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

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Danny Williams-Government: Economic Genius

Bondpapers lights up a terrific quote from ostensible Finance Minister, Tom someone:

When there is uncertainty, when the economy is fragile, government steps into the breach.
This is the same "fragile" economy, of course, that for the past four years has been the object of veneration of the Church of Official Optimism.

Everything's booming, everyone's happy... but it's a fragile happy boom.

As the Finance Minister, whoever that is, said in his budget speech on Monday:

As a government, we feel it is necessary to continue with our efforts to stimulate as the world returns to normal and more broadly based levels of economic activity. This is not the time to retreat. This is not the time to slam on the brakes. We want to keep the momentum going in the right direction.

In order to achieve this goal and not cut programs and services that are crucial to Newfoundland and Labrador families, the Province is forecasting a deficit of $194.3 million for 2010-2011. We will continue to invest in infrastructure. We will continue to invest in programs and services that are crucial to the people of this Province. And, as an added stimulus, we will again reduce taxes.
Adding, for good measure, in remarks to The Telegram on Tuesday:

"Obviously, I don't like to run deficits, but if I've got to fight a recession ... if we've got to get the economy booming again, then I'm not afraid to spend money and we're not afraid to lower taxes to stimulate the economy - that's good public policy," the minister said.
So here's the thing: what imperical evidence is there that this deficit-financed public spending fiesta will actually cause the economy, in which everyone is happy and optimistic and upbeat and fragile at the same time, to be stimulated?

In your answer, you may make use of the following charts, which combine historical data available here with current and forecast data (outlined) from the latest provincial budget estimates, released on Monday. The comparison isn't apples-to-apples, but it's close enough for this exercise.

So how did that "good public policy" work out during the 2000s, the 1990s, the 1980s, and, for that matter, the deficit-financed years, going back to the dying days of the Smallwood regime, which pre-date the start of the chart?

How well did it stimulate the economy and ward off or end recessions?

You would think, from the Minister's happy words, that Danny Williams-Government had discovered some amazing public-finance and economic magic bullet; something so blindingly obvious that no one had ever tried it before: deficit-finance your way to prosperity. Spend money. Stimulate. Step into the breach.

Astounding! Allô, Nobel Prize Committee?

No wonder the man's a recovering Rhodes Scholar, and you're not. Nyahn.

But is there not some lingering doubt, somewhere on the Eighth Floor, somewhere in the Department of Finance, even if doubt is seemingly in poor supply everywhere else? Doubt that maybe, just maybe, the only economic and public-finance discoveries that Danny Williams-Government has made are the flip sides of the same coin.

He has discovered the sheer joy and fun of spending unprecedented windfall natural resource revenues, which he had nothing whatsoever to do with generating, and buying (or at least renting) popularity.

And he has discovered the dread of knowing that the financial party is rapidly — very, very rapidly — coming to an end.


Pease in a pod (XV)

VOCM, March 30, 2010:

Blue Windows Revealed at Confederation Buildings

Confederation Building is getting a face lift...and it's Tory blue. A portion of the Allandale Road side of the East Block has been under renovation for some time now, obscured by a huge tarp and now that it has been completed, the familar green coloured windows have been replaced with blue ones. It's one of many blue changes by government, including the license plate and highway signage.
Editorial, The Telegram, October 5, 2006:
As editorial topics go, the province's new branding strategy is a sitting duck. The province's new $1-million logo, a stylized pitcher plant, features the same provincial plant that has been used as a logo before, raising the issue of why it cost so much and took so long to develop this latest idea.


Then there's the super-syllabic "Newfoundland Labrador," a six- syllable mouthful that has dropped the easy linguistic "and" that used to appear between the names of the two parts of this province. The letters of the name are Tory-blue, a subliminal push for the current government.
James Travers, Toronto Star, June 29, 2007:
They're painting the town blue for Canada Day in the nation's capital this year.

Though the red and white of Canada's flag is usually the dominant colour scheme for the big party in Ottawa on July 1, blue seems to be all the rage this year – a good, solid Conservative blue, to match the government in power.

Workers have been erecting the main stage for festivities this week on Parliament Hill. By yesterday, it was evident the favoured hue seems to have definitely shifted from red – which also happens to be the colour of the Liberal party, the Conservatives' arch-rivals.

The huge stage, similar to the kind seen at big outdoor rock concerts, is solid blue, as is the large overhang.
Bruce Cheadle, Canadian Press, September 21, 2009:
The Conservative government is spending more than five times as many taxpayer dollars on promoting its economic plan as it is on raising public awareness about the flu pandemic.


All the ads direct viewers to a Tory-blue government web site that includes more than 40 different photos of Prime Minister Stephen Harper and refers repeatedly to "the Harper government" -- apparently in direct contravention of Treasury Board communications policy.


Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Congress of People’s Deputies

A Dunville man had an interesting experience at the House of Assembly on Monday Budget Day. As Dave Bartlett reports for The Telegram today:
Jeremiah Perry drove in from Dunville, Placentia Bay, Monday to hear Finance Minister Tom Marshall deliver his budget speech.


There were free seats in the gallery Monday, but Perry was turned away.

"The security are saying, 'Oh, no, no it's invitation only," he told The Telegram from the lobby of Confederation building where he mingled with reporters and others interested in the budget.


Perry's MHA, Justice Minister Felix Collins, also spoke to The Telegram.

"I had no idea there was either constituent of mine here from Dunville," he said. But Collins said as far as he knows seating in the gallery is reserved for invited guests and each MHA and minister only has one or two invites to give out.
For the record, from The Party’s 2003 election platform:
My government will provide real financial management, real transparency, and real accountability. Ours will be a new approach, and one which will benefit every Newfoundlander and Labradorian in a positive and powerful way.”- Danny Williams

Newfoundlanders and Labradorians have grown tired of the flurry of closed-door, invitation-only consultations in recent years that were little more than "telling and selling" exercises.
• Under a Progressive Conservative government, the House of Assembly will play a key role in enabling real public dialogue that will have a genuine influence on government policies and priorities.

• A Progressive Conservative government will adopt an open legislative process to allow maximum consultation with groups and individuals in open forums, particularly through legislative committees.

• Legislative committees will be able to call government ministers, senior civil servants and experts outside government to provide information and analysis in public sessions so that committee members and the public can benefit from informed opinion on specific issues.

• Committees will be expected to meet regularly outside St. John's to provide better access to the general public and to encourage greater participation by individuals and groups.

• A Progressive Conservative government will increase the power of the public to influence its agenda and actions through social partnerships with families, communities, voluntary and charitable organizations, professional organizations, business, labour, and cultural organizations.

• Finally, the House of Assembly itself will have an open and accessible atmosphere, with light-touch security and a feeling of public ownership.

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Monday, March 29, 2010

But (XIX)

OK, technically it's a "while". A comment on the Northern Pen site:
John from NL writes: I agree entirely with the comments from the Budgell's. While I am a staunch supporter of Mr. Williams I am strongly opposed to this proposed move. Looking at the figures there does not appear to be any rationale for the decision and if this is because of the last election it is a shame as a great many people still voted Conservative and IF the PC's had had a strong candidate it is unlikely the Liberals would have won. Please rethink this decision.
Posted 29/03/2010 at 10:30 AM Link to comment


The Government Side (III)

From the VOCM QotD comments:

Mr Labrador Said: Way to go Danny!!!Next time around perhaps they will catch on & ride the BLUE wave,stop your whining & get over it

Maurice Said: That's what happens when you have a weak ineffective MHA in a weak ineffective party.

Somebody Said: You people are all saying it was a good decision, but a lot of people had to move from St. Anthony to Goose Bay. Nobody here in St. Anthony wants to move to that hole. I'm 11, and I lost 2 of my friends thanks to Marshal Dean and all of those who supported him.

Sad Sack Said: It is hard to disagree on this one. The people of St Anthony should realize that you do not kick Danny in the teeth and get away with it.

And from a comment on a Telegram story on the same subject:

realistic from NL writes: I have listened to all sides of this dispute, i too would loved to have kept the air ambulance in St Anthony.

But the people wanted change, they voted for change in October. For a district that availed of 130 million dollars over the last 5-6 years from this government, the only change they were going to get with their decision was certainly not anything positive.


It is unfortunate that someone has to lose in a situation like this. But we should have realized that we also have to look after ourselves too and voting an opposition member in at this time was certainly not in our best interest. Some may say the government can't be that petty but this has been the way politics has been for years.

I guess we have Marshall to really thank for the air ambulance decision...thanks buddy!!!
Posted 26/03/2010 at 10:23 AM

Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Government Side (II)

Or, how St. Anthony voted, bearing in mind the somewhat inconvenient fact that St. Anthony, and the district of The Straits & White Bay North, are not commensurate:

Poll             Lib PC NDP
29 St. Anthony 58 54 3
30 St. Anthony 60 57 6
31 St. Anthony 43 76 14
32 St. Anthony 59 80 7
33 St. Anthony 37 88 3
34 St. Anthony 68 92 4
35 St. Anthony 61 42 4
36 St. Anthony 96 76 12
TOTAL 482 565 53

The Government Side

The following comments on Friday's CBC report about the brewing storm in St. Anthony might be genuine expressions of opinion by ordinary members of the public.

Or it might be the work of Spontaneous Outrage Organizing Committee, given that the approve/disapprove ratios on the comments have swung wildly, lo these past 48 hours — a hypoethesis buttressed by the fact that as of mid-afternoon on Sunday, the VOCM Question of the Day is pushing 30,000 "votes".

Whichever is the case — genuine immaturity in the political culture, or ham-fisted attempt to manipulate public opinion — the comments go to show a great deal of what is wrong with politics in Dannystan:

Irv Heinz wrote:Posted 2010/03/26
at 11:19 AM ET

They never valued what they had - why don't they call Yvonne!

Chris08 wrote:Posted 2010/03/26
at 11:22 AM ET

You reap what you sow. This is not rocket science. There are 43 other PC districts that also need things, do you think they will pick a Liberal District over a PC district? Let your great Liberal MHA give you everything you deserve... Nothing..

lockyer9 wrote:Posted 2010/03/26
at 12:33 PM ET

you people turned on the pc's and now you want them to pat you on the back...i'm not a pc, liberal or ndp,in fact i voted liberal in my district the last two elections...i voted liberal but i won't lower myself like your doing right kicked the pc's out of your district,now live with it..stop crying and vote the next time ,for who might form the government,then you can complain..

GodGuardTheeNL wrote:Posted 2010/03/26
at 3:07 PM ET

What is that old saying about reaping what you sow??? My advice to the mayor is to go have a nice long chat with Marshall Dean, he is the man that they elected to represent them, he is getting paid a tidy sum to represent them, he will probably get a couple of pensions for his trouble. Funny how it's alway someone elses fault with these guys. You know, the premier, or the minister, or Trevor Taylor, or whomever. Never the people who were blowing their horns when Mr. Dean was elected.

RedRantingTory wrote:Posted 2010/03/26
at 3:12 PM ET

Abandoned by PCs, St. Anthony mayor says
After the district saved a Liberal member. TIt for tat? You reap what you sew in politics. Did they really think they were going to be rewarded? How political nieve you are Mr Simms.

DwayneCull wrote:Posted 2010/03/26
at 3:28 PM ET

I think the headline for this story is correct, only thing is, the words are a little mixed up....I think it should read:

St. Anthony abandoned PC's, paid price, says Mayor.....

That sums it up better....

dogman643 wrote:Posted 2010/03/26
at 3:37 PM ET

Don't bite the hand that feeds you.

boatguy wrote:Posted 2010/03/26
at 11:00 PM ET

Simms wonders what happened to the promise to reward the district.
St. Anthony was well rewarded during the tory " stay 'there. wharf extensions , new school and sports complex etc.
bottom line is that the troies did not abondon the district , the district abondoned the tories.

squarefore wrote:Posted 2010/03/27
at 12:17 PM ET

Mr Mayor, You seem to be surprised. What did you expect?
People should never cut off their noses, to spite their faces.

lockyer9 wrote:Posted 2010/03/28
at 12:09 PM ET

when a government is in power, when we have a by-election,you should,if you have any sense at all, put in a person who is representing the government...when a full election is called,that is the time to open your minds and vote what is in your heart..when you put in a liberal in that by-election,you turned your back on the government...really,what do you expect...stop crying and accept this,after all,it was your own doing..

UPDATE: Round II begins:

keepkool wrote:Posted 2010/03/28
at 4:01 PM ET

what people seem to forget is this move is about trying to better a service to save lives and not about st anthony looseing a few jobs.why did marshell dean not bring this to the fore front long before it was announced.he was told about it long before it happened,just another mha falling down on the job.get real people and fealize the mistake you made in voting liberal.the pcs are not to blame maybe your member is.where is yvonne jones now ? nobody looking for votes i guess.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Pease in a pod (XIV)

Steven Chase of The Globe and Mail reports:
An apparent slipup in the federal government’s censoring of Afghan detainee documents shows Ottawa is using its black marker to hide potentially embarrassing information, a military and information law expert says.


The sentences in question describe how detainees began testing and challenging their Canadian captors in early 2008. Prisoners are held in a short-term Forces detention facility before being transferred to Afghan authorities.


Michel Drapeau, a former Forces colonel and a professor of military law, said there’s no justification for withholding this information from Canadians – as one of the censors processing the documents had apparently done.

“If a Taliban intelligence officer reads this, I would be hard-pressed to suggest what he could do with this information,” Mr. Drapeau said. “Is this about national security or potential embarrassment to the government?”
The fall before last witnessed this eerily similar and all-foreshadowy provincial slipuppable episode. CBC's account:
Marshall also said privacy and security issues prevented discussion of passages of the report that had been blacked out.

However, when the government posted the report online, the redacted sections could be read by users with basic computer tools.

Among other things, the passages show that the panel investigating the prisons found that Scoville — who became superintendent of prisons in 2000 — did not have enough experience to have taken on the job.

The report, though, noted that Scoville had trouble getting the support he needed from the provincial government, and found that Scoville was left with the "seemingly insurmountable challenge of trying to move the provincial prison system into the new century."
This corner weighed in at the time, publishing some of the eventually-censored, and not-terribly security-oriented passages in extenso.

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Friday, March 26, 2010

Freedom from Information

Labrador-Grenfell Health issues a memo.

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Oh, the brave new world of Web 2.0. A CBC viewer submits a photo, the Mother Corp publishes it:

No slouch, that Ernest Simms; he has learned from the Master.

Carrots and sticks (III)

Or, Carrots and sticks, 2010 edition.

CBC reports today:
Moreover, [St. Anthony Mayor Ernest] Simms said members of the governing Progressive Conservatives have warned him that some promises are off.

"We've been told that, you know, because the Liberals were elected there, then things were going to slow down. You know, I talked to several ministers in other areas and they told us not to come back looking for more money."

Pressed to identify the ministers, Simms declined. He said, though, he may identify them if he does not get satisfaction from government in the coming weeks.
If you think you've seen this fillum before... why, yes, you have.


For decades.



The red cross on the map marks the spot which is as far north of the southernmost point in the province as it is south of the northernmost; and as far west of the easternmost point as it is east of the westernmost.

That is to say, at least measured this way (there are other ways of measuring), it marks the centre of the province.

It is located, rather unromantically, a couple hundred metres off the side of the road, near what used to be the North West River-Sheshatshiu dump.


Great expectations

In the House on Thursday, Squeaky replied to questions about the latest crisis – with Oram and Wiseman out of the picture, it’s safe to use that word again – at Eastern Health:
MR. KENNEDY: One of the issues that we are dealing with in these privacy concerns, Mr. Speaker, is obviously the standardization of policies. That is certainly going to take time. What we saw yesterday was Eastern Health move quickly to move with the privacy breaches. We have the Personal Health Information Act, Mr. Speaker, which is expected to be proclaimed later this year, so this act will govern the collection, use and disclosure of personal health information in our Province.
Expected to be proclaimed”?

You’d think that the good Minister might have a slightly clearer idea than that.

In any event, what on Danny’s Green Island is taking so long? The Act that Squeaky referred to was passed by the Bow-Wows on May 27, 2008, and was given Royal Assent on June 4th of that year.

That’s two sessions, and nearly two calendar years ago, in case you had lost track.

But, par for the course with the Procrastinating Conservatives, s. 96 of that Personal Health Information Act provides, “This Act or a Part or a section or a subsection of this Act shall come into force on a day or days to be proclaimed by the Lieutenant-Governor in Council.”

Enacted. Assented to, even. Comforting, no doubt, to the patients whose files were improperly viewed in the latest incident, to know that the law has been rubber-stamped by the sorriest little parliament in the Commonwealth and signed by the vice-regal hand.

But not yet given the force of, y’know, law.

No worries. Squeaky and crew will get around to it, they 'spect.

Thursday, March 25, 2010


Bad cop:
"Can't be dealt with. Can't be satisfied. Can't be answered," Williams said, describing the NLMA's bargaining demands as "through the roof."
Bon cop:
Williams told reporters on Wednesday that he is not sure about the NLMA claim that its proposal would cost the government $80 million.

"Our calculation of the package that they have put before us is a package that's in excess of $125 million," he said.

"Now, if there's a $45 million error, one way or the other, whether it's ours or theirs, we just want to know. And if that's the case, and there's any misunderstanding, then let's just get that clarified and we'll move on," said Williams.
Inaudible cop:
MR. KENNEDY: Earlier this week the Newfoundland and Labrador Medical Association said it would cost $80 million to reach a deal with them. The Premier and Minister of Finance challenged them on that, and today it comes out, Mr. Speaker, that Mr. Ritter says he admits that the figure of $80 million may be significantly higher, and it is possible that the government figures are accurate, but we do not know for sure.

So here we have the doctors misleading us now. So what happens, Mr. Speaker, is we have to make sure that we utilize the money as best we can, and when we have the doctors trying to double figures like that and slide it by the public, we cannot let that (inaudible).

Mr. Speaker, do your job (XXII)

MR. JACKMAN: Truly, aquaculture has developed into a full industry in Newfoundland and Labrador, supporting economic growth and development in coastal areas of the Province. This has been due, in no small part, to the high level of investment on the part of the Williams’ government.

MS POTTLE: I was very pleased to have the opportunity to address the conference during a breakfast gathering on Wednesday, where I was joined by my Cabinet colleague, the hon. John Hickey, Minister of Labrador Affairs.

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Go near at your peril

CP reports on Our Dear Schadenfreude:
Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Danny Williams says New Brunswick has dodged a bullet with the collapse of the sale of NB Power assets to Hydro-Quebec.


Williams said he understood that New Brunswick Premier Shawn Graham was trying to bring about lower power rates for residents of his province, but he felt compelled to warn him of the drawbacks of such a deal.

"My advice from day one was beware of Hydro-Quebec. Anybody who deals with Hydro-Quebec, in my opinion, deals with them at their peril."
It would appear that Newfoundlanders and Labradorians also dodged a bullet.

After all, just six months ago, Kathy Blunderdale was telling all who would listen (though some chose not to hear) about the five years of interprovincial diplomacy that Danny Williams-Government went through, trying to rope Hydro-Quebec, that perilous, bullet-firing company, into getting involved in the imaginary Lower Churchill project... even after pledging to "go it alone":
We know that if you come in here as an equity player that you have to have a good return on your investment. And we want you to have a good return on your investment. But it also has to be a good deal for the people of Newfoundland and
Labrador. Now we have been with that message back and forth [i.e. to Hydro-Quebec] for five years. No, sir. No, sir. There is no takeup on that proposal.

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Mr. Speaker, do your job (XXI)

Do your job, Mr. Speaker.

Mr, Speaker. Mr. Speaker. DO YOUR JOB MR. SPEAKER.

MR. HICKEY: This brings the total annual investment of this government under Premier Williams to just over the past three years, close to some $5 million. Unprecedented, Mr. Speaker.


I can only say to you, Mr. Speaker, we had the opportunity under the leadership of Premier Williams in 2004 – and I remember this well – there was certainly, in my district of Lake Melville, there was a cry for kidney dialysis units. At the time I was not a member of the cabinet, I did serve as a Parliamentary Secretary to the minister of the day, but I want to say it was Premier Williams who called me.


There will be further changes for the better as we move forward with this year’s budget and certainly future year’s budget as Premier Williams, as the Premier of this Province and at the helm, as we continue on to make improvements to health care.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


Oh, the kids today, with their Walkmen and their cordless telephones and what-not. Are all the doodads and doohickeys really worth the trouble you can get into?

It seems a certain provincial cabinet minister whipped out his Crackberry a little while ago and fired off a prompt email — eschewing punctuation, as is the fashion these days — to a fellow Crackberry correspondent:
From: "Hickey, John"
Date: Tue, 1 Dec 2009 16:47:58 -0330
Subject: Re: 5 Wing Goose Bay

Matt 5 wing is alive and well You need to grow up Don't e-mail me again
Department of Labrador and Aboriginal Affairs
Government of Newfoundland and Labrador
P.O.Box 8700 St. John’s, NL Canada A1B 4J6
Sent Via BlackBerry

----- Original Message -----
To: Hickey, John
Sent: Tue Dec 01 16:36:37 2009
Subject: 5 Wing Goose Bay

Mr. Hickey:
I hope that we will hear an update on where government is on the 5 Wing file this session.

Matthew Pike
The minister was asked to answer for his e e cummings style in the House of Whatever It’s Called yesterday, but he gave a much more interesting response outside the chamber. As the Ceeb reports:

Hickey defended his response in the legislature, and later told CBC News that information requests are not supposed to be made directly to him or his department.

"If you're too lazy to put in your request through the [Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act], then don't certainly harass me as a minister looking for it," he said.
You see, the thing is, there is no obligation on anyone to fill out a form and shell out five bucks every single time they want mere information from the government. As the Department of Justice hilariously but ever-so-helpfully advises you:
The ATIPPA is not meant to replace existing means of obtaining information. Before you make a request using the legislation, you may wish to try other, informal means to obtain the records you are seeking. Contact the public body which you believe has the records. Often, you can get the information you want in this informal way, without using the legislation. This route will often be faster for you and less expensive for public bodies to administer.
And goodness knows, these days, Danny Williams-Government is oh-so-very concerned about the costs of handling formal Access to Information requests.

Minister Hickey should perhaps get in touch with Justice Minister Felix Collins, to clarify the government’s policy with regards to informal methods of obtaining information. Minister Collins can be reached by email at

Who knows, maybe that account is even synched to his Crackberry.

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Shortage of ruth

The Ministry of Truth (Provincial) reports this afternoon:
Williams: New Brunswickers Dodged a Bullet

Premier Danny Williams says New Brunswickers dodged a bullet. New Brunswick Premier Shawn Graham has announced that the proposed deal to sell major assets of NB Power to Hydro Quebec is dead. Premier Williams had lobbied New Brunswick not to get involved with Hydro Quebec, calling them a "ruthless company". He says he's not surprised that Hydro Quebec would try to squeeze every little bit out of New Brunswick in the last moments. He expects that he'll be in contact with the Premier of New Brunswick to have a discussion on the latest turn of events.
It would appear that Newfoundlanders and Labradorians also dodged a bullet.

After all, just six months ago, Kathy Blunderdale was telling all who would listen (though some chose not to hear) about the five years of interprovincial diplomacy that Danny Williams-Government went through, trying to rope Hydro-Quebec, that ruthless, bullet-firing company, into getting involved in the imaginary Lower Churchill project... even after pledging to "go it alone":
We know that if you come in here as an equity player that you have to have a good return on your investment. And we want you to have a good return on your investment. But it also has to be a good deal for the people of Newfoundland and
Labrador. Now we have been with that message back and forth [i.e. to Hydro-Quebec] for five years. No, sir. No, sir. There is no takeup on that proposal.

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Clock's ticking

In response to opposition questioning on Tuesday in the House of – what is that place called again? – the House of something, Squeaky squeaked as follows:
On October 9 I became Minister of Health and Community Services. On November 27, I flew to Labrador, met with the councils in Lab West, met with the council in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, met with two families who were severely affected by air ambulance issues. I indicated in this hon. House in early December that we would conduct a review of the air ambulance.

I appreciate the petition provided by the Leader of the Opposition with the 3,000 residents of Labrador asking to have services in Labrador. We have a consultant, Mr. Speaker, who has conducted a review. That review is completed, we will be releasing that review in the near future.
In the near future? That's kinda vague.

Then again, perhaps that means within the 30 days that Danny Williams-Government promised such reports would be released, back in 2003?

Right, Squeaky?


Full steam neutral

In response to the Platitudes from the Throne, the Opposition leader gets in some good points (childish interruptions edited out):

There was significant discussion in last year’s Throne Speech related to the Lower Churchill development It was stated, and I quote, "Planning to develop our Lower Churchill green energy resource is moving full steam ahead".

Since that time, the Premier has circumnavigated the globe and gotten nowhere with this project. First, there was the intention to put a transmission line through Gros Morne Park, creating a furor in the Province and then dismissing it as nothing but a joke, and then launched a fight, not a negotiation, with the Province of Quebec, over possible transmission when it was your government who failed to buy power transmission capacity a year earlier when it was available for purchase. Now, the Government of New Brunswick is planning to sell their power utility to Hydro-Quebec with possible implications for our Province.

The federal government has still not provided any loan guarantees to this project —

On that last point, wouldn’t a better question be: why on earth is the government, one that pledged to “go it alone” on the so-called Lower Churchill, looking for loan guarantees, or any other help from outside sources, to “go it alone” with?

Like, let’s say, begging and pleading with Hydro-Quebec for them to get involved in Our Dear Go-It-Alone Venture?


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Feed my ego

Twenty years' worth of Throne Speeches, again clevely graphed, showing the number of times Hizonner has been made to refer to "My Premier", "My First Minister", or "the Premier" in the course of the Platitudes.

Spot the trends.


Some Hon. Members: Ork, ork!

The total number of times, since 1991, that each year's provincial Throne Speech has been interrupted by the barking of trained seals, as recorded in the pages of Hansard, in its editor's immortal boilerplate phrase, "SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!":


Slow going

Radio-Canada reports on highway projects planned for this year on the other side of the 1927 line:
Une somme de 29 millions de dollars sera consacrée à des travaux sur cinq différents tronçons de la route 389.


À l'est de Natashquan, 10 millions de dollars serviront cette année à construire certains segments de routes entre Kegaska et Vieux-Fort. Toutefois, il manque encore 370 kilomètres de voie à tracer pour le parachèvement de la route 138 en Basse-Côte-Nord.

Still no word yet on when Danny Williams plans on talking to Jean Charest.



From Our Dear Response to the Platitudes from the Throne on Monday:
PREMIER WILLIAMS: Mr. Speaker, we are also determined to continue making headway in cancer diagnosis and treatment, and we have made significant investments in every aspect of health care and we are putting our money where our mouths are, but make no mistake, the interest of patient care is paramount and we have neither the time nor the patience for posturing. We are determined to hold the system, and all who work in it, to a higher standard of excellence, openness and accountability.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!
It is truly unfortunate that Some Hon. Members interrupted ODP with their trained-seal act. It prevented Him from finishing His thought. However, through the magic of textual exegesis and the help of a body-language expert from Florida, herewith a reconstruction of Our Dear Original Speaking Notes:
PREMIER WILLIAMS: Mr. Speaker, we are also determined to continue making headway in cancer diagnosis and treatment, and we have made significant investments in every aspect of health care and we are putting our money where our mouths are, but make no mistake, the interest of patient care is paramount and we have neither the time nor the patience for posturing. We are determined to hold the system, and all who work in it, to a higher standard of excellence, openness and accountability than the standards that we hold ourselves to.


A mandate from Don Mills

From today's sorry proceedings in the Bow-Wow Parliament.

MR. MARSHALL: I was pleased to see that the people of this Province were very proud of the vision of the Williams* government and were very supportive of the investments we have made to date. You only have to look at the recent public surveys just to see how pleased people are with the exceptional work that is being done, led by the Premier of this Province.

MR. WISEMAN: Since we formed government in 2003, Mr. Chair, just look at what the people of Newfoundland and Labrador have been saying. They have said it in an election in 2003, they have said it in an election in 2007, they have said in it by-elections since that time, and they say it in public opinion polls


Mr. Chair, not only – the people of Newfoundland and Labrador, the members of this House just should not take my word for that, just look at what elections have said, just look at what opinion polls have said. They have clearly, they have clearly endorsed the policy decisions of this government. They have clearly endorsed the sound leadership being provided by our Premier. They clearly endorsed the fiscal platform of this government, because I say, Mr. Chair, it is sound, prudent fiscal management. We have been focused on that since 2003, and we will continue to be focused on good fiscal policy that ensures that we develop the resources of Newfoundland and Labrador so that Newfoundlanders and Labradorians are the principle benefactors of that.

* Does not qualify for "Mr. Speaker, do your job", as the House was resolved into Committee of the Whole at the time.

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Mr. Speaker, do your job (XX)

MR. VERGE: Our Youth Retention Strategy is another strategy that we are extremely proud of and believe in. With the promising economic outlook, young people can stay in this Province accessing affordable education in world-class facilities and, upon graduation, have many doors open to them. Premier Williams said in his speech at the launch of the youth strategy: If you treat youth like leaders, they will create a place of leadership.


The Williams government has taken a targeted approach towards health care in this Province, an approach that has been practical and effective.

MR. LODER: Under the strong leadership of Premier Williams, this Province has continued to grow and prosper despite some economic bumps in the road.

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Right pritty speech

Wade Verge — pfffft — either got the privilege of responding to the Platitudes from the Throne on Monday, or was forced to:
MR. VERGE: Mr. Speaker, our Province is in the midst of an exciting and promising period. It is a rewarding time for the people of Newfoundland and Labrador. As a Province, we have persevered and believed in ourselves and in this Island of ours. We knew we had the right stuff. We also knew that one day we would see the benefits of living on our Island in the sea or the Big Land in the North.
And just in case you are wondering who would be so clueless, this day in age, to write "this Island of ours" into such a momentous speech, here's a textual clue:
PREMIER WILLIAMS: In closing, Mr. Speaker, William Faulkner once said, and I quote, "I believe that man will not merely endure: he will prevail." Well I believe with all my heart and soul that Newfoundland and Labrador will not merely endure: we will prevail. I look forward to continuing to work with Newfoundlanders and Labradorians right across this Island and the Big Land, because I believe that our brightest moments are yet to come and that that glass is half full and will be full when we are finished.
Mr. Verge, it would seem, is not only entitled to his own opinions, he's entitled to Danny's opinions as well.

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As a public service, here is a chart showing something we'll call the Prospectivity Index. That is, the incidence of the word "will", marking a verb in the future tense, as a percentage of the total words in the provincial Speech from the Throne, cleverly arranged in chronological order and colour-coded by presiding Premier of the day.

Thanks to the magic of teh intertubes, and of word count, there are now two decades worth of Thronespeechiness to work with.

[March 23rd update: error caught and corrected in the chart's legend and colour scheme.]


Monsters under the bed

Just so we all know who is in cahoots with whom…

The nurses are in cahoots with the Canadians:

PREMIER WILLIAMS: Mr. Speaker, some seventeen months ago we started to negotiate with nurses because we felt it was important. We felt their issues were important and we wanted to deal with them. It became very obvious to us after a period of time that there was an agenda in place here. It was a national agenda, and the national union in conjunction with the president of the nurses’ union here wanted to go to court. It was all about getting a matter before the courts so that they could test whether binding arbitration was enforceable or not.

MR. KENNEDY: I say to you, Mr. Speaker, that 30,000 other public sector employees have agreed to these clauses, that we have all of the major unions which have agreed. So, in essence, we have a clause that is being made the focus of an intention by the nurses’ union to further a national agenda, because from day one the president of the union has said we are going to take the government to court.

The doctors, as Squeaky patiently explained late last week, are in cahoots with the Librils:

Yesterday information was provided in a Liberal news release that clinical chiefs were all going to resign. En masse. So what we did, we said that today’s meeting was not going to go ahead. I indicated to Dr. Brendan Lewis, the president of the Association, at approximately six o’clock last night that the email that had been sent out, the news release, was false… We had what we thought were very good discussions. And the next day, it looks like the Medical Association, or clinical chiefs, are using the Liberals to send out their press releases.
And the Librils, of course, are in cahoots with Quebec:

PREMIER WILLIAMS: Mr. Speaker, the level of betrayal of the hon. member opposite to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador never ceases to astound me.

She is asking today that we release the legal opinions that could possibly be used, if an action is commenced by CF(L)Co, and give them to Hydro-Quebec so that they can prepare their case against Newfoundland and Labrador and the people of Newfoundland and Labrador. Absolutely not!


There is something, obviously, the Leader of the Opposition is missing here because I cannot understand why she is trying to accommodate Quebec in this whole exercise.


Monday, March 22, 2010


Posted 2010/03/22 at 11:11 AM ET
MOJO01 wrote: I was always a Liberal supporter, I support Dannyto the hilt now, he has run a great government, but to run a deficit when Oil is at 82 bucks a barrell is downright scary, as the AG said where will we be in 2025 when there is sucking sounds from empty oil wells. Some people here crap on Roger Grimes, etc but remmber Roger Grimes governed when oil was 30 bucks a barrell, I will be very disappointed in this government if there is not a projected balanced budget for 2010/2011.


Waxing poetical

Speaking of personality cults, here's an oldie-but-goodie.

See if you can identify the speaker, without resorting to Google or any other search engine. One detail, which would spoil the fun, is redacted, and the whole shebang is now in a more suitable format for poetry; otherwise it's as the speaker originally uttered it:

We Share a vision
Of a bright-more secure fate
From our lands its depths and oceans
A new wealth we will create

In partnership we stand together
All supportive of our plan
Realizing that the future
Is entrust to all our hands

Benefits from Resource Projects
We feel certain will ensure
Opportunities and promise
For Newfoundland and Labrador

Exploration on our island
Could well lead some future day
To another such discovery
As the famous Voisey's Bay

Benefits from offshore oil fields
We will maximize with pride
Develop skills, products and service
That we can market worldwide

A facility for oil transshipment
I feel certain would go best
Located near an ice free harbour
In Mortier Bay-Burin Placentia West!

Our fishery has been the backbone
That sustained us through the years
And if hindsight had been foresight
We may well have avoided tears

So until the day of plenty
Conservation must remain
So present and future generations
A healthy harvest can obtain

Tourism and aquaculture
Small Business-Education Reform
Quality Health Care and Silviculture
Are all part of our Platform

Information Highway-Gas conversion
A strategic Social Plan
A cabinet and a team with purpose
Yet hearts that feel and understand

This to the Marystown Shipyard workers
I shall not forget the day
When I toured with Premier [REDACTED]
How you welcomed us that way

Bless the vessels built for Norway
With such quality and pride
With God's help and these my colleagues
Future work we will provide.

Yes, our vision for our nation
Is progress, growth and unity
And we swear our true allegiance
To Her Most Royal Majesty.

And Sir, how I support the purpose
One to my heart so very dear
Creation of a recognition
For our outstanding volunteers.

God's Blessing on our Honourable Premier
Inspire him in his leadership
Guide the actions of his Cabinet
And all who in this Assembly sit.

Through combined talents and endurance
Divine powers to beseech
We will stand to meet each challenge
A better tomorrow is within reach!


According to CP — or the Telegram's on-line headlinist — [and CBC, too] Williams, in Our Throne Speech, is focussed on child care and human rights.

Which is a strange way of looking at things, since it is clear, almost from the outset, what Williams is, in fact, focussed on the past:
Newfoundland and Labrador has come a very long way since My Government was first elected to office in 2003. Beginning on day one, in a determined effort to weather the immediate financial crisis and chart a responsible course toward long-term self-reliance, My Government demonstrated real leadership by taking decisive action. Since then, it has taken a responsible approach to spending. It has streamlined programs to make the most of every public dollar. It has cut red tape and business taxes to get employers growing and hiring. It has given generous raises to public sector workers and tax breaks to everyone in the province. It has cut income taxes and increased benefits for seniors and families. It has led the country in measures to reduce poverty and enhancements to student aid. It has invested unprecedented amounts in infrastructure, making dramatic improvements in roads and highways, wharves and bridges, ferries and terminals, schools and hospitals, long-term care centres, public housing and municipal infrastructure. And most of these investments – in fact, an overwhelming 80 per cent – have been in rural Newfoundland and Labrador. My Government has invested in industries and enterprises offering brighter futures to thousands: agriculture and aquaculture, fisheries and forestry, mining and energy, manufacturing and innovation, tourism and culture. It has renegotiated the Atlantic Accord for a gain of two billion dollars. It has negotiated higher royalties from offshore oil and equity stakes in offshore projects worth tens of billions of dollars and unlike anything the province has achieved before. It has secured the underfunded pension plans, turned around the fiscal decline and achieved impressive and important upgrades of the province’s credit rating.

To-do list

Traditionally, the Speech from the Throne is where a government sets forth its legislative agenda for the upcoming session.

Herewith, then, every reference in today’s Speech to said agenda. First, a new Act:
Last year, My Government announced the creation of a new department of Child, Youth and Family Services and made the protection and well-being of our children and youth its priority. The new department will be better organized to support the frontline workers who protect our most vulnerable children, and the system will be more accountable. Under the department’s direct management, the monitoring and auditing of programs will be stronger and children will be better served. The new department will revitalize our child protection system from the ground up and get back to the basics of solid case management and service delivery. The foundation for this change will be a new Child, Youth and Family Services Act to guide future policies and program development.

Second, a revised one:

Discrimination is another wrong from which individuals young and old should be protected. The Human Rights Code is one of the most important Acts of our Legislature, affording protection from discrimination by governments and the private sector. This year, My Government will bring forward a strengthened Human Rights Code to reflect the recommendations and values of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians.

Third, a reference to another new Act that Danny Williams-Government is working on.

A new federal Act, that is:

My Government will continue to collaborate with Environment Canada during the upcoming review of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act to ensure there are provisions in the new federal Act to facilitate enhanced cooperation with provinces in environmental assessments.
And finally, a very curious reference:

To nurture healthy work environments and promote growth, My Government has also been working to strengthen partnerships among the public sector, the private sector and organized labour. The Strategic Partnership Council has brought forward recommendations for amendments to labour legislation to promote stable, progressive workplace relations by making the framework that governs them more modern and flexible.
Curious, because nowhere in Our speech does Danny Williams-Government actually say that it will adopt those recommendations.

Entirely absent from Our Dear To-Do List?

Our long-promised, and still undelivered whistleblower legislation.

Perhaps it is another victim, along with the Grenfell autonomy bill, of that oh so very, very busy legislative agenda.


Wordle (XI)

Speech from the Throne 2010, wordled:



In fact, so proud are We of Our Dear Speech from the Throne, that nearly an hour after We started mumbling it, the text still hasn't been posted to the intertubes.


Saturday, March 20, 2010

File under: Bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha hoo boy (II)

Having already delivered His encyclical that harbouring suspicion, settling scores, being passive-aggressive, hostile and intimidating, and, in general, having personality issues, are "unfortunate", Himself adds to the list of things We don't like. From His letter to the good-for-nothing doctors:
This Government does not respond favourably to threats or misleading information.

Of course We don't respond favourably to threats or misleading information (however it is that information can be misleading.)

That's probably because, if history is any guide, We prefer to issue the threats and disseminate the misleading information.

We can't have the pesky good-for-nothing doctors muscling in on that turf, now, can We?


Friday, March 19, 2010

Ice! Not!

Further to BondPapers' seal report, here's the Labradore ice report. These pics were taken by your humble servant last week over the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

Here are the Magdalen Islands, with the Cape Breton Highlands in the far background; ice-free other than in the lagoons:

The east end of Anticosti:

An atypical view of the north-central part of the Gulf. Atypical, because there was actually visible ice in it:

Looking east along the North Shore, with Kegashka approximately in the centre of the picture; the unfinished road to Natashquan stretches west (down) along the shore, while either the snowcaps of the Long Range Mountains of Newfoundland, or clouds forming over them, may be visible on the far distant horizon:

Looking west along the North Shore, over Aguanish and Iles-Michon, just west of Natashquan:

And the almost tropical-looking south shore of Anticosti; this one is at its original resolution, if you click to embiggen:


The Lash

Danny Williams lashes out at N.L. doctors [Headline, CBC News, March 17, 2010]

“This is my heart, it’s my health, it’s my choice.” On Monday, Newfoundland Premier Danny Williams lashed out against critics, who say that his decision to travel to Florida for heart surgery is a sign of his lack of faith in the Canadian health care system. [Globe and Mail, via Maclean's, February 23, 2010]

Williams lashes out at Quebec-N.B. power deal [Headline, CBC News, October 30, 2009]

The premier not only slammed Eastern Health, but lashed out at Michael, saying her political opportunism has disgraced the work of NDP leaders such as Jack Layton and Ed Broadbent. [Barb Sweet, The Telegram, June 5, 2009]

Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Danny Williams lashed out Monday at the province's largest health authority, accusing Eastern Health of downplaying revelations that it had missed dozens of breast cancer patients in a massive retesting exercise. [CBC News, April 6, 2009]

Williams' relationship with the inquiry, which he called in early 2007, has been testy. Last May, he harshly criticized the questioning of government witnesses by inquiry counsel as inquisitorial. He lashed out again a month later at commissioner Justice Margaret Cameron, saying her questioning of his chief of staff Brian Crawley showed "disdain." [Ken Meaney, Southam News, October 27, 2008]

Premier lashes out against accusations [Headline on CP copy, Kamloops Daily News, May 12, 2008]

Premier Danny Williams denied accusations Monday that his government sat on information three years ago about problems with breast cancer testing in Newfoundland and lashed out at the opposition and media for rushing to assign blame in the affair. [Tara Brautigam, CP, April 8, 2008]

Building upon past nationalist rhetoric, Premier Danny Williams lashed out at the Prime Minister in his Throne Speech yesterday, saying Newfoundland and Labrador will become one of Canada's most prosperous provinces - in spite of Ottawa. [Tara Brautigam, CP, March 11, 2008]

Newfoundland Premier Danny Williams lashed out at the prime minister yesterday, telling reporters Stephen Harper told him last year he doesn't need to win seats in Newfoundland to win a federal election. Williams says the comment was made when the two met last November. [Barb Sweet, The Telegram, January 15, 2008]

Newfoundland premier lashes out at PM [Headline on wire copy, Edmonton Journal, August 12, 2007]

Premier Danny Williams accused federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty of perpetrating a "fraud" on Newfoundland over equalization and demanded Wednesday that he resign immediately. At a scathing news conference where he lashed out at Flaherty and three Newfoundland Conservatives MPs, Williams alleged the minister kept quiet for a week about misleading economic statements to deflate Newfoundland's push for more money under equalization. [CP, April 19, 2007]

Nfld. premier lashes out at Harper, Lord over equalization [Headline, Moncton Times-Transcript, December 2, 2006]

Last week, Premier Danny Williams lashed out at ExxonMobil, blaming the oil giant for scuttling a potential deal to develop the Hebron-Ben Nevis field. [Rob Antle, The Telegram, April 3, 2006]

Joyce Hancock was in her hometown of Stephenville on the weekend when Premier Danny Williams lashed out at her in a speech he delivered to the Progressive Conservative party's annual convention in St. John's. [Deana Stokes-Sullivan, The Telegram, October 19, 2005]

Prior to Martin's speech, Newfoundland Premier Danny Williams lashed out at existing treaties that are designed to govern the fishing of North Atlantic stocks in international waters, calling them weak and ineffectual. [Richard Foot, Canwest, May 2, 2005]

Newfoundland Premier Danny Williams lashed out at Ottawa on Thursday, suggesting the federal government was orchestrating negative publicity about his decision to remove Maple Leaf flags from all provincial buildings. "We've seen a barrage of letters that are coming to our local papers ... and this is all part of the communications machine that's been put together by the federal government," he told VOCM radio. "They're basically trying to embarrass Newfoundland and Labrador, and we're not going to succumb." Canadian flags started coming down last Thursday after talks broke down with Ottawa over offshore energy revenues. [CP, December 31, 2004]

Last Thursday, Williams lashed out at his critics in the midst of tense contract negotiations.
"Let me just serve notice right now on anybody out there who's in a union – don't go near my family or my home or the homes of our ministers or anybody else in our caucus because I can tell you right now, they will be out 'til the cows come home if they go near any members of our families," he said. [CP, April 6, 2004]

Thursday, March 18, 2010

File under: Bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha hoo boy

Danny Williams-Government might just have, inadvertantly, written His own government's epitaph. As quoted today by Dave Bartlett of the Quebec Daily Newspaper:
"When you get terms like 'toxic' being used and it refers to a work environment of mistrust ... low morale, suspicion and as well, that there are people who are settling scores, being passive-aggressive, who are hostile and intimidating. You know, these are personality issues and I think it's really unfortunate."


Tick tick tick (II)

Danny Williams lashes out, and somehow this is news. CBC reports on Himself's appearance on another radio station:
Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Danny Williams has waded into a war of words between doctors and his health minister.

"I'm going to blow another valve before this is over," Williams, who recently had heart valve surgery in the United States, told VOCM radio in St. John's on Wednesday. "It's too bad you even mentioned this."
In totally unrelated news, that other radio station reported earlier this month:
Premier Continues With Recovery

March 1, 2010

Although he is continuing his recovery with the plan being to take one more week before returning to work, Premier Danny Williams shared in the province's celebrations in Vancover and took in the gold-medal winning hockey game between Canada and the United States.


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Tick tick tick (I)

At The Party's party in Topsail last night, reports Dave Bartlett of the Quebec Daily Newspaper, Himself was in a jocular mood:
Premier Danny Williams was there to congratulate Davis and was happy with the big win.

He even joked he wasn't sure his heart could have taken a nail-biter this soon after his valve replacement surgery.
In totally unrelated news, VOCM reported earlier this month:
Premier Continues With Recovery

March 1, 2010

Although he is continuing his recovery with the plan being to take one more week before returning to work, Premier Danny Williams shared in the province's celebrations in Vancover and took in the gold-medal winning hockey game between Canada and the United States.


No more giveaways!

According to the professional Newfnats, the Atlantic Accord is now officially in the canon of "giveaways", to the point that it required a remedy in the form of yet more money from the federal government — the "Atlantic Accord 2005".

Such a bad deal, that original Atlantic Accord, so unfair that it sparked a "campaign for fairness" in Nova Scotia, so terribly, terribly, terribly terrible that...

... well, that Quebec is now looking for pretty much exactly the same thing.


Delayed execution

The editorialist at the nefarious Quebec Daily Newspaper fires a shot across Jerome!'s bow for, well, firing shots:
Anyone who was ever in court when now-health minister Jerome Kennedy was still a defence lawyer will remember his technique: he did not so much defend his client as fire a shotgun of doubt at the prosecution's case.


Pellets went everywhere, and the obvious hope was that some of them - and it didn't matter which ones - would lodge somewhere important with the judge or jury, at least enough to create that all-important reasonable doubt.


Let's hope, in his new role as health minister, he's on the same track with regards to the current laboratory mess at Eastern Health. Because he's still using the same old shotgun.
In all fairness to the Minister of Whatever Jerome! Kennedy is Minister of This Month, Himself did say, almost a year ago now, of certain people at Eastern Health, that they should be shot over there.

Talamh an Eisc go braugh

This map shows the proportion of Irish as a response, among multiple responses, to the ethnicity question on the 2006 census long-form questionnaire. The darkest greens represent the highest proportion of respondents claiming Irish as one or more of their self-described ethnicities, while orange indicates that no respondent to the question cited Irish as an ethnicity.

A colour key is located in the bottom left-hand corner; click the map to massively embiggen.

This map, as with the previous one, is mapped at a Census Sub-Division level of detail.

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Tuesday, March 16, 2010


According to the latest CRA poll, with fieldwork done in February, 80% of respondents would have voted for The Party in a real election.


That's 10% higher than The Party actually polled in the last real election.

On Tuesday night in Topsail district, and in a real (by-)election, The Party polled 6% lower than it actually polled in the last real election in that same district. Yes, you've seen this movie before. Repeatedly.

The preliminary numerical turnout was 3349 — a 40% reduction over the 5576 who voted in 2007.

For those keeping track, that is the third-most-anemic by-election turnout, measured against the previous general election, in provincial electoral history. (Only Kilbride 2007 and St. John's West 1997 were more anemic.)


The wearing of the green

According to the 2006 census of population, the single biggest ethnic origin in Newfoundland and Labrador, as self-identified by respondents in the 20% census sample, was... English.

Just in time for St. Patrick's Day, this map shows the predominant ethnic origin — again as self-identified by those respondents who got the long census questionnaire — mapped for the entire province at the Census Division level. Census Divisions include cities, towns, incorporated communities, Labrador Inuit communities, and Indian Reserves, as well as geographically larger "unorganized" census divisions.

(Unfortunately, Statistics Canada's base map for the province does the Labrador-as-inset annoyance, but bear with.) Click on the map to massively embiggen.

Green is Irish; red is English; blue is an aggregate of all "French" origins, including French, Acadian, etc.; brown is an aggregate of all Aboriginal origins, including First Nations, Inuit, and Métis; and yellow is where two or more ethnic origins were tied for predominance within that Census Division. Grey indicates either an unpopulated Census Division, or one where data was suppressed in the census report to ensure the personal privacy of respondents where the population is very small.

Saturated colours indicate that the ethnic origin is shared by a majority of respondents, while pale colours indicate that it is the single largest origin, but not a majority.

Each Census Division is coloured according to the statistics for that division, even though large portions, especially of unorganized divisions, may be unpopulated. (Exceptionally, certain unpopulated islands are not coloured, mostly due to laziness.) A division may also have individual populated places which would have ethnic profiles different from the overall division, if data were available at that level of detail. (It isn't.)

Since respondents to the ethnicity question can select multiple responses to describe themselves, it is entirely possible that a Census Division where the majority of people consider themselves to have English or Irish ethnic origin, may also have a majority of people considering themselves to have French or Aboriginal ethnic origin. In fact, we will see that this not only possible, but inevitible.

You still have a month to do your St. George's Day shopping and plan your St. George's Day drink-up.

You're welcome.

[Data source]

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Monday, March 15, 2010

Reading comprehension (II)

Today's Telegram story reporting Angus Reid's robo-poll of each premier's standing in his own province concludes with this paragraph:
The poll found that Williams and Wall continue to be the only provincial heads of government who get a positive review from a majority of their constituents.
Just so the really, really, really stupid — or the deliberately intransigent — get the point:

Today's Telegram story reported Angus Reid's robo-poll of each premier's standing in his own province.

In other words, Angus Reid didn't ask people in Ontario or Saskatchewan their opinions of Danny Williams. But don't let that stop the Blue Kool-Aid Brigade:

Canadian Chris from Alberta writes: This is a disingenuous title on this article. Danny Williams has the highest approval rating in his province compared to the rest of Canada's premiers, but he certainly has very little popularity outside of his province. The majority approval he carries, literally equates to the approval of a small city...
Posted 15/03/2010 at 2:42 PM

Member of the 93% from NL writes: Hey Canadian Chris, this was a national poll, people were asked in cities and towns across Canada. Wake up dolt.
Posted 15/03/2010 at 4:18 PM
"Wake up dolt", indeed.

What she said (II)

Actually, two shes, on behalf of a He, going by the contact lines:
Premier Returns to Work
After extended medical leave, the Honourable Danny Williams, Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, today resumed official duties. The Premier thanked Deputy Premier Kathy Dunderdale for her work as Acting Premier in his absence.
That's odd.

Premier Returns to Work?

Premier celebrated on February 26th — though not at other recent sporting events. Others still will have to make do without Him.

Premier expressed deep disappointment on March 3rd.

Premier commemmorated on March 12th.

But only on Monday, March 15th — a provincial government holiday, no less — does Premier return to "work"?

Really, really, odd. Especially considering that nowhere is it expressly stated that Premier has returned to the office, or even to the province.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Access to Information

Where you can find the election finance reports, required under law, from last fall's provincial by-election in The Straits–White Bay North district: in Rob Antle's grubby, ink-stained fingers.

Where you can't find them: on the website of Elections Dannystan, where the most recent by-election financials are from 2008.


Friday, March 12, 2010

What she said

What she said:
"Dr. Denic understands that he did not fulfil his obligations under occurrence reporting and he had offered his resignation, and today we accepted that," Kaminski told reporters Wednesday.
What they reported:
Dr. Nash Denic has resigned as head of laboratory services at Newfoundland and Labrador's largest health authority after a drug-testing fiasco in which lab officials are accused of reacting to the problem too slowly.
You see, the thing is, the use of the past perfect ("he had offered his resignation"), where an ordinary person, not trying to obfuscate the timeline, would use the simple past ("he offered his resignation") or present perfect ("he has offered his resignation") should be a big honkin' red flag to anyone who hears that unusual verb tense under the circumstances where Ms. Kaminski used it the other day. So big, so honkin', and so red, in fact, that it wouldn't have taken another news cycle to realize, and uncover the fact that:
Kaminski's wording has proven to be significant, as CBC News has learned Denic tendered his resignation in December, months before the cyclosporine issue surfaced.
Cf. the use of the passive, and of other impersonal constructions.

For the radio host

What you're missing, NNP, is that the economy (as represented by the unemployment rate) and the public finances (as represented by a province's eligibility for equalization) are — sitting down? — not the same thing.

You're welcome.

Kremlinology: Games edition (II)

(Part I here.)

2010 (C):
Tourism, Culture and Recreation Minister Terry French will officially open the 2010 Newfoundland and Labrador Winter Games in Grand Falls-Windsor...

2010 (D):
The Honourable Terry French, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation, will co-host a luncheon for Atlantic Canadian athletes and their families in Whistler, B.C. on Tuesday March 16, as part of activities around the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Winter Games, to be held March 12-21.

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Thursday, March 11, 2010

Reading comprehension

The Jerome! is spitting mad. As Barb Sweet of the Telegram reports:

"If I were sitting in a senior management job at Eastern Health right now I would be watching myself closely to ensure I know and have read Cameron and understand Cameron," Kennedy said, warning of further ramifications.


Kennedy warned last week that if a culture of denial still existed in Eastern Health, people who couldn't change with the Cameron Report should move on.

"There has to be a total acceptance of responsibility," he said Wednesday.
Set aside for now the hilarity of speaking so indirectly and passively ("there has to be...") about "acceptance of responsibility: Kennedy warns people who couldn't change with the Cameron report.

That's almost funny — after all, three years later, there are still apparently some who haven't read Greene or understand Green.


Protection racket

The Minister of Government Services is pleased to announce:
In keeping with the goal of document protection, policies are now in place similar to those at other archival facilities. They include no ink in any form and no food or drink in the research and vault areas.
So far, so good. Food, drink, and ink absolutely do not belong in any archival facility, outside a designated lunch room, if any.

But then the Minister finishes that conservatorial-minded thought:
As well, photography of any kind of the material is not permitted.
That's funny.

"Other archival facilities" include Library and Archives Canada, the National Archives in the United Kingdom, and the National Archives and Records Administration in the United States. You really can't get much more archival than those three, the leading archival institutions in the anglo-archival universe. Yet all three allow, within certain reasonable limits, self-service digital photography of their holdings.

Is CADO protecting documents with its blanket photography ban?

Or is it protecting a revenue stream?


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

And now the news

MANSBRIDGE: This is The National. Tonight-

Our Ron Charles tells us how hard it is to make a left onto Sheppard. Ron?

CHARLES: Peter, I've been waiting at this parking lot exit for what must be several minutes by now. It's really hard to make a left onto Sheppard.

MANSBRIDGE: That's Ron Charles in Toronto.

Up next: annoying visuals with words sliding around only half-visible at the top of your screen.


Tuesday, March 09, 2010

A question of privilege

Government claims documents are protected by solicitor-client privilege.

Judge disagrees.

Monday, March 08, 2010


The St. John's Bored of Trade is concerned about genuine imitation prosperity:
St. John's Board of Trade Chair Outlines Issues for Prosperity

The chair of the St. John's Board of Trade Derek Sullivan discussed prosperity at the St. John's Rotary Club luncheon Thursday. Sullivan outlined a number of issues that he feels will help build prosperity in the capital city and the province as a whole.

He says the federal government has to invest in Marine Atlantic to help build an access to mainland markets. Sullivan says the Board of Trade continues to call for an elimination of the province's payroll tax. He cautioned against what he calls artificial prosperity created by increases to the minimum wage, and encourages government to consult with the
business community on the matter.

The St. John's Bored of Trade would appear to be indifferent to the much more artificial prosperity created by the still-inflating provincial public sector, and the even-more-inflating provincial public sector payroll.

Funny, that.


Friday, March 05, 2010

Kremlinology: Games edition


Premier Danny Williams today officially launched the 2004 Newfoundland and Labrador Summer Games in Marystown. The event, which runs from August 7-14, includes over 1,400 athletes, coaches and managers from all regions of the province, along with participating athletes from St. Pierre and Miquelon. The premier was joined by Paul Shelley, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation; Sam Synard, Chair of the Host Committee; Bill Matthews, MP for Random - Burin - St. George's, and Clyde Jackman, MHA for Burin - Placentia West.

Media representatives are advised that Premier Danny Williams will officially open the Labrador Winter Games in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, 7:00 p.m. at the E. J. Broomfield Arena, Sunday, March 12.

The Honorable Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, Danny Williams, will officially open the 2007 Special Olympics Newfoundland and Labrador Winter Games today, Friday, February 16. The opening ceremonies will take place in the gymnasium at Corner Brook High School at 5:00 p.m.


The Honourable Danny Williams, Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, along with the Honourable Clyde Jackman, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation, will attend the closing ceremonies of the 2008 Newfoundland and Labrador Summer Games.
2010 (A):
Williams travelled to Vancouver to join a Newfoundland and Labrador delegation at the Olympics. The government sponsored about 90 musicians, actors and other artists to participate in the cultural component of the games.

Williams said he cannot speak highly enough of how Vancouver hosted the games.
2010 (B):
The Honourable Terry French, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation, will be in Happy Valley-Goose Bay on Sunday, March 7, to officially open the 2010 Labrador Winter Games. Minister French will be joined by the Honourable John Hickey, Minister of Labrador Affairs, and the Honourable Patty Pottle, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs. The event takes place at the E.J Broomfield Memorial Arena, beginning at 7:00 p.m.

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Thursday, March 04, 2010

Kremlinology: Media avail edition

Other than 2007 — when He cranked it up to eleven — notice any pattern?

2004: Finance Minister will comment on federal budget

2005: Finance Minister will comment on federal budget

2006: Finance Minister available to the media to discuss Federal Budget 2006

2007: Premier Williams says "A Promise Made is Not a Promise Kept" for Newfoundland and Labrador

2008: Finance Minister Will Comment on Federal Budget

2009: Minister to Respond to Federal Budget



Beyond gender

Here's your gender-neutral national anthem:

O Canada, nunagivaptigit
Inungnit naglingnersiorpotit
Omativut tettedlarput
Nunatsiavut! pivlutit

O Canada! Nunatsiaĸ
pigârpogut, inôjogut illa,
Pigârpogut pivlutit Canada
That's Labrador Inuktitut, in an older version of the Moravian Roman orthography.

Interestingly, this version was published almost a century ago, in 1913 — 36 years before Inuktitut-speaking Labrador Moravians were even part of Canada.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Autonomy: ungulate edition

There are ongoing management efforts for caribou in the province, apparently.

Some of them, the province's own Department of Environment and Conservation is actually carrying out:
As part of the ongoing management efforts for caribou in the province, the Department of Environment and Conservation advises the public that it will conduct a mark-resight population census of the Middle Ridge caribou herd in the eastern and central portions of the island, beginning later this week and concluding by month’s end.

Some others? Ehhnn, not so much:

The Honourable Charlene Johnson, Minister of Environment and Conservation, announced today that the province will be participating with other organizations in efforts to determine the current status and health of the George River caribou herd. [...]

In collaboration with the Newfoundland and Labrador Departments of Environment and Conservation, and Natural Resources, the Nunatsiavut Government and the Institute for Environmental Monitoring and Research, the survey will be lead by biologists from the Government of Quebec in co-operation with the University of Laval.


Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Royal Newfoundland Constabutory

The following table is abstracted from the Annual (A) and Election-period (E) returns of financial contributions to the registered provincial political parties, and candidates for general elections, which are available at the website of the Chief Electoral Officer.

The contributors' names are listed exactly as given in the various financial returns. The recipients' have been modified slightly; in the case of candidates, to give the provincial electoral district in which they were running; in the case of parties, the names of parties have been standardized (in some years, "PC" was spelled out in full, or "Party" was left implied, etc.)

There would not appear to have been any reported political contributions to by-election campaigns by any of the following donors, at least not during the by-elections for which financial returns are available.

The entries are cleverly colour-coded.



Contributor Name

Party or Candidate




Royal Newfoundland Constabulary Association

Ottenheimer, John (St. John's East)

$ 200.00



Coppers (RNCA Mess)

PC Party




Royal Newfoundland Constabulary Association

Buckle, Paula (Waterford Valley)




RNC Association

PC Party




RNC Association

PC Party




Royal Newfoundland Constabulary Assoc.

PC Party




Royal Nfld Constabulary Association

PC Party




RNC Association

PC Party




RNC Association

PC Party




RNC Association

PC Party




RNC Association

PC Party




Royal Newfoundland Constabulary Assoc.

Liberal Party




RNC Association

PC Party