Cheers and Jeers

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Cheers: to the wonders of travel — or the problems of translation.

Premier Kathy Dunderdale headed out to a trade mission in Brazil in late October, and then winged it back because the federal government was announcing the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement with the European Union. In doing so, she not only missed a host of meetings with gas officials at Brazil’s Petrobras and the governor of Rio de Janeiro (and a scheduled Newfoundland and Labrador delegation dinner at Fogo de Chao, a steak restaurant so fancy it doesn’t even include prices on its menu) but also managed to avoid Rio’s legendary traffic. This is a note from the end of the official trip itinerary: “It is recommended to leave the hotel for the airport four hours before your departure time, as traffic can be predictable.” Is it possible for an itinerary to sound more resigned?

Cheers: to the government’s new wonder-word. The monthly totals are in and it’s official: an analysis of provincial government news releases indicates that, with 29 appearances in just 22 working days, “vibrant” is the new favourite provincial political spin-word for 2013. Whether it’s aquaculture or shrimp funding or family legislation, we’re all about the vibrant now. Here’s an example: “Tourism Industry Energizes Province’s Vibrant Economy,” from Friday — wait a minute. We’ve seen a heck of a lot of “energizes,” too.

Jeers: to Earth-shaking revelations. Here are two paragraphs from a New York Times story on Friday. “Oklahoma has never been known as earthquake country, with a yearly average of about 50 tremors, almost all of them minor. But in the past three years, the state has had thousands of quakes. This year has been the most active, with more than 2,600 so far, including 87 last week. … Just as unsettling in a state where more than 340,000 jobs are tied to the oil and gas industry is what scientists say may be causing many of the quakes: the widespread industry practice of disposing of billions of gallons of wastewater that is produced along with oil and gas, by injecting it under pressure into wells that reach permeable rock formations.” Does that sound scary or what? But as they say in that old song, “the leg bone’s connected to the knee-bone.”

Jeers: to turgidity. Seriously, who wrote this line of Premier Kathy Dunderdale’s Tuesday Muskrat Falls financing speech? “With no less drive than our forefathers and mothers, with no less determination, with our hopes reawakening and our faith unwavering, we are shouldering our ‘unshrinkable’ responsibility to leave no stone unturned, no resource untapped and to ground Newfoundland and Labrador’s future firmly and securely in the solid bedrock of sustainable and renewable prosperity.” Erk! That’s really unlikely to ever be cut down into something snappy like, “Some day the sun will shine, and have-not will be no more.”

Organizations: European Union, New York Times

Geographic location: Brazil, Newfoundland and Labrador, Rio de Janeiro Oklahoma

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  • Corporate Psycho
    December 17, 2013 - 07:32

    The fact that Dunderdale is representing us internationally is disturbing.