Jeers: to intimidation tactics. Social services serve an important purpose. They prevent the less fortunate from falling through the cracks. It’s not a perfect system; there are losers and abusers. But the Harper government’s systematic crackdown on the employment insurance program is clearly heavy-handed. Combined with new regulations that can force people to move away from home for work, the feds have now sent agents out on the streets to make unannounced home visits. This is just too much. There are no lives at stake here; it’s not a case of child protection. No one disagrees with trying to catch cheaters, but that can be done through less invasive means — audits, phone calls and in-office interviews. It all smacks of right-wing sneer: hard-working stiffs vs. lazy louts. That attitude is simplistic and mean-spirited.
Cheers: to billion-dollar bonanzas. Tourism Minister Terry French announced last week that vacation spending in this province topped $1 billion in 2011. That’s a staggering figure, even if more than half of that came from Newfoundlanders themselves. It goes to show how important slick advertising and word of mouth are in luring people to the natural and cultural beauty of this province. True, there are still some gaps when it comes to quality of service — scattered hotel and restaurant owners who still don’t quite get it. But the 2011 numbers prove we’ve come a long, long way.
Jeers: to childish behaviour. There are many sides to the Clarenville “Jersey-gate” scandal, but none of them seems to exhibit a reasonable level of maturity. Parents ignoring team uniform requirements, a child being suspended from recreational hockey, abusive emails and phone calls from parents, and an entire group of adults abandoning their posts at the expense of what’s supposed to be a bit of fun on the ice. What’s so amazing is that no one could apparently break through the madness somewhere along the way and let common sense prevail. Those kids deserve better. And the grownups? They should all get a game misconduct.
Jeers: to dead giveaways. It tumbles through the lips with ease, long before the speaker realizes what an utterly useless and self-defeating phrase it is. Seasoned reporters have heard it many times, and it’s usually a good cue that they’re on the right track. The phrase? “There’s no story here.” Premier Kathy Dunderdale was the latest to utter it, when asked by reporters about The Telegram’s coverage of leaked documents detailing the orchestrated manipulation of online polls. The premier was not the first to fall victim to this temptation, and she certainly won’t be the last. A word of advice to all those who find themselves falling under media scrutiny: don’t do it. Don’t say those words. Trust us, it’s like waving a red flag at a bull.