Now that the likelihood of anyone pulling the plug on the Muskrat Falls project is … unlikely (note to self: check thesaurus) some concerns are being expressed as to the effect this is going to have on the state of mind of its opponents.
These are the perennial wet blankets and gloomy-guts who have spent every waking hour for what seems like an eternity coming up with every possible argument under the sun as to why Muskrat Fall is going to bring about an end to life on Earth as we know it.
No stone has been left unturned by this intransigent band of belligerent agitators in their never-ending quest for new and ever-more damning reasons why Muskrat Falls has to be stopped before it drives every Newfoundlander and Labradorian into the poor house and blights the province’s economy for countless generations to come.
If nothing else, you have to admire these people’s persistence. Where lesser mortals would have thrown in the towel long ago, these self-appointed, self-involved and self-serving prophets of doom show no sign of running out of steam.
They’re like the Japanese soldiers who used to turn up occasionally on remote Pacific atolls as late as the 1970s. Nobody had ever bothered telling them the war was over, not that they would necessarily have surrendered, in any event.
No doubt a few diehard fanatics here will persist in calling the open-line programs and writing interminable letters to the paper with yet more objections to be added to the long list of fatal Muskrat Falls flaws, but there’s been a noticeable lessening of hostilities in recent months.
Perhaps it’s starting to dawn on them that they’ve been fighting a losing battle for nigh on these many years and that the time has come to lay down their arms.
Even some members of the media have started taking a lot of what the usual crew of Muskrat malcontents has been saying with a grain of salt, or at least with a slightly healthier degree of skepticism than used to be the case.
Meanwhile, some health-care professionals are beginning to worry that without other “safe” targets at which to direct their anger and aggression, many of these pickle-pusses and bellyachers are going to be left with a huge gap in their lives.
They’ll have fewer opportunities to vent their spleen, no one to get mad at and nothing to pound the breakfast table about, which doesn’t bode well for their spouses.
It was fine while Danny Williams was still around. Newfoundlanders prefer their idols with very visible feet of clay and if they can’t find any, their frustration levels go right through the ceiling. The higher our former premier’s popularity ratings the higher their blood pressure, the more intense their pathological hatred of the man, the greater their ire and indignation, and the more hysterical the general tone of their public pronouncements.
Kathy Dunderdale also drew a lot of the heat, partly because she was a woman and, even better from her enemies’ point of view, a woman who strongly endorsed one of her predecessor’s chief legacies, Muskrat Falls, which made her even more of a demon — and that much more vulnerable — in the eyes of her detractors.
But now that things have started to calm down a bit we’re left with the problem of what to do with all these moaners and groaners who aren’t going to have as much to complain about as they’re used to.
What’s going to become of all the Muskrat Falls denigrators when they realize that no one is reading their blogs anymore, and that their opinions, for what they were worth to begin with, are of no further interest to anyone other than their own inconsequential followings of online apostles and acolytes?
(For that matter, what about the pundits, myself included, I guess, who might actually have to find something new to rant on about now that their favourite go-to topic for stirring up their readers no longer has the desired effect?)
Perhaps for the sake of everyone’s sanity, it’s time we all took a deep breath, counted to 10 and tried to be a little less extreme in our views. In the past, some of the accusations levelled against the Muskrat Falls project by its critics seem to have crossed the line between constructive criticism and what, in effect, amounts to outright treason.
It’s one thing to raise legitimate concerns about a mega-project of this size and scope. It’s a different matter altogether to do everything in one’s power to ensure its failure, such as aiding and abetting the competition.
And so, in the meantime, let’s hope that cooler heads prevail, that the peevish and petulant minority of obstructionists in our midst find better ways to occupy their leisure hours and that a project which could do so much to benefit the entire province is ultimately allowed to succeed — in spite of all the nasty things that have been said about it.
Tony Collins lives and writes in Gander.
He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
His column returns Aug. 2.