Dwight Ball, Leader of Her Majesty’s Official Opposition, was in Springdale this week to talk to the common Joe, the common Newfoundlander, and in this case, the common member of the Springdale Chamber of Commerce.
It was a session where Ball spent the better part of 45 minutes showing slides and explaining the complex details of where the Province shapes up economics wise, and why he thinks that what Dunderdale and her crew are trying to do when it comes to the thing we call Muskrat Falls is missing the mark.
Ball had line graphs, and pie charts, all expertly presented and narrarated to the best of his ability, and skewed with just the right amount of opposition Liberal cynicism. His message was clear: if we keep going like we’re going now, then we’re going to be in trouble before we know it - and Muskrat Falls isn’t going to save us.
For the most part, everything he said made sense, and was quite logical. The problem, though, is that the sense around the room was that what was being said was either way too technical, way too complicated, or just way too unimportant for anyone to really care. After 45 minutes of explaining how in debt the province is going to be if we go ahead with the project, or how future generations are going to have to bear the brunt, short end of all this, Ball opened up the floor for questions on what he had to say.
There were none.
In fact, there was only one question in total - not remotely relating to the topic at hand - and that was from the guy who introduced Ball to the crowd before he spoke. As for the common guy in the audience? They just seemed bored.
So it begs the question: is this whole issue just way too far over people’s heads for them to even care about it? Well, according to the guy who gave the presentation, yeah, it is. Speaking afterwards, the Liberal Leader said he’s trying his best to bring this down to a level that everyone will understand it, but from the looks of things, there are still a ways to go.
But then again, it’s also possible that people figured it was useless to ask questions to someone who has no political power outside of asking questions. What I’d like to see is a one on one. I’d like to see Dwight Ball give that presentation again, with the same facts, same information, and same format. Then, I want people to have the opportunity to ask Kathy Dunderdale the questions they have, based on what Ball says.
Yes. Now there’s a plan. Of course, though, Dunderdale will probably only say that Ball doesn’t know what he’s talking about, and that he doesn’t have his facts straight. Even if he used the numbers that were released by the Provincial Government and Nalcor. Sure, even if Ball took Dunderdale’s speech and read it verbatim back to her, she’s probably say he was giving the wrong information.
Then we’d have Lorraine Michael jumping up and down trying to be heard, shouting above the heckling and cries of “Shame on you.” I feel like she should just stand up one of these days and say ‘hey, remember me?’
No, perhaps it isn’t just a good idea afterall. It wouldn’t result in anything but a insult and bickering back and forth between policians for hours on end, and not really gaining much ground in the process. And who needs more of that? That’s why we have the House of Assembly.
Meanwhile, though, we’re all still here, waiting, still not really sure what’s going on. Did anyone see the light bill this month?
– Rudy Norman