Thursday, 3 May 2012


Uncle Gnarley had put behind him the levity of his evening at the Royal Society of Old Farts.  Today, he seemed more pensive, indeed, quite self-possessed. The ‘Old Farts’ had given him a break from his worrying over the Muskrat Falls project. Now, he was ready, once more, to get his mind around, what he termed, ‘this dangerous venture’.

“Nav”, Uncle Gnarley, exploded, “I don’t understand these numbskulls.  How could they place our beloved province in such jeopardy”?

“I am thinking, Nav, I need to revive my public speaking career. I am a bit long in the tooth to be carrying out such a project.  But I prefer to be a virus on the government than viral on You Tube, he quipped”.

But Uncle Gnarley, I responded, did you not hear that the government is actually hosting a few public meetings to explain the Muskrat project and they are going to send out a pamphlet in the ‘Go Bag’.  Isn’t that enough, afterall?

Gnarley, glared, as only he could, and spat: “forced to put on a charade, is more like it.  They see a letter to the editor in The Telegram complaining that the Minister of Natural Resources needs “PR Rehab” and they run to cover their arses”.

“No doubt, the Minister had the sudden thought…oops, $6.2 billion and we forgot to discuss it with the public”!

“Uncle Gnarley”, Nav responded, “Minister Kennedy seems to be caught up in his own little world, where voters should be seen and not heard.  I have this vision of Jerome playing ‘tiddly winks’ or some other little game with his staff….this is just not serious stuff, at all”.

His voice trailed off as he got ready to perform a little pantomime for Uncle Gnarley.  Nav was fond of doing pantomimes and he really thought Kennedy was perfect for what he had in mind:

“Woo hoo,woo hoo staff, staff stop twittering, stop twittering will you and listen up;  have we forgotten our dear voters, per chance, should we not tell them at least a little bit of what we are up to, not too, too much, we don’t want to get them upset, but a little bit, do we, do we? …but Minister, we agreed; that’s an awful lot of money, and if they start asking questions, Minister….and you know, you have been refusing to read your Muskrat papers, Minister…you don’t want to get them all confused do you, you know how Eddy Martin gets upset when you screw things up, Minister. Yes, yes, I know, we said they weren’t important but it appears some fella suggests that they are….and maybe, just maybe…oh, darn, if he had only said, “mother may I?”….well, anyway, he has a teensey weensey point…but that’s all…a teensey one; let’s talk to the Dunderhead and see what the big poopsey thinks…the phone rings…Madame Premier, do you think we should tell the little people about this little Muskrat we have by the tail? Is that you Jerome, have you been reading the newspapers again?  I promise, I won’t do it again, Madam Premier, but you see, there is this fella Sullivan…he says I need PR Rehab…oh, Premier, I am so upset; I was doing my very, very best…honestly, I was.  Yes, yes, I know, I read that, too.  And he says he’s a Tory, so let’s be careful here, I’ve got to get two terms before “Dino MacDonald” gets his paws on my desk.  I thought, we could have a couple of meetings, just in case, big poopsey…er, Madame Premier; well, whatever, as long as you don’t mention my name Jerome, at any of those meetings, now I have a new hairdo to look after, so get lost! And oh, yes, ask Eddy Martin to come to these meetings; someone got to take the blame, if you screw this up, Jerome…”.  OK, children, big poopsey thinks we ought to dance some more.”

Nav had exhausted himself.  Wanting to laugh, the pantomime ended.  He enjoyed performing the little skit.  Uncle Gnarley seemed to enjoy it too, but deep down it also pained him.  His wrinkled face showed his years, as well as his irritation.

Imagine, after all this time, leaving people in the dark; finally, they are going to let us ask a few questions; a minor oversight, no doubt.  Perhaps, I shall show up and ask a few questions, myself, he announced. 

Indeed, I may even host my own separate Town Hall, question and answer session too; I can do it across the street from the Nalcor people, they can give the ‘safe’ answers; I can provide the brazen facts;  I don’t have to hold back, do I Nav?,  he asked rhetorically. Yes, that’s it, Nav, I will have my very own road show.  The people won’t be afraid to ask me what’s on their mind and, by gar, I won’t be afraid to tell them. 

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