If you plan to answer The Rooms’ Request for Proposals (RFP)
to act as the museum’s marketing agency, there’s only one problem: you won’t
get the job if you are or have been a critic of the Government.
seeking an Agency of Record (AOR).
that The Rooms plans to “build off the success of its Beaumont Hamel exhibit”. The
work involves a range of tasks “from marketing and campaign strategy to
creative development, online content [and] social media”.
“the institution that safeguards the province’s arts, culture and history…”
Then, too, The Rooms is identified with another role: as custodian of the military
history and memorabilia of members of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment.
assessing whether they qualify for (or have already been disqualified from)
employment as the Agency of Record. A
query, specifically item #12, reads:
please give an example of a client or industry that can be considered a
conflict of interest in “the rooms” POV?
Crown Corporation of the Provincial Government, it would be improper for The
Rooms to enter into a contract with a firm that is working in direct conflict
with the provincial government.
example: It would be a conflict of interest for The Rooms to work with an AOR
that represented a lobby group protesting Muskrat Falls, or a group or industry
actively and/or openly working in conflict against the Government of
Newfoundland and Labrador.
constitute a “conflict of interest,” to deal with a group who embrace democratic
values and refuses to ignore them when to do so is
convenient to the powers that be? Even against a “boondoggle” — that threatens
our economic and cultural survival?
suggests that it is a place already corrupted by unwarranted influence; that it
is well past having any pretense to institutional fairness or integrity. The
disturbing fact elicits a series of fundamental questions. Here are some:
affair under the Tories been extended, under the Liberals, to any who would
possess activist tendencies, though legal and, as some might suggest, an
appropriate manifestation of responsible citizenship?
with methylmercury disenfranchised thereby from participation in publicly
funded initiatives — even in something as innocuous as advertising work? Even those
who have already or plan to protest over a virtually submerged Mud Lake
community or the potential collapse of the North Spur, too? Or those who have paraded
in front of Nalcor?
precondition, explicitly or implied?
of their political leanings or evidence that they have never criticized,
objected to the government, or ever exhibited a smidgen of the courage of the men
and women of war whom The Rooms pretends to celebrate?
the spineless and the ignorant outweigh rightful — and necessary — expressions
of disfavour towards ruinous public policy?
Rooms? Is such narrow-minded arbitrariness also a reflection of The Rooms’ CEO,
who presumably authorized the publication of the RFP?
this province after the last decade of persistent institutional rot?
of retribution, to criticize one’s own government. And while this basic right
ought to be embraced in every one of our institutions, when any one of them fails
it should fall not just to the Courts or to courageous citizens to apply brakes
to the self-serving.
and artifacts, but it would be unfortunate if that institution let bad politics
obscure the sacrifices of our forebears or the values for which they fought. Perhaps
The Rooms’ leadership needs reminding that our society is afforded democratic
freedoms because of those forebears, and that amongst the principles for which
they fought was the right of protest, including against the government.
cultural values, the ones who have been given a duty to be vanguards with a
sacred purpose, ought to at least maintain the pretense of that responsibility.
While Joey Smallwood long exhibited disdain for the partisans who did not
support him and utilized the programs of the state to reward and to punish, as
he saw fit, he was cognizant enough of his own corrupt value system to never
put such offense in writing!
just another servant to the shameful excesses and arbitrariness of his
remembrance, we shall think of The Rooms as a mere purveyor of trinkets and