Sunday, April 26, 2015


The movie Danny, a highly affectionate portrait of the ninth premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, the pugnacious Danny Williams, is set against the backdrop of Newfoundland history. When Newfoundland - somewhat reluctantly - joins Confederation at England's urging, it was a resource-rich independent nation. Williams argues vigorously that Canada gained more than Newfoundland from the Union. This was a minority opinion in Canada, where Newfoundland was a 'have-not' province and the recipient of enormous transfer payments from Ottawa. However Williams contends this wouldn't have been the case if Newfoundland had received its fair share from the Churchill hydro project.

Williams isn't going to let that happen again, even if it takes press-conference theatrics like pointing to Canadian flags and vowing they're coming down if Newfoundland doesn't get what it wants. He negotiates a good deal for the lower Churchill hydro project and stares down Paul Martin, then the Prime Minister of Canada, to wrest a hefty share of revenue from Newfoundland's offshore oil. Suddenly, Newfoundland is a 'have' province. William's astute business tactics have changed the fortunes of Newfoundland and the little guy is the most popular premier in 8 out of 10 provinces.

Williams' incandescent pride in Newfoundland illuminates the movie.  And his fierce tactics remind you of an enforcer in hockey, the game he loves.

This movie is an uncritical look at a colourful character and is a rollicking good time.

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