Thursday, October 4, 2012


Manipulative, condescending and alarmist. 

That about sums up Premier Dunderdale’s speech to the Board of Trade.

It was high on emotion, but short on tangible facts. The Premier launched a full salvo at Quebec, pulling back the scab of the Upper Churchill and pouring salt on the festering wound. She raised the specter of Quebec at least 16 times. It appears that the government is banking on anti-Quebec sediments to seal it’s deal.

On wharves, stages, dories, twine lofts, Orange Lodges, soap boxes, parish halls, Boards of Trade, rotaries, radio programs, the pans of trucks, whistle stops and from P.A Systems attached to the roofs of cars – for generations residents of this rock, and it’s mainland appendage, have been preached the message of salvation from rainmakers and snake oil salesmen.

From the promised prosperity of responsible government, railways, paper mills and cucumber plants, the oft call of striking while the iron is hot has been a rallying call. Underneath it all, a call to our paranoia and insecurity.  We are victims, she claims, of forces that conspire to keep us down. It is trump card. The Ace of Hearts – depending on the fight it can be Canada, the UK, Quebec, townies, merchants or big oil.

Finally, after two years of a scatter gun approach, the Premier has laid out her approach. Blame Quebec for blocking economic development in Labrador! The only solution, to find a way to offset the cost of developing hydro for proposed mining operations in Labrador is to build a transmission line across the Cabot Strait.

Prosperity, according to our Premier has arrived, delivered she claims by her administration.  

She promised honest debate based on democratic principles but offers a non-binding vote in the House of Assembly. She refuses to consider a referendum on the issue. She promises to debate the issue on merit but delivered a speech mired in emotion. She claims to have been transparent, but refused to provide the Public Utilities Board with the data and time to access the project.

It is clear to me that the Premier is going for the hearts, not the minds of the public. 

The message certainly played to my nationalist tendencies. If I had confidence in the costs, if I felt that this entire thing had not been ring fenced to produce a result, I might be singing from the roof tops. My support is the government's to earn.

If yesterday's speech is any indication, this government's approach will boil down to a black and white debate.

If you oppose the project you support Quebec. The Economics will play second billing in this debate.

It appears very much like the echo chamber debate that occurs on  on Twitter with government members
every day.

What a shame!


Anonymous said...

When Danny played this same card, over and over, you stood and cheered.

Peter L. Whittle said...

Context is a wonderful thing. I adopted the position that Danny Williams went with prior a long time before he was elected and much before the Royal Commission. When Williams challenged the Accord – Liberal Prime Minister Paul Martin responded. I was in solidarity with the Premier’s approach and his request from Ottawa. Subsequent to that, Harper promised something else, the removal of our non-renewable resource revenues from the EQ formula. He failed to keep that promise and I (with the help of a few friends) organized a non-partisan rally at the Confederation Building to show solidarity with the discontent in this province with Harpers failure to live up to his promise. I certainly spoke against local Conservative MP’s who refused to listen to their constituents and the provincial government. I campaigned against them. I was, and remain very much ABC. ANYTHING BUT CONSERVATIVE. In fact, I have always been and will always be anti-federal Conservatives.

So, if anything Danny Williams established leadership on a file that I believed in. I had, have and will never not support a position I believe in over a party line that I can not support. IS that so hard to comprehend? I also supported the creation of NALCOR and equity stakes in offshore oil projects. Policies I advocated for within the liberal party all through the 1990’s and early 2000’s.

Get your context and facts straight!

Anonymous said...

Dunderdale is a bag of wind!

Wait until she attempts to explain the numbers! It will be a circus. I think people's dislike for her are going to kill this deal, which is not good.

Jay L said...

As ably illustrated by The Premier, and her trusty accomplice Anonymous 12:23, politics has descended into a game of US vs THEM.

You can't support one party on one issue and another party on another issue. Independent thought has been wiped away. If you're not 100% with my party, you're my enemy. If you don't agree with my point of view, you're a nutjob. A partisan hack. Yada yada yada.

It's a pretty dangerous game. It further alienates the electorate, entrusting elections and decisions to fewer and fewer people.

Look at the US - where politics is somewhat akin to the Roman Coliseum. Voter turnout? In a Presidential year like this one, they'll get about 60%. In a mid-term election... in the 40s nationally.

I get that voter apathy is advantageous to political parties. I get that they can win by reaching fewer people that way. But is that the way society should go? Probably not. Is it going that way? Thanks to our elected officials, people like Anonymous, and internet's well on the way.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 12:23 is a Liberal Hack. Peter has burned a few bridges by offering an independent view of the world. They are so hypocritical, which is worse than the people they seek to critique because they campaigned against this myopic behavior.

Anonymous said...

I am very much in favor of sticking it to Quebec but we can not bite off our collective faces. This arrangement will not unlock Labrador power. The proposed project does not include enough capacity. A full lower Churchill development and higher capacity lines might, but that is not on the table!

Peter L. Whittle said...

The Quebec issue, hmm seems to me that I have written a few posts on this.

I am certainly not in agreement with the Premier on the energy rates via hydro Quebec.

In fact I thought we might explore how much they would charge us for electricity for the island.

Anonymous said...

Regardless what the Premier has to say some people are just waiting to jump in. Noticed Lorraine Michael and Jones had their say on the evening news. What happened to Ball I thought he was the Leader of the Liberal party seems like she is running the show.

Anonymous said...

"In fact, I have always been and will always be anti-federal Conservatives."

Is good you specified "federal".

Peter L. Whittle said...

I can not imagine any circumstances that would allow me to support the federal Conservatives. There is an ideological divide. I had enough difficulties with Paul Martin!

As for the provincial conservatives. Ideologically, I see very little difference between them and the liberals. Both are middle left parties. It is leadership drive. Clyde Wells was certainly more Conservative than Danny Williams or Dunderdale.

Anonymous said...

The issue with the current Premier is that people do not really have confidence in her on this file.

She has never done a fact based presentation using numbers that created confidence with me. Her media interviews go with general themes not concrete, fact based stuff that gives one a sense of confidence that the provinces leader knows this file better than any one else.

Danny Williams, Brian Tobin, Grimes...they could defend their points, back it up in a way that made you feel confident that they truly understood what they were discussing.

I really believe that is the weakness on this file - communications from the top.