Thursday, September 27, 2007

A Colourful Election

I'm trying to follow along with the provincial election and do a little writing for October Reign but I have to admit I'm completely thrown for a loop. Time was when being a Liberal, PC or NDP meant something. These days with Red Tories, Blue Grits, Green NDP, it's enough to leave you black and blue.

I'm checking out the candidate for St. John's Centre. A good NDP candidate - unfortunately she's a Liberal. The Premier is talking about baby bonuses and social programs as if he too is an NDP. The NDP are talking about environmental polluters like the Greens. Then the solid Grit Simon Lono casts his vote for a conservative nomination.

... So if Reds are Orange, and Red Blues are actually Orange, and Orange is Green, while Red is actually Blue... wait I have a headache... at the same time I've been accused of being Red, Blue, and Pink White and Green, and one self-righteous blogger even calls me Yellow. Truth is although nothing is black and white, I finally understand Hendrix.

I'm completely in a Purple Haze. Excuse me while I kiss the sky...

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Stephenville Hosts...

(cross-posted on

Gwynne Dyer, Ray Johnson, Rex Goudie are in Stephenville this weekend. Why?

Monday, September 24, 2007

Dying (Campaign) Race

“We can’t be a dying race,” the premier says. There follows an awkward pause. He said the “R” word! The reaction is mixed but swift. Bondpapers wrote about it, so did WebTalk and others including Randy Simms. The standard reaction was a shoulder shrug, next topic please. Others are not as dismissive. Race, did he say race? Shocking!

The new website for Simon Lono running for the Liberals in St. John’s North calls for the premier to apologize for the Race comment:

“To casually talk about a provincial ‘race’ at the same time government is establishing an immigration program and trying to attract foreign doctors and international students sends the worst message to the world. Many of these people come here to escape the empty concept of ‘race’ and other destructive words”.

"The key to our future is a free and democratic society that embraces the contribution of all people. To suggest that there is a “race” in Newfoundland and Labrador that needs protection by government policies raises the idea that there are people - some already living here - who are not part of that race and who do not belong here. That is fundamentally wrong.”

Not surprisingly I disagree with Mr. Lono. The people of Marystown and the handful of politicians who have supported them continue to fight for the rights of a family living in their church. The family by the definition of the people of Marystown including the mayor - are Newfoundland and Labradorians. The government of Canada says they are not. Therein lies the rub. It is not up to Newfoundlanders nor Labradorians who lives in this province. It is dictated to us federally. I can site many examples of our people supporting recent immigrants. I can not give an example of an implication that people who are here do not belong here.

Bondpapers goes further:

We all know – or we are reasonably comfortable in believing we all know - that Danny Williams was referring to the majority of people in the province. That is, he was referring to the white, English-speaking people of English, Irish and Scots ancestry. That is the race to which he most likely referred.

Yikes! How can such a harmless comment invoke such insinuation!

Danny can justify his own words. I can only say that the term Race in referring to Newfoundland and Labradorians is not new. NewfoundlandinCanada’s “ Canada ’s N Word” article suggested that there is a definite racism that exists in Canada towards Newfoundlanders and Labradorians. If you do not belief this is the case I suggest we have had fundamentally different experiences in growing up in this province. If you object to the specific term of Racism you are welcome to substitute “hate mongering”, “discrimination” or whatever you wish. I would suggest though that the majority of us living in Newfoundland and Labrador know from whence I speak.

NewfoundlandinCanada has also suggested that the term race is used in referring to a nation of people in using a definition from Can this blog then be criticisized for using the term? If Bondpapers marks Danny Williams as using the term Race to imply the white, English Irish and Scots then NewfoundlandinCanada can be faulted with the same criticism by Bond. What does NewfoundlandinCanada define as the Race of Newfoundland and Labrador? Who is a Newfoundlander or Labradorian? It is HERE for all to view.

"Race" does not necessarily imply some evil intent as some would have us believe. Odd how so many things meant to pull us together get twisted to pull us apart.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Danny's Top Ten List

Top Ten Marketing Slogans for Danny’s $1000 a Kid Plan:
(In the tradition of

10. A Penny for your thoughts, and up to $1000 depending on how far you'll go.

9. A picture is worth 1000 bucks (with birth certificate)

8. Stud fees $500 payable in nine months

7. Let's get in started - let's get it started in here!

6. More Bang for your Buck.

5. My last kid wasn't worth a shit!

4. Danny Bucks - Redeemable at Toys R Us

3. New Conservative Campaign Slogan: PC - PLEASE CONCEIVE

2. New pickup line: I'll see your $1000 and raise you THIS!

1. More bread in the oven, more dough in your hands.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Who is a Newfoundlander or Labradorian?

The novel "Return of the Native" written by Jonathan Butler asks the question what is a Newfoundland and Labradorian? In the novel a gentleman of African decent finds he has a far greater sense of connection to his friends in home town St. John's than he ever did among other black Canadians in Toronto. The novel begs the question who is a Newfoundland and Labradorian?

A conversation with Snuffy Jackson who created the republic concept is a lesson in who we are and what makes us distinct. There are few stronger Newfoundland and Labradorians than this one-time livyer who is a tried and true Texan.

Ask someone from the new Nunasuivut government, ask a francophone from the West coast, ask an Irish Catholic Townie, a Labrador Metis, a fisherman from Marystown, a mill worker in Corner Brook, Mi'kmaq from Conne River, an immigrant living in sanctuary. They know. The great frustration though is in those who would tear us apart based on regional, cultural, and language differences. The challenge for our people is to define that elusive quality that connects us all. The quality that brought Udo Nomi home in the Return of the Native. The quality that leaves Snuffy Jackson with a quiver in his voice over the phone from Texas. The challenge is to represent us all; in government policy, in cultural song and prose, in art and literature.

That challenge has remained elusive. Drive through the streets of any town in the province. You will see the Maple Leaf, the Pratt Flag, the Union Jack, the Pink White and Green, the Labrador Flag, you'll find the Stars and Stripes and the Irish Flag... All of these in common use in the province. Each of them with vastly different representations, each of them attempting to express that elusive quality of the Newfoundlander, the pride and history of the Labradorian.

I think of a song by The Proclaimers called "Scotland's Story". In the song the brothers' Reid express what makes a Scot, "the Gael and the Pict, the Angle and Dane ... the Irishman, Jew and Ukraine, they're all Scotland's Story and they're all worth the same."

There is a lot said about being at the crossroads of history of this island and the big land. Our actions and sense of self today will define the place in history of this land for generations to come. Time to seek and discover those qualities we share. Those linkages that hold us together. Each link of the chain is essential.


Newfoundland and Labrador Defense League
Community Linkages Concept Committee

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


Us. A simple word of inclusion. I remember my American friends on this day. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

When I Was Canadian

I am not a separatist. It's unfortunate that whenever I display a tiny bit of love for my province that I have to preface it with an apology. Sorry that I wear the Pink White and Green on my hat, sorry I used it in the NLDL logo. Sorry I fly the Labrador Flag, the Pratt Flag and the PWG side by side. I apologize that my brethren in the upper echelon of upper Canada feel I am inferior in my very being.

Truth is, I feel we have to start thinking like we are our own country, no apology for that. We have to have a pride and understanding in our own history and culture. We have to recognize the context of Newfoundland and Labrador outside of Canada just as we now life in a Newfoundland and Labrador that is a part of Canada.

I have been Canadian. On the rare occasion I have felt that connect to the rest of the federation. Anyone remember the Discovery Train which toured the country? It was a museum of discovery of all things Canadian Coast to Coast. Of course Central Newfoundland had recently lost its trains, tracks and infrastructure in a deal with Canada that would see the trains of Newfoundland and Labrador and the terms of union that provided them sold off to repair a crumbling system of highways. The roads nearing St. John’s were indeed improved. The Sir Robert Bond Bridge which was due for upgrade and widening which was to be paid for by the sell-off of the railway still exists in its narrow and neglected state. And Central Newfoundland has luxury compared to Labrador's transportation neglect... But I was young and I didn't see any of that. I was captivated by the lights and funny clothes.

When I met Terry Fox, I felt Canadian. Terry was one of the few simple people in this country who without financial or political gain was able to galvanize this country’s sentiments on all coasts. Terry is one of the rare instances in my life when being Canadian felt right. He remains one of the reasons I cannot dismiss Canada in the Newfoundland and Labrador experiment.

I felt an old familiar pride of the maple lead when parliament hill rung load with the ode to Newfoundland during the anniversary of Beaumont Hamel last year. When we became a nation of men, and for a short time had that pride of place, a dominion, a country, the symantecs are irrelavent. We were what we were. We were not British, nor were we Canadian.

When I have traveled or when I meet Canadians here. On the truly grassroots level the taxi driver, the farmer, the miner these Canadians have built the country and they understand the regional unfairness innate in being a Newfoundlander or Labradorian in Canada. They understand that the third world conditions of rural communities, the suicide rates in Labrador, that these are not acceptable in a land that provesses to be a province of a G8 country.

...But I hang on to these moments in the hopes that they will one day define me. I hang on to the strengths that Canada has in the hopes that one day we will be equal partners in the family. I hang on to the fundamental belief that Canada is not a failed experiment for Newfoundland and Labrador. I hang onto these fundamentals because without them I am homeless. A man without a country. A nation without a nation.

I am Newfoundland and Labradorian first, no apologies.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Success Stories

Last week the Community Linkages Concept Committee (CLCC) asked "What is the plan for rural Newfoundland and Labrador?" The CLCC is interested in the stories from across the province. What is happening that is good? What needs to be done further? What does government need to do? What do we as the people of Newfoundland and Labrador need to do?

The rarely heard part of the story is the "good news" piece of the puzzle. Part of the answer was sent to me by NL Regional Economic Development Association member in Exploits Rod French: "100 Success Stories" from across the province.

As a member of the NLDL and secretary of the CLCC I live for the success stories in this province. I think it is a valuable read - what's happening in your part of the province?