A word from the outpost

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Well, we could either cue the outrage or just have a little fun at some Upper Canadian’s expense.

We choose the latter — and, since it’s a Globe and Mail columnist who’s written this backhanded missive (the Globe having unceremoniously bailed out of this province last fall), let’s go.

First, the comments themselves, from the Globe on Monday.

“(Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne) accuses Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government of ‘wilful indifference’ toward Ontario as it reels from the erosion of its manufacturing base, a decline she compares (wait for it) to the early 1990s collapse of the Newfoundland cod fishery. It’s a sad day when the premier of the country’s once unstoppable economic engine puts her economically diverse province of 13.5 million in the same boat as a rural outpost of 500,000. Ontario does not have oil, but it has non-natural resources that even newly-rich Newfoundland can only dream of. Yet Ms. Wynne government’s pre-electoral everything-but-kitchen-sink budget accused the Harper government of taking ‘more than 110 unilateral actions that have hurt’ Ontario,” Konrad Yakabuski writes in the Globe and Mail. “Still, Ontario’s new obsession with maximizing federal transfers is the surest sign that a have-not mentality is taking hold.”

It’s a column in which Yakabuski tees off on Ontario’s Wynne for taking a leaf from Quebec’s recent budget book, where that province blamed the feds for everything under the sun.

Now, first to that “rural outpost” thing. Why, if we had dial phones yet, we might well be calling the operator and asking for a station-to-station call to reach that Yakabuski fella. Turns out that any sort of technological advance we may have come up with here in this province falls far short of his standards — and ever shall. That could just make a person tap their corncob pipe on a lobster trap and shake their weathered head a few times.

And he can’t even get his have-nots properly sorted.

Yakabuski opines, “As a weaker Ontario sheds its nation-builder role for have-not status, it risks falling into the trap that Quebec fell into five decades ago. It’s developing the knee-jerk reaction of looking to Ottawa to mitigate its fiscal woes, fostering a culture of dependence that will be difficult to break.”

We should at least point out, while we are geographically far from the Ontarian core-of-the-nation, it is not Quebec who came up with the “blame Ottawa” defence — we’ve used it so often here, we could trademark the sucker.

And while “rural outpost” might have a nice pat-on-the-head convenience for columnists, we should point out that this province is so computer-literate and savvy, his own newspaper can’t sell a single paper copy here anymore.

And as to that “culture of dependence” reference why, we were accused of that way back when Stephen Harper wore blue sweater-vests.

When it comes to this province, have-not may be no more.

Know-not? That’s a little harder to shed.

Organizations: Globe and Mail

Geographic location: Ontario, Newfoundland, Quebec Ottawa

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  • Skeptical Cynic
    June 10, 2014 - 16:44

    Such smug condescension towards NLers from the self-important at Canada’s “national newspaper” is nothing new. However, considering how the economic tables have turned, and how the perpetrators themselves have since become denizens of the Rust Belt… such individuals now evoke mild amusement in an ironic sort of way. So I certainly won’t be losing any sleep over what the Lords of Mediocrity at the down-on-its-luck G&M are penning of late about the “rural outpost” of NL. We've got oil, and they don't.

  • Maggy Carter
    June 10, 2014 - 13:30

    There is so much, of course, that can and perhaps should be said of the mighty that have fallen - the shoe that is on the other foot. There is plenty of blame to go around for the predicament in which Ontario and some other provinces find themselves. They can point to the feds for exposing them to Dutch disease but then they would have to admit they did little to inoculate themselves against it. For decades, fish from the east and grain from the west were sacrificed in trade negotiations to gain international market access for Ontario's manufactured goods. And it was principally for Ontario's benefit - it should be remembered - that Canada signed onto a free trade agreement with the United States. It hasn't brought the windfall Ontario expected. Ontario failed to build on its strengths - its well developed human and physical infrastructure - to withstand the Chinese onslaught. Instead of innovating its way to higher productivity and better mouse traps, it sat by why its old industries succumbed to the great Asian wage discrepancy. And yes, while there is much fault to find in Ottawa, Ontario will eventually come to accept a truism that many of us have known in this province for years - that in the end you have to pull yourself up by your own bootstraps. For all our years of crying in the wilderness there were few, if any, who cared to listen. Blocked from accessing major markets for your power? Your problem. A ferry system designed to fail?Your problem. Petroleum resources you brought into Canada? Those belong to Ottawa. But all of that pales in relation to the one nasty, scheming, exploitive policy of Ottawa that has done more to cripple the economy of this province and that is still ongoing today. The theft of our fishery resources, its alienation to any other province or country that wanted it, and ultimately its near complete destruction. This is not Ontario with no one else to blame for its squandering of its manufacturing base. This is Newfoundland and Labrador entirely dependent on the national government to manage our fish resources in a manner that principally benefitted us - the province and people contiguous to those resources. The people who brought those resources into confederation. The people who clung to a rock and survived on those fish resources for half a millennium. This is what was taken from us - in fistfulls, deliberately, greedily, mercilessly - until we were left with almost nothing. When Wynne, Hudak and all that crowd of complainers can honestly say their predicament was the result of such flagrant abuse from their own national government, then and only then I might be inclined to listen.

  • Too Funny
    June 10, 2014 - 07:58

    "nation builder role"??? This guy needs to go back to school because it was the nation, especially the "rural outposts", that built Ontario.