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Opinion/Politics

#NLRising, 3 Years On

The 2019 NL provincial election is just eight days away, and yesterday marks three years since the #NLRising rally on Confederation Hill, organized by the NL Federation of Labour. I was invited to sing a couple of songs, so I took the opportunity to write a new one, directly addressing the 2016 Liberal austerity budget. Out came ‘Go Away Dwight and Cathy’, which singled out cuts to education and library closures, cuts to healthcare, and the ‘deficit reduction levy’. The 2016 Liberal budget was an attack on the people of Newfoundland and Labrador, there is no doubt about that. But people spoke out. The rally worked, to some degree. The song? The downfall of writing political songs is that they are only usually relevant to a situation for a short period of time, however, they will always remain historically significant. ‘Go Away Dwight and Cathy’ never gets much airplay these… Keep Reading

Featured/Opinion

Your Vote Is Your Consent

I am talking to teenagers about consent. In the courthouse alongside, Chantel John’s mother suffers through a slew of new charges against her daughter’s accused murderer. Newfoundland and Labrador is attempting to hold this man accountable. Though in the land of Mary March, it is difficult indeed to ignore the violent colonial locomotion that blasts through us regardless of our objection or intent. I hike round a river named for these exploits. It is beautiful big birch country. The water is surging fast-forward with the spring breakup in full-on yellow flop where new-wet meets rock-face. The running signage recounts a tragic tale taught to us via elementary school readers. A Beothuk woman resisting capture exposes herself to her aggressors. The courts of the day rule there was no malice in her kidnapping or her husband’s death during the abduction. Their baby died, too. We are always told she revealed her… Keep Reading

art by Katie Vautour

Oil is On the Way Out, but NL is Going All-In

Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old Swede, has jolted the world awake by simply telling a hard truth: adults have stolen her generation’s future because we have not confronted the climate crisis. “I don’t want you to be hopeful,” she tells us, “I want you to panic. I want you to act as you would in a crisis. I want you to act as if the house is on fire, because it is.” Her words have inspired millions of children globally to demand real action from their political leaders. This message is an essential one for Newfoundland and Labrador’s upcoming election. Greta and her generation know all too well that to have any chance of a liveable climate for most of us, global temperature increases must be kept below two degrees of warming. To do this, emissions have to drop steeply, reaching zero—no emissions at all—by 2050. It would have been a… Keep Reading

The Red and Blue Doors Open the Same Room

As promised in response to the budget/not-a-budget pre-election kick off, I thought it would be useful to take a deeper look at what the Liberals have accomplished in their four years in office. Halfway through the election campaign is as good a time as any. Everything old is new again. As both the Liberals and the Progressive Conservatives have now released their “costed” platforms, it’s probably a good idea to think back to where we were when the parties went through this exercise in 2015. Memories of Elections Past In the spring of 2015, Progressive Conservative premier Paul Davis brought down an austerity budget in response to the collapse in oil prices and the sudden realization that the good times of the previous decade had gone bust.  Budget ’15 projected staggering deficits and proposed a series of tax increases (including a controversial HST increase) and a public sector attrition plan… Keep Reading

Analysis/Featured/Politics

Sleeping On the Ballot Box

Elections are one of our favourite things, and have been for as long as we can remember. From the excitement of following the “race” once the writ is dropped, to the thrill that comes from marking a ballot and shaping the future of your community, to the awesomeness of election night as you watch the results roll in: elections are entirely exciting and engrossing exhibitions of democracy. Then we get to do it again in four years’ time! It’s like the Olympics of civic engagement! Alas, we are election nerds: we like gathering data, we like following trends, and—in a nutshell—we are strange. Regardless of our personal preferences (and the obviously very fun parties we throw on election night), elections are incredibly important in a free society because they provide a number of key functions in a democracy.  They provide a mechanism by which citizens are able to select their… Keep Reading

Art by Philippa Jones.
Featured/Opinion

May Day from Central

I drive by a gas bar named for some other Megan and wonder if all her dreams came true. Traveling thoughts can take reckless turns when you’re headed westward on Newfoundland’s Trans Canada. Highway 1. Ground zero for colonialism where signage along the roadside declares that those who ruled at the starting hour of their agreed upon clock continue to do so today. And I wonder if the merchant still got me round the neck. As I pass blue and red squares proclaiming the hopeful inheritors of our little bit of earth, I feel the merchant’s hand tightening. Not that they refer to themselves as merchants anymore. The comms department sorted that before we even knew there was a comms department. They call themselves all kinds of generous, extravagant things now to confuse us. But a collar by another name is still a collar. My field of view is foggy… Keep Reading

Art by Sarah Brown

The Passion of Graydon Pelley

The 2019 Newfoundland and Labrador general election is a very strange beast. The province finds itself in the throes of existential crisis at the same as it is mired in a full-blown political depression. Nominations have finally closed for all parties, but only the governing Liberals are running a full slate of 40 candidates. The Tories are a close second with 39, while the NDP trail a distant third with 14 candidates. There are nine people running unaffiliated. As far as provincial politics goes, you could be forgiven for feeling like things are starting to circle the drain. But then there is the other weird feature of the 2019 NL election: there is a new option on the ballot. In November 2018, former NL Progressive Conservative party president Graydon Pelley announced that he was resigning from the Tories to form a new entity called the NL Alliance. The Alliance is,… Keep Reading

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