Weird visions of the land, post-byelection

Michael Johansen
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Warning: the following is a foray into the semi-literate and semi-rational world of online commentary. Offensively lunatic remarks will be repeated. Proceed with caution.

Aside from a few last-minute bursts from the candidates and, of course, the actual vote and ballot count, the Labrador byelection is as good as done.

So, what’s the future hold for this riding?

Well, according to some commentators (those on the Sun News website, that is) no matter whether the Liberals or the Conservatives win, Labrador could become the country’s newest concentration camp.

“Labrador would be a good place to build the new JT (Justin Trudeau) home for wayward and disenfranchised terrorists, where they could all go for counselling,” is how one reader responded to an opinion poll that showed Liberal candidate Yvonne Jones easily maintaining a more than 30 per cent lead over Conservative incumbent Peter Penashue.

The facetious idea was immediately supported by another commentator: “Great point!” V.C. wrote. “We’ll send all the f---ers there! They can have wienie roasts and pajama parties; their kids can be BFFs with the Labrador kids. They can be one big happy family — at least until they get blown up to Kingdom Come.”

This prediction springs from the Conservative reaction to Trudeau’s response to recent bombings in Boston.

Apparently, only Conservatives can contemplate the root causes of terrorism without being soft on terrorists — no one else, it seems, has the moral authority.

In fact, one commentator is so concerned about what she sees as the new Liberal leader’s capitulation to extremist forces that she envisions nothing but horror: “If you want Canada to be controlled by Muslims, vote for Turdo (sic),” V.C. declared. “I, however, will continue to choose freedom over Islam’s oppression, beating of women, rape, cutting off of body parts, hanging of homosexuals, murder, pedophilia, torture, slavery and more.”

Not to be outdone in the realm of confused imaginings, an opposition supporter warned what will happen to Labrador if, instead, the Tories retake the riding:

“Great place to send all their Communist Party there, including their misfit MPs and all the trolls (highly partisan, but often anonymous Internet commentators) who do not have two brain cells to rub together, which means uneducated dummies who are spreading the Cons’ propaganda.”

This is where this online discussion discards what little politeness it had left, although it remains fascinating in a barroom brawl kind of way.

Words like “incompetent,” “cheating,” “liar,” “fraud artist” and “narcissistic sociopath,” as well as “dumb” and “bully,” are used to describe the prime minister, while other words like “fiberals” and “retards” are applied to Liberal supporters, with Trudeau dismissed as an “idiot” and both he and Jones written off as being just two pretty “lightweights.”

After that the talk drifts away from the byelection to become even less civil, and so there’s little need to follow it further.

So, back to what sparked this strange debate on the Sun News site over the future use of Labrador: the polls offer some interesting tidbits for Labrador voters to digest, keeping in mind that the pollsters make no claim that the results predict, only that they provide snapshots of opinion at single moments in time.

What those snapshots show is that while between April 2 and April 24, the Conservative candidate managed to improve his standing by a whole nine per cent, he took it all from the NDP and none from Yvonne Jones — who lost six per cent from her projected margin of victory, but gained three per cent on her overall level of support, bringing it up to a full 60 per cent.

That (returning briefly to the online discussion) has at least one Conservative supporter, an M.M. from Edmonton, conceding an inevitable Conservative loss so as to more quickly dismiss it.

“It’s irrelevant if Penashue is not re-elected. He barely got in in the first place and Labrador is a traditional Liberal stronghold. JT’s influence is negligible and one byelection win on home turf is nothing to concern the Conservative Government.”

Local Conservatives are less resigned to losing. They’re not happy about it, but they know it doesn’t really mean imprisoned terrorists or rampaging religious oppression in Labrador’s future.

Michael Johansen is a writer

living in Labrador.

Organizations: Local Conservatives, Sun News, Communist Party NDP

Geographic location: Labrador, Boston, Canada Edmonton

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Recent comments

  • Jay
    May 12, 2013 - 07:18

    Follow the money. The major donations to politicians are coming from the business community which supports Muskrat Falls? After the election, the winner will be in close contact with these same business people to remain in power. I'm amazed at people who see any saviours in this bye-election. There is absolutely no difference in the two main candidates. Look at their records.

  • Winston Adams
    May 11, 2013 - 12:10

    That much of coastal Labrodor is without roads and hydro power, and many on welfare, and twice the cost of living as in Nfld, and so many with kids sniffing gas, and kids lost to foster care, it is not a stretch for some to imagine Labrador as a concentration camp for terrorists. By our own mistreatment and lack of concern for the citizens of coastal Labrador, need we wonder that others from away would take such a view: a land suitable for Cain. A condition brought about by injustice. And to add insult to the Upper Churchill injustice, Jones and the NDP and Penashue, all are on board that we subsidize the cost of Muskrat Falls power for 50 years to feed the power needs of more prosperous areas like Nova Scotia, and New England, while their native lands, the coastal Labrador region continues in a condition of the nineteenth century. Who benefits and who loses? And who deserves to benefit? Surely a sell out , perhaps with a worse result than that of the Upper Churchill.

  • Cyril Rogers
    May 11, 2013 - 09:51

    On the whole, I like Yvonne's feisty character but it has bothered me for some time now that she has "sold her soul" so to speak, when it comes to Muskrat Falls. A bad deal is a bad deal and how she could have supported any aspect of it to attain benefits for her constituents is anathema to me. Our politicians need to start exercising some sort of principles in the face of anything but....but I guess that is too much to hope for from their ilk. Yet, to me, politics can be a noble endeavour....and we need the statesmanlike(non-generic) qualities of principled people to guide our future. There is but faint hope that the MF project will be abandoned.....yet, I continue to hope for a major miracle. Sadly, Yvonne will not abandon expediency for principle. The unfortunate thing is that neither can we hope for anything better from the others. The NDP are all over the map and Peter Panashue represents....something I could never support.