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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The New "Newfie" Joke

Newfoundland and Labrador premier, Danny Williams, was quoted recently as saying, “The days of the newfie jokes are over”, in reference to his province no longer being a recipient of equalization payments. Not so fast Mr. Williams, it seems you spoke too soon.

For decades the people of Newfoundland and Labrador have been belittled, ridiculed, condescended to and laughed at without regard for feelings or facts. The province has been derided and demeaned like no other in the federation, simply because of circumstances largely beyond its control, that forced them to accept federal equalization payments to offset a weakened economy.

The days of having to accept those funds are over, unfortunately the habit of mocking and putting down the province and its people as “stupid newfies” and worse is something that has not gone away and in fact is getting more rabid every day.

For as long as the equalization program has been around and up until just a few weeks ago, very few Canadians cared much about the system or how it worked. Mind you many of them, especially those in Ontario, knew it existed and knew that Newfoundland and Labrador was a recipient, thus the verbal attacks, but beyond that equalization was something they could have cared less about. This is not the case today.

What happened? Why has equalization suddenly become so important to people standing around the water coolers of Bay Street or in the streets of Toronto?

The answer is simple. Ontario is now a recipient while Newfoundland and Labrador is not.

No longer is Newfoundland and Labrador the one talking about equalization and its potential effects (both for good and for bad). It’s now Ontario that is directly impacted by the issue.

When the people of Newfoundland and Labrador spoke out for decades about the impacts of the federal program, calling for its overhaul and for a more balanced approach to meeting the goals of the program nobody listened. They simply brushed asided any talk from, to quote Globe and Mail columnist Margaret Wente “Canada’s scenic welfare ghetto”.

Now that Ontario is on the receiving end of the calculation suddenly the program has become the single most important issue in Canadian politics and is fast becoming a disaster for the nation.

It seems that with the advent of Ontario’s new “have not” status, which is based solely on a numbers game, not reality, a new means of attacking the people of Newfoundland and Labrador has moved to the forefront.

No longer can Ontarians feel good about themselves by simply complaining about how Newfoundland and Labrador is a “drain on Canada” or how those “lazy newfies always want suckle at Ottawa’s teat”. That form of attack will no longer fly.

Instead they’ve opted for the only avenue left open to them that allows them to collect federal handouts yet still feel good about it, at the expense of Canada’s perennial door mat.

The new way of attacking Newfoundland and Labrador is by comparing it to Ontario and bemoaning any federal equalization formula that is so distasteful it would dare make it appear that Newfoundland and Labrador is no longer the lowest rung on the federation ladder.

In the words of Ontario opposition leader, Bob Runciman, “It’s hard to swallow the concept of being Newfoundland’s poor cousin. We’re used to being the bread winners in Confederation…not welfare recipients or whiners”, no doubt tarring the people of Newfoundland and Labrador as being the latter.

Open any major paper in Ontario or across Canada, whether it be the Globe and Mail, National Post, Toronto Star or a host of others and you’ll find exactly the same sort of rhetoric that has been published ever since 1949. The thing of it is, with Newfoundland and Labrador having cast off the stigma that comes with equalization the disdain has not dissipated but has instead been turned up a notch in an effort to console the poor folks in Canada’s heartland.

In the past few days alone there have been several articles and commentaries that would make the hair stand up on the neck of any Newfoundlander or Labradorian. The verbiage is outright hostile and it's clearly intended to put "those newfies back in their place”.

One article I read recently noted, “…the hare (Ontario) is scratching his head wondering how the tortoise (that would probably be Newfoundland) crossed the finish line ahead of him.”

Other articles ponder the question, “… how is it that Ontario is a “have not” province and Newfoundland and Labrador is a “have”?” It goes on to provide an even more clearly aimed slap to Canada’s newest “have” province by stating, “Just how Ontario -- once as sturdy as your grandfather's house -- got laid so low is best left for speculation.”

Indeed, the days of ridiculing and demeaning the people of Newfoundland and Labrador are far from over. The jokes may taste more bitter on the tongues of the tellers these days, but the need of many Ontarians to keep anti-Newfoundland and Labrador sentiment alive, in a pathetic attempt to inflate their own egos, is alive and well.

There is little doubt that when Danny Williams unveils his plan for a celebration of his province's new found status the anger now showing itself will only intensify.

I can hear it now, “How dare Newfoundland and Labrador celebrate at a time when the very Ontarians who paid their way for so long are suffering so greatly?”

Fortunately for the people of Newfoundland and Labrador, most have lived with the disdain and slurs of “mainlanders” for so long that it’s become little more than a dull hum in the bacground. White noise if you will.

There is no doubt the party will proceed as planned even if Dalton McGuinty himself is forced to stand in a welfare line, hat in hand, to collect a cheque.

By the way, if any of the fine folks of Ontario happen to be in Newfoundland and Labrador this summer let me be the first to invite you to what will surely be an event to remember.

It might do you good to get out of Ontario for a while and forget about your troubles.

As always, you’re more than welcome to join us.


Ussr said...

In the past few days alone there have been several articles and commentaries that would make the hair stand up on the neck of any Newfoundlander or Labradorian. The verbiage is outright hostile and it's clearly intended to put "those newfies back in their place”.

Ya wanna know what has made my skin crawl the hardest Myles is this stuff outta the Ottawa paper. "Wally" you must be a great fan of this shit ,no wonder your mind is so F&%Ked -UP !!!

read this shit Myles,

The new Newfoundland

If the haves are have-nots, and the other way around, the question for Ontario becomes, 'How can we be more like Newfoundland?'

Bruce Deachman, The Ottawa Citizen

Published: Sunday, November 09, 2008

They're coming up the St. Lawrence as we speak -- ferryloads of rich Newfoundland tourists ("torists," they call themselves), the pockets of their heavy trousers bursting with offshore oil riches.

The boats will slow as they pass the mothballed auto plants -- as big as icebergs -- in Oshawa, allowing the Newfies to take photos to show their friends back home.

"Oh, dem Ontarians is right friendly, bye, but hard to unnerstan' a ting dere sayin,' " they would later tell their disbelieving kin back home. "But it shore was fun -- we'd trow quarters inta da lake dere and watch da natives in dere tree-piece suits dive fer em."

Well B'ye , firsts things firts naw Mlyes da lasts tine I taked like da I was on da rock right !!!

what the fuck is that. It surely isn't like anything that I have ever heard of. The last time I forgot to put my buissness voice on when I left the house , I was told that i should learn to stop talking in such a stupid manner. It wasn't " proper." Thats what I mean about living in Upper canada Myles . Your nothing but a " Stupid Newfie " Doesnt matter that your highly educated. Me I gots some college I do B'ye!! I'm a F&$K'in Ni&&er living in my own country ???

Republic Of Forever

Anonymous said...


I was wondering Myles if you had seen this.Thought that i would bring this little interview to your attention, seeing the blogging world has been attacking the premeir because of it.Alot of lies and misleading half truths.

Its nice to see the truth of the matter.Anway thought that you might like to see it.


PS, you still owe me that beer.Harper did not get a majority.