Saturday, August 30, 2008

Speak for Ourselves - CLCC launches campaign

Ray Johnson of Buddy Wasisname fame and chair of the Community Linkages Concept committee recently announced the "Speak for Ourselves" campaign. Saturday August 30 The Telegram, has an article by DAVE BARTLETT speaking of the project.

The Campaign is asking for feedback from people in communities all over the province. What is the good, the bad and the ugly about your community? What untapped potential is there? What is its future?

The CLCC is asking that you email The website is

UPDATE: The CLCC has posted these seven questions that might spark some of your feedback:

1) What are the problems facing your community?

2) What potential do you see in your community?

3) How can the province’s new found oil wealth be used to benefit rural areas?

4) How important is culture and heritage to you?

5) How can our culture and heritage be protected or enhanced?

6) What business opportunities exist in your area and how can government help to make breathe life into these opportunities?

7) What is the state of youth in rural communities?

People can contact the CLCC the following ways:
It’s website:
Via e-mail at
Or by mail:
P.O. Box 122
Lower Island Cove, NL
A0A 2W0

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Light Sweet Crude

Nothing's sexier these days.

Monday, August 18, 2008


I have often heard the prayer that St. John's be separated from the rest of the province, from Townies and Baymen alike. Unfortunately I think the prayers have been answered but the almighty has missed the mark a bit separating the province at Gambo. There is perhaps a lesson here, in our complaining that we cannot travel with ease across the island remember that Labrador has never had this luxury.

Of course if you do have to detour the Gander Bay loop you will see a beautiful coast seldom seen by tourists and livyers. Take the opportunity to picnic on Cape Freels.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

A Popular Culture

I was biking with my camera bag the other day when a jeep buzzes my bike and some tool shouts: "isss errsss". What the ?! What did he say?! Then noticing my camera bag hung over my shoulder I deciphered his shout.

"Nice Purse."

Tool! I shifted gears and pumped the peddles. But my old man style Comfort Bike is no match for a Jeep YJ. Just as well, what would I have said if I did catch up. All I could think of in my panting rage was a line from Seinfeld: "It's a European Carry-all!" I'm not sure that would have helped my poor bruised masculine ego. (So frail we are as men.)

As Newfoundlanders and Labradorians we should be well used to cowardly jabs. Remember when Ellen DeGeneres had her own sitcom. The big fellow from the show whose character was Canadian was listening to a fellow Canadian comedian. The comedian was making "Newfie Jokes". In response the big fellow replies (laughing hysterically) "It's true those Newfies are so stupid." It made NTV news. Newfoundlanders and Labradorians that were watching of course sat with their mouths agape. Sort of like me on the bike. Senseless to enter into debate on that one. The Ellen show vs NTV Evening News. Nothing to do but grin and bare it.

An episode of South Park where the crudely drawn little characters go to Canada has a scene where they end up in Newfoundland. The Newfoundlander they meet says he wants to meet the Prime Minister of Canada because he is passing a law that won't let him "shag his boys". Of course if your watching South Park it's really your own fault if it manages to offend you. Sort of like peeing into the wind.

People like SS craptain Watson has practically made a living off making the popular culture believe that the Newfoundland and Labradorian is somehow a lesser class global citizen. "Where priests rape orphans".

Our national journalists too like to shout from cars. I guess they garner the same sort of self-righteous pride that a school yard bully gets from stealing milk money. Marge Wente's "Scenic Welfare Ghetto"; Ric Dolphins “Walrus and Welfare investigators and whatever else it is that terrifies Newfies"; Bill Lankhof's "the biggest thing to happen in The Land Cod Forgot since the invention of the pogey cheque"; and Charles Lynch comments about Newfoundland and Labrador "Whiners" during Meech Lake - suggesting that between Quebec and Newfoundland and Labrador Canada's youngest province would have to go.

At least the Lynch article doesn't require any rebuttal, Rick Mercer adequately hammered that nail in his one man show "Show me the button and I'll push it (Charles Lynch must die)". In at least this last case Rick, being a better man than I, was able to catch that Jeep YJ and not only counter the attack but blow the thing to bits.

Then there's shows like "Ed's Up" featuring Ed of Bare Naked Ladies fame. Flying his plane away from the Churchill River where he has just helped the Steelworkers build a bridge there is a brief glimpse of that spectacular Labrador coast, and Ed speaks of the Newfoundlanders who he had just met saying. "I've never met a Newfoundlander I didn't like."

God love ya Ed. I guess for those who actually set foot on our soil they come to know something of who we are on The Rock and in The Big Land. Shag the others. The rest can kiss kiss my stupid-newfie-welfare-whining briny arse - Purse included.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Subliminal Messages to the PM

So the PM visits today and the cosmic forces seem to have been having a little fun. All day I am hearing what can only be subliminal messages to Steven Harper. Avril Lavigne is in town: "Your watching your back, like you can't relax". A radio ad for Chris Isaak drones "Somebody's lying, I know when somebody's lying." (Are you listening Mr. Harper) Then another for BJ Thomas "Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song".

Sometimes you really don't need to say a word. Just listen.

I hope he at least brought his chequebook. Then again the last time he was here one of his posse stole a bra. We probably shouldn't expect too much.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Memorial's Mixed Message

I have a love/hate relationship with my Alma mater Memorial University. On the one hand it is truly a marvelous world class institution that Newfoundland and Labrador can be proud of as it's pillar of academia. On the other hand Memorial, like our provincial governance is filled to the rafters with shit. An institution so rapped up in its own self-importance to be counterproductive in the growth of our society. Such is the Board of Rejects. In the last column I defended the importance of the nearly universally accepted autonomy of universities. As it turns out the university's public voice is the weapon of it's own destruction.

As it appears MUN did indeed ask for the government's input. It went something like this:

MUN: "Would you mind being in the loop on the selection of a new president?"

Minister/Premier: "Naw-da-tall glad to help"

MUN: "What about Acting President Dr. Eddy Campbell?"

Minister/Premier: "hmmm naw - who else you got?"

MUN: "Well we were sort of hoping for Dr. Campbell?!"

Minister/Premier: "Nope try again"

Dr. Campbell (muffled from outside the door): "What did she say"

MUN (shouts): "Say's she don't want you!"

Dr. Campbell: "Shag 'em I'm withdrawing my name"

Minister/Premier: "Good problem solved"

Voice from the back barely audible: "I'm calling the Globe and Mail! This sucks!"

I don't get MUN. On the one hand the board acknowledges "[the] Premier indicated to the Chairman of the Board of Regents that, if the university felt it would be helpful, the Premier, if asked, would be willing to meet prospective candidates to promote the province, to emphasize the importance of Memorial to the province and to confirm the government’s strong commitment to university education in Newfoundland and Labrador." It also acknowledges: "The Board feels that there was no inappropriate interference by government or attempt to influence the work of the Search Committee until government informed the Board that the candidates were unacceptable prior to a formal recommendation of a preferred candidate being made." but then states "the Board is concerned that government’s non-acceptance of the candidates and government’s request that the Search Committee continue with its search before a formal recommendation could be made on the Board’s proposed appointee constitutes inappropriate interference in the normal process.

I say simply to the Board of Regents be careful what you wish for.

Of the Memorial University Act MUN states: "The Memorial University Act is clear in delineating government’s role and the Board of Regents is committed to ensuring that role remains within the letter and spirit of the Act... The Board’s appointment of a candidate for president must be the result of a fair, thorough and comprehensive process that is strictly in accordance with the provisions of The Memorial University Act." but then suggests the act should be changed: "The Board of Regents respectfully recommends to government that it amend The Memorial University Act to better reflect the autonomy of the university and to be more in line with appointment practices at other Canadian universities."

So the Board of Regents now wants to suggest that the Memorial University Act be amended to allow for greater autonomy. "Just like other universities". Problem is, if they are given that power are they even sharp enough to be able to handle the responsibility? This little PR nightmare says they are not.

So we ask:

Can a candidate withdraw his name after he has already been rejected?

Is The Board of Regents able to get it's head out of its own ass long enough to find our next pres?

Can anyone at MUN write a press release that isn't simply a point wise list of hyperbole?

Is anyone ever going to ask for Ms. Burke's opinion ever again?

Tune in after Regatta Day for the continuing story. It's summer and there's nothing on TV leading up the Olympics.