Globe and Mail


Globe columnist slags 'deadbeat' Williams

ST. JOHN'S — A Globe and Mail columnist has written a scathing condemnation of Premier Danny Williams' handling of the offshore revenue dispute.

Margaret Wente, the Globe's featured columnist on its opinion page, says Williams has gone too far in his demands with the federal government.

Margaret Wente

"Mr. Williams reminds me of a deadbeat brother-in-law who's hit you up for money a few times too often," Wente writes in the Globe's Jan. 6 edition.

"He's been sleeping on the couch for years, and now he's got the nerve to complain that it's too lumpy."

Wente, who describes Newfoundland and Labrador as "probably the most vast and scenic welfare ghetto in the world," says Williams is trying to "pick the pockets" of other Canadians.

"Maybe we can strike a deal," Wente writes. "You can keep all the oil and gas revenues. And you can pay us back all the money we've sent you since Confederation."

A box on the Globe's front page promoting Wente's column says "Newfoundlanders need to stop biting the hand that feeds them."

Williams dismissed the criticism.

"It's those kinds of comments that really bite at the heart of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians," he says.


Globe Responds 1/8/05 (Brian Madore)
The debate rages on in the Globe and Mail today over Thursday's column by Margaret Wente. In today's issue the editor of the newspaper himself, Edward Greenspon, speaks out. It has been the week of the angry e-mail at the Globe, some 900 says Greenspon. Newfoundlanders and Labradorians are incensed over the writings, which many felt labelled the province a welfare state and its people as welfare bums. Greenspon begins his response by saying he likes Newfoundlanders. He adds that Wente is known for not pulling any punches and will offend some of the people all of the time. The editor spent two weeks in Newfoundland this past summer exploring in Gros Morne, Badger, Botwood, Bonavista Bay, Conception Bay and on the Avalon Peninsula. Greenspon says Wente is not blaming Newfoundlanders, but wacky economic policies. The editor says everyone in the debate wants the same thing: a prosperous Newfoundland and Labrador. But, in the end, he stands by the editorial freedom given to he paper's columnists and their right, including Wente's, to pass along their opinions, however distasteful they may be to some