Unless you’ve been sleeping for the last few years you will be aware that our premier for life and the Prime Minister of Canada du Jour...how should I put this...they can’t stand each other.
They express it in different ways.
Premier Williams is very open in his anger at Steve. That may be because he is used to being angry. He is used to it, because he’s angry all the time. He is a professional angry man, a very successful one. His anger has been the abundant fuel for a rewarding career in the legal profession. He is well known for extracting excellent settlements for injured clients and the principle tool he uses is intimidation. He used to get so angry on behalf of his clients that the opposing lawyers melted in the white hot torrent of his rage, hissed out through clenched teeth, using vocabulary that can’t be printed here.
I know a person who used to work in the legal profession. I’ll call him “former legalguy”, or “F.L.” His job was to try to reconcile lawsuits before they went to court. Most often, this involved phone conversations with lawyers representing clients who were suing his firm’s clients.
F.L. attributes the fact that he bailed out early from what he had hoped would be a life-long profession, to the several dealings he had with our premier-to-be. F.L. began to suspect that practicing law, if this was what it was going to be like, was not the career for him. F.L. couldn’t take it, he said, the man scared him. He couldn’t sleep the night before a scheduled phone conversation. The phone call inevitably turned out to be less a conversation than a monologue. It was Danny who was doing all the screaming. F.L.’s arm was scarcely long enough to hold the phone at a safe distance to avoid damaging his eardrums. After the premierto-be had finished shrieking an ultimatum, he would slam down the phone. F.L. was left clutching the receiver as far from his head as possible, his hand trembling uncontrollably, his shirt soaked with sweat, his mind racing through a list of possible career alternatives.
F.L. had been bullied by an expert. It worked.
The Prime Minister du Jour, dubbed “Steve” by George W., a name that Danny helped make stick, expresses his utter distaste for the premier in another way. He is quiet, secretive and determined. He too is a bully
His main tool is deceit. Everyone in this province has learned the painful lesson that the P.M. du Jour regards the truth in a different way than most of us. This learning experience has been a multi-billion dollar lesson so far, and classes are not finished yet.
Most of us think of the truth as an absolute, something solid, unchangeable, with a length a width, a height and a weight.
Not Steve. He thinks of it as putty.
Take the case of Abousfian Abdelrazik, a Canadian who is, as I write this, stranded in Sudan, abandoned by Steve and his government, unable to return to his home and family in Canada. Remember Maher Arar? He was dealt with in a similar way by a previous government. Canadian taxpayers ultimately paid Arar millions in compensation for the shocking and utterly disgraceful way he was treated in our name. Well, here we go again. In 2003 Mr. Abdelrazik was in Khartoum to visit his mother when CSIS, our spy agency, encouraged the Government of Sudan to pick him up. This ultimately led to him being jailed and tortured. Why CSIS did this we don’t know, but while he was held in Sudan, Abdelrazik’s Canadian passport expired. His wife was prevented from sending him money or an airline ticket home.
With no passport, plane ticket or cash he’s been stuck in Khartoum since 2003, where he is sleeping on a cot in the Canadian Embassy. CSIS, the people who started the whole thing, the RCMP, the Government of Cana- da and the Government of Sudan have laid no charges against him. They all agree there is no evidence he ever did anything wrong. Steve and Co. promised to provide a passport if he could find an airline willing to fly him.
A group of caring private citizens found that airline.
With the help of a long list of benevolent donors including Stephen Lewis, Canada’s former ambassador to the U.N., money was raised to buy him a ticket.
But then Foreign Affairs Minister Laurence Cannon, one of Steve’s big guns, claimed that the U. N. had something against Abdelrazik, that would prevent our government from allowing him to return home.
What do they call it when a big gun utters a falsehood? Minister Cannon misspoke.
Indeed, under the circumstances the U.N. insists they cannot prevent any citizen from returning to his homeland.
On April 3, Abdelrazik was supposed to fly home. A group of donors who had helped raise the money for his ticket, flew to Khartoum to make sure his passport was delivered and that he got on the plane.
No passport arrived. Steve, our P.M. du Jour, was unavailable for comment. Amazingly Foreign Affairs Minister Cannon wasn’t either. Abdelrazik? Still in Khartoum. This is bullying on a scale that can only make our premier green with envy. It also explains why Danny and Steve have such a devil of a time getting along.
No bully likes to be beaten up by a bigger bully. Plus Danny is jealous. He can only bully in Newfoundland and Labrador, while Steve can bully worldwide as Abousfian Abdelrazik has learned.
On the other hand, Steve is allergic to Danny because he refuses to accept when he has been outbullied. He’s only a little bully, a pest, and he won’t stop squealing.
So what do we do, trapped in this province between warring bullies? How do we avoid becoming collateral damage?
First, vote against any candidate who comes forward for Harper’s party. Watch and wait as Steve in his systematic way, angers one group of voters after another across the country. Be patient. This part of the problem will solve itself in time.
As for the little bully? Contact the school board where you live. Ask if they have any anti-bullying programmes available. They will. Anti-bullying is a hot topic now. Enroll Danny Williams in a programme in your area. Forge his signature if necessary. It worked for Ed Byrne. Danny will be travelling from one school gymnasium and church basement to another, all around the province, attending meetings and standing in the corner. He won’t have time for bullying.
In his absence maybe someone will appear on the scene to take his place. Someone who just wants to help govern the province calmly, wisely and fairly. Someone who’s not a bully.