State of the union

Ed Smith
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No doubt you all saw the provincial leaders’ debate.

It was too long ago to talk about, but where else do I get to say what I think? Even if you don’t care, I have a brief comment. Skip over the next few lines if you have a problem with that.

I thought Lorraine Michael was quite good and acquitted herself well, as did Kathy Dunderdale. I was taught that if you couldn’t say anything good about a person, you shouldn’t say anything at all. That ends my thoughts on the leadership debate.

The only problem I have with the premier is that my voice-activated program refuses to spell her name when I say it. There are also those who deliberately bastardize her name, but I think that goes against what the vast majority of us, whatever our political stripe, would want to hear. It’s low, it’s stupid and it’s unproductive.

I’d almost rather hear her called a Newfie, but I don’t wish that on anyone. By the way, has anyone heard that word on “Republic of Doyle”? Or “The Mercer Report”? Or Buddy Wasisname? Or Rex Murphy? Perhaps it’s been there and I missed it. But if it hasn’t been, does that tell you anything? I digress again.

It would be a most irritating problem if I want to talk about the premier in the future. In fact, it already is and it’s not even the future. Well, it already is for all of you, but you don’t have the problem I have. Depending on what paper you’re reading, some of you even know how the election turned out — that must have been the shock of the third millennium. Even I knew that and I’m not even there yet.

So, what will the new government look like?

Kathy what’s-her-name on one side and Lorraine on the other. That’ll be about it. Understand I’m not giving away any of my own personal voting preferences here. I’m just telling you the way it will be.


Campaign rumour

I don’t know if there’s any truth to the rumour that Stephen Harper will be at Kathy’s campaign headquarters on Oct. 11. Or that he’ll be flying in on a SAR helicopter, courtesy of the defence minister, the honourable Mr. Peter MacKay. Strange how certain words seem to stick in your throat when combined with certain proper names.

If you need to think about that last statement very much, I worry about your reasoning faculties.

It’s also said that Stephen and Kathy will be exchanging gifts, but I don’t put any stock in that, either. It’s just another nasty rumour started by the Friends of Cabana Movement, all two of them.

What can we expect after Oct. 11? Let me give you a hint. Despite promises and pledges, exactly what we have now in terms of policies and projects. In short, nothing will change. The reason is obvious. From the government’s point of view, nothing needs to change. They’ll be sitting pretty until the next election because, as in the federal Parliament, they have this large majority of seats.

As leader of the opposition, Lorraine Michael will be given diddly squat in order to carry out her prime mandate of making the government squirm. Perhaps they’ll give her a couple of extra HB pencils, and an exercise book without the times tables on the back. Can’t give her anything to help with opposition criticism of the budget.

Kevin Aylward will be lucky if he gets a key to the men’s washroom — the one in the basement. He’ll probably have to share that with Danny Dumaresque. There’s another name my voice-activated program has problems with, but I don’t think I’ll need to access it as often as I will Kathy’s.

The question of whether or not Mr. Aylward and Mr. Dumaresque get keys to anything in Confederation Building is moot. Visitors to that hallowed spot don’t get given keys for nutting. I greatly fear these two aforementioned gentlemen may be in that most undesirable (for a politician) category.


Coalition option

What is the possibility that the Liberals and the NDP may get together to form a coalition opposition?

I think the potential is certainly there. During the debate, the animal magnetism between Ms. Michael and Mr. Aylward was apparent to everyone. I speak of political animal magnetism, of course.

Certainly, the fundamental respect and affection each had for the other shone through everything that was said. I expected at any moment the two of them would leave their places and rush across the intervening space to hug each other before renewing the debate.

I’m being only slightly facetious here. Think of what a statement that would have been to the Newfoundland people to see that kind of solidarity between two parties. I’m not sure what it would have achieved in practical terms. Three seats are not much against 45.

I’m assuming the leader of the coalition would be the one with the most seats. In which case, there’d be a rush to bring any elected Independents on side. I don’t know if there are any Newfoundland or Labrador party candidates running, or if there is any life left in them at all. Neither can be much deader than the Liberals.

But what a mix that would be! The Italian coalitions would have nothing on it.

Many people are saying they’re not voting in this election because they think their vote won’t count for anything.

It’s the act of voting, the participating in the democratic proces, that makes it worthwhile. Besides, too many people died to make it possible for us.

It’s more than sad to think that this sacrifice was made in vain.


Ed Smith is an author who lives in

Springdale. His email address is

Organizations: Cabana Movement, NDP

Geographic location: Newfoundland

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