A substantial number of MHAs argued that the nature of political life in Newfoundland and Labrador is such that it is necessary that such expenditures be condoned. In fact, some said that their lives as elected members would be intolerable if those expenditures were not permitted. They talked in terms of the tremendous pressure placed on politicians to make donations and give financial support within the community. They said it was expected of the politician and that if he or she did not “play the game” there would be consequences at the polls. They also argued that such expenditures, judiciously applied, made an important contribution to the community. How could an MHA, it was said, turn down a request for food or medicine for an impoverished constituent? They pointed out that government social programs were often inadequate and citizens sometimes “fell through the cracks.” The MHA was in the best position to know who the deserving ones were and to take steps to fill the void. The point was also made by some opposition Members that the ability of an opposition MHA to provide “social service” types of donations was especially important because there was a perception that government Members, especially if they were also Ministers, had an easier time accessing government programs for their constituents. The ability of opposition Members to make discretionary donations was one way in which this perceived imbalance could be righted.That was the Hon. J. Derek Green, in his May 2007 report. Two and a half years ago. Seems like a lifetime.
Notwithstanding these arguments, I believe these practices belong to another age. It is an age we should leave.
Of course, he was speaking to the issue of mere mortal MHAs making donations… not the Government itself Himself making “donations”. As the Telegram online reported today:
And as the Ministry of Truth (Provincial) put it:
A campaign to raise money for a Ronald McDonald House for this province got off to a good start today with a $500,000 donation from the province.
Premier Danny Williams announced the donation at the Fluvarium in St. John’s this morning.Ronald McDonald House will provide a place for children who have to come to St. John’s from rural parts of the province for serious medical attention, to stay with their parents and families.
The total cost of the project is $4.5 million.
The Capital Campaign to raise money for the province's first Ronald McDonald House is underway. The first major donors are the provincial government and Memorial University with $500,000 from government and Memorial University donating the land.Unfortunately, while The Most Open And Accountable Government In The Universe put out an announcement announcing that Himself would speak, TMOAAGITU didn’t bother to follow up with Himself’s actual words — making it impossible for a body who didn’t have the good fortune to be in His presence today to know whether He used the D-word Himself, or whether it’s an interpolation by the media on their intertubes.
Object lesson for MHAs who thought that the Green report actually meant anything: if you’re bent on making donations qua donations; if, in Mr. Justice Green’s quoted words, you want to “play the game”... then get yourself into government and stay that way.