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

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Pam Frampton: Unperson

Pam Frampton digs in:
On Aug. 14, I got the e-mail equivalent of a verbal smack-down when I wrote the premier's spokeswoman to ask if I might run a few questions by Danny Williams about the bogged-down quest to find a Memorial University president.

"The presidential search continues and in our opinion, further commentary does nothing to promote the interests of the university," Elizabeth Matthews chided me.
Further commentary doesn't promote the interests of the university?

Jeeze. Some Rhodes Scholars might have thought of that before making the initial commentary.
"Government believes in and supports the academic independence of the university," the Education minister said in a July 29 news release. "But we also believe strongly in ensuring strong and visionary leadership for the people's university. ... Just as the Board of Regents has an obligation and a duty to find the appropriate candidate, so does the government ..."

You can bet your bottom dollar the "but" in that sentence grabbed most would-be presidents' attention.
Unless they were political scientists, in which case they'd be wondering why "People's University" was lacking its due capitalization in that press release.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Turning point or talking point?

“This is the election that could make and break relations between Newfoundland and Canada forever.”

- John Babb, President of Danny Williams' The Party, VOCM Backtalk, Friday


Friday, August 29, 2008

On punishment

The Word of Our Dan:

Do you think that I would punish the people of Port aux Basques or the people of Cartwright or the people of Bay Roberts or the people of Signal Hill Quidi Vidi because they don't you know buy into my tune or sing my tune or vote for my candidate? You know it's not the role of leaders whether they're Premiers or Prime Ministers to punish people...
[VOCM Open Line, August 26, 2008]
The short answer to His rhetorical question: yip.

The longer answer to His rhetorical question: Yippity-yip-yipper.


Thursday, August 28, 2008

Bang! Bang! Bang bang bang! Bang! BANG!

The Word of Our Dan:

As these contracts are let, then we notify the people in the communities that they’re let, so there is a double process there. But it’s not about getting a second bang for the buck on these things, as a matter of fact, it’s about informing people early, and then once the contracts are awarded, it’s letting them know after. But to come in and, y’know, double- and triple-announce money that, that’s given the appearance of being new money, that’s just, that’s misleading.
Informing the people early.

Letting them know after.

Letting them know after, again.

And again.

And again and again and again and again and again:

Government Invests Almost $2.5 Million in Isles of Notre Dame Roads
One Million Dollars En Route to Port au Port Roads
Roads in Burin-Placentia West to Receive $2 Million Upgrade
New Bridge and Better Road Ahead for Humber Valley
Almost $3 Million Destined for Roads in The Straits-White Bay North
Government Invests More Than $1 Million in Port de Grave Area Roads
Government Invests $1.5 Million in Grand Falls-Windsor-Green Bay South Roads
Millions Targeted for Roads in Labrador West
$2.5 Million En Route for Roads in Fortune Bay-Cape La Hune
Over $2 Million on the Way for Road Infrastructure in Burgeo-La Poile
Ferryland Area Roads Receive $2 Million in Improvements
$1.5 Million in Road Improvements for Bonavista South
Over $2 Million Destined for Roads in Trinity-Bay de Verde
Better Driving Conditions Ahead for Grand Bank Area
Millions in Store for Roads in Carbonear - Harbour Grace Region
Better Bridges and Roads Bound for St. George’s-Stephenville East
Provincial Government Gearing Up for Widening and Paving of Trans Labrador Highway
Roads in the Lewisporte Area to Receive Over $2 Million in Upgrades
Significant Road Improvements Destined for the Placentia-St. Mary’s Region
Millions En Route for Bonavista North and Gander Area Roads
Bay of Islands Region to Receive Over $2 Million in Road Improvements
Significant Road Improvements on the Way for Cape St. Francis Area
Government to Invest $1.5 Million in Cartwright-L'Anse Au Clair Roads
Road Repairs on the Way to St. John’s
Nearly $2 Million Set Aside on Roads in Exploits Area
St. Barbe Area Can Look Forward to Better Driving Conditions
Grand Falls-Windsor-Buchans Area to Receive $2 Million in Road Improvements
Government Invests $1 Million in Lake Melville Area Roads
Better Driving Awaits Motorists in the Harbour Main Region
Roads in the Conception Bay South Region Get Upgraded
Improved Roads on the Way for the Kilbride Area
West Coast Drivers Latest to Benefit from Road Improvements
Government Invests $2 Million on Conception Bay East and Bell Island Area Roads
Terra Nova Area Roads Receive $2 Million Boost
Trinity North Region to Benefit from $3 Million in Road Work
Bellevue Area Latest to Benefit from Provincial Roads Program
Half a Million Dollars Earmarked for Road Improvements in the Topsail Area
Provincial Government Investing Millions to Make Roads Safer
Significant Road Improvements Headed for the Baie Verte-Springdale Area

Danny told us this would happen

Does this qualify as one of those "more for me, please, rants" that Our Dear Campaign Theme Song warned against?
Victory 'will bode well' for Baie Verte-Springdale
Transcontinental Media


Pollard said the region's infrastructure needs were the No. 1 concern voiced during his campaign.

"There is a tremendous need in this district for roadwork, for infrastructure, for economic development to continue in this area because this district, the past 40 or 50 years, has been rich in the mining, logging, and fishing industry and has generated much wealth to this region and to the entire province. I think it's about time for our district to get more than our fair share."

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Reading the Entrails (2008) (II)

The Wunderkinder in charge at the non-partisan agency that has sycophantically taken to calling itself Elections Newfoundland Labrador are a little hazy on the concept of "popular vote":

NDP 4 + Liberal 15 + PC 24 = 43.

With three candidates, the "Percent Popular Vote" column should, subject to rounding, add up to 100%.

With any number of candidates, other than one — in which that candidate is acclaimed, and there are no votes to worry about — the "Percent Popular Vote" column should add up to 100%.

So where does 4+15+24 come from?

It comes from using the number of eligible voters as the denominator for the percentage calculation, instead of, what would be correct, using the total number of votes. A vote that doesn't exist, as the very concept of a vote that doesn't exist kinda hints at, is not a vote.

Pretty basic stuff. Only perennial election-losers, and, apparently, Elections Dannystan, count popular vote in this manner.

Then again, this is the same math-challenged operation that couldn't count a few hundred thousand votes in less than their statutory-bound nine months.

Let's see how long it takes, this time, to count — and publish — fewer than 7700.

Reading the Entrails (2008) (I)

Voter Turnout

Baie Verte—Springdale 55.5%
Cape St. Francis 70.7%

Baie Verte—Springdale 43.4%
Cape St. Francis 43.2%

Number of votes:
2007                    Lib     PC      NDP
Baie Verte—Springdale 798 3388 301
Cape St. Francis 739 4983 680

Baie Verte—Springdale 1245 1979 316
Cape St. Francis 317 2865 972

Baie Verte—Springdale 447 -1409 15
Cape St. Francis -422 -2118 292

Vote share (%)

2007                    Lib     PC      NDP
Baie Verte—Springdale 17.8% 75.5% 6.7%
Cape St. Francis 11.5% 77.8% 10.6%

Baie Verte—Springdale 35.2% 55.9% 8.9%
Cape St. Francis 7.6% 69.0% 23.4%

Baie Verte—Springdale 17.4% -19.6% 2.2%
Cape St. Francis -3.9% -8.9% 12.8%
  • The turnout decline between the general and by-election for the two districts was worse than for the average of the other provincial by-elections in the past decade.
  • The Amazing Vanishing Tory Voter makes another appearance. Or non-appearance. Whatever. 3500 fewer people voted PC in the two districts than just ten months ago. The NDP vote was up, numerically, in both districts; the Liberal vote was mixed.
  • The governing Tories are, on these numbers, roughly back to where they were in the big-but-not-landslide 2003 election. The combined opposition, if the same vote swing were seen across the province in a general election, would see the NDP regain Labrador West, and the Liberals re-take former strongholds in Labrador, on the Northern Peninsula, and on the South and Northeast coasts.
  • The NDP has yet to prove to be Danny's "real opposition", as he likes to call them, until they start, y'know, opposing him. However, taking nearly a quarter of the vote in an exurban St. John's seat should give a few Tories in the more-reliably Dipper city centre some moments of reflection.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Province and Labrador (II)

Geopolitically-challenged comment-poster and self-described "big supporter of Labradors place in N&L", Josh Taylor, is still a bit hazy on the whole "Labradors place in N&L" concept:
JoshTaylor wrote:
Posted 2008/08/26at 10:05 AM ET

Don't subsidise this route, it's crazy. There is no traffic other than a few Europeans on vacation and with their strong currency they can easily afford the flights. They knew it was expensive to get here when they bought the places.

Now, I would be for lower taxes on airlines (provincial) that operate witin NL, such as flights between Labrador and the airports on the province.


Sunday, August 24, 2008

Beliefs and thinks

From the Ministry of Truth, a bit of unintended comedy (on multiple levels.)
Labrador Could Reap Hebron Benefits
August 24, 2008

Some people in Labrador doubt their region will see any benefits from the Hebron, but the head of the Labrador Joint Council thinks otherwise. The oil deal will be worth at least $20 billion to the province over the 20 to 25 year period with some 3,000 jobs to be created. Jim Farrell, who's also mayor of Wabush in iron ore-rich western Labrador, believes everyone in the province will benefit.


Open voting

In the increasingly bizarro-world that is MUD — Memorial University of Dannystan — not only do they not want you to know the results of the MUD Alumni elections for Board of Regents, the don't even want you to know the names of the candidates. The offending information has been ruthlessly deleted from their website.

So here, for posterity, since MUD has not only adopted Master's attitude towards open election reporting, but towards historically-imporant materials as well, is half of the data that MUD, "in the interest of transparency and accountability", won't publish.

Candidates for Alumni Representative, MUN Board of Regents, 2008-2011 term
(Successful candidates' names highlighted)

Walwin Blackmore, BAE’66, BA’69
Aubrey L. Bonnell, BA’66
*Julie Browne, B.Eng.’08
Ruth Canning, BA’66
Brian Collins, BBA’06
David Crosbie, B.Comm.’80
Tammy Davis, BA’95
Chris R. Decker, BA’66
John Frecker, BA’70
Deanne Fleet, BA’80
*Rex Gibbons, BAE’ 67, B.Sc.’67, M.Sc.'69
*Jennifer (Davis) Guy, BA’84
Christopher Hammond, B.Sc.’94
*John J. Hogan, B.Sc.’00
Derrick Hutchens, B.Comm.’78
Michael Keating, B.Comm.(Co-op)’08
Edward Kelly, BA’69, B.Ed.’69, M.Ed.’74
Frank Kelly, B.Comm. (Hons)’ 68
Robert J. Kelsey, B.Ed.’79, B.Sc.’79, M.Ed.’87
*Ken Marshall B.Comm. (Hons.)(Co-op) '84
Jim Mason, MBA’91
Terry McDonald, BA’05
Bessie Merrigan, BAE’86, BA.’94, M.Ed.’01
Susan Murray, B.Ed.’90, M.Ed.’02
Ann P. J. Murrin, B.Comm.(Hons.)(Co-op)’01, BA’01, MA’03
Katherine Piercey, BA’05, MA’08
Danny Pond, B.Sc. (Hons.)’05
David Power, B.Sc.’81, B.Ed.’81
Louis Puddister, B.Comm.’83
Holly Rideout, Cert. Bus.'07
Robert Simms, B.Sc.’74, B.Ed.’74, M.Ed.’86
Verna M. Skanes, B.Sc.’63, B.A.(Ed.)’69, Ph.D. Med.’83
Richard Sparkes, B.Sc.’72
*Eleanor Swanson, M.Ed.’77
Paul Thomey, BA’73
Albert Trask, BA(Ed.)'75, M.Ed.’79
Sherina Wall, B.Comm. (Co-op)’91
Auburn Warren, B.Comm. (Hons.)(Co-op) ’96
Craig Welsh, BA’94
(Deanne Fleet was an incumbent member who resigned after the opening of nominations but before the close of voting.)

Saturday, August 23, 2008

In the interest of transparency and accountability

"In the interest of transparency and accountability..."

When someone prefaces the statements which are about to follow with a line like that, you can be pretty well sure that what they are about to say will be neither transparent nor accountable.

And you'd be right.

As T.B. quotes:
In the interest of transparency and accountability, we would very much like to publish the results of the election (name of candidates and number of votes) on the Alumni Affairs and Development Website. However, privacy legislation dictates that we need the permission of all candidates involved in order to do so. Therefore, we are requesting that you please notify us no later than Tuesday, August 26th if you are willing to allow us to publish your results.
It sounds like MUD — Memorial University of Dannystan — has a lot more in common with Glorious Leader than the late brouhaha over the presidential hiring fiasco might lead you to think.

Elections Dannystan, too, dragged its heels about releasing the late election figures, to the point of breaking its own governing statute.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Bang! Bang! Bang bang bang!

The Word of Our Dan:
As these contracts are let, then we notify the people in the communities that they’re let, so there is a double process there. But it’s not about getting a second bang for the buck on these things, as a matter of fact, it’s about informing people early, and then once the contracts are awarded, it’s letting them know after. But to come in and, y’know, double- and triple-announce money that, that’s given the appearance of being new money, that’s just, that’s misleading.
Clyde Jackman, June 17th. Bang!

The Honourable Clyde Jackman, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation, said the funding, allocated through Budget 2008, is part of the department’s $2.1 million investment in cultural and heritage projects funded through the department’s Cultural Economic Development Program (CEDP).

  • Tramore Productions – $10,000 to offset costs associated with the production of its 2008 summer program, to include theatre, ballad singing, and storytelling in Cuslett, Placentia Bay.
  • Cape St. Mary’s Performance Series – $3,000 to offset costs associated with its performance series of music, storytelling and readings, to be held until September 20 at the Cape St. Mary’s Ecological Reserve.
Clyde Jackman and Felix Collins, today. Bang! Bang!
This CEDP funding is not the first for summer arts projects in the area as the Cape St. Mary’s Performance Series received a previously announced $3,000 and Tramore Productions of Cuslett received $10,000.
Of course, this is just the double process of Informing the People Early and Letting Them Know Afterwards.

It's certainly not about getting a second bang for the buck, coming in and, y’know, double- and triple-announcing money, that’s given the appearance of being new money, because, after Danny, that’s just, that’s misleading.

But... (II)

From the open line froth on Thursday afternoon:
Danny is, I’m not knocking him, he’s doing a good job, but

Hooray for Christmas

Radio host No Names Please, Wednesday afternoon:

The [Hebron] deal seems to be so good, and so beneficial to the province, and so different from other deals that we made in the past… that it seems to be hard to say anything about it other than — “hooray!”
Radio host No Names Please, Thursday afternoon:
Do we really need a lineup of [PC] caucus member on every nook and cranny of the media to remind us what a good deal it is? … let’s be careful when we give uncritical approval, let’s be a bit mature, a bit adult about this. It’s not Christmas.

Thursday, August 21, 2008


From the Premier’s scrum, as reported by the Ministry of Truth:

You’ve got the Vale piece, you’ve got the hydromet piece, you’ve got this piece as well, you’ve got LNG possibilities, there’s still a possibility of an oil refinery, Lower Churchill could kick in during this period of time, so, y’know, there’s gonna be more work over the next decade than the province can handle, at this point in time. Hopefully, it would be nice if we could get it all consecutively.
The Word of Our Dan.

You’ve got the Vale piece, you’ve got the hydromet piece, you’ve got this piece as well
Who introduced the word “piece” into Danny Williams’ vocabulary?

Whoever you are, please – cut your own tongue out.

“Welcome to Subway, may I take your order, Premier?”

“Yes, please, I’d like the foot long steak and cheese piece on the honey oat piece. The cheddar piece. The tomato piece, the lettuce piece, the pickle piece, the jalapeno piece, and the green pepper piece please. Some salt and pepper piece on that. Not too heavy. And just a light mayo piece. And I’ll take the chocolate chunk cookie piece.”

you’ve got LNG possibilities, there’s still a possibility of an oil refinery
There’s also the possibility of a Vulcan interplanetary spaceport; “possibility” pieces don’t pay the rent.

Lower Churchill could kick in during this period of time
Could kick in?


For Mr. Go It Alone (Once Ottawa Gives Us The Money To Go It Alone With), that’s awfully conditional.


After all, Mr. GIA(OOGUTMTGIAW) said, two years ago, “While Hydro will take the required time to complete due diligence on the feasibility of this project, a planning schedule has been developed that will see a project sanctioning decision by 2009”
so, y’know, there’s gonna be more work over the next decade than the province can handle, at this point in time.
So, in other words, he’s already conceding that those pesky little asterisks – “Subject to reasonable physical capacity and human resource availability” – are already going to justify offshoring much of the Hebron work.

Great negotiating there, Great Negotiator!

Hopefully, it would be nice if we could get it all consecutively.
Ah. Like any good Glorious Leader, in charge of any good Centrally-Planned Economy, he’s still committed to economic rationing.

Access to information

Speaking this afternoon on VOCM Backtalk, Natural Resources "minister" Kathy Bl- — yeesh, force of habit — Dunderdale says, of the situation at the Grand Falls-Windsor paper mill, "we need more information."


Given that "a seat at the table", with the attendent "access to information" were among the key justifications — to the extent that there have been any justifications at all — for demanding Our Dear Equity Share, then the solution is simple, isn't it?

Dunderdale should be demanding an equity stake in the mill alongside AbitibiBowater.



Kilbride Food Manufacturer to Export Snacks to Atlantic Canada

As if Kilbride isn't itself in Atlantic Canada?

Perhaps the headline was written by the same person who, in response to a media request for comment from the Premier while he was out of cell range in Nain, told the reporter he'd be available "when he gets back to the province."

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

We'd like to thank all the little people

August 2007:
I would also like to acknowledge the other members of our negotiating team who are joining us today: Mr Ed Martin, Mr Chris Kielley [sp.?], Mr Jim Keating, Miss Christine Healey, Todd Stanley, Bill Malloy, Brian Crawley, Elizabeth Matthews, and Peter Hickey.
August 2008:
I would like to take just a moment to acknowledge the core negotiating team.

The team consists of officials from the Department of Natural Resources, Department of Justice, the Energy Corporation and our outside legal counsel. They are here to day, and I ask them to stand.

This team was fully supported by officials throughout government and the Energy Corporation, including the Departments of Natural Resources, Justice, Finance, Cabinet Secretariat and my staff. I invite each and every government official who participated in this success to also stand.

Second fiddle

Oh look! Some more reflected glory to bask in.

Number of times the name Williams is dropped: 3 (including the lede)

Number of times the name Jackman — the TCR minister, for the record — is dropped: 2.

Let the people know the truth...

... and the country is safe. So says Our Great Premier.

Sorry — so said OGP. Past tense.

An Openness and Accountability Eve special from The Telegram who, like Ed Ring, have had their fire go out.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Hereditary peer

From today's St. John's CBC Morning Show:

Chris O’Neill-Yates: Kevin Parson, what qualifies you [to be MHA], what’s your strong suit?

Parsons: I almost feel like it’s in my blood, with my father being the MHA previous to Jack [Byrne].


Sources say: Hebron deal could come this week.

Of course it could, what with the Regatta not being sufficiently coincident with the August CRA polling period.

UPDATE: And with the Echo Chamber finally back up to full capacity.

UPDATE II: And oh yeah — by-elections imminent. But the VOCM thing is the key.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Literally, in the figurative sense of the word

From the Ministry of Truth:
More Setbacks in Gambo - Aug 17, 2008

Mother nature has put her foot down and literally split the island portion of the province in two.
(And why can't people on "the island portion of the province" call "the island portion of the province" but its name, instead of by that stupid circumlocution?

Saturday, August 16, 2008

The Island of Labrador

Peter O'Brien of Halifax, in today's Telegram:
At the same lodge, I spoke with a man who has lived in Goose Bay much of his adult life. He has just sold his home and is moving back to the island because the cost of flying from Goose Bay to see family on the mainland has become so high.

Friday, August 15, 2008

They love Fridays

It's Friday afternoon, which means its time to send out an environmental assessment press release.


By way of proving that provincial government funding is not "done to a district", Dave Denine does money to an "area".... which just happens to share its name with the electoral district of the Straits-White Bay North.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Where in the world (II)

"Where's Danny?", the wags ask.

"Wherever there's a ribbon to be cut," another wag answers.

Monday, August 11, 2008

It's better for fade away than to burn out

"Some former politicians just don't know when to call it a day."

So says former PC candidate Roger Pike, in a completely un-orchestrated opinion piece, which is certainly not part of any greater campaign of character assassination, for the Grand Falls-Windsor Advertiser:

Now I hear the former education minister, Chris Decker, squawking on the radio and television that current Minister Joan Burke should be fired for interfering and rejecting a recommendation of a selection committee to find a new president for Memorial University. To quote Chris Decker, "This is the stupid action of an interfering minister that should be fired or removed immediately."

I now find it ironic that Decker can call for Minister Burke to be fired for doing something he did as minister just a few short years ago. Either Chris Decker has an extremely short memory or is simply playing typical petty politics with this latest issue. In any event, I feel he should butt out.
Ah yes.

Butt out.

The regime's standard response, in more or less as many words, to former politicians, and one which Roger Pike, former PC candidate, just happens, by coincidence, to agree with.

Roger Grimes? Butt out.

Brian Peckford? Shut up and go away.

John Crosbie? He doesn't get to call the shots.

Former politicians should butt out.

This means you, John Ottenheimer.

And Len Simms.

And Glenn Tobin.

Additions to the list are welcome; use the comments board.

Today's required reading

Mark Watton (read his last name backwards) in today's dead-tree and bits-and-bytes edition of The Telegram:
Now, we're actively encouraging voters to cast scribble-in ballots before they even know who they're voting for. All of these provisions afford tremendous advantage to the 48 members who sit in the legislature. Isn't it time our election laws represented the interests of the voters instead?
Much more.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Two-way trade

Tom Careen joins the parade of the Placentia crowd who are quite happy to have all of the benefits of a Labrador resource... just none of the consquences.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Story time

Wouldn't this have been the ideal time to mention this?

Oh well — the gift just keeps on giving.

And surely to goodness, the pushed-back Hebron announcement timing is entirely unrelated... Oh, the perils of self-imposed deadlines, especially from a (selectively) "big believer" in them.

Free speech

February, 2006:
"We're not in China – we're living in Canada. We're living in Newfoundland Labrador," he said. [Oooh lookie - an early attestation of "Newfoundland Labrador"! - ed.]

"People have the right to express their opinions and their feelings."
August, 2008:
Premier Williams has been known to personally call editors and letter writers who offer criticism of him and his government's decisions.

While his stated aim is to "set the record straight" the tactic probably leaves ordinary letter-writing citizens with the sense of "better be careful what you say because He is watching."

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Joan Orwell (II)

Evidently Joan Orwell doesn't read the papers. This was Joan Orwell, last Friday:

August 1, 2008

Minister Affirms Province’s Support for Academic Freedom

The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador today confirmed its full support for the academic freedom of Memorial University. The Honourable Joan Burke, Minister of Education, said the province has never undermined the academic freedom of the province’s university and its involvement in approving a new President for Memorial is in keeping with past practice and in full compliance with the legislation governing Memorial, an Act Respecting The Memorial University of Newfoundland (act).

“Our government has in no way made any attempt to intervene in the academic freedom or autonomy of Memorial,” said Minister Burke. “Memorial is a world-class institution with a budget of hundreds of millions of dollars serving some 18,000 students. Obviously, government would have an interest in the leadership of this institution. That has nothing to do with academic autonomy and those who are suggesting so are simply wrong and are doing a disservice to the reputation of the university.”


“I have yet to hear one concrete example of how exactly our government has impeded or interfered in academic freedom or autonomy,” said Minister Burke.

And this was Dr. Evan Simpson, former vice-president (academic) and pro vice-chancellor of Memorial University, in The Telegram, earlier the same day:

The university depends heavily upon its operating and capital grants from the government. Memorial used to receive block grants and set its priorities within the financial limits they imposed. Now, in submitting a budget, the university presents a menu of initiatives and the government chooses those it likes.

In effect, Memorial has surrendered its capacity to set its own priorities. Basic operating funding continues but room for innovation is limited. The government expects Memorial to have a strategic plan, but it is difficult to take this seriously when the Treasury Board decides what it will or will not fund.


Monday, August 04, 2008

Shhh... don't tell anyone

Openness and Accountability continues to reign, Dannystan-style.

The following are the subjects of the Dannystan Information Service press releases of July 28th:
The following is not:

(Why the copy-protection on the .pdf document, Earl?)

This lack of public attention-drawing is, of course, entirely with precedent. As the CBC reported on June 2oth:
The Newfoundland and Labrador government announced late Friday afternoon it will give the head of the Cameron Inquiry the extension and the resources she has requested, even after the premier and province's justice minister criticized the inquiry for the amount of money being spent on legal fees.
That "announcement", as in the actual legal mechanics of the extension, was made without the benefit of any pesky written record.

Well, that didn't take long

Speaking of statute laws being ignored:

Executive Council
August 04, 2008

Premier Williams Announces Date for By-Elections in the Districts of Baie Verte-Springdale and Cape St. Francis

The Honourable Danny Williams, Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, today announced that by-elections will be held in the districts of Baie Verte-Springdale and Cape St. Francis on Wednesday, August 27, 2008.

"I am very pleased that constituents in these two districts will soon have the opportunity to choose their next Member of the House of Assembly," said Premier Williams. "The people of both districts have been represented by well respected, capable and dedicated members in the past, and I encourage all residents to get out and vote for a new elected representative."

In accordance with amendments to the House of Assembly Act passed by the Williams Government in 2004, by-elections must be announced within 60 days, and conducted within 90 days of vacancy of a seat. Today’s announcement of these by-elections is in compliance with the act.

The late Jack Byrne's seat in Cape St. Francis became vacant when he died on June 4th.

Sixty days after June 4th is August 3rd.

Today, August 4th, the day of the announcement, is the 61st day.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

No complaints

Commentators from — "up West"? — who use the rather meaningless phrase "down East" pretty well tip their hand from the start that they don't really know what they're talking about.

And it would be the case for this Lawrence Martin colum, even if he didn't seal the deal by claiming:

Extending his autonomy push to other regions smacks of smart politics as well. Headwaiter to the provinces? How about head cashier at the polling booths. Westerners will lovingly see it as a kick at the Toronto-Ottawa dictatorship. It's gravy for la belle province and down East, loud guys like Danny Williams won't be complaining.
Ah yes. Danny Williams, Autonomist.

Oh sure, he (or his crack research team) learned the phrase, probably on a layover at Dorval-PET en route to a Canadian Idol final or some such, even going so far as:

To that end, My Government will harness the desire among Newfoundlanders and Labradorians to cultivate greater cultural, financial and moral autonomy vis-à-vis Ottawa. Our priority is the well-being of successive generations of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, including those who live here now and those we welcome to join us from all over the world. My Government will affirm Newfoundland and Labrador’s status as a distinct people, not uniform in lineage but multi-cultural, one nation inclusive of many nations living in harmony together.
But what is Danny Williams' "autonomist" vision?

Let's see... maximizing federal funding for provincial government initiatives and heads of jurisdiction; maximising the number of federal civil servants (and their provincially-taxable incomes) in the province; "going it alone" on the so-called development of the so-called Lower Churchill — once Ottawa agrees to underwrite the enterprise and absorb the risk; and, of course, the mother of all autonomist dreams, maximizing the size and duration of federal transfer payments to the province.

Boy, do all that, and soon there'd be enough money coming in from Ottawa that we could afford to separate from Canada!

And oh yeah — all the while running as far, as fast, from the one bit of autonomism that has actually been offered up to him.

A question of interpretation

Danny, and Danny's Minions, seem to have adopted a very strange set of rules of interpretation.

There was, of course, the whole Ruelokke affair, in which Danny Williams-Government was entirely unwilling to concede the plain meaning of s. 12 of the Canada-Newfoundland Atlantic Accord Implementation Act:
[33] The Respondent concedes that it is bound by the Panel’s selection of the Applicant as CEO of the Board because section 24(3) of the Act states that, “...the chief executive officer shall be appointed by both the federal government and the provincial government after having been selected in accordance with section 12". On the other hand, the Respondent takes the position that it is not bound by the decision of the Panel with respect to the appointment of the Chair of the Board because the mandatory language of section 24 of the Act does not appear in section 12 of the Act. In supporting its position, the Respondent argues that:
“In arguing that he has a right to the position of Chairman, Mr. Ruelokke relies on section 12(6) of the Act which states that “The decision of the panel selecting a Chairman of the Board is final and binding on both governments”. However, this section does not create an enforceable legal right to a position. Rather, s. 12(6) functions as a privative clause that requires a court to show deference to the Panel’s decision if the federal or provincial governments seek judicial review of the Panel’s recommendation”.
[34] I reject the Respondent’s argument that section 12(6) of the Act contains a privative clause which is intended to prevent the courts from reviewing the selection of the Panel. Section 12 of the Act is intended to provide a mechanism for the appointment of the Chair of the Board in the event the federal and provincial governments disagree on a candidate. In order to emphasize the finality of the Panel’s choice it specifically states that the selection is binding “on both governments”.
Now, we have Education Minister Joan Burke claiming, in respect of s. 51 of the Memorial University Act:
It’s legislation that this will be a cabinet appointment, and it will be…

Well, certainly they knew the legislation, if they weren’t familiar with it, they can have a read through it, and they can see that it is a cabinet appointment…

This has always been an appointment of cabinet…
Yeah, Joan, and we have always been at war with Eastasia.

Then it's Tom Marshall, making it a triumvirate of Great Lawyers™, arguing
"Everyone is entitled to their view. He’s given his analysis. I consider his analysis a literal interpretation — a strict, constructionist interpretation. A proper interpretation of the legislation would have to consider the wording in context. When you consider the wording in context, the minister of Education plays a very important role."
And finally, Joan Burke, as relayed by Pam Frampton, with another curious interpretation:
Her response: "We have had no correspondence from the board of regents and the presidential committee."

Really? So how did Minister Burke know there were two shortlisted candidates winnowed out from a longer list by the search committee?

According to Burke's public relations specialist, Nora Daly, "The minister became aware of the short (list) last winter/spring through routine contact with the chair of the board of regents."

Well, golly, I'm no education minister, but to me "routine contact" certainly falls under the definition of correspondence.
Indeed it does.

Which makes a body wonder... when it comes to other legislation, let's say, the Access to Information Act, or the requests made under that Act, how are they interpreting words like "correspondence"?




Or do they consider the words in context?

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Saturday, August 02, 2008


Craig Westcott rants, quite nicely, and concludes by rhetorically asking:

Yesterday, it was the blacklisting of reporters and the rewarding of cronies.

Today, it's the premier or the education minister running the university.

What will it be tomorrow?
What will it be tomorrow?

Tomorrow, it might be the Premier making personal attacks on a sitting judge in a court case. Except that tomorrow is already here.

Tomorrow, it might be the Premier and his hench-suckups making personal attacks on a judge presiding over a public inquiry. Except that tomorrow is already here.

Tomorrow, it might be the Minister of Justice announcing that he will openly ignore the decisions of the highest courts in the province and the country. Except that tomorrow is already here.

Tomorrow, it might be the government, and the Premier, attempting to circumvent a statutory limit on its powers and usurp those of another order of government, and in the process carrying on a reprehensible personal vendetta. Except that tomorrow is already here.

Tomorrow, it might be the provincial government intervening for crass partisan political reasons in a decision of a statutorilly-delegated body exercising its lawful authority. Except that tomorrow is already here.

Tomorrow, it might be the appointment of partisans to oversee what used to be the non-partisan process of electoral boundary reform. Except that tomorrow is already here.

Tomorrow, it might be the appointment of a partisan to oversee the democratic process. Except that tomorrow is already here.

Tomorrow, it might be the provincial government making a multi-billion dollar arrangement for the exploitation and development of a major natural resource, without letting the public know the terms of that deal. Except that tomorrow is already here.

Tomorrow, it might be Alice in Wonderland electoral laws that let you vote in elections that aren’t taking place yet. Except that tomorrow is already here.

Tomorrow, it might be blatant and brazen patronage to a degree that would make Mulroney or Trudeau blush. Except that tomorrow is already here.

Tomorrow, it might be a government descending into Soviet-style secrecy, all the while professing openness and accountability, and proving Orwell right. Except that tomorrow is already here.

Tomorrow, it might be the condemnation by the government of public critics of the government. Except that tomorrow is already here.

Tomorrow, it might be a government obsessed not just with its media image, but with manipulating that media image. Except that tomorrow is already here.

Tomorrow, it might be a government using, or withdrawing, its advertising dollar, as a media-messaging carrot and a stick respectively. Except that tomorrow is already here.

Tomorrow, it might be a 21st-century government using the public purse as a 19th-century electoral carrot and stick. Except that tomorrow is already here.

Tomorrow, it might be the election of an MHA and Premier who has open contempt for the Parliamentary institution he was elected to. Except that tomorrow is already here.

Tomorrow, it might be the withering away of that Parliamentary institution itself. Except that tomorrow is already here.

And tomorrow it might be the erection of an elaborate cult of personality around a Westminster-style first minister in a first-world liberal democracy. Except that tomorrow is already here.

And all these tomorrows have come to pass, in less than five years, with barely a peep from the press; with hardly a word from civil society groups, if there are any left whose loyalty hasn’t been rented or disloyalty appropriately cowed; with hardly a word from would-be, could-be, or should-be whistle-blowers; and with hardly a word, and often the overt co-operation, of the elected opposition, even when that opposition was four times its current size.

What will it be tomorrow?

Just look around today.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Sycophant of the Month: July 2008

Total number of ProvGov press releases issued in July: 137 (-18 from June)

Total number with the phrase "Williams Government": 5 (-4 from June.)

Sycophancy index: 3.6% (-2.2% from May, do., do.)

The sycophancy index continues its summer plummetation. From a three-month rolling average of over 12% at the start of May, it’s now dipped below 5% for the first time since March.

Not only did the streak of weeks of Williamsgovernmentiness end at 22 weeks in the start of the month, the third week of the month also saw no “Williams Government” releases issued.

And not only that, only five were issued in July at all. Dave Denine opened the scoring, but not until the month was a third over. He was quickly followed by Trevor Taylor and May’s monthly champion Dianne Whalen. Denine pulled into a lead on the 21st, but without an insurance goal, Whalen was able to tie it up, with an assist from Tom Marshall — the closest that Tom, the June monthly winner, would get to scoring in July at all. And Joan Burke, despite her yeowoman’s service to The Regime this past month, remains scoreless since May.

And so it stands, for the first time, a dead heat. Your July Sycophants of the Month: Dave Denine and Dianne Whalen.


But... (II)

Yet another VOCM caller, this afternoon:
I’m a strong supporter of this government, but…

Joan Orwell (I)

Joan Burke's positively Orwellian press release, issued late today, before a long weekend and her holiday trip to Moncton, contains an interesting passage:
“Our government has in no way made any attempt to intervene in the academic freedom or autonomy of Memorial,” said Minister Burke. “Memorial is a world-class institution with a budget of hundreds of millions of dollars serving some 18,000 students. Obviously, government would have an interest in the leadership of this institution. That has nothing to do with academic autonomy and those who are suggesting so are simply wrong and are doing a disservice to the reputation of the university.”

Minister Burke noted that academic freedom is defined by the Canadian Association of University Teachers as: ‘It is the right to teach, learn, study and publish free of orthodoxy or threat of reprisal and discrimination. It includes the right to criticize the university and the right to participate in its governance. Tenure provides a foundation for academic freedom by ensuring that academic staff cannot be dismissed without just cause and rigorous due process.”

“I have yet to hear one concrete example of how exactly our government has impeded or interfered in academic freedom or autonomy,” said Minister Burke.
Minister Burke defines "academic freedom" and protests that she hasn't infringed her definition of it.

But she doesn't define "autonomy".

What is "autonomy"?

Given that "autonomy" is something that Danny Williams-Government wants for Grenfell; heck, he even wants it for Danny Williams-Government, someone should ask.

Someone should ask Joan Burke.

And someone should compare that definition to the instant case.


An open memo

To: All

Re: The letter H


There is an "h" in the word "physician". Govern yourselves accordingly. Is all.

Joan Burke: Liar

This just in:
The act governing the university defines a process whereby the Board of Regents in consultation with the Senate must forward candidates to the Lieutenant-Governor in Council for approval, and that process will be followed.
That clinches it.

She's not stupid.

She's a liar.

Where's Danny?



Some interesting comments — again — stemming from the continuing MUN[don't call it "gate" - ed.] presidency affair.

On the Telegram site:
Roy from Newfoundland Canada writes: What's going on here, are we heading for a dictorial government, i have always been a P C supporter but i believe Ms Burke has overstepped her boundaries. Let MUN pick its presedent and remove Ms Burke from cabinat. Ms Marshall was removed for a lot less.
On the Ceeb:
thedunph wrote:
Posted 2008/07/31at 11:50 AM ET
I'm a Danny supporter but it is clear that Joan Burke is getting involved with something that a) she has no business getting into b) doesn't have the qualifications to get involved and c) legally is not allowed to get involved.
And from an anonymouse on the Ministry of Truth (link will soon go dark):
Comments: as much as i think the williams administration is doing an overall fantastic job of governing the province, i do think they should have less involvement when it comes to sticking their noses into the hiring process for a position that falls outside of the provincial government''s scope. sure, mun relies on the provincial government to fund some areas of its operation... as it also relies on federal and private sector funding as well... but at the end of the day it''s not a provincial government-ran institution, it''s not memorial progressive conservative university (mpcu). it makes me wonder how far has the provincial government''s arm extended and meddled into the affairs of memorial university''s administration in the past. did brian tobin decree axel meisen as mun''s president back in 1999?
If these are earnest and genuine comments by people who are willing, like Hoxher-era Albanians, to criticise the régime but only after professing their support for The Leader, then we all should be very, very, worried.

If, on the other hand, these are earnest and genuine comments by people who are, honestly, supporters of The Party, then Danny Williams, at some point perhaps sooner than later, should be very, very, worried.

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