Of gov­er­nance and crit­i­cism

The Gulf News (Port aux Basques) - - EDITORIAL -

It was with great an­tic­i­pa­tion that I looked for­ward to the Lisa Moore/Alex Mar­land project on democ­racy. I have not read it all, but I feel that this is a worth­while project, and one so badly needed — not only in New­found­land and Labrador and in Canada, but as we see events un­fold­ing world­wide there is lit­tle doubt of its uni­ver­sal ap­pli­ca­tion.

I would like to be­gin with what David Cochrane wrote in in his won­der­ful con­tri­bu­tion to the Moore/ Mar­land project. I find much merit in his views with re­spect to pa­tri­otic in­cor­rect­ness. I’m not con­vinced, how­ever, that we are all quite as slav­ishly pro-govern­ment as David seems to im­ply. Fur­ther­more, I would go a lit­tle fur­ther and iden­tify what might be the source or sources of the ideas sug­gested by him that we are so badly in need of.

Be­fore I do, I bow to those in the past and to­day, per­haps ne­glected by Cochrane, who took/are tak­ing a firm and un­am­bigu­ous stand against what they saw and see not only as bad, but as out­ra­geous gov­er­nance. Ray Guy comes to mind; J.R. Small­wood, I’m sure, would have ex­pressed the great­est ap­pre­ci­a­tion if he would have dis­ap­peared. To­day “Un­cle Gnarley,” David Vardy, Lana Payne, Cabot Martin, Mau­rice Adams and many oth­ers are tak­ing a very firm stance against what they see as in­cred­i­bly bad gov­er­nance.

And yet what David Cochrane writes rings true, es­pe­cially when he tells us: “And good ideas re­quire the courage and the in­tel­lec­tual lead­er­ship that aren’t al­ways found in the leg­is­la­ture or from the caller on Line 3.” But I would ask fur­ther: where are the ideas to be found?

It is my be­lief that some of the most in­tel­lec­tual spa­ces in our com­mu­nity are the cam­puses of Me­mo­rial Uni­ver­sity, and yet few can doubt the ve­rac­ity of David Vardy’s quip that Me­mo­rial Uni­ver­sity is punch­ing well be­low its weight with re­spect to com­ment­ing on the Muskrat Falls project.

Why? Why is it we hear so lit­tle from the in­tel­lec­tu­als at Me­mo­rial on any topic? Ex­cept for a few with close ties to the en­vi­ron­ment and/ or eco­nom­ics, the uni­ver­sity seems all but voice­less with re­spect to the is­sues that are the very lifeblood of our cul­ture. I don’t believe for a mo­ment that I’m be­ing naïve when I sug­gest that the bright­est among us should be able to con­trib­ute to the flow of ideas men­tioned above by both Arnold and Cochrane.

Yet it could be that the “best that is known” — the great­est ideas — are to be found in other coun­tries with a much more ro­bust democ­racy and/ or with a type of democ­racy that wears a dif­fer­ent coat, so to say. There are many coun­tries much fur­ther ad­vanced than our own that might have a lot to teach us and have ideas that we’ve not even dreamed of. I would ask the reader: have you ever won­dered why a petro state like Nor­way has salted away more than a tril­lion dol­lars ( U. S.) while we, with all our vast wealth, are moving much closer to the con­di­tions of Venezuela? So much to learn, in­deed.

And please don’t ne­glect our peo­ple. Thou­sands out there strug­gle every day to make their own dreams and ours a re­al­ity, in tra­di­tional as well as in new and in­no­va­tive en­ter­prises. They are much more than a re­source to be called on only at polling time. I would sug­gest that these same busi­ness peo­ple in our com­mu­nity can and must con­trib­ute much more to the flow of ideas.

If ever there was a com­mu­nity in need of crit­i­cism – in the Arnold sense – it is New­found­land and Labrador. I can fully imag­ine what would hap­pen should we ever find our way. Oh happy day.

Wayne Nor­man St. John’s

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.