Published on 7 Jul 2016
Check out Epic History TV’s video about the first day of the Somme: http://bit.ly/SommeEpicTV
After months of preparations and a week long artillery bombardment, the Battle of the Somme is unleashed on the Western Front. The great British and French offensive, brainchild of General Sir Douglas Haig, which is supposed to crush the Germans on the Western Front once and for all. But the initial infantry attack is a disaster. And on the Eastern Front, General Alexei Brusilov realises that his northern flank support is not worth the name.
July 9, 2016
June 20, 2016
A few days back, “Weirddave” posted a little account of his recent visit to L’Anse Aux Meadows:
You can fly into Gander, but it’s expensive AF and you’ll have to make a jillion connections and live in airports for 2 days. Driving from the US means taking I-95 as far as it goes, then transiting New Brunswick and Nova Scotia to North Sydney. There you get on a ferry for an 8 hour trip to Port Aux Basque. Do it overnight and splurge for a cabin (trust me on this). Even then, you can’t get into Port Aux Basque if it’s too windy (a not uncommon occurrence in the North Atlantic). Our ferry sailed in a circle off Port Aux Basque for 12 hours until it was calm enough to go in, costing us a whole day (you don’t drive at night in Newfoundland because the island is infested with moose and you’ll hit one). There is no WiFi on the ferry.
From Port Aux Basque it’s 699 kilometers to L’Anse Aux Meadow, 699 kilometers of 2 lane highway with lots of potholes. If you love scrub pine and birch, you’ll be in heaven. It’s very pretty, and Gros Morne National Park, which you’ll go through about halfway, is gorgeous. The drive is miserable when it’s raining, and it’s always raining in Newfoundland. As a bonus it was 2 degrees C today. After you’ve seen L’Anse Aux Meadow ( a day at most ) you have to do it all over again going the other way. The local hootch is a rum called Screech that aspires to be Val-U-Rite. On the plus side, the locals are friendly, if occasionally unintelligible, and I ate 6 lobsters in four days, so yum.
If you find yourself in Newfoundland, you must go to L’Anse Aux Meadow. If you’re thinking of going, my advice would be to take an RV and make it a leisurely trip across the Maritimes. Take 2 weeks off and really enjoy yourself.
May 26, 2015
Published on 25 May 2015
One of the countries that found its identity in the trenches of World War 1 was Canada. During the 2nd Battle of Ypres and the Battle of Vimy Ridge the Canadians and Newfoundlanders proofed their worthiness over and over again. Indy takes a special look on Canada in World War 1 and how they became one one of the feared enemies of the Germans.
February 23, 2013
Andrew Coyne, after a short diatribe about our first-past-the-post electoral system (he’s agin’ it), gets down to brass tacks about provincial finances:
As bad as the federal government is, the provinces are worse. And as horrendous as the provinces are generally, the record in some provinces borders on the fraudulent. Saskatchewan and Alberta, for instance, have overspent their budgets in the past decade by an average — an average — of nearly 5%. And since each year’s overshoot becomes the baseline for next year’s budget, the cumulative impact is to produce spending, in the fiscal year just ended, vastly larger than was ever specifically authorized in advance: in Saskatchewan’s case, nearly 40% larger.
That’s as best the [C. D. Howe Institute] can make out. Provincial accounting is notoriously haphazard and inconsistent. Not only does each province use its own rules and procedures, making it impossible to compare the public accounts from one province to another with any confidence, but in several provinces — Newfoundland and Quebec are the worst offenders — the public accounts are not even stated on the same basis as the budget.
And while the public accounts must ultimately prevail, efforts to reconcile the two sets of figures, and to explain the discrepancies, remain spotty. In some provinces — Quebec, Saskatchewan, British Columbia — auditors have refused, repeatedly, to sign off on the books without attaching reservations.
So not only can voters have little confidence that governments will spend what they said they would, they can have little ability even to reckon how much they overspent, or to compare their own province’s performance with the others’. All in all, a thoroughly disgraceful performance. (Honourable exceptions: Ontario and Nova Scotia, though voters in both provinces have other reasons to doubt their governments’ fiscal candour.)
June 30, 2012
Rex Murphy in the National Post on the worst month in Newfoundland’s calendar:
T.S. Eliot did not write for Newfoundlanders. April is not the cruelest month. For us, it’s July. Both the first and second day of July are marked indelibly in the province’s common memory, the first perhaps the saddest day in the historic calendar, the second as the day of the most fundamental change in the essential makeup of the province.
The greatest tragedy in Newfoundland’s history occurred on July 1, 1916 the opening day of the Battle of the Somne, when nearly 800 men from the 1st Newfoundland Regiment went “over the top” at Beaumont Hammel, only to suffer close to 700 casualties within less than half an hour. It was a virtual annihilation of the entire Regiment. The shockwaves from Beaumont Hammel went through every town and village, city and outport of the time. There was not a place unmarked with grief. To this day, the memory of Beaumont Hammel commands deep respect and notice.
A different kind of event, one not drawn from conflict or war, marks the second day of the month. Just 20 years ago, for the very first time since the late 15th century and the arrival of the Europeans and John Cabot to the fish-crowded waters off Newfoundland, catching cod-fish was declared illegal. The fishery, that great and traditional fishery of Newfoundland, was shut down for the first time in nearly 500 years.
It’s been 20 years since the fishery was closed, and there’s still no sign that it will be re-opening any time soon.
June 25, 2012
For some reason it is being treated as news that the Prime Minister said he would work with a Parti Quebecois government in the unfortunate circumstance of a PQ victory.
What else was he supposed to say? The PQ has held power several times since Rene Levesque’s first victory in 1976. It’s a democratic country, and provinces can elect whoever they want. Ottawa doesn’t have a choice whether it wants to work with the victor or not. Harper worked with Danny Williams — well, he tried, anyway — when the Newfoundland caudillo declared himself the supreme power of El Rocko Independanto and waged a personal war against his Canadian oppressors. Pauline Marois, the PQ leader (at least until the next revolt) can’t be half as annoying as Danny was.
Kelly McParland, “Why is it news that Stephen Harper would recognize a PQ government?”, National Post, 2012-06-25
April 2, 2011
I labour over this history to place in context the astounding, even outré, comments offered by Canada’s First Separatist, Gilles Duceppe, on hearing of the proposed arrangement — which, I hasten to mention, is merely a $4.2-billion loan guarantee from Ottawa, not some massive outright subsidy. Mr. Duceppe, with a logic that can only belong to a man who gets paid to be a separatist by the government he’s trying to extinguish, called the deal “a direct attack on Quebec.”
What really bothers Mr. Duceppe and other separatists is that they want to retain Quebec’s monopoly on southbound power sales to the United States — something the Lower Churchill project, including its 1,100 km of underwater transmission cables, would threaten. “By financing the Newfoundland project, Stephen Harper has given Quebec a slap right in the face,” the BQ leader declared.
It’s one of the continuing risibilities of the Canadian federation that we cosset and pamper and pay for the separatist faction in the House of Commons, and go along with the pretense that they’re parliamentarians like any other. They are not. They displace the natural balance of the federation. They have a vested interested in seeing the parliament they attend not working. And they leap to any perceived or manufactured imperfection in our system as evidence of dark perfidy or contempt for Quebec. They warp the system. Nowhere do these observations meet with greater validation than these ludicrous comments by Duceppe on the proposed assistance to the Lower Churchill.
Rex Murphy, “Newfoundland’s three-gigawatt insult to Gilles Duceppe”, National Post, 2011-04-02