I was just talking to one of the shrewdest political observers on the East Coast.
What she had to say about Jean Chretien I found to be pretty telling, coming as she does from a family that has been voting Liberal since the time Joey Smallwood gave us the baby bonus. She thinks it's time for him to go. "We're tired of him," she sighs.
Now, I know that to a reader in Toronto, the situation in York Harbour may seem a little removed, even irrelevant. But there is one thing that we have in common. We all have to live in the brave new world as decreed by Chretien and Paul Martin. The market is supreme -- get used to it.
Yes, some people are doing pretty well, thank you very much. The TSE is at an all-time high as those Nortel stocks go through the roof.
But what about those who are not the investing kind, for whom survival, not capital gains, is the name of the game?
Newfoundland premier (and Chretien sycophant) Brian Tobin can spin all he wants about the new modern spirit in the province. Where I'm from, the high school has only half as many students as when I went to school and people I remember as dignified and industrious are hooked on booze and painkillers. Think of us as the white Indians of Canada.
"It's not like it was one time," my mother says. "It's not like when Trudeau was in."
She doesn't sound like someone about to vote Liberal as a security measure against lean, mean Stockwell Day and the Alliance. We Newfoundlanders lost our security a long time ago.
Times being as hard as they are, it's not surprising that a dispute over the Chretien government's decision to allocate a few tons of crab in Newfoundland waters to PEI fishers threatens to turn to violence. Not a good omen for the Liberals, counting on picking up a few seats on the Rock to make up for the ones they'll lose in Ontario.
This prime minister is wearing thin. After gutting the unemployment insurance system and depopulating Newfoundland, will he dare to campaign as the left-wing antidote to Stockwell Day?
And is it only Newfoundlanders who are hurting so much they'll run Uncle Jean out of town if he does?