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

Friday, March 31, 2006

Canada Day

While the usual suspects; the PWG-wavers; the myth-makers and myth-weavers; the nationalists culture vultures who have built "artistic" careers and nice houses in St. John's on Canada Council grants and freelance or contract work with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation; the rats in the basement of the LSPU Hall; the columnists and self-styled journalists who draw their conclusions first and come up with their facts — if any — later; the revisionists; the conspiracy theorists; the kooks and the rest of the hand-wringers; while they mourn the country they supposedly lost on March 31, 1949, I celebrate the country, the wonderful country, that I gained, thanks, in no small part, to my ancestors' wisdom in voting nearly 4 to 1 to join the Canada they had long felt more attached to than to the island that supposedly had jurisdiction over them.

Newfoundland nationalists, yes you, running around today, spouting and sputtering the Newfoundland English version of je me souviens, wearing, metaphorically or otherwise, your cute little black armbands, you will do well to remember this: for over 100 years, the ancestors you praise and glorify denied to mine the very franchise, the public benefits and all the incidents of the nationhood you melodramatically mourn today.

Don't ask me to mourn for your so-called nation.

It wasn't mine. And isn't.

Je me souviens, aussi. Je me souviens bien. Et je me souviendra toujours.

O Canada! nunagivaptigit
Inungnit naglingersiorpotit
Omativut tettdlarput
Nunatsiavut! pivlutit
O Canada! NunatsiaK
pigârpogut, inôjogut illa,
Pigârpogut pivlutit Canada
Vive le Canada, et vive le Labrador. Happy 57th.

Thursday, March 30, 2006


Of all the cockamamie excuses for a tourism celebration, the designation of 2009 as the year to celebrate Bob Bartlett's [sic] trip to the North Pole [sic] has to rank among the cockamemiest.

I guess John F. forgot to remember to remind Danny and his Newfoundland and Newfoundland department of tourism of that other, much more significant anniversary, on this very date, that will occur in 2009.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

A tale of two performing arts spaces

The provincial government is pumping half a million into the LSPU Hall in St. John's.

There is nothing to indicate that the provincial government is holding out for Ottawa to kick in its share.

This may or may not be related to the fact that St. John's is not in Labrador.

Mickles and muckles

We are supposedly supposed to be grateful to Danny Williams, and whoever else, for finally ponying up cash amounting to maybe 50% of the project costs of a high school auditorium project which would be funded 100% by the provincial government anywhere else in the province.

But Labrador, being 50% a federal territory anyway, if Danny's recent behaviour is any indication, must always depend on federal government "commitments" in order to "leverage" any of the provincial tax money it sends to St. John's to come back to the region. Heaven forbid the provincial government actually pay the full freight — even 50% plus a dollar — of anything under provincial jurisdiction in Labrador, that ever-so integral part of the province.

Anyone remember Danny pulling that stunt when he delayed the opening of that very definition of garishness, The Rooms?

The percentage of federal money on the table for the new auditorium is exactly the same as it was three years ago. And time is money. By putting off the project, and holding out for more federal money to pay for something that the provincial government, by rights, ought to have provided to Labrador in any event, with or without a dime of federal funding, Danny Williams, the great financial manager, has gained nothing, and succeeded in doing nothing more than adding a good $1.5-million to the total bill, including the portion of the bill that the province deigns to take responsibility for. Thanks largely to steel prices, the project cost has balooned faster than the general rate of inflation.

As great-grandfather would say, "many a mickle makes a muckle." Danny's ostensible concern about saving mickles has cost both levels of government muckles, and eastern Labrador two years of enjoying the performance space it should never have had a hiatus in enjoying.

Penny wise, pound foolish.

Such is the cost of Danny's determination to turn Labrador into a federal territory (at least expenditure-wise; the province, of course, collects the revenues and wants to double-dip them to boot) and also of his not-so-subtle strategy to drive wedges between Labradorians and the sentiment, historically well-founded, that they do better by the federal government than by the government of the province they are supposedly an integral part of.

Maximize revenues, minimize expenditures, and shift your costs. This is the Danny Williams approach to governing like you would run a business — perhaps soon to even include a few ACOA applications. Nowhere does it show more than north of the Strait of Belle Isle. Maybe ACOA would also pay for the operating costs of the performance space; a little line item that is already getting the buck-pass from the cost-shifters in St. John's.

It might be good for the public accounts, but it's a darned funny way to make 72% of the provincial landmass, and a disproportionately large portion of the provincial economy, to feel "integral".

Friday, March 24, 2006

More paraphrase from Tom Rideout

It would be nice if the media would use more direct quotes instead of indirect speech, but it's at least refreshing to hear Tom Rideout be open, up-front, and honest about why it is the provincial government, after so many years of foot-dragging, is in such a rush to have Sheshatshiu erected into reserve status. From a CP wire story this morning:
The reserve, when created, will put the people of Sheshatshiu on equal footing with every other aboriginal group that lives on reserves across the country. Ottawa will then be responsible for health and education programs, Rideout said, and the people of Sheshatshiu will have more control over their lives and community.

Blue blood is thicker than water

If there were any doubts that the Provincial Communist party of Danny Williams wasn't willing to bend over backwards to make the Harper Conservatives look good, Tom Rideout puts them to rest. VOCM reports today:

Federal Fisheries Minister Loyola Hearn says a shrimp quota is not the solution to the woes facing Harbour Breton. Hearn says the shrimp industry is already dealing with low prices and stiff competition. He says his department had 22 requests for shrimp quotas and he won't be allocating any new quotas this year. He says government shouldn't address the concerns of communities like Harbour Breton by giving them shrimp because he questions where the giving stops. Hearn says it was a bad precedent to start in the beginning and with an industry in trouble, giving everybody shrimp is not the answer.

Fisheries Minister Tom Rideout says the provincial government supported in writing an allocation of 15 hundred tonnes of shrimp for Harbour Breton. Rideout says he's disappointed but it's the federal minister's call.
Does anyone remember Rideout or his party ever being this deferential to Geoff Regan or Herb Dhaliwal or their "call"?

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Why they call it the Speech from the Throne

Why did today's onanistic, Royal-First-Person-, reflected-glory-heavy, and yet for all that, phatic and vacuous provincial Speech from the Throne immediately put me in mind of this guy?

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Danny and His Minions — Then and Now

Labrador is no more special a region of the province than the Burin Peninsula or Corner Brook.

Except when it's less:

"Obviously this cabinet was put together, not for the benefit of the people of the province, but to reward Grimes supporters. Despite its huge size, the new cabinet ignores several regions of the province, particularly the Corner Brook area..." — John Ottenheimer, PC Party press release, February 13, 2001 [no longer online]

"Mr. Speaker, I would ask the minister that, in the light of the fact that Corner Brook has been largely ignored by this government and in fact does not have any Cabinet ministers in that area - I bring that to the attention of the hon. Member for Bay of Islands - and the hon. Member for Humber East, that there is no Cabinet representation. In light of that fact, will government now make a commitment to the people of Corner Brook that it will do something about its future economic growth?" — Danny Williams, House of Assembly Debates (Hansard), April 17, 2002

Trevor Taylor, MHA for the Straits-White Bay North, was given the Labrador affairs portfolio Thursday, along with fisheries and aquaculture. Some people in Labrador are angry the job didn't go to the Labrador's lone Tory MHA, John Hickey in Lake Melville. Taylor says good representation isn't a matter of where a cabinet minister is from. "There are many long-standing grievances that the people of Labrador have," Taylor says. "They haven't been solved simply by having a minister responsible for Labrador and a minister from Labrador sitting at the cabinet table." — Trevor Taylor, CBC News, November 7, 2003 [no longer online]

"You can't have it both ways," he said. "If you're going to cut the cabinet back then obviously certain portions of the province, minute portions of the province, can be left out." — Danny Williams, Canadian Press, November 7, 2003 [no longer online]

On Wednesday, Labrador Affairs critic Yvonne Jones called on the province to set up a special development fund for Labrador. But today, Natural Resources Minister Ed Byrne said the government would do no such thing. He said while the province is committed to improving infrastructure in Labrador, it will not set up special funds earmarked for any part of the province, whether it be Labrador, the Burin pensinsula or any other region. — NTV News, February 17, 2005

"Since I got into politics, I've been at the firing line, so this will just be another step in that," Jackman said. "I think this will speak volumes to the people on the Burin Peninsula," Jackman said of his appointment. "They will have a voice right there at the table, and it couldn't be more timely." — Clyde Jackman on being appointed to the provincial cabinet, CBC News, March 15, 2006

"Given the situation on the Burin Peninsula and the huge issue down there with FPI, then what beter time to have a voice at the table," Williams said. — Danny Williams, justifying the ever-increasing size of his "smaller" provincial cabinet, CBC News, March 15, 2006

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Back in the old days...

...electoral boundaries commissions were appointed on a non-partisan basis.

Not an all-party one.

Doin' the cabinet shuffle shuffle

What would be the political result at the federal level if Newfoundland and Labrador were to elect six opposition MPs, and the Prime Minister, of whichever stripe, didn't appoint the lone government MP to cabinet?

Neither the overtures to Randy Collins, nor the remarkable show of... loyalty... on the part of the MHA for Lake Melville, seem to have paid off. Labrador, the "insignificant region" as Danny Williams called it after his first cabinet was sworn in, is still not sitting at the table that will make important decisions about important Labrador issues.

Or are they insignificant ones? It's so hard to remember these days.

Whatever the merits or demerits of putting John Hickey at the provincial cabinet table, it's extremely difficult for Chairman Dan to justify inflating the size of his much-vaunted smaller cabinet, in order, he said, to give voice to the Burin Peninsula and the many issues it supposedly faces, and yet not do the same, in the fifth configuration of his cabinet in less than three years, in respect of Labrador.

Especially considering that Burin is the region that both Chairman Dan and Mini-Me Byrne have rhetorically cited as another good example of a sub-provincial region which, like Labrador, does not merit any extra special consideration.

Sunday, March 12, 2006


From an NTV news story:

The union also wants the new corporation to develop the Lower Churchill Hydro Project on its own, with financing from Ottawa
It is a wierd, twisted, world of high finance and economics, in which, after getting someone else to invest billions of dollars in your enterprise, you can boast that you have done it on your own. But in a province where Premier Gollum has called on the federal government to "transfer" its equity stake in another project to the province, based on no more of a legal or philosophical basis than "I wants it, my preccccciouuuussssssssss", it's not at all surprising.

But it gets bizarre-er:

payback, the union says, for past federal governments not helping the province in negotiations with Quebec...
Question: if the proponents of the re-opening of the Schefferville-area iron ore mines want to drive a slurry line across Labrador to Sept-Iles... whose side should Ottawa be on?

Further question: what payback does Newfoundland then owe Labrador?

Friday, March 10, 2006

Curiouser and curiouser part umpteen

"Province to Lose Corporate Tax Revenues", reads the VOCM headline:
Finance Minister Loyola Sullivan says Aliant's decision to become an income trust will mean the loss of corporate tax revenues for the province. Some reports suggest the four Atlantic provinces could lose as much as 49 million dollars. Under an income trust, taxes are paid by shareholders who could live anywhere. Sullivan says he knows how much the province will lose, but he can't disclose the figure publicly. Sullivan says they don't know yet when the income loss will be felt.
Questions that may appear on the exam: First, what was the impact on the provincial government's revenue when Cable Atlantic was sold to Rogers in 2000 for $232-million? Secondly, what did Loyola Sullivan have to say about that particular change in corporate ownership and its impact on the provincial government's bottom line?

From the Memory Hole, VII

Williams congratulates Labrador Métis Nation on influential role in Supreme Court decision

ST. JOHN'S, September 22, 2003 — Danny Williams, Leader of the Opposition and MHA for Humber West, congratulated the Labrador Métis Nation on their influential role in Friday's precedent-setting Supreme Court of Canada decision acknowledging certain Métis rights.

Williams said, "While we will take some time to study the ruling and assess its implications responsibly with care and due process, on first assessment we see this decision as a very positive step for the Métis people and for aboriginal relations in Canada.

"We recognize the enormous contribution the Métis people have made to Newfoundland and Labrador and to Canada. The 6,000 members of the Labrador Métis Nation are celebrating this decision as a historic moment in their fight for recognition within the Canadian family.

"I had the privilege of meeting with Labrador Métis Nation President Todd Russell about a week ago on this and other matters, and I hope to continue the positive and constructive dialogue that occurred during that meeting. I am committed to working constructively with the Métis people of Newfoundland and Labrador in the years ahead as we work to build a province in which the rights and aspirations of all our citizens are respected."

- 30 -

Monday, March 06, 2006

Ed Martin pulls another funny

According to VOCM, energy boss Ed Martin says it's "encouraging to see the provincial government and private enterprise poised to take advantage of this province’s outstanding opportunities."

Unless of course the private enterprise is poised to take advantage of one of Labrador's outstanding opportunities. Because the opportunity isn't outstanding. Or because we should do it sinn fein. Or Labrador isn't part of the province. Or because of something.

One way to do it

The Chairman and his council of ministers, ever eager to bask in reflected glory, are to meet with Brad Gushue and team.

Perhaps Danny is following up on his invitation for them to join cabinet.

At least there's an upside: it would guarantee that someone from Labrador is sitting in the Cabinet room!

Saturday, March 04, 2006

From the Memory Hole, VI

Yes, Memory Hole takes requests:


St. John’s Evening Telegram
June 19, 1933

The Salt Codfish Bill having passed Committee stage in the Legislative Council, and the honourable members having expressed themselves in accord with the principles of the measure, with its signature by His Excellency the Governor, Newfoundland will have at last taken the necessary legislative steps to reorganize and, it is to be hoped to revive its greatest industry.

Legislative enactments of this nature are of little value, however, unless all concerned cooperate wholeheartedly in carrying out the regulations. Their whole purpose can be defeated it the public chooses to attempt to evade them and if there is any weakness on the part of those whose duty it is to enforce them. The laxity with which the Game laws are observed and the half-hearted manner in which the regulations have been enforced afford only too convincing evidence of the fact that a legislative measure which is not effectively implemented does nothing more than to encourage disregard of authority.

In an article conspicuously displayed in the Toronto Saturday Night of June 10th, the writer, who is described in the headnote as “an able scientist and economist who is well acquainted with conditions,” and who signs himself “Islander,” has little to say to the credit of Newfoundland or its people. He expresses the opinion that the natural resources upon the development of which the islanders rely for economic recovery are chimeras. No one, says the writer, “has as yet deliberately pricked the bubble of delusion and shown the people the true limitations of their inheritance.” Speaking of the country’s administration, he declares that Newfoundland has never been wisely governed, and that “every inch of progress has been accompanied by acts of either gross incompetence or downright fraud.” The people are accused to have been as busy as their representatives in looting the Treasury. Throughout the whole article, there is little to suggest that Newfoundland or the people had any redeeming virtues and there was little hope of further progress or prosperity.

By a coincidence, the Toronto Financial Post publishes on the same date a Newfoundland Supplement in which are described the many steps taken by the people of the Dominion to overcome the difficulties by which they have been beset, and writers who are certainly not less familiar with conditions than the Saturday Night contributor substantially support their claim regarding the possibilities of further industrial development and the enterprise of the people by facts and figures, instead of by dealing in generalities. The Telegram believes that the Financial Post’s Supplement supplies an effective rebuttal to the misleading and discourteous account of conditions published in the Toronto Saturday Night, which not for the first time has lent its columns to articles of a similar derogatory nature regarding Newfoundland affairs. The whole account is so entirely out of keeping with the tone of courtesy and neighbourliness displayed by the Canadian press generally. that it can only be inferred that Saturday Night, either by accident or for some unaccountable reason has permitted a writer with some grudge against the Dominion to avail of its pages to vent his spleen upon us.

The matter is only referred to in order to emphasise the need that exists for all sections of the population vigorously and earnestly to devote themselves to the country’s interests, for it is imperative at this time in particular that the citizens of Newfoundland should convince the world that by their own efforts they am determined to “see it through,” and that they have the utmost confidence in their country and in their own qualities to surmount the difficulties which it has encountered.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Integral part of the province

On the wire today:

Province to shine as host of annual summer meeting of Council of the Federation

Newfoundland and Labrador will command the country’s attention this summer when the province hosts the nation’s premiers for the annual summer meeting of the Council of the Federation (COF).

The conference will be held in St. John’s from July 26-28, with a pre-conference meeting scheduled in the Humber Valley region on July 25.
Yip, that Danny Williams sure is doing a bang-up job making Labrador feel like an integral part of the province, what with hosting all these national and international conferences all around the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, all the way from St. John's to Corner Brook.