Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Yes, I understand

Premier Williams says on Nightline that he doesn't want the province to separate.  Perish the thought.

No, no, he just wants to have an independent provincial foreign policy!

Thank you for clarifying.

Monday, February 23, 2009

A class act

Obama showed, with grace and poise, that he is a class act.  It's admirable.  And as local political observers can attest, it's also rare.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Canada beats Ireland 2-1

As per the Canada Debate blog, our merry high school debaters at the world championships in Athens have defeated the Irish national team (a tough one) 2 ballots to 1 in their octo-final round.

They move on to the quarter finals where they face New Zealand (no slouches either).

So far so good!

Friday, February 06, 2009

Cushy campaigns

Canadian, let alone NL, political campaign and life generally resemble the lifestyle range from abject student poverty at the low end to middle class (maybe) at the higher end.

So when a longtime political activist like myself read stories about the lifestyles of the politically active of those associated with the administration and campaigns of New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, no small amount of envy sets in.

US$25,000 bonuses, jet setting around the world, multimillion dollars in campaign pay and a municipal campaign budget of US80,000,000?  Sign me up!

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Budget vote response

The media frame the narrative. . .

The Globe and Mail editorial (Two-Tiered Liberal caucus):
Worse, Mr. Ignatieff has encouraged Mr. Williams to continue setting the very worst example on how to conduct federal-provincial relations. His over-the-top opposition to the federal Conservatives helped wipe them off Newfoundland's electoral map, but it also eliminated Newfoundland influence inside the federal government. Now, he has been sent a signal that if the Liberals form a government, they will bow down before him. Mr. Williams is not a leader who will accept a measure of victory graciously; next time, he will only be emboldened to seek more from the Liberals. And other premiers might be encouraged to follow Mr. Williams's lead – albeit with fewer histrionics – if the Liberals are in power.

Mr. Ignatieff need not have threatened his Newfoundland MPs with outright expulsion for voting against the budget. Lesser forms of discipline could have been sufficient. But he should not have permitted them to chart their own policy course without consequence. Whether or not this proves to be a “one-time pass,” as Mr. Ignatieff has claimed, it could have far-reaching consequences for him, for his party, and potentially for the country.
Adam Radwanski writes:
Historically, attempts to appease nationalist governments in Quebec have only resulted in more and more outrageous demands, until the whole thing blows up in everyone's face. I'm not sure why appeasing the quasi-nationalist government in Newfoundland would end any differently.
Rob Silver writes:
All I'm saying is if you vote against your party on a budget bill, there should be consequences.

And again, for the sake of clarity, this isn't a commentary on the legitimacy of the Newfoundland MP's or Danny Williams's grievances with Stephen Harper's budget. I have nowhere near enough information to judge whether Newfoundland is getting a raw deal here.
Steve Janke of the National Post writes:
Michael Ignatieff has decided that the intransigence of MPs from Newfoundland and Labrador is going to be rewarded. While MPs from other provinces are going to have to toe the party line, the rebels who have been promising to vote against the budget in order to please their constituents and appease Premier Danny Williams will be allowed the latitude to do so.
So far it's an inauspicious beginning for both the federal Liberal leader and his local MPs in this province.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

I wish I were Olbermann

Canada Debates

Regular readers will know that I am hardcore debate coach and have been for years. So indulge me when I use this space to let you know that today the Canadian national debate team is in transit to England for a few days of prep before flying on to Athens for the World Schools Debate Championship.

This province's very own (and my stepson) Sam Greene is part of that team. He's been doing awesomely on the international stage (placing 6th at the last World's) and I have no doubt he'll be kicking much international debate a** in the many rounds to come. His role on the team is 3rd position of the three members so his specialty is closing the deal - reducing the other team's case to cinders and blowing them away.

They already have their draw (who and what they will debate in the prelim rounds). Round 1 is a prepared on the topic This House believes that cultural treasures should be returned to their areas of origin against New Zealand as proposition team with Canada opposing.

You can follow their progress
on their team blog which they promise they will update regularly.