Monday, March 30, 2009

Monty Hall, Part II (updated again)

Door Number 1:
DW in the Globe, 7 February 2009:
With Flaherty's budget "kindling" the fires of separation, Williams's cabinet is soon to meet over whether to proceed with a March 31 celebration to mark the 60 years since Newfoundland joined Confederation. "Here we are coming up to that anniversary," Williams says, "and here's what Ottawa has done to us. We have to really, really be careful with that. I don't want that to become a focal point for separation, because that's not what it was intended to be. It should have been a legitimate celebration of coming out of the 'have not' status and being a net contributor to Canada. We're looking at that to be a very positive thing — and then Canada just struck us over the head."**

Door Number 2:
DW in VOCM, 30 March 2009:
No Celebrations For the Province's 60th
He's not blaming it on the current state of relations between the province and the federal government, but Premier Danny Williams says there will be no government planned celebrations to mark the 60th anniversary of confederation. Williams had discussed holding a combined celebration to mark the province's new have status and the anniversary of union with Canada. The Premier says while it's an important date in our history, now is not the time, given the economic turmoil, the Cougar incident earlier this month and the loss of soldiers in Afghanistan. Williams says the current state of affairs between the province and the Harper Conservatives wouldn't deter him from celebrating, if they had felt it was appropriate."

Update -- Door Number 3:
It turns out that there is a third option. Say nothing, stick your head in the sand, and wish the anniversary away. Here is DW not talking to the CP, 29 March 2009:
"But for him [DW] or his political foe, Prime Minister Stephen Harper, the 60th anniversary of Confederation does not appear to be an event worthy of comment, much less rejoicing. It did not rate a mention in Williams's throne speech last week and his office deferred questions about the anniversary to the deputy premier. Messages to the Prime Minister's Office were not returned....The silence is a marked contrast from the pomp that surrounded the province's 50th anniversary in Canada. There was a nationally televised gala concert that included then-prime minister Jean Chretien as a guest. And while there was less cause for celebration in 1999 - the province was reeling from the cod collapse and still financially reliant on Ottawa - the party went ahead. Observers noted the warmer relations between Chretien and Brian Tobin, the premier whose federal ambitions were well-known."

Update -- Door Number 4:
DW on CBC, 31 March 2009
N.L. marks 60th Confederation anniversary with whispers
"No tributes, no ceremonies and no parties are planned to mark the 60th anniversary on Tuesday of Newfoundland and Labrador joining Canada. Premier Danny Williams had planned last fall to hold a celebration to mark both the anniversary and the province's recent designation as a so-called "have" province, as Newfoundland and Labrador no longer qualifies for equalization. But Williams said with the national economy in disarray and many people in Newfoundland and Labrador still mourning the 17 people killed in the March 12 Cougar helicopter crash, it would be wrong to host a party. "It's not a time for celebration, and it's not appropriate," said Williams, noting the government had already scaled back its have-status plans well before the Cougar crash. Williams said the quiet marking of the anniversary has nothing to do with his endless political wars with the federal government. "We are very proud as a province to be part of Canada," Williams said Monday in St. John's. "Canada is a great country and despite the fact that we may have differences of opinion from time to time with various governments, that certainly wouldn't impede an overall celebration," said Williams. "But, at this particular point in time, we just really sincerely feel that it's not appropriate." Williams said some members of the legislature may rise on Tuesday to pay tribute to the Confederation anniversary. Marking the diamond anniversary so quietly stands in contrast to previous anniversaries. In 1974, a full year of celebrations — including concerts and even a tribute record album consisting of songs composed just for the event — was organized. In 1999, then premier Brian Tobin presided over Soiree '99, which marked the golden anniversary as a tourism marketing event.

And just for good measure, VOCM chimes in again: it has nothing to do with politics.

So let's review DW's explanations for not recognizing the 60th anniversary:
1) Harper's fault
2) Not Harper's fault
3) What anniversary?
4) It is being recognized, just quietly (Danspeak for not).

Strong, proud, confused. It was only a matter of time before the tragedy at sea got dragged into politics.

**Curiously, on 19 February, DW was quoted in CBC saying, ""We may find another format or we may reshape it in another manner. Again it's about doing something tastefully and we don't want to offend anybody under these circumstances." While Harper was front and centre in the Globe and Mail interview published 7 February, now the PM was nowhere to be seen in the discussion of the 60th anniversary. According to CBC, "Williams was planning an extravagant provincewide celebration to coincide with the 60th anniversary of Confederation with Canada this spring....But since he hatched that plan last fall, a paper mill has closed, mines have made cut backs and the provincial government has plunged into deficit. Williams said the province will still celebrate have status and Confederation on the same day."
Here's the link to the CBC story:

And here's the link to Nottawa's open challenge to the CBC:

I guess the 7 February story could constitute a Door Number 5, but DW's obfuscation is getting too hard to follow.

And for a regime that just loves gratuitous media releases, Dangovt is curiously silent about this non-event event:

For Monty Hall, Part I, see

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