Thursday was one of those days where you felt like you had dropped down the rabbit hole with Alice.
Or maybe had indulged a bit too heavily in some mind-altering substance.
There was Lorraine Michael on the radio complaining that Muskrat Falls would likely cause environmental problems through the release of methyl mercury. Let’s be clear: there is nothing we know about Muskrat Falls today on any subject that wasn’t known when Lorraine endorsed Muskrat Falls. Yet, there is Lorraine trying to make it sound like she never, ever supported this megaproject.
Then there was Tom Johnson getting all sorts of credit over at the public utilities board hearings pointing out that Nalcor gave some of its senior executives all sorts of bonuses in the wake of the darknl fiasco. That, supposedly was the cause of the increased costs driving its current application to the utilities board for a rate increase.
Two problems: first of all, Johnson , the Conservative patronage hack that he is, endorsed the Muskrat Falls mess in 2012 without ever once raising anything vaguely resembling a serious objection to it. His current effort to poke at Nalcor looks pathetic in light of his previous weak-kneed positions.
Second of all, and more importantly, Johnson didn’t break the freakin’ news about the bonuses. Credit for that has to go to Danny Dumaresque during the original darknl hearings in early 2014.
Whatever the cause of Hydro’s current rate increase request, it will pale in comparison to what they will have to fork over thanks to the Muskrat falls project Johnson endorsed earlier.
So let’s make it clear: the problem with Johnson is not just that he is a partisan hack. It’s that he is a full-of-shit partisan hack.
Someone should ATIP his billings to government to see how much money he has made from the public purse for doing nothing good for consumers. There’s a travesty just as bad as the Nalcor bonuses in the wake of darknl.
And when Johnson was gone, there was Clyde Jackman talking to ted Blades about the welcoming nature of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians. Jackman went on and on about it, in the context of taking in a few refugees from the clutches of murderous fanatics in Syria.
Clyde was right. The spirit of openness he talked about is easy enough to see in our history. There were the sailors from the Truxton and Pollux, black and white, rich and poor, rescued and cared for and nursed to health without concern by their benefactors for anything other than that they were human beings needing desperately a tiny measure of simple human compassion. They found far more than they might have dreamt of.
There were the people from eastern Europe who flocked after the Second World War or in the 1990s. Even when the locals were at a low ebb themselves, they were able to open their hearts to strangers in need. Many of them wound up leaving our province but others stayed to be sculptors or musicians or cab drivers.
And then there were the unfortunates who descended here one day 14 years ago and found hospitality that proved to be a profound contrast to the moral depravity in New York, Pennsylvania, and Washington that had caused them to land in Newfoundland and Labrador instead of their destination. That such caring could exist in the world at precisely the same moment as such brutality is a contrast that leaves both our minds or our souls incapable of comprehending.
What was so jarring about Clyde Jackman’s comments was the way he seemed to forget his early days in politics. From 2003 to 2010, Jackman served in an administration that was arguably among the most xenophobic we have ever seen. The people that Jackman now identifies with are not the ones who he and his colleagues courted a decade ago. Those people saw “conspiracy and perfidy in every foreign accent.”
Thursday was a day for those incongruities, for things that did not quite make sense. We seem to have fallen down the rabbit hole, the one for a rabbit about the size of a moose.