So I figured an appropriate way to help close out the year would be with a small rant. The nice thing about the Duke night from a couple of days ago is that my friends know how to egg me on when I get on a roll about something. Because while I continue the mellowing process as I approach middle age, I can still fire up the rant machine when needed.
Alas, the rant about Snowbabies will have to wait until I'm back in Iqaluit and a safe distance away from the large cabinet sitting behind me filled with them. Today's rant is about Bell Island.
For those of you not from Newfoundland, Bell Island is an island in Conception Bay, about a 20 minute drive or so outside of St. John's. Back in the day, there was a lot of mining done on the island, and in fact, shafts extend well out under Conception Bay. These days, there's not much happening out there in the way of economic activity. There are still a few thousand people living there, but most of them hop on the ferry every morning and drive into St. John's to go to work.
Now, a few years ago there was talk of building a new prison there, which seemed like an excellent idea. However, I've had a new idea, having spent a days back home and listening to people and, tragically, open line shows. What needs to be done is this; everybody needs to be relocated off Bell Island and then we're going to transform it into an insane asylum. But a very special one. It will be an asylum for the politically insane.
That's why we need Bell Island because, let's face it, anywhere from ten to 30 per cent of the province's residents are going to be living there at one time. So they're going to need a bit of space.
Now, this isn't going to be a hardcore political insane asylum. Very few people will be permanently committed. Perhaps some former premiers and the like. But mostly it'll be a few months to chill people out. So if you're going on open line every day, well, that's three months out on Bell Island. If you're espousing conspiracy theories on why the rest of Canada is out to screw over Newfoundland and you seriously believe it, well, that's a year out on the island.
If you can't let a member of the House of Assembly speak four words without heckling them, that's a few months. If you scream traitor anytime someone disagrees with your political views, that's a year or so to go and chill out. And perhaps have a few smacks to the head, just for good measure.
Needless to say there will be no newspapers, radios, cell phone, regular phones, computers or internet of any kind. Smacks to the head will be a regular form of treatment for first time offenders and perhaps classes in debate, ethics, and manners would be a good idea. I wouldn't mind ECT or trepanning for repeat offenders. And, naturally, we'll have to mine an area around the island to prevent escape attempts. Sharks with lasers would also be frickin' awesome. And I'm thinking orcs in tunnels just for good measure in case anyone tries to use that route to escape.
I think it would do wonders for the level of coherent, reasonable and civil debate in Newfoundland. So let's see if we can find money in the next budget for that. Hell, I bet the prime minister would kick in some money for it.
Oh, and needless to say, if you start foaming around the mouth about political stuff and going completely off the deep end and ranting about Newfoundland politics on a blog, that's a couple of month on Bell Island. I already have my bags packed.