"We can't allow things that are inaccurate to stand." — The Word of Our Dan, February 19, 2008.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Passive voice

DannyWilliamsAdministrationNewfoundlandLabrador is bent on continuing the historical revisionism practiced by its predecessors when it comes to provincial "committments" to the Trans-Labrador Highway project.

In the Labrador transportation "consultation document" — and a pox on whoever invented that hackeneyed concept — released today, Danny Williams Administration Newfoundland Labrador says:

It was, however, recognized from the beginning that there would not be sufficient resources in the [Labrador Transportation] Fund to complete Phase III (construction of the road from Happy Valley-Goose Bay to Cartwright) of the Trans-Labrador Highway and additional funds would have to be found. [pp. 6-7, emphasis added]
An interesting use of the passive voice.

The money will "have to be found".

On April 3, 1997, the day that Brian Tobin et al. announced the construction of the TLH, this was the official provincial government position:

"Just as in the Roads for Rails agreement, we intend to see that every dollar is used to build the Trans Labrador Highway, and to maintain necessary ferry services in Labrador," said Premier Tobin. "This compensation package makes it possible for the province to complete the Labrador West to Happy Valley-Goose Bay section, and a highway between Cartwright and Red Bay. However, it will not complete the link between Cartwright and Happy Valley-Goose Bay. The province will provide additional funds to complete that portion of the road," he added. [Emphasis added]
Active voice. And a provincial engagement.

Within a few short years, the provincial government, however, had forgotten this promise:

As I have already mentioned, we have tried to enter into a cost-shared funding agreement with the federal government to complete Phase III of the Trans-Labrador Highway, but we have not been successful...

I should note that our commitment to Phase III is not contingent on federal funding. Having said that, however, the opportunity for federal participation still exists. [Emphasis added]
And DannyWilliamsAdministrationNewfoundlandLabrador is quite content to adopt this amnesiac official line:

Government is strongly advocating for the federal government to include Trans Labrador Highway (TLH) as part of the National Highway System, creating a road link between this province and the rest of the country and making TLH road work eligible for federal funding.
A better question is, how do we make the TLH eligible for provincial funding? Fully 90% of the money that has ever gone into the TLH over the past 30 years has been federal, not provincial, in provenance.

When is the province going to come to Labrador with provincial-sourced money — which Labrador provides a disproportional share in the first place — no strings attached, and not contingent on "opportunities for federal participation" or other buck-passing?

Isn't Labrador an integral part of the province, Danny Williams Administration Newfoundland Labrador?

And ...

... and ....

... and if a federal government leader had made that same engagement, that they would "provide additional funds to complete that portion of the road", would the provincial government have ever let them forget it?

Why, then, have the media, the public, and the opposition, let the province off the hook for its 1997 committment?

Well, such as it is.

Such as any provincial "committment" to the TLH is.


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