A whip, a chair and a bou­quet of cat­nip

The Compass - - EDITORIAL OPINION -

The clos­ing of the Mar­itime Res­cue Sub-Cen­tre in St. John’s planned for next June should re­ally not be as sur­pris­ing to us as news re­ports are call­ing it.

It is en­tirely the wrong thing to do, but it is not sur­pris­ing.

Shift­ing the cen­tre that re­ceives and acts on dis­tress calls far­ther from where those calls orig­i­nate is a gi­ant step in the wrong direc­tion. Af­ter next sum­mer the per­son pick­ing up the phone will be in Hal­i­fax, no longer in St. John’s. This will cre­ate more dan­ger in the al­ready haz­ardous pro­fes­sions of fish­ing and off­shore oil and gas.

Re­duc­ing safety for those who work and fly above the sea in or­der to save money is not at all about pre­serv­ing our frag­ile eco­nomic re­cov­ery as Harperites would like you to be­lieve. The money saved is a pit­tance. A mil­lion dol­lars we are told. Enough to fi­nance a few min­utes of the po­lice riot in Toronto at last sum­mer’s G8 sum­mit or in­stall a half­dozen out­door toi­lets and a gazebo in Tony Cle­ment’s rid­ing.

Be­ing pun­ished

He is the Pres­i­dent of Trea­sury Board, the man in charge of the purse strings. He de­cides who gets what and how much. Thus, he is in large mea­sure re­spon­si­ble for en­act­ing the Harper agenda of met­ing out re­venge by pinch­ing pen­nies in those re­gions of the coun­try found guilty of the car­di­nal sin of vot­ing the wrong way.

It is en­tirely the wrong thing to do, but why should we in New­found­land be sur­prised that the Harper gov­ern­ment is do­ing it?

Dur­ing the en­tire time that Danny Wil­liams and Stephen Harper were both in power, it was a pop­u­lar recre­ational pas­time to watch our premier in­sult and abuse the Prime Min­is­ter of Canada. Let’s ad­mit it, it was fun to see a man who many peo­ple in­stinc­tively dis­like, sneered at pub­licly.

It was like watch­ing a kid at the zoo pok­ing a stick through the bars of the cage to ir­ri­tate a huge, fe­ro­cious lion. Fun, but a lit­tle bit scary.

What would hap­pen if the lion ever got out of the cage?

On May 2, 2011 Stephen Harper’s party won a ma­jor­ity in par­lia­ment. The lion is out of the cage. All those things that, as a mi­nor­ity prime min­is­ter, Harper has been deny­ing he ever said, can now come to pass. He doesn’t need to pre­tend any­more. He can say and do what­ever he wants.

At­lantic Canada has a de­featist cul­ture? Ab­so­lutely.

Is it the job of gov­ern­ment to in­ter­vene in so­ci­ety to look af­ter the pop­u­la­tion? Ab­so­lutely not.

Will the gov­ern­ment re­ward those who voted the right way? Yes.

Will those who voted the wrong

way be pun­ished? Count on it.

Bid­ing his time

Yes, the big cat is out of the cage and poor Premier Kathy Dun­derdale is tak­ing a crash course in lion-tam­ing.

Danny had the easy job. He could abuse Harper all he wanted and bask in the ado­ra­tion of a New­found­land pub­lic too po­lite to say the things out loud that Danny shouted daily. Safely in­side his cage, pad­locked by mi­nor­ity gov­ern­ment, Stephen the lion, des­per­ately need­ing ev­ery seat he could get to­ward a ma­jor­ity, had to ac­cept what­ever abuse our premier felt like dish­ing out.

The lion was bit­ing his tongue and bid­ing his time.

The May 2 Harper ma­jor­ity was the key turn­ing in the lock and the cage door open­ing wide. The lion was on the loose. By this time his tor­men­tor had scut­tled off to run a hockey team.

Hap­less Kathy knew Danny had left her with a can of worms in the lower Churchill, but she wasn’t all that wor­ried. She fig­ured her an­i­mal­tam­ing skills were good enough to han­dle a muskrat, but now, faced with an en­raged lion, she finds her­self fu­ri­ously flip­ping through the pages of the lion-tam­ing in­struc­tion man­ual armed with only a whip, a chair and a bou­quet of cat­nip.

Stay tuned. This is go­ing to get worse be­fore it gets bet­ter.

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