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  • newf turf
    October 21, 2010 - 21:22

    Enjoyed your column Bob. You stuck to the facts about Bill Rowe's book and I agree, a more personal memoir, would proberly be more interesting and a better read. While Fintips rant was a great little read, I thought he tried to hard to put himself in Bill's shoes. Fintip's opinions are just that !!! "Therein lays the rub" 'Between the lines" " Perceives as a continuing snub from Williams" " And perhaps more deservedly" "ragged arse artilliery" ohhhhh myyyyy I could go on, but I'm sure you get my point. He seems to be reading Rowe's mind!! I have enjoyed Fintips rational rants for some time, but every now and then, his condecending jealousy is so obvious, he unknowingly,disrespects himself.

  • Fintip
    October 16, 2010 - 23:18

    A well crafted column. Rowe’s book is worth a read even if it suffers at times from extreme tedium. Indeed his penultimate chapter reminds me of a car engine I rebuilt in my youth only to be left with a box of parts with no discernible purpose. I share Wakeham’s suspicion that Rowe has a lot more interesting stuff he could jam between the covers of a book. For all his willingness to engage the open line gang, one can’t help but think he is holding back, biting his tongue, keeping his powder dry on issues and insights of much greater weight. It may stem from a perception of personal vulnerability or from sensitivity to the sensibilities of others. It is often the case that those who harbor the most compelling personal stories choose, for one reason or another, not to share them. I was disappointed, for example, that Frank Moores chose not to share his account of the toppling of a dictator (an almost incredulous yet very real story that bears no resemblance to the baloney cooked up by his chroniclers). Moores undoubtedly knew where all the political bodies were buried but was perhaps constrained by the prospect that among them were a few skeletons of his own. Rowe might suffer the same trepidation in which case we need reminding that courage, not talent is oft cited as the prerequisite for great writing. Wakeham concludes that Rowe “did not play a major, consequential role in the Accord talks, and remained, for the most part, on the periphery”. And therein lays the rub. Between the lines there is abundant evidence of Rowe’s personal struggle with the id. There is the resentment of being left outside the inner sanctum during the Battle of the Atlantic Accord and what he perceives as a continuing snub from Williams. Beyond that there is probably a deep rooted feeling by Rowe - developed over time by way of one’s own inevitable comparison with others - that it might as easily and perhaps more deservedly been Rowe leading the assault, not following behind with the ragged-arse artillery. A Rhodes Scholar and successful lawyer like Williams - minister of the crown, opposition leader and well known broadcaster to boot. What else must one have? Rowe might further reflect that in intellectual prowess, interpersonal relations and overall charm his skill set must surely top that of his gutsy, smart, yet thin skinned and occasionally oafish one time employer. But what about vision and insight? Well in those Rowe might actually find himself surprisingly in unison with Williams, and hence perhaps a source of what might still be a modest, grudging admiration for each other. This commonality is predicated on the belief (well my belief) that Williams harbors an intense, deep-seated disdain for Canada’s national government (Ottawa, not Canada). It is resentment I suspect that predates the Accord battle, the equalization reprisals and indeed any particular brand of government. It even predates his election to the legislature. It might be his affinity for the underdog that is coded in the DNA of almost every Newfoundlander at birth. It is the realization that not only was this once odds-defying nation bound over to Canada by fraud, collusion and subterfuge, but that almost perpetually since then has assumed the role of Canada’s favorite whipping boy. I say harbors because while Williams has more than once offered a glimpse into his soul, for obvious reasons he has never been willing or able to bring a true bill of indictment against Canada. In that respect he is probably like thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of Newfoundlanders whose own vulnerabilities require that they regularly stifle the urge to publicly decry the con in confederation. For many of his years Rowe undoubtedly made a valiant effort to say and even believe otherwise. He was a big and small L-Liberal, part of a liberal family and tradition - wanting to believe those lofty liberal ideals were best pursued within a larger liberal nation such as Canada. Whatever his earlier convictions (and he is on record as having only contempt for separatists), it is perhaps with great irony that his stint as Williams’ ambassador in the nation’s capital might have occasioned his first real grasp of the depths of indifference and ill will toward this province that persists there. I think Rowe left Ottawa a different man than the one who packed his belongings in the family sedan and headed to the mainland. It was an experience that spurred such feelings of humiliation and contempt that it virtually oozes out of his book and is more and more evident in exchanges with his radio show callers. His resentment of Canada clearly dwarfs any resentment toward Williams. Perhaps now he understands that only an unprecedented consensus and consolidation of wills from Newfoundlanders could ever succeed in establishing a new, fairer model of governance for our people whether it be a vastly reconfigured terms of union or re-emergence as an independent member of the world community. It would require all the Rowes and Williamses this province could muster, acting in unison, to successfully challenge the status-quo. No doubt the will is there but is the flesh too weak? Why not tell us Bill how you really feel.