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

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

“For what it’s worth”, indeed!

In Tuesday’s Telegram we learn in a Craig Jackson piece that Danny Williams is preparing to do unto Dion what he bin done unto Harper and Martin:

Williams also plans to find out Dion’s position on this province’s attempt to secure a federal loan guarantee as a means of developing the Lower [sic] Churchill River’s hydroelectric potential.
In all seriousness, what is left to “attempt to secure”?

According to Danny Williams, Q.C., M.H.A., G.L., G.N., C.I., E.L.* (May His Preternaturally Thick Hair Always Be Perfectly Parted) himself, he has already secured it.

Or, as D.W., Q.C., M.H.A., G.L., G.N., C.I., E.L. (M.H.P.T.H.A.B.P.P.) might say, “we gawt it!!!”

Think back to last January, when Harper wrote Danny in these not overly-committal terms. In response to Danny’s question:
Does your party support efforts to develop the hydro-power resources of the Lower Churchill River System for the primary benefit of Newfoundland and Labrador, including the provision of a Federal Government guarantee to proceed with the project?
Stephen – can we call you Steve? – replied:

We support this proposal in principle and believe that it is important for Newfoundland and Labrador to have greater control of its energy mix.A Conservative government would welcome discussions on this initiative and would hope that the potential exists for it to proceed in the spirit of past successes such as the Hibernia project.
Bof! But that didn’t stop Danny from spinning it as yet another of His Great Victories™:

The Conservative and NDP responses were very encouraging on several fronts, including support for a loan guarantee for the development of the lower Churchill...
As he told CBC on January 17:

Williams said Martin failed to match the other parties’ commitments on issues such as a loan guarantee to develop a hydroelectric project on the lower Churchill River,
And as Tom Rideout gushed on behalf of the frequently-vacationing Boss (as they used to say about Richard Hatfield, just because he’s Premier of a province, doesn’t mean he’s gotta live there):

“We're pleased that he’s joined sides with the Conservatives in terms of providing a guarantee for the development of the Lower Churchill.”
In the next day’s Telegram, Rob Antle reported:

Liberal Leader Paul Martin stresses his party’s record, recently reached federal-provincial agreements and ongoing programs in response to a letter on local issues from Premier Danny Williams. But Williams panned the response, saying it doesn’t stack up against those provided by Conservative Leader Stephen Harper and NDP Leader Jack Layton.
And with only three more sleeps to election day, Craig Jackson reported in the pages of the same outlet:

Williams has concluded Martin’s response isn’t on par with that of Layton or Harper, noting he finds the Conservative and NDP reaction of “support for a loan guarantee for the development of the Lower Churchill” very encouraging.
It was a good thing Danny stayed out of the 2006 election campaign, as he claimed to have done. It must have been dizzying to do all that pro-Harper, pro-NDP, anti-Liberal spinning in the last week of the election campaign, while simultaneously staying out of it!.

Pass the Gravol.

Post-election, as late as May 17, Danny was still playing the “we gawt it!!!” charade. As he told the House of Assembly:
With regard to the commitment of the Prime Minister: I wrote the Prime Minister during the last election as I wrote a previous Prime Minister during a previous election. I wrote all leaders and got commitments from them in various aspects of the election. This particular Prime Minister came back and said that he would seriously consider a guarantee. When he was in St. John’s, at an interview at CBC, he said: I am quite prepared to do that. Now, that is a definitive commitment and we will hold that government to that commitment.
So with today’s news that Danny is going to “attempt to secure” a Grand River (so-called “Lower Churchill”) loan guarantee from Stéphane Dion, it can only mean the following:

First, that contrary to his own spin, Great Negotiator™ did NOT secure support for a loan guarantee from Stephen Harper... just as a plain reading of the black letter of Harper’s letter would tell anyone who is literate in English, let alone a Great Lawyer™.

And second, that Great Negotiator™ spun, and blatantly lied, by saying, repeatedly, that he had secured such a loan guarantee in the first place.

Great Negotiator™ nearly, if inadvertantly, conceded as much late last week. As the CBC reported:
A key point, with political implications, is securing a loan guarantee from the federal government that could run between $6 billion and $9 billion.

Williams is confident that Prime Minister Stephen Harper will come through with such a guarantee.

“I have a commitment in writing from the prime minister, for what it’s worth,” said Williams, referring to a letter Harper wrote Jan. 4, during the federal election campaign.
Last winter, Great Negotiator™ would tell all who would listen, that it was worth, well, a loan guarantee.

Now... not so much. Great Negotiator™ wants us all to forget his own spin and his own shilling for his federal Conservative brethren.

All of which makes Williams’ attack on Bernard Lord all the more funny, and pathetic:
“Obviously [Bernard Lord] and Stephen Harper are very, very close,” Williams said. “He hitched his wagon to Stephen Harper’s horse during the New Brunswick election, and you know where that got him.”
Danny Williams – and for that matter virtually his entire caucus – did exactly the same thing during the 2006 federal election. Despite his earnest protests to the contrary, he and his provincial party were very much involving themselves in the federal campaign by praising the very Harper letter Great Negotiator™ now poo-poos.

They spun. They campaigned. They hitched their wagons to Stephen Harper’s horse. Not just on the empty Lower Churchill “commitment”, either.

And they got what you inevitably get when you sit behind a horse.

If Danny Williams is now, nearly a year later, questioning what Harper’s promise (such as it is) is worth, and is “attempting to secure” what he said, over and over and over again, that he already had… it can only mean that he never actually had it in the first place.

And that he publicly, knowingly, and repeatedly, lied about having it.


* Queen’s Counsel, Member of the House of Assembly, Glorious Leader, Great Negotiator, Captain of Industry, Emperor of Labrador.


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