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

Friday, January 26, 2007

Questioning Danny's version

Fast-forwarding to today’s Telegram and its editorial, “Danny’s version”.

Williams pointedly told the audience that the per capita debt of individual Newfoundlanders increased tenfold when we joined Canada. It’s an interesting
number, but like most subjective and selective numbers, unlikely one that tells
the whole story.

The fact is that you can take a whole host of numbers out of context to defend any argument. And further, if you’re allowed to include some numbers — like the total landed value of the fishery and the total value of the oil and gas in the offshore (while discounting the fact that those resources gain their value through commercial exploitation and the necessary profit-taking involved) — and choose to simply disregard others, you can make an economic case that holds attention without ever really holding water.
Sadly, that’s almost the National Sport of the Secret Nation these days. Just witness the sorry statistical spectacle that was The Independent’s “balance sheet” exercise the other year.

The editorialist ungently pokes a Great Big Hole in the Premier’s logic and rhetoric:
The problem is, the argument — perhaps unintentionally on Williams’ part — also
makes another point.

It is the natural precursor to the “It’s my football, and if I can’t set the rules, I’m taking it and going home” school of negotiation.

And that’s a school of argument that you could easily suggest has done a tremendous amount of damage to this country as a whole.


The “we were better off without you” argument may be popular with the home crowd, but it’s not likely to garner much more than polite applause from a few hundred students when you’re giving that speech away.
It is the natural precursor to that argument. And Danny keeps making arguments of that ilk at every possible occasion.

There’s only one rational explanation, though to attempt to apply rational explanations, of course, is to beg the question of whether you are dealing with rational behavior in the first place.
That rational explanation? That it’s deliberate on Danny’s part.

It’s not as if Danny hasn’t been above not just 1960s-era Quebec nationalist rhetoric in the past… he’s even dabbled in 1970s-era Quebec separatist slogans. He’s fallen short, though just, of inciting his now-diminishing band of fans into a chant of “un pays, nous l’aurons”. But his flirtation with the Pink White and Green was a blatant, if aborted, pander to the downtown St. John’s separatist crowd, evoking the Quebec nationalist usage, and abusage, of the fleurdelisé... to say nothing of his January 2005 impersonation of Jean-Paul L'Allier. His celtophilic fascination with Ireland is another, probably unconscious echo of Quebec nationalism’s appeal to Québécois de souche, the ethnically-correct, the good old stock, the “us”, the “nous”, in contradistinction to the less-virtuous Canadian “them”.

Already he’s taken to Parizeau-esque blaming “money” – in the form of those horrid Canadian capitalists who would swoop in from outside and rob Terra Nova of her virtue and her resources. (There probably aren’t enough, unless you count the Labrador Metis, who, in any event, according to Chancellor Williams himself, don’t exist, to invoke the other half of Parizeau’s bile-laden invective, the bit about “la vote ethnique”.)

Danny’s constant resort to Newfoundland nationalist, even crypto-separatist, logic and rhetoric, has gone, too often, without comment in the local press. What little there has been, has usually been of the fawning, PWG-waving variety. The Telegram’s editorial marks a welcome relief on both fronts.

But the questions still need to be explored: why does Danny do it? what is his purpose? what is his goal? Because, you know, arguing, if only subtly and implicitly, that we should get more money out of Canada or we’ll [UNSPECIFICED DIRE CONSEQUENCES TO BE INSERTED HERE], is kind of self-defeating.

After all, if Danny were to lead virtuous Terra Nova into [UNSPECIFIED DIRE CONSEQUENCES TO BE INSERTED HERE], how much more money would she be getting out of horrible, horrible, Canada then, than she pays in?


At 9:25 AM, January 28, 2007 , Blogger Sue said...

So WJM what do you think of the idea of 4 Labrador Party victories next election and possibly forming the next Opposition?

At 1:21 PM, January 28, 2007 , Blogger Mark said...

Sounds like a wonderful idea. We should elect Labrador separatists to hold the Newfoundland separatists accountable. Maybe one day the Bell Island separatists and the Ramea sparatists and the Fogo separatists will collectively bring some sanity to our province. The more groups of people we can motivate in the province to blame someone else for everything the fewer people we will ever elect to actually get anything done.
We "homing pigeons" find the whole thing rather amusing.

At 2:00 PM, January 28, 2007 , Blogger WJM said...

So WJM what do you think of the idea of 4 Labrador Party victories next election and possibly forming the next Opposition?

Somewhat more likely than an NLFirst minority government. Definitely more likely than a N&LP one.


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