From the mind of Great Negotiator™
From Danny Williams’ fireside chat with Linda Swain last Thursday:
…the Trans Labrador Highway is an issue that’s come up in the last twenty-four hours. That’s another promise that was made in writing to me by Stephen Harper prior to the election. And they committed that they were going to cover fifty percent of the cost of that project.Danny repeated much the same thing with CBC’s Cindy Wall:
Yes. It’s promised in writing. I wrote the, the Leader of the Conservative Party, Stephen Harper, at the time. He wrote me back. I have his letter and it says very clearly that they were prepared to cost-share this portion of the Trans Labrador Highway on a fifty-fifty basis.Perhaps Danny Williams, recovering Rhodes Scholar, can point out where, other than in his own fertile imagination, the “fifty percent” figure was arrived at. It was never mentioned in Danny’s letter to the party leaders, or Harper’s reply to Danny.
Danny continued with Linda Swain:
We’ve got a very short construction season in Labrador and this highway is so big. I mean, this highway, people don’t really realise, but this is nearly the size of the highway from St. John’s to Deer Lake. This is five hundred and sixty kilometres. This is a big road.Yes, it is a big road.
A very big road.
In fact, it is, according to the National Highway System Review Task Force Report, 1163 kilometres long, from the border between Labrador City and Fermont in the northwest, to the Blanc Sablon ferry terminal in the southeast. (This would include about 5 kilometres of Quebec Route 138 running through Blanc Sablon from the border to the ferry terminal.)
That’s about 40 more clicks than the driving distance between Portugal Cove South and Quirpon, which is about as long a point-to-point drive you can accomplish in Newfoundland.
Now, remember, Danny Williams asked the party leaders in 2005:
Does your Party support a Federal-Provincial cost-shared agreement to complete the TLH?Harper replied:
Yes, a Conservative government would support a cost-shared agreement to complete the Trans-Labrador Highway.Nowhere in Danny’s “ask”, nor in Harper’s reply, is the discussion of the Trans-Labrador Highway restricted, as Danny told Cindy Wall, to “this portion of the Trans Labrador Highway”, the “five hundred and sixty kilometers” from Labrador West to Happy Valley-Goose Bay.
So not only has Danny’s fertile imagination invented the fifty-fifty figure which was never once mentioned by either leader, he is short-changing Labrador by downwardly-revising Harper’s promise on the Trans-Labrador Highway to only include Phase I, the vote-rich segment connecting Labrador’s two urban centres.
Despite the fact that Harper’s letter was broad and unlimited, referring to the Trans-Labrador Highway, presumably in its entirety, without restriction, Danny has “negotiated down”. For no obvious reason, he now interprets that promise so as to exclude Phase II and I, the South Coast highway and the segment connecting it to Happy Valley-Goose Bay, both of which are included in the National Highways System definition of Trans-Labrador Highway.
Good going, Great Negotiator™. Danny is the kind of guy you want to meet on Saturday morning, either as a buyer at your garage sale, or a seller at his.
And when Danny tells Linda, as he did, that:
It's, you know, Stephen Harper's way of basically saying if they don't back off in asking for this promise, well, then we're just going to punish them and we're going to make them wait on things…then perhaps Danny can also explain: what is he, Danny Williams, punishing the people of southern Labrador for when he, Danny Williams, excludes them from his definition of the Trans-Labrador Highway that he, depending on which side of the bed he got up on on any given morning, either wants the feds to cost-share the completion of, or is willing to “go it alone” on?
Danny’s bizarre claims of what Harper promised can easily be cross-checked by reading Harper’s publicly-published letter. Yet no one in the media bothers to do that, or to call Danny out when his imagination goes into overdrive. Pity.