"We can't allow things that are inaccurate to stand." — The Word of Our Dan, February 19, 2008.

Sunday, May 28, 2006


Them Days is more than a job for me, more than a periodical: it became my 'calling' the day I was told I had the job. I have loved Labrador since I have been old enough to appreciate its beauty, and more so as I listened to stories from the older people...

Being editor of Them Days has allowed me to go places and meet people that I undoubtedly would never have met. I have so much to be grateful for because of Them Days and the people who have helped us to continue preserving our cultural identity.

No matter how long and cold the winters will be from now on, for me the skies will always be blue, and the warmth will last forever.

- Doris J. Saunders
Them Days 21:1
Fall 1995

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Something's still fishy

Again, what is the matter with the fishery that a strong dose of good ol' "joint management" wouldn't solve?

If there is anything that "joint management" is the cure for... why isn't the doctor prescribing it (or the patient demanding a prescription)?

Bonus points: where and when has Chairman Dan actually spoken in favour of "joint management"?

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Shoes and feet

A Newfoundland firm gets a big contract for a natural gas project in New Brunswick. Another Newfoundland firm, which, gasp, owns a fish plant in Quebec, closes it.

Speculate here: If a New Brunswick firm had obtained a big contract for a natural gas project in Newfoundland, or a Quebec firm had, gasp, owned a fish plant in Newfoundland, and closed it, what kind of existentialist, nationalist, pink-white-and-green, we-should-never-have-joined-Confederation handwringing would have been provoked everwhere from the soft white underbelly of the open line shows to the eighth floor of Confederation Building?

And why doesn't it happen in reverse?

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Something's fishy

What's so wrong with the fishery that a little dose of joint management wouldn't fix?

Friday, May 12, 2006

State of the media art, II

In the good ole days, facts used to be, well, factual.

These days, facts have become more pliable. Non-facts can become facts by virtue of repetition. And for some unfathomable reasons, non-facts can become facts upon their first iteration, if their first iterator happens to be Danny Williams.

Take, for instance, the famous line that John Efford spouted during the Atlantic Accord debacle:

“Take it or leave it.”
It was quoted again in the latest copy of the pink-white-and-yellow news-like-paper, The Independent. Ryan Cleary writes:

Remember the quote, “Here is the deal. Do you want it, Mr. Williams? Do you want it Mr. Sullivan? Take it or leave it.”
Again casting our minds back to the good ole days, quotation marks, in newspapers, used to mean a direct quotation of someone’s actual spoken words.

The only problem here: John Efford never actually uttered them.

Danny Williams did.

First, it was an October 27, 2004 press release, to wit:

Minister John Efford said earlier this week that we could take it or leave it
Two days later, Danny repeated his little big lie on CBC News Sunday with Carole MacNeil:

we’re not going to just take it or leave, which is what John Efford asked us to do.
Notice the lack of quotation marks. This wasn’t a quote. This was paraphrase, and inflammatory paraphrase at that. It was Chairman Dan propagandizing at his best. It worked. In spades.

That same weekend, Chairman Dan pulled the same stunt against the then-PM’s official mouthpiece, Scott Reid, claiming that he (Reid) had “threatened” Newfoundland and Labrador.

Reid, of course, had done no such thing. He did express the view that Williams, in rejecting a deal that he eventually accepted, was making “a mistake of historic proportions” and that “he’ll pay for it in the long run.” That is, that if Danny didn’t make the right decision, his own voters would pass judgment. Notice the pronoun in the quote: “he”. Not “they”.

But Danny’s “facts” become facts, by mere virtue of their having come from Chairman Dan’s mouth. L’état, c’est lui; if Scott Reid “threatened” Danny, by gum, he threatened the entire Republic of Newfoundland and Northern Mainland Newfoundland.

Danny’s version of Scott Reid’s comments was re-cycled, unquestioningly and uncritically, by Russell Wangersky in the January 8, 2005 edition of the Telegram and in the paper’s editorial of January 27. Bill Rowe, who wouldn’t likely recognize a fact if it bit him, repeated Danny’s line (why wouldn’t he?) in his August 27 column.

Similarly, John Efford’s non-existent “take it or leave it!” comment was “cited” in the Telegram of November 21, 2004; December 20, 2004 (in quotation marks); January 21, 2005 (in quotation marks); April 16, 2005 (in quotation marks); April 27, 2005 (in quotation marks); by Bill Rowe on April 30, 2005; on May 4, 2005 (in quotation marks); May 18, 2005 (in quotation marks); May 28, 2005 (by Norm Doyle, MP, in quotation marks); in Wangersky’s editorial of September 27, 2005 (in quotation marks); in the paper’s November 12, 2005 editorial (in quotation marks); on November 30, 2005 (in quotation marks); and on December 29, 2005. On the other side of Newfoundland, the Western Star made the same “citation” on January 15, 2005 (in quotation marks); February 4, 2005 (in quotation marks); February 18, 2005 (in quotation marks); April 16, 2005 (in quotation marks); and on November 11, 2005.

For the record, the exact words from Efford himself, as quoted by Rob Antle on October 26, 2004, were:

“Let me say it, and let me say it clear: the deal is done. Do you want it, Mr. Sullivan? Do you want it, Mr. Williams? There are no more changes.”
Fast-forward to 2006. Danny Williams writes to the leaders of the federal parties, to secure their positions and commitments on a bunch of issues.

Harper, like the other two (Danny didn’t write to the Greens’ Jim Harris), writes back.

Danny’s question:

Does your party support efforts to develop the hydro-power resources of the Lower Churchill River System for the primary benefit of Newfoundland and Labrador, including the provision of a Federal Government guarantee to proceed with the project?
Harper answers:

We support this proposal in principle and believe that it is important for Newfoundland and Labrador to have greater control of its energy mix.

A Conservative government would welcome discussions on this initiative and would hope that the potential exists for it to proceed in the spirit of past successes such as the Hibernia project.
Harper “welcomes discussions” and suggests that the Lower Churchill should take a page from Hibernia – in which the federal government took an ownership position.

Harper makes no offer of a loan guarantee.

But Chairman Dan goes into spin mode anyway:

“The Conservative and NDP responses were very encouraging on several fronts, including support for a loan guarantee for the development of the lower Churchill...”
In the good ole days, facts used to be factual.

In these dark days, Chairman Dan gets to make things up and put words in other peoples’ mouths. He is now doing unto Stephen Harper what he did unto John Efford, probably for the same reason, and who knows, possibly with the same eventual result.

He has a sorry history of inventing facts. The local press have, unfortunately, an even sorrier history of, at best, failing to be diligent in cross-checking their work; at worst, in being wilfully compliant and playing along with Chairman Dan’s game.

Is it a result of complicity? Bullying? Sloppiness? Why and how does the Premier manage to get away with his blatant nose-stretchers?

And with such fifth columnists in the fourth estate, why should Danny stop now?

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

State of the media art

Today, VOCM covers reaction to yesterday's Lower Churchill yawnathon:
Reaction to Government Announcement on Lower Churchill
May 9, 2006

Premier Danny Williams says they have no intentions of moving forward with the Lower Churchill until they've met with the various groups within Labrador. Williams told VOCM Open Line with Randy Simms, that includes the Innu and the Labrador Metis Nation. As for some mainland pundits who question the ability of the government to go it alone on such a huge project, Williams was quick to point out that Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro already runs the 8th largest hydro project in the world.

The St. John's Board of Trade is weighing in on government's decision on the Lower Churchill project. President Ray Dillon says while the news of government and Hydro taking the lead is welcome, it's important they ensure the returns and risks are balanced in the best way possible. Dillon says the government must clearly outline from the beginning how long it will take for each benefit to become a reality. Dillon also encourages government to take advantage of the expertise and capacity of major private sector contractors to help with the project development.
Curiously, the initial version of this story included critical and even negative comments from MHA Yvonne Jones, the Labrador Metis Nation, and Grand Riverkeeper. That text was removed from the VOCM site by mid-morning.


Monday, May 08, 2006

Danny Then and Now, II

Danny then:

We will involve the Labrador Metis Nation, as we will representatives of all residents of Labrador, in the process of negotiating a Lower Churchill Development Agreement. [Letter to the Labrador Metis Nation, October 8, 2003, in the middle of the last election campaign]
Danny now:

...activity is taking place on several fronts including negotiations with the Innu Nation of Labrador on an Impact and Benefits Agreement (IBA)... When these consultants have been retained, scopes of the individual baseline studies will be developed with input from the Innu Nation and experts from appropriate federal and provincial regulatory agencies.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Across the province

VOCM reports (link won't work forever) that:

Government has extended the operating season for visitor information centres across the province, in an effort to encourage tourism activity beyond the summer months.

All VIC's will open tomorrow, which is about two weeks earlier than last year, and many will remain open until the end of October. Tourism Minister Tom Hedderson says VIC's play an integral role in the tourism industry, and are often the first point of contact for visitors to the province.
The story is based on this press release, issued on Friday, in which we are informed:

Government operates seven VICs located strategically throughout the province at major gateways and travel intersections in North Sydney, Port aux Basques, Deer Lake, Notre Dame Junction, Clarenville, Whitbourne and Argentia.
Notice anything?

One of the seven VICs located "strategically throughout the province" is located in North Sydney. North Sydney is on Cape Breton Island, which is, or at least used to be, in Nova Scotia.

None of the seven are located in Labrador, which is, or at least used to be, in the province where Tom Hedderson is a cabinet minister.

By necessary implication, this means that "the province" consists of two major islands, namely Newfoundland and Cape Breton, and, furthermore, that Labrador is not part of the province.

Why are Labrador's major entry points — Labrador West, Happy Valley-Goose Bay, and L'Anse au Clair — dependent on community-run facilities, with much shorter seasons and fewer resources than full VICs? And why, for that matter, isn't there a provincial VIC in Blanc Sablon, which is just as much an entry point as North Sydney?

And, given that one of the justifications for the earlier season is that:

...provincial tourism statistics show that visitors are arriving in the province earlier in the year, particularly those wishing to see icebergs.
and that the icebergs show up in Labrador before they do in Newfoundland, why are there no VICs in Labrador?

Isn't Labrador an integral part of the province?

Tom? Danny? Anyone?

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Dig dug

The Bond Papers said, "Let there be further digging," and lo! there was further digging.

You will be examined on this material. Happy reading!