19 October 2006

Face-slapping and eye poking

Shawn Skinner, parliamentary assistant to Premier Danny Williams and lately the premier's chief translator told a radio audience in St. John's this morning that Premier Williams apologized if people in Quebec took offence at his remarks but the remarks stand.

Several weeks ago, Williams said that Canada should invest in his Lower Churchill project rather than Quebec because of Quebec's volatile political situation.

The comments caused a political storm in the Quebec National Assembly. It appears Williams and Quebec Premier Jean Charest discussed the comments during Charest recent trip to St. John's to attend a funeral.

Skinner told the province-wide radio audience Williams is standing by his assessment and referred to two referenda on separation as evidence of Quebec's unstable politics.

Skinner's comments are an effort to handle the fall-out from a Radio-Canada story headlined "Danny Williams fait volte-face" [Danny Williams does about-face].

Despite Skinner's best efforts to further inflame the political relationship between Quebec and Newfoundland and Labrador, there is no mistaking Williams' comments now both in French and English:
"If there was ever an opportunity for two premiers who are friends ... and have a mutual respect for each other to accomplish this particular deal, it will be myself and Jean Charest," Williams said.

"And I'm now saying, 'Quebec, work with us on this,' " Williams said.
Being a fan of classic slapstick, Jean Charest is reportedly holding his hand between his eyes to stop the next eye poke.