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

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Voice Of Criticism, Maybe?

A change of gears is coming this summer over at the Ministry of Truth. There'll be a six-week hiatus in Nightline.

Perhaps its just as well for Voice Of Cabinet Ministers. After all, even the Eighth Floor has started to lose its grip on discourse, on the air and over the bits and bytes.

Just take some of the responses — a curiously small number, just 21, were posted that day, for some reason — to the June 20th Question of the Day, "Do you think enough is being done to attract new oil and gas exploration offshore?"

"atb" said:
To me there appears to be opposition to all matters of development and survival for this Province. The leader of all the province's people [like, totally so stealing that epithet -ed.] is very high in the polls, he and his party appear to be determined to extricate all peoples from "rural NL". People in exploration jobs do not need to live in St John's. NL people are leaving by the thousands, including exploration businesses, most will not return. Their homes, fishing spots, hunting grounds etc. are being filled (acquired) by every culture but Newfoundland and Labrador people. Will someone please explain to me, in my lack of understanding. What has this Premier and this Government done during their term as our managers to oversee and encourage living in Newfoundland Labrador. I shall watch the response of VOCM question. I would like to be better informed in the event I am not being fair in my judgement.
Fred said:
Premier Williams is going too far. He really needs to cool it ! Other than that he is doing a great job.
And Blunder opined:
The government is not doing enough. It's fine to walk away from negotiations when you own your own company, the only one to suffer is you. While we don't have to give everything away, we still have to live here and survive. We won't have any grandchildren to give it to because we are moving to the mainland in droves and they (our children and grandchildren) will not want to come back to a province with a population of elderly people and a few jobs in oil and gas. Walking away and cutting off your nose to spite your face is childish and stupid. The government has a responsibility to the people here and now as well as the future. The oil and gas industry will only last 20 to 30 years, so our grandchildren will still have to carve out a living somewhere in the country. All of them won't be in the oil industry, we have to stop believing the oil and gas is the be all end all. At the rate this government is going right now, our grandchildren will be already be working elsewhere and won't ever want to return. We also have to be careful of what we wish for. Are we ALL ready for a Fort Mac. environment in our communities, drugs, prostitution, overcrowding, too dangerous to walk the streets etc. etc
Those were the dissenters. Most of the rest were the usual fawning sort that the Eighth Floor writes loves to see:
"Danny is out [sic] Keeper!"

"Our Premier is ensuring we get the best possible deal. So if not today, them maybe tomorrow some company will come along that's willing to deal with Danny."

"I certainly agree with Premier Williams approach to the development of the offshore resourses. NO MORE GIVE-AWAYS. So what if I don't reap any benifits from the offshore,atleast my grandchildren will have something to look forward to and I thank Premier Williams for that."

"I say stick to your guns Premier Williams. no more give aways. god knows we seen enough of that for one life time. if they want it, pay for it. if not let it stay were it is."

"I think the Premier knows what he's at with this."

"The panic is with the oil companies who want to get at a cheap resource now and wish that the dynamic duo of Danny and Andy would just disappear."


"I do believe Premier williams is right on this one."
But over at The Telegram, where, unlike VOCM and elsewhere on the internets, the DannyFans don't have the cover of total, no-questions asked anonymity; and in a forum where the Eighth Floor hasn't yet figured out how to organize a spontaneous Danny-loving flood-fill; a totally different picture (and a well-informed one) emerged on the same day:
Robert Power from St. John's, NL writes: Talks about having talks? Expected to start in August you say? Uncanny timing, considering that the election is in October. I'll hold my applause until the province has something substantial to announce.

Mark from UAE, Duba writes: Having worked on offshore projects for the last 15 years including a couple of years in St.John’s I know for a fact that the risk is high , it’s the most challenging environment to develop a field . It’s not just the operator who decides , share holders and the banks need to be onboard or the project can’t be financed . Fields can be developed elsewhere for a fraction of the cost . The Province has everything to gain and nothing to lose if this goes ahead , but realistically I think this is just Danny Williams dangling a carrot for the voters.

Newfoundlander in Houston from Texas writes: The lukewarm applause described in this article is very telling. NOIA participants are being polite at best to even try to clap. The local industry in Newfoundland knows Danny is doing them no favors. During a period where Oil and Gas Companies are stretched for personnel and human resources to complete projects, they will work first on the sure bets and most economic. What is also telling in the article is that Chevron’s cost estimates are over a year old. Oilfield inflation in this market is now running 20-30%. Capital costs are rising and Hebron’s payout point is getting pushed further in the future. That means Newfoundland’s actual royalty potential is probably shrinking both in a real and nominal money terms. The average Newfoundland reader is thinking Danny is great and he is the fighter and savior of Newfoundland. I will give him credit as he is a master of the political system, but his approach to the oil and gas business in Newfoundland is doing the province no favors.

Tom from Singapore writes: I agree with comments from Newfoundlander from Houston Texas and Martin from Doha, Qatar. It will take years to repair the damage Dan Williams has inflected upon this province.....out migration at it's highest ever, fish plants closing, papermill closing, local Buisness scared to speak out in fear of loosing Government work etc, Fighting with everyone will get us no where.....slow down Dan, try a less confrontational approach.....uh uh God forbit, should one critize Dan Williams.

X. Pat from Toronto (like the rest), ON writes: Premier Danny Williams has done nothing but good for this Province It's easy to do nothing bad when you do nothing.

Dave from St. John's, NL writes: Recently, I've heard (and read) this premier continue to refer to the 8.5% stake the federal government has in Hibernia, and uses that fact to suggest that his demanding of 4.9% of Hebron is justified. Why doesn't the media and the industry explain this apples and oranges comparison. I'm sure the majority of Danny's loyal sheep either forgot, don't know or don't wish to know that the fed's 8.5% equity stake in Hibernia was purchased from Gulf Canada who had decided to pull out of the consortium, thus threatening the project. After several failed attempts by the remaining partners to find a buyer for Gulf Canada's stake, and since neither of the remaining partners were interested in increasing their stake, the Government of Canada stepped in and purchased it so that the project would be able to proceed. That is vastly different from the premier's demand that the Hebron partners, who have already assumed 100% of the risks and exploration costs, simply surrender to the province a percentage of their stakes.

David from Houston, TX writes: I'm tired of talk. Let's see some action. For some reason Eastern Canadian projects take a month of Sundays to get off the ground. Many of us would like to return to Nfld to work, but we can't survive on promises. Politics has put a strangle hold on too many projects. Premier Williams needs to put aside his ego and entice business to invest in our province.

Mark from Dubai, UAE writes: I’m not a big buddy to big oil , there has been plenty ups and downs but I’ve done very well out of them and right now I’ve never had it so good. It should be good times in the Province right now , it is a golden opportunity missed . Danny Williams has done nothing , he is a disaster for the Province & one day people will wake up and realize that but it will be too late. You only know what Danny tells you , don’t believe him he is very economical with the truth.

Newfoundlander In-Calgary from Alberta writes: A few general comments 1. I see nothing for optimism in Premier Williams comments. The Hebron team was disbanded and are now all doing other projects. They are NOT sitting around waiting for the call to come back. Its also telling that Chevron's studies are not fully updated since that would be a number of MONTHS of work before that can even talk seriously. If the premier really thinks he can get a deal now when he couldn't attain one when there was a project team rarin' to go with space already rented in St. John's-- what has changed [...] Its laughable to cite Hibernia as an example for Hebron. Gulf gace up their interest in Hibernia for NOTHING because they thought the project was too risky. Chevron and Mobil took on small additional shares and Murphy took a piece as well but 8.5% remained that they could find no one willing to take. The province turned it down. Finally the Canadian government took the share, solely to kick start the industry and paid 8.5% of costs on a go-forward basis. THis shows two things--First, the province asking for this share is convenient revisionism. Second, the Hibernia deal that has worked out so well was not seen as such a sweet deal by the oil companies at the time. But you win some and lose some. From Mobil's point of view, the did great at Hibernia but Sable (offshore NS) has been a huge disappointment. To cite a government stepping in when no one else would as some example why another government should force their way in when they were not needed
Same issue. Same day.

Different rules of debate.

Totally different outcomes.

Danny can't risk having voices of dissent emerge in the lead-up to the fall election, the one in which he hopes to pull a modern-day Smallwood '66, a Moores '72, a Peckford '82, or a Tobin '96.

He wants a near-sweep, if not a full one, and those voices of dissent — they are growing in number and in volume — are the only thing even remotely threatening him at this stage.

So perhaps it's just as well that Voice Of Cabinet Ministers is going a little quiet this summer. It could, after all, just as easily turn into Voice Of Critical Mutterings, or Voice Of Concerned Murmurs.

Now, if only there was some way of recalling the House to implement the Justice Green plan — as promised — without having to submit to Question Period, eh?


At 7:33 PM, June 21, 2007 , Blogger Stephen said...

I always thought of it as the Voice Of Cynicism and Malice but then again you and your comments (based on what I've seen of you in action against those who aren't hostage to the same orthodox Federalist perspective that you are) would fit that bill too.

I guess we hate the things that resemble us huh?

At 7:53 PM, June 21, 2007 , Blogger WJM said...

What are you hostage to?


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