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

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Loyola Efford

“Let me say it, and let me say it clear: the deal is done. Do you want it, Mr. Sullivan? Do you want it, Mr. Williams? There are no more changes.”

John Efford speaking about the Atlantic Accord, quoted in the St. John’s Telegram, October 26, 2004

“Right now we are just waiting to see what the answer will be. It’s not a deadline or an Efford-type ‘take it or leave it.’”

– Loyola Hearn speaking about an offer to Gander Airport, quoted in the St. John’s Telegram, November 28, 2006

“This is the offer. Do you want to be part of this? Or do you not?... Do you want to buy time or don't you? And we're waiting for an answer... Is there a future for Gander? If the people of Gander want it. And if they don’t, well then, there’s not much we can do.”

Loyola Hearn, same subject, quoted on CBC Radio News, November 30, 2006

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The job description didn't say you can't be stunned

Elections Newfoundland and Labrador is "A Non-Partisan Office Responsible for the Conduct of Provincial Elections and Plebiscites."

The qualifications are impartiality, not intelligence or competence. Which is good. Because the incumbent in the office of Chief Electoral Officer, well... res ipsa loquitur. From yesterday's Telegram:
Voting window could widen to accommodate Alberta exodus
Rob Antle
The Telegram
November 28, 2006, p. A1

The province may be losing its workers, but it's hoping not to lose their votes.

Elections officials are proposing changes that would allow voters to cast their ballots nearly two months in advance of the 2007 provincial election, to accommodate Newfoundlanders working out west.

"The idea is to try to make it as flexible and as open and as transparent (as possible), and to give everybody the full opportunity and the fair opportunity to cast their ballots," chief electoral officer Chuck Furey told The Telegram.

Furey said his proposal would allow voters to cast those special ballots up to four weeks before the writ is officially dropped.
It is not clear how the CEO plans to have people vote, not just before the writ is dropped, which means before there are, for electoral law purposes, any candidates to vote for, but, in many cases, even before there are even candidates under the challenging parties' internal nomination rules.

How can you vote without knowing who to vote for (or against)?

Between this, and Chuck's injection of himself into the highly-political Marine Atlantic issue, and Roger Grimes, one of three partisan appointees to the Electoral Boundaries Commission, inserting himself back into politics on the airwaves (VOCM, October 5, 18, 21 and 23) and in the pages of The Telegram last month ("A goose egg for the Premier", October 28), surely someone will make it a point to reform, once and for all, how these important, and supposedly impartial jobs are filled in the future.

English as she is spoke

From Monday's House of Assembly proceedings, these little gems:

Mr. Speaker, this government has been engaged with our federal counterparts. This is a number one priority, the Trans-Labrador Highway, for the Department of Transportation and Works and for the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador.
"A" number one priority?

How many "number one" priorities is it possible to have simultaneously?

Moving along:
We have had a number of meetings, and I can say with all confidence today, Mr. Speaker, that at the end of the day here, we will see the hard surfacing of the Trans-Labrador Highway start as early as next June.
Ahh... the subtleties and nuance of the English language.

"As early as", of course, is a very, very, very different thing from "by".

"By" as in:

In fact, the then minister, Mr. Speaker, predicted an agreement by June

Or "by" as in:

Hickey hopes the final deal will be inked before Christmas.
Or "by" as in:

Minister Cannon... also committed to sign an agreement by the end of the year
Or "by" as in this amusing bit from the October 2, 2006, edition of The Labradorian, p. A3:

"I also spoke with the minister and told him I would be in Ottawa certainly by by mid-October to look at these issues and have this agreement signed by the end of October or the first of November."

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Please pee on my rug

Once again, Danny Williams Administration NewfoundlandLabrador has reduced its role, as a sovereign government with sovereign powers within provincial heads of jurisdiction, to that of another interest group going to Ottawa looking for cash:
“This work will provide us with a solid foundation on which to move forward with the restoration of the Colonial Building and the development of an innovative approach to interpreting the province’s fascinating political history,” added Minister Hedderson. “To that end, a request will be made to our federal counterparts for a contribution of funding for this very important project.”
Colonial Building is owned by the provincial government. It is under provincial jurisdiction.

It is increasingly clear that no front is too small in the Battle to Blame Canada. For everything. Rest assured, that this, like the Labrador highway, like the Mealy Mountain auditorium, like any of a couple dozen other Blame Canada irons smouldering quietly away in the Blame Canada fire, is placed there to hold in reserve for the next round of Blame Canada sabre-rattling rah-rah jingoistic PWG-waving hysteria that the Chairman may wish to whip up when the time — and the polling figures — suit.

“They won't give use the money to [FILL IN BLANK]. Are we even really part of Canada? Victoria to Halifax! Our fair share! Down with the causeway!”

Which makes it all the more obvious that Chairman Dan has not yet received the memo from the party he supported, and which he exhorted all his Comrade-Citizens to support, in the last two federal elections. For his benefit, it is excerpted here, from this source:
When governments are good at the things they need to do, everyone benefits. Making governments more focused on the things they need to do well will improve services and help build a climate for the overall economy to perform better. Advantage Canada will:
  • Restore fiscal balance by limiting federal spending power
    In restoring fiscal balance, Canada’s New Government is committed to limiting the use of the federal spending power and focusing new spending in areas of federal responsibility.

    Canada’s New Government is committed to restoring fiscal balance. The result will be a principle-based transfer system, with a clearer delineation of responsibilities among different orders of government, and with greater overall efficiency for governments and enhanced accountability for citizens.

    To this end, the Government is committed to:

    • Limiting the use of the federal spending power.
    In all the talk about fixing the supposed “fiscal imbalance”, Premiers heard what they wanted to hear. Those who wanted to hear “huzzah! we'll be getting more cash from Ottawa”... well, that's what they heard.

    The real message in the “fix the fiscal imbalance” message may have been a little more subtle, and a lot less palatable to those provinces who view their role as bringing home not only their own-source bacon, but transfer-payment bacon and general federal program spending bacon as well.

    Already, the federal Tories have used variations of this theme, that they won't “intrude” on areas of provincial jurisdiction, to justify everything from the failure to live up to political highway promises in New Brunswick, to the dismantling of federal literacy programs.

    What are the odds that the federal Conservatives would look favourably on Hedderson's request, even if — and yes, this is a foreign concept to those who may be reading in Confederation Building — even if there were a program, voted by Parliament, with a design approved by Treasury Board, for that request to be directed to in a formal application?

    Chairman, Hedderson, and the rest: don't say you didn't know.

    Thursday, November 23, 2006

    On skin

    Some people are thick-skinned.

    Some people are thin-skinned.

    Some people have no skin at all.

    The New Math

    From the Ceeb via Lono, an astounding quote from The Chairman:
    He said a competing network will lead to other benefits, but "it is not possible to quantify the benefits exactly because the number is so huge and so enormous that you cannot quantify it. It is in the hundreds, and hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars," Williams told the legislature.
    Ok. Let's see here.

    The benefits are not quantifiable. That is, they cannot be measured. Yet The Chairman knows that the benefits are (a) huge enough to be not quantifiable, and (b) in the hundreds, and hundreds, and hundreds of millions of dollars. That is to say, they are at least three hundred million dollars (hundreds and hundreds and hundreds), and possibly even up to $1.9-billion, being nineteen hundreds of millions. (If the figure were $2-billion or more, one presumes The Chairman's Smallwoodesque flight of purple-prosed accounting would be "billions of dollars", not "hundreds, and hundreds and hundreds of millions".)

    So, the benefits manage to be simultaneously quantified as not-quantifiable, and in the hundreds (and hundreds and hundreds) of millions of dollars. They can't be quantified, yet they have been. And though not quantifiable, they are quantified enough that The Chairman can predict that they are not quantifiable. That is, having measured, he has determined that they cannot be measured.

    The whole concept of differently-large infinities is wierd enough. But this new Dannymath... something else altogether.

    Wednesday, November 22, 2006

    Another promise bites the dust

    So much for "openness" and "transparency".

    Liz and Company should know, but obviously don't, that when you start shutting cameras and recording equipment out of "public meetings" and "media briefings"... it's usually probative, if not conclusive evidence that the wheels are coming off the bus.

    Time to reflect

    It’s days like this you really wonder whether Danny Williams was really just joking about abolishing the House of Assembly.

    Why bother? Not when you can get unanimous consent to pass a bill at First, Second, and Third Reading, almost at a shot, like what happened with Bill 34 on Tuesday afternoon.

    It’s surprising Ed wasn’t put on standby to give it Royal Assent, too.

    What’s Bill 34, you (both of you) are asking?

    It’s the Act that brings Newfoundland and Labrador in line with George Bush’s ill-conceived idea to extend daylight savings time. “Ill-conceived”, because no one – certainly not the House of Assembly of a province whose populated ecumene extends to north of 56° – has meaningfully considered the impact of this move in higher latitudes. In Tuesday’s debate only Randy Collins provided even a token attempt at analyzing the bill’s effect.

    Which is? Well, that’s complicated.

    At present, when November rolls around, the clocks have already moved back to standard time. Notwithstanding the Standard Time Act, the majority of Labrador’s population and landmass – indeed, the majority of the provincial landmass – observes Atlantic, not Newfoundland Time.

    (The power exists within the Act to vary local time observance by regulation; this power does not, however, seem to have been invoked in the case of Labrador, where people have voted with their clocks.)

    On November 1, the sun rises in Labrador at 7:00 a.m., give or take a few minutes depending on latitude or longitude. In late fall, winter, and early spring, the higher the latitude, the shorter the day, and the later and earlier, by local solar time, that the sun rises and sets respectively. Longitudinally, a location further west in a time zone may still be in darkness while a location to the east, but within the same time zone, has already observed local sunrise.

    An extreme example will illustrate. Take Eastern Time, observed in Canada ,at least in summer, as far east as Blanc-Sablon on the Labrador border, and as far west as Thunder Bay, Ontario. Obviously, the sun rises in Blanc-Sablon before it does in Thunder Bay, Blanc-Sablon being 1438 miles, as the crow flies, to the east. So, on, say, June 1st, the sun rises at 3:40 a.m., local (Atlantic Standard/Eastern Daylight) time in Blanc-Sablon, while in Thunder Bay, running on the same clock, the sun does not appear until 5:59 a.m.

    This problem is especially acute in China, which despite extending longitudinally east-west far enough to justify at least three, and possibly four time zones, the central government has mandated that the entire country run on Beijing time. Obviously, in a country that stretches north-south from the latitude of Jamaica to that of Labrador City, and east-west as far as St. John’s is from Regina, there is ample room for perverse results and inconvenience. In the Chinese far west, children go to school, and workers to their jobs, in the dark.

    To help illustrate the local situation, this figure shows the terminator (the division between the dark and sunlit hemispheres of the earth) as it would be on an early November morning. The red line is the boundary between the observation of Newfoundland Time and Atlantic Time. (Other time zone boundaries are not shown.)

    You can see that at a moment when Newfoundland and eastern Labrador will have already greeted the morning, northern and western Labrador will still be waiting for the sun to rise. While not as extreme as the impact of the ludicrous 1980s experiment with Double Daylight Saving Time, the effect will still be that the morning pre-dawn hours will still extend up to, and even after, 8:00 a.m. On November 1, sunrise in St. John’s will be at 7:43 a.m. In Cartwright, it will be 7:48. In Rigolet, 7:55, Goose Bay 8:00, Mary’s Harbour 8:09, Port aux Basques 8:10, L’anse au Clair 8:11, Nain and Churchill Falls 8:16, and Wabush, where the combined effect of latitude and longitude is most severe, 8:25.

    Similar late sunrises will also be experienced in early November throughout the provincial and territorial north in Canada, especially in communities near the western edge of their time zones, such as northwestern Ontario and the Peace River country of northwestern Alberta.

    It may not be the biggest problem in the province. But it did deserve greater consideration than a throw-away press release last spring, and a rubber-stamp “debate” in the fall.

    If the province really wants us to consider time-zone issues, perhaps it’s time – pun intended – to give serious consideration to abolishing the anachronistic and astronomically unjustified half-hour Newfoundland time zone. All one province, right?

    Quick, before Danny’s dream of abolishing the legislature, for whatever difference that would (or would not) make, comes to reality.

    Promises, promises

    Michael Rigler of the Western Star, published in today's Telegram, reports on the Nicholsville bridge situation:
    Deer Lake Mayor Darryl Kelly and Deputy Mayor Barbara Ball were called to a meeting with Municipal Affairs Minister Jack Byrne, Transport Minister John Hickey and Humber Valley MHA Kathy Goudie in St. John's Monday. When the municipal politicians walked out of Confederation Building, they had a commitment on the contract Deer Lake signed with the government in 1997 to replace the aging structure at no cost to the municipality. [Emphasis added.]

    The current provincial government has agreed to live up to a 1997 transportation committment made by the previous Liberal government of Brian Tobin.

    Perhaps then there is hope that this other 1997 transportation committment made by the previous Liberal government of Brian Tobin:
    The province will provide additional funds to complete that portion of the road...[i.e., Phase III of the Trans-Labrador Highway]
    will be honoured by Danny's Minions, without further passing of the buck to, and begging for the bucks from, the federal government.

    "Integral part of the province... "right?

    Tuesday, November 21, 2006

    Repeat a lie often enough...

    ...and it becomes truth.

    Newfoundland nationalists know this very well, whence the "Marine Atlantic is our Trans-Canada Highway" myth. Its latest iteration was published today in the Telegram. Barb Sweet indirectly quotes Chuck Furey as follows:
    Furey said Ottawa is obligated to provide a decent service as an extension of the Trans-Canada Highway, but has not done that so far despite "On Deck and Below" and an intervening Marine Atlantic report. [Emphasis added.]
    "Ottawa" is obliged to do no such thing... and whatever "an extension of the Trans-Canada Highway" is supposed to mean anyway.

    The more extreme iterations of the Marine Atlantic myth, not infrequently heard at the Ministry of Truth, or in various shady corners of the bizarrosphere world of Newfoundlant nationalist blogging, include the blatant lie that the Terms of Union say that the ferry is supposed to be free!

    For the record, the federal government's Gulf ferry obligations are spelled out in the Terms of Union, as follows:
    32. (1) Canada will maintain in accordance with the traffi c offering a freight and passenger steamship service between North Sydney and Port aux Basques which, on completion of a motor highway between Corner Brook and Port aux Basques, will include suitable provision for the carriage of motor vehicles.

    (2) For the purpose of railway rate regulation the Island of Newfoundland will be included in the Maritime region of Canada, and through traffic moving between North Sydney and Port aux Basques will be treated as all-rail traffic.

    (3) All legislation of the Parliament of Canada providing for special rates on traffic moving within, into, or out of, the Maritime region will, as far as appropriate, be made applicable to the Island of Newfoundland.
    It's too bad the Furey quote is indirect rather than direct. It would be nice to know just how far Furey, in his own words, pushed the Newfoundland nationalist Marine Atlantic mythology.

    Monday, November 20, 2006

    Hot off the wire

    As Jennifer Ditchburn reported for CP today from Hanoi:
    "I think if you're going to have frank discussions with other leaders, then you know, except obviously for the broad objectives you're trying to pursue, I think the details of those discussions have to be private," Harper said. "If you run out of private discussions every 10 minutes and give a play-by-play of everything that was said, nobody will have a frank discussion with you."

    "This means you, Danny," he added, cryptically.

    Saturday, November 18, 2006


    If Simon is editing the debates of the Nunavut legislature, does that mean that 200 years from now there'll be controversies over whether a particular, under-the-breath, offensive remark was captured in the "Lono", instead of in the Hansard?

    Wednesday, November 15, 2006

    Danny, meet Ed. Ed, Danny.

    In the summer doldrums of 2005, Labrador and Newfoundland Hydro President Ed Martin told the Telegram, in an August 9th article by Deana Stokes Sullivan:

    "Hydro has been instructed to fully evaluate the submarine and land transmission options," Martin said. "This includes a potential high-voltage, direct-current line to the island."
    Then, just over a year ago, on October 24, 2005, the Labradorian reported that the dream — the Newfoundland dream — of an “infeed” of Labrador hydro to Newfoundland, was effectively dead:

    Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro Chief Executive Officer Ed Martin believes transmitting power from the proposed Lower Churchill development through Quebec and not to the island is the best available option.…

    “If we can do a deal across Quebec and into Ontario that would probably be our best deal, if we can get the right structure for that deal… We’ll [Hydro] decide on what power is being sold, what power will be retained for recall in Labrador, will there be an infeed or not…all those decisions on the configurations will have to happen in the next three to four months.”
    Earlier this year, the Telegram also reported on the progress of the so-called “Lower Churchill” project. As Jamie Baker wrote on August 1:

    As the province waits for Quebec to respond to an application for permission to transmit Lower Churchill power, Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro announced Monday it is also seeking a connection assessment and approval from one of the power source's likely customers — Ontario.
    And Craig Jackson reported in the same paper on January 21:

    The provincial government has signaled it may be willing to go it alone on development of the Lower Churchill hydro project by applying to Hydro Quebec TransEnergie, the transmission division of Hydro Quebec, for approval to wheel Labrador power through its transmission system.
    Neither of which reports gave any indication that an “infeed” was on the table. And why should it be? Last year this time, Ed Martin was saying it was definitely off. And both of these accounts reinforce the plan to cash-crop Labrador hydro in Ontario and Quebc markets.

    So what, then, was Danny doing on the Ministry of Truth with Comrade Bill Rowe this afternoon, once again beating the ”infeed” drum, as part of a broader plan, supposedly, to string pipelines, cables, and transmission lines from Newfoundland to ”Canada”, so that, in his words, slightly paraphrased, Newfoundland and Labrador would finally become part of North America?

    Is the infeed on? Or off?

    Danny and Ed need to get their stories straight.

    (For that matter, Danny and half his cabinet need to do the same thing, these days.)

    So which is it?

    Is a hydro line from Labrador to Newfoundland part of Danny’s plan — if he has one — for the so-called “Lower Churchill”?

    Or isn’t it?

    The transmission line from Gull Island Rapids to Newfoundland, bypassing coastal Labrador, is either part of Danny’s Orwellianly-named “go-it-alone” plan, dependent on the financing and other contributions of Hydro-Quebec and the federal government, or it is not part of the plan.

    But it cannot simultaneously be both.

    And if an “infeed” is part of the plan — with or without transmission to Quebec and Ontario — what, then, of Labrador’s energy needs… especially in the areas which depend on diesel or power imported from Hydro-Quebec? (Yes, Danny, yes... all in the energy plan, we know, we know.)

    With Danny making himself available to all kinds of media outlets these days, someone ought to ask him...

    Saturday, November 11, 2006

    Diapers redux

    Danny deflects more dirty diapers. From today's Telegram:

    Williams's office referred questions to Innovation Minister Trevor Taylor...

    who today logged his fourth and fifth talk-radio appearances in the past week, in defence of the Cable Guys, during the Ministry of Truth's morning and afternoon sessions.

    Friday, November 10, 2006

    Yet Another Tale of Two Standards

    The ostensible reason for driving private energy development out of Labrador was the ongoing planning of the energy plan. As then-Minister Ed Byrne said on January 18:
    "We are currently in the process of the most comprehensive energy policy review ever undertaken in this province to develop an Energy Plan. This plan will set out the framework for policy decisions on how our energy sources are developed to achieve maximum benefit for the province. Obviously, the development of wind power will be a component of that plan. As a result we will not be making any decisions on such large wind development projects until government has its Energy Plan complete."
    and on January 26:
    "When [Ventus] made its presentation to government of its proposal, I was very clear and definitive with the partnership representatives that we are in the process of developing our provincial energy plan and, obviously, the development of wind projects would be a key element of the plan. Therefore, government was not going to make any decision regarding these projects until that process is complete."
    Horizon Legacy Energy, a private energy company just like those which, apparently, must be kept out of Labrador at all costs, has had its private-sector wind energy project at Buchans approved by the politburo Minister of Environment and Conservation.

    Even though that provincial energy plan, until which no decision on wind energy was to have been made, has been delayed by Glorious Procrastinator.

    Another Tale of Two Standards

    There are ruts on the Outer Ring Road in St. John's.

    There are calls for a guard rail.

    So, without advocating that the Outer Ring Road be made "eligible for federal funding", and without making it "subject to Federal cost shared commitment", the provincial government responds to a fatal accident, and goes ahead and throws money at it.

    No strings attached.

    As NTV reports:
    Outer Ring Road Upgrades
    November 9, 2006

    For those who use the Outer Ring Road there is one construction site that is welcome. Contractors began the process of resurfacing the rut ridden portion of the Trans Canada Highway between Thorborn Road and Paradise in the westbound lane. The four hundred thousand dollars worth of work comes on the heals of complaints about the roads condition following a fatal accident on Monday. Police say that black ice was a factor and they’re investigating whether speed was a factor in the mishap that saw a truck lose control cross the median and collide with an oncoming car. Resurfacing is not where the governments review of the highly criticized road will end… in fact, a spokesperson with the Department of Transportation says government is now reviewing whether a guard rail system should be installed to prevent vehicles from crossing the center divider between the east and westbound lanes.


    The city of St. John’s is responsible for all roads within the city except for the Outer Ring Road and Pitts Memorial Drive…

    Sunshine and rain

    As a provincial Premier, Danny Wiliams has exclusive jurisdiction over sunshine.

    When it's not Canada's fault, his ministers have full responsibility for rain.

    Exhibit 9,326 on the subject. (Not that another was needed.)

    The substance is bad enough, and on the available evidence appears to have seriously rattled DannyWilliamsAdministrationNewfoundlandLabrador.

    But the style? Wowsers:

    Williams's office referred questions to the provincial innovation's minister, who did not immediately return a request for an interview.
    How hard must it suck to be Kathy Blunderdale? This is the second stinking, steaming diaper that Danny has handed her in recent weeks.

    But curiously, after having sicced seven ministers and MHAs onto the Ministry of Truth's airwaves since Friday morning last, including repeat visits by Shawn Skinner and Trevor Taylor, to say nothing of the usual brigade of talking-points armed, unelected, ordinary comrade-citizens, singing the praises of the Cable Guys' plan and condemning as unpatriotic anyone who dares, dares question the wisdom of sinking $15-million in tax dollars into it, it would seem that at His behest, caucus, cabinet, and Conservative callers have, just as quickly, shut right up.

    Elected Conservatives have made no talk-radio comments on the subject since Dave Denine on Wednesday morning. (Comrade-citizen "Michael" appears not to have received the memo before yesterday afternoon's Back Talk. Hi, Liz!)

    Oh — surprise, surprise: it's a CRA polling period.

    So this is the modus operandi in what increasingly looks like a slightly desperate bunker-in-the-sky over Confederation Building.

    Get your ministers to concede defeat after hours on a Friday night. Have your minions defend your indefensibles.

    But you are President of the Executive Council, and Minister of Sunshine.

    Let the mortals run the Department of Rain.

    Ignore the man behind the curtain.

    Government stands limp

    While DannyWilliamsAdministrationNewfoundlandLabrador "stands firm" on something they have no jurisdiction over, DannyWilliamsAdministrationNewfoundlandLabrador shows absolutely no interest in the federal-provincial "joint management" that everyone has supposedly been clamouring for, forever.

    Indeed, in his comments before the Senate fish committee, DannyWilliamsAdministrationNewfoundlandLabrador fisheries minister Tom Rideout repeatedly re-inforces the DannyWilliamsAdministrationNewfoundlandLabrador official line that the federal government has, and should have, jurisdiction over fisheries:

    While the accomplishments at the NAFO meeting are significant, the implementation of these measures has yet to be tested. We need to see these new policies in action, and until we are confident that they will effectively address non-compliance, we do not see this as a substitution for Canadian custodial management.


    By applying custodial management out to the edge of the continental shelf, Canada would manage the stocks that currently straddle the 200 mile limit.


    As the coastal state, Canada would assume responsibility for ensuring that conservation and scientifically-based management is applied. Canada would be responsible for surveillance and enforcement.


    I would also like to take this opportunity to reiterate our government’s support of Canada in not agreeing to an outright ban on bottom trawling on the high seas. We support the position that a ban on bottom trawling outside of 200 miles would result in tremendous pressure on our country to implement the same ban within 200 miles.
    So much easier to Blame Canada. Blame the Europeans. Do anything, anything, anything at all, other than take the greater provincial role in fisheries management that is supposedly the province's historical constitutional demand.

    And that is supposedly on offer from the government of Stephen Harper and Loyola Hearn.

    But recall that at the heights — or in the depths — of the Roger Grimes crypto-separatist sabre-rattling, Danny was very cagey, never actually stating support for federal-provincial joint management of the fisheries. As the Hansard of May 8, 2003 shows:

    Mr. Speaker, I take great pleasure in joining with the comments and the statement by the Premier, and his initiative. I actually consider it a compliment to our party and to our policies over the years, because we have stood for this position for a long time. As a matter of fact, Mr. Speaker, in our Blue Book during the last election, under the leadership of the Opposition House Leader, we stated, "A national agreement to discuss renegotiating constitutional roles and responsibilities in the fisheries, achieved by our party in the late eighties, was subsequently quashed by the Liberals at a time when it would have benefitted us most. A PC Government will aggressively pursue a Canada-Newfoundland Fisheries Agreement providing for a joint decision-making process to give the Province a meaningful say in decisions on fisheries management, which have a major impact on our economy and our social fabric."

    As well, Mr. Speaker, during that election, Leader Byrne, House Leader, said: The PC Party stands firmly with the communities in Newfoundland and Labrador whose economy, heritage and very existence were build upon the fishery. We stand with the men and women who look for leadership in rebuilding the industry and restoring it as one of the pillars of our economy. With these words, Ed Byrne, today signed a contract on fisheries, a clear expression of the Progressive Conservative commitment to Newfoundland and Labrador fishers and plant workers. That was in February of 1999. It could have been implemented four years ago.

    In that contract, a Progressive Conservative Government will aggressively pursue a Canada-Newfoundland Fisheries Agreement providing for a joint decision-making process to give the Province a meaningful say in decisions on fisheries management which have a major impact on our economy and social fabric.

    In June of 2000 our Fisheries Critic, the Member for Bonavista South: Opposition Fisheries Critic, Roger Fitzgerald, says Atlantic Accord-like shared fisheries management is a timely solution to the problem underlying the latest fisheries allocation crisis. Fitzgerald’s proposal brings order and balance to fisheries management. The Newfoundland Government should insist on the establishment of a new management regime that is mandated and protected under federal and provincial law. This can be done through a fisheries management accord.

    Mr. Speaker, our party is very, very clear on the record and have been for some considerable period of time, so, I certainly welcome the initiative. I also agree that it is time that something should be done, however, we have to consider the timing of this. This is something that could have been done for some considerable period of time.

    The one thing that we cannot let happen now is that we get diverted from the issue. This is a very, very important, a very fundamental issue. We have a commission before us right now that is due to report next month on strengthening our place in Canada. This initiative, if it had been commenced three or four years ago, would now probably have come to fruition. This is a long term initiative, it is going to take some time. I don’t want to see this House diverted and spend a long time. I welcome rigorous debate, as the Premier has indicated, but we don’t need rigorous or controversial or partisan or adversarial debate on this particular issue right now. If we could see the plan, if we can see the resolution and detail - we need to see the plan for this joint management; what it is going to cost; how it is going to be done; how it is allocated. Perhaps we, as all parties, can agree and not have a rigorous debate, because I am not certain at this point in time that we need to go into an adversarial situation. We have wasted a lot of time on that. If there is a crisis in our Province now, our people, our families our communities are at risk out there and are suffering and we need to deal with it.

    Although I welcome this, and I take great pride in the fact that it is now on the table and that we pursued it for so long, the timing concerns me. We want to make sure that this does not become political; that this does not simply become an election issue; that it is not simply grandstanding and takes our attention away from the important matter.

    Personally myself, Mr. Speaker, I feel that the federal government has legal responsibility. I feel they have been negligent in the management of our resources. I think we have a legal action against the federal government and that also is a possible long-term solution.

    We certainly do welcome it. I want to make sure it is well thought through. I want to see the details, if the Premier has the resolution, a copy of the strategy and the plan; how he plans on going about this; how it will be implemented; what it will cost and where the separate jurisdictions will be held.

    I am certain we, as a party, will consider it and if it is well thought through and well planned there will be no need for rigorous debate. We will support it wholeheartedly, but I do qualify it on having to see the details.

    [Emphasis added.]

    While Danny speaks about his party's past positions, and the pronouncements of other members of his caucus, the word "joint management" do not pass his lips. As would later prove par for Danny's course, he "welcomes" stuff. And he qualifies it

    But he doesn't actually state that he, personally, supports it.

    Nope. And also par for Danny's course, he lets others do the dirty. Ed Byrne and other PC MHAs got to rattle the joint management sabres in the House and in the media, so that they, not Danny, would be the ones on record on the issue. Glorious Leader's lips remained unsullied by a position or a promise he might later have to backtrack from. Let the others create the impression that the provincial Progressive Conservatives would go all out for joint management...

    ... because Danny Williams never said he would.

    (And whatever happened to his Great Lawyer's brainwave of a Great Lawsuit against the federal government, anyway?)

    So it is utterly unsurprising, then, that Glorious Leader has shown absolutely no inclination to take the federal Conservatives up on their party policy document:

    v) A Conservative Government will adopt, with any interested coastal province or territory, a system of increased provincial management over fisheries through a system of joint management and joint fisheries councils modelled on the system proposed by unanimous resolution of the Newfoundland and Labrador House of Assembly in May 2003 and as detailed in the government of Newfoundland and Labrador's white paper on the subject as released in 2003.
    Or on their 2005/06 election promise:

    A Conservative government will protect Atlantic fisheries, giving more control to the provinces over the fisheries...

    Yet, the question of joint management is conspicuously absent from his election "wish-list" from last fall.

    But assuming he lasts long enough in office, down the road, when "joint management" is no longer the official policy of the federal government of the day... guaranteed, Danny Williams will start rattling those sabres again, demanding something he knows he won't get, ratcheting up the Grimesesque crypto-separatist rhetoric, Blaming Canada.

    For now, and for that future day, remember: Danny Williams has never shown much interest in demanding joint management in the past.

    Nor, while there is a federal government which supposedly is offering it, does he show much interest in it now.

    Why is that?

    Tom Rideout's closing comments on Back Talk today give the answer.

    He worked himself into a frothing, spitting lather against the fisheries bureaucrats at 200 Kent Street in Ottawa.

    And if there is one inherent provincial resource that the provincial government will hoard, treasure, and defend from alienation or dilution more than any other... it's the ability to blame stuff on 200 Kent Street in Ottawa.

    Thursday, November 09, 2006

    Integral part of the province

    From today's Telegram:

    Arts Council vice-chair quits
    Cites interference

    By Rob Antle

    The co-vice-chairman of the Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council has quit, citing government meddling in the board's affairs and a lack of financial support for its operations.


    Arts Council chairman John Doyle said Bowdring's concerns about government meddling are unfounded.


    Two positions on the 12-member council have been vacant for a year, according to Bowdring, because of government inaction.


    [Hedderson] acknowledged that there are two empty board positions, but said making such appointments can be a "slow process, especially over a summer period - we're addressing that." Hedderson could not say whether those positions have been unfilled for 12 months, as Bowdring alleged.

    [Doyle] confirmed that the board has been two members short for almost a year, with no representation from Labrador.

    When it suits, of course, geographical representation on boards and such is very important.

    Wednesday, November 08, 2006

    Musical interlude

    Oh Danny’s Boys are laying pipes for calling
    From old St. John’s to Canada and back.
    They say there’s nothing wrong with subsidizing.
    Danny’s Boys, oh Danny’s Boys are smoking crack.

    With fifteen million hard-won public dollars,
    Ken and Dean are laughing to the bank,
    While you-know-who on Open Line shows hollers
    That this whole deal — it stinks, it stunk, it stank.

    Oh, Chairman Dan campaigned on higher ethics,
    And all those “give-aways” he’d quickly ban,
    But as he does and as he says are different:
    There’s no more give-aways… except to Friends of Dan™.

    No, no more give-aways, except to Friends of Dan™.

    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.

    Wednesday, November 01, 2006

    Voice Of the Conservative Mouthpiece

    By the end of October, The Ministry of Truth will have aired 191 hours of open-line programming for the month.

    Excluding commercial and news breaks, that works out to about 140 hours of caller time.

    Over the course of at least eight calls, fully 107 minutes — a little over one and three-quarters hours — were taken up by Glorious Leader.

    Twenty-two minutes, early in the month, were occupied singing the Sovietesque praises of the new official provincial deely-boppers.

    Three minutes on October 5th were dedicated to a grovelling apology to Judy Foote.

    The remaining time, over 80 minutes, including over half an hour of Danny's "spontaneous" appearance with the fawning Ambassador Comrade-Citizen Bill Rowe, was used up on or since October 17th.

    Not at all coincidentally, the Signal Hill-Quidi Vidi by-election was called on October 10th.

    Perhaps then Danny wasn't joking about abolishing the House of Assembly.

    Why bother real with real accountability to the elected legislature, when you can have fake accountability, for a fraction of the price, by Government Through Open Line?