Jeers: To Andy Wells’ parallel scientific universe. The former St. John’s mayor had the opportunity last week to reassert his well-known disdain for sound scientific research. As Public Utilities Board chairman, Wells jumped in to “correct” Newfoundland Power CEO Earl Ludlow on the increasing frequency of hurricanes hitting the province. Ludlow was pointing out how changing climate is affecting the utility’s bottom line. Wells disagreed, saying weather patterns are not changing. Wells, you see, is a global warning denier — one of those people who refuses to accept clear scientific evidence and instead filters everything through the lens of oil industry-funded propagandists and contrarian loons. Thus, all those insane storms we’ve had over the past decade mean nothing. Nor, apparently, do the larger statistics. By the way, Wells also insists pesticides are harmless. We’re not sure where he stands on cigarettes and cancer.
Cheers: to storm troopers. And they come in all shapes and sizes. Such as the NL Hydro and Newfoundland Power workers who worked through horrendous conditions Friday to restore power to several parts of the province, including most of the northeast Avalon. There’s also all the snowclearing staff, police, hospital employees and emergency workers who were equally kept on their toes. There’s even a nod to be given to a few young Telegram carriers who made sure Friday’s paper got through to customers.
Jeers: to languishing labour conflicts. The St. John’s airport strike has gone on long enough. There seems to be little prospect of ending the strike of 85 staff, all members of the Public Service Alliance of Canada. Last month, an attempt to restart talks broke down before they even started, with the airport authority filing a formal complaint with the Canada Industrial Relations Board claiming the union is not bargaining in good faith. The union says the employer has been inflexible in its demand for concessions. Same old story, really. Both need to compromise. And soon.
Cheers: to Canada’s aboriginal people. Because they could use a few friendly gestures right now. There’s been a lot of tension and confusion over the past month as the Idle No More movement has quickly gained steam. There’ve been a few controversies, too, notably the revelation of poor accounting practices in First Nations communities. There’ve been bad decisions on both sides, as well as surliness, snubs, arrogance and attitude. Through it all, though, one immutable fact remains: indigenous people were here first, and their descendants have an intrinsic right to govern their own affairs and to be treated with respect and dignity. Here’s hoping cool heads prevail over the coming days and weeks.