Top News

BRIAN JONES: Trudeau visits, gives Newfoundlanders donut

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addressed Liberal party faithful at a fundraising dinner in St. John’s on Aug. 6. — SaltWater Network file photo
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addressed Liberal party faithful at a fundraising dinner in St. John’s on Aug. 6. — SaltWater Network file photo - David Maher

It is tempting to suggest that if Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wanted to give $200 million to Newfoundlanders, he would have said so during his recent visit to the province.

However, the PM apparently had so much fun at the St. John’s Royal Regatta that he forgot to address the press — and thus the public — and instead opted for photo-ops only.

So … no mention of the federal government forking over $200 million every year to help Newfoundlanders pay for their Muskrat Falls mistake.

Did Premier Dwight Ball notice, or was he too busy sending tweets to Jimmy Kimmel? As the adage goes, be careful what you wish for. If the popular American talk show host thinks Dildo is a joke, just wait until he hears about Muskrat Falls.

“There’s a dam up in Canada …”

But I digress. What of the PM and his failure to say, or even hint, whether the feds are willing to send a $200-million cheque to Newfoundlanders every year for the next half-century?

It would seem, at first glance, that Ball’s preposterous plan for “rate mitigation” has been exposed for all its ridiculousness.

PM Justin Trudeau greets people pond-side at the Royal St. John's Regatta, Aug. 7, 2019.
PM Justin Trudeau greets people pond-side at the Royal St. John's Regatta, Aug. 7, 2019.

But this is politics, and in this province the name of the game is manipulation.

The $200 million will not be forthcoming, ever, of course. But Ball will dangle it for the electorate like a hook for a cod. Voters will bite. They always do.

Oh, if only honesty and openness were even a small part of politics.

“Mr. Premier, did you and the prime minister discuss the $200 million that is part of your rate-mitigation plan?”

“Of course we did. But we decided not to say anything publicly until such time as it is most advantageous for the Liberal party.”

Let’s see, a federal election is about two months away.

Ball leads a minority government, which at some point could conceivably face a vote of non-confidence.

Those are two instances in which Newfoundlanders should expect to see the $200 million dangled in front of them. Dangling it at the Regatta would have served no (Liberal) purpose.

Ball better be careful, though. Timing can be tricky. Look how easy it was for his government to, oops, miss the deadline for capping parts of the Muskrat Falls reservoir to cut down on the production of methylmercury.


Someday, “$200 million” might be a punch line on Jimmy Kimmel’s TV show. In the meantime, too many Newfoundlanders are actually taking seriously Ball’s outlandish “rate-mitigation” plan.

Thankfully, some are not. A reader recently sent me this succinct comment about the issue:

“All this money being rerouted or simply appearing from thin air to eliminate that approaching train wreck is getting nonsensical, even by political standards.”


As I write this (Tuesday morning) the top story on The Telegram’s website is about yet another traffic collision, this time in St. John’s.

News releases from both the RCMP and RNC regularly announce serious traffic accidents in one part of the province or another. Bad driving is endemic. Like many people, I appreciate whatever the police can do to catch and ticket dastardly drivers, but at the same time, wish they would do more — a lot more.

A handful of readers objected to the “donuts” reference in my column of a couple of weeks ago (“Cops eat donuts while highway speeders rule the roads,” July 31).

Reading everything literally will often make you miss the point — for example, with satire, hyperbole, sarcasm and such.

A teacher wrote that he was “embarrassed and shocked” by the headline, which goes against the respect for others that he tries to instill in his students.

Fair enough. You could interpret it that way if you read it literally. Then again, it could be an ideal teaching moment in the classroom. Reading everything literally will often make you miss the point — for example, with satire, hyperbole, sarcasm and such.

Is “cops eat donuts” a slur, an insult to the men and women in dark, dark blue? Of course not. It’s a laughable cliché, an outdated stereotype. I used it intentionally, to draw attention to just how much speeders are getting away with.

The cops didn’t seem to mind. They haven’t targeted me, and I’ve been speeding around town with impunity.

Brian Jones is a desk editor at The Telegram. He can be reached at brian.jones@thetelegram.com.


MORE FROM BRIAN JONES

Recent Stories