After nearly three months of listening, on an almost
daily basis, to Premier Ball’s continuous string of innocuous and unfinished
sentences, presumably intended — who would know — to safeguard the province
from a largely non-existent local pandemic, some happenings are worth noting.
People have started back to work, the sun has come
out, the Liberal Leadership contest is back on, and a group of business people
— Hall of Famers no less — have weighed in on Government’s determination to
kill the economy.
Then, too, a pulse — though still weak — has been discovered in the two Opposition
Parties who now oppose a second Interim Supply.
This is not normally the stuff of great rejoicing;
dancing in the streets still being de rigeur in the era of pandemic. But
in a place such as this, starved for leadership, the equivalent of even watery
gruel can seem a time of feast.
As much as I tried to resist the temptation, I
succumbed to the urge to deal with the question: which of those recent
happenings could be deemed most important? It was not an easy challenge. A
pulse found in the Official Opposition, after a full year on the job, is not a
trifling matter. Similarly, a group of 50 business people speaking in unison
against the Government, a group more likely to spearhead an “I believe in
Newfoundland and Labrador” campaign is not to be dismissed though they should know the singular effort is already lost on a mindless Administration.
Perhaps it is to my own discredit, but I selected
neither of those wondrous happenings.
Those who waited for six months for what emanates
from the sky as a yellow ball, which some people call the “sun”, might have deemed
this an obvious choice. But, alas, your correspondent is not a sun-seeker and
hates sand. Similarly, seeing people return to work to restart the economy is a
huge relief when the Premier, the Minister of Health and the Chief Medical
Officer had become far too infatuated with the sounds of their own voices (a
matter to which I will return). It might
have been an obvious pick, too. But, no, even that happy event didn’t rank as
the most important.
I picked the revival of the Liberal Leadership contest.
The choice may seem odd at first, but I hope you will forgive me — and come
onboard — when I explain.
Many couldn’t care less whether the Liberal
Leadership will elect Furey or Abbott. Rather, the absolute over-the-top joy,
the big dollop of ice-cream with the cherry on top, the jar of ice-water to the
parched hiker who has spent forty days and nights in a dry desert, is simply that
the Liberal Leadership will throw the “Ball” completely out of sight!
It wasn’t just a matter of my own mental health; I
was starting to worry about the thousands whose sanity was becoming a chasm of
despair, getting deeper and deeper with each pandemic video conference. It
wasn’t just the emails from the multitude of like-minded sufferers, either. It
was simply that whether within my “bubble”, or my “double bubble”, all I could
hear were the words “Newfoundland and Labrador”, “Newfoundland and Labrador”, each
one eroding my mind like the rasping of a cheese grater. I knew, long ago, I
had heard too many of Dwight’s video conferences. But it was too late. The “real”
virus had taken hold.
Pity the poor people. How many times can an
ordinary human listen to the Premier trying to construct a sentence in which the
only intelligible words audible are “Newfoundland and Labrador”? Day after day,
reporter’s question after reporter’s question, the gibberish continued: neither
subject or predicate noticeable until he got to the words ”Newfoundland and
Labrador”, except on occasion when he drove the pandemic lingo up a notch and
invoked “Newfoundlanders and Labradorians”. As one emailer suggested, Ball
could have gone in the Guinness Book of World Records for the number of times
the words “Newfoundland and Labrador” was inserted into a completely confused sentence.
Perhaps Dr. Fitzgerald is a fine epidemiologist,
but more than one day I wished that she had at least favoured Psychiatry. Could
she not have exhibited some small pity for the poor people whose politicians
had fallen into a pit of political piffle? Placing just the Premier in complete
isolation could have saved us millions of dollars in post-pandemic counselling
and the strongest of drugs. As it stands, not one, but two new Waterford
Hospitals will be needed to rid normally sensible people from the disparate ramblings
of unintelligible speech.
Admittedly, there are those who will interpret Ball’s
new 70% approval rating as proof of a job well done. Not me.
I see it only as “capitulation” among an
electorate who have, at least temporarily, lost their minds.