Having proposed in past runnings of his Weekly Hate, inter alia
, that Quebec should separate from Canada ("We love you Quebec but please leave
", April 16, 2005); that Newfoundland should separate from Canada (every other week, basically, but if you want a specific cite, try "An independent Newfoundland and Labrador
", June 18, 2005); that Labrador should separate from Newfoundland ("Should Labrador separate?
", May 28, 2005); that the provincial capital should be moved to some location in the central part of "the province" ("It's time to shut down St. John's
", July 2, 2005); and goodness knows what else; and having, on the airwaves of the Daily Two-Hour Hate, fustigated Quebec over the supposed Labrador boundary "dispute" (passim
), and even suggested Quebec be kicked out of Canada (ibid.
); now comes the Republic of Newfoundland's former Ambassador to Canada
, Comrade Bill Rowe, and his latest brain fart in the Saturday pages of The Telegram
Time to get in bed with Quebec?
Does the idea of Newfoundland and Labrador joining the Maritime provinces look geographically natural to you? Not only do we have little in common with them culturally, but even the geography of such a union looks weird to me.
Now look at that map again. Doesn’t it strike you that geographically we have an awful lot in common with Quebec? Labrador is the same land mass, and Newfoundland, just a few miles away across the Strait of Belle Isle, is a very natural extension.
In which literary effort Comrade Rowe laments:
Quebec forges ahead with another multibillion-dollar hydroelectrical project while our Lower Churchill stays stuck in neutral.
without investigating why "our" [sic] "Lower Churchill" [sic] is stuck in neutral. Is it Canada
's fault? Quebec's? Any chance, however slight, that it might be "our" own? Who knows; Comrade Rowe raises the question, but runs away from the answer. Hard-hitting stuff!
Comrade also whines:
Every redistribution of seats in the House of Commons will increase the number from the rest of Canada while leaving us with our paltry seven.
without noticing that, as a region of declining population within a united province of "Quebec and Newfoundland", Newfoundland and Labrador and would lose the "paltry seven" representation it is currently guaranteed as a stand-alone province. (Or, for that matter, that only three provinces in "the rest of Canada", as of late, have been increasing their representation; the other six being in exactly the same position as "us". Or that the ONLY province which has never, ever lost a seat in redistribution is... Province No. 10!) Regions within provinces do not have the same protection against seat loss that provinces do.
Example: In Quebec, from Lévis to les Îles inclusive, there are now five federal electoral districts: Gaspésie—Îles-de-la-Madeleine; Haute-Gaspésie—La Mitis—Matane—Matapédia; Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques; Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup; and Lévis—Bellechasse.
In this same space, as late as the mid-1960s, there used to be ten: Bellechasse; Bonaventure; Gaspé; Îles-de-la-Madeleine; Lévis; Matapédia-Matane; Kamouraska; Montmagny—L'Islet; Rimouski; and Rivière-du-Loup—Témiscouata. Les Îles, Gaspésie and the Bas-Saint-Laurent regions in Quebec, among others, have been experience population decline on similar orders of magnitude as rural Newfoundland... only it started much earlier.
(Contrary to popular myth in Newfoundland, the provincial population increased dramatically in the post-Confederation years, growing at roughly double the pre-Confederation rate, and despite the recent population loss, is still much higher than it was in 1949.)
As part of a united province of Quebec and Newfoundland, the area formerly known as Newfoundland and Labrador would be entitled, under the electoral boundaries legislation, to five ridings. Assuming for the sake of argument that recent demographic trends continue unabated, by the 2080s, Newfoundland would be down to a single MP.
Comrade Rowe also asks:
Do you think Ottawa would say no to fallow field legislation for our offshore resources if Quebec was asking for it?
Perhaps Comrade Rowe should have asked
, what jurisdiction does Quebec exercise over offshore petroleum exploration in the Gulf of St. Lawrence? Or over any activity at all in Hudson Bay and Strait? How does that jurisdiction compare to what the current province of Newfoundland and Labrador has under the Constitution, according to the courts, and under the Atlantic Accord? And how does that answer square with the Quebec-tail-wagging-the-dog conspiracy?
Finally, Comrade Rowe gushes:
Add to that magnificent mix our half million feisty, brainy people with our resource-rich land mass surrounded by a resource-rich ocean, and the united province of Quebec and Newfoundland would be unstoppable in Canada and the world.
Maybe it's Comrade Rowe who needs to look more closely at maps.
While most of "our half million people" may be "surrounded" by an ocean (and it's less than half a million once you account for "our" people, the 30,000 or so, who are not
surrounded by water), most of "our resource-rich land" — you know, the chunk that contains "our Lower Churchill", and, presumably, "our Voisey's Bay", "our iron ore mines", "our spruce forests", and whichever else of "our" Labrador resources strike the fancy, from time to time, of the Newfoundland nationalists — is firmly attached to the continent.
No one has yet dug a canal along the Labrador-Quebec boundary. "We", as a province
, are NOT surrounded by an ocean, resource-rich or otherwise, even if that island to the south of Labrador is.
So, having condemned Quebec on many occasions, sometimes passim
, sometimes more forcefully, for its supposedly wanting to change or erase the Labrador boundary, it is now Comrade Rowe himself who proposes pulling out the giant eraser, wiping the 1927 line off the map, and uniting not just Quebec and Labrador — an idea which he used to bristle at — but Quebec, Labrador, and that island to the south of Labrador to boot!
And, as it turns out, the idea of uniting Quebec and Newfoundland into one jurisdiction is actually not original, or even new. It is very old. It was proposed in the 1860s that "Canada East" and Newfoundland be merged into one, "unstoppable", sub-national jurisdiction.
The proponents? American Annexationists
For all purposes of State organization and representation in the Congress of the United States, Newfoundland shall be part of Canada East, and Prince Edward Island shall be part of Nova Scotia, except that each shall always be a separate representative district, and entitled to elect at least one member of the House of Representatives, and except, also, that the municipal authorities of Newfoundland and Prince Edward Island shall receive the indemnities agreed to be paid by the United States in Article II.
It was a loopy idea from them, then. It's a loopy idea from Comrade Rowe, now, and that's probably the point. Comrade Rowe is a one-man loopy idea conglomerate, overly fond of his own brain farts and the sound of his radio voice. "Uh huh, uh huh," he grunts disinterestedly at half of the callers — it IS
show, Bill! — to the Two-Hour Daily Hate; usually just before he bellows at them, "WHAT IS YOUR POINT?"; oblivious to the fact that the listening audience, who are actually, you know, listening
, know full well, nine cases in ten, what the caller's point is.
Moderator, Moderate Thyself!
But if this "column" is the sort of thought experiment that Comrade Rowe must engage in, to decide for himself, once and for all, whether he's a Federalist, Separatist, or just a Contrary Old Jackass, he should keep 'em comin'.
If nothing else, they are of great infotainment, and historic, value. Who knew the American Civil-War era Annexationists were on to something?