Titanic trouble amidst booming economy

Brian Jones
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The mind of officialdom, as I’ve said before, can be mysterious and downright creepy.

In Nova Scotia, the provincial government is attempting to boost tourism on April 14 and 15, the 100th anniversary of the most famous sinking of all time. Fascination with the Titanic is understandable. Using that deadly disaster to hype Nova Scotia as a tourist destination is ghoulish.

“Visit the port where bodies were brought ashore!”

“Come see victims’ graves!”

“Stand on land on which they never did!”

The Titanic’s sinking was a historically significant event, and its anniversary should be marked. But, as with so many things, the involvement of commerce is questionable.

The Titanic tale has drama, of course. But seeing as how the sinking caused the ghastly and painful deaths of 1,500 people in icy waters in the middle of the night, Nova Scotians might want to ponder the appropriateness of using “Titanic” and “tourism” in the same sentence.

Crass coins

Officials at the Royal Canadian Mint should take similar note.

The mint is putting out three commemorative coins to mark the 100 years since the Titanic sank. A silver coin, depicting the Titanic approaching an iceberg, will sell for $64.95. Only 20,000 will be printed, ensuring its attraction for collectors.

People with less cash on hand, or who are too slow in whipping out their wallets, will have to settle for a silver-plated commemorative coin selling for $34.95, or a copper-nickel coin going for a bargain $25.95. Those are the steerage-class coins.

There is something subtly despicable about this. Perhaps it’s the mixing of trinkets and death.

It brings to mind those tacky TV commercials urging viewers to call now to purchase a limited edition “Twin Towers” commemorative coin. Fiery and horrific death for almost 3,000 people — get your souvenir!

Ah, the mind of officialdom. It is so content in its comfort and power that it can feel no shame or embarrassment.

Take, for example, Premier Kathy Dunderdale’s actions this week. She is so self-assured that she is seemingly unaware she has become a walking, talking specimen exemplifying George Orwell’s famous concept of doublethink — the ability to simultaneously hold two beliefs that directly contradict each other.

The province’s financial position is apparently so precarious that government departments — with several exceptions — have been instructed by the premier to cut three per cent from their budgets.

The great cult of “efficiency” dictates that such cuts are necessary. It is always possible to be more efficient. Efficiency is good. Never mind what the three per cent cuts might entail. Content isn’t important. Ideology is.

Cutting $100 million out of the government’s $7-billion budget proves Dunderdale is serious about dealing with the province’s horrendous debt and unpredictable finances.

Then again, if the public bank account is so paltry, you must wonder — yet again — about the government’s stubborn determination to blow $4.1 billion on the

$6.2-billion Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project.

Surely, if the province’s finances are so dire that three per cent cuts must be found across all departments, the government cannot possibly afford to put $4.1 billion into a megaproject which — it must again be pointed out — private enterprise has refused to touch with a 10-foot investment.

The government’s financial situation is either dire, or not. Both cannot be true.

Some people are probably tired of arguing about Muskrat Falls. Get used to it. Your children and grandchildren will likely argue about it, too, as well as pay for it.

It comes down to this: the government is determined to push ahead with Muskrat Falls based not on wide-ranging facts, but on ideology.

Stubbornly sailing full-steam ahead can be disastrous. There are commemorative coins to prove it.


Brian Jones is a desk editor at The Telegram. He can be reached at bjones@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Royal Canadian Mint, The Telegram

Geographic location: Nova Scotia

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Recent comments

  • AllTrueBrian
    March 10, 2012 - 15:59

    All true Brian except Muskrat is costing about 10 billion now on top of a roughly 8 billion debt - none of which NL's can afford. This John Smith on here is a pariah spreading false stories. It's true too, this government speaks out of both sides of it's mouth. I would add that they only care for their own salaries, pensions and patronage appointments, bribes. Dunderdale will get her pension even when let go? Expensive mistake to have voted her in. Lousy job government is doing in 6 months. John Smith works for them or Muskrat/ Nalcor, spreading myths to the public and hiding the real facts. Hope the public sees through his charade and special political interest because it's an injustice to citizen's of this province to try and mislead them. Titanic - maybe you're right. Memorial service much more important and respectful. Better to do it classy than cheap.

  • John Smith
    March 09, 2012 - 08:44

    How can you be allowed to publish this tripe? Is it just to generate sales? I just don't understand how you can just outright lie? Can you be allowed to just make up your own story? Mr. jones says that the project is not based on fact? What?? After all the reviews and studies it's not based on fact? As far as the money goes we all know this is not going to our current debt, that is not how it works. Even if it was going directly on our debt we would still need it. Even if we were still 12 billion in the hole, as we were when the Liberals were last in power we would still need it. In five short years we will be at a deficit as far as power is concerned, by 2020 we will have rolling blackouts in the winter when we have to worry about having power to heat people's homes. How do you propose the governement ensure we have the power? How do you propose they generate the power? Butterflies and moonbeams? Thankfully most people who read the garbage you write can see through the hyperbole, and BS and understand what you are trying to accomplish.