labradore

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

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Scraped clean and reinscribed (II)

This corner has previously noted the frequency with which history is re-written in Dannystan. As someone else once wrote:

Day by day and almost minute by minute the past was brought up to date. In this way every prediction made by the Party could be shown by documentary evidence to have been correct, nor was any item of news, or any expression of opinion, which conflicted with the needs of the moment, ever allowed to remain on record. All history was a palimpsest, scraped clean and reinscribed exactly as often as was necessary.
So, it is amusing — at least on one level — to hear ODP's comments in Montreal the other day at the taping of Brian Mulroney, This Is Your Life. As reported by CP:

Newfoundland Premier Danny Williams said he had come to pay tribute to Mulroney, for whom he did some work in the 1980s.

"He enabled us to be in a very, very strong financial position that we’re in now," Williams said.

"If I did not have an Atlantic Accord to work with when I became premier, it might not have enabled me to do the things we’re doing in Newfoundland and Labrador."
This would of course be the same 1985 Atlantic Accord, one presumes, that in the past — say, up to and including last Wednesday — would have been included in the Established Catechism of Giveaways.

Cf. the mutable theological position of the Voisey's Bay project, which, along with the "giveaways" on the offshore projects which are actually producing oil and royalties, are enabling Us to do the things We're doing since We became Premier.

13 Comments:

At 5:56 PM, September 20, 2009 , Blogger Edward G. Hollett said...

That's not the best one, Wal-man.

The Accord was so great according to Danny Williams that it was bleeding Newfoundland and Labrador of its royalties. It was so great a deal that Williams wanted to crack open the orioginal and re-negotiate it.

it was so great a deal that when Stephen Harper violated it, Williams said nary a thing. Well, I should say we assume he violated it because otherwise, the NL government would have had to consent to a revision of the 1985 deal that capped transfers.

The again, there's also the wonderful humour in the notorious flag ripper, the guy who has ranted about the nefarious plot called Confederation, who is quoted in the Toronto Star as saying:

"It's that broad national perspective, and even international perspective, that Brian Mulroney had. It certainly would be a nice lesson for the government of today."

 
At 6:18 PM, September 20, 2009 , Blogger Peter said...

Hard to tell who the revisionists are here. Danny Williams only fought to revise the provisions for offset payments. In 1985, those provisions were considered adequate. In 2005, they were not. If anyone has evidence Williams condemned the original Accord as a whole, I'd like to see it.

 
At 7:30 PM, September 20, 2009 , Blogger WJM said...

Danny Williams only fought to revise the provisions for offset payments. In 1985, those provisions were considered adequate. In 2005, they were not.

Despite the fact that in 2005, they were working exactly — EXACTLY — as both governments intended them to in 1985.

And you're still having a hard time figuring out who the revisionists are?

 
At 8:47 PM, September 20, 2009 , Blogger Peter said...

Ed uses that line as well. I don't understand the logic. When the U.S. passed constitutional amendments, does that mean they wanted to throw out the whole shooting match? I didn't say the offset payments weren't working EXACTLY as written. How else could they work? The point is Williams, among numerous others, wanted them rewritten. Things change. Circumstances change. Laws and treaties are amended. So What's your point?

 
At 10:35 PM, September 20, 2009 , Blogger WJM said...

I didn't say the offset payments weren't working EXACTLY as written. How else could they work?

If you believe the garbage that's been spewed over the past decade, they supposedly weren't doing whatever they were supposed, by the revisionists, to have been doing in the first place.

The point is Williams, among numerous others, wanted them rewritten. Things change. Circumstances change. Laws and treaties are amended. So What's your point?

A good chunk of the "wanting them re-written" was based on the premise — the false premise — that somehow the 1985 Accord wasn't doing what it was supposed to do.

And yes, circumstances change. By 2003, the Premier's chair was occupied by a liar, a hypocrite, and a demagogue who has planned out a road to "autonomy" one federal transfer payment at a time.

 
At 1:39 AM, September 21, 2009 , Blogger WJM said...

it was so great a deal that when Stephen Harper violated it, Williams said nary a thing.

And also so great a deal that Williams tried to breach it by short-circuiting the nomination provisions in the Ruelokke affair, and accused the only judge to have (so far) upheld the Accord as having gotten up on the wrong side of the bed.

 
At 7:51 AM, September 21, 2009 , Blogger Peter said...

The Ruelokeke affair is another matter. I think Williams had every right to fight for the nominee he wanted, but I'll concede the court case was a bit much. I say that in retrospect, because my words at the time were more favourable towards Williams' actions, or at least his sentiments.
But you're missing a subtle distinction in the Accord story. The offset payments may have been doing what they were SUPPOSED to do, but not what they were MEANT to do. What a law is meant to do and what it actually achieves are too different things. If a fine is not high enough to serve as a deterrent, change the fine. If the scope is not broad enough, broaden it.
The Atlantic Accord was penned with the intention of making Newfoundland and Labrador the "primary benificiary" of oil production, and the offset payments designed to help achieve that intention. That the formula was working as written is not the question. The question was whether their adequacy was sufficiently foreseen at the time.
Williams meant this when he said the Accord was not working as intended. That context was clear at the time, as stated by Williams, Crosbie and others. You choose to assign a different context.

 
At 10:26 AM, September 21, 2009 , Blogger Mark said...

No wally - the offsets were not functioning exactly as they had been set to do in the original Accord. In fact, they had been twice improved by subsequent amendments, the first which allowed Newfoundland and Labrador to choose between the Accord offset and a generic 30% formula, and the second which allowed Newfoundland to make such election retroactively, thereby always guaranteeing the better of those two options at the end rather than the beginning of each fiscal year.

As for the Accord "working" - anyone who pointed out this simple fact, which you now seem willing to concede, would have been tarred, feathered, excommmunicated and branded a traitor in the pages of your newspaper.

If you accepted as fact that the Accord was being honoured as written, then surely the repeated allegation to the contrary made my John Crosbie, Loyola Hearn et al. had no place in a newspaper concerned with fact - or at least one intrersted in fact checking or factual anaylsis.

In signing the revised Accord, the Premier admitted, in writing and under his signature, that the entire premise of these arguments was a complete and utter lie. (see para 2)

 
At 11:14 AM, September 21, 2009 , Blogger Peter said...

And still,"Mark et al., you choose to ignore my point. You assign a context to the recent Accord debate other than what was clearly intended at the time. It's not about the whole Accord, it's about the offset formula.
I'm glad you were so astute, Mark, to have so quickly grasped this Accord battle as soon as it was thrust upon us, unlike that dumb ol' Telegram. I assume there were other media outlets that had it down pat from day one?

 
At 11:27 AM, September 21, 2009 , Blogger Mark said...

Who said the Telegram was dumb?

 
At 11:31 AM, September 21, 2009 , Blogger Mark said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 11:31 AM, September 21, 2009 , Blogger Mark said...

Oh - and writing that something was "clearly intended at the time" and accusing others of "assigning context" in the same sentence is quite a feat.

 
At 11:38 AM, September 21, 2009 , Blogger WJM said...

I think Williams had every right to fight for the nominee he wanted

He has the same "right", no more, no less, that the Prime Minister of Canada has in such matters.

But you're missing a subtle distinction in the Accord story. The offset payments may have been doing what they were SUPPOSED to do, but not what they were MEANT to do.

What were they "meant" to do?

The Atlantic Accord was penned with the intention of making Newfoundland and Labrador the "primary benificiary" of oil production, and the offset payments designed to help achieve that intention.

That "intention" goes far beyond the public revenues, which, in any event, favour the provincial government.

Williams meant this when he said the Accord was not working as intended.

How do you know what Williams meant?

You choose to assign a different context.

Given that the only provisions the province seems to care about are the ones with fiscal federalism implications, no context has been harmed in the writing of this post.

 

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