Thursday, August 18, 2005

If Newfoundland is Canada's Squeaky Wheel, Quebec is a Blown Carburetor

When I first read of Michaelle Jean's appointment as Governor General I thought it was a great decision and an inspirational story. I was proud that she would be representing the monarchy in Canada. My opinion has now changed 180 degrees. What a stab in the heart of Canada.

The truth is the PM was struck with a dilemma. Of course it would be great to choose a Governor- General from Quebec but he would either find a Nationalist that was hated by half of Quebec or a Separatist that was hated by the other half (and most of Canada). In finding Ms. Jean the Paul Martin has found a person who claims to be dedicated to Canada, but with enough of a separatist past to keep the sovereignists at bay. Good pick on his part.


Tuesday, August 16, 2005

The Public Dis-Service Commission in Newfoundland and Labrador

The Canadian Government - bless their hearts - have recently announced the PSC office in the Baine Johnston Building in St. John's will close.

The green dots on the map are offices that will remain open and the red ones represent the offices slated to close. So lets have a look: BC is OK, they had two offices in Victoria and Vancouver - a stone's throw away. AB is not affected, MB is safe, ON is unchanged. One will close in QC but the other will remain open, plus there are a couple more just a short drive away. Also PEI and NB will close but they have a quick run to Halifax. That leaves SK, a fair drive to get to the next office but they have two choices, Winnipeg or Edmonton. Then each of the three territories, they will be a long distance from a PSC office but they have less than 100,000 combined population. So who's left?

The red spot at the far right is St. John's - representing 512,000 people at the last census, 200, 000 or so in the greater Avalon area. In order for St. John's to access a PSC office the nearest one is Halifax. A ten hour drive, a trip across the gulf, and another drive.

The federal government has calleous disregard for this province. The Public Service Commission, the very office that does the hiring for the federal government, no longer feels it necessary to make it convenient for Newfoundlanders and Labradorians to apply for Federal Service jobs. And why would they?! They are trying to get rid of the federal jobs that are here presently. Some of the most recent examples - the Gander weather office, DFO jobs, the attempted bankruptcy of private industry partner Nautical Data International (NDI), Customs and Immigration jobs, and now the Public Service Commission.

Part of the News Release reads "The PSC will consolidate its 16 current points of service into seven (7) regional locations, which will be located in Halifax, Montréal, Ottawa, Toronto, Winnipeg, Edmonton and Vancouver. These locations were chosen based on where the demand for recruitment and assessment services is the highest and where most government departments and agencies are located." It's no wonder the "demand for recruitment services" is not great here - they've been slowing dwindling away at the federal presence for years. Whose fault is it that we don't need a lot of federal hiring services? It's hypocrisy in its most blatant form.

The most common phrase in the news these days is "federal jobs moved to Halifax". It appears the government of Canada is sacrificing Newfoundland and Labrador for the benefit of Nova Scotia and elsewhere... Not that there is anything wrong with settling in Nova Scotia. Hey - if you have to move up there at least you are entitled to catch a fish for the table. A luxury that mother Ottawa has not allowed us "down-east".

Further Reading:
An excellent article in The Independent.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Born in 1967- Canada's Centennial

Newfoundland radio show host Bill Rowe once likened the Federal perspective of Newfoundland as being like a "pimple on the arse of Halifax". I may have paraphrased a little but there it is. Mr. Rowe should know, not too long ago he was sent to Ottawa as a provincial liason in the country's capitol. The posting was dubbed "Newfoundland's man in Ottawa", an ambassador of sorts. Many criticized the idea - that's what MP's are for right? CBC obviously thought it was a great idea, they recently hired francophone Pop icon 'Mitsou' to be their voice of Quebec for anglophones as host of "Au Courant". So what's happening in Canada that we feel the need to have these regional messengers trying to explain to Central Ontario why no one else likes them. Like I mentioned in the title I was born in 1967 so I am old enough to remember Mitsou. Rubbing herself semi-nude and singing about touching herself, breasts heaving and hips pumping, her curvaceous frame writhing beneath... what was I saying... Oh ya Ambassadors! Mr. Rowe's description was formed after he realised that the feelings about Newfoundland on the mainland is passive indifference at best. When the rest of Canada is like the 51st state Newfoundland maintains its unique identity. Cultural icons, like Gordon Pincent, Mary Walsh, John White, The Wonderful Grand Band, Great Big Sea. The list is phenomenal. The province that single-handedly saved the country from the back-room politics that would have been the Meech Lake Accord. All of English Canada has Newfoundland to thank for that. Anyway there it is, the ramblings of a lunatic for August 9 2005. I think I'll go get a Whiskey, at least there's one Canadian Club I can get into. I wonder if I can find a Mitsou video online...