Nobody gives a damn, but I'll tell you anyway. I'm half newfie. Whatever that means. It's not like people look at me and ask "where are you from, originally?", or treat me as second-class. It's just a sign of the success of our country's multi-cultural policies, how easily the newfie has integrated into Canadian society. You even have occasional marriages between those of the Canadian race and those of the newfie race (read the second sentence again for proof).
Anyway, I don't have a clue why I wrote the above paragraph, except as maybe an introduction to the clever editorial I have posted below from last week's Labradorian (serving the people of central and coastal Labrador). Since so much focus this week was on Stephen Harper's campaign swing through Atlantic Canada, I thought it was appropriate to find some opinion from the region. Note that this editorial was written before the election campaign actually began.
Like a dog on a Bono
When it comes to election campaigning, there are few rigs as well oiled as the big red federal Liberal machine.
Provincial politicians get their licks in here and there when campaigning, but the federal guys, well, they don’t fool around. They don’t need to talk to the public or put forth actual policy or even make promises. They seem to believe tricky campaigning and pork barreling is the route best taken and they have it down to a science.
They just have to throw money at anything that makes a sound, and reach into the bag of tricks every once in a while.
Last week, Paul Martin pulled U2 front man Bono out of the hat, sat him down alongside, and smiled from earlobe to eyebrow as the Irish-born rock legend sang his praises. It was, undoubtedly, the “sweetest thing” to behold.
And all it cost was $70 million. Not bad for a “one” day gig. The money will be poured into the Bono-backed Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
Watching it all, we couldn’t help but smile. You’ve got to hand it to these guys — they weren’t behind the door when God was handing out electorate wheel grease. It’s campaigning at it’s absolute slickest — attempt to look “with it” by hanging with the lead singer for the “greatest band in the world”. It’s like George Bush rap-battling with Eminem — grossly transparent.
Nevertheless, it got us thinking. If Bono can squeeze $70 million out of Martin, why couldn’t Labrador give something similar a shot?
We say let’s send Harry Martin to Ottawa! Or The Flummies. Hey, if Bono can wrangle $70 million out of the Prime Minister, we should be good for a couple of million at least.
We know Paul Martin’s “desire” is to get re-elected with a majority government over his closest contender, the “stranger in a strange land” Stephen Harper.
We know he’ll use every tactic available to help him have a downright “beautiful day” when polling ends, including drawing rock stars out of the woodwork. As a slick, seasoned politician, Paul Martin knows how to move in “mysterious ways” and he recognizes a potential winning idea when he sees or hears it.
So how about it Paul? If we can convince Harry or The Flummies to back up the campaign, do you think you could “hold us, thrill us” with a few extra bucks and a solidified, ratified long term plan for the Base? After all, we don’t want to be “stuck in a moment” when the two year reprieve comes to an end in 2006.
Perhaps you could provide a little kick-in for some Lower Churchill development? As far as that project goes, we “still haven’t found what we’re looking for”.
We know the province is dragging its heels on facets of the Trans-Labrador Highway, but you’re spending hundreds of millions widening the highway in Quebec — surely God you can play a larger role in tossing us a bit of pavement to “walk on” here where the “streets have no name”.
Alas, as talented as our musical offerings may be, they represent but one seat, and Paul likely sees the mass appeal of international rockers as a way to deliver votes across the board.
Aside from parading celebrities around, he’ll also lean on the lack of an alternative throughout the campaign, stressing we can’t possibly live “with or without” a Liberal government.
Just imagine the “rattle and hum” of debating the issues and having actual, bonafide alternatives to the four marginal, regional parties that currently vie for the Liberal election table scraps?
A choice? Why, that would be “even better than the real thing”.
Put the rock stars back in the hat Paul. The voters are over here under the “Joshua Tree”.
And we’d like to think we don’t impress that easily.