Build­ing stone upon stone

The Compass - - PUZZLERS - — Peter Pick­ers­gill is an artist and writer in Sal­vage, Bon­av­ista Bay. He can be reached by email at the fol­low­ing: pick­ers­

Some of you read­ing this will be about to cel­e­brate the end of the year and oth­ers still re­cu­per­at­ing from it. Ei­ther way this pe­riod from the sol­stice, through Christ­mas, to New Year’s is a spe­cial time of the year.

This short span of days is the mor­tar that bonds to­gether the an­nual stones from which the struc­ture of our life­times is fash­ioned. Each stone’s shape, grain and tex­ture is unique, cre­ated from the things that have hap­pened to us and that we have made hap­pen. In erect­ing the ed­i­fice of our lives we try to place each stone so that, de­spite its own par­tic­u­lar char­ac­ter­is­tics, it will fit to­gether with what went be­fore and cre­ate a us­able foun­da­tion for what is yet to come.

The year end is the time to eat and drink. And to mix the ce­ment with the wa­ter in just the right pro­por­tions in or­der that next year’s stone will be cor­rectly and firmly po­si­tioned. We call this mak­ing res­o­lu­tions. I won­dered what New Year’s res­o­lu­tions var­i­ous char­ac­ters who peo­ple my par­tic­u­lar world view might be mak­ing in or­der to get 2014 off to a good start.

I started out with Rob Ford. In­hab­i­tants of the Funks might not have heard yet of the con­fused buf­foon who, as I write this, is still mayor of Toronto. But as soon as the high speed In­ter­net con­nec­tion to the Funks that will be an­nounced shortly by the pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment goes through, Funks-dwellers too will be­come ac­quainted with the phe­nom­e­non of Ford.

My guess is that Rob Ford’s New Year’s res­o­lu­tion is to apol­o­gize more in 2014. He did a whole lot of it in 2013 and so far it seems to be work­ing for him. Op­er­at­ing on the premise that “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” and its corol­lary, “if it’s not too bad, do more of it,” Ford will con­tinue to be­have the same but go heav­ier on the apolo­gies. Af­ter all, why not?

All over the USA talk shows, stand- up co­me­di­ans and satire shows are all over him. As ev­ery Toron­to­nian knows, if the Amer­i­cans are pay­ing at­ten­tion to you, you must be on the right track.

Even cit­i­zens of the Funks not yet con­nected to broad band, which we are told as an ab­so­lute cer­tainty will be in place on those is­lands be­fore the 2015 elec­tion, are fa­mil­iar with the name of our es­teemed Prime Min­is­ter Stephen Harper. Read­ers will re­mem­ber that Harper en­dorsed Rob Ford and Kathy Dun­derdale and was, in turn, en­dorsed by them.

A some­times re­li­able source still


hold­ing a job within the Prime Min­is­ter’s Of­fice tells me Harper has cho­sen to fol­low the Ford mantra: rep­e­ti­tion.

Harper fre­quently be­gins an­swers to ques­tions in the House of Com­mons with, “Let me be per­fectly clear about this,” or “I have al­ways said,” or some such. He then pro­ceeds to not an­swer the ques­tion.

On the rare oc­ca­sions when he varies from this pat­tern, he some­times gets him­self into a pickle. On the ad­vice of his han­dlers he has re­solved that in 2014 he will never say any­thing in the House of Com­mons that he hasn’t said be­fore. This will guar­an­tee con­ti­nu­ity and avoid slip-ups. Fur­ther­more, the P.M. re­solves to an­swer ques­tions only af­ter clear­ing them with mem­bers of his in­ner cir­cle whose loy­alty is cer­tain, be­cause they are be­ing in­ves­ti­gated by the RCMP.

The pre­mier of our prov­ince is way down in the polls and the fu­ture is not look­ing too rosy for her. This would seem to be an ideal time for her to re­flect on what has gone so wrong and dream up some New Year’s res­o­lu­tions to turn her for­tunes around. Sadly, sources near the top floor of the Con­fed­er­a­tion Build­ing, who may or may not be up there re­plac­ing the de­fec­tive win­dows, tell me that the pre­mier too has made a New Year’s res­o­lu­tion to stay the course. Like her col­leagues in the Tory move­ment men­tioned above, she will opt for con­ti­nu­ity.

When mem­bers of the op­po­si­tion or the pub­lic ask for ex­pla­na­tions of what is go­ing on with this gov­ern­ment she re­solves to dis­miss their re­quests, cit­ing Bill 29. If pressed fur­ther she will sneer, us­ing that tone which leaves no doubt what part of their anatomy she thinks they are as stunned as.

When cor­ner­stones of her pet projects seem to be crum­bling she will per­se­vere. The par­tic­i­pa­tion of Nova Sco­tia, once cru­cial to Muskrat Falls suc­cess, now in grave jeop­ardy? We never needed those Her­ring Chok­ers any­way!

Que­bec gives no guar­an­tee they will main­tain wa­ter lev­els in the Churchill River ad­e­quate to guar­an­tee Muskrat prof­itabil­ity? You see. You can never trust those peo­ple. No wor­ries, full speed ahead.

When trow­el­ing on a new course of mor­tar be­fore plac­ing the stone for 2014, it is wise to look down, back to where you came from. If you spot some­thing squish, out of true and nei­ther plumb nor square, this is the time to start cor­rect­ing it. Just thought I’d men­tion that.

Happy New Year.

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