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Fragments of the 1,111 Points of Light

in Featured/Longread/Satire by
Art by Gord Little.

We now present you a partial list of the many great initiatives that transformed rural Newfoundland and Labrador into the envy of the world.

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There are No Captains at the Wheel

in Editorial/Featured/Longread/Politics by
election 2019 nl

This election is a referendum on Newfoundland and Labrador’s political class, and the status quo is losing. All we’re missing is a way to vote “no.”

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The Patient’s Progress, Part 4

in Featured/Longread/Satire by

I’m beginning to think the patient is better off living in his fantasy. After I hear about New Year’s 2018 on the St. John’s waterfront, I want to join him.

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The Patient’s Progress, Part 3

in Featured/Longread/Satire by
art by Gordon Little

It is October 2007. An emergency all-party government unleashes a political revolution in NL. But a sudden General Strike threatens to derail the province.

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The Patient’s Progress, Part 2

in Featured/Longread/Satire by
Art by Gord Little

All Townie MHAs receive rural reeducation as the Baymen seize power in Newfoundland & Labrador. Meanwhile, a meal of Chow Mein nearly destroys the province.

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The Patient’s Progress, Part 1

in Featured/Longread/Satire by
Art by Gordon Little.

Case study: Patient has moved from a depression over the loss of rural life to an hallucinatory state in which rural Newfoundland and Labrador is flourishing.

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Your Vote Is Your Consent

in Featured/Opinion by

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…

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

in Climate Change/Featured/Opinion/Politics by
art by Katie Vautour

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…

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The Red and Blue Doors Open the Same Room

in Analysis/Featured/Longread/Politics by

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…

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Sleeping On the Ballot Box

in Analysis/Featured/Politics by

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…

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May Day from Central

in Featured/Opinion by
Art by Philippa Jones.

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…

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The Passion of Graydon Pelley

in Featured/Interview/Longread/Politics by
Art by Sarah Brown

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,…

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The Phony War

in Editorial/Featured by
Photo by CHMR/The Independent.

Well, the provincial election is finally here. After months of rumours and weeks of high-volume spending announcements, Premier Dwight Ball this week called a snap election for 16 May 2019. If your democratic morale is low, fear not—this will all be mercifully over by May Two-Four, so we’ll be able to flee into the woods and get drunk to process what’s happening. Lord knows it will be necessary. To be honest, this barely even feels real. The whole campaign is already a giant fever dream. Twirling Towards the Future Even though everything is happening according to their schedule, it’s hard to avoid the impression that the Liberals are flying through this by the seat of their pants. They spent the last month making major funding announcements obviously meant to shock and awe the electorate into submission. We got the $2.5 billion Hibernia Dividend; we got the elimination of tax on…

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Gaslighting a Generation

in Featured/Opinion by
Photo by CHMR/The Independent.

I know it’s been a whole nine months since I lived on the rock, but I was surprised to get the news the other day—after the budget was announced—that everything is great now. Apparently, there’s even talk of billion-dollar budget surpluses and public spending. It’s funny because I was under the impression that I had to leave at least in part because of budget cuts to higher education (and very little hope in any other sector). Of course, there are those in this magazine and beyond who think that all the good news might have more to do with an upcoming election than the real financial situation in the province. It’s hard to swallow that all those meetings I had to sit in where I was told there was no money, no vision, no future were actually inaccurate. Apparently, there has never been a better time to live in Newfoundland…

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Budget 2019: Shag It, Let’s Do Magic

in Featured/Journalism by

I went to the NL Budget Lockup to hear tales of a budget surplus in 2019. Don’t get me wrong; budgets are normally big policy events. Not only do they chart the government’s fiscal plans for the upcoming year and update us on how things went the last one, they also usually involve a myriad of specific policy announcements across sectors. But as communication strategists become more and more important in all aspects of government, budgets have become more of a public relations medium than they once were. There has always been political spectacle on budget days: the finance minister’s new shoes, surprise funding for new paving and the like, but there has usually been an actual budget obscured by the government’s marketing efforts. Budget 2019 in Newfoundland and Labrador takes the communications side of budget days to a new extreme. It’s a pre-election budget, which are usually long on…

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Confederation Chic

in Editorial/Featured by

Every history, so they say, is a history of the present. The past is brutally unchanging, but what flares up through its wreckage to the observer hinges on the moment they turn to look back. (“The way to see,” according to one French mystic, “is to not always be looking.”) This is especially true in the case of historical ruptures that never quite get stitched up, or those regularly reopened under political strain. Newfoundland and Labrador’s Confederation with Canada in 1949 certainly fits this bill. Confederation was legendary in its own time, thanks to both the propagandist in the Premier’s chair and the romantic reaction he generated. As it recedes from living memory its mythic stature will only grow. You need only see Joe Smallwood, ‘Last Father of Confederation’, decked out in a Newfie Republican tricolour bowtie to realize we regard our past through a thickening stained-glass windowpane. It’s been…

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Memory, Language and the Land: the Art of Marlene Creates

in Arts & Culture/Featured/Journalism by

It wasn’t until Marlene Creates decided to ‘think oppositely’ that she found her niche. She graduated art school and did as many artists do: she got a studio and started working, hoping that one day she would forge herself the perfect identity. Destiny would prevail and a lucid understanding of her abilities and passions would begin to shape her art. In 1979 she started working with stones. She would carry them into her studio from the landscape and form paper casts around them. The stones were representative of power—a structure that is hardly weathered by the acts of the elements. The paper was a fragile and sensitive juxtaposition. She says it was an unorthodox yet simple thought that was a defining moment in her work. “One day I thought, instead of hauling all of these rocks into the studio, why don’t I just take the paper outside?” Creates told The…

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Reaping Without Sowing: Government Support for the Arts in NL

in Featured/Journalism by

Newfoundland and Labrador’s Transportation, Culture, Industry and Innovation Minister Christopher Mitchelmore loves the arts. He is very excited about all the wonderful work being produced in this province by its artists, and he cannot wait to share their stories with the world. This is wonderful. Unfortunately, Minister Mitchelmore seems to have some trouble listening to stories from local artists when they’re directed at him. Spearheaded by playwright Robert Chafe and director Courtney Brown, local artists last week organized a letter-writing campaign to the provincial government looking for an increase in funding to ArtsNL. “[ArtsNL is] the only pot of funding, really, that exists in the province [and] that goes directly to working artists to start the product that will actually fill the theatre, fill the CDs, fill the film halls, that kind of thing,” Chafe told the CBC. “The cultural programming in the province wouldn’t exist without it.” ArtsNL funding…

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Muskrat Falls and the Tip of the Iceberg

in Featured/Opinion by

Last Thursday night, instead of attending a letter writing campaign at the LSPU Hall where dozens of local artists had assembled to write to government policy makers, begging for an increase in funding for our provincial arts council, I was on Springdale Street replacing a set of leaky kitchen taps in a rental property. The owner was a nice Scottish man who works in the oil industry. He complained about the lost equity in the house. He’s working in Azerbaijan now, but has fallen in love with a Newfoundland woman. He bemoaned the lack of work here, while I was under his sink. He said most oil companies would never build another major project in Newfoundland, after what went on with Hebron. He said the Koreans were much cheaper and better organized. “I worked on that project,” I said. “What a shit show.” We went on to discuss the rampant…

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