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

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

The Fourth Beastie Boy?

Or the fourth member of Gazeebow Unit?

Quoth CTV News:
"Mad Rock -- I think that's probably my nickname in Ottawa these days," Williams chuckled Thursday in a speech at a conference of maritime emergency officials.
There probably is a nickname for Danny Williams in the corridors of Langevin.

But it almost certainly is not "Mad Rock".

A peek over the fence

Why is it than when the usual suspects — this means you, especially, Sue Kelland-Dyer — compare Labrador, and that island to the south of Labrador, to Quebec, they conveniently ignore interesting policy developments like this one:
Boisclair rejects PQ's plan to nationalize wind energy
Last Updated: Monday, October 30, 2006 9:53 AM ET
CBC News

Parti Québécois Leader André Boisclair has rejected his party's proposal to nationalize wind power production, insisting the private sector has a role to play in the industry.

The PQ voted in favour of the proposal during a council meeting in Quebec City on the weekend.

The motion says if the PQ is elected, it would "take charge" of the industry through nationalization, and would expropriate the private production of wind-generated electricity and hand it over to Hydro Quebec.

Boisclair said while he does support greater control of the sector, he believes private companies have a role to play. The PQ leader called on Hydro Quebec to spend more of its resources on developing wind energy.
Or this one:
Minicentrale de Franquelin
Un obstacle levé pour la construction d'un barrage
Mise à jour le mardi 25 juillet 2006, 16 h 01 .

Le gouvernement du Québec assouplit sa politique sur les projets de minicentrales.

La municipalité de Franquelin, sur la Côte-Nord, a convaincu Québec de ne pas autoriser uniquement des projets dont les MRC ou les communautés autochtones sont propriétaires majoritaires. Ce changement permettra à la Ville de construire la petite centrale hydroélectrique qu'elle projette d'ériger depuis sept ans à proximité d'un ancien barrage de la rivière Franquelin.


Franquelin mini-hydro
A barrier lifted for the construction of a dam
Updated Tuesday July 25, 2006, 4:01 p.m.

The Quebec government is softening is policy on mini-hydro development projects.

The municpality of Franquelin, on the North Shore, has convinced Quebec to authorise not only those projects where Regional Municipalities or aboriginal communities are the majority owners. This change will allow the town to build the small hydro-electric station that it has proposed to build for the past seven years, near a former dam on the Franquelin River.

Friday, October 27, 2006

After hours

After all that... it falls to Kathy Dunderdale, not big bold fearless Chairman Dan, to meekly and weakly release this little gem at 5:10 p.m. on a Friday afternoon:
Natural Resources
October 27, 2006

The start date for the new chairman and CEO of the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board (CNLOPB) is October 30, the Honourable Kathy Dunderdale, Minister of Natural Resources, confirmed today.

All the necessary orders have now been issued by the provincial and federal governments for the appointment of Max Ruelokke, a professional engineer and former deputy minister with the provincial government.

“We will work with Mr. Ruelokke and the board to ensure an effective approach to managing our offshore resources and furthering development,” Minister Dunderdale said. “The board plays a key role in the management of our petroleum resources on behalf of the federal and provincial governments and we will ensure issues important to the province are addressed in the best interest of the people of the province.”

Media contact:
Tracy Barron
Director of Communications
Natural Resources
709-729-5282, 690-1703

2006 10 27 5:10 p.m.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

The drop-in rate

How many times can Danny Williams just "happen to be in the building", that is, the one housing the Ministry of Truth, while an open-line show happens to be going on, when the studio, despite, as Bill Rowe mentioned yesterday, not ordinarily being so set up, is set up to accomodate an in-studio guest?

And how many times will this odd confluence of circumstances occur once the by-election is over?

Monday, October 23, 2006

In which Ed Hollett is contradicted

The ever-astute Bond Papers gets it slightly wrong today:
When all else fails declare war on the evil occupying government called Ottawa.
"When all else fails..."?

How can we possibly know if all else, or even anything else, has failed, when absolutely nothing else has ever been tried?

Sunday, October 22, 2006

NL First!

Fresh from his party's stunning results in Placentia & St. Mary's, Tom Hickey and his Newfoundland Liberation Front are sitting it out in Signal Hill-Quidi Vidi.

Just as well, perhaps, given that as the real provincial separatist party's candidate in said by-election recently announced on the Ministry of Truth that his platform is "Newfoundland and Labrador First!"

Thursday, October 19, 2006

The cabinet shuffle, retrospectively

Once upon a time, there was a guy, Captain of Industry. Captain of Industry had a great reputation as, well, a captain of industry. Captain of Industry played up that reputation and parlayed it into a second career as Glorious Leader. Glorious Leader, whose reputation as Captain of Industry was still then intact, appointed himself as Glorious Leader’s Minister of Business.

Whatever that is.

After all, who better to be Minister of Business – whatever that is – than Captain of Industry?

Yet despite its $1,000,000 budget in 2004, the Department of Business didn’t seem to be all that busy in. It didn’t manage to announce a single thing in 2004.

With $1.4-million to work with, it managed to announce three little things in 2005.

And with a princely $3.8-million in departmental coffers, it has done only Prime Directive.

Highly unusual, given that the media-coverage-obsessed government which Glorious Leader, Captain of Industry (G.L., C.o.I.) heads, has cranked out, on average, well over 1000 pressers per year.

And most of the Department of Business’ public activity has, oddly enough, taken place since G.L., C.o.I., divested himself of responsibility for that department.

At the time that G.L., C.o.I. appointed himself minister, Citizen-Comrade – er, Minister – Dunderdale, said of the Minister of Business that his “considerable business skills” would be an asset in the job. “The premier will be directly involved in order to seal the deal," she was quoted as saying.

As The Telegram reported at the time:
Of the $1 million allotted to the new department, about $275,000 will be spent on executive and support services, with the other $725,000 being used to attract businesses to the province.
There were no further details.
It all sounded — and still does — a little Underpants-Gnomey.
Step one: collect underpants.

Step two:

Step three: Profit!
But it was all part of what the then-Minister of Business called a “two-pronged” approach to solving the province’s sorry fiscal state: get the house in order, then attract lots of new business. And Captain of Industry, Glorious Leader, cannot be questioned, even at his government’s most Underpants-Gnomey.

Fast-forward to July 2006.

After playing up the virtue of a smaller cabinet, G.L., C.o.I. abdicates his Minister of Business crown. Perhaps it lay a little uneasy. It was bequeathed to a new minister, a dauphin, in the form of Kevin O’Brien.

And just in time, too. After all, the primary, if not the sole, function of the Department of Business’ steadily-inflating budget seems to have been to replace the much-vaunted “two-pronged approach” with a three-pronged one.

If there is blowback, fallout... sewage backup, whatever you want to call it... from that three-pronged approach, well, it’s now the Minister of Business – who, coincidentally, is no longer Danny Williams – to clean it up.

It’s hard not to escape the conclusion that this coincidence is especialy staggering. The Premier is the Minister of Sunshine; lesser mortals have full and unfettered jurisdiction over rain, drizzle, and fog.

So we are now treated to the truly sorry spectacle of the Minister of Business – who, again, is no longer Danny Williams – hitting the airwaves and op-ed pages running, explaining away the costs of the branding exercise, and swearing on the PWG that it’s “a fresh new modern image”, a “fresh, distinctive look”, that will “will help us stand out in a crowded and competitive global marketplace”.

Somewhere, probably, he threw in a “quite frankly”, or a “that’s unacceptable”, too. Just like The Master.

And if some people who it supposedly represents haven’t taken to the “brand”, that’s OK. After all, some people will have to be sold on it, convinced to “buy in” if you will.

“It will grow on you.”

Yeah. But so will tinea, if you let it.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Not surrounded by water

More Newfoundland-centric cluelessness from the Ministry of Truth this morning:

Nunatsiavut Government Members to be Sworn In
October 16, 2006

It has been over 10 months since the Inuit of Labrador celebrated the beginning of the new Nunatsiavut Government. Today the members of the very first elected General Assembly will be sworn in and hold their first sitting. They represent five Inuit community governments; Nain, Hopedale, Rigolet, Makkovik and Postville. There is also a member from mainland Canada and two community councillors from Upper Lake Melville. The swearing in ceremony is scheduled for the Nunatsiavut administrative centre in Nain this morning. [Emphasis added.]
Why do Newfoundland media types insist on distinguishing the province from "mainland Canada" when 72% of the province's landmass is part of "mainland Canada"? And it's bad enough distinguishing "the province" from "the mainland"... but distinguishing Labrador from "the mainland", too?

Oy. The state of geographical education these days.

For the record, here's the composition of the Assembly:
Since the Constitution came into effect, the Nunatsiavut Assembly increased the number of constituencies to 8. These include Nain, Hopedale, Makkovik, Rigolet, Postville, North West River the combined constituency of Happy Valley - Goose Bay and Mud Lake. There is also a constituency for Canada, to provide for representation for all Inuit citizens resident in places in Canada other than the first eight constituencies. [Footnote omitted, emphasis added.]
Those "places in Canada" include Newfoundland as well as the rest of Labrador not otherwise included in a Nunatsiavut constituency.

Labrador is not an island. The province is not an island. And the island is not the province. It is time to bury this "us-vs.-Mainland" distinction once and for all. But there is no sign that it's going to happen any time soon.

Constituency Man of the Decade

BQ MP Gérard Asselin was a city councillor in Baie-Comeau — the southern terminus of Route 389, and an important jumping-off point to Labrador — from 1979 to 1993.

In 1993 he was elected as MP for Charlevoix, and re-elected in 1997 and 2000. After redistribution, he won the newly-enlarged Manicouagan (on approximately the same boundaries that Mulroney held from 1984 to 1988) in 2004 and 2006.

And yet it wasn't until October 2006 the he finally got around to driving the 389 to Fermont, a town of 3,000 in his own riding, for the very first time?

Thursday, October 12, 2006

How Irish We Aren't, Part I

In recent years, especially in the past decade or so, Newfoundland media, political, and arts figures have increasingly invoked Ireland as a cultural, economic, and historical reference point. Newfoundland’s self-styled “Irishness” is made out to be inherent and pervasive. Ireland, it is argued, as the “Celtic Tiger”, is the ideal model for economic development. And there is a little more than a hint of Newfoundland nationalism and crypto-separatism tied up in these comparisons.

Just consider that this Google search:

(Ireland OR Irish)
generates over 200 hits. And that’s just in provincial government press releases. The full government website generates over 500.

While Danny Williams has been especially fond of invoking the Ireland comparison, and has brought it to new heights, often of ridiculousness, the Irish fixation, it must fairly be pointed out, long predates him. Brian Tobin plucked a few shamrocks and kissed a few Blarney stones in his political career, too, and ‘writes’ a substantial section of his political memoir on the Irish theme. Peckford and Moores called upon it, too, when it suited their rhetorical ends. Nor is it exclusively championed by Williams; the current federal cabinet minister, Loyola Hearn, is the author of a song entitled “From an Island to an Island”, after all.

But how accurate and appropriate is the Irish myth?

Newfoundland is not actually that Irish. OK, yes, Newfoundland has a very strong Irish cultural heritage, a long history of settlement from Ireland, predating the famines that so famously precipitated the worldwide Irish diaspora, and in many areas an audible linguistic heritage.

But Newfoundland, and Newfoundland and Labrador as a whole, is not nearly as Irish as the “how Irish we are!” myth would have it. Consider the following extracts from the Encyclopedia of Newfoundland and Labrador (supplemented with some additional information.) Clockwise around Newfoundland, starting in St. John’s:

ST JOHN’S: “By 1795 the town’s permanent population stood at over 3000, two-thirds of whom were Irish… by 1815 St. John’s had a permanent population of over 10,000. While the merchant class was mainly from England or Scotland, the Irish dominated trades and crafts… With Irish outnumbering the English by nearly two to one, St. John’s was not without its ethnic tensions…”

AVALON PENINSULA: “…starting in the early 1700s Irish, as well as English, fishermen were brought out to the Island [i.e. Newfoundland], their numbers increasing as the century wore on… At the turn of the [nineteenth] century, the Napoleonic Wars were being fought… At the same time the numbers of English and Irish settlers going to the Island as a whole increased…”

SOUTHERN SHORE: “Permanent settlement commenced with the West Country English, but by the early 1760s Irish settlers were the dominant force… The economy has always been based on fish. This, coupled with the fact that the region is populated today almost entirely by Irish Catholics with only small pockets of Protestant English, means that the Southern Shore possesses a high degree of social cohesion.”

TREPASSEY: “By the 1730s Folletts and Jacksons, representing merchant firms from Topsham (the port of Exeter) were established at Trepassey… Due to harsh conditions in Ireland, former fishing servants from southern Ireland emigrated to outports along the southern Avalon. By the 1770s they had increasingly replaced departing West Countrymen at Trepassey. Hence by 1800, except for a small minority of English Protestants, Trepassey had become a predominantly Irish Catholic settlement.”

ST MARY’S BAY: “By 1800 there were considerable fishing premises and a growing village at St. Mary’s… The year-round population of the Bay was already overwhelmingly Irish and Roman Catholic. While in the early 1800s there were some English traders and their families at St. Mary’s, and individual families of English, French or Scottish descent at Salmonier, these were soon absorbed into the Irish culture of the area. The largest number of Irish immigrants arrived between 1810 and 1820…”

PLACENTIA BAY: The ENL article on Placentia Bay is unreadable and useless. From other sources we can learn that Irish settlement was prominent in this bay, especially on the east side in the Placentia area.

BURIN PENINSULA: “…the Treaty of Paris ceded ownership of all northern North America to England except for St. Pierre et Miquelon. There had been a number of English settlers on these islands and they were forced to leave. Many took up residence in the Grand Bank-Fortune area…”

FORTUNE BAY: “It was during this time, after the end of the Seven Years’ War in 1763, that the first major wave of English settlements swept the Fortune Bay area. Many settlers were forced to move from the English settlements on St. Pierre and Miquelon… [B]y 1794 the population had risen to 918. Most of these new settlers were from the west of England, particularly Devonshire, Dorsetshire and Somersetshire, and from the Channel Islands… Some of these new communities [in the late 19th century] were formed by immigrants from the British Isles or other parts of Newfoundland, while others were formed by residents of Fortune Bay who decided to move to new sites…”

SOUTH COAST: For reasons that are difficult to comprehend, there is no separate ENL article on this region of Newfoundland. From other sources, we can learn that the South Coast was settled largely by direct West Country immigration, English exiles from St. Pierre and Miquelon, Channel Islanders, Nova Scotians, and settlers from the older settled districts of Newfoundland. The South Coast was itself also a source area for settlers in various parts of western Newfoundland, and as far afield as the Lower North Shore of Quebec.

CODROY VALLEY: “The first residents of the area were probably Micmac, originally from Nova Scotia… English and Jersey fishermen followed the French and by the 1760s were fishing at Codroy… The Codroy Valley settlements grew slowly until the period 1840-1865 when Acadians, Irish and a large number of Scots from Cape Breton and other settled areas of the Gulf of St. Lawrence began to arrive on the southwest coast of the Island [i.e. Newfoundland]

ST GEORGE’S BAY: “The first known inhabitants of St. George’s Bay were Micmac… By 1783, however, there were a few settlers of Jersey extraction, fishing, trapping and farming at the ‘Barrasways’… While a number of new English settlers arrived to prosecute the herring fishery, from the 1840s most new arrivals were from Nova Scotia, especially French-speaking Acadian from cape Breton Island… By 1850 French people (including Cape Breton Acadians and deserters from the French fishery) made up approximately half of the Bay’s population of an estimated 900…”

PORT AU PORT: “In the late eighteenth century a few fishermen, some of them deserters from French ships, settled on the Peninsula… Between 1825 and 1845, several Acadian families… moved from Nova Scotia to St. George’s Bay and Port au Port. Subsequently some French fishermen married Acadian women and settled, and other settlers came from St. Pierre. The 1870s brought a new wave of settlers, most of whom were Gaelic-speaking Scots from Cape Breton… In the later 1800s Micmac families came to the Cape St. George area from St. George’s Bay. People of English descent also began moving into the Peninsula in larger numbers at about this time…”

BAY OF ISLANDS: “It is believed that the first settlers in the Bay were a Mr. Brake, from southwest England and a Mr. Blanchard, who was probably a Frenchman. Other immigrants did not follow rapidly, for by the second decade of the 1800s, only seven families were listed as residents of the Bay… These early settlers, who came from a variety of areas, including England and the south coast of Newfoundland, tended small farms and fished… [In the 1850s/1860s] settlers began arriving in large numbers… the majority of these came from the Avalon Peninsula… As well, some settlers came from the south coast of Newfoundland, and from Nova Scotia and New Brunswick”

BONNE BAY: “…the first settlers (six families, the majority of Southwest English origins) arrived between 1807 and 1838… From 1875 to 1900 the population of Bonne Bay rose dramatically as settlers, many of Scottish origin from the south coast [of Newfoundland], the Port au Port area, and Labrador, migrated to Bonne Bay. The majority of this population was Protestant with the exception of St. Joseph’s, a small community settled by Conception Bay people of Irish origin which was abandoned in the early 1900s.”

NORTHERN PENINSULA: “Most settlers originated in England from Dorsetshire, Devonshire, Somersetshire and Wiltshire. There were also a few settlers from Jersey, France, Scotland, and Canada… [T]he second phase of settlement occurring between roughly 1850 and 1900 brought the bulk of settlers to the west coast of the Great Northern Peninsula. These settlers originated on the east coast of Newfoundland, particularly Conception Bay and some from Trinity Bay.”

WHITE BAY: “By local tradition the first settler in White Bay, Pittman would appear to have been living at Sops Island by 1810. Another pioneer, John Gill (or Gale) settled in the 1820s… Within the Bay, Big Island [etc.] became bases for fishermen out of Greenspond, Herring Neck and Fogo Island. The 1840s and 1850s saw many of these marry into the Gale and Pittman families and settle in the Bay.”

NOTRE DAME BAY: “…by 1732 there were English migratory fishermen frequenting Twillingate and it was estimated that there were 143 English wintering there in 1738… The origins of the population of Notre Dame Bay are almost exclusively West Country English, with the only sizeable enclave of Irish Roman Catholics being at Fortune Harbour (as well as Tilting, if eastern Fogo Island is considered to be part of the Bay.)”

TWILLINGATE: “The harbour was also frequented by the English, local tradition identifying the first settlers as four English fishermen… By 1738 Twillingate was a ‘regular resort’ of West Country fishermen… Winter resources such as timber, seals and salmon helped further to establish a year-round population, most of whom came from the West Country hinterland of the port of Poole…

TWILLINGATE ISLANDS: “Most of the familiar family names of western Notre Dame Bay… have their Newfoundland roots at Twillingate Islands.”

FOGO ISLAND: It is also about this time [mid-18th century] that the first Irish Roman Catholics settled in Tilton Harbour. The early settlers came mostly from the hinterland of Poole in Dorset, England, whose merchants dominated the fishery on the northeastern coast of Newfoundland, or from Waterford, Ireland, where fishing ships out of Poole were accustomed to stop for supplies and Irish servants or “youngsters”… Over the next forty years Slade’s encouraged migration from the English West Country and Ireland to Fogo island…”

STRAIGHT SHORE: “…Bonavista fishermen dominated the migratory fishery to the Wadham Islands and the northern part of the Straight Shore. Eventually, some fishing families settled and the migratory fishery came to an end…”

BONAVISTA BAY: “Bonavista Bay was first visited by English migratory fishermen in the 1600s and was first settled from roughly 1675 to 1681 by men from South Devon and the Channel Islands… From the late 1760s mainly Irish Catholic residents via Trinity Bay settled in Keel’s, King’s Cove, Barrow Harbour [etc.]”

BONAVISTA PENINSULA: “English settlement [by the eighteenth century] spread west from Bonavista, especially to the headlands and the sloping marine terraces of the west coast of the Peninsula as well as to the headlands, reaches and islands of Bonavista Bay. From Trinity it spread to new settlements on the east side of the Peninsula. By the mid-1700s Irish Roman Catholic migration mainly settled Keels, Plate Cove [etc.]”

TRINITY BAY: “Most of the present-day inhabitants of Trinity Bay are descended from fishing servants or tradesmen brought out to Trinity, Catalina and Old Perlican or their outposts from the hinterland of Poole, Dorset. There were also many Irish fishing servants employed by the West Country firms, but relatively few settled in the Bay. Only Bellevue, Heart’s Desire and Melrose developed into predominantly Irish/Catholic settlements, although there were also significant Catholic minorities at Trinity and Catalina.”

CONCEPTION BAY: “Originally settled by the West Country English, Conception Bay received a large influx of Irish settlers in the nineteenth century… As pressure on the population grew, Conception Bay inhabitants move away permanently to prosecute the fishery on the north and west coast of Newfoundland, and on the coasts of Labrador.”

Labrador, too – part of the province, and an integral one, at that, according to Danny Williams – has a complicated and fascinating settlement history. Setting aside the industrial urbanization that came with the development of Goose Bay and the iron mines, various regions of Labrador saw 18th and 19th century settlement from a variety of sources. In the Straits, about half the progenitors came from Newfoundland, especially Conception Bay, while others were direct immigrants from the West Country or the Channel Island, sometimes by way of Gaspé.

On the southeast coast, West Country and other English, even Welsh, immigration was superimposed on an Inuit substrate whose historical significance, long denied, is finally beginning to emerge. Other settlers came from Newfoundland, again with Conception Bay prominent, as well as pre-Confederation Canada.

Esquimaux Bay (Hamilton Inlet/Lake Melville) obviously has an important Inuit and Innu substrate. They were followed by French Canadians, who dominated almost until the arrival of the Hudson’s Bay Company in 1836, direct immigration from England, Scots, French-Canadian and even Finnish HBC servants, and the occasional Newfoundlander. Unusually, Newfoundland women are more prominent in the population of the Bay than men.

The North Coast is obviously heavily Inuit and Innu, but again there are strong French-Canadian, Scandinavian, Scottish, English, and some Newfoundland elements in the settlement history of the region.

There were few, if any direct immigrants from Ireland to Labrador in the pre-industrial period, and fewer still who left traces in local family trees. Irish family names in coastal Labrador are attested by those families whose progenitors came to Labrador after a generation or more in Newfoundland.

The Irish element in Newfoundland and Labrador’s settlement history is very important locally, from Conception Bay around the Avalon to Placentia Bay, and then, mainly via secondary migration within the province, to other areas where direct immigration was lesser or absent.

But other elements in the settlement history are far more important, again locally, than the Irish in the core Irish areas of Newfoundland. The Channel Islands are prominent from the Burin Peninsula around the south and west coast of Newfoundland and into southern Labrador. The West Country is well-represented almost around all three coasts of Newfoundland, especially from parts of Conception Bay to the northeast coast, along the south coast, and along both sides of the Strait of Belle and along the Labrador coast as far as Esquimaux Bay. The other pre-Confederation British North American provinces, especially Nova Scotia and Quebec, are well-represented in the Scots, Acadian, Micmac, and French-Canadian settlement of the south and west coasts of Newfoundland and nearly the whole length of Labrador.

The history of settlement and colonization from the older settled parts of Newfoundland to the 19th-century frontier areas, and the cultural, economic, and historical connections between Newfoundland, Labrador, and the 18th- and 19th-century Gulf of St. Lawrence colonies, are fascinating parts of the province's history which have gone almost entirely unstudied, uncelebrated, and unappreciated. It is not a coincidence that you find people named Chev[a/e]r[ie/y], or places named "Jersey", "Guernesey" or "Basque" along all four shores of the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

Is it important to recognize, promote and celebrate the Irish heritage? Yes, absolutely. But it is absolutely vital that it be done in context. The Irish heritage in Newfoundland and Labrador is interesting and worth exploring. But the complexities, subtleties, nuances and quirks of settlement, history, and cultural development are much more interesting, and much more worth exploring. From the Aboriginal cultures, through the waves of immigration from the greater and lesser British Isles, to the province’s important ties to other parts of British North America and then Canada, there is a much bigger, and much more fascinating story to be told, than the one that is told when the Irish element, almost exclusively, is given prominence, government imprimatur, and state sanction.

Where are all the cultural delegations to the West Country? The economic conferences on the Channel Islands? When are the music festivals highlighting Acadian and Cape Breton Scots influences? Where is the travelling exhibit on the French-Canadian influence in Labrador? Who has written the book on the Gaspé/Jersey connection? And just try googling “West Country” or “Channel Islands” on the provincial government’s web site!

Writing in the St. John’s Telegram just before St. Patrick’s Day 1999, John Gushue provided an entertaining, and though-provoking examination of his own family history:

My grandfather Gushue [...] was raised in the area of Bacon Cove, Conception Bay, in the very early years of this century. At the very least, Pop grew up certain of a few things, and one of them was his heritage. Like everyone else around him, he assumed he was wholly Irish and Catholic.

Not so. Some years ago, my mother was doing some research, and in a list of plantations found a record that indicated the family name originated in the Channel Islands, by way of France; our ancestors were Huguenots.

So someone — my dad, actually — broke the news to Pop that his surname was not Irish and Catholic, but French and Protestant.

Gushue continues and concludes:

In many parts of the province (much of the northeast coast, large parts of the Burin Peninsula) there's scarcely a hint of Irish culture. I imagine things have gone askew because St. John's, which has a real Irish lilt to it, dominates the province and is always willing to speak for it, too.

There are other influences besides Irish and English. The French shore may not legally exist, but its legacy does. Our map is dotted with place names drawn from Spanish, Basques and Portuguese sources. […]

And let us never forget that in the scheme of things, we're all Conor-come-latelies compared to aboriginal communities. […]

Our music borrows from many traditions, Celtic and otherwise. The fact of the matter is that we've all fortified, nurtured and nourished one another.

We are who we think we are, and who we want to be. I think it's terrific that a lot of people want to get in touch with their Celtic roots. My problem is that when we sell ourselves as a little Irish enclave, we're not telling the whole story.
Gushue nails it. Without taking anything away from the important Irish element to Newfoundland history and culture, all elements of the province’s history and cultural heritage deserve exploration, celebration, preservation, and commemoration. To fail to do so threatens not just to overlook, and even suppress, important chapters of history, but also runs the risk of alienating those regions, communities, and cultures which do not "feel the Irishness" that increasingly takes on an obsessive character in the provincial government, the arts and media community, and the provincial metropolis.

What should someone whose speech is of Devon, and whose ancestors came from Trois-Rivières, the Arctic, and Orkney, have stirred in them by an appeal to their non-existent Irishness?

Everyone might be Irish on St. Patrick's day, but if "culture... is at the heart of our identity", "fundamental to our quality of life, our distinctive identity and our confidence as people", and "a celebration of our history, our lives and our accomplishments", then be both honest and inclusive about it.

Collectively downing one too many pints of green Guinness is to do a disservice to the true complexities and fascinating turns to be found in our culture and heritage. And it is inventing a past and a culture that simply does not, and did not, exist.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Curse you, Townie Bastard!

Townie Bastard is evil. And this thing is just too much fun to be good for you:

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Lono can rest easy

It wasn't just the "and" that was excised from the provincial (ugh) brand:

Old Newfoundland and Labrador logo

The removal of the reference to the country which "Newfoundland Labrador" is in, brings the "cartage fee" down to a much more modest $111,111.11 per letter.

Photoshop Phun

Wayne Osmond has a talent for photoshopping and a slightly evil bent, but what's Danny doing with Jake Gyllenhall?

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Cabinet secrets

From the 2003 platform of The Party:
A Progressive Conservative government will:
Proclaim new Freedom of Information legislation which will include amendments that will clearly identify information that should be in the public domain, including cabinet documents, and will require full and prompt disclosure of the information to the public.
In which case there should be no problem getting access to the designs which cabinet considered, but rejected. Designs, who knows, maybe like this one:

Talamh an Éisc agus LabradóirAfter all, as with other "identity" exercises, they should be preserved for posterity. Indeed, "preserving and celebrating heritage" is an investment!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006


How will the world know and recognize Newfoundland Labrador? It will know us for our pride and passion. Our unique way of looking at the world. And our creativity. Creativity that runs deep within our culture and in our DNA. That helps us adapt in a harsh and unforgiving environment, through the wind and the rain, the sleet and fog. That costs over a million bucks. So nice to have money.

Sentence fragments. Lots of sentence fragments.

It’s our fierce determination and tenacity that give us the strength to rise above it all, facing the sun and the future with youthful optimism. We’ve only been here for. 500. Years. Youthful. Like the youth. Gone to Alberta.

Just like the pitcher plant. A plant so odd, yet so comfortable in its own skin. So tough, yet so adaptable. Eats insects. Rotting insects. And if you squint, it looks like a bakeapple.

A survivor, fighting whatever comes its way with a resilience like no other plant on Earth. Except maybe lichen. Lichen is a tough S.O.B.

It’s a symbol that reflects who we are and what we stand for. It’s how the world will recognize us and know us. It’s a symbol that speaks our language. Newfinise. Not English. Not Canadian. Danny told us not to like those people any more. So we don’t. Don’t worry about the dropped haitches. We’ll pick them up in Havondale.

Blue letters. Tory blue. Tory blue like the sea that surrounds us here on this island. And Labrador. Labrador.

Newfoundland. Labrador. In faux Celtic letters. We’re Irish you know. Irish Irish Irish. We are so Irish. More Irish than the Irish. Have you told you lately how freakin’ Irish we are? Boy, are we Irish. Irish Ireland Eire Éire. We wish we were Irish, because we are just like Ireland. An Island. In the North Atlantic. Just like Ireland.

And a symbol that’s as unique as the people who live here, in every corner of Newfoundland Labrador. One symbol, one voice. Because if Danny had his way we’d be back to one name and the PWG.

True to who we are. And true to this place we call home. A place with a mission. And with a mission statement. That sounds like a bad beer commercial. A really bad. Beer.


We own the windbags

Fresh from driving a $2-billion private-sector investment out of Labrador, in these nationalist-jingoist-crypto-separatist-crypto-communist terms...

“We are currently in the process of the most comprehensive energy policy review ever undertaken in this province to develop an Energy Plan. This plan will set out the framework for policy decisions on how our energy sources are developed to achieve maximum benefit for the province. Obviously, the development of wind power will be a component of that plan. As a result we will not be making any decisions on such large wind development projects until government has its Energy Plan complete.

“There exists tremendous opportunity for the provincial government, through Hydro, to lead the development of major wind projects in this province that would lead to cost-effective power for all ratepayers, as well as the potential to export power at a financial benefit to the province. At this point we need to keep all of those options available.”
...comes this news:

Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro (Hydro) announced today that NeWind Group Inc. will be awarded a contract to provide 25 megawatts (MW) of wind power to the island from its St. Lawrence Wind Project. [...]

"NeWind submitted a comprehensive, cost-effective proposal for wind power," said Ed Martin, Hydro’s CEO. "We’re pleased to move forward with the company. They’ll be developing a project that makes economic and environmental sense for Newfoundland and Labrador. The project will provide clean, renewable energy for homes and businesses in this province.

As Ed Martin or Ed Byrne or Glorious Leader himself are reported to have told Ventus, "we own the wind".

Which would make you wonder: Why do "we" only hold Labrador's wind in crypto-commie title?
Is the NeWind contract a "giveaway" of "our" wind?

Why do "we" want to make "maximum benefit for the province" from Labrador's wind, through a Crown corp... but the wind of of the "wind-swept land" is open to third-party, private-sector development?

And why move with third-party, private-sector wind energy in Newfoundland, absent the completion of the provincial energy plan... the other ostensible excuse for driving $2-billion in investment out of Labrador?

Now, more than ever, it is imperative for Danny Williams, Glorious Leader, Successful Negotiator, Skilful Businessman, to answer one teeny, tiny, and ever-so-inconvenient question:

What is the sound, rational, coherent, and articulated basis on which wind power in Labrador is distinguished from wind power in Newfoundland?



Maybe, before the last cabinet shuffle, the Minister of Business knew the answer.