If Premier Kathy Dunderdale and Justice Minister Darin King are so frail and gormless that they feel threatened by a few smartass comments made on a Facebook group, you have to wonder if they have been paying attention to the three-dimensional world beyond computer screens and realize a real threat they face: electoral decimation by voters who are ashamed and embarrassed to be governed by them.
Dunderdale and King’s pathetic antics in the House of Assembly this week quickly, and predictably, made national news.
Canadians on the coasts of all three oceans, and all points in between, now know that Newfoundlanders (and Labradorians) elected leaders who get frightened by a few insipid comments posted on social media.
Some wag with a monitor commented on said Facebook group he was surprised Dunderdale hadn’t been “jfk’d.”
As anyone who isn’t a Tory cabinet minister knows, plenty of web posters are habitually obnoxious and boorish — whether aiming to shock or impress, or merely reflecting their real personalities, readers cannot know.
But to read such a comment and infer a “threat” is beyond preposterous.
It is moronic and shallow — and laughable, coming as it did from a man who was high up in this province’s educational system. (Kids: don’t try this at home. Mr. King is a seasoned professional and has been trained to make a fool of himself.)
NDP MHA Gerry Rogers showed composure and class by refusing to apologize in the House, and explaining why she refused.
Apparently, someone signed Rogers onto an anti-Dunderdale Facebook group without her knowledge.
Rogers did not make the Facebook comments that raised the ire of King and Dunderdale. Nor did she support them, either in the House or, presumably, by clicking thumbs up.
Even so, Speaker Ross Wiseman ruled Rogers must apologize. With her refusal, she was ejected from the House.
The swoosh you hear is the sound of Democracy sailing out of the harbour.
Many people have quite rightly, and easily, defended Rogers. It is equally easy to criticize Wiseman, and point out how short he came of fulfilling the speaker’s role of objectivity and impartiality.
Wiseman, Dunderdale and King’s comments and actions are bothersome, to put it politely, and outrageous, manipulative and revolting, to put it bluntly. The inescapable conclusion is that Newfoundlanders are ruled by sectarian simpletons.
If somebody didn’t do an evil deed, you can’t demand that they apologize for it.
If you know that somebody didn’t behave wrongfully, you can’t punish them for what they didn’t do.
Unless you’re Dunderdale, King and Wiseman.
It is incomprehensible. Get out your thesaurus and see if you can find a synonym for “stupid” that does it justice. It is a rare instance in which the English language falls short.
Maybe the three of them are attempting to become as reviled as their colleague, Finance Minister Jerome Kennedy.
It is what they deserve.
It is what their whole administration deserves. They have embarrassed the province in front of the entire country.
Apparently not content with that, King then went continental.
Imagine what any Bostonian, or any American, would think if they heard King in one putrid train of “thought” compare online comments with the bombings at the Boston Marathon. They would think what many Newfoundlanders are concluding: that governance in this province has reached a new low in vileness.
Just in case King needs to be reminded of the obvious, that was real blood on the pavement in Boston, and those were actual people who were killed and maimed. To bring that up in the context of Facebook “threats” is an insult to decency and intelligence, and to the victims of real violence.
Brian Jones is a desk editor at
The Telegram. He can be reached by
email at firstname.lastname@example.org.