labradore

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

Saturday, February 28, 2009

The view from high elevation

Meeker on Media sets of another war of words, or, more specifically, War of That One Particular Word. Among the many battles in the war is an interesting mano a mano between Craig Westcott (The Business Post, etc.) and David Cochrane (CBC):

Craig Westcott from St. John's, Newfoundland writes: What is unfortunate is that the mainstream media, especially CBC, hasn't taken [the Premier] to task on this long pattern of coercion.

David Cochrane from St. Johns, Newfoundland writes: You are so right Westcott. We are all a pack of quivering little toadies afraid to ask the Great Leader (tm) any questions. If only you bothered to show up to a scrum or a new conference to show us how real journalists do their job. […] How is the view from your high horse? Does the thin air at that elevation make you light headed? I'm guessing it does.
Meowch.

Unfortunately for Cochrane, some of his comments, said in an obviously sarcastic tone, come a little too close, a little too often, to the truth.

On the day of Our Dear Infrastructure Announcement, one broadcast journalist (not Cochrane) filed the following fawning-to-the-point-of-embarrasing report, which is reproduced here verbatim, though with a few identifying details left out:

The Premier, flanked by Finance Minister Jerome Kennedy and Transportation Minister Trevor Taylor has announced some eight hundred million dollars in infrastructure spending to create jobs and counter any possible negative impact from the waning global economy. The Premier says despite the federal government’s attempt to suppress growth and prosperity by going against signed agreements, we WILL be masters of our own destiny and pump millions of dollars into lasting infrastructure spending, resulting in thousands of person-years in jobs. The Premier says every part of the province will benefit, with major investments in transportation, health, education, and municipal infrastructure. None of that of course includes the benefits that will accrue from projects like Hebron and Nalcor’s investment in the Lower Churchill Development.

[Emphasis added to reflect the reporter’s tone of voice.]

And this, on the same day that all the way across the Province and Labrador, the other end of this media announcement was about to generate rather more skeptical hard-news reporting, quotes from incredulous members of the general public, admissions from officials of the recycled nature of the announcments, and a markedly Premier-negative editorial.

There are more than a few regulars at the scrums, pressers, and avails who could re-learn, or even learn, a thing or two.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Rain on the parade

All over the place, the economic downturn is force the cancellation of strongman leaders' big ra-ra bashes.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Pater familias

An eagle-eyed correspondent notes something unusual about Our Dear Declaration on Friday evening that the federal government is no longer constitutionally competent.

Well, in addition to the highly unusual time-stamp of 5:20 p.m.

Notice the choice of word — the possessive "his" instead of the demonstrative "this" — used as the second-last word in the very last paragraph:
Premier Williams said he will continue to monitor the progress of this process and government officials will continue to provide full representation on issues of importance to his province.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

There are no talking points

A local non-partisan polemicises paradoxically (or is it the other way around?):

TIME TO PULL TOGETHER

I say it does not take a lot of guts to create fiction and divide the local community at a time when they need to be pulling together.

He knows what he's fighting for:

'Cause it's now or never,
we've been pulled apart forever
If we'd only pull together, all for home now, lend a hand

On Unanimity (III)

He seems to be gung-ho to get the Lower Churchill developed, well, so are we all.

- Radio Host No Names Please earlier today, speaking of Our Dear Premier's plan for Our Dear Project

Presence

From the latest report of the provincial Auditor-General, at page 406, a map — kudos on the proportionality and all — showing Forestry and Wildlife Enforcement Regions, with the enforcement staffing levels in each of them:

According to this map, there are 20 front-line enforcement staff in Labrador, or one for every 14,700 square kilometres. That's roughly the size of the Northern Peninsula of Newfoundland.

There are 87 scattered across Newfoundland's two Enforcement regions and the headquarters, or one for every 1280 square kilometres. That's roughly four times the size of the Town of Happy Valley-Goose Bay, or five and a half Fogo Islands.

Where are the policy wonks? Won't someone think about the government presence?

Two Independent Thought Alarms in one day?

The Independent Thought Alarms must be ringing incessantly these past 24 hours.

In “Central”, David Newell has the gall to cite the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

And in the far north, Greg Knott thinks independently.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Riot too Quiet: Ryan

Morris from King’s Point argues that there’s still a lot of fight left in the Fighting Newfoundlander, citing the FFAW rallies over RMS as a case in point.

“But that was an organized protest!” protests Evening Radio Host. “There were a lot of times when Newfoundlanders, and Labradorians, should have been on the streets, and weren’t!”

Some people just won’t be happy until they have a right riot on their hands.

I just called to say I hate him

Our Dear Premier calls up the Evening Radio Host. He professes to have had no real plans to call in, it’s just a “courtesy” call.

So polite, that ODP. Courtesy calling, long distance, or from a cell phone (or both), when He is otherwise busy busy busy, 24/7/52, it being CRA polling season and all.

ODP and ERH banter convivially about the sinking of the Monte Galineiro, which ties in nicely with ODP’s latest holy crusade: preventing Canada, a sovereign country, from negotiating treaties. (Cold-served revenge for Blaine-Bond?)

But those topics, ODP protests, aren’t the real reason He called in tonight. In fact, other than calling it a “courtesy” call, H doesn’t actually come out and state the real reason.

But boy, He sure did spend a lot of the time remaining in His call slagging “Mr. Griffiths” of Grand Falls-Windsor, and questioning the man’s motives.

Only asking questions

The evening talk radio host starts his nightly monologue with the conspiracy theory surrounding the Monte Galineiro and concludes with the caveat:
You can call me paranoid, you can call me a conspiracy theorist. I’m only asking questions.
Asking questions can get you into worse trouble than being called a “conspiracy theorist” these days.

And when the good broadcast journalist gives the sage advice, “We have to know all the facts before freaking out”, well, so true, radio host.

So very true.

Major statement

According to the evening talk-radio host, with his curiously late-on-Friday press release, “Danny Williams is making a major statement here.”

Indeed, he is. As Professor Hogg writes in his Constitutional Law of Canada, 2nd Edition, chapter 11:
In [the 1947 Letters Patent constituting the office of Governor General of Canada] by clause 2 the Governor General is authorized “to exercise all powers and authorities lawfully belonging to Us [the King] in respect of Canada”. This language undoubtedly delegates to the federal government of Canada the power to enter into treaties binding Canada.

Even without an express delegation of treaty-making power, Canada’s achievement of full independence would necessarily carry with it the power to enter into treaties, and in the absence of any contrary constitutional provision the power would be located within the executive branch of the government which represents the country as a whole, namely, the federal government.
Therefore when the Premier says, as he did on Friday:
While Newfoundland and Labrador fully supports improved trade with the European Union, any actions taken in that regard must address priority areas of concern for the province said the Honourable Danny Williams, Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador. In particular, the province is extremely hesitant to allow the Federal Government to head these negotiations, given past actions that question their commitment to issues of importance to the province.
he is saying that the province is “extremely hesitant” to be bound by the fundamental law of the country, namely the constitutional distribution of powers. He is saying that the province is “extremely hesitant” to be bound by the Constitution.

Yip. That’s a major statement, alright.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Danny Williams: not

I think Joey Smallwood was an idiot. When it came to business or whatever, he was an idiot, an egomaniac. That’s not Danny Williams.

- The evening radio host takes another bite of the Many-Layered Onion of Irony.

On unanimity (II)

Everyone should step up now and support our premier on these issues.

- (astonishingly-)frequent evening talk radio caller, Dr. Philip Earle, arguing yet again for one-party rule.

Tell us what you really think

An evening talk-radio host takes a big zesty bite of the Many-Layered Onion of Irony, and says, of Joey Smallwood:

We put too much power into the hands of one many, and he didn’t use it wisely. He made mistakes, he made collosal mistakes… Our greatest premier is NOT Joey Smallwood.

And he wasn’t a good journalist, either.

Dog hears whistle

Fearless Leader issues a curiously-timed press release. And right on cue, or at least at the next available opportunity, the dogs go running to the high-pitched ultrasound squeal. Radio Host, just now:
Does that mean that the federal government of Canada no longer speaks for Newfoundland and Labrador?... You talk about Quebec being a nation within a nation, that’s what we’re turning into... Finally we have a Premier who’s standing up to change the status quo.

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One whose allocation was writ on air

An interesting error, if not a full-fledged Freudian slip, on the Ministry of Truth today:
Citizens Rep Applauding Facility Announcement in Labrador
February 22, 2009

The province's Citizens Representative is applauding the allocation of funds for a new facility in Labrador for adult women and youth offenders. Barry Fleming says a society is often assessed by how it treats its most vulnerable. He says with the allocation of 2 million dollars to construct the pre-trial facility in Happy Valley -Goose Bay, government has shown its intent to address the many problems within the system. In the summer of 2007, Fleming conducted a special investigation into programs and services for female offenders in Labrador. It stemmed from reports a young aboriginal woman threatening to harm herself was held in an RCMP holding cell, without clothing or a mattress, for days. Police later apologized to the woman and in his final report, Fleming had called on government to build a new custodial facility for women. He says he's pleased to see money air-marked for this much needed facility.
A wonderful and appropriate choice of malapropisms it would seem:
Government Short on Funding for Small Towns; May
February 22, 2009

On the heels of the effort Thursday to rescue the dolphins trapped in the slob ice of Seal Cove, the town's mayor, Winston May, had to deal with the reality of running a small town. May says a major snowfall blocked area roads while the town's single piece of road-clearing equipment was broke down. He says, on Thursday night, the brakes on the town's fire truck failed. May says they hear a lot of talk about money from government for small towns but it's all on paper. He says they don't see any money. May says he will look for money at the next council meeting to upgrade the town's equipment.
Or marked on air, as the case may be.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Betrayal

Someone hasn't taken Meeker's linguistic advice to heart. Terry Roberts quotes Le chef in today's Telegram:

"It's really unfortunate when one of our own comes out and betrays us like that," Williams said of Griffin.
"Griffin" being Mark Griffin, a lawyer in Grand Falls-Windsor who had the temerity to not just write a letter to an editor, but to use that platform to ask questions.

(A body can't help but wonder whether Mr. Griffin has been on the receiving end of any "set the record straight" phone calls.)

While the Mark Griffin who wrote the letter, according to Konrad Yakabuski, "professes to hold no political allegiances", someone named Mark Griffin, also of Grand Falls-Windsor, made an annual contribution of $200 to the PC Party in 2003, and of $500 in each of 2006 and 2007. A certain Mark Griffin, again of Grand Falls-Windsor, also gave an election-period contribution of $100 to losing PC candidate Clayton Forsey in Exploits in 2003. A person of that name and address also quite ecumenically donated $150 in 2003 to the campaign of the late Gerry Tobin, running then as a Dipper in Grand Falls-Buchans.

Then there's a Mark Griffin of the firm Inder & Griffin — formerly J. Mark Griffin Law Office — with offices in Grand Falls-Windsor and Lewisporte. That particular Mark Griffin's law partner, Mr. Karl Inder, shares the name and GFW location with a Karl Inder who, like the Mark Griffin of the preceding party finance history, has a good record of supporting the Danny Williams Team. Mr. Inder made annual contributions to the PC Party of $300 in 2003 and $500 in 2007, along with election-period contributions of $250 to PC candidates Paula Flood in Grand Falls-Buchans, and Clayton Forsey in Exploits in 2003. A Karl Inder also contributed $500 towards the campaign of PC candidate Jerome Kennedy running far away from central, over in Carbonear-Harbour Grace, in 2007.

There are no contributions on record from either a Mark Griffin or a Karl Inder to non-PC causes, other than the Gerry Tobin NDP donation noted previously.

So what would be most interesting to know is who, in the mind of Dear Leader, are the "us" whom Mark Griffin, one of "our" own, has betrayed.

This corner doesn't know whether Mark Griffin, Writer of Letters and Asker of Questions, is the same Mark Griffin who has been a great supporter of the democratic process throughout much of this decade. If they are one and the same person, however, it might be that "us", the victim of the egregious betrayal, are the Royal We Himself, or his Party, or his Government, instead of, or in addition to, Us the People, so cruelly betrayed by one of Our own.

Well, at least to the extent that in a political culture, with the ethical compass of a one-party regime, where the interests of the Premier, his Party, his Government, and his People have become commensurate, it's even possible to make the distinction anymore.

Baby boom?

An interesting statistic-like statement from chief Counter of Stuff, Jerome! Kennedy on Friday:
'Baby Bonus' Update
February 20, 2009

An update today on what has sometimes been called the provincial 'baby bonus'. New parents in the province are continuing to take advantage of the Williams government's 'parental incentives' . Officials say, as long as your application is in order, funds to help care for the new bundles of joy are being processed in approximately six weeks. The Department of Finance says a total of 4900 babies were born in the province last year and, as of the end of January roughly 4100 applications had been received. Officials say they've currently processed about 3300.
If 4900 babies were born in the province last year, that would mark a remarkable turnaround in recent demography. According to the province's own figures, there were just under 4500 babies born in the year ending June 30, 2007. Preliminary figures for the following year (ending June 30, 2008) peg the number of births at just under 4400.

The last year (ending June 30) in which the province had 4900 or more birth was 1990-2000. The third quarter of 2000 was the last time that the province had had 4900 or more births in the previous twelve months. There hasn't been a single quarter since the summer of 2003 during which the quarterly provincial birth rate, annualized, would have yielded 4900 babies for the year. In fact, for 2008Q1 the preliminary figures show 1025 births, a pace which, without considering the seasonal variation in birth rates, would yield 4100 babies in a year.

(The most recent twelve months' worth of preliminary data, which smooths out the seasonality, gives the number of births from 2007Q3 to 2008Q1 inclusive as 4260.)

From that baseline, 4900 babies a year would undo, at one stroke, a decade's worth of demographic trends which are showing no obvious signs of turning around. The opposite should be true: the population of residents in their 20s and 30s, the prime baby-making years, continues to decline; if anything, the rate of hollowing-out in those fertile age cohorts has accelerated in the past decade.

All of which is to say one of the following:

a) Danny's Baby Bonus is the most successful pro-natal policy in the history of the world, to have boosted the baby output by 15% in just one year.

b) There is a massive baby boom on the go, with the same number of babies being born in 2008-09 to fewer than 125,000 twenty- and thirty-somethings, as there were in 1999-2000 when there were more than 150,000 likely babymakers living in the province.

c) The estimated baby crop of 4900 is bunk, or a mis-statement of a figure likelier to be not dissimilar to 3900.



You didn't think there'd be a demographic posting without funky graphs, did you?

Quarterly number of births (blue) and deaths (black), one-year trailing average, in Newfoundland and Labrador, 1990-2008:


Estimated population (thousands) of people aged 20-39 in Newfoundland and Labrador, monthly, 1990-2008:


Quarterly number of births (blue) and deaths (black), one-year trailing average, in Newfoundland and Labrador, 1949-2008:

Friday, February 20, 2009

There's a lot of opportunities (if you know when to take them)

Another interesting tidbit from Clyde Jackman's announcement today concerning Artistic Fraud:
Recent CEDP funding approved for the arts sector is as follows:
  • $4,500 to Henge Production and Consulting Ltd., to assist in the development of a website focused on film and new media opportunities;
    Henge Production and Consulting?

    That would be henge.ca, Christopher Richardson, Executive Producer — a.k.a. hengedude, director of the entirely spontaneous, not at all contrived, self-styled Obama-esque YouTube video from back in November, which extolled the Virtue of Our Dear Premier and the Beauty and Entirely-Found Completely-Spontaneous Poeticism of His Excellent Words.

    Taking out the recycling

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

    - The Word of Our Dan, a year ago today.

    Today:

    Recent CEDP funding approved for the arts sector is as follows:

    • $8,000 to the Labrador Creative Arts Festival to offset the cost of its 33rd annual festival, held in Happy Valley-Goose Bay this past fall;
    • $2,600 to Flora Planchett, which helped her take advantage of a professional development opportunity at the Live Design conference and trade show held in Las Vegas this past fall.
    Yip: Letting them know after.

    Cartography

    A provincial government that uses maps which portray the province's geography like the one in this shock-and-awe Powerpoint show, has absolutely no right — none — complaining about any other provincial government's portrayal of the same province's geography.

    Principles

    Public Enemy No. 14 (ranking is approximate) asks:
    In short, is the government prepared to apply the same principle of adjacency to those hydro resources as it regularly promotes in the fishery? The government would not tolerate fish from Bonavista Bay being trucked to the Port au Port Peninsula for processing, for example. The citizens of the Exploits Region would not and should not accept any less.
    It's a question on the mind of other residents of "Central", judging by an exchange on the same topic during an open-line radio program this evening:
    Morris from King’s Point: Will it [the power] come back when we want it?

    Radio Host: I think that’s a fair question.
    A fair question, indeed. One that you might think people with journalistic instincts would be asking about Our Dear Energy Monopoly's plan to generate a couple gazillion megawatts of electricity (number of gazillions is approximate) and transmit it directly across, and out of, Labrador.

    So where are all the fair questions about adjacency in that case?

    Thursday, February 19, 2009

    Out of sight (III)

    When viewed in winter, in fine weather, at the time of sunset, these mountains present scenes of great beauty ; and it is difficult for the imagination to conceive anything more beautiful than the tints that their summits assume as they are touched by the last rays of the setting sun, long after he has disappeared from the eye, while every little ravine, every inequality in their surface is chiselled out against the clear cold sky with a precision and vividness that are alike beautiful and wonderful.


    As a public service, here’s an image of another of the landscapes, conveniently far from the seat of the media universe in St. John’s, and conveniently less famous than Gros Morne, that may be impacted by NALCO(R)’s proposed Lower Churchill project, as described in the recent environmental filings.

    For the benefit of those who don’t know, these are the Mealy Mountains, as viewed from the same spot, give or take a couple hundred metres, where W.H.A. Davies saw the view that inspired the words above.

    These are the "low Mealies", about 2000 feet high — the same height or higher than most of the Long Range Mountains, or the cliffs around Western Brook Pond, the landscape whose possible disfigurement woke a small few people out of their slumber in the past couple of weeks. The "high Mealies", further to the east in the English River country, top out just under 4,000 feet.

    The knobbly prominence at left is the Biscuit. A century ago, in line with the chimney of the Grand River Pulp & Lumber Company mill, it marked the channel into the company's wharf. The GRP&LCo., in an exchange of correspondence with officials of the Quebec government, inadvertantly precipitated the Labrador boundary dispute.

    This long, foreshortened shot also passes through the study area of the proposed Mealy Mountains National Park. And this same scene is also under consideration as one of the possible routings for the electrode line running from the Gull Island end of the Lower Churchill infeed to Newfoundland.

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    Somewhere in the bowels of Confederation Building...

    ...the Independent Thought Alarm is going haywire.

    If the reaction to Mark Griffin's letter to the Advertiser is any indication.

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    But (IX)

    OK, technically this one's a "however":
    W BAgg from NFLD writes: Funny how he preaches open and transparent governance but denies just about every request. Also, this govt has said to others who were requesting info that they don't document minister briefings...............hilarious...............not to mention I saw Danny on Out of teh Fog a few weeks ago saying it would be impossible for them to grant every access to info becasue it would bog down govt..............even funnier. I support Danny on a lot of issues however I also think he is doing a terrible job with acces to info, health care and not being able to put personal issues aside from others.

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    Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Economists (Part II of a continuing series)

    To recap:

    VOCM News, October 29, 2008:

    Finance Minister Tom Marshall says Newfoundland and Labrador is not likely headed for a recession. Marshall was in Montreal last week for a meeting of Canada's premiers and finance ministers. He says governments are taking the necessary steps to lessen the impact of the slowdown in the global economy. Marshall says Canada's banking system is strong, unlike the United States. He says the biggest impact on this province is declining prices for oil and minerals, but everything is still on target. Marshall says when the economy slows down, governments should free up credit, lower interest rates, and spend more on infrastructure. He says now is not the time to stop spending and increase taxes.
    Finance Minister Jerome! Kennedy, at the St. John's Board of Trade Business Development Summit, January 22, 2009:

    The message I’m giving is that we are maintaining the course. We are not simply going to try to spend our way out of this recession. We are going to continue that which we have been doing.
    And the latest: Our Dear Premier, at Our Dear Infrastructure Announcement, as reported by Dave Bartlett in this morning's Telegram:

    According to Williams, the infrastructure package will keep or create the equivalent of 5,400 full-time jobs.

    "This is not only about job creation and setting up a buffer between us and the world's economic woes," said Williams.

    "We intend to put Newfoundland and Labrador, for want of a better term, in a protective bubble and make sure that our economy thrives and survives and prospers so that when we come out of this we'll be ahead of the rest of them," he said.
    And Our Dear Former Finance Minister in today's Western Star:
    “We have a horrible, global economic slowdown, which appears to be much more severe than people expected,” said Marshall. “We’re seeing job losses everywhere and firms going bankrupt or teetering on bankruptcy. How protracted this recession will be, I don’t know, but it looks like it is going to be severe.

    “When times are good, you run a surplus. When they are bad, you run a deficit and spend money. When consumers aren’t spending and businesses are not investing and exports are down, government has to step in and start spending and creating employment. That’s what we’re doing and I’m glad we’re doing it.”
    So, let's see now... We are going to spend Our way out the recession that We aren't in, unless We are in one, unless We are not going to spend Our way out, unless We are?

    No wonder Loyola Sullivan bailed out while the bailing was good.

    Well, at least Jerome! was truthy when he said, less than a month ago, "We are going to continue that which we have been doing".

    We are, indeed, going to continue announcing projects that have been announced for two, three, or more years running.

    ["On a go-forward basis" – ed.]

    Umm, on a go-forward basis.

    Necessary corollary

    "The aggressive infrastructure strategy we are announcing today includes multiple new projects..."

    The Word of Our Dan. A word which, plainly construed, means that the aggressive infrastructure strategy we are announcing today includes multiple old projects, too.

    Wednesday, February 18, 2009

    Out of sight (II)

    As a public service, here’s an image of another of the landscapes, conveniently far from the seat of the media universe in St. John’s, and conveniently less famous than Gros Morne, that may be impacted by NALCO(R)’s proposed Lower Churchill project, as described in the recent environmental filings.

    For the benefit of those who don’t know, this is the view across Little Lake (foreground) and up Grand Lake (in the distance) from North West River. The stretch of water connecting the two is the Rapids – which are actually much less rapid now, than they used to be, thanks to the Churchill Falls project, which diverted a significant part of the flow of the Naskaupi River which once drained through here.

    Grand Lake continues for another forty miles to the mouths of the rivers — Naskaupi, Red Wine, Crooked, Beaver, and Susan — which flow into it. Some of those names will be familiar to readers of the books by Dillon Wallace and Mina Hubbard.

    This same scene, heavily photoshopped, taken from almost the exact same spot, has been used by the provincial tourism department as one of the few Labrador images it has ever used in print advertising. (No Labrador scene has yet figured in any of the expensive and heavily-rotated television ads.)

    At some point in the recent past, the forest management plan for the forestry zones in this image was amended in order to protect the view planes.

    The proposed northern routing of the Gull Island electrode line would cross the Rapids, via the forested areas on the far side of Little Lake on either side of the Rapids.

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    Ex cathedra

    An evening talk radio host fustigated last Wednesday:
    Quebec has taken ownership of it!
    The "it" in question being the headwaters of the so-called "five rivers" which flow south out of Labrador into Quebec.

    It was just one outburst on one night in an entire week of fustigation, fulmination, froth and lather about the supposed incursion of Quebec onto Labrador soil.

    Never mind that the incursion only existed in the imaginations of people who can't read maps and have forgotten their history.

    Which was — though not quite in those words — what the Premier said on Monday after he descended from the mountain.

    Thus ended the fustigation, fulmination, froth and lather, at least on evening talk radio.

    At least on that issue.

    At least for now.

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    On unanimity

    Thank God we got Danny to break the ice for us. We all got to rise up and support Our Great Premier, we all got to get together.

    - Dr. Philip Earle

    Tuesday, February 17, 2009

    Help not wanted

    Labour gives labourers a reality check:
    Advice for Tradespeople From Union - Feb 17, 2009

    A union official has some advice for tradespeople from this province, living away, who may be thinking about coming home for the work on major projects. The president of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners, Local 579, Gus Doyle, says best check first to see if there is really any work available. He says a lot of people are under the misconception that there is a lot of work in the province, now. He indicates those returning and looking to join the local of a union, need to realize that there is a local preference policy in place regarding time of residence and availability of local workers. He says if there are no local workers available, then there may be jobs but many people think they can get work as soon as they get home and that is not the case.
    Where, oh where, might many people have got that idea from?

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    Translation

         "It's a dead issue" — Williams.

    + "Umm, no comment." — NALCO(R).
    ___________________________________


    = That should put an end to the awkward
    pauses the next time we go talk to
    TransÉnergie

    Monday, February 16, 2009

    Abstract nouns

    I agree 100%, but then I'm bias.

    - A radio host, speaking of his hockey partisanship, earlier this evening.

    Out of sight (I)

    As a public service, here’s an image of one of the landscapes, conveniently far from the seat of the media universe in St. John’s, and conveniently less famous than Gros Morne, that may be impacted by NALCO(R)’s proposed Lower Churchill project, as described in the recent environmental filings.

    For the benefit of those who don’t know, this is Mokami, a prominent monadnock on the north side of “The Bay” (aka Lake Melville). It rises abruptly near the mouth of the Sabeskachu River, with its base just above sea level, rising to a barren top just under 1600 feet. It commands a view of almost the entire Bay, and is visible from ships passing up from Rigolet long before any other land at the head of the bay emerges from beneath the curvature of the earth.

    It is the subject of a world-famous, all over Labrador, song by the late "Fiddler" Chaulk.

    At one point, Mokami was under consideration as a provincially protected area, before the provincial government lost all pretence of interest in actually protecting any areas of ecological, scenic, or cultural importance.

    It is also near the northern terminus of one of the routings proposed for the Gull Island electrode line. The electrode line, according to the NALCO(R) documents, would be cut through the forested hills in the foreground of this picture.

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    We can only hope, Marjorie

    He's one of the most caring and kind and generosity [sic] people... as long as we live we'll never get another like Danny Williams again.

    - Marjorie the Danatic

    Journalist's intuition (II)

    Did Danny actually say, “no mill closing on my watch”? I wouldn’t be able to swear to it.

    - Radio host No Names Please expresses healthy skepticism about uncritical repetition of purported verbatim quotes

    Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Economists

    No matter what you're hearing about other places, the Newfoundland economy, and Labrador is doing fine, unless you're looking for something more out of the provincial treasury, in which case there's a recession on.

    Or, unless you can actually look at, and understand, factual things like statistics.

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    Question period

    On Wednesday Hydro-Quebec issued a press release that by Friday at least one journalist-like person was calling, in part, a “red flag”.

    It’s passing mighty strange, though, that neither that journalist, nor any other, has flagged the real flaggables in this whole kerfuffle. Not only is there the big honkin’ question raised by the contrefactual “controversy” that’s been stirred up about a boundary dispute that doesn’t actually exist, there’s the big honkin’ question raised by the Newfoundland and Labrador government’s interjection into the La Romaine environmental assessment.

    Now, the thing is, it is entirely valid for the province to question the environmental impact of the La Romaine project in Labrador. The Romaine does cross the provincial boundary – or, to be more accurate, its basin does; the river itself forms the boundary between the 52nd parallel and the height of land. Wild populations don’t know that there’s a political boundary there, and the provincial government is perfectly right to query what impact the four hydro dams and reservoirs, and other associated works, downstream in Quebec, may have upstream in Labrador.

    But the questions posed by some un-named, un-titled person in the Newfoundland and Labrador government (and responded to in an attachment to the Hydro-Quebec press release) are most interesting; to wit:

    As a general question, will the project have adverse environmental effects in Labrador?

    There are 7 remote cottage titles issued in Labrador very close to the catchment area. What impact, if any, will there be on accessibility to these cottage titles?

    What are the potential impacts this development might have for Wildlife Species in Labrador? The primary concerns regard wide ranging species that might have part of their range in or might spend part of their life cycle in the area to be flooded.

    How significant will the loss of habitat associated with flooding be for woodland caribou herds (Red Wine and Lac Joseph herds in particular) that straddle the terrestrial interprovincial boundary?

    How do any effects relate to the recovery goals outlined in the Québec and/or Newfoundland and Labrador Recovery Strategies for the Woodland Caribou (Rangifer tarandus caribou), Boreal population?

    What is the potential for increased road construction to provide increased access for illegal hunting activities as well as for increased disturbance to woodland caribou (snowmobile, ATV use etc.)?

    Will there be any effects similar to the potential effects highlighted above for other large mammal species?

    Wolverine are considered extirpated in Labrador. Does the project have the potential to negatively affect wolverine in the area this could have implications for recovery in Labrador?

    Will the impoundment associated with the dam/reservoir at Centrale La Romaine-4 have any effect on inland fish species in Labrador?

    What are the potential impacts on fish resources in the waters of Newfoundland and Labrador that are connected to the Romaine River system?

    Can Hydro-Québec state with certainty that the project will not have any adverse effects on waterways and/or tributaries in Labrador?

    Has Hydro-Québec considered whether other projects within or outside of Québec can address North American demand for clean renewable energy with a smaller environmental footprint than the Romaine project?
    It’s a shame that the questions are not attributed to any one person.

    Was it the Minister of Environment and Conservation (whoever that is)?

    Was it the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs (whoever that is)?Whoever it was, a journalist who’s really interested in flags, of whatever colour, would flag those questions and ask that person, or NALCO(R) or someone:

    Sir, ma'am, don’t these questions, their premises, and the connected environmental concerns apply with equal vigour, mutatis mutandis, to the Lower Churchill project?

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    Sunday, February 15, 2009

    Ryan Cleary is still not a separatist

    Ed, I agree witcha... I don't think there's anyone who can deny that; this [i.e. Confederation] is not working. We're closer to separating than Quebec ever was, because nothing every works for us. If you're trying to get ahead, you rule nothing out; to not do that would be stupid.

    - Ryan Cleary, who is not a separatist, to caller "Ed", who is (and not shy about expressing it.)

    Journalist's intuition

    Until I get it from the horse's mouth, until I get it confirmed, I have to question it.

    - Words of wisdom from a radio host, earlier tonight, who doesn't apply the same journalistic principle to the froth being stirred up on his airwaves about the La Romaine project.

    Wordle (III)

    Our Dear Victory Speech from election night 2003, wordled:

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    But (VIII)

    I am still a supporter of Premier Danny Williams but, like the rest of us, he does make mistakes.

    - Capt. Wilf Bartlett, in a letter to the Saturday Telegram.

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    Saturday, February 14, 2009

    Set fire, and watch it burn

    A very odd comment leads off the Friday the Thirteenth Tellytorial:


    Leave it to Hydro-Quebec to try to pour oil on troubled waters – and then set that oil on fire.
    The Tellytorialist continues:

    Here’s what the utility said in its most recent release: “Hydro-Quebec confirms that the Romaine hydropower project will have no impact on the territory of Labrador since its area of influence is situated entirely within Quebec. Moreover, the hydrological regime of the river above Romaine-4 will be identical to present conditions in all respects.”

    Well, that sounds plain enough - even if it is a point that might be the subject of debate between governments, and has been the subject of official concerns from the Newfoundland government.
    Now, there’s a slight problem of multiple antecedents here — which of the multiple points is the “it” that is “a point that might be the subject of debate between governments”?

    The location of the proposed La Romaine projects relative to the Labrador boundary?

    Or the environmental impact on the other side of that boundary? (More on that in an upcoming post.)

    However, if the Tellytorialist is suggesting that Hydro-Quebec’s assertion that “its area of influence is situated entirely within Quebec” is the “point that might be the subject of debate between governments”, then guess what – Hydro-Quebec is right.

    The Tellytorialist is wrong.

    The La Romaine project — all of the dams, reservoirs, transmission lines, and access roads — are entirely within Quebec’s boundaries as set down in 1927, including within (or south of) the 52nd parallel portion of the boundary. There is no “debate” to be had on that point; or, at least, no debate that can be had longer than pulling out and examining this map:


    [Source]

    See? Even after adjusting for the irredentism, the project is in Quebec. Not Labrador. Quebec. If anything, the careful eye will note that the intended design of La Romaine 4, whose reservoir will fall short of flooding anything north of 52, and the dogleg taken by the transmission line from La Romaine 4 in order to avoid crossing the Quebec-Labrador boundary, are yet more examples on a growing list of de facto (and in many cases de jure) acts by Quebec and its agents which recognize the Labrador boundary.

    The Tellytorialist continues:

    That begs this question, if the project has no effect on lands on the other side of the already-established border, why wave that red flag?
    The red flag that is being waved here is waved by the same people who ordinarily wave the Pink, White and Green. You have a PWG-waving radio host claiming, as he did on Thursday evening, that “Quebec has taken ownership of it”, the it, supposedly, being the headwaters of the rivers that flow south out of Labrador across the 52nd parallel. This, in the absolute absence of any evidence whatsoever that Quebec has done anything, in respect of the La Romaine project or anything else, other than publish irredentist maps.

    In fact, it’s the irredentist Newfoundland nationalists in this case who, when they insist that the Romaine project is somehow in Labrador, deny the 1927 decision and claim a boundary for their province which is not supported by inconvenient things like facts or law.

    So no, Tellytorialist, the question that is raised (not “begged”) by this whole episode, is how such an avalanche of misinformation has been allowed to slide unchecked by the ink-stained press, in radio-land, and on the intertubes. (MUN PoliSci prof Michael Temelini, bless him, did an admiral job lobbing facts last week at CBC radio interviewers whose questions, and premises, at times bordered on the bizarre.)

    The question is why the provincial government either went off half-cocked on the question, or deliberately clouded the facts. The question is also why it’s been left to Hydro-Quebec to put the real facts out there, and why, having then done so, they get pilloried for it.

    It’s almost as if dealing in facts, instead of monging myths and misinformation, has become a Thoughtcrime.

    And the real question in the end is: what purposes, and whose, are served by frothing up a constant diet of Two Hour Hates on a controversy that is founded, at best, on misunderstanding, and at worst on deliberate misinformation?

    Why are the red-flag wavers and arsonists waving those flags and setting those fires? and why are the persuasive and authoritative figures who could, so very easily, put a stop all the nonsense, instead tacitly egging them on?

    Friday, February 13, 2009

    Wordle (II)

    The newly-minted opposition leader's first day in the House of Assembly, wordled:

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    Gathering dust

    So, today the Williams Government released its study of air transportation in the province, which is an island.

    Note the verb: released.

    According to the study, Astraeus is an operator at Deer Lake airport.

    But according to the Telegram:
    The final listed local flight for the company, which provides charter service to Humber Valley Resort, is scheduled to depart Deer Lake for Gatwick, England, at 7:40 p.m. on April 18.
    April 18, 2008, that is — this is from a story by Jamie Baker which appeared on March 8th last year.

    So, today the Williams Government released its study of air transportation in the province, which is an island.

    How long has it had that study, though? More than thirty days?

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    On-message

    On Thursday, The Provincial Government expressed disappointment in the failure of industry to make Our Dear Agenda its agenda, too:
    The Provincial Government is expressing disappointment at the result of the vote by the seafood processing sector on the proposal for a provincial seafood marketing council. The Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture offered the seafood processing sector the opportunity to vote on the proposal and they have voted against establishing a council. A provincial seafood marketing council was a key recommendation of the Fishing Industry Renewal Strategy, which was developed after extensive series of consultations with industry. This was an opportunity for processors to enhance their marketing capability and support their sales efforts.

    The province committed to provide up to $5.4 million in financial support to initiate such a council for a trial period of three years. In addition, the Provincial Government had already initiated discussions seeking a comparable level of financial support from the Federal Government.

    “I’m at a loss to understand why the industry would vote against something that has been a very positive initiative in other seafood producing regions such as Norway and Alaska,” said the Honourable Tom Hedderson, Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture.
    On Friday, The Provincial Government took to the airwaves of the Ministry of Truth to repeat its message – verbatim:
    It certainly was a great opportunity for processors to enhance their marketing capacity and, I guess, support their sales efforts, and The Province had committed, this government had committed to up to $5.4-million in financial support, so I’m, I’m at a loss to understand why the industry would vote against something that’s been such a very positive initiative in, in other regions, such as Norway and Alaska.
    The Ministry of Truth then dutifully reported The Provincial Government’s disappointment. Norway and Alaska – they’re countries, you know!

    Hedderson Looks to Fishery - Feb 13, 2009

    Fisheries Minister Tom Hedderson says he will look to the industry for direction, after seafood processors rejected a proposal for a provincial marketing council. He says while exactly 50 per cent of those voting supported the idea, they represented less than half the production value of seafood in the province. Hedderson says the proposed council came out of key recommendations after consultations with the industry. Hedderson says government committed 5.4 million dollars to initiate for a trial period of 3 years. He says he's at a loss to understand why it was not accepted when the council has been so positively received in countries like Alaska and Norway.

    The island of Labrador? (II)

    Another day, another massively bloated .pdf document, in landscape format that is keeping the platitude industry out of recession. Yes, the Williams Government has released his report on air transportation in the province. Here's the link to the file. Warning: it's big.

    http://www.business.gov.nl.ca/plans/Study_of_Air_Transportation.pdf

    Notice the title: Setting Direction: Study of Air Transportation, Newfoundland and Labrador.

    The document, so titled, goes on to say — cue the inspirational music — at pp. 6-7:

    As a province, we must immediately, and with a sense of urgency, focus on our strengths, including our robust economy, and on the fact that an island’s continuing economic growth is related to the transportation infrastructure that supports it.

    [Emphasis added.]

    What about the continue economic growth of non-islands? What's that related to?

    Incidentally... what's our island, with its robust economy, doing running a deficit of between $400-million and a billion, and why, at this stage in the budget-building process, is there such an astonishing lack of precision about how big our island's deficit will be?

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    Lure of the Labrador Wire

    In addition to the main transmission outstarve infeed preferred routing through Gros Morne National Park, there are two alternative routings proposed by NALCO(R) for electrode lines — basically the big giant ground prongs of the whole apparatus — running east out of Gull Island. They are shown in red, retraced exactly from NALCO(R)'s own filings, on the following map.

    One option runs north of Goose Bay, and would be strung across the Rapids which connect Little Lake to Grand Lake. This view may be familiar to some as the background image in the photo-art of the snowmobilers and northern lights on the NewfoundlandLabrador (ugh) tourism web site. (The photo-art is a composite; the cliff the snowmobilers are on doesn't exist, at least not anywhere that has that view.) It would continue along the north side of the Bay, past Mokami, with a terminus in the vicinity of Northwest Islands; just short, in fact, of Labrador Inuit Lands near Mulligan.

    The southern electrode routing identified by NALCO(R) crosses to the south side of the river, skirts Mud Lake, and then penetrates, deeply, into the study area (dashed line) for the proposed Mealy Mountains National Park. The southern routing crosses the Kenamu River valley and terminates not far from the foot of the mountains themselves.


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    Thursday, February 12, 2009

    Adjacency (II)

    A caller from Grand Falls-Windsor informs VOCM Nightline host Ryan Cleary that, according to him (the caller), Minister of All Our Resources Kathy Dunderdale told the now-former paper workers, speaking of any future forestry-based industry that may set up in the region, "any accessing of our resources are to be to the benefit of the people in this region first and foremost".

    Take that, Port Hope Simpson, and your plans to build a linerboard plant using wood cut in central Newfoundland.

    God Guard Thee, Economic Bubble

    "A lot of people blame greed for this whole economic collapse that's going on around us, except for Newfoundland and Labrador, of course."

    - A talk radio host, quite recently.

    Wordle (I)

    The amazing Wordle will generate word-clouds from whatever text you choose to feed the hungry little beast with.

    As the first in an occasional series, here are the top 30 words, by frequency, from Danny Williams' 2001 inaugural speech as PC Party leader.

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    Put up or shut up

    Some more interesting tidbits are yielded upon a careful examination of the environmental documents filed for the review of the proposed "infeed" from the so-called Lower Churchill project to Newfoundland.

    The following map shows the proposed transmission line route (in dark blue) from the proposed hydro station at Gull Island to the point near Forteau where the line would commence its submarine crossing of the Strait of Belle Isle.

    The background map, however, is from one of the Hydro-Quebec filings with Quebec's environmental assessment agency, BAPE, concerning its proposed La Romaine project. The map includes the quaint but meaningless tinkering with the southern Labrador boundary and the boilerplate "Tracé de 1927 du Conseil privé (non définitif)". The features at red in the bottom left corner include the assessment area and locations of the proposed RO-3 and RO-4 power plants. The NALCO(R) transmission line route, at the same scale, is superimposed on the Hydro-Quebec map:

    Catch that? The Danny Williams Memorial Power Line passes through the watersheds of three of the rivers (the Mecatina, St. Augustine, and St. Paul) which arise in Labrador but drain south into Quebec and the Gulf of St. Lawrence: .

    So it's put up or shut up time for the frothing tin-foil hat nationalist sets both in Quebec and Newfoundland. The Quebec government can give credence to the Quebec nationalists who feel that they should be exercising a claim to Labrador, or at least the recently-notorious (again) headwaters region — and to the Newfoundland nationalists who insist that Quebec is making such a claim.

    The likeliest result? The same thing that resulted when, for example, the provincial government of Newfoundland and Labrador permitted the DND weapons range at Mininipi Lake (the green half-circle) or granted mineral claims in the supposedly controverted region (expired claims in pale grey, active ones in red.)

    [map source here]

    That is to say: absolutely nothing.

    Wednesday, February 11, 2009

    Ryan Cleary is not a separatist

    Labrador caller David challenges the presumptuousness of Newfoundland separatists to speak for him when they talk about separating from Canada.

    Radio host Ryan Cleary, who is not a separatist, counters David with:
    What, you're not a Newfoundlander and Labradorian?

    Puzzlement ensues.

    Does this mean that in order to be a Newfoundlander and Labradorian you have to be a separatist?

    Tuesday, February 10, 2009

    A resource-rich province (and Labrador)

    From an ever-so-helpful statistical table at the Ministry of Rocks, comes the following ever-so-helpful statistical chart.

    This shows the value of mineral production (in $000s; the grid lines therefore mark of intervals of a billion dollars) in Newfoundland and Labrador, differentiating the value of production in Labrador, and that in the other bit.

    Up until 2005, most of that value was in iron ore production, all of which is in Labrador. Starting in 2005, the nickel, copper, and cobalt production at Voisey's Bay, together with a ramp-up in the value of production of iron ore and other commodities, push the value of the mining industry even higher.

    Notes:

    (1) This is the value of production, not the amount of royalties or other public revenues generated, although, as a prominent radio caller claimed the other week, the biggest single provincial taxpayer is now Vale-Inco, bigger than any of the offshore oil companies.

    (2) Copper is hived off into a separate category, since it is produced in both parts of the province. The table does not differentiate the value of the copper produced at Voisey's Bay from other sources.

    (3) 2007 figures are preliminary; 2008 figures are forecast; both are not only subject, by likely to change.

    Monday, February 09, 2009

    The inclusive afterthought

    Another gem of an exchange (and it got even better) between in-studio Crosstalk host, masquerading journalist Craig Westcott, and one of the last in a long string of entirely spontaneous callers, Peter Whittle:

    Craig Wesctott: Peter, you got the website up with the “Pink, White and Green”, what is it, “Standing up for…” what?

    Peter Whittle:Standing up for Newfoundland”, I think, and Labrador.
    For the record, the graphic — since bit-bucketted — which until a few days ago graced the splash page over at Polemic and Paradox, with the pink, white, and green colour scheme of the Newfoundland nationalist, and Labrador, movement, and an outline map of Newfoundland, I think, and Labrador.

    And Saint-Pierre. And Miquelon:

    Sunday, February 08, 2009

    The persistence of memory

    Tonight on the Three-Hour Nightly Hate, the host sighs heavily and says:
    I’ll never forget what Scott Reid said… that Newfoundland and Labrador will pay.
    That Rhine Cleery must have an amazing memory, beyond photographic, that he can remember something that no one said.

    But (VII)

    Now, I’m still a strong support of Danny Williams, right, but don’t get me wrong, but Danny Williams is not always right, he do make some mistakes.

    - Captain Wilf Bartlett on CBC Radio Noon Crosstalk, February 4.

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    Lockdown mode

    Minister Kennedy, just a couple weeks ago, also noted the Provincial Government’s ongoing commitment to enhanced accountability and transparency for all government departments and public agencies.

    Go ahead, laugh; get it out your system. You might as well do that as have any other emotional reaction.

    Friday before last, a public agency — NALCO(R), a Crown corporation — released its registration documents for the infeed/outstarve which would, if built, transmit electricity from the so-called Lower Churchill project, if built, to Newfoundland.

    The rather large .pdf files are well-hidden behind monumentally ugly URLS which don’t respond well or predictably to tinyURL treatment or hyperlinking. You can try this link, or, if that doesn't work for you, go here:
    http://www.lowerchurchillproject.ca/
    and follow the link to:

    Environmental Assessment Initiated for Labrador-Island Transmission Link (January 30, 2009)
    then to “a project description”, with links to the .pdf files at bottom.

    Confused yet?

    It gets confusinger. You will notice, in some versions of your .pdf reader a little “lock” symbol. This tells you that the file is locked. Or, you may notice the lockdown when you try to clip and past text, images, or page-images, as is a perfectly reasonable human response to a regulatory filing document made by a government-owned corporation.

    Acrobat tells you the document has the following settings:



    (Mitigating factor: at least, unlike the Gazettes over at the Queen’s Printer, they deign to let you print the thing.)

    And why, pray tell, is the document locked down?

    The PDF is secured to ensure the original integrity of the document,” is the official answer.

    “Integrity”? Is NALCO(R) asserting moral rights?

    The new-found interest in documentary integrity is, well, new found: the .pdf documentation [link] for the so-called Lower Churchill power station itself is clippable and pastable to your heart’s content, or your heart’s desire, or your soldier’s pond.

    The old-found desire of the Provincial Government, including, it would seem, the Ministry of Electricity, to minimize the flow, accessibility, and utility of information, all the while professing a “commitment to enhanced accountability and transparency for all government departments and public agencies”, is, yet again, par for the course.

    Saturday, February 07, 2009

    Pyromania

    From Roy MacGregor’s report in Saturday’s Globe and Mail, the nefarious mainland newspaper which the Premier doesn’t care what it has to say about him or the province or his government:
    With Flaherty’s budget “kindling” the fires of separation, Williams’s cabinet is soon to meet over whether to proceed with a March 31 celebration to mark the 60 years since Newfoundland joined Confederation.

    “Here we are coming up to that anniversary,” Williams says, “and here’s what Ottawa has done to us. We have to really, really be careful with that. I don’t want that to become a focal point for separation, because that’s not what it was intended to be.”
    The nefarious mainland journalists haven’t yet caught on yet to the cardinal rule: whenever ODP says of something that nothing could be further from the truth, it’s probably the truth.

    For a guy who doesn’t want thing to become focal points for separation, ODP has a funny way of achieving that goal. Whether it’s ripping one flag down while fantasizing about running another, politically-charged, flag up, to the endless comparisons to Iceland and Ireland (shades of the Quebec nationalist fixation with Catalonia), to sharing a bilingual French-English thesaurus with those in Quebec who are separatist and not shy about expressing it, almost every step of the past five years has been made with a view towards ratcheting up the non-separatist fever which he professes not to suffer from.

    Sometimes it’s a firefighter who turns out to be the arsonist.

    Friday, February 06, 2009

    The conservation ethic

    A week ago, NALCO(R) filed environmental documents related to its "infeed", a transmission line linking Labrador, yet bypassing it, in the rush to bring power to Newfoundland.

    NALCO(R)'s preferred routing in western Newfoundland — the variable-width brown line on the map below — takes the outstarve through Gros Morne National Park, as well as through the adjacent non-park exclaves in the Bonne Bay and Gros Morne regions. (The dashed boxes and numbers refer to higher-scale map sheets; the green line traversing the northeast corner of the map is one of the alternate routings.)

    That serpentine water body in the north-central part of the park is Western Brook Pond, the starring attraction in one of the TV ads currently in heavy rotation, enticing people to visit the unspoiled Newfoundland wilder-, and Labrador, wilderness.

    What you are reading now is the entirety of what has been published about it after seven days. At least up until tonight, not one news outlet has reported on this environmental wrinkle of Our Dear Energy Plan.

    Shawn the Nigerian

    Skinner! on VOCM Open Line this morning tells Randy Simms:
    We have opportunities here that have exponential growth possibilities.
    His banter with the host took him off-script, but herewith, the parts of his speaking points that he didn't get to:
    We got your contact from the internet and decided to contact you as an honest and trustworthy able businessman whom we can trust and transact business with.

    As a trusted and honest businessman like you, we would like you to secure our great resources (diamonds) in your care pending our arrival to you country as we have decided to order a command to the security Company to transfer our resources to you depending on your urgent reply to our request.

    Note that this transaction demands the highest trust, security and confidentiality between us.

    Moreover it is risk free in the sense that I have taken proper care of all formalities regarding this transaction. For your assistance and co-operation I have decided to give you 15% of the total money generated from it's sales and 5% mapped out for any miscellaneous expenses that we may occur during the process of transferring the resource to your country.

    As soon as the resources mentioned above is successfully transferred in to your position . We intend to use our own share to acquire estates and landed properties in your country.

    On commencement, I wish this transaction will take 14 working days to accomplish. On request a certificate of deposit bond of the security company, together with the lab test result certificate of the diamond will be sent to you as soon as I hear from you. Feel free to contact me through my phone +221-***-**-93.

    For my own interest please treat confidential. Thanks.

    Thursday, February 05, 2009

    War!

    Hast thou entered into the treasures of the snow? or hast thou seen the treasures of the hail, which I have reserved against the time of trouble, against the day of battle and war?

    Job 38

    Hey, waxing Old Testament is really in these days.

    Another nugget of Danny Goodness [video link] from his Tuesday scrum – it’s almost like it’s polling week, with all the scrums and whatnot:
    We’re resilient, we’re survivors, ah, y’know, we basically prepared for this day. When, y’know, over the course of the last few years, you’ll notice from our Throne Speeches, we’ve talked about being self-reliant, we’ve talked about being Masters of Our Own Destiny. And we have been building up a war chest for when the feds come at us again, quite frankly.
    At which point a real reporter might have interjected:

    “A ‘war chest’?”

    “Who’s the ‘we’ who’s been building up a ‘war chest’?”

    “When did ‘the feds’ last ‘come at us’?”

    “What do you plan to do with this ‘war chest’ when ‘the feds come at us’?”

    “So everyone’s talking about being self-reliant Masters of Our Own Destiny but what, other than repeatedly going back to ‘the feds’ for enough money to be self-reliant Masters of Our Own Destiny with, are you doing about it?”

    A matter of perspective (II)

    “From Rob Ghiz’s perspective…”

    - ODP on CTV this evening, demonstrating yet again the broad range of perspectives he brings to the job.

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    Beijing

    Peter Gullage makes a comparison that couldn't be further from the truth:
    "Trying to get someone to talk openly and freely from the business community, and from inside government, is tougher than previous times," he says. "People have a fear that Danny will find out. That sounds kind of like a Beijing sort of thing, but it's there, and our reporters have come across it."
    Gullage still isn't Premier-positive. What is wrong with him?

    Wednesday, February 04, 2009

    Ahem (II)

    In his scrum on Tuesday [video link] Our Dear Premier seems to be expressing some doubts about the Danny Williams Effect.

    I spoke very clearly about it last week to the Construction Association and indicated to that industry that we’re going to continue. On with our infrastructure spending, we’re going to continue to create jobs, we’re going to continue to employ displaced Newfoundlanders and Labradorians who have been displaced from other parts of the country and are now coming home and are looking for work in their own province.
    "Displaced"? That's a far cry from the HappyTalk™ of just a few weeks ago:
    "Continued population growth for the province is significant news," said Minister Kennedy. "We are seeing people moving to Newfoundland and Labrador, from other provinces and from elsewhere in the world. This demonstrates the confidence that individuals have in Newfoundland and Labrador, our strong economic position, and in making it their home."

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    A viable fishery (II)

    The captain of the red-herring skiff strikes again. From a Rob Antle report in today's Telegram:
    A study released by a regional think-tank this week on petroleum product regulation is flawed, the Newfoundland and Labrador government claims.

    ...

    The hit to consumers totalled $65.2 million in Newfoundland and Labrador since the market was regulated in late 2001, AIMS claimed. But [Government Services Minister Kevin] O'Brien said the study doesn't give the "true picture" of regulation.

    It only costs the province $500,000 a year to run the system regulating petroleum pricing, he noted — roughly 0.004 cents per litre.
    Are red-herring futures RRSP-eligible investments?

    A viable fishery

    Never let it be said that Kevin O'Brien suffers from a surfeit of gorm.

    The Atlantic Institute of Market Studies — who were useful enough back in the day when they backed Our Dear, If Malleable, Stance on Equalization — are now Enemies of the People.

    On Monday, VOCM reported:

    Gas Price Regulation Costing Atlantic Canadians; AIMS
    February 2, 2009

    The
    Atlantic Institute for Market Studies says Atlantic Canadians have paid more than $150-million extra for gasoline because of price regulation. Now, they are using a web site to let consumers track it. The AIMS Money Guzzling Gas Regulation Gauge shows the tally province by province, second by second, dollar by dollar. All four Atlantic Canadian provinces have gas price regulation. AIMS says In Newfoundland and Labrador, the cost of regulation tallies some $65.2 million since regulation began in October of 2001.
    And on Tuesday, the Cabinet Minister retorted:

    Minister Reacts to Fuel Study
    February 3, 2009

    Government Services Minister Kevin O'Brien is disputing figures released by the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies on gas price regulation. This week, the right-wing think tank released numbers suggesting that gas price regulation costs consumers on average about 1.5 cents a litre. On VOCM Open Line with Randy Simms, O'Brien said regulation costs the province about 500 thousand dollars annually to administer the program. That's far less than what the AIMS study found.
    The AIMS study is silent on the administrative costs of price regulation, but deals at great length with what it finds to be the economic cost of regulating the price.

    As difficult as this may be for members of the Danny Williams-Government to grasp this concept — after all, they have something called the Department of Business — the economy, and the public purse, are not the same thing.

    But never mind; with the government of the same Rhodes Scholar who once disengenuously boasted that "our taxes and our duties and our CPP to Ottawa exceed our transfer payments from Ottawa", you can guarantee that the red herring fishery will continue to fill your boats.

    Tuesday, February 03, 2009

    Re Chairmen (I)

    India has a saying that goes back to Mogul days: “Delhi dur ast”—“Delhi is far away.” China has a not dissimilar proverb: “Heaven is high and the Emperor is far away.” In ancient China and India the government was a remote entity. To some extent the feeling persists in India; but it does not prevail in China. There is no sphere of public life, private or public, into which Mao’s government does not intrude. As Dr. Hu Shih remarked in another context: “The individual is denied even his right of silence.”

    - Frank Moraes, Report on Mao’s China. New York: Macmillan, 1953, p. 146

    Where's Dean?

    From the Memory Hole. For those who like bibliographic references, this is Kevin Cox reporting for the Globe and Mail of November 27, 2002:

    Surely to goodness Dean MacDonald is available for comment on Our Dear Transmission Line... isn't he?
    HALIFAX -- The former chairman of Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro says he resigned because there were not enough benefits for the people of the province in a proposed $4-billion deal to develop power on the Churchill River in Labrador.

    Dean MacDonald said in an interview yesterday that under the proposed agreement Quebec stands to get the lion's share of profit from the Gull Island hydroelectric project in Labrador and people in the region will receive little long-term economic development from the 2,000-megawatt generating station.

    ...

    But Mr. MacDonald said Newfoundland and Labrador should not sign the proposed agreement because it doesn't provide for significant amounts of electrical power to be diverted from the main transmission lines to proposed economic development in Labrador.

    "Labrador is being marginalized by this deal," Mr. MacDonald said. "They would never have a steady stream of affordable power."

    Ahem

    Russell Wayne-Gretzky reads the tea leaves.

    The good old tea leaves.

    How Not to Be Autonomous (II)

    People with memories longer than is conveniently short will remember the Great Autonomous Throne Speech of 2007, to wit:

    My government will harness the desire among Newfoundlanders and Labradorians to cultivate greater cultural, financial and moral autonomy vis-a-vis Ottawa.
    It's hard to say the the desire has gone out, what with the nations of Canada and Newfoundland currently, and Labrador, battling it out over how much money should flow from the Canadian government to the Newfoundland government, and Labrador, in order that the latter be fiscally autonomous.

    Moral and cultural autonomy, we'll set aside for now.

    So it was a bit odd to see Transportation and Works Minister Trevor Taylor take time out of his busy schedule — this time of year, after all, being usually tied up in working with the Premier's political staff to take the politics out of PRIP allocations for the coming six months — to talk about ferries.

    No, no, not the federal Gulf ferries. As an unattributed piece buried in the C section of the Telegram on Saturday reported:
    This week's federal budget did nothing to address the serious need for fleet replacement on the Gulf ferry service, says Trevor Taylor, Minister of Transportation and Works.
    Instead, it was the second para that makes an informed body go "huh?":

    And if the federal government was truly serious about economic stimulus, especially in the shipbuilding sector, it would have entertained ways of building a new ferry for the Strait of Belle Isle ferry service, a provincial service that is contracted out to a private company.
    Why on earth would the federal government "entertain ways of building a new ferry for the Strait of Belle Isle ferry service", which, the article points out, is "a provincial service", in respect of any province, let alone one which — remember 2007 — seeks to "harness the desire among Newfoundlanders and Labradorians to cultivate greater cultural, financial and moral autonomy vis-a-vis Ottawa."

    How on earth could the good Minister get away with such a suggestion unchallenged and unquestioned?

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    Monday, February 02, 2009

    First, you assume an Island

    Does this Island have a name?
    UNDERTAKING REGISTERED:

    Labrador – Island Transmission Link
    Proponent: Nalcor Energy

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    There is no greater fraud than an assurance not kept

    “We will not develop the Lower Churchill unless the primary beneficiaries are Labradorians. You have my assurance on that.”

    That was PC Party Leader Danny Williams, on September 30, 2003, speaking in Happy Valley-Goose Bay during that fall’s provincial general election.

    This past week, with the late-Friday release of the EIS documentation for the Other Shoe of the so-called Lower Churchill project, we can see Danny wasn’t blowing smoke.

    Sure, 800MW of power, with the possible addition of another 1000MW down the road, will be transmitted south from Gull Island to St. John’s. And sure, the EIS documentation for the so-called Lower Churchill itself only contemplates transmission within Labrador to a point where the juice can be pumped out the Hydro-Quebec grid.

    But none of that is to say Labrador and Labradorians won’t benefit. No sir. Nothing could be further from the truth.

    You see, down in beautiful Forteau Bay, the region will gain another tourist attraction, one which will replace the stunning scenery at Forteau Point, which has to be sacrificed, ripped up, excavated in the name of progress for the province.

    Watch for land values on the east side of the bay, in English Point or L’anse Amour, to suddenly spike, as B&Bs and hotels pop up to take advantage of the stunning sight, the spectacular view to the west, of the muscular V-shaped aluminum towers marching like giants across the glacial-erratic-strewn tuckamore landscape, and the submarine power line carving through the surreal cambrian and precambrian geology in its plunge to the bottom of the Strait of Belle Isle and the twinkling lights of Flowers Cove beyond..

    Gaze in awe at the megaproject, the marvel of modern engineering, the grand imperial concept of Smallwood and Rothschild achieved at last; the 800 megawatts, maybe a thousand, of HVDC current, coursing and humming its way over, under, through and past Labrador on its way to the province.

    Imagine, along with the electricity itself, the revenues which will figuratively flow along that line, all the way from the wilds of central Labrador, from an artificial lake — the Williams Reservoir perhaps — many times the size of Sandy Pond, and many times further away; then stepped down at Soldier Pond and transmitted thence directly to the Finance Department in Confederation Building for re-transmission all across the province, for all kinds of provincial purposes.

    Meanwhile, a couple miles further east at Point Amour, the noble lighthouse, built by the pre-Confederation Province of Canada, will continue to blink out its warning to mariners as it has since 1857; its oil and paraffin long since replaced by electricity from the diesel plant at L’anse au Loup, or purchased from Hydro-Quebec, off the transmission line built to service the coastal communities of the Lower North Shore with power generated at Robertson Lake.

    Marvel at the sight. The tourists surely will.

    And ponder that imponderable question, of how, in what parallel universe, in what twisted and delusional frame of mind, does this arrangement constitute Labradorians being “the primary beneficiaries”.


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    No flies on them

    On December 17th, crack environmental lawyer and justice minister Jerome! Kennedy told Dave Bartlett of the Telegram, speaking of Our Dear Infeed:
    That’s something that we could start immediately, it’s something that we wouldn’t have to wait for the environmental assessments because essentially we’d simply be building a transmission line…
    Simply a stinkin’ ol’ transmission line.

    Who needs a stupid ol’ environmental assessment for a stinkin’ ol’ transmission line that’d only be 1200 kilometres long, and pass under twelve miles of iceberg infested waters, and would possibly pass through one national park, and would have electrodes stretching into the area under study for another national park, and which was estimated to cost a cool two billion dollars, and that was a decade and a half ago anyway.

    Oh? We do? Huh? Uh, ok then, thanks for that.

    On Friday, a mere 45 days after Jerome said we wouldn’t have to wait for the simple environmental assessments of a simple transmission line, NALCO(R) filed the documents to support its, um, environmental assessment of its simple transmission line.

    There are megs and megs of files, and dozens and dozens of maps. And there are eight pages of regulatory hurdles – laws, regulations, justiceministery sort of stuff – that would have to be jumped.

    What a truly astonishing feat of research on NALCO(R)’s part; putting together all of this granola-crunchin’ hippy nonsense just a month and a half after the justice minister signalled that we wouldn’t have to wait for it, because we’d simply be building a transmission line.

    Simply a two-billion dollar, in mid-1990s dollars, transmission line.

    No sweat. Nothing to it.

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    Sunday, February 01, 2009

    Sycophant of the Month: January 2009

    Total number of ProvGov press releases issued in January: 120 (-16 from December)

    Total number with the phrase "Williams Government": 3 (+1 from December.)

    Sycophancy index: 2.5% (+0.3% from December)

    The Williams-Government drought continued well into January, and by the time it ended, there had been four consecutive weeks without a single dose of Williams-Governmenty goodness. That's the first time that's happened since July of 2006.

    Jerome! Kennedy broke the scoring drought on January 21st, making up for the long break with a stellar example not only of sycophancy but also of Orwellian double-think. It was well worth the long wait, being the first DWG press release since December 18th. That 34-day hiatus was the longest again since the 54-day gap in June-July of 2006.

    Joan Burke put one in two days later for the tie. And Tom Hedderson joined not only the sycophancy game, but also contributed to the barrage of HappyTalk, on the 28th.

    Your sycophants of the month — not just dual, but plural; the first time that's happened — for January 2009: Jerome! Kennedy, Joan Burke, and Tom Hedderson. Congratulations to all three players.

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    But (VI)

    Another gem of a Telecomment; emphasis added:
    Reg from NL writes: I don't know what is more bothersome here. The fact that once again Joan Burke has appointed another patronage appointment, paid or not doesn't make a difference, or the fact that some here accept it as no big deal or even worse try to downplay it. This woman has made a farce of the dept of education as far as I am conerned and should RESIGN.

    I support Danny, but this patronage BS has got to stop. I expect better of this administration and so should all of the people reading this.

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