02 December 2009

Churchill Falls and The Pantomime Horse’s Arse

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.




047667 said...

This is just a case of redirecting public thinking.This goverment will be out of the House of Assembley in a few short days. With 17% unenployment,the fishery,forestry and mining in turmoil what better way to sidestep the real issues presently facing this province than to rally to a new fight.Just for good measure demonize the opposition while your are at it then call out fans. The media is playing along to all of this and should be more focused on the real issues facing our province and not this bunch of malarky.

Edward G. Hollett said...

Numbered companies and now numbered comments.

But yes one of things at the heart of this is distraction. You can tell by the sheer intensity with which the Tories and their fellow partisans are pushing it.

One of the other things behind it is the shaking the Tories took during the fall with two quickie resignations and a big loss in the by-election. It took a full-on all caucus/political staff assault to win Terra Nova.

The Tory behaviour in the past couple of days has been very self-consciously aggressive out of all character.

Well, that is unless they were shitbaked. It screams false bravado.

And look, if you or I had a Golden BB to burst this pustule, we'd get everything set up. The news conference would not be to announce we'd sent 50 cents on a stamp but to declare triumphantly that the thing is done and here's the cash we got.

The last thing we'd be doing, even if we planned to go to court, would be demonstrating our own bad faith by putting on a giant media show maybe even before the letter arrived accusing another party of acting in bad faith. Judges don't take kindly to bullshit like that, as the Premier found out in Halley.

líam said...

Not to sound too paranoid here, but the folks at Irving, Mitchell, Kalichman must be laughing. When the NFLD provincial government or NALCOR comes to you in 2009 (or possibly even 2007, if Ed Martin is to be believed), and asks you about MORE legal options regarding the Upper Churchill, what else does one do but provide a tempting argument or two that may or may not have a chance in hell at being successful before a court? One almost has no choice but to play along. "Oh, we actually just noticed this quirky thing in the Quebec civil code." And hook, line and sinker that's all Martin and Williams needed to hear.

Edward G. Hollett said...

Liam it would be paranoid.

Jerome! said they reviewed everything everyone has already gone over a thousand times, including the old s.92A chestnut.

I mean Lard T'underin' Dynamite, me old sock, if someone comes to you and says now run me through the last 40 years of your legal consukting and everyone else's too and we'll pay current billable rates for the history lesson what the frig would you do but get out the files and the invoice pad?

If nothing else what we learned is that Jerome!, Danny and Kathy knew absolutely nothing about this subject before they started. We - the taxpayers - paid for three friggin' years of their education and then we will pay again as they try out this bit of nonsense.

I wouldn't be surprised if they got an very frank appraisal from the lawyers (it's a little thing and it probably won't work) but since the clients fancy themsevles to be the smartest lawyers of all themselves, they'd sooner take their own advice that that of mere mortals...exactly as they did in the stunningly successful Ruelokke case, for just one example.

Plus, this is much more about a political dodge than a legal one anyway.

So if you are a lawyer and the provincial government wants you to play silly bugger, what else are ya gonna do but help pay the bills?