20 May 2011

Dunderdale in action: One Homer moment after another

Danny Williams used to talked in Sarah Palin-like terms about all the reading he did.  He could never say what it was he was reading but apparently he felt the need to let us know that – lawyer and Rhodes scholar that he was – reading was something he had down.

Kathy Dunderdale likes to make fun of Yvonne Jones for supposedly making mistakes.

Now in Danny’s case you could forgive him the odd failing  - and it is odd as in bizarro - like an insecurity about literacy.

But Kathy Dunderdale just lampoons herself time after time after time.

Take this exchange in the House of Assembly on Thursday.

When asked about her plans for appointing former Nalcor board chairman John Ottenheimer to his old job or maybe a new one, Dunderdale couldn’t resist trying to sound condescending:

Mr. Speaker, sometimes you have to be like Theseus with his ball of wool in the maze to follow the logic of the Leader of the Opposition. I do not know how you can reappoint somebody to a new position. Anyway, I think I got the gist of what she is asking, Mr. Speaker.

Dunderdale then offered that she would have no “compunction” about giving John another job seeing as he is such a great fellow.

And incidentally, John Ottenheimer is a gentleman of  great ability.

So it is odd that she would have any compunction at all.  Look up the word.  There’s no shame in doing so.  Your humble e-scribbler had to double check the meaning. 

The Concise Oxford Dictionary defines it as a “pricking of conscience.”  Miriam-Webster gives a similar set of meanings but one that makes it clear the word is tied to an awareness of guilt at having done something inappropriate.  While Dunderdale said she would have no compunction  -  that is no sense of guilt - it is not exactly a common word.  Nor is it a clear way of saying what she seems to have meant in referring to Ottenheimer.

What she meant to say is that she would not hesitate.  She would gladly reappoint him again because he is so eminently qualified.

What she did was use a 50 cent word, apparently to try and sound smart, and in the process did what is essentially a case of damning with faint praise.


Then Kath used the word again.

In another comment, she said that opposition leader Yvonne Jones had no compunction about making a statement of fact that is factual.  Dunderdale was trying to accuse Jones of something else but, as tends to happen when Kath puts on airs, she tripped up in her own twists and turns of logic and her continual miss-statements of fact.

In this case, Dunderdale had a classic Homer Simpson moment by claiming that the Holyrood generating plant produced 37% of the province’s electricity in 2009.  The actual figure was 17.8%.


That wasn’t Dunderdale’s only string of head-slappers.

Jones made a crack that Dunderdale liked to pattern herself after the federal Conservative leader, a man who is notoriously unpopular among people in this province including provincial Conservatives. 

Dunderdale replied:

Well, Mr. Speaker, let me begin by saying that I thank the Leader of the Opposition for saying that I follow in the steps of Mr. Harper and what happens to Mr. Harper happens to me, because I guess we are on path for a majority government in October.


But wait.

There’s more.

Jones asked why Dunderdale was going to block the Public Utilities Board from reviewing the Muskrat Falls project.

We are not, says Dunderdale, a few days after her natural resources minister confirmed she was.

That blocking was done in December 2000.

Dunderdale is bringing the PUB back in, according to the Premier’s tortured logic, even though Dunderdale herself has already said the PUB would not have the ability to review the Muskrat Falls proposal as they should under the Electrical Power Control Act because since she had decided not to amend, rescind or otherwise change that exemption issued in 2000.

In the tangled maze that is a Kathy Dunderdale argument, no ball of string could help anyone find their way through its twists and turns.  The only thing one can do is tumble around and be amazed that at the enormous pile of bull that sits at the centre of it.

- srbp -