Some Tory speechwriter apparently harbours a secret desire to become a standup comedian.
If Wednesday’s speech from the throne is any indication, he or she should grab a microphone and jump onstage immediately and make that dream come true.
The announcement of an “Open Government Initiative” might be the funniest thing Newfoundlanders (and Labradorians) have heard in years.
That slapping sound you hear is Rick Mercer, Mark Critch and Shaun Majumder bringing palms to foreheads and exclaiming, “Why didn’t I think of that?”
No wonder Newfoundlanders’ sense of humour is legendary — it applies even to governments that are being booed off the stage.
For anyone who missed the punch line of the Open Government Initiative, let’s recap: for 11 years, the PCs have run a government that is extremely secretive and couldn’t care less what you think about what it does.
Numerous polls and letters to the editor, however, have revealed to the PCs that their defeat in the next election is far more likely than is a request for an encore.
Too late, the Tories will try to change their ways. They now say they will henceforth be transparent and accountable. It is like closing the barn door after it has burned down.
Who’s on first?
Not wanting to be outdone by some anonymous speechwriter, Premier Tom Marshall came up with his own comedy routine, declaring in the House of Assembly that there will now be rigorous, independent oversight of Crown corporation Nalcor Energy and the Muskrat Falls hydroelectricity project.
The possibilities for barn door punch lines are almost infinite.
If a Newfoundlander (or Lab-radorian) who doesn’t have an excellent sense of humour could be found — maybe someone living in Fort McMurray or Burlington — he or she could drolly point out that the rigorous, independent oversight of the proposed project was supposed to have been carried out by the Public Utilities Board, but the provincial government kicked it off the stage before it even got close to the microphone.
The audience is still cracking up over that one.
Two Tories walk into a bar …
As of this writing — 10:41 a.m. on Thursday — neither Steve Kent nor Shawn Skinner has definitively stated that he is or isn’t running for the PC leadership. That will likely change by the time this column hits the streets and cyberspace.
Tuesday’s Telegram contained the headline, “Skinner, Kent preparing PC leadership nomination forms.”
The twosome told The Telegram Monday they were getting ready to run, but hadn’t yet decided whether they would run.
It was yet more comedy from the Tories.
Let’s see if we’re getting their shtick: the deadline to declare your candidacy is a mere four days away and you’re putting together the required nomination documents … but you haven’t decided whether you will run.
What a couple of characters. You’ve got them rolling in the aisles, b’ys.
It is this kind of coy and conniving behaviour that has unendeared the Tories to the voters.
The public needs politicians who will step up to the mike and be forthright and straightforward, rather than perform a song and dance. This is standup, after all, not a variety show.
The Tories are testing our collective sense of humour.
It is tempting to laugh at them, but their arrogance, stubbornness and bumbling incompetence has cost us money (see: Grand Falls paper mill expropriation) and will cost us a lot more soon enough
(see: your monthly power bill after Muskrat Falls).
This is serious, troubling stuff.
But to the anonymous speechwriter who came up with the phrase Open Government Initiative, thank you so much for the brief respite. That was a howler.
Brian Jones is a desk editor at The Telegram. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.