Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Danspeak 9.0

There may exist a hackneyed maritime metaphor that they missed, but it doesn't look like it:

Aside from the purple prose (or salty prose, since we shouldn't mix metaphors), the speech was standard Danspeak updated as the 9.0 version. Here's some preliminary analysis.

Bold/boldly is the it word in Danspeak 9.0:
1) "We ought to hold Bob Bartlett up before our children as a reflection of their own innermost potential to face great challenges boldly and brilliantly."
2) "We as a province were called upon to face great challenges boldly and brilliantly in 2003 when an unsustainable fiscal situation held us in its ever-tightening grip."
3) "His achievements amaze us and his attitude inspires us to fix our sights boldly and courageously on the high latitudes of self-reliance to which we aspire."
4) "Through a bold new Regional Collaboration Pilot Project, My Government will work with regional leaders to explore collaborative forms of governance that advance regional sustainability."

Federation is also in:
1) "We are determined to stand strong as leaders in this federation [Canada?], proud of our achievements and confident in our future."
2) "At a time when the people of our province are celebrating our status as net fiscal contributors to the federation, it is truly appalling that the current Government of this federation [federal government?] has chosen to betray us and oppress us with policies devised to drive us back into decline just because we have exercised our democratic rights – to vote as we wish."
3) "As we move forward to forge new and stronger relationships for the century to come, it is essential that the concerns and aspirations of all members of the federation [provinces?] be taken into account."

Master/masters is now oldspeak, appearing just once:
1) "This unprecedented achievement is the culmination of everything My Government and our people have been doing since 2003 to master our own destiny."

But it was tied to the most important part of the speech: the sacred have status.
1) "For the first time since Confederation, Newfoundland and Labrador has achieved "have" status." [bold in original].

This status is not just fiscal; it's presented as a sort of collective nirvana:
"We will not qualify for equalization payments in the coming year and in years to come. This unprecedented achievement is the culmination of everything My Government and our people have been doing since 2003 to master our own destiny. For Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, this is a moment to take pride, not merely in what we have done, but more importantly in who we are. We are determined to stand strong as leaders in this federation, proud of our achievements and confident in our future. Let the naysayers be warned: we will not be stopped short of success."

To keep the sacred status and foil the schemes of evil Lord Harpoid, DW has announced his own foreign independent policy:
"If the current Federal Government is not prepared to represent the best interests of provinces like ours, then we as a province will protect our best interests ourselves [details of the new Foreign Ministry to follow, presumably]. To lower tariff barriers to our exports while safeguarding our fish stocks and securing markets for our seal products, we will speak up on our own behalf on the international stage and work to effect progressive agreements that take our best interests fully into account. "

"My Government will allow nothing to prevent us from charting a clear course to the high latitudes of self-reliance. At Long Harbour, we achieved a new and stronger agreement with Vale Inco on the scale and pace of processing, and work is moving full steam ahead. In the offshore sector, we achieved new equity stakes in Hebron and White Rose, and work is moving full steam ahead. Planning to develop our Lower Churchill green energy resource is moving full steam ahead. In no other region of the western world is optimism greater than it is right here in Newfoundland and Labrador, and this optimism fuels our confidence that we can meet any challenge."

The fact that the Lower Churchill is moving full steam ahead may come as news to some, but let's leave that to one side for now. The new foreign policy will also generate considerable press but, in reality, it's little more than a red herring used to distract from the fallout of the ABC folly.

What's interesting is that success is never defined outside of being a "have province." If DW is going to captain his own ship (his words, not mine), then why is it so existentially important for NL to be a have province? Why is the collective self-worth of 500,000 people dependent on an artificially created designation derived from the federal funding formula?

It's fitting that the speech ended with tourism, and this last section was one of the few where DW set a specific goal: doubling tourism revenue by 2020 (by which time, of course, DW will be long gone as premier). For me, the money line was this: "Our tourism product is getting better by the year."

It's all about selling the product. To whom, you might ask? Why to those nefarious Mainlanders, that's who: "With award-winning marketing strategies including a billboard on the Gardiner Expressway promoting Newfoundland and Labrador through a curtained window and television ads to rival the best, My Government is confident we have what it takes to draw the tourists in."

Yup, drawing them in just about sums it up.

VODW Update:
Here's the Call-in Digest Version:
"The new designation as a have province is the culmination of the province's quest to be masters of our own domain, and to the deep cut in funding as the federal changes to the equalization formula took effect." [Note: if you can figure out how the dependent clause relates to the independent clause, please email me].

Interestingly, there seems to be a federalist mole in the Valley, who sneaked this out:
"There was no mention of the creation of Sir Wilfred Grenfell College as its own university."


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