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

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Sea foam

Boy, has the Newfoundland nationalist froth ever been whipped up.

Exhibit A — Bob Wakeham:

We need a slate of independent candidates

The Telegram

There are innumerable exhortations I can recall from a variety of authority figures growing up designed to force me and my contemporaries to swallow every piece of adult garbage we were fed, and to accept it all without argument or protest.

“We know what’s best for you.”

“You’ll eventually thank us.”

“You’re just not mature enough to accept that responsibility.”

Although both genders were guilty of such dictates, it was generally called paternalism, and I detected its whiff last week when Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Jim Flaherty — the Tory finance minister doing a poor man’s leprechaun, wearing a smug, artificial smile, and making unsuccessful attempts at charming sound bytes — mistreated Newfoundland not only with the shattering of a promise of an equalization formula unaffected by offshore revenues, but once again implying, as has just about every federal government since Confederation, that the crowd on the “Rock” (as derogatory a term, in my estimation, as “Newfie”) are incapable of handling their own affairs.

Danny Williams called it a “betrayal,” and, I’m sure, used saltier language in private to blast Harper and Flaherty for their little St. Patrick’s Day assault on Newfoundland’s latest attempt to finally gain some autonomy in this mostly one-sided, Confederation marriage, a 58-year relationship in which the newest Canadian bride has tolerated way too much abuse, and absorbed broken promise after broken promise.

And it wasn’t just another knock by the stronger spouse up the side of the head of the weaker spouse; there was, as well, that paternalistic hand being waved about, not unlike the psychological bullying that convinced Newfoundlanders to give up their freedom in 1932, and to be put to bed every night, or scolded when need be, by an infallible Commission of Government.

And here we are again, being told by a group of people that thinks it knows what’s best for this province, and making it sound — as only politicians can, with their rhetoric and semantics — that the province has actually been given choices designed to give Newfoundlanders the kind of economic freedom they long for.


But there is a bottom line here, and it’s simple: Harper made a commitment to Williams to exclude offshore revenue from the equalization formula, and he’s gone back on that word, he’s broken a promise, he’s taken a Newfoundland that’s gotten too many smacks over the years from its paternalistic bosses in Ottawa, and given it another kick in the arse.

And if ever there was a time that Danny Williams should flaunt his unprecedented popularity as premier, it is now.

Not only should he merely encourage the electorate to vote against Harper in the upcoming federal election, as he said he will, he should also campaign against them, get out on the hustings and let his venom flow.


Perhaps the most effective route is to line up seven independent candidates, beholden to no one, get them elected, and have them form their own Bloc Terra Neuve in the House of Commons, close up and personal with whatever prime minister or party is in power, and have, as their mandate, the betterment of Newfoundland.

And, as well, letting the country know Newfoundlanders are quite capable of taking care of themselves.

That they’re not to be treated like sixth-graders.

That they know all about responsibility.

And integrity.
Good points all, Bob. Except:

A) Danny Williams has a list of broken platform promises as long as his... ego. Just try this one on for size:

A Progressive Conservative government will pursue a Canada - Newfoundland and Labrador Fisheries Agreement for a decision-making process in which the federal and provincial governments work in partnership for the sustainable management of the fisheries.
Now that he has this offer on the table from Harper:

A Conservative Government will adopt, with any interested coastal province or territory, a system of increased provincial management over fisheries through a system of joint management and joint fisheries councils modelled on the system proposed by unanimous resolution of the Newfoundland and Labrador House of Assembly in May 2003 and as detailed in the government of Newfoundland and Labrador's white paper on the subject as released in 2003.
Harper, to his credit, has called Danny's bluff perfectly. Would that more people would call Danny's bluff and call him out on his laxitudes with the truth.

It made a great sabre-rattling line, but Danny Williams does not have, and never had, any real interest in "joint management". His promise was a lie. A jingoistic, Newfoundland nationalist lie.

(Many, many more examples of Danny's lies are to be found at:

So, Mr. Wakeham, what should Newfoundlanders and Labradorians do about that? Should they punish the liar, in this case Danny Williams, or reward him? Should Danny Williams be held to the same standard you demand of federal politicians? Why or why not?

B) Newfoundland doesn't have seven seats. It has six. You are going to have a devil of a time getting Labradorians to sign on your jingoistic PWG-waving projects at the best of times. Refusing to say the L-word doesn't help your cause.

C) In a October 8, 2003, election-period letter, Danny wrote:
A Progressive Conservative government will acknowledge that the decision in the Powley case applies to Metis in Newfoundland and Labrador, and will par ticipate with specific rights affirmed in the Powley decision and other rights protected under s. 35 of the Constitution.
If it is bad for Stephen Harper to break a written promise contained in a letter sent during an election campaign, is it not also bad for Danny Williams to do so? Why or why not? And what, in particular, should Labrador, and Labrador Metis electors, do about it?

You know, Bob, the more Labradorians hear this kind of jingoistic mau-mau nonsense from Danny, other politicians, and the PWG-waving media cheerleaders, the more of them are inclined to think, not about the Abuses of Imperialist Paper Tiger Canadian Oppressor, but rather about the hypocrisy of "a [244]-year relationship in which the newest... bride has tolerated way too much abuse, and absorbed broken promise after broken promise."

There's plenty of mau-mau jingoism to go around in Labrador, Bob.

It's just not of a variety you'd like.


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