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

Monday, January 22, 2007

Nice money, if you can get it

An oddly-timed announcement — well after close of business on a Friday — from the ITAR-DAN news service:
Town of St. Anthony to Construct New Civic Centre: Government of Newfoundland and Labrador and Canada's New Government Invest in Centre

The Town of St. Anthony will construct a regional civic centre, to be called the Polar Centre, with a contribution of $4,576,148 from the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, and an investment of $540,000 from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA). [i.e., from the federal government.]


The facility will house an arena with the capacity to seat 1,295 people, a conference centre and an indoor walking track, and will provide the necessary amenities to enable the town to host significant conferences, trade shows and other events.


The town will provide $568,508 towards the cost of the project.
For the less-mathematically and more-visually inclined, here are those figures again, in a handy-dandy pie chart, showing the dollar figures of each government's contribution, as well as the percentage each order of government is putting towards the total:

Note two very interesting things:

One, the provincial government is picking up by far and away the majority of the Polar Center's costs, 81%.

Two, and more subtly, even the municipal share of the project is even larger than the federal one.

Now, contrast the provincial government's willingness and ability to do for St. Anthony — build a public cultural and events space — with what it is evidently not willing to do for Happy Valley-Goose Bay.

During the 2005 federal by-election, Chairman Dan penned the following non-sequitur appendix to a letter on military issues, in a not-so-subtle attempt to elect a Conservative (Danny was still a federal Conservative back in those days; only Mrs. Danny and His hairdresser know for sure what he might be now):

May I also take this opportunity to highlight for you our recent efforts on another issue of importance to the people of the region - namely, the request for a new auditorium. My Minister for Labrador Affairs and Tourism, Culture and Recreation, Paul Shelley, was just in Ottawa where he spoke with his federal counterpart on this matter a number of times. A senior member of my staff has also raised it directly with the Prime Minister’s Office. With a federal by-election looming in Labrador, federal parties are paying closer attention to Labrador’s unique needs and considering ways that Ottawa can do a better job of addressing them. This is the ideal moment to draw attention to these needs and to propose solutions. Our government is endeavouring to work collaboratively with the Government of Canada to identify ways for the federal government to bear the majority of the costs of an auditorium project.

[Emphasis added.]

The public also learned, through sources like other ITAR-DAN press releases, that

Government is announcing a $1.9 million provincial contribution to proceed with performance space in Happy Valley-Goose Bay. Government will continue to explore a partnership with the federal government to share in the total project cost estimated at $4 million.
And that:
Government is moving forward with construction of the $4 million Mealy Mountain Auditorium.


In March, the Provincial Government committed $1.9 million to fund construction and is confident further federal funding will be approved in the near future.

And especially that:

DLAA acted as the coordinating body for Government and approached various federal Ministers, requesting their assistance to secure federal funding for the auditorium. DLAA, in cooperation with various provincial departments, continues to research options to determine the most viable location for an auditorium to ensure that public infrastructure needs are met in the most cost effective way for the provincial taxpayer.

[Emphasis added.]

Translated from the Danny-ese: "that public infrastructure needs in Labrador are met in a way such that as much of the cost as humanly possible is shifted from Her Majesty in Right of Dannyland, to Her Majesty in Right of Canada."

Surely, if the provincial government has $4.5-million in election-year money for St. Anthony, it is not a question of money that is preventing it from putting more than $1.9-million — and that is dependent on federal matching funds to boot — into the Labrador auditorium. If Danny's government can afford, politically speaking, to put in 81% in St. Anthony, or, conversely, if just 9% federal money is acceptable, then the same formula ought to be available to a Labrador municipality, no? All one province... right?

And surely, given Danny's stated philosophy, as expressed on the night he became The Party's The Leader:

It’s high time that Labradorians, instead of feeling like someone else’s treasure trove, started feeling like an integral part of our province. We cannot expect fair treatment from Ottawa if we don't practise what we preach.

it is not a question of fairness. Danny solemnly swore to be fair to Labrador, to treat Labrador like "an integral part of the province". Surely Danny is treating St. Anthony and Happy Valley-Goose Bay equally "fair", even if it's in some subtle way that mere mortals cannot fathom.

But has Danny, or anyone in his government, ever stopped to consider this:

When their definition of "fair treatment" for Labrador seems always to be entirely contingent on getting enough money from that horrible, nefarious, insidious Ottawa to practice their "fairness" with; even as their own same government does unto St. Anthony — "bears the majority of costs" — that is evidently a federal responsibility north of the Strait of Belle Isle, can it then truly be said that they are treating Labrador like "an integral part of the province", or that "we practise what we preach"?

All parts of the province must, in the Dannyverse, be treated fairly. To do less, would be to not practise what one preaches.

But somehow, in this same, ever-so-fair Dannyverse, while all parts of the province are treated integrally, some are treated more integrally than others. Just three years into the Danny Williams Revolution, and already the revolutionaries are practising Animalism.

The question, then, for Jack Byrne, Danny Williams, and others in this, The Fairest Government In The History Of The Universe, must be:

What on Earth or in Dannyland distinguishes the Polar Centre in St. Anthony from the Mealy Mountain Auditorium in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, other than the fact that the one is in Newfoundland, and the other is in Labrador?

Are "We" really, truly, honestly practising what "We" preach?


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