labradore

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

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Operating government like a business, and vice-versa

Shawn Skinner, Minister of It-Really-Doesn't-Matter-What-His-Title-Is-Really-Now-Does-It?, on VOCM Open Line this morning, offered up the following bit of free-market wisdom:

The government is not in the business of making paper... that's the role for the corporate community.
Indeedy.

Government is not in the business of making paper.

Which makes a body wonder: how does government decide which businesses it is in?

14 Comments:

At 12:29 AM, December 17, 2008 , Blogger stephen said...

Wasn't it your beloved employer, the Liberal Party of Canada, that founded Petro Canada as a Crown corporation for the purposes of exploring for and drilling for oil? What's the difference between that and Nalcor?

The province isn't getting into the pulp and paper business - they're simply taking back water, hydro and timber rights. No one has suggested the mill will continue to operate, especially under the province's control. Isn't it normal for provincial governments to control these resources?

 
At 12:48 AM, December 17, 2008 , Blogger Edward G. Hollett said...

The most obvious difference is that PetroCanada was started and maintained as an oil and gas company.

NALCO Reborn is basically an umbrella for anything just as NALCO was. (Read the energy corp act)

It isn't clear from the legislation who gets the rights; the hydro operations are going to be taken on by Hydro and presumably NALCO Reborn gets all the other rights.

The mill won't operate under the provincial government's control since the mill wasn't expropriated. The government was careful in what it took.

As for control of resources, in Canada it is normal for the provincial government to assign rights to a company to exploit resources in exchange for certain considerations (taxes, rents etc). The terms and conditions of those assignments are entirely within provincial jurisdiction.

 
At 1:47 AM, December 17, 2008 , Blogger stephen said...

Wow Eddy. Long-winded answer that didn't shed light on why Wally's bent out of shape. So Petro Canada was started and maintained as an oil and gas company (which seems to be ok in your books) but because Nalcor has formed as an energy company with diverse interests (in the same way that other traditional oil companies have rebranded themselves as "energy" companies) then it's not ok?

Also, Hydro will get the power but hydro is owned by Nalcor - so why bother distinguishing? As for transfering timber rights and so on well I'm sure that's a temporary thing - I highly doubt Nalcor is intended to manage timber resources but is serving only as a holding company here.

ALso, I know that that provincial governments control such rights - I don't need a basic intro to s. 91 and 92 of the BNA Act. I just want to know why it's such a hateful act for the provincial government to take back those when "certain considerations" aren't met? If the terms and conditions are "entirely within provincial jurisdiction" then why the hoopla? Why can't people accept this as the fall-out from a broken, or finished, contract? BCE and Teacher's can go at it and get vindictive with each other but when a government has an agreement with a company it isn't within its rights to withdraw its offer if the other party doesn't meet its terms?

I think it's entirely reasonable for the provincial government to be in the oil business, especially where it only has shared jurisdiction over the oil. It certainly gives it more leverage (and a direct income stream) when dealing with oil companies. Foresty on the other hand is the province's domain and I don't see why it would want to or should get into the business - the resource rights are the provinces so they've got the power they need to negotiate. But no, let's not consider distinctions. Let's just look at "resources" as some kind of monolith and hate on the government for having a commercial interest in some resources and not having the same in other resources.

 
At 1:15 PM, December 17, 2008 , Blogger WJM said...

Wasn't it your beloved employer, the Liberal Party of Canada, that founded Petro Canada as a Crown corporation for the purposes of exploring for and drilling for oil?

Nope.

Bye, Steve.

 
At 1:30 PM, December 17, 2008 , Blogger WJM said...

Bye, Steve.

Come back when you have a real name or email address in your profile, Steve.

 
At 1:31 PM, December 17, 2008 , Blogger WJM said...

Hi, Steve.

Domain Name gov.nf.ca ? (Canada)
IP Address 209.128.29.# (Aliant Telecom)
ISP Aliant Telecom
Location Continent : North America
Country : Canada (Facts)
City : Carbonear
Lat/Long : 47.7333, -53.25 (Map)

Language English (U.S.)
en-us
Operating System Microsoft WinXP
Browser Firefox
Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-US; rv:1.9.0.5) Gecko/2008120122 Firefox/3.0.5
Javascript version 1.5
Monitor Resolution : 1280 x 800
Color Depth : 32 bits

 
At 2:04 PM, December 17, 2008 , Blogger WJM said...

Bye, Steve.

 
At 2:10 PM, December 17, 2008 , Blogger WJM said...

Stephen:

Unless you're also "Steve", you have no reason to get huffy.

Are you also Steve?

 
At 2:18 PM, December 17, 2008 , Blogger stephen said...

I don't go by "Steve." Confusing me with someone else? Someone getting under your skin perhaps?

Huffy? I'm not huffy. I just find it ironic that this is supposedly meant to be a public forum BUT you take a Williams-like approach to things and rather than hear anyone out simply shut them up. Perhaps it's true in your case that we hate the things that most resemble us.

 
At 2:26 PM, December 17, 2008 , Blogger WJM said...

I'm not confusing you with anyone else.

YOU are doing that.

My comments are directed at a poster — whose comments I generally delete on sight — going by "Steve".

And who says this is "supposedly meant to be a public forum"? Not me, and it's my forum! Don't you be supposin' now.

 
At 2:35 PM, December 17, 2008 , Blogger stephen said...

Not a public forum? Then you should consider making it a private forum open exclusively to your and your "friend" Eddy with no access to the public.

You have to wonder how it's not public when anyone online can access it and comment on it. Guess public doesn't mean anything static in your books.

Anyway, I get the message. Bye, Wally!

 
At 2:46 PM, December 17, 2008 , Blogger WJM said...

Bye, Stephen! I'm holding you to that!

 
At 8:26 PM, December 17, 2008 , Blogger Edward G. Hollett said...

Well, Stephen, it was as much an answer as yours was a question.

I originally suggested you read the energy corp act (and evidently you haven't) because NALCO Reborn is empowered to undertake ANY project approved by cabinet, not just energy.

Now if you were indeed posting from a government IP adress, as Wally is suggesting, getting a briefing on this should be pretty simple stuff.

As for the rest of your comment, bear in mind that expropriation is normally the last act or one that comes in a pressing emergency.

In this case, it was the first resort right after a demand to turn over the assets forthwith for free, no discussion. The government even expropriated the Abitibi share in a commercial venture at Star Lake that wasn't supplying the mill at all.

I am glad you support NALCO Reborn. If you are, in fact, posting from a government IP addy, I am sure they will notice your steadfast support.

 
At 8:32 PM, December 17, 2008 , Blogger WJM said...

Now if you were indeed posting from a government IP adress

Just so we're clear, "Steve" does so at times, not "stephen".

 

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