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.