Danny Williams’ announced retirement as Newfoundland Premier brought to mind my chance encounter with him, which occurred in an unlikely setting.

We were in Barcelona Airport on Canada Day 2009, waiting for our flight to Madrid while on holiday.  The Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, flanked by an aide, came along and sat in the waiting-area seat back-to-back with mine, and we soon struck up a lively conversation.  He was meeting with the Spanish to talk about fishing.  Before long we were all ranting about Stephen Harper.  He indicated general agreement with my characterization of the Prime Minister as “a one-man conspiracy against civilization.”

Williams told us that Harper’s first words to him were “Don’t you fuck up my country.”

Astute readers will note: 

1.  shocking profanity from a god-fearing conservative, and

2. more revealingly, the use of the first person singular possessive pronoun in relation to Canada

Williams told us that he replied:  “Don’t you fuck up my province or I’ll chase you to the four corners of the earth”.

By the way, the Barcelona Airport is an astonishing, gorgeous public building, featuring an expanse of polished dark marble flooring which creates the illusion that you are walking on water.  Maybe that made Williams consider it an appropriate venue.