Thursday, May 14, 2009

ABC's of Health Care

As the provincial government's drama with the nurses' union enters its final act, it is clear that very little has changed over the past year.

Beneath the macho posturing and shrill rhetoric, the conflict is being driven by the same basic issue that's been driving it from the beginning: a battle over respect.

As the lead actor on the government's side changed from Wiseman to Kennedy to Williams, this battle over respect merely intensified and grew ever more personal over time. What is interesting about DW's latest diatribe is not the rhetoric, the threats, or the illogic. We're beyond that now. We're beyond mere bullying. What we're seeing is a personal feud that has devolved into a scorched-earth, ABC-style jihad.

If you watch the video feed from CBC (and if you can overlook the weird shoulder twitches), you will notice a revealing pattern. DW seems incapable of saying Debbie Forward's name:

Unless I missed something, he says her name only once during a lengthy rant. For the remainder of the 3:25 minute video, all he can utter is a steady stream of "she" and "her." She has done this, she has said that, she will suffer the state's mighty wrath. Judging from the Danspeak, Debbie Forward has become an official non-person. As a persona non grata, Ms. Forward can expect the same treatment meted out to all enemies of the people.

When the premier of the province cannot bring himself to address the head of a major union by her own name, you know how this is going to end. It's going to end the same way that all of DW's conflicts end. It's going to be utterly personal, utterly ugly, and utterly gratuitous. What it will do is feed Dangovt's insatiable desire for hyperbolic self-righteousness, personal revenge, and fighting for the sake of fighting.

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