Churchill Falls is many things in the province, most of them fictional. Over the past few days, people have been treated to another of its functions.
As the Nutcracker is a staple of Christmas entertainment, so too is Churchill Falls an old chestnut of local political theatre which must be trotted out and recited by the amateur dramatic society currently running the province at the moment.
At least the latest bunch of ersatz thespians have managed to put a few new twists into the old plotline and fill the show with 35 terawatts of new humour.
Right off the opening curtain there is the idea that after 40 years and legions of legal minds racked up billable hours, one of them noticed that the idea that the contract isn’t fair could be the Golden BB capable of clearing up the province’s greatest political mess.
And if your sides are not heaving at that thought, consider that after three years of invoicing on top of the 37 that went before, the high-priced Quebec gag writers then conceived of the equally einsteinian thought that the whole thing could be cleared up by writing a nice letter to Hydro-Quebec noting that the contract was unfair and should be reworked.
Now let us not forget, of course ,that the whole basis of this grievance is that people in Quebec make way more money off a resource in this province than the people in this province.
What better way to drive home that point than by having the current crowd on the hill hire a bunch of lawyers in Montreal to rack up thousands or even hundreds of thousands more in billable hours – on top of the mountain of money they and their predecessors have already made on this racket over the years – to try and come up with yet another gag for the latest performance of the province’s premiere political pantomime: the Churchill Follies.
There simply is no end to the amount of money Quebeckers can make off the Falls and by Jingo, there is no shortage of public cash a local politician of any stripe would be ready to pay them to prove it.
Go big or go home as they say and there is no limit to big when the tab isn’t being covered by your own pocket. We’ll fight your case until we win or your bank account is dry, whichever comes first.
With the big joke set up and delivered, there is more. Consider the jest in Danny Williams’ accusation that someone in Quebec is writing Yvonne Jones’ questions for the House of Assembly. After all, the Premier has already acknowledged his answers were written by Montreal lawyers.
There are japes enough in this year’s performance so that even the bit players can fire off a zinger. No political observer worth his or her salt in the province has been able to stifle the snickers at the very thought of Kathy Dunderdale accusing someone else of not understanding what is going on around her.
Wipe the tears and catch your breath. This year’s version of the annual passion play includes audience participation.
One wonders if the Fan Club – dutifully attacking enemies they must actually imagine on this one – are dressing up in the manner of the Rocky Horror as they bang away at the keyboards or wait patiently on the phone to give Randy a piece of Liz’s mind. Some have centre-parts. Others twitch shoulders and still others have taped a black moustache on ready to act out their parts. The Chief Quisling Hunter is apparently back on the job, denouncing all who do not – like him – follow ohsoclose to the Premier’s hindmost regions.
Only in Newfoundland and Labrador would anyone come up with this sort of stuff, watch other politicians get sucked into discussing it and then see the local media report it all stone-faced as if it wasn’t actually a pantomime horse’s pantomime arse.