Assertion, unsupported by fact, is nugatory. Surmise and general abuse, in however elegant language, ought not to pass for truth. Junius


Our New Prima Donna

One would have thought one political prima donna per country would be sufficient for a country like Canada. We already have Ralph Klein, for example, who has been entertaining us with such divina behaviour for years by visiting homeless shelters and attacking the disabled. Now comes Danny Williams ordering the national flag down from provincial buildings in Newfoundland and Labrador. What theatre! What drama! (I wonder, inter alia, if Ralph has a mentorship programme in bad-boy behaviour). Albeit the premier may be a touch bewildered about the purposes of the national flag, i.e. confused about the difference between los federales and the country as a whole. No matter: it's the symbolism that counts.

While great muckpiles of hyperbole are flung between St John's and Ottawa, I suspect our newest diva is keeping a close eye on the poll numbers. An Angus Reid poll released on 15 December showed Mr Williams's Conservatives gaining 18 points from the previous poll in May, increasing his lead from a statistical dead heat to a whopping 31 per cent. It's probably a curious coincidence that the dispute between Newfoundland and the federal government came to a full boil at the same time: only the most hardened cynic would suggest any connection between Premier Williams's rhetorical and symbolic cannonballs and his soaring poll numbers.

Perhaps the analogy to prima donnas isn't so accurate after all. What we have here is another Phineas T. Barnum, shilling for the rubes. All Premier Williams needs is a bearded lady and a two-headed calf to make his road-show complete.


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