Friday, May 1, 2009

Kiss the Backsides

"Kiss the Backsides," Williams's own words -- not mine. Words uttered in the House of Assembly, where "yahoo" is strictly prohibited.

Each day in the House this week has had its own particular theme. Monday was Where's Waldo Day and Tuesday was Wiseman Evisceration Day. Yesterday saw an outbreak of the flu known as D1W1.

Here is a list of what Williams actually said and claimed yesterday in the House of Assembly. Anyone who isn't drunk on PC Kool Aid will see these statements for what they are:

1) Williams couldn't care less if the federal government doesn't fund projects in NL.

2) The federal government promised him $10 billion.

3) The federal government took at least $1 billion away from NL.

4) Williams is not going to kiss the federal government's backside.

5) Williams doesn't care if NL has bad relations with the federal government.

6) The federal government has slapped and abused him and the people of NL.

7) The successful ABC campaign prevented the clowns from attaining a majority government.

8) Despite numbers 1-7, provincial cabinet ministers are meeting with their counterparts in Ottawa.

9) Despite numbers 1-7, the provincial government is doing everything appropriate to ensure that everything is covered and proper federal representation is maintained.

10) Despite 8-9, Williams's sole strategy is to wait until Ignatieff or Layton win the next federal election.

There you have it: the latest top ten of I Can't Believe He Said That (Again). I can hear Danny's angry supporters already dismissing this as just Danny being Danny -- this is just passionate talk from a proud, determined leader.

What do you think Williams and his government would say if Harper used words like clowns to describe them? How do you think they would react if Harper started talking about backsides? What would they say if Harper claimed they had slapped and abused him?

If Jones or Parsons had used language like Williams's, how do you think the Tories would respond? If Jones referred to someone's arse in the House of Assembly, what would the Speaker of the House say?

Language either matters or it doesn't. It's as simple as that.

If Williams wants to be taken seriously, then what he says has to be taken seriously. And if you're the type of person who happily puts up with such crap from your Premier, then you truly deserve such crap.

As for the substantive claims Williams made yesterday, I leave it to you to determine what's true, what's false, and what's pure bullshit. Anyone who has been reading this blog knows, for instance, that Hedderson is on public record as saying that he cannot get a meeting with the federal Minister of Fisheries. Anyone who has been reading Labradore knows how often the provincial government appeals for federal funding. And anyone who has been reading Bond Papers knows the many inconsistencies and contradictions surrounding the entire ABC and equalization ponzi scheme.

Below is the transcript of Williams's exchange with Parsons, copied from yesterday's Hansard, with Williams's notable statements in bold:

As you read over what Williams actually said (this is Question Period, remember, not a late-nite call in show), think about how this is part of a much longer and larger pattern of state language that:
1) Focuses obsessively on conflict
2) Focuses obsessively on personal insults (both received and given)
3) Uses violent imagery
4) Uses vulgar epithets
5) Responds glibly to serious issues
6) Fails to be ironic or funny
7) Fails to evolve or adapt to changing circumstances
8) Insists on double-standards
9) Insists on self-righteousness
10) Fails to take consequences seriously

MR. KELVIN PARSONS: Mr. Speaker, my next question – I will move on to another topic here - our federal regional minister, Minister MacKay, announced today $136 million in funding that will ensure that Halifax is the Atlantic Gateway. Unfortunately, our Province has lost out once again. Minister MacKay stated in a news release that this funding will allow Halifax to play their role as a major trade gateway to the world.

I ask the Premier: What recent discussions have you had with Minister MacKay and the federal government regarding our Province’s position as the Atlantic Gateway, and were you advised that this funding announcement would be coming today?

PREMIER WILLIAMS: Mr. Speaker, I have spoken to Minister MacKay probably three or four times in the last six weeks and raised all kinds of issues with him: cost-shared funding through transportation and works. We talked about the Gateway. We have talked about all kinds of other projects, kept a constant dialogue going. He did not phone me up today to tell me that this announcement was made, nor would I expect him to, but we have made all appropriate submissions to the federal government. We are maintaining a dialogue with them. If they choose not to fund us at this particular point in time we couldn’t care less, quite frankly.

MR. KELVIN PARSONS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Minister MacKay, in his words, stated that it was thanks to the strong relationship between the federal and Nova Scotian governments that communities in that province will see the benefits of the Atlantic Gateway that will allow them to remain competitive and prosperous.

I ask the Premier: Is this another instance where the poor state of federal-provincial relations is costing the people of this Province new money and investment from the federal government?

PREMIER WILLIAMS: This is a situation, Mr. Speaker, whereby we were promised $10 billion from the federal government. They refused to provide that to us, so we took issue with it and we stood up on behalf of the people of Newfoundland and Labrador; because with that kind of money we could have paid off our entire debt. They subsequently turned around during the last Budget and basically took away $1 billion to $1.5 billion from us.

On that basis, we are not prepared to turn around and kiss the backsides of the federal government under any circumstances. If that means that we have bad federal-provincial relations, then so be it.

MR. KELVIN PARSONS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Nobody is talking about kissing backsides. We are talking about doing your job, whether you are a Premier or a minister.

I say to the Premier: You alluded to the fact that you have had several conversations with Mr. McKay in the last six weeks. Has there been any discussions between you or any of your ministers with regard to the Atlantic Gateway that we could look forward to seeing some money coming here, or are the state of affairs, in fact, so bad that there is no conversation even ongoing in that regard?

PREMIER WILLIAMS: Mr. Speaker, I can only tell you that I have had several discussions with the minister. I have had meetings with the minister. My ministers have had meetings with counterparts and that minister. We have done everything appropriate from our perspective to ensure that we have basically covered ourselves to make sure that we represented on behalf of the people of the Province.

Now I come back to the other principle. We can only go so far. If these people are going to abuse the people of Newfoundland and Labrador, if they are going to slap us in the face, there is nothing we can do about that. What we did do is we conducted a very successful ABC campaign, which ensured that these clowns did not end up with a majority government across this country. As a result of that, they do not have a majority government. Hopefully, there will be an election and they will be kicked out of office. That is our goal. Then we will see where it goes there, and we will see what Mr. Ignatieff or Mr. Layton can do for us at the end of the day.

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