runthroughs and have managed to draw up a very succinct flowchart of Williams' new plan:
Step 1. Insist on 10% equity stake in any oil development
Step 2. Mention development of Lower Churchill
Step 3. ???
Step 4. Profit
(Ten points if you catch the reference)
If I'm not mistaken, I believe it was pseudo-philosopher and right-wing czarina Ayn Rand who once said "Throughout the centuries there were men who took the first steps down new roads armed with nothing but their own vision." While our premier probably isn't an Objectivist, it would probably be for the best if he'd share the actual mechanics of his great vision with the rest of us - if there is anything history and campy 80s horror films have taught us, it's that not having a roadmap always ends terribly with either Quebec owning your electricity or a man in a William Shatner mask trying to tear open your car door.
(Or I guess you could combine those two metaphors and wind up with something like "Quebec is the William Shatner of Canada" but then I think saying something like that might constitute a hate crime.)
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Anyways, I was moved to venture out towards a public internet terminal because I've been noticing a curious infestation in the city here as of late.
It would appear that the city of St. John's has contracted a sudden case of Liberals.
Well, federal Liberals, at least. The party has apparently selected St. John's as the host city for their National Caucus events this year, and all the Liberal MPs and Senators have come out in force to apparently take in our wonderful scenery such as the vertical streets and The Bubble.
I'm not sure how far in advance this National Caucus bit is planned, but I can't say I'm especially surprised that the Red Army has chosen to set up camp here for the week; it's a safe bet that Newfoundland and Labrador is the national capital of anti-Tory sentiment at the moment, and because this province will never vote NDP without a gun to its head, assumedly the Liberals recognise that we will likely go entirely red in the next federal election and are most likely going to prod us in that direction over the coming days, weeks and months.
This, of course, is a pretty easy thing for Stephane Dion and his compatriots to do. Much to the chagrin of their provincial counterparts, the federal Liberal party can very easily sidle up with Danny Williams and his ~80% approval rating, and being who they are can also tap into this province's natural vitriol for Stephen Harper. For the Liberals, this is like the Grand Banks except instead of cod it is votes and the Premier is like a magical vote-collecting factory trawler (think Theodore Tugboat) and all they've got to do is rubber stamp his approval to collect all the votes until they run out and there is a moratorium declared and all the votes leave for Alberta and oh God the post-traumatic stress disorder is back and-
But is it really that strange for the Liberal Party of Canada to endorse a provincial Tory premier? Vote-garnering political rationality aside, the logic for such a move really does run a little deeper than it might first appear. Federally, politics is largely driven along more ideological lines; you can see a distinction between the centre-left Liberals and the more neo-conservative Conservatives - it's not quite as stark as the constrast between the Democrats and Republicans who wage war for control of the imperial palace to the south, but it's definitely there.
Not so much in provincial politics, however; in Newfoundland and Labrador, at least, we operate on a much more pragmatic basis, and there isn't really a strong overarching ideological theme to the parties here - we kind of just do what seems like a good idea at the time. Liberals and Liberals because their fathers and grandfathers were, and likewise with the Tories; this is why we've got this weird situation where Liberal premiers will make cuts to the public service and Tory premiers will insist on a (at least partial) nationalisation of natural resources and industries.
So, think about it - if you really look at what he's doing, is Premier Williams seem like more of a neocon ala Harper or did he actually know what he was talking about when he called himself a 'Red Tory' last year? While this is admittedly just a pet theory of mine, it's not entirely inconceivable that in another place and another time, Danny Williams might have been a federal MP flying under the banner of the Liberal Party of Canada. I mean, he's obviously got that fiscally conservative streak about him, but wasn't one Mr. Martin once fitted with that description? (Speaking of Martin, he should somewhere within the city limits of St. John's as I write this - I hear he likes to party, so make sure you bring your camera to George Street tonight.)
So in that sense, when Stephane Dion has a meeting with the Premier about economic issues or provincial Liberal MPs come out with reactions to Williams ranging from 'endorsement' to 'praise', it's not just to score political points here in the province - it may be because these kissing cousins legitimately see eye to eye on the issues.
Mmm, that's good food for thought. On that note, I'm off to go dig my camera out of a box and go out on a safari for some of Canada's political quasi-celebrities. If anyone catches a shot of Belinda Stronach, make sure to mail it to me so I can
And with that, we now return you to your regularly scheduled hiatus.
Friday, August 24, 2007
Can't you taste the difference in the air? I knew it as soon as I awoke yesterday morning. Things were different.
We are officially living in a post-MOU world, and nothing will ever be the same.
I mean, its not a legally binding agreement, and we have very few details other than that it is the greatest deal in the history of time (or at least since Europeans traded smallpox for North America in the 17th century), but still. It's the thought that counts.
However, like all earth-shattering events that may or may not happen in the future, our new post-MOU world raises important questions. Namely, whether or not we'll have an Opposition on October 10th, or even if we need one.
Bill Rowe has been abusing the word 'juggernaut' over the past few days in talking about the Williams government machine, and as much as he is in desperate need of a thesaurus, he has a very good point; Williams may as well attach a steamroller to the front of his RV. Obviously, this throws some doubt on future existence of an Opposition party for the next 4 years or so.
This question of democracy comes on the heels of this wonderous deal-to-probably-make-a-deal and the Premier's intentions to not set it before the legislature for any kind of vote or examination of the details. But don't take my word for it:
"I hadn't even considered [bringing the details before the legislature] quite frankly[...][The opposition] would probably carry government in on their shoulders and pass it with a blink … This deal, is such a good deal for the government of Newfoundland and Labrador, that ratification wouldn't be an issue."The current question of the future of the Opposition in this province has divided the province into two key camps:
- Premier Danny Williams, according to CBC.ca
- Those people who love Danny Williams and who believe he can do no wrong but think there should be an Opposition there just to prove democractically that he can actually do no wrong; and,
- Those people who love Danny Williams and believe he can do no wrong so there is no real reason to have an Opposition anyways because it will only slow down Danny's progress (made on a go-forward basis)
The best exemplary of this view was expressed by Minister Kathy Dunderdale calling into VOCM's BackTalk yesterday afternoon to reassure us that we don't need to be worried about the future of our democracy if/when the PCs win all 48 seats in the province.
Her rationale for this came in two major points. After reiterating that August 22nd was the greatest day in the history of the province, she first asserted that Premier Williams legitimately is Newfoundland's Messiah by informing us that:
"He is such a consensus builder [...] everyone in government is on the same page when we go into the House [...] he's such a visionary and I'm very excited and grateful to be working along with him."
- Kathy Dunderdale
With the memory of Fabian Manning and crab fishermen haunting my dreams, I was extremely worried that some MHAs may dissent with the Premier. I'm sure you can imagine my relief to find out that Danny Williams is committed to making sure everyone on his side of the House has the exact same position on every issue as he does. It's good to know that a 100% majority of PCs in the province would move as fast as possible to make Danny's visions a reality.
Secondly, and more importantly, the Minister made the same argument that most pro-Blue Flood indivduals have made on the airwaves: namely, that the current Opposition is basically useless and accomplishes nothing anyways, so by having no Opposition nothing will change at all (except that things will get better because Danny will get things done even faster).
This argument makes perfect sense. The Opposition has been too busy nitpicking silly things like transparency issues over fibre-optic cables or which government officials knew what about hormone test problems or whether or not selling FPI was handled properly. Most of the time the Opposition itself has admitted these are good ideas anyways, so why should we elect them again just to stand in the way of great progress? If there is one thing that history has shown, it's that when good ideas are involved, un-checked governments are physically incapable of acting in a corrupt manner.
So when the government says that getting our MOU was a beautiful, historic day for this province, they were right. Whether or not the deal ultimately turns out in a few years to be as marvellous as we're told or not (I'm not an economist, I only play one on television), that is not the real reason for the Premier's giddiness on Wednesday.
What was really happening at that press conference was a pulic approval-rating sanction to turn government up on Warp 9 in reshaping the province as our Prophet-in-Chief sees fit by any means so long as its "a good idea".
So remember where you were at noon on August 22nd, 2007: the day democracy in Newfoundland and Labrador became obsolete.
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
I mean, other small island populations have successfully become countries, so we should be able to do the same thing, right?
I'm not sure why not threatening to separate from the country is viewed as being a "wimpy" thing to do; to me, at least, advocating this separation schtick as opposed to working within the system to create a meaningful and constructive dialogue across the Canadian federation is akin to breaking up by sending your girlfriend a text message saying "btw we r broke up now n u can keep my stuff :(" rather than sitting down and actually talking about your problems to try and work something out. Maybe I've been out of juniour high too long and I forget the philosophical underpinnings of break-up-via-note-delivered-by-a-friend-of-a-friend that explain why it's as courageous as standing up to the tanks in Tianamen Square, but somehow I just don't see it.
But hey, I don't know what I'm talking about; I mean, I am afterall disagreeing with someone who hosts a radio show.
Thursday, August 16, 2007
How do I know that at least one Liberal will have a parking spot on Confederation Hill come October 10th?
Because Jones has managed something hitherto thought impossible; being a strong Liberal MHA who not only looks like a better choice than the Tory candidate in her district but can also gain some bonus points by being able to praise Danny "The Size of my Poll is not Compensating for Anything" Williams. This would be one of those "I'll eat my hat" moments but fortunately for me I neither wear hats nor made any sort of prior statement regarding such activities.
That said, Dennis Normore made himself a pretty easy target for slagging by all sides. I think he was under the impression he was running for a seat in the Supreme Soviet instead of the House of Assembly; I don't believe I've heard things like "we need to be on the government side [...] otherwise we're going to pay dearly for it" or "this region may be sacrificial in the upcoming election" spoken so plainly since the days when Communists roamed the Earth.
Although Normore is in most likelihood right in his statements (if you look at how politics have worked in this province running back to
The only problem is that in this game we're the ball, and the rules work in such a way that no matter which team wins, loses, cheats or steals, we're still the ones who end up getting kicked around in the dirt. Dennis Normore was way out of line, but there's no way he didn't say anything everyone else - Liberal and Tory - weren't already thinking.
I'd call it a Freudian slip, but it looks like Normore's subconscious is wearing teflon shoes on a sheet of wet ice.
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
What did actually manage to surprise me, however, was that some people seem to think that Harper leaving Jim Flaherty in the position of Finance Minister is only now signalling that the Atlantic Accord business means little or nothing to Harper.
We have been following the same story, right?
This isn't like an episode of LOST where we're now suddenly realising that THERE WERE TWO ISLANDS ALL ALONG [warning: the preceding sentence contains a spoiler]; if Harper's unscrupulous nature wasn't immediately apparent on the first day of his mandate in making patronage appointments or goading floor crossing from the Liberals, then one could have assumed that his openly musing about reneging on his promise of excluding resource revenues from the equalization formula was probably a better indication that he didn't care about our feelings too much. But I understand we're still in a The X Files-esque form of foreshadowing, and that could get a little difficult to follow occasionally.
Fortunately for us after the budget was dropped Harper made it fairly clear directly in the aftermath he either didn't care about overtly breaking campaign promises or had somehow managed to rationalise it that he had in fact kept it; honestly I'm not sure which is more likely (take your pick of whichever one helps you sleep better at night). And then top himself, just to show how much he didn't care he openly asked the unsatisfied Premiers to challenge the government in court. I'm pretty sure if you added a laughtrack to CPAC no one would be able to tell that it wasn't a bastardised Canadian version of Yes, Minister.
But yet people/MPs seem to be thinking that the war of equalization between this province and Ottawa has become a non-issue only now in light of Harper's decision to hold Flaherty instead of folding him. I want to say I'm surprised that even callers in VOCM could hold this opinion, but, I'd never be able to live with myself if I uttered untruths on the internet.
I will say, however, that if this is the hand Harper wants to take into the next election, he'd better make sure his poker face and bluffing skills are up to snuff. He doesn't seem to need much practice with the latter, though.
Also: I'm aware that this is probably your source for serious political commentary but just for those of you who treat this as some kind of entertainment (you must be bored because this blog is honestly not that funny), here are some BONUS UNUSED CARD ANALOGIES:
- Harper's reshuffling his hand in preparation for the flop
- Harper must have pocket Aces if he's this brazen over the Atlantic Accord
- Harper's so conservative he treats this country like a game Texas Hold-Em (har har)
- I'm out of good card jokes so you could say I busted (we are now talking about Blackjack fyi)
- Federal Tories looking for electoral support in this province are getting a big "GO FISH" from Danny Williams, which is ironic because we have a moratorium you see
I am so sorry you had to read that.
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
"These people - the 'Suzuki Brigade', you could say - treat this almost as a matter of faith, like a new religion you can't question, that we are headed for impending man-made disaster."I am so glad someone is finally exposing this conspiracy for what it is. Everyone knows David Suzuki invented climate change 20 years ago in order to further an insidious and highly unscientific liberal political agenda, which is why no other real scientists believe global warming is actually happening. The ones who say that it's real are just really bitter that Al Gore lost the 2000 Presidential election.
To further explode the myth of global warming Bill was joined by Dr. Tim Ball, representative of a group of climate change skeptics based out of Ottawa and probably not pushing any kind of agenda at all. [edit - I wasn't the only one who picked up on this majestic radio event and Labradore points out that this thinktank is "Friends of Science". Apparently these guys didn't quite get out of the friend zone with Lady Empiricism and their only sources of action are consolation hugs from her after breakups - Auth.]
Okay, that last bit was a little harsh; I shouldn't just be making blanket insinuations like that (on the internet, no less) without being an expert on science else I am no better than people like David Suzuki. While a lot of Dr. Ball's scientific moonlanguage went over my head, what I lack in knowledge of climate science I like to think I make up for in knowledge of history and I found one of his closing remarks rather interesting:
"These 'scientists' seem to be constantly making errors in calculating the global temperature; for instance, they're saying that 1998 is not actually the warmest year on record, or that 2005 is not the warmest year on record or any of that [ignore this - Auth.]. Most scientists, in reality, are now saying that the warmest year on record was in fact 1934 - long before humans were producing CO2."Hmm, yes. It was a glorious day on January 1st, 1935 when FDR simultaneously invented breathing, fire, the Industrial Revolution and automobiles at once to end the Great Depression.
-Dr. Tim Ball, scientician [emphasis added]
This accomplishment is especially impressive when you consider that the man was an alcoholic with polio.
Friday, August 10, 2007
It would appear that some earlier musings by some news outlets have actually come to fruition today, as negotiations over the development of Hebron have formally resumed.
I'm still a little puzzled about the point of it these negotiations resuming again, because the Premier has made it very clear that his position has not changed, and if that wasn't good enough for the oil companies a year ago why would the situation change in any way whatsoever? Of course, I freely admit that I am relatively ignorant of the inner workings of oil industry negotiations, and also that I suffer from a crippling lack of faith in the sheer economic might of the Glorious Empire of Newfoundland (and its colony Labrador) and the leverage it gives us to bring Big Oil to its knees. But I digress; unlike some other bloggers I'm not here to talk economics, I'm here to
Let's assume that the Premier is going to continue to be famously consistent (despite what some of you heretics might be trying to imply) and that his statements on government's position going into negotiations with Big Oil can be taken very seriously. Using a mystical and arcane divination technique of reading Tarot cards laid out on a Ouija Board placed in the centre of an indian burial ground at midnight, I have come up with the following detailed list of the events which will transpire in the current round of negotiations:
- August 10th, 2007: formal negotiations between the government of NL and Big Oil begin again
- August 30th, 2007: Danny Williams appears before an investor's luncheon in St. John's to inform them that "we are making some real headway on Hebron" and that a deal is definitely possibly in the works
- September 17th, 2007: Premier Williams launches the "official" election campaign of the PC party; appears on the steps of Confederation Building to make a speech, a large portion of which is devoted to assuring us that "the government and Big Oil definitely have some common ground through which a deal will definitely have some chance of eventually forming"
- October 7th, 2007: on the eve of the eve of Election Day the government issues a flurry of news releases to inform the public that talks over Hebron have broken new ground thanks to the Premier and that a deal is very likely on the immediate horizon; Premier Williams is praised as a great negotiator who can roll with the big companies in getting the deals
- October 9th, 2007: Election Day 2007 happens, the Williams government wins 49 seats; so many people wanted to vote PC they create an extra seat at the last minute so his majority could be larger
- October 10th, 2007: Premier Williams announces Big Oil is being totally unreasonable in their demands, negotiations break down and the oil companies are kicked out of the province; the Premier appears atop the steps in the St. John's airport to proclaim "I told you, no more giveaways on my watch!" to cheering throngs of people; Danny Williams is praised as the greatest negotiator in the history of time
- November 14th, 2007: Danny Williams pulls a Brian Tobin, cites "quitting while I'm ahead"; Tom Rideout becomes Premier again, replaces Cabot Tower with a giant statue of Danny Williams giving the finger in the direction of Ottawa; Clyde Wells is exiled to St. Helena
- October 8th, 2011: Election Day 2011 occurs; the 17 people still living in the province give the Liberals a landslide majority after they promise to negotiate with oil companies rather than the current PC policy of shooting oil executives on sight
- October 9th, 2011: Liberals sell province to Exxon Mobil, use the money to get the Upper Churchill back only to sell it away again for less; First Church of Danny Williams opens in Fort MacMurray
Okay, I mean I know I got a little off-track there towards the end but the powers that be could not contain themselves in showing me where the current round of negotiations over Hebron would take us.
And while some of you may doubt my foresight, I am so confident in my predictions that if the following set of events does not come to pass, I will personally ignore this entry and continue on with my life in an attempt to downplay the embarassment of being a debunked psychic though it will fail miserably and I will perish a broken alcoholic in a gutter somewhere down near George Street.
And that's my personal guarantee.
Wednesday, August 8, 2007
"Does anybody know [...] the status of what Dr. House is doing now in this province or the work he's doing now for our government?"
-Bill Rowe, BackTalk host
Unfortunately I don't have an answer for Bill but I can conclusively say at the very least that it's not Lupus.
And yes, expect it to be this slow here for the next couple of days. Important real-world business to attend to, and the like.
Tuesday, August 7, 2007
"We need to give the Williams government a full force - not just half a government - but a full force in the next election, just to see what happens."
-Arthur, VOCM caller [emphasis added]
This is the best idea anyone's ever had.
After all, was it not Lord Acton who once said, "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power means no more giveaways on my watch"?
Yes, that sounds about right.
Monday, August 6, 2007
Thank God we have Bill Rowe out there fighting the good fight. How dare some unelected backroom policy wonk from central Canada belittle Danny Williams by making unreasonable demands like "[the Premier] should have his facts straight before being critical [of Harper]." (I'm paraphrasing here, but, that is the gist of it.)
What kind of world do we live in where people not from our province who have never been elected can point out possible flaws in our Premier (validity of their argument or lack thereof notwithstanding)? I'm surprised Bill even mentioned this on the air, such shocking allegations have been scientifically proven to cause the virgin ears of children to bleed uncontrollably. My hands are shaking and my blood has run cold at the mere thought that some punk kid in Ottawa could possibly suggest that Danny Williams would have to stoop to engaging in mundane dealings like needing a rational basis for things he says. I mean, the man was elected.
Bill was right when he said that regardless of political opinions or partisan stripe, Danny Williams is our Premier and he represents us at all times, across the country and internationally. Not only does this mean we essentially must agree with him at all times, but also when someone calls into question his methods or stance or opinion or even his fashion sense they are in fact insulting every Newfoundlander and Labradorian that has ever lived, is living now and ever will live. And that's just unacceptable.
As for Stephen Harper being elected as the Prime Minister of Canada and deserving the same kind of respect as someone we should agree with at all times and never criticise, that doesn't apply to him for several reasons - you can pick your own justification(s):
- He broke his promise on the Atlantic Accord and therefore people who work with him can also never be trusted; this is in contrast with Premier Williams, who has never broken a promise, ever
- Canada is a foreign country which oppresses Newfoundlanders and sells our children into slavery and so Harper is basically Hitler (their last names even have the same number of letters and both start with 'H'...I mean use your heads here people)
- Because Danny said so
I know that sometimes Bill Rowe gets a hard time from some of you guys but I really and honestly do believe that he is right on the issues and that his opinions are the most clever and insightful I have ever heard expressed publicly - he doesn't let this sort of pressing problem slip through the cracks. I mean otherwise all those hacks and/or traitors (I'm looking at you, Liberal Party of Newfoundland and Labrador) would be able to say whatever they want about our Dear Leader and we all know that criticism of the government is just totally egregious for a developed democratic society.
I don't care what all you unbelievers say. Bill Rowe is truly the Voice of the Common Man.
Friday, August 3, 2007
That is the exact scenario I envisioned when I heard this morning that Prime Minister Stephen Harper would be gracing our fair province to look at the damage caused by the recent post-tropical storm. I'll give him the benefit of the doubt and assume that it was with the intention of getting a damage assessment so as to provide federal assistance in the cleanup efforts in the relatively near future, as opposed to showing up just to laugh derisively at our misfortune in person before flying back to Ottawa for a delicious meal of kittens with a side of toddlers.
As I sit here writing this entry at this exact moment, the Prime Minister is touring Conception Bay North/Placentia/Dunville, flanked by his favourite Newfoundlanders Loyola Hearn and Fabian Manning. I can only hope that Harper will realise that those towns only look that way after being hit by a very rough storm and do not actually appear in states of disrepair constantly. And you know, since's he's pretty insistent we can do without the Atlantic Accord, he might honestly believe it.
Danny Williams, on the other hand, wasn't asked to come along, and is predictably throwing a tantrum like a six-year-old who wasn't invited to a birthday party. I'm not sure why he was expecting an invite, though; last time I checked, children who hate each other don't generally hang out together outside of a very poorly thought out playdate. Lay off going around telling everyone Stephen Harper is the devil and pick him up a nice Transformers action figure, Premier, and maybe you'll get to play with the big boys again.
Not that Harper is in the right here, either. I'm sure his mother must have taught him to invite all the children to his parties, even the unpopular ones who do nothing but complain about the flavour of the cake or the weird smells coming out of the McDonald's ball pit.
But, hey, kids will be kids I guess. We should enjoy it while it lasts; they grow up so fast, the little darlings.
Thursday, August 2, 2007
In typical fashion, the Premier reassured Randy Simms and listeners everywhere that he remains as a rock, his position unmoving.
I think this is great. I was really getting worried that we were going to make a deal and develop the oil or something.
Wednesday, August 1, 2007
I personally applaud the courage that Minister Hearn is showing in standing up to the mighty and tyrannical nation of Belgium. I'm not surprised though; truly, Loyola Hearn is a man who always stands up for what is right and true, no matter how high the stakes or personal cost.
The criteria for targeting Belgium isn't that they provide the fastest route to France, but because they're apparently the first government to legislate a boycott since Canada's "New" Government took power. Frankly I can't say I blame them all that much; I'd boycott someone who kept Harping (see what I did there?) on being new after a year and a half, too.
Personally, though, if I were a federal government Minister (feel free to email me with job offers, Mr. Harper), I would be picking my fight with Germany on this one, both because the hypocrisy factor is a good card to play and because it would allow MP Scott Simms to make another Bambi joke. Then again, it probably makes sense that Loyola would want to avoid anything even remotely involving hyprocrisy for the rest of his life. (PROTIP: This should include being a politician)
Interestingly enough all of this comes on the heels of the US House of Representatives apparently developing a time machine to go back to the 1980s and declare their disdain for the clubbing of baby seals when it was still relevant (Yuri Andropov, so far, has been unavailable for comment). I would normally wonder how the most developed nation on earth would be unaware of decades-old international developments, but this is the same place which recently found the Internet not to be a "big truck", as previously assumed, but in fact a series of tubes. Excuse me for a second while I change the batteries on my internets here.
While I myself do think that Europe in general is going a little over the top in boycotting over a practice which stopped decades ago, I can't help but feel that Loyola picking a fight with Belgium right now is less about purely defending the Canadian seal hunt and moreso about shoring up some support down here in his home province. If there is anything Newfoundlanders and Labradorians love more than hating on Ottawa, it would have to be hating on pretentious Europeans. When held up to the waffle-makers across the pond, even wafflers like Loyola Hearn almost look like they've still got an air of legitimacy.
Now if you'll excuse me, all of this talk about waffles and clubbing baby seals has made me hungry. For veal.
Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Fortunately for the general public what would otherwise be a very boring debate by academics and the people who sign their paychecks, we're treated to an epic rap battle (a war of words is old school) by two of the province's more prominent trash-talkers - Premier Daniel "Da Maniel" Williams who is reppin' for his West Side crew at Grenfell and Memorial Chancellor John "My Press Releases Contain Way Too Many Words" Crosbie, rockin' the mic in the East Side and ballin' with his MUN Board of Regents homeboys. (And yes, that does create the most awkward mental image ever but none of you can say you wouldn't pay to see the concert.)
The main argument between Tupac and Biggie can essentially be boiled down to Williams, on one side, pushing a separate university in Corner Brook on the grounds of the province having the ability/need to expand its post-secondary services in the interest of generating growth in the
While there would be some who might suggest that Grand Master Flash and Flava Flav here might have ulterior motives for the stances they're taking, I would like to remind everyone that these two men surely only have the best wishes of the province at heart and would never have self-interested reasons for their positions such as promoting goodies to their constituencies in lieu of an upcoming election or grasping to maintain the godlike power of monopoly. (FUN FACT: Politicians, thanks to centuries of selective breeding, are physically incapable of putting themselves ahead of the people they are supposed to represent.)
There is some merit to both arguments, however. More universities would provide more physical space for young minds to become educated and contribute to a society increasingly based on holding graduate degrees in cultural studies as opposed to actually knowing how to do anything remotely constructive, and smaller universities that Grenfell U would conceivably resemble have fared well elsewhere in the country - also, college kids in this province drink like fish and provincial coffers would likely flood with the liquid gold of a thousand keggers.
On the other hand, Memorial is so far serving the province well as the largest university in Atlantic Canada. This province has the second-lowest tuition rates in Canada (second only to Quebec, which I'm sure will someday be brought up by a Newfoundland Nationalist as yet another example of how the frogs are trying to undermine our glorious nation) and the cost of living in the St. John's area is likely also one of the lowest in Canada, especially in terms of university towns.
Somehow I'm not convinced that putting a second university in the province offering comparable degrees and costs will do anything to stem the outflow of students in this province who still decide to zoom out to another province and drop $12K a year in tuition for [roughly] the same education offered inside the overpass for a fraction of that cost. Perhaps a better use of the money it would cost to make Grenfell University happen would be a program to teach children (possibly also government) the value of money; we might even get teenagers to stop spending 150 dollars on those godawful pairs of pre-torn jeans they keep buying while we're at it, too.
At the end of the day, at any rate, I've got to come down on the side of the one-university idea. That said, I don't exactly share Crosbie's view that "MUN as-is is A-OK!", because I think there are too many things that need to be ironed out with the current public post-secondary education system we have in this province before we should really be thinking "hay guys lets build another one!"
But getting into that is a whole other can of worms I don't feel like opening because then I'd probably get to talking about the fishery and in this province nothing good ever seems to come of that.
In fact, I'd almost rather listen to a white rap battle.
Sunday, July 29, 2007
It would appear that the first head-to-head of the 2007 election between Danny "Goliath" Williams and Gerry "Job, the righteous Biblical figure God felt the need to repeatedly punish for ambiguous reasons" Reid took place last Thursday.
Now to be fair, it is understandable that the Premier would want to attend a folk festival that involved not only fun but also fish; truly, no sane man can resist such a double-whammy of a siren song. Unfortunately for Mr. Williams this cornucopia of good times happened to be occurring in his opponent's home riding, and it would appear that Mr. Reid also apparently could not contain his enthusiasm for local folk festivals. Despite a lack of neuroticism on Reid's part, the setup seems to be very Seinfeld-esque, and likely even had [G]erry clenching his fist and uttering
In typical Dan-the-Man style, the Premier was fairly brazen about his intentions in visiting the festival the same time as Reid; the PCs are apparently putting in a special effort to unseat the Opposition leader in the upcoming election. One would assume that simply by running a candidate against him in the area it would provide a good race, but Williams seems very intent on making it personal. As in, crazy ex-girlfriend personal. One would figure two politicians with an axe to grind would at least make an effort to be condescending and out-smug one another with faux smiles and snarky well-wishes, but the visual of the two of them taking the stage without so much as a handshake seems to prop up the "trouble in Paradise" situation. Apparently this is what happens when politicians let the next day "get weird".
Cathartic breakup analogies aside, though, this snapshot of the campaign-to-be would suggest interesting implications for the race to October 9th. I'm going to go ahead and make a point of coining the phrase vendetta politics in describing electioneering which seems to take the political conflict beyond the professional and into personal-rivalry territory.
I mean, yes, obviously the Leader of Government and the Leader of the Opposition will not be best friends who go on hikes together only to be faced with some kind of random adversity which they triumph over and subsequently come out learning more about themselves and each other (with plenty of laughs along the way!), but it does seem to move the election campaign out of the "no hard feelings, this is politics" realm into the "I will crush your dreams" area, and I can't help but feel that sets an ominous precendent.
There have been rumours circulating on message boards and Open Line that the PCs are aiming to/will sweep every seat or otherwise leave Yvonne Jones to fend for herself against a 47-seat Williams Government, and Danny's insistence in personally stepping on Reid's turf would seem to reinforce this vague feeling that the PCs are aiming to go beyond just winning government and moreso trying to actually eliminate the Opposition from the face of God's green earth.
I don't know about anyone else, but for me at least this isn't doing much to lend credence to every PC candidate coming on Open Line and assuring us that everyone in the House contributes to the decisions government makes and it isn't just Danny calling all the shots in authoritarian fashion. Although, I suppose, one-party government does cut out all that time-wasting "democratic accountability" stuff. Who needs that anyways? There are roads that need paving, dammit.
Although, now that I think about it, I can't shake an image of Danny standing up at a town hall meeting, snatching back a contract for roadwork from the local townsfolk and barking, "No soup for you!"
Thursday, July 26, 2007
Frankly I think this comes as a breath of fresh air. David Suzuki is an environmentalist, not a chemist. Obviously he has no idea how pesticides (which I might add are chemicals, not environments) work and anything he says on the topic is basically junk science because it's out of his expertise and he's basically just making things up. As for Al Gore, he doesn't even live in this country, let alone this province. Taking his word on anything is pretty much treason, any way you cut it.
Wells should also be congratulated for reminding us of the last time society got all up in arms about pesticides and the damage it caused. Remember DDT? Yeah, while society was patting itself on the back for saving some eggshells by banning DDT we were actually killing black people. And for what? Because it might be harmful?
Well I'll give you the what for: This Wikipedia article states, and I quote:
The EPA, in 1987 , classified DDT as class B2, a probable human carcinogen based on "Observation of tumors (generally of the liver) in seven studies in various mouse strains and three studies in rats.
You see? Probable. Somehow, pseudoscientists like David Suzuki concluded that people might get cancer based on the deaths of some rats, and even then they can't even say anything with full certainty. Plus, that information comes from Wikipedia, which is totally untrustworthy in every conceivable way and in light of that we can safely say DDT probably doesn't cause cancer at any time to anyone ever. Case closed.
It's shocking to see how many people apparently believe scientists like David Suzuki over politicians like Andy Wells. And it's not even like this is Wells' first term. The man has been consistently re-elected to the office of mayor as far back as anyone who matters can remember. Clearly, if he was unfit for the job or wrong in any conceivable way he wouldn't keep getting re-elected, because that sort of thing never happens. Right?
Then I found this thing called Google and used it to search the whole entire internet and boy, was I wrong!
Clearly, then, I must throw my hat into the ring. Look out, you Confederation/Parliament Building fat cats; the internet, like the sea, is a harsh mistress and her thirst to mock politics anonymously and passive-aggressively has too long gone unslaked in this province.
Consider this a heads up. Next time I strike, it will be like NAPE and pretty much come out of nowhere and ruin government's day.
And maybe even stop schoolbuses or something.