27 October 2016

Three for Thursday #nlpoli

Quebec opposes more federal cash for Muskrat Falls

The Government of Quebec has always opposed federal loan guarantees for Muskrat Falls on the grounds that it skews the hydro playing field.  This week, they just renewed their objections as the provincial government tries to score a second $5.0 billion guarantee.

Speaking of Ottawa and the loan guarantee,  Dwight Ball is skipping the financial update this morning to go to Ottawa.  Ball's doing a Memorial University alumni dinner but is he going to meet with anyone to talk financial aid for the province?

Expect as much sunshine as they can imagine

The midyear financial update is coming at 11:00 AM this morning.  There was supposed to be some word on the gas tax.  Expect some concrete information on when they will start to eliminate it. Invariably the provincial spring budget contains some fictitious numbers.  Over the past decade the government loved to low-ball tax revenues.  This would inflate the deficit and make it look much better at Christmas time, when the Conservatives used to do the mid-year update.  We might see a few of those little surprises.

What you will most definitely not here is any talk of cuts to spending by the government.  Those days are over.  And if finance minister Cathy Bennett hints at cuts, expect a long season of protests from now to the spring as people apply the Mustafa Principle in spades.

They see us as we see ourselves

Over at the Telegram,  Pam Frampton is miffed at an editorial cartoon that depicts a newly-appointed Supreme Court justice wearing rubber boots and a sou'wester with his judicial robes,  sporting a codfish, and telling his new colleagues to pucker up.  It's a reference to Screech-ins.

Deep breath.

Here's part of what the guy who drew the cartoon told Pam:  "All of my friends have told me if I ever go to Newfoundland and go to a pub, I’ll have to kiss the cod. … Every culture has its traditions. I think it’s fun — something to embrace."

Pam concluded:  "Perhaps I was too quick to read condescension in what was meant as an innocent tip of the hat. Phillips certainly had no knowledge of the cultural yoke we’ve had to bear in being dismissed as hard-drinking, fun-loving jokers who are a drain on the nation."

Ok.  Fair enough.

This guy may have been trying to be nice but consider this:  Screech-ins are a marketing stunt invented by the government-owned liquor corporation to flog rum. That's all they ever were.  This guy thinks it is what Newfoundlanders are all about.

No one should be surprised by that.  We have worked hard to perpetuate negative stereotypes of people from this province or, as this January 2005 post highlighted, what are essentially caricatures of this place and all the people who live in it.  The campaign to get a Newf on the Supreme Court was based around some idea that we deserved it,  that it was our turn or, God forbid,  that we needed to get one of ours up there so we might win a few court cases for change.

Think about that for a second.  We argued that the court should make judgements that are based on bias, rather than fairness and justice. Not that they had made them like that in the past and that that was bad, but that it was a good thing and we now wanted our share of the corruption.  People argued the Newfs needed a token seat for any reason except that maybe they might find a qualified candidate from Newfoundland and Labrador. We actually argued for putting us in a ghetto, and then got pissed of at some write for the Toronto Globe when she said we lived in one.


That's just insane.

Then think about the past couple of weeks and the number of stereotypes,  figments of people's imaginations and all the ignorance shown for people from this province who are not of the 97% of the population who are white. Never mind that the 97% who control everything here always claim they are victims of some great and completely imaginary conspiracy solely to justify their continued control of the province and its resources.  We accuse others of doing to us what we actually do to ourselves.

Well, ourselves, if you believe that Innu, Inuit,  Metis,  francophones,  Somalis,  St. Pierrais, Pakistanis, Gujeratis, Ialians, Bulgarians, and a hockey bag of people from other ethnic minorities are Newfoundlander , are Labradorians as much as the white people whose ancestors came from England, Wales, Scotland, or Ireland and who make up the supposedly dying "race" that Danny Williams dog-whistled in 2007.

Too many people in Newfoundland and Labrador have defined us wrongly for too long.  We need to actually spend some time figuring out who *we* are.  The cartoon is offensive, Pam even if the guy didn't realize what he was doing.  But then again, it was offensive in no small measure because *we* don't seem to appreciate just exactly what *us*  actually means.