A Ranking of the Top #nlpoli Twitter Accounts

  1. David Cochrane (@CochraneCBCNL)

The highest profile political affairs reporter in the province and one of, if not the most, well connected. An important caveat here is that I like football and have young children, so I don’t mind that 40% of his tweets are about football and kids. If you hate football (the real football, not the kind where all the players kick the ball with their feet) and/or children, then you might want to avoid this feed. For such a high profile personality, Cochrane is quite interactive with his followers, and is also surprisingly, and sometimes comically, eager to gobble up the bait from trolling followers. If you want to interact with a local TV personality, just tweet him something about how his favourite football team is full of domestic abusers or call him a shill for the Liberals or the PCs, or better yet, NL Hydro, and you are sure to get a response. His place at the top of this list was secured when he recently finished off a back and forth with Con O’Brien by telling him that the Rattlin Bog sucked. We need more of that from political analysts.

  1. Mark Critch (@markcritch)

The long-time comedian has recently started doing political commentary for the CBC and has become a fresher, funnier version of Scott Feshuk. Macleans should hire him.  Though I suspect all employees of the CBC despise Stephen Harper his tweets generally don’t display any bias towards any particular party; just against Paul Calandra, who he considers a tool. His CBC columns, though meant to be funny, generally make some intelligent points.

  1. Paddy Daly (@VOCMOpenline)

About half of his tweets are about how much he detests his twitter followers, so try not take it personally. His tweets often have no context whatsoever as he is tweeting as if his followers are standing next to him, which is strange since he doesn’t appear to like his followers, so be prepared for odd “ugh”, or “terrible”, with absolutely no follow-up. You do get some good candid and feisty tweets on this feed, and for those who dislike mindless partisans, he isn’t just non-partisan, but generally sends a half dozen tweets a day reminding everyone how pathetic he considers these people.

  1. James McLeod (@TelegramJames)

Imagine a Globe and Mail columnist from Toronto moving to St. John’s and tweeting fifty times a day about provincial affairs and you have this twitter feed. Of all the local reporters who are not from here, he is the most obviously not from here. Intelligent and sometimes slightly snarky tweets. Produces a respectable amount of exclusive interviews with politicians, news coverage, and columns. If you hate baseball, you might want to wait until November to follow him.

  1. Dan MacEachern (@DanMacEachern)

Full-time municipal affairs reporter for the Telegram and occasional pan-handler. Lively feed with some candid and intelligent opinions but handicapped by having to cover the St. John’s city council, which has become shamefully boring since Andy Wells stepped down as mayor. Who would have thought back when John Murphy, Andy Wells, and Shannie Duff were on council that we’d ever live to see a day when Toronto had more interesting municipal politics. When Dennis O’Keefe’s rein of blandness finally comes to an end and the city gets the lunatic mayor it rightly deserves this will probably become the top political feed out there.

  1. Anthony Germain (@AnthonyGermain)

A healthy dose of political coverage mixed in with the usual morning show general interest stories. Though he’s generally cheerful on the radio or filling in on the evening news, he has a surprisingly sharp edge to him on Twitter, and unlike most of the other prominent TV and Radio personalities is not hesitant to go after politicians directly. He’s gotten a number of sharp elbowed exchanges with local bloggers and politicians.

  1. Peter Cowan (@PeterCBC)

Political reporter who is the primary on the ground CBC rep for most political events. Provides the most up close coverage of political happenings but not a lot of exclusives or anonymously sourced political gossip. He is not from the province and when he first came here he was in Goose Bay, so he has not had a lot of time to build a network of sources around the Confederation building. That will likely change in the coming years. Injects plenty of personality in his tweets but avoids anything controversial. No doubt he is trying to stay out of trouble as he positions himself to take David Cochrane’s job once he gets promoted to the national CBC.

  1. Fred Hutton (@Fred_Hutton)

Has been in the local news for decades and is as well connected as anyone, so he’ll break some news and get the interviews with all the politicians. If you want to focus on politics then disable his retweets as he’ll retweet most everything from the VOCM Twitter feed. A little too professional for my tastes as he never injects any personal opinions in his tweets. It’s great that he’s not biased but a dash of personal opinion would help. Would love to see him pick a fight with a local politician sometime.

 

 

 

Driving Too Fast in the Rain is Like Driving Drunk

There was some heavy rain in the St. John’s metropolitan area this morning, so like virtually all mornings when it is rainy, traffic on all the major roads ground to a standstill because of cars hydroplaning and sliding off the road. Luckily nobody was seriously injured or killed. I want to be clear that not everyone who has an accident when it is raining was driving recklessly; it is to be expected that there will be more accidents when roads are in poor condition. I will say though that far too many people do not adjust their driving to the weather conditions and these people are putting their own lives and the lives of others at risk.

We as a society have come a long way when it comes to drinking and driving. Once upon a time if you only had a six pack of beer and didn’t drive home people would have looked at you funny. Now if you drank a six pack at someone’s house and drove home you would be looked at as a menace to society. A lot of people, particularly the people at MADD, have put in a tremendous amount of work over the years to change these attitudes and many lives have been saved because of it. I can’t help but feel though that we need an organization devoted to combating reckless and stupid sober drivers.

I find that I am rarely passed on the highway when the roads are clear and dry. When I am driving my Jeep on the Outer Ring Road in the snow or rain, however, I regularly have cars fly past me as if I were stopped. No doubt many people go through their entire lives without causing an accident by driving much too fast in bad weather, but there are also people who drink and drive and never cause an accident. The uncomfortable truth is that people who don’t drive appropriately in bad weather, either from a lack of knowledge or a lack of caring, cause more injuries and deaths on the road than drunk drivers. Most people realize this is a problem but there is a sense that this is just an accepted fact of life.

When someone who is driving with a blood alcohol level over the legal limit causes an accident, there is public outrage and that driver faces serious legal consequences, including potential jail time. If someone is driving too fast in the rain, hydroplanes and causes a fatal head on collision, it is considered a tragic accident. The person who caused the accident, if he or she survives, only has to worry about a higher cost of insurance.

Changing attitudes towards drinking and driving took decades, so there will be no quick fix to changing how people drive in poor weather, but if anyone is looking for a place to start we should take a look at our outdated speed limit system. Right now if the speed limit on the highway is 100km/h, it is 100km/h 24 hours a day, seven days a week, regardless of whether or visibility. Police always tell us to adjust speeds accordingly, but you still can’t get a speeding ticket for doing 100 on the outer ring.  The reality is that on a relatively smooth divided highway in clear and dry conditions the speed limit could be raised to 110 or 120km/h without much of an impact on safety. On the flip side, there would be a significant impact on safety if the limit was reduced to 90 or even 80km/h in rain, fog, or snow.

If the government were to change from a fixed 100km/h limit on highways to a 90/110 system based on weatehr, I believe there would be a significant reduction in highway accidents. It wouldn’t just be because of the reduced speed limits in poor weather, but also because they would be formalizing the concept that speed limits are dependent upon whether.

 

Tim Horton’s Should Be An Election Issue

I like Tim Horton’s coffee. The coffee is always fresh and consistent, and even though it is not the greatest coffee in the world, it’s pretty good, particularly for the price. I am always irritated when hipsters feel the need to mock it and describe it as something akin to fermented bog water. That being said, I rarely go there.

I go to Tim Horton’s around 6:30am on the weekends to get a coffee and a Danish on the way to golf when the place is pretty much deserted. I don’t go there on weekday mornings as there are usually about 400 cars in the drive through, with some cars literally stopped on the street waiting for the opportunity to even get in on the parking lot. I have no evidence to back this up but I would be willing to bet that the rate of accidents in the vicinity of Tim Horton’s must be twice as high as the average.

One of the hallmarks of every Canadian election is that every candidate goes out of his or her way to make everyone painfully aware of how much they enjoy their Tim Horton’s coffee, or “Timmies” as they like to call it. But if politicians like Tim Horton’s as much as they say they do, I believe that they should start making it an actual campaign issue.

There are two Tim Horton’s related laws that I believe we need. The first, and most important from a public safety point of view, is that it should be illegal to stop your car on the street while you wait for room in the drive-thru to open up. If a drive-thru extends out into the street, the correct response should be to keep driving. You can circle back and try again in a few minutes, but I don’t think it should be acceptable to shut down rush hour traffic just because you are addicted to a particular brand of coffee, no matter how good it tastes. I’m not suggesting that someone should go to jail for stopping their car in the middle of the road while they wait to get in a drive-thru, I think a fine of a thousand dollars and having your vehicle seized and destroyed would be more than sufficient.

While I generally only go to Tim Horton’s very early on the weekends, there are times during the day when I notice that the parking lot is mostly empty and decide to pop in for a small coffee and a snack. Sometimes everything goes according to plan and two minutes later I’m walking out with a coffee and a Danish, but there have been many times, including one just last week, where the one person in front of me walks up and pulls a piece of paper out of his (it is always a guy) hand and gives it to the person behind the counter.

The small line of a couple of people slowly starts to stretch out the doors of the building as the person behind the counter builds a skyscraper of coffee trays. Sometimes these people even have the gall to get bagels. You would think someone who was buying coffees for twenty people would have the decency to either skip the food or just get a big box of Timbits, but no. In the example from last week, there were two checkouts open, but both of them had a person making bulk purchases.

We as a society need to have a frank discussion on what is an acceptable scale for a coffee run. I believe that five coffees should be the limit, which is essentially the number of coffees you can fit in a single tray – one in each of the four slots and one wedged into the middle. Anyone who tries to order more than that should be fined a hundred dollars and banned from all coffee shops one year. I should clarify that this would only apply to walk-up bulk orders; any regular customer who wants to make a large coffee run can call in their order in advance and have it waiting for them when they get there without delaying others.

The 2015 General Election Will Be Decided by Game Theory

This is the most bizarre federal election in the history of Canada. Anyone who wants to accuse me of hyperbole should look at the polls showing the NDP leading in the polls first. It isn’t just that the NDP are transforming from their traditional role as perennial third place protest party, it’s that all of the parties seem to have drifted off from their traditional roles.

The NDP, the erstwhile political wing of public sector unions, is promising to balance the budget. The Liberals, who strung together the longest string of balanced budgets in living memory during their most recent stint in power, are now promising to run big deficits and are criticizing the NDP for promising austerity. That’s right, the party that hacked billions out of provincial health and education transfers to balance the budget during a recession is now criticizing the NDP for promoting austerity. Amongst all this, the Liberals put Paul Martin at a podium to tout the Liberals credentials for prudent fiscal management. So what if Justin Trudeau is advocating diametrically opposed fiscal policies than Paul Martin? As for the Conservatives, both other parties have been attacking them for running deficits. The Conservatives have responded by avoiding interviews and promising a tax credit for service club memberships.

I am someone who Conservatives would consider a target voter. I’m married, have two young children, I’ve worked in the private sector my entire life, and I was at one point in my life a member of the federal Progressive Conservative Party and the Conservative Party after that. I voted for Scott Brison in the PC leadership campaign and then voted for Stephen Harper in Conservative election when he ran against Belinda Stronach and Tony Clement. I still think he deserved to win that election, yet I won’t be voting for the Conservatives in the election.

That primary reason why I don’t plan on voting Conservative is that with the latest round of redistricting I am now in the district of Avalon, where the Conservatives are not even bothering to field a candidate after rejecting Ches Crosbie. That’s a pretty good reason not to vote Conservative. But even if there were a Conservative candidate to vote for, I would have a hard time voting for them after running all those deficits, the refusal to answer questions, and all the petty, cynical politics that were blatantly obvious even before the Duffy trial took a magnifying glass to it.

So if, like me, you are right leaning in your economic and fiscal views, what do you do? The Liberals did balance the books the last time they were in power, and Ralph Goodale, who was a key member of the those governments, would almost certainly be the finance minister should the Liberals form government, yet their leader is advocating the least fiscally conservative policies of all the candidates. I am asking myself if he is lying with all the talk of radically increased spending. Strangely, the more confident I am that he is lying, the more likely I will be to vote for him.

For the purposes of full disclosure, I have voted NDP in the past, not in the last election, but the one previous (I was out of the country during the last election and had not cast an advance ballot), but that was more a vote for local candidate, Jack Harris, than for the party. Jack Harris is as solid and centrist a candidate as you will find in the NDP, and at the time I knew there was no risk of my vote actually leading to an NDP government. With the recent redistricting, the NDP candidate is some person I have never heard of, and there is a chance that if I vote for the NDP that my vote could actually result in an NDP government.

Up until now, I would have never have considered voting for the NDP if I thought they could win, but I’ve recently read some stories about how Thomas Mulcair may not be as left wing as everyone thinks. I read one article about how he praised Margaret Thatcher, was in favour of privatization while in the Quebec government, and even that he considered joining the Conservatives before joining the NDP. These stories were all ostensibly critical of Mr. Mulcair, but it actually made me more likely to vote for his party.

I’ve always hated when politicians are blatantly lying to the electorate. It has always made me feel like they are insulting my intelligence. As much as that bothers me, I find myself in the strange position of trying to figure out who is the biggest liar so I can then vote for that person. Luckily I also have an independent candidate in my district, albeit one who was kicked out of his party after allegations of sexual harassment. If I am unable to determine who the least honest candidate is between now and October, I may end up just voting independent. I actually think we need more independent candidates, so even though the independent candidate has virtually no chance of winning, a stronger than expected showing may encourage independent candidates to run in the future. My head hurts just thinking about this election and there is still almost two months to go.

Paul Calandra is Not the Problem

A few days ago, comedian, turned online columnist, Mark Critch got into a Twitter been with MP Paul Calandra. Mr. Critch called Mr. Calandra a slippery tool, was blocked by the MP, then told his followers he would donate a dollar to charity for every person who tweeted at Mr. Calandra to call him a tool, and then got into follow-up beef with Ezra Levant about whether he was being too partisan. It was odd to see someone as unwaveringly good natured as Mark Critch suddenly resort to seeking the public’s help in essentially cyberbullying an elected official, but Mr. Calandra seems to bring out the worst in people.

Few politicians have been as infuriating to so many as Mr. Calandra, who made a name for himself by so blatantly avoiding questions in parliament that he ended up making a tearful apology in the House of Commons for his behaviour. Rather than retiring to the sidelines, he has only become more prominent since that incident, and while he is not so blatant as to talk about Israel when asked about Iraq, he remains one of the most dogged repeater of party talking points that you will ever see in any party. It is perhaps because of his ability to stick to a message that he has become the de facto Conservative Party spokesperson who appears on political affairs shows like Power and Politics, which was where his tiff with Mark Critch began.

Power and Politics’ host, Rosie Barton, repeatedly corrected Mr. Calandra when he was a guest of the program for various comments that were not entirely accurate. Afterwards, Mr. Critch complimented her for how she handled the exchange and called the Conservative MP a “slippery tool”. Mr. Calandra, who apparently does not like Mr. Critch and/or being called a “slippery tool” on social media, then blocked him on Twitter.

I have been a fan of Mark Critch since I first saw him performing as a member of Cat Fud over twenty years ago at the Holy Heart auditorium in St. John’s, and I have disliked Paul Calandra ever since I first saw him on television, but I feel that it is the comedian, and not the MP, that is more in the wrong in this case. The attack on Mr. Calandra was both disproportionately mean-spirited and misguided.

The relentless and mindless repeating of talking points is one of the most annoying aspects of modern politics, and I applaud anyone who calls out this practice, I believe it is misguided to focus on the messenger instead of the one who is sending the message. Paul Calandra no doubt believes that the Conservative Party with Stephen Harper as its leader is the best option for Canada, and so he has chosen to be a loyal foot soldier. When he repeats talking points in Parliament or on political affairs programs, he is only dutifully carrying out orders. If the PMO asked him to pour soup for the homeless, he would no doubt put as much effort into it as he does in repeating talking points. I have no idea if Mr. Calandra is a good guy, a bad guy, or like most people, somewhere in between. If what he says makes you angry, don’t direct your anger at him, direct at the person who is telling him what to say. Every political party has loyal foot soldiers, and any anger directed at them only serves as a distraction from the people at the top giving the orders.

It is also important to not let exceedingly infuriating politicians anger you to the point where you start hurling insults in frustration, as this only serves to make your target a more sympathetic figure. I get every bit as infuriated as Mark Critch does watching Paul Calandra evade questions on television, but I could not help feel sympathy at the thought of hundreds of people tweeting at him to call him a tool. The problem with politicians like Paul Calandra is that they lower the quality of public debate on important issues. Bombarding them with insults doesn’t help fix the problem; it actually makes it worse.

Can We Stop With the Political Appointments?

This week premier Paul Davis appointed John Ottenheimer, his former leadership rival, as the CEO of Newfoundland and Labrador Housing. Mr. Ottenheimer’s predecessor, was a former leader of the Progressive Conservative Party. I have been friends with several politicians and relatives of politicians, and I often hear such people lament how the general public often looks at politicians as solely interested in lining their pockets and those of their cronies. I understand that frustration. Most politicians across all parties work very hard and are never off duty, as they are always being approached by constituents with various issues. But if politicians want to change their public perception, the first thing they should do is put an end to political appointments.

The thought of a Premier appointing a fellow member of his party to a six figure salary job just reinforces every negative stereotype of politicians in the minds of the average voter. It doesn’t matter that the person may be highly qualified for the job; the fact that is that everyone believes that the qualifications are secondary to that person’s service to the governing party.

The ironic thing about John Ottenheimer is that he will likely make make a great CEO of Newfoundland and Labrador Housing. He is well educated, served in several cabinet positions in government, and is unusually non-partisan for such a prominent politician. During his campaign for the PC leadership, he was refreshingly candid about some of the Party’s recent shortcomings. Yet his appointment will nevertheless perpetuate the public perception of politicians looking after their own.

Liberal leader Dwight Ball has criticized the appointment and said that he would create an independent commission that would be in charge of appointing the heads of crown corporations and government controlled boards. Call me a cynic, but I will believe that when I see it. Having made the promise, he may feel compelled to create this commission, but I wouldn’t be shocked if the commission will be made up of 6 former Liberal fundraisers or cabinet ministers who will be paid a six figure salary.

Ending political appointments may not have any immediate impact on the finances or the performance of government, but they would reduce the public’s cynicism towards it. When cynicism towards government is allowed to grow over time, it eventually leads to the lowering of expectations, and inevitably, poorer performance on the part of our political leaders. I would be delighted if Mr. Ball were to surprise me and keep his promise should he become Premier Ball.

Gawker Editors Fail to See the True Big Picture

The top editors of Gawker resigned earlier this week after management removed a story about how a senior executive at magazine publisher Condé Nast had attempted to arrange a tryst with a gay prostitute. The story when immediately published elicited almost universal outrage on social media over the outing of someone who was essentially a private citizen. Well over 99% of Gawker’s readers likely had never heard of this person before the story was published.

Nick Denton, the website’s founder, stated that he was ashamed to be associated with a story on the private life of a closeted gay man, which was why they took the previously unprecedented step of overruling the editorial department and removing the story. The editors resigned, not so much in defense of the story, though they stood by it while acknowledging it had some faults, but on the principle of the business side of the operation breaching the firewall that was supposed to separate it from the editorial side.

The editors, in my interpretation, viewed that outing of the previously anonymous executive as a specific detail, while editorial independence was the big picture. I feel they are wrong. The outing of a closeted gay man is the big picture.

Gawker and its affiliated websites in many ways embody the modern Internet and social media culture. While I have no statistics to back this up, I would be that Gawker affiliated website articles are retweeted more than any other media article on earth. I am a fan of Gawker and Twitter, but there is a dark side to both, one that was perfectly illustrated with the since-removed post outing the Condé Nast executive. The current online culture has a tendency to dehumanize people. Attacking people online has begun to resemble attacking enemies with a drone strike. You don’t look them in the eye and you don’t have to stand next to the ugly aftermath of the attack.

It says something about the modern media, and perhaps about modern society as a whole, that after having time to reflect and absorb the criticism over their story, the issue that resonated most powerfully with the editors was editorial independence, not the destruction that they had done to someone’s personal and professional life. People say things online all the time that they would never be willing or able to say to someone’s face. The editors stand by their story, but I somehow suspect that they wouldn’t ever stand up on a chair and say “Hey everybody. Listen up. You see John here next to me who is married with three kids and has a great job? I wanted you all to know he’s having sex with gay prostitutes.”

This isn’t just an issue with celebrities and media outlets. The kind of viciousness exhibited by Gawker occurs thousands of times a day among ordinary people on social media. How many teenagers have had their lives turned upside down by social media gossip and bullying? Had the editors realized that the most important issue in this whole story was not one of editorial independence but rather how seemingly good, intelligent people can casually destroy someone’s life, this might have become a catalyst for positive change, however modest. I fear this case may actually motivate people to publish more of these type of destructive articles.

As a side note, there is a seemingly obvious question that to my knowledge has not been addressed. Why did Gawker single out this person? There are thousands of married men across the country who are secretly sleeping with men, many of which are more high profile than the Condé Nast executive. One would think that a media organization that has access to as much gossip as Gawker would have been able to be able to out dozens of high profile, secretly gay men, but they chose this guy. Why? It is worth pointing out that a senior executive at a publishing company would be completely unknown to the general public, but he would likely be very well known among writers.

When Deadspin, a Gawker affiliated website, targeted ESPN writer Jason Whitlock in a series of stories, it was made clear that the Deadspin writer had interacted with Mr. Whitlock and had discussed potentially working with him. Given the circumstances, it would be useful if Gawker were to disclose what, if any, its writers, management, or editorial staff may have had with the Condé Nast executive in the past.

 

 

I Think We Should Cut Rod Stewart a Little Slack

So Rod Stewart is the latest in a long line of celebrities to stir up seal related outrage in NL. Apparently after the picture of him in a seal skin coat went viral and he found himself being spewed with animal rights venom he had an assistant take to Facebook to tell the world that he does not support the seal hunt and now we are all as mad with him today as Paul Watson was with him yesterday. I get as mad as anyone when celebrities like Pamela Anderson talk about how we are all terrible people for killing poor defenseless seals, but in this case I think we should all put down our torches and pitchforks and lay off poor Rod.

Celebrities in the past have called us things like barbarians, jerks, and cruel. Rod Stewart’s comments were innocuous by comparison. He didn’t launch into any attacks on us or the seal industry, he was freaking out a little that he woke up Sunday morning and found himself the new poster boy for the Canadian sealing industry and had Paul Watson threatening to have him and his jacket dragged off his plane in Heathrow airport. I actually respect that he pointed out that he didn’t know much about the seal industry. Most celebrity critics who live in London or Los Angeles pass themselves off as experts.

Rod Stewart is not Bono; he generally avoids politics and controversy. He didn’t come here to make a statement for or against the seal industry. He came to sing a bunch of songs, kick a few soccer balls into the crowd, take a bag of money and go home. It is fine to be ticked off with him, but it would be unfair to lump him in with other celebrities who are actively working to destroy what’s left of our seal industry.

This is an example of how social media can create enormous controversies out of what would have gone virtually unnoticed the last time Rod Stewart played here. Then, a picture would have been posted in the Telegram, nobody outside of the province would ever see it, and we’d all love the guy. Because of social media, the picture goes viral and is shared among people all over the world. Animal rights activists freaked out. Mr. Stewart probably woke up Sunday morning nursing jet lag and a hangover and freaked out when he learned he was being attacked all over the world for promoting the seal hunt. Then everyone in NL freaked out when his assistant wrote that he didn’t support the seal hunt after all. Maybe we should all just take a moment to relax a little. After all, it was a great show and we will always have that picture.

Newfoundland Has the Worst Weather in the World

Many years ago I heard Bill Rowe on VOCM Open Line complain about how many people from the Mainland believed that Newfoundland had awful weather. I remember at the time asking myself if Bill Rowe was really from Newfoundland, as this island truly does have awful weather. I couldn’t help but remember Mr. Rowe’s long ago comment this past week as I was watching the steam my breath made during my family vacation in Terra Nova. On Monday the high was 11 degrees. Back on the Avalon is was apparently several degrees colder than that. On Wednesday it got up to 21 and we went to Splash and Putt, and the wind was blowing the chairs into the pool.

Newfoundlanders who bravely attempt to defend our weather point out that we don’t have tornados, we don’t have to plug our cars in overnight during the winter, and though we do get the occasional weakened hurricane, we don’t get the truly devastating ones like Hugo, Andrew, or Katrina. All that is true, but it doesn’t change the fact that Newfoundland has the worst weather on earth.

What makes our weather so painfully unbearable is its unpredictability. People often talk about Winnipeg having bad weather, but if you live there you at least know exactly what you are going to get. Winters will be frigidly cold and summers will be extremely hot. You know that you will be able to go snowmobiling all winter and head to the beach every day in the summer. In Newfoundland, particularly on the Eastern half, you can have 12 degree days in February and 9 degree days in July. We have had entire years where you cannot skate, ski, or swim. There isn’t another place on the planet that can make that claim.

If you live near the ocean in the southern United States you can build a house on concrete stilts. If you live in Winnipeg or Edmonton you can build a house with lots of insulation and an air conditioning system. How the hell do you adapt to a place that has 12 degree days in February and 9 degree days in July? There is no escape from Newfoundland weather. Newfoundland is the only place on earth that has terrible weather for both golfers and snowmobilers. If you want a reliable outdoor activity in this place you should buy a hot tub or take up scuba diving.

Federal Conservatives Blatantly Trolling NL Voters

Ches Crosbie, prominent lawyer and son of the most famous federal conservative politician this province has ever produced, appeared to have just recently been acclaimed as the Conservative candidate from the riding of Avalon. All that remained was for his candidacy was the formality of having his candidacy ratified by the party. Then yesterday, on Canada Day, news broke that Mr. Crosbie had been rejected as a candidate.

The Conservatives have not exactly been known for having the most rigorous vetting process for candidates. After all, various Senate appointees have found themselves facing criminal charges and the Party failed to pick up on the fact that a candidate who recently won a nomination in Quebec was only running as part of his art project. Yet here we have the bizarre situation of the party brass rejecting the highest profile Conservative candidate they could hope to attract in Newfoundland and Labrador, a province they have been shut out of for the past several elections. If the Conservatives have any hope regaining an N.L. seat this election, it will be in the riding of Avalon, where the Liberals are still recovering from a sexual harassment scandal that saw the sitting MP thrown out of the Liberal caucus.

If you are not from this province it is difficult to grasp just how bizarre a story this is. The Crosbie name is as recognizable as any in this province, with people from multiple generations having a prominent role in law, business, and politics over the course of the past century. Ches Crosbie, was not some spoiled rich kid; he is a successful and prominent lawyer in his own right. To think that someone of his pedigree and stature would be casually rejected without a word of explanation from the Party is downright insulting and demeaning to Mr. Crosbie, his family, and indirectly, the entire province. Imagine if Paul Martin had a son who had been a prominent lawyer for 30 years and ran unopposed for the nomination in a Quebec riding only to see his candidacy blocked.

This move simply has to be motivated by something other than a desire to win seats in this province. It truly does seem like an insult, as if the Conservative party brass has long since given up on winning a seat here while Stephen Harper is still Prime Minister, and they would just as soon extend their middle finger to the province than be perceived as trying and failing to win back a seat, particularly if that seat is won by a wealthy and unpredictable candidate who would be unlikely to tow the party line. By blocking Mr. Crosbie’s candidacy, the federal Conservatives seem to be more interested in trolling NL voters than they are in winning their votes.