The Province of Newfoundland and Labrador and ESPECIALLY Churchill Falls


Thanks to everybody who sent me their best wishes on my new job. My next day of work is this Thursday. Today and tomorrow, I'm finishing off work on my current temporary assignment; after that, I'll have two days a week to fill. I'm considering other part time jobs and have an oar in a few places. We'll see...

Here's something you don't see every day: a state/prov code change in North America. Newfoundland, which was shortened to "NF" has become "NL" in all correspondence.

The change probably coincided with the province's constitutional name change, from "Newfoundland" to "Newfoundland and Labrador". As comedian Lorne Elliott said, they probably really wanted to change their name to "Newfoundland and Labrador, but ESPECIALLY Churchill Falls; screw you Quebec!"

As background, this long-dead dispute (despite former Quebec premier Lucien Bouchard's cries of "provocation", the matter was greeted by most Quebeckers with a shrug or a long-suffering grimace) dates back to a 1927 ruling by the British Privy Council between what was then the separate countries (within the Commonwealth) of Canada and Newfoundland. Canada argued that the colony of Newfoundland was considered to be the island of Newfoundland and the headwaters of the mainland rivers emptying into the Atlantic. Newfoundland argued that the entire Atlantic watershed, up to the height-of-land between the Gulf of St. Lawrence watershed and the Ungava Bay watershed belonged to Labrador. Britain sided with Newfoundland against Canada.

A handful of Quebec nationalists have added the decision to the litany of injustices that have befellen the Quebec people at the hands of Canada, despite the fact that Canada, then, fought valiantly on Quebec's behalf. A 1991 Quebec commission on the matter soundly debunked the Quebec nationalist arguments.

Regarding the motorboat Freddy incident last Saturday, my father and my mother are having a debate over whether or not I was hydroplaning. Ever since my father hydroplaned during a recent vacation in Nova Scotia, he's been on the lookout for similar incidents (as an aside, he was in Nova Scotia in the midst of some very wet weather. He didn't have to go far before he heard similar tales that week).

He argues that hydroplaning is, by definition, any situation where a surfeit of H2O causes one's car to lose traction on the road. My mother says that hydroplaning more accurately describes an inability to come to a complete stop because of the excessive water. I'm inclined to agree with her. While it is true that, when I entered the puddle, I lost traction, stopping was the last thing on my mind. I had managed to slow down safely before entering the puddle. Initially misjudging just how deep it was, my fervent desire was to get out. This took a fair amount of wheel spinning and momentum before I was back in traction again.

So, I don't think I was hydroplaning, although I probably would have if I had entered that puddle at full speed...

An official definition of hydroplaning is as follows: Hydroplaning can occur to your sport utility vehicle when water on the roadway accumulates in front of your tires faster that the weight of your vehicle can push it out of the way. Your vehicle will actually ride up on top of the water, much like a water skier on top of a lake. In this very dangerous situation, your tires no longer have any contact with the road surface and you will no longer have control of your vehicle. This usually happens at higher speeds, over 40 miles per hour, while going through water standing on, or running across the roadway"(Courtesy of the SUV Education Center)

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