09 September 2010

Time to retire the old schtick

On a certain level, you can’t blame Danny Williams for saying the same stuff over and over.

After all, audiences like today’s gathering at the Board of Trade keep lapping it up.  They turned out in force, chuckling and applauding in all the right places as if they knew the script by heart.

As the scrum video shows, local reporters from the province’s two television networks never tire of asking him the same old questions over and over, getting the same old answers over and over,  and then passing them yet again to the audience at home as if they heard it for the first time.  

But while some people never seem to tire of re-runs, there are likely an ever-increasing number of people in the province for whom the province’s political news is starting to look like watching some borscht-belt comedian on a 1970s American talk show.  Decades ago, the guy had one joke that sort of worked, yet the host thinks the old codger is a comedic genius.  So he flies the guy back from Florida to inflict him on his audience over and over again.  In the two channel universe of the 1970s or even the 13 channel cable world of the 1980s, audiences didn’t really have much choice.

Just to make sure you have a clear picture in your head, though, think Bobby Bittman from The Sammy Maudlin Show.

Then think of a parody of Bobby Bittman on The Sammy Maudlin Show.

Now you are getting close to the reality that is Wednesday’s vintage Danny Williams speech.  Take an endless recitation of how much money government spent on this that or the other.  Rattle off supposed triumphs. Talk of a new attitude of “confidence, courage, maturity and integrity”. Cliches and pat phrases interspersed with random quotations from Bartlett’s.  As formulaic as The Ropers.

The result is jarring even beyond the idea that merely spending increasing amounts of cash is the only measure of success, that running massive deficits displays “fiscal discipline” or that calling Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney “a very powerful individual” is not trite.  With all the bravado and self-praise thrown liberally around as well, one has a speech that reeks of insecurity, fear, and childishness.

For Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, the speech was surely embarrassing. What else could it be when anyone  - let alone the Premier of a province – speaks of noble virtues, promises to “take no prisoners” in a political war with Quebec over the Lower Churchill, then immediately afterward quotes Mohandas Ghandi and yet remains completely oblivious to the stupidity of doing so in such a context.

On one level no one could blame any politician for doing what appears to work politically, but on another level,  the Premier’s performance at the Board of Trade was also a sign of an administration that has – to put it plainly - run out of ideas.

That lack of ideas is hurting the province.  The Premier has neither the markets nor the money to erect his $14 billion wet dream.  If he did, then Danny Williams would be building it instead of talking about it.  In the meantime, his obsession blocks out any development of wind or other energy power in the meantime.  That – as strange as it seems – is the government’s energy policy.

What’s more, the opportunity that does exist south of the border is being squandered in imaginary political squabbles.  Neil Leblanc just finished his appointment as Canadian consul in Boston.  As he noted in a recent interview, the northeastern United States is a ripe a lucrative market. 

But, Leblanc noted, it is not good enough for Canadians to say simply that we are here so “Come buy from us”.  In other words, it is not enough to say we have the most phantasmagoric undeveloped green energy planet in all Creation.  Canadian provinces cannot sit and wait for business to fall into their laps. The New England states themselves are also building new energy sources.  Other American states are already building new generation and transmission facilities to supply the eastern seaboard.

"There is time for the Atlantic provinces and Quebec to put their best foot forward. We have a lot of natural resources here, which we can hopefully take advantage of," he said. "It's a win-win situation if we can do it."

It could be a win-win situation.

Unfortunately, as long as Danny Williams uses the same speech over and over again, the best foot is not going forward. 

Far from it.

It’s time for the old schtick to retire.

- srbp -



Wm. Murphy said...

After all, audiences like today’s gathering at the Board of Trade keep lapping it up.

Geez Ed...what does the business community know anyhow? Maybe the Policy job at the BOT is still available....you have to educate these people.

For Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, the speech was surely embarrassing...

Let's get that sweeping broom out shall we!!

Ladies and gentlemen...VOTE for Ed Hollett in the Kilbride District in 2011. "The Liberal candidate with ALL the answers"

Ed Hollett said...

"Insecurity, fear and childishness'

Seems like I hit that one dead on.

Polly said...

Randy Simms hasn't read the alleged letter that Quebec has sent to Ottawa , but ,he states publicly that he believes what is in that missive ...

Polly said...

Is it any wonder Williams finds himself resorting to "BADGERING" Quebec these days .

He must be feeling "left out in the cold" ,Pelosi is having dinner in Ottawa with Premiers Wall and Stelmach and Minister Prentice .

Heck , she is even having a meeting with that bad dude Charest .

The only "LIMELIGHT" Williams finds himself in these days is what he can make for himself ...

Wm. Murphy said...

Geez Eddie...you seemed to have a left out a reference in DW's speech yesterday...it goes something like this!

Governor of the Bank of Canada, Mark Carney said...."Newfoundland and Labrador was an economic model for the rest of the country"

Oh my!...what does he know?

Ed Hollett said...

Glad to see you read the speech. Maybe you were in the room trying desperately not to hyperventilate.

In any event, did you notice the dates on the two editorial opinions were BEFORE the rest of us learned that there actually isn't a Nova Scotia link project and that the whole thing was a load?

Little stuff like that tends to get missed.

Heck, even big stuff tends to get ignored around these parts. Like say an effort to sell an ownership stake to HQ, no redress at all.

George said...

I see William has come out...
Hey William...
A suggestion for you,probably within your field of study anyway. Try the theory of Ampere's Law and come back and tell us all the relationship of it to, say...I know!...The idea of marketing new Churchill Falls power that doesn't exist yet!

WJM said...

When will new Churchill Falls power EVER exist?

(Lower Churchill != Churchill Falls.)

Wm. Murphy said...

There you again...chasing shiney gliittery things..

Would you mind telling me where I mentioned or even insinuated HQ, Nova Scotia Links, editorial dates???

I simply mentioned that Mark Carney said NL was an economic model for the rest of Canada!

I also mentioned that you seemed to miss this point in your post.

And btw, I didn't read the speech (whatever for??)...I read this in today's Telly

S carry on Eddie and George chasing sounds coming from the basement

Ed Hollett said...

Geez, William J, you need to take a giant breath and unlax your jangled nerves.

You come across as being so tightly wound that if you broke wind you'd shoot your eyeballs across the province.

I never missed anything. It's just that my post went beyond the commas and periods of the speech.

But I am glad you read the Telegram and the double BJ they handed to your hero.

Front page big photo and Steve Bartlett's job application right there on page one. He'll never get hired though because he can write, which is more than I can say for Liz or Danny or whoever put together the latest in a long line of tortured and torturous Old Man rants.

Frankly, his speeches are so appallingly bad he couldn't pay anyone 10 large to read the damn things. They should be grateful someone asked for copies rather than jerking him around.

In a long line of Premiers who at the very least could read speeches in an animated way, Williams is the only one I know who invokes pity every time he opens his mouth. All jokes and jabs aside, I genuinely feel sorry for him at having to do it over and over. He so obviously doesn't like doing it.

But what really is painful is that none of these performances actually do him the justice he deserves. Williams is smarter than that and better than that and he deserves having someone he trusts enough to help articulate what he wants to say.

I am sure the people who write his stuff are fine, lovely people but they are being misemployed. And if he writes his own stuff then he is just his own worst enemy. But I have honestly felt since at least 2003 that he constantly falls far short of his potential.

That likely means nothing in the greater scheme of things but right now there are likely a few trolls shaking their heads in disbelief.

Wm. Murphy said...

and this ladies and gentlemen is what we get when someone asks a simple question....330 words about absolutely nothing. Absolutely nothing to do with the point on why you didn't acknowledge that the Governor of the Bank of Canada said that NL is an economic model for the rest of Canada.

...that's all Ed....nothing more!

Even to ask the question means to you that I am tightly wound. Ya whatever!

If anyone else got that impression.....please chime in...I am all ears

But then in your recent spew,you manage to lampoon Liz Matthews, Steve Bartlett, The Telegram, The Trolls and, wait for it,...the Premier of the Province.

I am not quite sure if you are finished your tangent...but if you get the chance...why don't share with us why you never mentioned the statement from Carney?


William J. Murphy

Ed Hollett said...

Thanks, Murph.

If it wasn't for your obsession with comments attributed to Mark Carney I never would have gone back to see what he actually said.

The official text of the speech has the Premier saying this: "Is it any wonder that recently Mark Carney, the Governor of the Bank of Canada came to this province and stated that Newfoundland and Labrador was an economic model for the rest of this country?"

That's what the Telegram story said as well.

Apparently, the Premier was referring to Mark Carney's comments at the NOIA conference last June.

Check Carney's speech and media reports on it, all of which are available on line.

At no point did Carney endorse the Premier's economic policies with any comment that can be construed as saying the province was an economic model to follow. He did, however, speak about the province generally.

In other words, Carney did not make the remarks the Premier claimed in his speech that Carney made. If Carney said it somewhere else, by all means bring it forward. So far I haven't found it.

I think what you have is the Premier creatively attributing comments to Carney the same way he creatively imagined what the Regie decisions were about. The facts, however, tell a radically different story.

Thanks for poking at this enough to show me I should have paid attention to the Premier's claim before. It only strengthens my contention about the general nature of the speech: it lacked substance.

Geez, those own goals must hurt yet you insist on scoring them over and over.

Wm. Murphy said...

now that wasn't hard was it

as for ...If it wasn't for your obsession with comments attributed to Mark Carney

there you go again Eddie...off in wild and chaotic directions...I just asked the question and repeated it when you went off on tangents. There was no obsession! I hear that there is really good medication to improve focus...you should check it out

By the way ...why would Carney make the comment if there wasn't an endorsement of policy??. Maybe because he was just being polite... ya that's it!!!

Ed Hollett said...


There's no reason to wonder why Carney said it.

He didn't.

The thing to wonder is why the Premier would misunderstand or misrepresent Carney's comments.

Wm. Murphy said...

Great point Eddie...but the thing to wonder is why the Governor has not responded to the "misquote?

If it was such a "misrepresentation" of his comments (publically of privately) we would have certainly heard something by now.

Btw, did you check out the BOT link of the prem's speech on VOCM.com?

Ed Hollett said...

Well you raise a good Murph since it gives me the chance to explain that - unlike you and your buddies in the Fan Club - most people
(which includes Mark Carney) don't really give a flying frig what the Old Man says or does. They do not sit waiting for divine guidance from every bowel emission.

Notice that no one bothered to react to his latest tirade nationally except one newly appointed Quebec NMA.

There's a good reason for the that.

The problem Williams has is not that Quebec is blocking his every move. The problem is that west of Corner Brook no one cares gives enough of a shit to pay attention to him.

He is politically irrelevant. Except for you and your friends in the Fan Club who are, of course, shit-baked at the prospect he will frig off to Florida permanently any day now.