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Monday, August 14, 2006

In Persuit of the Pink, White and Green

I’ve long been a proponent of an empowered and emboldened Newfoundland and Labrador but I have to admit there are times when I question whether or not my words, and those of others, are falling on deaf ears. At times there seems to be strong movement afoot to re-take control of our destiny, but at others this sentiment seems almost non-existent, a figment of an overactive imagination if you will. It’s at times like these, when frustrations run high and apathy creeps into the old bones, that a little dash of encouragement goes a long, long way.

Having lived just outside the city of St. John’s for the past decade now, I sometimes wonder if the new economic reality in this area has been the catalyst spurring people here into thinking about alternatives to the status quo. Those thoughts, by their very nature, lead one to the suspicion that perhaps, as is the case with many other issues in these parts, that the rest of the Province might not give a rat’s ass about examining our political future or the potential of a “made right here” NL. I wonder if perhaps keeping body and soul together and a roof over their heads might lead some to consider such thoughts to be little more than the musings of those in far better straits. I don’t wonder anymore.

My travels over the past weeks have taken me to places as diverse as Clarenville, Gander, Lewisporte, Bishop’s Falls, Deer Lake, Corner Brooke, Rocky Harbour, Cow Head, and into Southern Labrador. Without exception, in each and every town and community I visited, or even passed through along the way, I was met with a sight that caused my heart to swell and my mental load to lighten. The pink, white and green standard that so many people on the Avalon have embraced as an emblem of provincial pride is alive and flourishing across the land.

Throughout the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador the PWG flag can be seen flying from gate posts, flagpoles, rooftops and sign posts. I’ve seen it soaring over places of business like the Warehouse Theatre in Cow Head. I’ve seen it emblazoned on hats and shirts worn by everyone from teenagers on up and as much as some of my acquaintances in Labrador may claim that this “townie flag” has no presence in their portion of the Province, I’ve seen it with my own baby blues, flying from multiple homes in the big land. (I won’t identify the specific communities in order to protect the innocent).

During my travels I’ve seen these beautiful colours adorning everything from license plates to slabs of rock, including one massive map of the island (in pink, white and green) painted on stone near the Fogo Island ferry.

In nearly every gift shop, to which I was dragged while on my sabbatical, I was afforded the opportunity to pick up some multi-coloured doodad or another, including fridge magnets, bumper stickers, patches and pins. There seems to be no end to the presence of the pink, white and green across this land and no limit to the number of people willing to proudly display their pride of place.

If anything could have brought home to me the belief that something new and exciting may actually be happening in this province, that perhaps the desire to shake things up is more than just a “townie fad”, my recent travels did just that. Vacations are intended to re-charge the batteries and refocus one’s sense of direction. I have to say that this is exactly what traveling around our beautiful homeland has done for at least one Newfoundlander this summer.

As a side note, if there was one thing that didn’t sit well with me regarding our “new old” flag, it was the odd occasion when I witnessed the corruption of the PWG by a certain mainland firm. I’d like to pass along a quick comment to the Montreal based company, that I won’t name here, which is currently flogging their version of the flag at local discount stores. Simply put, Pink is pink, it’s not purple, it’s not mauve and it’s certainly not puce (I got that last one form my wife). Come on, if you are going to take advantage of our pride in order to turn a quick buck the least you can do is show us some respect by getting the colours right.

42 comments:

MrChills said...

It is always nice to travel around the country of Newfoundland & Labrador. I was “home” a couple weeks ago from the mighty mainland and got to do a lot of traveling around myself.

I spent 15 years of my life living in St. John’s and the other 8 living “around the bay”; like a lot of other people in the same situation I have a different perspective on the province that a lot of “townies” will never have. It amazes me on the number of people who live in and around St. John’s that have never been out of the place, or if they have, they’ve been half way around the world, but couldn’t pick out Harbour Breton, Fleur de Lys or Red Bay on an unmarked map. They see the St. John’s Metro doing well financially and just assume that the rest of the Province is doing the same.

A lot of the same resentment that we as a Province and people have towards Ottawa can be felt in the Outport towards St. John’s and vise-versa. A perfect example of this happened to me at a party last week in downtown, a girl was saying that she was going on a mini-vacation around Newfoundland next week to see a lot of the small towns, to which some metro-sexual-townie-clown responded, “F**K THE BAY!” If I followed through with my immediate thought, I would be writing this from Her Majesty’s, but instead, I calmly asked him, “Why did you say that?”, he gave me some ignorant reason as to why “we” don’t need to support their way of life and that fishing is over and it was never needed, blah, blah, blah… Knowing that any response I gave him would be way over his Abercrombie and Fitch head, I left it alone.

It is amazing that this guy (and his opinion is heavily shared through the capital city) is a clone of the typical Mainland hating Newfoundland syndrome. We can have as many Green-White-Pink flags as we want, but before we unite as a people with a common goal, we will be MANY generations from revolt.

As a side note, I almost pissed myself laughing at the foolish Joey Smallwood head over Gambo, as his usual white tie has been graphitized to Joey wearing a Green-White-Pink tie, I am sure Joey is turning in his grave!

Anonymous said...

Well-put, Mr. Chills. I think the sentiments you express are well-validated. The economy of St. John's (booming by its own low standards) isn't anything dynamic or easy replicated in the outports or inland communities of the province. I've known people who work in niche businesses and industries or government and wonder why all the unemployed people in the province can't do the same thing. I'm not an economist but it's amazing that some people's understanding of the economy is so shallow that they'd think the entire world could work in NL's Department of Education or open a successful sports store. Again, the self-hatred and approval-seeking mentality of some Newfoundlanders (I couldn't speak of Labradorians) is sufficient to keep this place hamstrung and prevent the sort of political consensus necessary to bring about serious change and long-term economic benefits.

MrChills said...

Your point about opening a successful sports store or any store for that matter brings up another point that is a part of our ultimate failure.

Within the Outport community there is an almost unrelenting hatred towards people who are successful. It is almost as though people get happiness out of seeing others failures. People do not support local businesses very well, they see it as a threat of some sort – to what I do not know - and they will almost drive to another town and support their business rather than support one in their own town. The other side of the coin is that when someone does open a small business that is successful, another 10 people in the town will try to open the same business to one up that person.

WJM said...

and as much as some of my acquaintances in Labrador may claim that this “townie flag” has no presence in their portion of the Province, I’ve seen it with my own baby blues, flying from multiple homes in the big land.

So have I, from the homes of newly-minted teachers from Newfoundland working off some debt in Labrador before rushing home to their beloved island.

Anonymous said...

So have I, from the homes of newly-minted teachers from Newfoundland working off some debt in Labrador before rushing home to their beloved island.

WJM - How do you know they were all teachers from the island? Have you enquired at every door where you've seen the flags being flown?

Anonymous said...

So whats the difference between living and working in Labrador rather than Ottawa.

Or do you have to be born in Labrador to work there?

WJM said...

WJM - How do you know they were all teachers from the island? Have you enquired at every door where you've seen the flags being flown?

In towns the size of Labrador towns, you don't have to!

WJM said...

BTW, there's an interesting flag discussion going on at the message board on www.cartwrightlab.ca

Anonymous said...

Hey WJM, had a look at cartwrightlab.ca and I was wondering if you think this lot are just a bunch of those sneaky Labrador nationalists?

WJM said...

Labrador nationalists, sure, but what's "sneaky" about them?

Starrigan said...

I would like to point out that the soldiers of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment fought and died under the Pink White and Green. So whether or not people think it is a townie flag, a fad or whatever other label you may feel inclined to pin on it, the flag has been carried into battle and bloodied. It has been used as a symbol of our nation and for that reason alone it is good enough for me. There are a lot of people who don't know or understand the real significance of the PW&G. Maybe someone should do a posting on its history, that may be a project for WJM, just think it would be an opportunity for him to do something useful. Maybe he can tell us how many people from Labrador marched onto the battlefield under the PW&G.

Anonymous said...

Nothing sneaky about Labrador nationalists WJM, just makes me laugh that you view Newfoundland nationalists with such disdain but get a real kick out of Labrador nationalism. I'm a Newfoundland nationalist but when it comes down to it I find there's always something backwards about nationalism in any form. How is it that Newfoundland nationalism is such garbage but there's nothing wrong with Labradorians feeling a similar sense of pride and place?

Patriot said...

Hi Starrigan,

As much as I appreciate your enthusiasm I hate to break it to you but the PWG was never an "Official" flag. The history of it is somewhat mysterious and very interesting to investigate but it was never adopted by Newfoundland historically.

WJM said...

I would like to point out that the soldiers of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment fought and died under the Pink White and Green. So whether or not people think it is a townie flag, a fad or whatever other label you may feel inclined to pin on it, the flag has been carried into battle and bloodied.

They did? What is your source for that bit of information?

It has been used as a symbol of our nation

It has been used as a symbol of Canada?

Maybe someone should do a posting on its history, that may be a project for WJM, just think it would be an opportunity for him to do something useful.

I'll let the PWG-boosters do that; it's up to them to prove their favourite flag's history.

Maybe he can tell us how many people from Labrador marched onto the battlefield under the PW&G.

None, that I know of. To the best of my knowledge, the PWG never led anyone into battle. And those lads from Labrador who enlisted and fought in France probably had never seen a PWG before they left Labrador, and quite probably not even after.

WJM said...

Nothing sneaky about Labrador nationalists WJM, just makes me laugh that you view Newfoundland nationalists with such disdain but get a real kick out of Labrador nationalism.

I'd disdain Newfoundland nationalists less if their movement wasn't based on lies, myths, half-truths, and base appeals to emotion and hysteria.

How is it that Newfoundland nationalism is such garbage but there's nothing wrong with Labradorians feeling a similar sense of pride and place?

There is nothing wrong with Newfoundlanders (or anyone) feeling a sense of pride and place. That's not what I take issue with. What I take issue with in Newfoundland nationalism is (a) the foundation of lies and other garbage that it's built on, and (b) the pure hypocrisy that Newfoundland nationalists have done, and would do, onto Labrador, exactly what they bitch those horrible others do onto them.

mt.pearligan said...

I don't disagree that Labrador doesn't get its rightful share of revenues (it does produce half of the province's income with only a small share of the population) and infrastructure development. If the province were to ever be reborn as an independent state I'd hope it would be in the form of a federal union in which Labrador and Newfoundland had to make do with their respective resource revenues and only pay into mutual concerns such as foreign policy and defense, etc. etc. Any legitimate campaign for an autonomous or independent NL would advocate such a structure.

As an aside, I've always been under the impression that many Labradorians (excluding the Innu and Inuit obviously) are descendant from Newfoundlanders that went there for work. When exactly does the divide between generations become concrete?


Also WJM, I believe Starrigan used the word "nation" in the sense of "a people" . One use of the word according to dictionary.com is as follows: A people who share common customs, origins, history, and frequently language; a nationality: “Historically the Ukrainians are an ancient nation which has persisted and survived through terrible calamity” (Robert Conquest).

MrChills said...

Patriot,

Nowhere within Starrigan’s post did she state that the flag was “official”. Since the flag has been around since 1840, I would assume that many people considered it their nation’s flag. I don’t need a government to tell me what a flag means, nor did they I imagine.

As much resentment as a lot of people have towards Canada today, the same was felt for Britain years ago, with that said, chances are many of those in battle were defending the Pink-White-Green and not the Union Jack of defiantly not St. George’s Flag.

Starrigan said...

I think WJM is starting to have an affect on people posting here!!! Of course I didn't say it was an official flag and when referring to nation of course I'm referring to the "people". Let's not get into splitting hairs and questioning every word that may be construed as some kind of "grey area" that needs to be definded in a number of different ways so as there is no confusion. We are having discussions here, not writing international policy. So for gods sake lets have a sane discussion. WJM is still doing his debate club 101 crap, again lets just block him from posting and have done with it. Can you imagine for a second, and think about this, if you were having a discussion in person with WJM and he kept questioning every sentence you uttered, how long would it take before you walked away thinking what an a-hole the guy was. Really, wake up everyone. Just take a look back at some of the offerings on this blog and go over the postings. You will see a discussion going on until Mr. Knob starts his irritating questioning of sentences and phrases. Then guess what happens??? There is no more discussion, there's just yappy crap associated with WJM questioning. Don't believe me??? just take a look back and you'll see. He does it all the time and everyone seems to buy into it. So let's either ignore this buffoon or have him blocked. He has no value, again look back at what he has "contributed" that actually has some weight and you will see that he is basically just sucking everyone into answering his stupid, inane questions.
Again, WJM's mandate is to bog down this kind of blog. He does it using one simple tool, constant questioning of every thing that is posted and people are still getting sucked in. Let's wake up folks, we're making it way to easy for him.

Patriot said...

You are absolutely right in your assessment of WJM Starrigan. I find the best approach is to simply ignore him and continue on with the actual debate/discussion. Pandering to his petty "picking" only detracts from the issues.

I refuse to block him or anyone else who wants to make a comment (unless for profanity reasons) but that doesn't mean you can't simply skip past his comments and read those of people who are really trying to accomplish something.

Starrigan said...

This is very true patriot, but if you look at the flow of postings you will see that there is normally a discussion started and then Mr. Knob jumps in with his inane questions and it throws off the discussion and what could have been an excellent flow of thought and ideas ends up being derailed, which is what this a-hole is trying to do. I just think that it's unfair to people who really need to discuss these issues and have some creative dialog instead of having their discussions hijacked by some mamby pampy, pinker than span, tofu slurpin, tree hugging, pencil necked, govenment no-mind. I agree that everyone should have their say but this WJM sub-human is intentionally sabotaging the discussion on this blog and I don't think we should just ignore him, I think we should block him. In all seriousness he is playing the lot of us as suckers and I think it has to be stopped.

WJM said...

I'd hope it would be in the form of a federal union in which Labrador and Newfoundland had to make do with their respective resource revenues and only pay into mutual concerns such as foreign policy and defense, etc. etc.

You've just described the country we're already in!

As an aside, I've always been under the impression that many Labradorians (excluding the Innu and Inuit obviously) are descendant from Newfoundlanders that went there for work. When exactly does the divide between generations become concrete?

Who knows or cares? If descent means anything, then Newfoundlanders should feel really English.

Do you?

And before the 1940s, the Newfoundland element of the Labrador population was definitely in the minority. Even in the Straits, only about half the families came from Newfoundland, and that was the most Newfoundland-connected part of Labrador until the waves of immigration started.

Also WJM, I believe Starrigan used the word "nation" in the sense of "a people" . One use of the word according to dictionary.com is as follows: A people who share common customs, origins, history, and frequently language;

In which case Newfoundland AND LABRADOR isn't much of a nation.

WJM said...

So for gods sake lets have a sane discussion. WJM is still doing his debate club 101 crap,

Sorry to do inconvenient things like ask questions or debunk BS. I know it's not allowed in Danny Williams' Newfoundland, but sometimes I just can't help myself.

if you were having a discussion in person with WJM and he kept questioning every sentence you uttered,

What's the matter with questioning things? (There I go again; sorry.)

Too many people in Newfoundland have let too many other people say too many stupid things for too long, without asking the right questions.

Just take a look back at some of the offerings on this blog and go over the postings. You will see a discussion going on until Mr. Knob starts his irritating questioning of sentences and phrases.

You will also find a lot of questions which no one has been able to answer. Or willing. Which is it? And why is that?

Again, WJM's mandate is to bog down this kind of blog.

I don't have a "mandate".

I do have a self-appointed mission, though: Question Everything. I don't accept things, espcially myths and BS, and especially Newfoundland nationalist myths and BS, uncritically.

Neither should you.

WJM said...

I just think that it's unfair to people who really need to discuss these issues and have some creative dialog instead of having their discussions hijacked by some mamby pampy, pinker than span, tofu slurpin, tree hugging, pencil necked, govenment no-mind.

I think you have just made a good argument for banning yourself. Can't you make a point without resorting to childish personal invective? Sorry, let me rephrase that without a question; I know questions cause you problems: You don't seem to be able to make a point without resorting to childish personal invective.

I agree that everyone should have their say but this WJM sub-human

Sub-human?

Wow.

I know Newfoundland nationalists have a bit of a totalitarian streak (witness Chairman Dan's behaviour), but you know, this is how the Nazis described the Jews, gays, Gypsies, and others that they sent to the gas chambers.

A new low, even by your standards. If I were a Newfoundland nationalist, I'd be ashamed to count you among my number.

If you had any guts, you'd apologize.

Patriot said...

Never the less Starrigin, this site is dedicated to free speach so I won't block anyone for saying what they want to say regardless of whether or not I or anyone feels its foolish.

It's up to each and every one of us to not let anyone, as you say "play us as suckers". That, like freedom of speach, is our right and its easy to do. If you are working toward a serious conversation just skip by anyone you are not interested in reading and continue on with those that you are. Don't rise to the bait.

Anonymous said...

Patriot - Thanks for giving others the suggestion.

To keep ones sanity that is what one has to do.

I have already converted to that system. It is easier on my mental health.

Starrigan said...

WJM what makes you think I'm a nationalist?

Are you a little paranoid?

Do you think everyone on the island has an anti Labrador agenda?

Not allowed in Danny Williams Newfoundland, interesting, can you actually give us a break down on Danny Williams' Newfoundland?

I know you like to question everything and anything, when are you going to start questioning singe words, one at a time?

Childish? Oh come now Wally Wally Poo Poo, are you that thin skinned that you can't take a little good hearted name calling? Or are you just irritated that someone finally pointed out your amateur attempt at sabotaging this blog?

Are you calling all Newfoundlanders Nationalists or just Danny?

Starrigan said...

WJM that last question should be, Are you calling all Newfoundlander Nationalists "Nazis" or just Danny.

Brian said...

So the nationalistas have their flag, a potential leader and many whipping boys.
All to be done is find a way to attract the lost troops back to the PWG shores, a difficult job one would think.
And on the potential leader, me thinks Danny has all the authoritarian psychic and bombast, not to mention full of himself, needed to lead the down trodden. He may lack some hands on life’s experiences, but nothing some Castro advisers could not sort out. A pink and green Moe suite, long flowing beard, mind you he would have to dump the blind trusts, corporate shares, trust funds and the like, but he seems really upset that NL’ers are getting a raw deal, so no sacrifice is too much me says. Or perhaps I should leave the L out of NL?..........yes, I think I will, unless of course there is a free democratic vote to see what way the L’ers wants to go. But then again it is going to be an authoritarian demigod leading the pack, jees it’s confusing.

Starrigan said...

Good one Brian!!!

Anonymous said...

but you know, this is how the Nazis described the Jews, gays, Gypsies, and others that they sent to the gas chambers.

Uh oh, you guys know that in accordance with Godwin's law of Nazi Analogies debate is now over.

WJM is the loser, everybody else wins... I suppose

Gordon said...

And I was waiting for WJM to tell us more about the pogrom in Newfoundland. Otherwise, I wonder if we could all abstain from using Nazi analogies. They don't really push arguments forward.

Gordon said...

"I'd disdain Newfoundland nationalists less if their movement wasn't based on lies, myths, half-truths, and base appeals to emotion and hysteria."

You're in a good mood! So, what is Canadian nationalism based on?

WJM said...

WJM what makes you think I'm a nationalist?

Your words do.

Do you think everyone on the island has an anti Labrador agenda?

Nope.

Not allowed in Danny Williams Newfoundland, interesting, can you actually give us a break down on Danny Williams' Newfoundland?

It looks a lot like Smallwood's: cult of personality, a press that is too often pliant and uncritical (or at least that was the case until recently), individuals afraid to gainsay the Great Man for fear of retribution; and a lot like Peckford's: nationalist rhetoric ratcheted up, largely to mask a hum-drum at best, and incompetent at worst, administration.

Or are you just irritated that someone finally pointed out your amateur attempt at sabotaging this blog?

I ain't trying to sabotage anything.

Are you calling all Newfoundlanders Nationalists or just Danny?

Danny is clearly a Newfoundland nationalist (why the upper-case N?), yes, as are many others. No, I am not calling all Newfoundlanders nationalists.

WJM said...

WJM that last question should be, Are you calling all Newfoundlander Nationalists "Nazis" or just Danny.

I didn't call anyone a Nazi, let alone Danny, let alone all Newfoundland nationalists. (Again, what's with the upper-case N?)

WJM said...

You're in a good mood! So, what is Canadian nationalism based on?

Not entirely sure, but it's not myths (other than the harmless little kind that all nationalisms have), half-truths, or base appeals to emotion and hysteria. I'm not much of a Canadian nationalist myself.

WJM said...

Otherwise, I wonder if we could all abstain from using Nazi analogies.

We should all also abstain from using Nazi rhetoric like "subhuman", in that case, too.

Seriously.

gordon said...

"...it's not myths (other than the harmless little kind that all nationalisms have), half-truths, or base appeals to emotion and hysteria."

OK, can you identify these "myths", "half-truths" and "base appeals to emotion to emotion and hysteria"?

Anonymous said...

Hello bloggers,

I am looking for people who are SERIOUS about Newfoundland and Labrador independence. Please respond to adschwar@dal.ca if you are interested in helping build a real nationalist movement here.

Brian said...

Returned home yesterday from Hopedale, after my latest sojourn on the Northern Ranger I’d have to say I’m all in favor of Newfoundland Independence, the sooner the better. Chucle chuckle

WJM said...

OK, can you identify these "myths", "half-truths" and "base appeals to emotion to emotion and hysteria"?

Some of the key myths would include "our oil revenues aren't treated as good as Alberta's", "Ottawa collects more oil royalties than we do", "Ottawa gets most/all of the royalties from Voisey's Bay", "we are screwed out of federal jobs", "Ottawa traded our fish for car plants in Ontario", etc., etc., etc.

Base appeals to emotion would include the constant "no more giveaways" nonsense, the latent francophobia and mistrust of anything to do with Quebec, and the constant setting up of the Malevolent Other as the Enemy (foreign overfishers, Quebec, PEI, France, capitalism, whatever.)

WJM said...

Brian, are things as bad on the Ranger as you say?

It's bloody disgraceful how the Government of Newfoundland and Newfoundland is running that service into the ground. And that crowd in St. John's wants a cruise industry? Jeeze, we could have dozens of paying cruise passengers on every run, but the service is being driven under. It's pathetic.

Same thing on the South Coast of Newfoundland, actually. They make it damn near impossible to do a recreational trip across the South Coast like you used to be able to do in former times. So much for rural tourism.

Brian said...

WJM said...
Brian, are things as bad on the Ranger as you say?

Well yes they are Wally, only worse than I have said. It would take too long to list all the breakdowns and other short comings, but the short list is; NR about 41/2 hours late leaving GB this last trip, 6 hours late getting into Hopedale [after midnight]. Then it goes like bat out of hell to make up time [which it does] and back on schedule by time it gets to Nain. The trip prior to this it broke down outside Makkovik and a part had to be taken out by speed boat.
The cooler that was supposed to initiate delivery of affordable dairy products to the coast has not worked all summer; the cooler has been removed from vessel. Just take a visit to any store on the coast and notice the shortage of fresh milk.
Running service into the ground is the operative words for sure, yet the local yokel pols sit back and do and say nada.