26 February 2010

Kremlinology 17: Woof! Woof!


“If I collapse up here, please drag me to Seattle – because the Canadian Medical Association won’t have anything to do with me,” the Newfoundland and Labrador Premier said.

In politics, they call it a dog whistle.  That’s the use of coded language that sends a very particular message that can only be heard by those attuned to the code. 

In this case, the key word is “Canadian” and the concept is that the Canadian doctors  - like are just sooking because they couldn’t get to operate on The Other Great One.

It’s a theme that’s been running through Danny Williams’  comments since undergoing major heart surgery in the United States.  The doctors in Newfoundland and Labrador did a bang-up job.  When he had to look at options outside the province he went to another native son for advice.  This guy just happens to be a leading thoracic surgeon in New Jersey and he recommended a fellow in Miami. Williams did say that the option of having this surgery with this method done in Canada was never offered to him, but that, it seems might be nothing more than a lawyer’s careful choice of words.

Now that some Canadian surgeons are pointing out that the same procedure was available in Canada, it isn’t good enough for Danny Williams to rely on the idea that it was simply his choice.  He’s got to take a dig that fits both with his narrative on the surgery and, for those familiar with it, his highly defensive modus operandi.

Now the rather interesting thing is that as Williams slipped that one into his Thursday night speech at a small crowd in Vancouver, it appears that some of his homies have already started howling the same tune.

Telegram comment[ary]s editor Peter Jackson made very similar snide comments a couple of days ago in response to a blog post by Geoff Meeker criticising an [Telegram] editorial that may have been written in largest part by Jackson [Correction via Peter’s comment below:  “And I had no involvement whatsoever in the writing or even proofing of that Telegram editorial.]

Let me see,,, [sic] so it's you guys, some anti-Obamacare propagandists in the U,S,, and insecure mainland surgeons who think there's a big story here…

The Globe seems to have taken a cue from the defensive cardiologists, many of whom they [the Globe] likely hunted out themselves…

You can ramble on for ages about the merits of both systems. It has nothing to do with Danny Williams.

((I'm wearing my private opinionator hat herre, [sic] not that of a Telegram staffer.)

And then in the Friday Globe, there’s a letter to the editor from Marjorie Doyle:

Perhaps Mr. Williams should voluntarily undergo more surgeries and spread his custom among the pouting doctors.

Now maybe this is nothing more than three people who may share similar ideological views purely by chance taking a cue from a misleading headline in the Globe.  Read the story at the end of that link, incidentally, and you’ll notice the huge gap between what the doctors actually said and what the headline says.

Then again, it wouldn’t be the first time dog whistling turned up in local politics during Williams’ time in office.

And what better way to deflect the argument currently centring on him and his own choices than to make it into a fight between “us” and “them”.