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

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Making sense of it all

Bondpapers is puzzled:
There is no room for a personal vendetta. The acts subject to disclosure are all in the public interest and it’s hard to see how anyone could consider disclosure of such lawbreaking as part of a personal attack by the whistleblower.
Ed, Ed, Ed. Nothing could be further from the truth.

It's easy to see, when you look at it from the right angle.

Like, say, from the Eighth Floor, where the public interest has become so thoroughly enmeshed with, and redefined as, His interest, that neither He, nor the ever-inflating turdpolishing division, can see the difference any longer. (Assuming, of course, they ever could have in the first place.)

Remember that in the logic (such as it is) that now prevails in Dannystan, to question any public matter is to doubt Him. And to criticise Him is to criticize The Province.

L'état, la province, c'est lui.

Viewed through that mind-corrupting prism, it's all vendetta. Even if just because you're paranoid, it doesn't mean They aren't out to get you.

The Williams Field Guide to Vendettas

The lede to a curiously un-bylined article deep on page 5 of the Saturday Telegram:
Premier Danny Williams is defending the continued lack of provincial whistleblower protections, saying he wants to make sure any such laws are not used by people who may have "a personal vendetta against government for the wrong reasons."
Perhaps the Premier, who himself knows a thing or two about vendettas (personal and otherwise), would care, if asked again, to elaborate about which vendettas are "for the wrong reasons", and, for the guidance of anyone who may have a vendetta, how to ensure that your reasons for having it are right.


Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Amazing Disappearing Premier

In a Parliamentary democracy, the parliament matters. It is where Ministers and members state their positions, make their arguments, and put their policies, and other matters of public interest, on the record.

At least in theory.

In a system of responsible government, the parliament matters. It is where the administration gains and retains, and occasionally loses, the confidence of the people via their representatives. It is where the administration is held to account through Committee of the Whole, written questions or inquiries of ministries, the tabling of reports by officers of Parliament, and, in modern times, the relatively new institution of question time.

At least in theory.

But then there’s practice.

The phenomenon of the Amazing Atrophying House of Assembly is already well known and well described by techniques of modern statistical science.

But now, for the first time, the crack labradore statistics team can describe the distinct, but closely related phenomenon of the Amazing Disappearing Premier.

ODP’s disdain for the House of Assembly — that thing he had to get elected to in order to become President Premier — is barely disguised not disguised at all. The number of days in which he has participated in debate has, with the exception of 2008, been on a steady decline since he became Premier. (The paler shade of blue in the following graphs show, by way of reference, the comparable stats for his time as Leader of the Opposition, including the period when he was laid up for medical reasons. The preliminary nature of the 2009 data is indicated by the asterisk.)

If current trends continue — both ODP’s pattern of non-participation, and the fall sitting of the legislature customarily being only about 40% as long as the spring one — he will add just six or seven participation days to his 2009 total.

Of course, as noted above, part of this is a function of having a legislature that sits as little as it can get away with. However, even after adjusting the absolute numbers to account for the Amazing Atrophying House of Assembly, his medical layup early in his opposition career, and the shortened sessions in election years, the Premier’s relative participation in House proceedings is rapidly diminishing. This graph shows his participation in debate as a percentage of all sitting days, per calendar year, since he was first elected as an MHA.

From Hansard alone, it is impossible to distinguish ODP’s non-participation in the House of Assembly due to absence, from non-participation due to surliness, sulking, or deflection. It is rumoured, for instance, that he actually was in the House of Assembly for the five last days of the recently ended spring sitting. Yet there is not one syllable attributed to him in the written proceedings. Not even during QP.

These days, even when he does deign to show up in the legislative chamber to which he has been elected to represent the people of — which district is it again? — or, if present, to open his mouth at all, said mouth, which once ran on lithium batteries, has been saying less and less. This graph shows the average number of words attributed by Hansard to the Premier per sitting day, by calendar year:

Of course, once again you have be fair to ODP and adjust for the fact that he’s not always present, what with Premier’s meetings and other important out-of-province travel and whatnot. However, even considering only the days when he does participate, the average number of words that come out of him when he does speak has also dropped off dramatically:

The dramatic decline is fuelled by such eloquence from the formerly prolix leader of the PC party as:

PREMIER WILLIAMS: No instructions have been given; and, yes, we can.

And the immortal:


Once upon a time, the legislature mattered.

Once upon a time, the Premier’s participation in the legislature mattered.

It is a function the withering both of the political vine and the public service ethic that no one seems to care that none of these things matter any more.

Those with long memories might ask themselves, why not just give up this silly pretence of responsible parliamentary government, and just appoint a small group of six or seven eminent commissioners or some such to run the affairs of state?

Others might ask instead: if the guy at the top is so utterly bored, annoyed, or frustrated — or all of the above — with the trappings and time demanded of the elected, parliamentary job that he, to hear him say it, so very magnanimously, volunteered to do... then isn’t it time he considered a career change?

Labels: ,

Friday, May 29, 2009

Burkean logic

A fascinating logical backflip by hapless and gormless The Party House Leader, in a report today by Barb Sweet for the Telegram:
Another House session closed Thursday and there's still no whistleblower legislation.

"They've had lots of time. This has been ongoing now for years," Opposition House Leader Kelvin Parsons told the media after Newfoundland and Labrador Supreme Court of Appeal Chief Justice Derek Green closed the House of Assembly's spring session Thursday.

"It was committed back by the premier in the 2007 election. We are into 2009. There's no piece of legislation so complicated they couldn't have it done by now."


Government House Leader Joan Burke said she can't comment on when the Justice department will have it ready.

She said the AbitibiBowater expropriation was swift because the government wanted it done expeditiously.
OK... so, by necessary corollary, this means that Danny Williams-Government doesn't want the whistleblower legislation done expeditiously... right?

Is that perhaps also the real reason for the lack of expedition in the Grenfell autonomy bill, whose delay Joan Burke, in her former portfolio, previously, risibly, attributed to the "busy schedule in the house of assembly"?

Labels: ,

Round numbers

Total number of words uttered by Premier Danny Williams in the House of Assembly in the last five sitting days of the spring session: 0.



The House of Assembly — that ever-so-busy place that is so so unbelievably busy that not even SuperJoan Burke herself could shepherd Grenfell Autonomy legislation through it; so busy she never even tried — shutters for the summer.

In May.

How very appropriate that SuperJoan herself gets to make the announcement:
MS BURKE: Mr. Speaker, it is moved and seconded that when this House adjourns today, it stands adjourned to the call of the Chair. The Speaker, or in his absence from the Province, the Deputy Speaker, may give notice and thereupon the House shall meet at the time and date stated by the notice of the proposed sitting, and it moved that this House do now adjourn.

MR. SPEAKER: Before I move the adjournment, I want to take the opportunity to wish members a safe summer and to enjoy doing what they do best and that is out working in their constituencies, and the people that gave us the great privilege to serve here. I thank members for their co-operation and respecting decisions made by the Chair and respecting other members’ privileges while this House was in session.

I thank hon. members.

This House now stands adjourned until the call of the Chair.


Thursday, May 28, 2009


A fascinating post from the ever-fascinating Strange Maps:
These pictures are the front and back of a t-shirt for the 2008 Pogues US tour, and together they form a world map according to the Pogues. The quotes are all taken from Pogues lyrics, and reflect the world as seen through Irish eyes, with an emphasis on lands important to the Irish diaspora.


Job descriptions

How hard must it suck to be Ross Wiseman?

You get to announce the contingency plans for a strike.

The Provincial Danny Williams-Government, and trusty comic-relief sidekick, get to announce that there will be no strike.

And look: some more reflected glory to tan bask in.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Special Sycophancy Statement (II)

On Friday, someone put out yet another curiously dollar-unspecific press release touting Provincial Roads Improvement Program spending.

In addition to omitting the dollar amount per district — which, in sharp contrast to previous years' practice has been the new normal all year — the release also neglected to attribute the Happy Money™ to Danny Williams-Government.

But that's fine, because on Monday, Danny Williams-Government took the credit. Twice. In the opening paragraph. So it all balances out.

Or at least, it did...

Labels: ,

Department of Predictable "News" Items

The Ministry of Truth reports:
MUN Professor Upbeat About Economy
May 27, 2009

Memorial University economics professor, Wade Locke, predicts a noticeable improvement in our economy by the end of the year. He told the St. John's Board of Trade yesterday while we are suffering some short-term issues, all indications show our province should be okay. Locke says revenue may be down this year, but things are starting to move in the right direction. Locke says employment could be an issue for a while yet. He points out our seasonal work patterns, such as construction work and the fishery.

There you have it. MUN economist optomistic. In related news: Sun to rise in east, set in west.


Apropos of nothing and no one in particular

Some sound advice on spotting liars:
Yet another clue: imprecise pronouns. To psychologically distance themselves from a lie, people often pepper their tales with second- and third-person pronouns like "you," "we" and "they," says Hancock. Liars are also more likely to ask that questions be repeated and begin responses with phrases like, "to tell you the truth," and "to be perfectly honest," says Reid.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Local Minister... likes democracy

Just when you think The Party has absolutely plumbed the depths of Stalinesque language... off it goes and finds yet another corner of the Sea of Dannystan just out of soundings.



Poetic justice

The Saturday Tellytorialist points to a recent lawsuit against the provincial government: Cyril Daley and S.D. Pharmacies vs. the Minister of Health.

Which is funny. There used to be this leader of the provincial opposition who would fume and fustigate against the government of the day for getting itself behind the business end of lawsuits. To his mind, there was nothing worse that a government could do than get sued.

Now, what the devil was that man's name?

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Get 'em, tiger

Jerome Kennedy, Q.C., G.L.™, having previously exhibited his deep understanding of environmental law, hits another one out of the park.


Friday, May 22, 2009


From a James McLeod report in Wednesday's Telegram:
Canada doesn't end at Halifax: council

Mayor Dennis O'Keefe was at a luncheon in Houston during the Offshore Technology Conference when the Canadian consul general got up to speak.

"In referencing oil developments across Canada, he started in British Columbia and finished with offshore Nova Scotia," O'Keefe said. "The East Coast oil industry is off the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador, the oil offshore Nova Scotia pales in comparison, and that's with developments that are current today, let alone new developments that will be occurring."

When he mentioned this during the meeting, O'Keefe's story sparked a discussion involving almost every member of council sharing their own stories and frustration at Newfoundland's neglect.


O'Keefe said he doesn't know what can be done to change people's attitudes.

"That kind of comment reinforces the stereotype - the stereotype of Canada being from Vancouver to Halifax, and the terrible, terrible omission about the offshore oil and gas industry in Newfoundland and Labrador," he said.

"They are aware, they do know, they're not stunned, but for some inexplicable reason, the references continue. It's almost like it's been going on for so long that it happens in a rote fashion."

That's what it's almost like. Something that's been going on for so long that it happens in a rote fashion:
"It seems like every time I set my foot off this island, I have something said to me that incenses me," Coun. Tom Hann said.


Thursday, May 21, 2009

Hot fuss

“After months listening to Ontario politicians and the national media crying a river about how Ontario has had to stoop to collecting equalization payments I believe I’ve finally figured out what all the fuss is about.”

So froths one of the frothier corners of the intertubes.

Herewith, a list of twenty Canadian daily newspapers, and the total number of articles, editorials, op-eds, and letters to the editor which they have published in the past twelve months, up to and including today, which contain the words “Ontario” and “equalization” (or, in the case of Le Droit, “péréquation”.

Nineteen of the papers on the list are in Ontario. One is not. Not surprisingly, the two major Toronto dailies, as national and Ontario papers of record, top the list.

The Ontario papers marked with an asterisk serve metropolitan markets which are larger than the one served by the non-Ontario paper.

So, really now: where has more “fuss” been made over Ontario’s status as an equalization-receiving province?
Globe and Mail*                 77
Toronto Star* 66
The [St. John's] Telegram 33
National Post* 31
Sault Star 27
Toronto Sun* 23
Ottawa Citizen* 22
Waterloo Record* 22
Guelph Mercury 21
Le Droit* 21
Thunder Bay Chronicle-Journal 20
Brantford Expositor 20
London Free Press* 16
North Bay Nugget 16
Hamilton Spectator* 15
Kingston Whig-Standard 14
Ottawa Sun* 14
Belleville Intelligencer 14
Windsor Star* 13
Chatham Daily News 11

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Cherry-Pickin' Dannies

There was never agreement where you can cherry pick this and cherry pick this and cherry pick this and have it your own way. That is not the way it works.

-The Word of Our Dan, who never, ever picks cherries.


Radio ga-ga

Again, ODP’s comments Tuesday in response to radio news reporters putting their microphones in front of him:
I don’t respond very well to threats. I don’t listen to threats. Nor will We honour those threats. So its up to nurses to do what they wanna do there… We’ll deal with it. We’ll just deal with it. But Igottatellya, threats of mass resignation in order to extort benefits or extra salaries or extra leave from government, it’s not on for Us.
This, from the guy who doesn't believe in negotiating matters of public importance over the radio.


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

On threats

VOCM posted audio earlier today that offers a fascinating glimpse into the mind of the Newfoundland narcissus. Quoth Our Dear Premier:

I don’t respond very well to threats. I don’t listen to threats. Nor will We honour those threats. So its up to nurses to do what they wanna do there… We’ll deal with it. We’ll just deal with it. ButIgottatellya, threats of mass resignation in order to extort benefits or extra salaries or extra leave from government, it’s not on for Us.
Not on, eh? What, so now the guy who threatened a previous group of insufficiently Premier-positive public service strikers that “they will be out 'til the cows come home”; who threatened vague, unspecified, and unfulfilled “dire consequences” if he didn’t get his way on equalization; and who solemnly intoned, “I will sue you. That goes for Roger Grimes, that goes for Sue Kelland-Dyer, that goes for Ed Hollett”; that guy now has a problem with threats?

And the guy who tore down the flag has issues with extortion?

It is incredible, yet entirely predictable, how His view of threats — much like His opinion of those dastardly “personal attacks” — depends entirely on whether he is the target of such utterances, or their source.

Too bad for the nurses that they have to negotiate – such as those “negotiations” are – with such a blatant, unrepentant, hypocrite of the highest order.



Another interesting concession out of Trevor Taylor in his interview with Tony Dawson:
No matter what you have on the Straits, it's almost like the crossing of the Cabot Strait, when you get into that summer peak period, you're going to have congestion problems undoubtedly.
File that one away, Tara Laing.

The Northern Strategic Unplan

Some interesting tidbits emerged from Trevor Taylor's long-distance sit-down with Tony Dawson on CBC Labrador Morning last Friday:
Tony Dawson: Let's talk a bit on the marine transportation because you brought up the Sir Robert Bond, once the road is complete, Phase III is complete, what's this going to mean for marine transportation in Labrador?

Trevor Taylor: Obviously, y'know, we would anticipate that after next season [i.e. after 2010] the Bond would be removed from service, and between now and then, we'll have to, in consultation with the people of the North Coast in particular, have to figure out how, what the configuration for North Coast freight service will be. We have to decide on what our go-forward plan is going to be on the Straits crossing, you know it's fully expected that there'll be a fairly significant increase in the volume of traffic between Blanc Sablon and St. Barbe.


Again, you know, similar to the South Coast configuration with the Strait of Belle Isle crossing and with the Sir Robert Bond, over the course of the next two years, there will be a fairly in-depth analysis of how we should provide service to the North Coast, how we should provide passenger service, and how we should provide freight service.
For a government fuelled on the twin engines of Danny's ego and the triumph of planning over doing, there are a lot of conditional and future-tense verbs in Trevor's answers.

The Trans-Labrador Highway megaproject, in its present incarnation, was announced in 1997. (With the promise, it should be noted, that "the province will provide additional funds to complete ... the link between Cartwright and Happy Valley-Goose Bay.) The province re-committed to Phase III, the link between Cartwright and Happy Valley-Goose Bay, in 2002. (With the caveat, it should be noted, that "Discussions have already taken place with the federal government but we have not yet received a favourable response.")

Construction on Phase III began, after an environmental assessment, in 2004. That is, on the watch of Mr. Strategic Plan Ourself. By 2005, the timeline for completion of Phase III already contemplated 2009 — a date which Trevor Taylor is sticking to. Sort of.

So why in blue blazes are the Strategic-Planning Masters of Our Own Domain only now getting around to talking about how they will, in the future, study the options for marine transportation to, from, and within Labrador, in contemplation of a Trans-Labrador Highway which is, supposedly, mere months away from carrying its first vehicles Trans-Labradorly?

Monday, May 18, 2009

On personal attacks

Danny Williams on Roger Grimes, as quoted by Moira Baird, the Telegram, May 14, 2002:
For the premier [Grimes], it's all been about personal attacks. Obviously, we've struck a nerve with him.
Danny Williams as quoted by Barb Sweet on the eve of the 2003 election, the Telegram, September 13, 2003:
I don't intend to get in any personal attacks.
Danny Williams, in his "State of the Province" address to the St. John's Rotary Club, February 5, 2004:
It is deeply sad to see some union leaders engaged in unwarranted, vicious personal attacks on me, my family and other members of my government ... such actions do not help build goodwill.
Danny Williams, in the House of Assembly, December 14, 2004
He made all kinds of accusations about myself, about people I have been involved with in business, bringing in people’s names who have nothing to do with this Legislature, innuendo, slander, name calling, personal attacks. He should have gotten a message at the end of the last election as to what people thought of his tactics over the last three years and he is right back to them again. So he is obviously on the same track. It is getting him absolutely nowhere. The people are not responding to it. They do not want to see it. They do not want to hear it. Why don’t you get on with issues that are important?
Danny Williams, as quoted by Rosie Gillingham, the Telegram, March 6, 2006
I didn't want to get into vicious, personal attacks. That's not the way to handle it.
Danny Williams, in interview with the Telegram's Craig Jackson, July 14, 2006:
I can't be governed by fear, I can't be governed by name-calling, I can't be governed by personal attacks.


Sunday, May 17, 2009

Giving up

Here are some more good questions for the unquestioningly loyal Dean MacDonald.

Back in 2002, one of his ostensible reasons for breaking with the former Grimes government, and resigning from the Hydro board over the tentative deal on the so-called Lower Churchill, was given, again according to a November 26, 2002, Telegram report by Moira Baird, in the following terms:

MacDonald's concerns about the proposed Lower Churchill deal with Quebec include:

Marginalizing Labrador when it comes to future economic development.

"I think by signing this deal we're* giving up on Labrador, in terms of their* abilities to develop and have power available to them* — particularly in light of a Voisey's Bay discovery. One can assume that there'll be other Voisey's Bays up there.*"


Bill Kelly, the third board member to oppose the deal, decided to remain on the board — something MacDonald says he strongly encouraged him to do.

"I said, 'Somebody's got to fight for Labrador, and if you walk away with the knowledge you have now and the experience and the forthrightness you've brought to the table,' I said, 'I think it would be a loss for Labrador,'" said MacDonald.

And so, the questions for Deano:

In your opinion, the Danny Williams-Government plan for developing the so-called Lower Churchill — the plan which would have almost all the power transmitted over a series of submarine transmission cables, of dubious technical and economic feasibility, to everywhere else in the province, and in Atlantic Canada, except for Labrador — does that plan, Dean MacDonald, "give up" on Labrador?

Should somebody be fighting for Labrador, even against Danny Williams, on this issue?

If so, do you have any thoughts as to who?

And on this narrow question of the Danny Williams-Government plan for developing the so-called Lower Churchill, which of your deeply-held personal convictions prevails? the one that says "we" shouldn't give up on Labrador? or the one that says "whoever is the premier always has my support"?

Perhaps the next time Deano addresses the Junior Anti-Sex League, someone should ask him.

* Interesting choice of terminology, there, too. "We". "Their". "Them". "Up there".

Saturday, May 16, 2009


Dean MacDonald, on the loyalty, subservience, and deference of Dean MacDonald:
CW: So you’re a Liberal, but you support the premier?

DM: Yeah, I think all Newfoundlanders support the premier, you know in terms of whoever is the premier always has my support. You know, I’m trying to help in any way I can as a citizen.
Whoever is the premier always has his support?

That would depend on what your definition of "always" is. (To say nothing of "trying to help".)

Just consider the goings-on barely six short years ago, when Deano, having had the support of the premier of the day — who appointed him to the board of Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro — had a funny way of showing his support in return. As Moira Baird reported for the Telegram on November 26, 2002:
The former chairman of Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro says the proposed Lower Churchill agreement with Quebec is a bad, lop-sided deal for the province.

Dean MacDonald's advice to the government of Premier Roger Grimes is simple: Don't sign it.

MacDonald resigned from Hydro's board of directors Friday — one of three directors who voted against the Lower Churchill development project.

He was also one of two directors who resigned from the Hydro board.

"At the end of the day I approached it as if I owned this company and this deal was presented to me and would I go for it — and I wouldn't," said MacDonald from his office in Ottawa.

"I really think it's one-sided."
Someone should ask Roger Grimes how "supportive" and "helpful" Dean MacDonald always is.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Breaking ground

Charest has the kind of sod-turning Danny Williams never will.


Just trying to help

The always-unassailable logic of FoDs — Friends of Dan. Thank you to Craig Westcott (the traitor) for the public service you have done in posting up the transcript of Dean MacDonald's recent comments at the Junior Anti-Sex League meeting or some such:
CW: How would you rate the premier as premier?

DM: I think the voters have certainly done a good job of evaluating that.

CW: So, do you agree with the voters’ assessment?

DM: Yeah.

CW: So you’re a Liberal, but you support the premier?

DM: Yeah, I think all Newfoundlanders support the premier, you know in terms of whoever is the premier always has my support. You know, I’m trying to help in any way I can as a citizen.
"All Newfoundlanders support the Premier."

By necessary implication, that means if you don't support the Premier, you're not a Newfoundlander. (Which, for some folks who don't tend to think of themselves as Newfoundlanders in the first place, might not be such a bad line of reasoning after all.)

But still: is this what passes for political thought and leadership, just five and a half years into the Dannystan era? Is this guy really the best that the provincial opposition party, and its hangers-on, can come up with?

Has the corrosive political force named Danny Williams really penetrated that deeply, so that even pretenders to the opposition party's crown have to pledge fealty to Him — and pledge it on behalf of everyone else in the province?

Something is very, very wrong with this picture.


Thursday, May 14, 2009

But (XIII)

writes: I generally agree and support Danny Williams based on historical merit, but these above statements coming from him are misleading. The nurses do not initiate overtime. In fact, it's the opposite, they respond to requests of overtime. They are told to do so, by consequence of gov't not having properly addressed the nursing situation here in the province via gross understaffing and mismanagement.

Posted 13/05/2009 at 1:01 PM


Manifest Destiny

From Moira Baird's report of the launch of Our Dear R&D Corporation, in today's Telegram:
Williams says the new corporation will steer research and development in areas unique to the province.

"To be fully in control of our own destiny, we must invest in the catalysts for economic growth within our grasp - namely, this province's people ... its institutions and its private enterprises.

"But it must also acknowledge that the task of improving our province's R&D performance is significant and comes with risk," he said.

Shall we gather in the bunker

Someone needs a refresher course on their 30 days or its free policy. To wit:
"A Progressive Conservative government will ... release to the public every government-commissioned report within 30 days of receiving it, indicate the action government will take on a report's recommendations within 60 days, and ensure prompt public access to all government reports in hard copy and on the Internet"
On Wednesday, Joan Burke, fresh from doing a stellar ministerial job at the Departmint of Ejukashun, released the Clinical Services Review.

The date on the report itself? December 2008.

That means that the report was released somewhere between 133 and 164 days after it was in the hands of government.

That means that, yet again, The Most Open And Accountable Government In The History Of Ever broke its own election promise on openness and accountability, without batting an eyelash.

(And lookie! The report is released in a locked-down PDF format that you, the people who paid for it, aren't allowed to copy. Score negative two for openness and transparency.)

It must be yet another one of those increasingly frequent special cases that the talented Elizabeth Matthews alluded to last year:
"There are instances when that deadline simply cannot be met due to a variety of issues," Elizabeth Matthews, a spokeswoman for Premier Danny Williams, said Monday.
Instant update: "I will not gloss things over", says the Minister.

The Minister who sat on the report, that she now plans to not "gloss over", for five months?

Yip. That Minister.

So when she says "I will not gloss things over", the self-imposed proscription against over-glossing must be prospective, or, as the cool kids say these days, "on a go-forward basis."

Labels: ,

Assentator Emeritus (II)

Over the protestations of the wag who thought it was superfluous giving it to a sitting PC MHA, the second awarding of the title Assentator Emeritus goes to the Hon. Member for Humber Valley, Mr. Kelly, who spouted this gem late on Tuesday evening:
Over the Easter Break, I visited the other Maritime Provinces and spent a few days down in the United States. When I visited some of the people in the Maritimes in particular, in the Province of New Brunswick, they were so impressed about this government and the job that they were doing. Some of them said that they wished that Premier Danny Williams was the Premier of their province. That is what they told me.


Wednesday, May 13, 2009


The Premier throws yet another Dantrum:
Premier Danny Williams says if the province legislates nurses back to work and imposes a contract, it will be the same contract every other union has already accepted — and not the most recent offer made to nurses.

“We would legislate them back on the template, which is exactly what we’ve offered to over 30,000 other public servants,” said Williams.
Well isn't that interesting.

Would that be the same template given to the Premier's talented communications assistant and other staff members? They're part of the 30,000 other public servants, after all, and "worth their weight in gold" to boot.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Mr Speaker, do your job (X)

MR. T. MARSHALL: Mr. Speaker, the Williams’ government has made policing a priority of its Administration.

MR. TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, the Williams’ government took a strategic approach in creating our long-term infrastructure plan.
As a Speaker once said:
MR. SPEAKER: Before the Speaker calls oral questions, I would again like to remind hon. members, whether they are reading from prepared texts or whether they are giving speeches in the House, it is just as unparliamentary to refer to people in the House by their names as it is by referring to them in debate in the House. I ask all hon. members from now on, when they read documents, not to refer to any member by their name.


And all the rest was gamma rays

The matter/anti-matter reaction that must have resulted from a press release going out, containing both of the following bits of language, would have been visible from M31:
"Under the proven leadership of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, our Government is taking action to stimulate the economy and create jobs.
"Today’s funding builds on the $800 million the Williams Government will invest in infrastructure this fiscal year as part of our provincial budget," said Minister Taylor.

Friday, May 08, 2009

A math question

When the Minister of Business — whatever that is — claims "Twenty-Seven Per Cent Less Red Tape as Government Streamlines Processes and Improves Service"...

What is the numerator?

What is the denomerator?

How does a body quantify the abstract and amorphous concept of "red tape", and so finely that the Minister of Business — whatever that is — can claim an extraordinarily specific figure of 27% as the amount by which it has been reduced?

Thursday, May 07, 2009

The hypocrisy!

Again from the Bow-Wow Parliament on Wednesday:
MR. DENINE: Now, Mr. Speaker, during the debate this afternoon, each and every member, both on this side of the House and on that side of the House, has brought a lot of statistics to be aired out here today. I am wondering, and I am saying: Does the federal government not know we are concerned about the number of jobs here in Newfoundland and Labrador? Do you not know that we have made representation to them many, many times? Many letters have gone back and forth?


Mr. Speaker, in 1993 there were 10,250 federal jobs. In 2004, there were 6,790. Now, if you do the math on that – and I hope it is correct, someone gave me the information – over 3,200 jobs lost. I mean, that is significant. Think about it. That in itself is more than four or five industries here in Newfoundland and Labrador; more than four or five industries. So why do we not ask for equal treatment? This is not new to the federal government in power now today. This is not new to them. Our government has written every other leader of every party up there and asked them for all this. They know that this is an issue.


Now, Prime Minister Harper said: we cannot just go willy-nilly and give out a job here, a job there, a job there. Look at a resource. Look at a whole picture. What can we put here in Newfoundland and Labrador? Well, Mr. Speaker, there is a heck of a lot you can put here in Newfoundland and Labrador. Look at our natural resources. Why not open a big, huge facility and move all the Department of Natural Resources here? Armed forces. We are the closest link to Europe, a very strategic location in the world, global issues, global geography. Why not move that down? We are in the offshore oil business, significantly, why not move something down here from that? The fisheries – my God, we are surrounded by water, at least the Island portion is.
Once upon a time, there was this guy named Danny Williams, who said that in dealings with Ottawa, the provincial government had to practice what it preached.

Where is the provincial department of Natural Resources located?

And where are the resources?

How concentrated is the provincial civil service, and where is it concentrated, and how do those patterns compare to how the federal civil service is spread out (or not) across Canada?

Discuss. Better yet: ask Clayton Forsey and Dave Denine.

And while you're asking, ask for a definition of "equal treatment". Given that Newfoundland and Labrador has the fourth-highest federal civil service presence, adjusted for population, of any province... does this mean, in the name of "the equal thing", that jobs have to be moved to federally under-staffed provinces like Alberta?


The eloquence!

From the proceedings of the Bow-Wow Parliament on Wednesday:
MR. DENINE: Again, I say Newfoundland and Labrador needs to be treated equally. We need to have the equal thing, and I think if they only look at the definition that I talked about in the beginning of my speech, the difference between Atlantic and Maritime, that is the problem. Canada does not stop at Halifax. Look at things.

Now, Prime Minister Harper said: we cannot just go willy-nilly and give out a job here, a job there, a job there. Look at a resource. Look at a whole picture. What can we put here in Newfoundland and Labrador? Well, Mr. Speaker, there is a heck of a lot you can put here in Newfoundland and Labrador. Look at our natural resources. Why not open a big, huge facility and move all the Department of Natural Resources here? Armed forces. We are the closest link to Europe, a very strategic location in the world, global issues, global geography. Why not move that down? We are in the offshore oil business, significantly, why not move something down here from that? The fisheries – my God, we are surrounded by water, at least the Island portion is.
Look at things! The disjointed thing! Sentence fragments!


The geography!

From the proceedings of the Bow-Wow Parliament on Wednesday:
MR. DENINE: Again, I say Newfoundland and Labrador needs to be treated equally. We need to have the equal thing, and I think if they only look at the definition that I talked about in the beginning of my speech, the difference between Atlantic and Maritime, that is the problem. Canada does not stop at Halifax. Look at things.

Now, Prime Minister Harper said: we cannot just go willy-nilly and give out a job here, a job there, a job there. Look at a resource. Look at a whole picture. What can we put here in Newfoundland and Labrador? Well, Mr. Speaker, there is a heck of a lot you can put here in Newfoundland and Labrador. Look at our natural resources. Why not open a big, huge facility and move all the Department of Natural Resources here? Armed forces. We are the closest link to Europe, a very strategic location in the world, global issues, global geography. Why not move that down? We are in the offshore oil business, significantly, why not move something down here from that? The fisheries – my God, we are surrounded by water, at least the Island portion is.

AN HON. MEMBER: Thank God we’re surrounded by water.

MR. DENINE: Thank God we’re surrounded by water. Thank you very much. I appreciate that.
Yip. Canada doesn't end at Halifax, or even Nova Scotia, because further east there's a province where we are surrounded by water.


Mr Speaker, do your job (IX)

MR. DINN: She launched this campaign from the steps of City Hall in St. John’s and then travelled to Gander where she met with the town council and Premier Williams to pass the torch on to the next champion.

MR. KENNEDY: Does anyone in this House think that if Premier Williams had not taken the stance that he took back in 2005, 2006 that we would have gotten that $2 billion that we had to put into that pension fund? Not likely. So it was by Premier Williams and this government taking a strong stance and standing up for ourselves that those monies were obtained. Then what happened to those monies? They were immediately injected into this pension fund to try to bring stability to it.

MS POTTLE: I was honoured to address participants during my visit and I had the opportunity to note some important investments the Williams Government is making as we work to enhance the administration of justice in Labrador.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

What it means

Our Dear Premier is ready to pump you up:
Williams said if Harper won't flex any muscles, then he will — although he wouldn't say exactly what that means.
The CBC doesn't know what it means. Some clues, however, may be found in ODP's previous uses of the term "dire consequences", and the utterly hilarious, in light of late, prolix press releases, "we will speak up on our own behalf on the international stage".

Equivalency and ambiguity

Issuing a Request for Proposals = Trans Labrador Highway to Get Hard-Top

When is Trans-Labrador Highway to Get Hard-Top?

Why, it doesn't say.

And what is "Hard-Top"?

Surely not "cheapseal", now is it?

Who knows? It doesn't say.

But lookie! A dollar figure: "As part of Budget 2009: Building on Our Strong Foundation, approximately $56 million will be invested in Phase I and Phase III of the TLH."

The same kind of dollar figure that is curiously absent from other Highway Happiness announcements this spring. How come?

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Sycophant of the Month: April 2009

Total number of ProvGov press releases issued in April: 169 (-2 from March)

Total number with the phrase "Williams Government": 18 (+2 from March.)

Sycophancy index: 10.7% (+1.3% from March)

Trevor Taylor, in his newish role as Minister of Announcing How Awesome Danny Williams-Government Is In Doling Out Highways Money That Would Have Been Spent Anyway, scored three in a row to open the month. And after that, the rest might as well have stayed home.

But they didn’t.

Paul Oram tips it in on the 7th, followed by two more from Trev. Susan Sullivan puts one up. Trev responds with another two.

Shawn Skinner? Trevor answers him, four times. He's like a machine. (No, Pam, not that kind of machine.)

Dr. Darin King? Meet Trevor Taylor.

John Hickey, with unparliamentary language, and Susan Sullivan close out the month, but it’s academic at this point. Trevor Taylor notches twelve for the month, fully half his career-to-date total. Susan Sullivan has a pair, Oram, Skinner, Hickey, and Dr. King, one each.

So the title reverts back to its formerly rightful owner, the Minister Whoever Happens to Be Minister of Highways Happiness in the second quarter of the calendar year. Your Sycophant of the Month for March: Trevor Taylor. Congratulations on your first-time win, Minister!

Labels: ,

Friday, May 01, 2009

Repetition is the mother of talking points (VIII)

Exhibit C:
Was Speaker Roger Fitzgerald correct to side with the government on funding for the official opposition? Why or why not?

Question Date: 11/20/2008
Total Votes: [7775]

Name:mr. spock
Comments: is illogical to waste money on this so called opposition. a paper tiger. useless party with a useless leader.

Comments: yes why waste the money,the press is the opposition anyway

Comments: yes. the liberals would only have wasted the money anyway. that's all they're good at. if the people of the province wanted the opposition to have more funding, they would have elected more opposition memebers, but they didn't. the liberals, with a caucus of just three, can't seriously expect to get the same level of funding with three members as they would if they had many more members in their ranks. the ndp shouldn't have gotten anything, period. they don't even have official party status in the house of assembly. they would need at least three members to have that. and lorraine michael should not be getting extra salary, as she currently is, for being the leader of a so-called recognized third party. one person does not a party make, in my opinion! plus the ndp is not even an official party in the hoa.