I wish to respond to an item in the June 27 Telegram in which P.J. Dwyer of Gander rolled a large spliff containing elements of Churchill Falls, the twilight of the Tories and the Senate conundrum and lit the whole thing with an insult to our neighbours who make their living at the minimum wage.
It began with a standard overstatement of the risks of the Muskrat Falls project. He confuses the new project with the mother of all political boat anchors: the Churchill Falls deal brought on us by the irreplaceable J.R. Smallwood. I believe Muskrat Falls has some inherent risk but comparisons to Smallwood’s masterwork overstate the current risks by one or two orders of magnitude (factors of 10 or 100).
More than 30 years ago, I heard this from a nuclear engineer: “We have to tell the truth about safety and costs but our opponents are not held to the same standard” — a reference to Energy Probe in Ontario which opposed the Bruce nuclear power development.
My greatest objection to his letter is quite simple. He builds the usual case against politicians who have worn out their welcome in our legislature and in the Senate. He can find no more appropriate punishment for these people than that they should be employed at big-box stores as greeters or a similar unworthy specialty that will earn them the minimum wage.
I’ve been to Gander several times and have been served in establishments by dozens of people who make their lives work somehow while earning the minimum wage. None of them deserve to be scorned along with the likes of Fabian Manning. Four years ago, I worked at the minimum wage for three months. I lost 40 pounds and slept better than I had in 30 years. When reissued with a keyboard and a mouse, I gained the weight back in four months but came away with a renewed work ethic. My respect for these workers is now a core value, and I deplore the insult of Mr. Dwyer. I also wish to admonish the editorial decision to publish the item.