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

Friday, April 30, 2010

Wontcha let yer black heart show

Awwww… the Pwemiew’s feewings awe huwt.

Jerome! was taking no guff yesterday from Public Enemy Number – which number is she, now, 14? – Public Enemy Number 14, answering her treasonous question with a serious one:
MS MICHAEL: Mr. Speaker, in January, Eastern Health informed the public that they had developed a plan to deal with the rheumatology outpatient wait-list because of the impending loss of a doctor in May which will bring them down to four. As a result, 1,000 people with chronic non-inflammatory symptoms were dumped on family doctors who do not have the expertise or time to deal with these individuals. Rheumatologists say this is not a good change. Though there are four rheumatologists at present, in practice the rheumatologists say there really are only 2.5 of them doing full-time clinical work because of teaching and research commitments. Also, their workload will increase astronomically because we have a rapidly aging population.

Mr. Speaker, I ask the Minister of Health and Community Services: What immediate action is he taking to recruit rheumatologists?

MR. KENNEDY: As I have indicated on many occasions in discussions in this House about health care, it is a very emotional issue, it is one that affects people’s lives; it affects everyone on a daily basis. The issue, Mr. Speaker, also relates to politicians and the people who serve in this House.

We know from what has gone on with the air ambulance – again, the height of the emotion. I say to the Leader of the NDP, I understand that in a Facebook Web site that was put up in St. Anthony, in talking about the Premier, that an NDP candidate of record suggested that the symbol for the Web site should be a black heart with a bullet hole in it. Is this the kind of action that is supported by the Leader of the NDP or is she going to do something about that? That would be my question to her, Mr. Speaker.

MS MICHAEL: Mr. Speaker, there are 89,000 people in the Province suffering from some form of arthritis. The outpatient wait times are 9.6 months for someone with an acute inflammatory condition or forty-two months for chronic non-inflammatory condition. Successful management of this debilitating disease needs prompt treatment. Delays mean peoples’ conditions will worsen. Mr. Speaker, we have a serious situation with regard to people suffering from the various forms of arthritis.

This minister has not answered my former question, so I have to ask him: How can he continue to do nothing in the face of the suffering of so many people in this Province?

MR. KENNEDY: Mr. Speaker, on March 30 I met with Brenda Kitchen, the Executive Director of the Arthritis Society and we discussed this issue of the shortage. We had an appointment set up with Dr. Hamilton, one of the rheumatologists, but he could not make it that day. So, Mr. Speaker, we are taking steps.

In relation to an allegation we are doing nothing, is what is the Leader of the NDP going to do about that candidate of record who made this comment that the Premier should have a - the symbol should be a black heart with a bullet hole in it? Do you support that position?
Hey, Jerome! You know what else would be a good question?

What, sir, is your opinion of the PC candidate of record, in the last three electoral events in the district of Humber West, who said, of officials at Eastern Health, that “They should be shot over there”?

Is this the kind of action that is supported by the Minister of Health?

Is he going to do something about that?

Does he support that position?

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What they said (VIII)

From a Sue Hickey Advertiser-Telegram report from June 2009:
Kevin Loder of Loder's Construction in Badger was contracted by AbitibiBowater to clean up at the mill site in Grand Falls-Windsor when the mill closed earlier this year.

Loder hasn't received a penny, and he says it's time for the government to act. "I'd like to see the government do what they're doing for everybody else," he said.

"Danny (Williams) went and expropriated ... assets of Abitibi. ... The government is saying they didn't expropriate the mill, but they expropriated the land that the mill was on. We're cleaning up the land, so really, the government owned it and we're the ones cleaning up, so they should be the ones to pay."


Thursday, April 29, 2010

Now, don't take this literally

In response to a question about Ottawa taxi chits, of all things, Himself gets up and lobs this:

PREMIER WILLIAMS: Mr. Speaker, now that the hon. member opposite has raised it let’s talk about the Abitibi exercise and let’s talk about what we have done with regard to Abitibi. The hon. member opposite knows, he is a lawyer, he is trained, he knows what the consequences would have been if we, in fact, had not acted on the Abitibi file. If, in fact, we had stood back and had not stepped in when we did and had not expropriated the property one of two things would happened, either the property would have been sold and the assets would have gone outside the Province, and the people of the Province would have no say or no interest, or otherwise they would have entered into a receivership, or a bankruptcy, or a consumer protection. At that point as well, the assets of the people of Newfoundland and Labrador, our timber, our land, our water and our infrastructure would have been gone.

Of course, he didn't mean this in the literal sense of "gone", as in "gone to Sarasota", but rather in some highly technical legal sense of the word "gone" which only awesome lawyers, businessmen, and Rhodes Scholars know.

Go fish

The Fisher of Votes had some advice for the Opposition on Thursday:
PREMIER WILLIAMS: Mr. Speaker, it is obvious the priorities of the Opposition. You know, we are here today – we have a fishery that is being dealt with, that is very, very important to all the people of this Province, to all the communities in the Province. Have we heard a question on the fishery today? Not a question.

For the record, the last time Himself mentioned the fishery in the House was March 30th.

The time before that? May 11, 2009.

The last time the FishMin associated the surname Williams with his portfolio was on March 28th – in an announcement concerning aquaculture, not fisheries.

And the last time Himself mentioned the fishery in a speech — at least, in so far as you can go by the sporadic postings to the Speeches portion of His website — was September 9, 2009, when He said:
We must streamline and rationalize our fishery so that those who risk their lives to earn a living get a decent return for their hard work.

The fishery is being dealt with, apparently, in the passive voice, the official verb voice of Our Dear Premier. It's just not clear by whom.

We intend to have that position re-Sealed

MR. KELVIN PARSONS: Mr. Speaker, it has been reported by The Telegram on a recent visit to Ottawa that newspapers were piling up by the door and there was no presence at this office. Meanwhile, there is $378,000 budgeted for this office this year, including a support worker making $54,000 a year.

I ask the Premier: What is the current status of the office? Is there anyone still on the payroll there, and if so, what are they doing when we do not have a representative in Ottawa?

PREMIER WILLIAMS: Mr. Speaker, we still have a presence on the ground in Ottawa, as the office is staff. We are maintaining that office because that office has been very useful for meetings. When ministers attend in Ottawa, they use it on a frequent basis.

I had conversations in Ottawa whereby people in Ottawa on the ground spoke extremely – very, very highly of Dr. Fitzgerald, who is referred to as Dr. Feelgood by the Opposition. I refer to him as Dr. Sealgood because of all the fantastic work he has done with regard to promoting the sealing industry in Ottawa.

So we intend to maintain that office. We intend to keep it there. We think it is very, very important that we have a connection. We think it is also very, very important that when ministers go to town that they have a place where they can operate out of. In fact, we will be looking in the very near future then to recruiting, to have that position refilled.

Time management (II)

MR. KELVIN PARSONS: Mr. Speaker, the Premier was in Ottawa this week for meetings. While he was there, we certainly hope he visited suite 1604 on Metcalf Street, also known as the empty office of the Province’s Ottawa representative as the empty space is costing the taxpayers of this Province almost $100,000 a year in rental expenses.

I ask the Premier: The position of the Ottawa representative has been vacant since January; is there any necessity to be throwing tax dollars away for the position that has proven to be totally ineffective?

PREMIER WILLIAMS: Mr. Speaker, during that trip I really did not have time to put my feet up and have a cup of coffee in the office, to be quite honest with you. From the time we landed, from the time we left we were very, very busy. We went through an extremely successful group of meetings.

I met with Minister Strahl with regard to Aboriginal issues and actually dealt with the Innu issue and the lands claim agreement and facilitated an upcoming meeting between the Innu Nation and the federal government. That will take place hopefully within the next couple of months.

Then left there and went to the House of Commons where we were very well-received, favourably received, by all parties in the House of Commons which is very nice. Then proceeded to an in-depth meeting with the Prime Minister and discussed a broad range of issues commencing with the fisheries, and the Lower Churchill, and Coast Guard and rescue and a host of issues.

Because of his time frames, we then moved on to another meeting and moved to the meeting with the Minister for ACOA, Keith Ashfield, and discussed funding for the Province with regard to the Atlantic Gateway, the Northern Gateway and a lot of other issues. Then I met with the minister responsible for the Province, Peter MacKay, and started with discussions on Labrador, 5 Wing Goose, Search and Rescue, and, again, another host of issues. I then finished up with a very, very fruitful meeting with the Minister of Finance with regard to the acquisition of the 8.5 interest in Hibernia.

So, no, I did not have time to stop at the Ottawa office.


In response to this of yesterday, Nottawa makes a visual gag. Ha! Funny!

Unfortunately for that internet traitor and this one alike, Our Dear Expropriation was, in fact, Our Dear Repatriation. As Himself said in announcing the measure in December 2008:
There are numerous charters and licensing agreements which allow Abitibi to operate in this province and those relevant to the natural resources of Newfoundland and Labrador will be repatriated to the province.
He repeated the language last May — perhaps around the same time as We discovered Our Dear Expensive But Innocent Error:
"As a government, we have been determined to ensure that workers impacted by the closure of this mill are protected to the greatest extent possible," said Premier Williams. "Many of these individuals have given a lifetime of service to AbitibiBowater and deserve to be treated with dignity and respect in the face of this closure. Unfortunately, that has not been the case to-date by the company. Working in the best interests of the people of the province, in December of last year our government repatriated certain assets related to this mill as a result of the company having broken their contract to operate in this province. It is now only appropriate and fair that the workers are not left behind and disadvantaged by Abitibi’s decision to close this operation."
And, for the second Throne Speech debate in a row, Dear Leader has used the same language to describe Our Dear Actions:
PREMIER WILLIAMS: Our government has made unprecedented investments in that region from repatriating resource rights to funding severance for the workers, also unprecedented, and we are completely confident that just as Stephenville did, the central region will get through this with the strength and the dignity and the determination that we are known for as a people.
It is thus obviously clear that the expropriation was really a repatriation, and that Dear Leader wasn't just forcibly taking assets from AbitibiBowater, He was taking them from some other place outside the province altogether.

Thus, it is entirely conceivable that AbitibiBowater could have used the same technology that Williams Government did, to move the forests and the Exploits River from one place to another. Faced with this imminent threat, Williams Government was entirely justified in preventing the use of that terraforming technology by whatever legislative sledgehammer is available.

We regret the error.


She said, she said

Yvonne Jones accuses:
Jones also said that it is uncertain as to what other assets and liabilities may have also been expropriated through this legislation. “During the estimates committee earlier today, we were advised that government may have accidentally expropriated half of the town of Grand Falls-Windsor. While legally this will have little impact on privately owned land, it shows the lack of due diligence that was actually completed by government in putting this legislation forward.
Kathy Blunderdale and Felix Collins aren't so sure, as the Telegram reported Wednesday:
Liberal MHA Kelvin Parsons also spoke to reporters.

"Why didn't government tell anybody?" he asked. "This so called open and accountable government tells no one in this province about it until February of this year, why not?"

Parsons claims more than the mill was accidentally taken.

He said the mistake may have also expropriated "half of Grand Falls-Windsor."

Both Dunderdale and Justice Minister Felix Collins said they are unaware if that's the case.
You know what would clear everything up?

Maps. Maps would.

What they said (VII)

From a comment on the Advertiser site:

gerard from nl writes: The government know the roll they played in the closure of the mill, and the workers certainly remember how strongly thier vote was influenced by a man who said he would take care of them. So, the people who still harbour major grudges and jealousy because these workers were lucky enough to make a good living, are the ones who need to lighten up. The government know what is owed to this town and these workers, and with continuing pressure i believe they will fullfill thier obligations. The government owns the mill, and owned it when it actually closed, so technically, they were responsible for the closure, even though thier official story is they never realized the gov. owned the mill till May, lol....So start living up to your word Mr. Williams, give back jobs to these workers especialy the jobs such as mill security, and working on the dam and POWER CANNEL. These jobs were always performed by these workers so if the jobs are still there, then the workers should still be doing them. Make them whole again Mr. Williams, live up to your promises..
Posted 05/03/2010 at 9:28 AM
The comment was posted on March 5, 2010.

According to Gerard, the government didn't realize it owned the mill until "May".

The expropriation bill was rushed through the House of Assembly in December 2008. The only May which has already occurred, for the government to realize it owns a mill in, was May 2009 — eleven months ago.


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Appointment book

Fishmin Jackman ridicules the opposition for not showing up for its nine o'clock:

MR. JACKMAN: Mr. Speaker, the important thing here right now is that we have to get the two sides, that being the FFAW and the processors, together and arrive at the price.

More importantly, I put out an invitation yesterday to the leader of the FFAW and the Leader of the Opposition to come in and review these documents. I am pleased to report that Mr. McCurdy, at 9:00 o’clock this morning, came and reviewed those documents. The Leader of the Opposition and no one across the way has even countered my offer.

Of course, the oppo might have shown up at nine o'clock, if the good Fishmin had bothered to follow through on his Monday promise:
MR. JACKMAN: I will invite the Leader of the Opposition to come over to my office, to sit down and let us go through that legal opinion and then see if she is willing to lay it on the line that she is willing to take the chance of some of the inherent issues that arise out of that.

Time management

Dave Bartlett of the Telegram reports on Our Dear Trip up to Canada:
The premier described his meeting with Harper as informal with no set agenda.

He brought up the current dispute over crab prices, where the province is with the Lower Churchill project and gave the prime minister an update on the province's economy and recent budget.

"It was a matter of, basically, keeping the prime minister up to date on all the major files that we have with him," Williams said.

He also told Harper who else he was meeting with and what they would talk about.

For it before they were against it

Oh. OK, then. So now Danny Williams-Government is against fearmongering?
MS JONES: Mr. Speaker, the minister obviously is not going to tell us whether she did what she committed to do sixteen months ago or not. We know, Mr. Speaker, that she failed to provide the information under the Environmental Protection Act in the court case and as a result of it we have lost that case.

Mr. Speaker, if government does not have the analysis done of the costs associated with AbitibiBowater’s environmental liabilities; I fear that we may even be facing even more concerning issues in the months and years to come.

I ask the minister in the spirit of openness and accountability: Can you provide any information within your department as to what the total price tag of Abitibi’s environmental liabilities is to the people of this Province?

MS JOHNSON: Mr. Speaker, when she cannot get the facts right and she does not do the right research, then she turns to fearmongering. That is the tactic that we see here.



From the Ministry of Truth (provincial) today:
Premier Meets With Prime Minister and Several Cabinet Ministers

Premier Danny Williams will be back in the province Wednesday after meeting with the Prime Minister and several federal ministers in Ottawa. Among the sessions, Williams met with Indian and Northern Affairs Minister Chuck Strahl whom he says is expected to set up a meeting with the Innu Nation soon to deal with a number of issues which could help to expedite possible development of the Lower Churchill.

Williams also met with ACOA's Keith Ashfield, Jim Flaherty of Finance, Defence Minister Peter MacKay and Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Williams says the meetings centred around the Lower Churchill, the fishery and the province's interest in purchasing the federal government's stake in the Hibernia project, among other things. Williams says the province was very well-received.


Their advice for you

The Dippity Premier had some advice for the opposition on Tuesday in the Bow-Wow Parliament:

MS JONES: My questions today are for the Minister of Natural Resources. Mr. Speaker, last week we learned the true nature of government’s bungling of the Abitibi file when they admitted that they accidentally expropriated the mill and other assets and liabilities in Grand Falls-Windsor.

I ask the Premier today: Can you confirm that this mistake was realized in the summer of 2009, and I ask you who confirmed that this was the case, and why did you not release that information to the public at that time?

MS DUNDERDALE: A couple of things, Mr. Speaker. She asked the question both of the Minister of Natural Resources and the Premier. I can only speak for myself, Mr. Speaker. The second piece is, it wasn’t just revealed last week due to her questioning in the House of Assembly. We pay attention to the news releases they put out, Mr. Speaker; I suggest they do the same with ours. I announced this on February 5 and, as a matter of fact, there was quite a bit of news coverage right across the Province on the fact that I announced that we had inadvertently expropriated the mill in Grand Falls-Windsor. This came to our attention at the end of May in 2009, Mr. Speaker. It came as a result of work that was being done by a company called Enda Searching. Part of the $8 million you have been asking about was paid to this firm for the land registry consolidation. They found the error Mr. Speaker, and reported it to us.
Ah yes. Read the news release that was put out at least 250 days after Danny Williams-Government learned of its monumental blunder:

Through the passage of Bill 75 on December 16, 2008, the Provincial Government revoked timber and water rights from Abitibi. When determining which assets/properties to expropriate, the Provincial Government included power-related infrastructure and the hydroelectric facility attached to the mill itself. Language to exempt the mill and the other two properties on Reid Lot #59 was not included in the final bill, as intended, and therefore the Provincial Government has legal title to these properties.
"As intended"? Passively? Intended by whom? What was intended? That language to exclude be included? (Also in the passive voice, naturally.) Or that language to exclude be "not included"?

This is the same good Minister of Human Shields (Acting), who last week had another good piece of advice for the pesky MHAs who refuse to get on the bandwagon:

MS JONES: Government wants to be open and accountable, that is one of the trademarks that they have certainly tried to convince the people of the Province in terms of how they govern.

I ask the minister today: If she would be prepared to table the information and the break down of the $8 million in expenditure?

MS DUNDERDALE: Mr. Speaker, we have a freedom of information process in this Province for a very particular reason. We want to –


MS DUNDERDALE: – be as open and as transparent and as accountable as possible, providing as much information as we possibly can to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador, but at the same time, Mr. Speaker, we have a responsibility to protect information that could be used against us in court hearings, in NAFTA hearings, and so on.

The access to information process makes information available, but also protects proprietorial information that we need in legal proceedings and so on. So that is why we use that process. I do not have that legal background, Mr. Speaker. So through the process all of those values are protected, and that is why we encourage people to use it.

Minister Blunderdale joins another of her cabinet colleagues in encouraging members of the public, and others, to use the Access to Information Act:

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.

Good on them! It is great to see the government willing to have itself held to account.

It is unclear, however, whether Minister Blunderdale's concern for such "proprietorial information" and solicitor-client privelege extends to all potential NAFTA cases. As her even more accountable cabinet colleague told the Bow-Wow Parliament on Monday:

MS JONES: Mr. Speaker, the fishermen, through their union, are asking for about $10 million or $12 million in bridge financing for this season. The government continues to insist that they cannot do this because they would be in violation of the North American Free Trade Agreement. Again, I think it was on Friday the minister stated this in a press release, and he also said that he had an external legal opinion.

I would like to ask him today if he is prepared to table that legal opinion in the House of Assembly, and has his department even evaluated what assistance they can provide to the industry without constituting a Free Trade risk.

MR. JACKMAN: Mr. Speaker, about the issue of inventory financing, we think there is merit to it – we really do - but we cannot put ourselves into a situation of countervail.

I will invite the Leader of the Opposition to come over to my office, to sit down and let us go through that legal opinion and then see if she is willing to lay it on the line that she is willing to take the chance of some of the inherent issues that arise out of that.

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What they said (VI)

From the proceedings of the Bow-Wow Parliament of March 24, 2009:
MS JONES: Mr. Speaker, there are obvious environmental considerations involved in Abitibi’s operations, whether that be with the mill, the timber or the power development project.

I ask the Premier: What assessments have government done to look at the cost of the cleanup and the restoration of areas that have been affected by environmental damage?

MS JOHNSON: Mr. Speaker, our department is doing an inventory of all of the environmental issues. That could range anywhere from logging camps to bridges and to the mill itself. Certainly, the mill will have to undergo an environmental assessment process through the decommissioning of their mill, as was done in Stephenville. The member can rest assured that all environmental issues will certainly be addressed.


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

A new verb

January 20, 2004: “pay a dollar”
"I do think there is a moral obligation on the federal government to transfer this over ... my perspective is I think we should pay a dollar for it and that would be enough," Williams said. [Quoted in the Telegram]
May 27, 2004: “purchase

PREMIER WILLIAMS: Now, when it comes to the Hibernia interest, yes, we are trying to purchase it. I made a statement on that a long, long, time ago, as you know. I have mentioned it to the Prime Minister on several occasions. I have mentioned it to Mr. Harper, and I also discussed other things with Mr. Harper yesterday with regard to a guarantee on the Lower Churchill. Now, of course, that is something that the hon. gentleman opposite would not understand because he seems to think -

MR. SPEAKER: Order please! I ask the Premier to complete his answer.
July 1, 2004: “transfer

In a letter to federal New Democratic Party leader Jack Layton, Premier Danny Williams said the Government of Canada’s remaining 19 per cent share of Petro-Canada should be sold to invest in social programs for all Canadians; however, Canada’s 8.5 per cent ownership stake in the Hibernia project – an entirely different kind of public investment – should be transferred to Newfoundland and Labrador which currently has no ownership role at all in its principal offshore petroleum project.
November 28, 2005: “sell

Does your party support the transfer or sale of the Federal Government's share in Hibernia to the province of Newfoundland and Labrador provided the Federal Government is kept whole on their expected return at the time of their initial investment?
September 12, 2007: “repatriate

Williams said his next conquest will be the “repatriation” of the federal government’s 8.5 per cent equity stake in the Hibernia oil field.
January 20, 2009: “acquire”
I am requesting that our governments immediately commence a process that would see the government of Newfoundland and Labrador acquire the federal government's 8.5 per cent interest in the Hibernia project currently vested in the Canada Hibernia Holding Corporation [Kathy Blunderdale, as quoted in the Telegram of July 4, 2009]
July 11, 2009: “return”
"We feel it's time," Dunderdale told The Telegram this week. "Hibernia has been extremely generous to the federal government, and that's all fine, but now it should be returned to the province."
April 27, 2010: “attain

The Premier will have several items on his agenda as he represents the people of Newfoundland and Labrador including the fishery, the province's request to attain the Federal Government's Hibernia interest, the Lower Churchill development, and land claims in Labrador among others.


Sun rays crown thy expropriated hills

From Tuesday's proceedings in the Bow-Wow Parliament:
MS JONES: The minister knows the information that I put out there in the public has come from the documents that have been filed in the courts on both sides. I say to the minister today, Mr. Speaker, she knows that the bill to the people of this Province is going to continue to grow on this file, and I ask her to come clean today, tell the people of the Province how much this is going to cost them.

MS DUNDERDALE: Mr. Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition shouted across this House yesterday, ‘Abitibi lies on your shoulders, Premier, the full responsibility of it lies with you’. Now, Mr. Speaker, that is a responsibility that we embrace. At the end of the day, our position will prove itself out, in terms of value that we have and what we have to expend. That is not talking about the intrinsic value, the importance of having those assets remain in Newfoundland and Labrador for the use of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians. We are not second guessing ourselves on this side of the House, Mr. Speaker, we did the right thing.
No wonder Abitibi-Bowater was going under; what with this nefarious plan, which Our Dear Expropriation halted in its tracks, to move swaths of central Newfoundland forest, and the entire Exploits River, out of the province altogether.


Failure to plan strategically is strategically planning to fail

Lorraine Michael is shocked:

NDP Leader Lorraine Michael (Signal Hill-Quidi Vidi) says she is shocked that plans for a pre-trial detention centre in Happy Valley-Goose Bay have been quietly shelved by government. Michael uncovered this information during a review of budget expenses in an estimates committee meeting for the Department of Justice this morning.

“I am shocked this initiative, as recommended by the Citizen’s Representative, has been put on hold without any announcement,” says Michael. “We were not told there would be a delay or that the centre would not be built. Now today we discover that there was no money in this year’s budget.”
Of course there wasn’t – it was in last year’s budget:

Unprecedented Investment in Labrador through Northern Strategic Plan

Budget 2009 provides a more than $135 million investment in Labrador through the Northern Strategic Plan (NSP), reaffirming the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador’s commitment to improve the health and well-being of all Labradorians.
"This government continues to invest in Labrador and its people like no other government in history," said the Honourable John Hickey, Minister of Labrador Affairs. "In the face of challenging economic times, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador is forging ahead and making smart, strategic investments in Labrador and its people."


Today’s announcement of funding under the NSP includes the recently announced $130 million stimulus package to increase economic activity and improve infrastructure in Labrador. This investment is part of an approximate $800 million package for new and ongoing infrastructure projects in Newfoundland and Labrador for the 2009-10 fiscal year and over $4 billion over the next several years. Labrador investments in the stimulus package include: $19 million for a new francophone school in Happy Valley-Goose Bay and new K-12 schools in Port Hope Simpson and L’Anse au Loup; $9.5 million for construction of the new College of the North Atlantic campus in Labrador West; $5.5 million in new and ongoing funding through the Municipal Capital Works programs; $4.7 million for continued funding for the new health care facility in Labrador West, and, $2 million for the construction of a new pre-trial detention centre for women and youth in Happy Valley-Goose Bay.

And it was already been planned — strategically and Labradorly, no doubt — in the budget before that:

Government Continues Strong Commitment to Labrador Through Northern Strategic Plan

The Northern Strategic Plan for Labrador (NSP) continues to demonstrate that by working together, citizens, government, and communities can achieve positive change.


The Department of Justice has dedicated significant funding to issues of importance to the people of Labrador. Key investments include:

• $300,000 for the planning and design of a pre-trial detention centre in Happy Valley-Goose Bay for youth, women and those who suffer mental health illness;
The Northern Strategic Plan’s connected to the stimulus package.

The stimulus package’s connected to the new pre-trial detention centre for women and youth in Happy Valley-Goose Bay.

Oh, hear the word of Our Dan!

Ms. Michael shouldn’t be shocked. Sure, she’ll probably have her name and title dragged through the mud, again, for daring to, y’know, oppose the government.

But the original “Northern Strategic Plan” is silent on the detention centre issue. Why?

Simply because the issue of women and youth in custody in Labrador didn’t erupt onto the public radar until six months after Our Dear Northern Strategic Plan was launched.

Despite having been added to the Plan — at least for the purpose of budget-period press releases, budget speeches, and vacuous Ministerial statements — in 2008 and 2009, the actual construction of the new facility is not included in the recent NSP update document, past press releases notwithstanding.

On the other hand, and quite curiously, the update proudly includes “Plan and design a new holding facility in Happy Valley–Goose Bay for youth and adult women” as a commitment that is complete.

It’s rather hard to “hold” someone in a facility that is planned or designed, rather than built.

And it’s frightfully easy to claim “completion” of a commitment, when you downgrade your commitment from construction to planning and designing, retroactively.

Sorry, sorry – on a go-backwards basis.

So Lorraine Michael is shocked.

She should also be appalled – appalled that Danny Williams-Government, when faced with a political fire in Labrador, pours a cold bucket of Northern Strategic Plan on the flames, and hopes that the fire goes out.

There is nothing strategic, or planned, about this political McGuffin.

As usual, they are making it up as they go along.


New and improved

Late this afternoon — no one should be shot! — Felix Collins and Kathy Blunderdale issued a press release to correct some stuff:

Minister Dunderdale also pointed out that she announced that the Provincial Government inadvertently expropriated the mill and property in a news release on February 5, 2010. Recent media reports have been suggesting that the Provincial Government’s ownership of the mill itself only came to light last week during questioning in the House of Assembly.

"This is totally erroneous," said Minister Dunderdale. "We announced the fact that we now have legal ownership over the mill and property, Grand Falls House and the former mill manager’s house in early February when Abitibi informed us they were officially handing over the buildings to us. To suggest this information is coming to light as a result of questioning by the Opposition in the House is ludicrous. The information is publicly out there for anyone to see. On top of that, I did media interviews at the time providing additional details as to how this situation transpired."
For some reason, Minister Blunderdale omits to mention a salient point which did come out during Question Period in the Bow-Wow Parliament today:

MS DUNDERDALE: The second piece is it was not just revealed last week due to her questioning in the House of Assembly. We pay attention to the news releases they put out; I suggest they do the same with ours.

I announced this on February 5, and as a matter of fact, there was quite a bit of news coverage right across the Province on the fact that I announced that we had inadvertently expropriated the mill in Grand Falls-Windsor. This came to our attention at the end of May in 2009. It came as a result of work that was being done by a company called Enda Searching. Part of the $8 million you have been asking about was paid to this firm for the land registry consolidation. They found the error, Mr. Speaker, and reported it to us.
Kinda important, dontcha think?

But anyway, when you're hunting deer, you shouldn't get distracted by bunny tracks. And the whole point of powering up the intertubes and posting this post was to remedy the sharp decline in WilliamsGovernmentiness that has been exhibited so far this month. And yes, it's a post-budget month, so the amount of WilliamsGovernmenty goodness is expected to decline anyway. But still — today's press release was heavy on the "the Provincial Government" phraseology, so this corner thought it only fit to try a search-and-replace.

How does this read?

Natural Resources

April 27, 2010

Williams Government Corrects Misinformation Regarding Abitibi

The Honourable Felix Collins, Minister of Justice and Attorney General, and the Honourable Kathy Dunderdale, Minister of Natural Resources, today corrected misinformation pertaining to the responsibilities of Abitibi in relation to environmental clean up as well as the Williams Government’s communication of the matter. Minister Collins indicated that Abitibi has legislative responsibilities for any contamination.

"The Environmental Protection Act ensures that Abitibi, as owner of the site when contamination occurred, is responsible even though the Williams Government now owns the site," said Minister Collins. "As well, the Abitibi-Consolidated Rights and Assets Act, specifically section 13, indicates that Abitibi-Consolidated remains responsible for all undertakings made by it in relation to environmental remediation at any of its former sites. We expect Abitibi to meet these obligations."

Sections 2 (x) (ix) and 2 (x) (v) of the Environmental Protection Act state that the "person responsible" at the time a contaminant is released into the environment is responsible for the clean up of the site. A "person responsible" includes a former owner. As well, section 13 of the Abitibi-Consolidated Rights and Assets Act specifically states that "nothing in this act affects the liability of Abitibi-Consolidated related to undertakings made by it in relation to environmental remediation."

Currently Abitibi is under creditor protection pursuant to the federal Companies’ Creditor Arrangement Act. It is seeking to have its environmental responsibilities significantly reduced by this process. The Williams Government is legally challenging that position, arguing that Newfoundland and Labrador environmental protection laws cannot be disregarded.

"The Leader of the Opposition continues to provide the people of our province with inaccurate information on the Abitibi file," said Minister Dunderdale. "When she states that the assets of Abitibi will cost the province $500 million she is using the unsubstantiated figure of Abitibi in its statement of claim under NAFTA. Just because Abitibi says that is the value of the assets does not make it so. The Williams Government is unclear as to how this dollar amount is derived."

Minister Dunderdale also pointed out that she announced that the Williams Government inadvertently expropriated the mill and property in a news release on February 5, 2010. Recent media reports have been suggesting that the Williams Government’s ownership of the mill itself only came to light last week during questioning in the House of Assembly.

"This is totally erroneous," said Minister Dunderdale. "We announced the fact that we now have legal ownership over the mill and property, Grand Falls House and the former mill manager’s house in early February when Abitibi informed us they were officially handing over the buildings to us. To suggest this information is coming to light as a result of questioning by the Opposition in the House is ludicrous. The information is publicly out there for anyone to see. On top of that, I did media interviews at the time providing additional details as to how this situation transpired."

The release clearly states: "When drafting Bill 75, we erred on the side of caution to ensure that the hydroelectric facility attached to the mill was included in the expropriation. By not including descriptive language to specifically exempt these other properties, the province assumed legal ownership of them."

The news release indicates that the Williams Government has no plans for the properties at this time while legal processes associated with Abitibi’s assets and responsibilities in this province are ongoing. It also states that, "Our taking custody and management of these buildings at this time no way reduces, eliminates or mitigates any responsibilities Abitibi may have in respect to remediation or environmental liabilities."

What they said (V)

Excerpts from a letter by Roger Pike, from the Telegram of February 27, 2009:
As I reflect on the demise of AbitibiBowater and the expropriation of the company's hydro assets, I can't help but wonder if any of us truly know what is at stake and what the hydro assets are worth to the government, or more importantly, to the central Newfoundland region. I would like to think there is a Bob Barker out there to explain to us citizens what we have actually won. We do know the wheel of fortune has been spun and that there is some sort of a prize, but for some reason we can't get a handle on how much that prize is worth or, better still, how we collect it and eventually use it.


There is now a direct benefit to our region of approximately $15 million annually associated with the 54 megawatts once used by AbitibiBowater to make paper. After 40 years, the benefit would double with loan payments (assuming they borrowed) no longer required. That's why the premier expropriated the hydro assets and not the mill. There is no money in paper anymore. It's all in the hydro.


Monday, April 26, 2010


In response to its editorial suggesting that the sooky Premier consider a new line of work, the sooky Premier's sooky Director of sooky Communications surfaces to cellphone range, ups sooky BlackBerry, and sookily types of the Western Star:

In a statement to CBC News on Friday, the premier's office said it was taking the editorial in stride.

"If you look at the editorial commentary of the Western Star over the past several years, you can see they have never been very supportive [of] our government or the premier," communications director Elizabeth Matthews said in the statement.

"So we are not surprised by the approach or tone of this editorial. They are, of course, entitled to their opinion."

Entitled to their opinion? Absolutely. Just like Wade Verge.

It's surprising she didn't type "Pfff."

Anyway, "never" is an awfully long time, reckoned on a go-backwards basis. And you'd only need one counter-example to prove the good thumb-typist wrong.

So here you go: from the Western Star editorial of August 23, 2007:
Premier Williams had solid support throughout the province when he told the oil companies where they could go ...but there were some - mainly Opposition politicians and the heads of companies making bundles of money from the oil industry in St. John's - who believed the premier had made an expensive blunder.

The events of this week prove the tactic was the correct one.

The deal will be done and the people of this province and their offspring will benefit.

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Sunrise, sunset

Executive Council
July 5, 2007

Premier Names New President of College of the North Atlantic

The Honourable Danny Williams, Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, announced today the appointment of Jean K. Madill as President of the College of the North Atlantic, effective September 10.


April 26, 2010

College President Tenders Resignation

The Honourable Darin King, Minister of Education, announced today that Jean Madill, President and CEO of College of the North Atlantic, has tendered her resignation which has been accepted by the Provincial Government. A search will begin immediately for an interim president, while Deputy Minister of Education Darrin Pike will assume the role of Acting President.


From the proceedings of the Bow-Wow Parliament of May 21, 2002:

MR. WILLIAMS: As an aside, and even more important, on the way through they destroyed the credibility and the reputation of emergency physicians in this Province, people who do an admirable job are very, very competent people who take care of the health and safety of our children in this Province. They let go a damning condemnation on them, and the people in their department were involved. It should never have happened. They are open to lawsuits and they will be sued before it is all over. You mark my words.

Let’s deal with water export. Here is another great mistake of the Grimes government. All through last spring we heard about water export. We heard that bulk water was going to be the saviour. Bulk water was going to be exported from this Province, huge revenues were going to come in, and we were going to balance our budget on the back of bulk water. That is what we heard.

MR. E. BYRNE: Free tuition was what he said, wasn’t it?

MR. WILLIAMS: I believe he did say it. You are quite correct. It would pay for free tuition for our students in this Province.

MR. SULLIVAN: That got watered down after.

MR. WILLIAMS: It did get watered down. It certainly did get watered down. Do you know how it got watered down? Because the leader of this Province, the Premier of this Province, never bothered, never tried to find out, never checked, as to whether it was economically viable. He made the statement; he caused an uproar across the country. The Prime Minister got angry with him again, completely disgusted with him, and what happened? He pulled in his horns because he never checked to see if it was economically viable. What a statement to come from a Premier of a Province.

MR. E. BYRNE: Then he sent out his minister (inaudible).

MR. WILLIAMS: Then he did not go out and explain it himself. He sent his minster out to explain it. He would not stand up and be counted and take responsibility for what he did, which is typical of this government. Pass it off to health boards, pass it off to school boards, pass it off to Royal Commissions. Do not take any responsibility, do not show any leadership. That is the trademark of this government.


What they said (IV)

From the Grand Falls-Windsor Advertiser's coverage of Our Dear Expropriation in December 2008:
The province is taking ownership of all hydroelectricity rights from the generating station at Star Lake, as well as timber rights to forests on Crown land.

With Star Lake, the company's fixed assets to generate power will revert to Nalcor, the new parent company of Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro.

AbitibiBowater will get to hang on to the mill itself. About all the company will be left with is the paper mill itself, however they will be given the means to operate the mill until the end of March.

The company would be compensated for any physical assets taken over.

"There was a bottom and a bargain and a commitment between the people and the company that started that mill," said Premier Williams. "Back in the beginning we passed the lands, the timber and the water to that corporation. The bargain was that they would carry on a milling and logging operation.

"At the end of the day they broke that bargain. As a result of them breaking that bargain, we have a right to take back our trees, our water and our lands, and on Tuesday, we did just that."
And a selection of comments on that story:
JAMES SNOW from winnipeg, manitoba writes: your mayor should give his head a shake, abitibi/bowater already decided what the future holds for the province when they announced the closure of the mill on march 28, 2009. as for the expropriation, i think it will end up in the courts. the government should have sat down with the company and work out a deal over assets. this story is spreading like wildfire throughout canada and the united states, and what effect will it have on new buisness coming to the province? only time will tell, either way the TAXPAYER will pay.
Posted 18/12/2008 at 11:09 AM

Jim Smith from ns writes: Don't count your chickens just yet. ABC still has outstanding severance, pension, and shutdown liabilities. You may get the favour returned. Not to mention a NAFTA challenge which is guaranteed. NL's may wind up paying for this mess long after Danny is gone.
Posted 18/12/2008 at 10:21 PM

JAMES SNOW from winnipeg, manitoba writes: don't celebrate just yet folks, if i am reading chapter 11 of the north american free trade agreement correctly, then we are headed for the courts on this issue. it may backfire on the province !
Posted 19/12/2008 at 10:57 PM

Jason Bull from Eastport, NL writes: chapter 11 only applies to federal deals.
the provinces are seperate wrt the resources in question.
Posted 20/12/2008 at 9:47 AM

Billy from GFW, NL writes: To James Snow: glad we have your very highly educated legal mind at work on this one . Who really needs all those legal experts the government has hired. You know I always knew after you finished driving the Zamboni at the rink you were studying to be Perry Mason. Maybe you should come home and represent AbitibiBowater so they can get back their borrowed assets.
Posted 21/12/2008 at 12:22 AM


Sunday, April 25, 2010


One WallaceRyan wrote, on or about 2010/04/25 at 12:00 PM ET:
If a lot of these critics spent more time doing something constructive, instead of whining and moaning all the time like children who didn't get their way, our province might actually get somewhere.

The way everyone's attacking Danny, you'd think we were living in Pakistan. I think people here are quite spoiled and childish when it comes to demonizing our leaders. In Danny's case, I think a lot of the critics are obviously jealous of Danny's success and intelligence. They need to grow up and smarten up.

And "get on the bandwagon", maybe?

Mr. Ryan thinks that people are quite spoiled and childish when it comes to demonizing leaders. And he's probably right. Just consider what Wallace Ryan, anti-demonization activist, wrote on November 20, 2007, at 1:42 PM:

My advice to Yvonne [Jones] is to avoid the style of "leadership" of Grimes and Reid. Be constructive and don't shoot off your mouth just for the sake of hearing yourself. Reid was a very poor leader and the polls reflect what the Newfoundland and Labrador people think of this hysterical opposition. 
and, on March 30, 2007 at 7:35 PM:
Any one calling themselves a proud Newfoundlander and then attacking Danny for his defense of the realm, are just plain lying or astoundingly deluded as to their allegiance to our nation. Plain and simple, Harper has lied to Newfoundland and Labrador and we will not stand for this monumental dishonesty. If Harper had never intended to keep his promise, then he made a fatal mistake in making one to Premier Williams. Unlike most of Canada, when a promise is made in Newfoundland and Labrador, it is honoured. Mr. Williams is an honest, hard working man and all Newfoundlanders and Labradorians will flock to his defense to honour all he has done for us. To think otherwise is treasonous to most of those who live in our beautiful land.


Free advice

His Awesomeness, who apparently is surrounded by incompetence too, gets some polemically paradoxical advice:
I am starting to understand why the Premier lashed out at Lorraine Micheal so harshly last week. He is frustrated, and who can blame him. It is hard to bear watching a decent, well meaning leader be utterly embarrassed this way.

Time to kick some ass Danny, the opposition is not making mistakes, look over shoulders and behind your back.
To which this corner would helpfully add: "and, most importantly, in the mirror."


What they said (III)

Still more CBC comments made around the time of Our Dear Expropriation. CatherineF is particularly good for a laugh:
loudpiper wrote:Posted 2008/12/18 at 8:04 AM ET
Williams is no dictator however, there may soon come a day where everyone regrets his actions.

East End St. John's wrote:Posted 2008/12/18 at 8:12 AM ET
While I have no problem with the Government moving to ensure that the province maintains control of the timber and water rights, I think the Premier and company have best step carefully when it comes the to power plants, dams, and other physical assets. The concept of Fair Market Value has been around for ages so the way to avoid a costly and lenghtly legal battle is to have serious negoiations about the value of these assets with the company and pay them. Remember what happened when former Pemier Wells cancelled a lease the province had to rent space in the Muarry Premises? After a lengthly court battle the province have to pay the landlord millions.

KnowingOne wrote:Posted 2008/12/18 at 8:27 AM ET
Someone will end up eating crow before this is settled - and it won't be Danny Williams or the NL government! This wasn't a snap decision - you can bet your last dollar that this move was fully vetted from a legal perspective long before the government took action.

I agree with a previous poster - viva la revolution! The times they are a'changin!

S.Penney wrote:Posted 2008/12/18 at 9:14 AM ET
Make sure Abitibi is responsible for all legal bills. When they really think about that, I don't think they'll proceed.

Al in Calgary wrote:Posted 2008/12/18 at 9:44 AM ET
Danny seems to think the Law does not apply to him.

He is about to get his sorry ass kicked in court.

Tou can't behave like Hugo Chavez in Venezuala and get a way with it in Canada.

Danny is not as smart as he thinks he is

David James wrote:Posted 2008/12/18 at 10:42 AM ET
Williams and his groupies have reduced NL to a Dark Age village with this lynch mob tactic. Yep, loud and clear, good ol' Danny is saying to companies closing within Canada under financial duress: "if you leave we'll do everything we can to harass you and destroy any vestige of you having been here". With torches ablaze why not ride through town and burn down the mill manager's house for added effect? As productive as ripping up wedding pictures after a divorce isn't it? You're a real genius Danny Boy.

SecoundThought wrote:Posted 2008/12/18 at 11:09 AM ET
There is a common belief in the business world that if you start a lawsuit there will be a settlement because of a fear of uneccessary costs or unpredicatable court judgments.

The Premier has already won Dave. He has the backing of virtually every person in NL as well as the country. With a mandate like this he will stand his ground.

The days of imperialism are over in Newfoundland. Long live the Republic of Newfoundland and Labrador.

dis place wrote:Posted 2008/12/18 at 6:18 PM ETOK Danny - well done? on the quick passage of the Expropriation Bill. I think time will tell, however, on exactly what benefit comes to the Province as a result. For example, how much will we have to pay for the Star Lake facilities. Won't be cheap, and pay we will, you can count on it.

Is there a plan for use of the timber rights? How will they be used and what will the province get in return? Is there a plan for any of the assets?

Then there are the lawsuites from Abitibi-Price - they will come - for sure.

I guess these questions will be answered in time .... but ??

CatherineF wrote:Posted 2008/12/18 at 11:36 PM ETTo the posters from away, as you obviously have no understanding of what it means to be born and brought up in a an environment where everyone shares the same culture, language, traditions and music, that is the same today as it was 400 years
We are a very large island separated from the world by the great North Atlantic and the Gulf.

Newfoundlanders delighted in our own surroundings, always welcoming and generous to others. Strangers always welcomed in our homes, to share a meal, spend the night if need be. We were all hard workers, took whatever jobs available. We looked out and cared deeply for each other. Shared what we had.

There's no mystery here why we support Danny Williams in this situation as you could never understand what this province and people have gone through with big corporations over our history.

We have been used, abused, and ripped off, and, we say never again!

Let me make this clear. All natural resources are the property of Newfoundland. The original owners of the paper mill in Grand Falls signed a lease in the early 1900's with the prime minister of our then country which allowed the owners to use our natural resources as long as the mill remained in Grand Falls.

That was 100 years ago. The lease ceases to be in effect as of March 2009, when the present owners close the mill for good, as stated in the original terms of the lease.

The government of Newfoundland did not take possession of the paper mill not it's assets inside the mill or around the grounds of the mill.

The only thing that reverted back to Newfoundland were the natural resources mentioned in the original lease. Water rights, wooded rights, hydroelectric rights. period.


Saturday, April 24, 2010

What they said (II)

Some more comments on Our Dear Expropriation, from another contemporary CBC report:
KnowingOne wrote:Posted 2008/12/17 at 8:43 AM ET
Abitibi will not win this one. You can rest assured that Premier Williams had all of his legal ducks in a row before taking this action.

The ROCK is about to rock - stay tuned - you haven't seen anything yet!!

Byrdbrain wrote:Posted 2008/12/17 at 9:47 AM ET
It is a good political move but is it legal??? I hope it will hold up in the courts. Look at Churchill Falls deal it went to the highest court in the land and we lost. I think we should celebrate but only when it is all finished. So many times we celebrated and all of a sudden the bad news comes out again.

48dumas wrote:Posted 2008/12/17 at 10:22 AM ET
For the cost of the legal battle, the mill could be at least partly modernized and hundreds of workers kept out of the cold instead of a few lawyers getting richer.

EasternEdge wrote:Posted 2008/12/17 at 8:53 PM ET
It may be that Newfoundland can just override whatever rights Abitibi has by using the ultimate power of the legislature - my guess is that would be a good argument n our courts, maybe not such a good argument before NAFTA and other tribunals. But even if we can do that, should we? i don't care about Abitibi but i do care about Newfoundland and about the rule of law and it seems to me that this sort of stuff will only damage both in the long run

POSC.student wrote:Posted 2008/12/17 at 10:46 AM ET
Does AbitibiBowater realize that their messing with probally the most successful lawyer Newfoundland and Labrador ever had and that he would know all the legal matters surrounding this.

Raynaldo wrote:Posted 2008/12/17 at 12:15 PM ET
You can't just expropriate the good stuff.
I'd agree if they expropriated everything.

The Green Hornet wrote:Posted 2008/12/17 at 2:11 PM ET
We had better all wait until the other shoe drops before giving this move a thumbs up or a thumbs down.

It may well have been legal though then again maybe not. I most certainly won't take King Danny's word for it.

The applause of the quasi-commies who live on this site is another reason to take a wait and see approach.

Much as I question anything Williams does, as his motives are quite clearly ones of a personal nature, I still allow a case by case style of critique.

We need to wait to see what the Czar of Newfoundland/Labrador does with this land before rendering judgement.

But; it is Williams. He may just turn it into his own personal 4x4 playground.

MsPepper wrote:Posted 2008/12/17 at 3:40 PM ET
Is there no end to this IDIOT WILLIAMS- Comparing him to Chavez is accurate, he thinks he has some god given right to control things. I hope he oversteps big time and it won;t be long before there is A BIG FALL for Danny Boy.



From the proceedings in the Bow-Wow Parliament of November 21, 2001:
MR. WILLIAMS: The shameful action was your firing employees of the Cabot 500 and costing the people of Newfoundland and Labrador $1 million.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. WILLIAMS: As Minister of Tourism, do you think your actions constituted mismanagement? Yes or no, Premier?

PREMIER GRIMES: The issues that were dealt with at that time were done by me personally, acting as a Minister of the Crown with legal advice, which indicated that what I was doing was proper and legal. People challenged that. You would understand that as a lawyer. I accepted legal advice which said what I was doing was right and proper. Of course, we are not allowed to take legal advice now that you are now a part-time politician. Normally you would understand that.

The legal advice was that the action that we were taking was proper and appropriate. It was challenged. They had legal advice suggesting that it was not. It went to court, Mr. Speaker, and the courts ruled in favour of the former employees of the Cabot Corporation. A proper process, but not an action taken with any vindictiveness by the government or any intention to cause any kind of a problem for anybody. They can suggest that if they like, Mr. Speaker, and they will answer for that again in the court of public opinion which is where we deal because we are politicians who deal with the people of the Province, not the legal niceties.

Mr. Speaker, I will not get into issues of whereby the Leader of the Opposition, when he was in private practice, was involved in things like the firewood operation out in Lewisporte that had all kinds of money from the government that was never, ever paid back, Mr. Speaker. So, I guess that is okay and that is good fiscal management, and it is not a problem.

MR. WILLIAMS: Mr. Speaker, if I were in the Premier’s seat, I would take responsibility.

Name Game

Memorial University of Dannystan is looking for input:
A Memorial University committee is seeking input from the public on the renaming of Sir Wilfred Grenfell College, Memorial University's Corner Brook campus.

In recent years, Sir Wilfred Grenfell College has been challenged by its name. Specifically, the term "college" has presented challenges for student recruitment outside of the province, for securing research grants, and in attracting faculty and staff to a place that is not clearly labelled as a "university." With increasing competition to attract university students and faculty, renaming the college has been identified by both college officials and the provincial government as being critical to the campus' future enrolment growth and development as a post-secondary, degree-granting institution.

An announcement by the provincial government in December 2009 outlined a number of changes that would increase the Corner Brook campus' autonomy, which included changing the name of Sir Wilfred Grenfell College.

"The goal of this committee is to identify a name that reflects Grenfell's relationship with Memorial University, one that also acknowledges the legacy associated with the name Sir Wilfred Grenfell and identifies the campus as being part of a degree-granting university -- one that is positioned to find its place as a leading post-secondary university, recognized both nationally and globally," said Dr. Christopher Loomis, Memorial University's president pro tempore and chair of the task force that appointed the Communications and Nomenclature Committee.
It would appear that the good folks at MUD didn't get the memo:

A number of initiatives announced by the Provincial Government today will increase the independence of Sir Wilfred Grenfell and facilitate its growth. These initiatives build on the strengths of Grenfell and appropriately recognize its role as a university institution and not a college.

The Honourable Darin King, Minister of Education, made the announcement today in Corner Brook. He was joined by Bob Simmonds, Chair of the Memorial University Board of Regents, and the Honourable Tom Marshall, MHA for Humber East. Also in attendance were representatives from Grenfell and Memorial University, including Dr. Holly Pike, Grenfell Principal (acting), and Dr. Chris Loomis, President, pro tempore, of Memorial University.

To assist the growth and independence of Sir Wilfred Grenfell, the Provincial Government has formally requested that the Board of Regents:

  • Rename Sir Wilfred Grenfell College to Memorial University of Newfoundland-Corner Brook to enhance its unique identity within the university system;

Friday, April 23, 2010

What they said (I)

A comment about Our Dear Expropriation on a contemporary CBC news story:
Lostinspace wrote:Posted 2008/12/04at 9:11 PM ET
Under NAFTA rules, NL may have to pay compensation to Abitibi if legislation is introduced to reverse timber and Hydro rights. I believe to NAFTA trade deal has a provision whereby if a government introduces legistalion which adversely affects there buisines then the company can sue(and in American courts) for compensation for loss of revenue/business. That is why DW(a lawyer) is dragging his feet on reclaiming water and timber rights. Could cost us a fortune in the future if he goes ahead with it.


But (XXII)

Some comments in response to CBC's follow-on coverage of the Western Star's insufficiently Premier-positive Thursday editorial:
HVHercules wrote:Posted 2010/04/23 at 9:49 AM ET
While Danny Williams is the best leader in Newfoundland and Labrador history, his poor interpersonal skills and school yard bully like attitude from Williams and his poorly controlled cabinet ministers also makes Williams the worst leader in the province's history as well.

Birdbrain2 wrote:Posted 2010/04/23 at 11:15 AM ET
I do not think that Mr. Williams should retire but maybe he should take some anger management courses so he can control his moods. I wonder if he was that way as a lawyer??

mel_in_nl wrote:Posted 2010/04/23 at 11:19 AM ET
I have always been a supporter of Danny Williams... my only issue is that he does not respect a union's right of collective bargaining... He is negative, demanding, and intimidating, and uses scare tactics to get attention! He does it to gain the support of the public... and it just strains the relationship of the unions with the government!

Rocky Waters wrote:Posted 2010/04/23 at 1:00 PM ETYes... encourage Danny to retire. I have always felt that Mr. Williams would be a good leader. I didn't expect he would be a tyrant. Having said that I believe he has done much more good for this province than allthe previous premiers before him, together.


Jolly good map, by Jove

A special treat for the many provincial civil servants who took Monday to relax, and get completely blotto, in honour of their English heritage.

This map shows the proportion of "English" as a response, among multiple responses, to the ethnicity question on the 2006 census long-form questionnaire. The darkest reds represent the highest proportion of respondents claiming English as one or more of their self-described ethnicities, while yellows, greens, and blue indicate progressively smaller proportions claiming English as an ethnicity.

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

Nunatsiavut communities (other than Nain) are aggregated in order to be able to map them at this resolution; the Nunatsiavut portion of the Labrador map is given their collective colour. Three of the four were in the 20% "English" range, while Hopedale was just under 17%.

This map, as with previous ones in this series, is mapped at a Census Division level of detail. A comparison to the Irishness map in particular is instructive: the parts of Newfoundland that are self-identifiedly Irish are very, very Irish, but even within them there are English undertones. While there are large swathes of the province with very little self-identified Irish ethnicity, there are only a few pockets, even on the Irish Loop, which are devoid of self-identified English ethnicity.

On the other hand, while most areas are mostly or at least moderately English, there are very few areas that are as very-very-English as the very-very-Irish are Irish

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No one should be shot over there

In response to questions on the Abitibi expropriation fiasco in the Bow-Wow Parliament on Thursday, Dippity Premier Kathy Blunderdale said:
MS DUNDERDALE: Mr. Speaker, the pulp and paper industry has been in turmoil worldwide for quite some time. A primary objective of this government from 2003 forward was to do everything that we could do to sustain the industry here in Newfoundland and Labrador. We worked hard to do that in Stephenville. We were working hard to do that with Abitibi in Grand Falls-Windsor. It became very clear in a very short period of time that our efforts were not going to be successful because of circumstances way beyond the control of the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador. We realized that we had to move quickly – very quickly – to ensure that the assets that truly belong to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador stayed in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Mr. Speaker, in the rush to do that, there were mistakes made and we did expropriate a property in Grand Falls-Windsor, the mill itself, where we did not intend to do it. That is a reality that we have to live with. We cannot return it while the CCAA process is ongoing. Mr. Speaker, we will deal with it when the time is right for us to do so.
They call it Question Period, not Answer Period, for cause: it is notable that Danny Williams-Government himself wasn’t answering the Abitibi-related questions that were notionally addressed to him. However, scrummed by reporters outside the chamber, the Great Lawyer said:
It was something I wasn't happy with when it happened, but it was an innocent mistake that was made by an official in the department. As simple as that.
Passive verbs. Intransitive verbs. And an un-named official who conveniently exists to lay the blame on.


Thursday, April 22, 2010

Why We Expropriate

MS JONES: Mr. Speaker, I would like to remind the minister that during those briefings, as well, we were also indicated that there would be a net zero cost to the Province as a result of all of this, in terms of the exchange of assets and environmental liabilities. Mr. Speaker, I can only say that I hope they do not have the same legal counsel on their lawsuit on the Upper Churchill as they had on the Abitibi deal.

Mr. Speaker, we know that AbitibiBowater had partners on the power projects on the Exploits River, namely Fortis, and the Italian company Enel, and there was some question as to what compensation those companies would be entitled to receive from government for their losses and the timeliness of such payments.

So I ask the Premier today, have any discussions taken place with these companies, and has government provided any compensation as a result of the expropriation?

MS DUNDERDALE: Mr. Speaker, let me say, first of all, that the Province has in its possession, in trust for the people of Newfoundland and Labrador, the generation assets on the Exploits River as well as hundreds of thousands of hectares of fibre that can be put to the use to drive the economy of Newfoundland and Labrador, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS DUNDERDALE: And the value of that is not to be underestimated. Even in terms of our pride and being the stewards of our own natural resources and using them to the advantage of the people here in the Province.

Mr. Speaker, we made a promise when we did the expropriation that partners involved in the generation of Exploits River will be kept whole. We are still working through that process. We hoped that it would be concluded sooner than it is. The legal processes that Abitibi has engaged in under bankruptcy protection have slowed all of that process. We are working through it, but we intend to stand by our word.


So how's that Abitibi expropriation play going anyway? (II)

Not all that well, actually:
MS JONES: Mr. Speaker, in addition to that now that the government has expropriated the former mill and the people of the Province are responsible for its upkeep and monitoring costs I ask them if they can provide to us an update on what the future plan will be for that mill and the associated assets in Grand Falls-Windsor?
MS DUNDERDALE: Mr. Speaker, when it was discovered that we had inadvertently expropriated the mill, our first thought was to return the mill to AbitibiBowater. Because they were already in bankruptcy protection we were not able to do that. The law prevented us from doing that.

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Baffling gab

Come for the editorial, stay for the hard news: While you visit the Western Star, you might also wish to take in a news article by Gary Kean, which quotes the good Minister of Labrador Affairs in his recent Happy Talk to the Corner Brook Bored of Trade:
“We need to create a more overall picture in order to make some concrete conclusions,” Hickey said of the ferry service which ran between Blanc Sablon and Corner Brook this past winter and spring.
Ummm... huh?

The good Minister continues:
“It is our hope we will see a road to the north coast of Labrador which would open up a whole new set of opportunities for business, not to mention connecting our north coast residents to central Labrador and the rest of the province,” said Hickey, adding the expansion of Labrador’s transportation network would also give greater exposure to the rich culture and heritage of the aboriginal community which dominates that landscape.
Well, there's a refreshing change of position, which is strange from a Minister and Department who have supposedley planned northern things so very strategically. Scant months ago, the official position was that there wouldn't even be a cent of provincial money spent studying a road link into Nunatsiavut, let alone building one, until the rest of the TLH was "complete" — whichever value you ascribe to that adjective on any given day, and however many decades that completion might take.

Now, apparently, it's something we — maybe even We — officially hope for.

Everyone's thinking it...

... but the Western Star is the first to put it in writing. Wow:
Barking across the floor is nothing new for Williams but his attack on NDP leader Lorraine Michael seemed to be a little more than the usual bare-knuckle back and forth.

The premier seemed visibly unnerved by the questions about the protracted talks with the doctors ... and dismissive of the questioner.

You can read the rest of today's remarkable editorial, and its biting conclusions, here. You can also bet there'll be comments.

teh intertubes

So far in the life of the Third Session of the 46th General Assembly of the Bow-Wow Parliament, ten bills — all of which, government bills, naturally — have been put on notice, five of which have been given first reading.

Of those, the text of exactly one of those bills has been posted to the Bow-Wow Parliament's intertube, at least as of Wednesday night.

The newest was given first reading on March 23rd, before the Bow-Wow Parliament decamped for a three-week Easter-St. George's break.

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Pandora and her box

The Great Lawyer is suddenly worried about the NAFTA implications of something.

From the blooze of the Bow-Wow Parliament:
MS JONES: Yesterday, I questioned the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture about the impasse that was occurring within the fishing industry, in the crab industry in the Province. At that time, Mr. Speaker, he said he was on the way to meet with processors and harvesters, and we know from media reports that that was a fruitless meeting yesterday that derived very little result at this stage.

My question, Mr. Speaker, today is for the Premier, and I ask: Is the government prepared to commit funds to try and get past this situation we have in the crab fishery today to ensure that we have an industry that works in Newfoundland and Labrador for the 2010 fishing season?

PREMIER WILLIAMS: Mr. Speaker, future questions I will direct to the minister on this, but I just wanted to let hon. members know that the minister and his department have been very, very close to these issues. It has been commendable the way that the minister has documented everything –

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER WILLIAMS: – has documented every single thing he has done. He has made sure that meetings that were called were held when they could be held. At any time there was a request for a meeting, he has even gone out into the field. He has talked to individuals who are involved in the industry, whether they happen to be harvesters, whether they happen to be processors, whether they happen to be fish plant workers.

We are doing everything we can, and he is doing everything he can as a minister and as a department to try and resolve this issue. As he said yesterday, it is up to the parties, first of all, to try and bring this together. Government has a role here, but it is a limited role. I think it is important that – and the members of the House I think already know and the people of the Province know and the people in the industry know that we are restricted by countervail issues, we are restricted by issues with NAFTA and we have to be very careful what our involvement is in resolving this process. The problem is by attempting to resolve the process - an interjection of money in some areas is fine, it is within the rules, but if we go too far as a government and we inject a significant amount of money, that is deemed to be in violation of free trade or a countervail issue, then we open up Pandora’s box. That can create huge problems in an awful lot of areas, in an area where we do not want to go. Now we all know that across the country, whether it happens to be the pulp and paper industry or other industries, cross border industries, that there are subsidies that go on, but it is a very, very delicate area.

So I have certainly been involved as Premier. Cabinet has been involved and fully informed. We have a Cabinet meeting tomorrow. It will be a matter of discussion, but I have full confidence in the minister and his department and I will direct future questions to the minister.


But (XXI)

Selected comments from a recent story on the Ministry of Truth (Federal):

guitarzguy wrote: I think Williams is doing a great job, but sometimes his approach gets old.

vk1nfld wrote: Firstly, I want to make it clear that the Williams administration has been, in most ways, far and away the best we've seen since Confederation. BUT... Is it just me, or is Williams sounding and acting more like Joe Smallwood every time out? Petulant, dismissive, denigrating, unable to take any critical comment without retaliating? Be a pity to see him go that way....

S.Penney wrote: Williams is still the best potential candidate for Premier. But he's losing ground on this issue and his leadership style at home. Danny, please do the right thing. Don't act like a spoiled child. I want to vote for you........but if you don't want my vote, keep doing what you are doing.

naimadsllew wrote: He is a good Premier, he is an angry Premier. He must, however, control his emotions. He is passionate about the Province, but there is a level of professionalism that he must maintain when speaking.


Wednesday, April 21, 2010


PREMIER WILLIAMS: Mr. Speaker, I have no control over e-mails or correspondence that are sent to me that represent the views and the opinions of doctors within the NLMA and issues that are long-standing issues that they have had with the association. So, that is not an attempt by me, the e-mail is not solicited, it is not attempted by me to be divisive in any way whatsoever.

From a perspective of a change of attitude, I mean we have put $79 million on the table, a significant offer, a significant amount of money. The hon. member opposite, and I will speak through you, Mr. Speaker, so I can control myself today, thinks that money grows on little trees that we have up in the Department of Finance and that there is always all kinds of money to go around.


Cheap, dirty politicians

Apparently a three-week break from the trials and tribulations of the workaday duties of being His Awesomeness, a trip down to the shores of the Gulf of Mexico, and millions of dollars worth of partying in St. John’s with Justin Bublé and Michael Bieber and the rest was still unable to put Us in any better mood than this:

MS MICHAEL: I hope for his sake, Mr. Speaker, the day does not come when the Premier has somebody from his back bencher saying something against him and his executive, because he will say it is not the individual you have to listen to, it is the executive you have to listen to.

I saw and heard the Premier pull exactly the same kind of grandstanding up against the nurses, yet eventually he had to bow down and they had to come to an agreement. He pulled the same tactics.

Is the Premier going to stop grandstanding and deal with the issue of negotiating with the elected representatives of the doctors through their NLMA?


PREMIER WILLIAMS: Thank you for the Sermon on the Mount. That was lovely; I really appreciate it. I do not need a lecture from you or anybody else, I can tell you that much.


MS MICHAEL: Mr. Speaker, during the last seven weeks at least one thing has happened, we have had doctors speak out about what they are experiencing; the difficulties they are experiencing as family physicians, as ER doctors, as internists. The stories have been out in the media, they are telling us what they are going through.

When will this government stop dealing with things piecemeal and acknowledge that we have major problems in our health care system and need an external review of this system, Mr. Speaker, I ask the Premier?

PREMIER WILLIAMS: Mr. Speaker, what did we do when the ER/PR situation came up? What did we do when the oncologists wanted to meet? What did we do when they wanted to have a raise? We acted immediately. We gave them a significant raise which virtually put them close to Ontario parity. So we stepped up immediately. What have we done as a government? We are now up to I guess close to $2.6 billion, $2.7 billion that is what we have done. We have dramatically increased it. We have put money into information technology. We have put money into equipment. We put money into long-term care facilities. We put money into nurses. Yes we settled the nurses. So we, are you trying to get my goat because we bowed down. I will bow down to anybody if we want to get an agreement. This is about getting an agreement and bringing good health care to the people of the Province not playing cheap, dirty politics like you do.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER WILLIAMS: Holier than thou, the Member for Signal Hill-Quidi Vidi.


And this, coming from the guy who once complained about someone else’s supposed snottiness?

What a hypocrite.

What a pathetic, childish, pathetic again, childish again, hypocrite.

PS: incidentally, Mr. Speaker, Do your job. It is not parliamentary for members, not even His Awesomeness, to refer to one another in the second person, or to speak other than through you.

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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Newfoundland Labrador Mobsters Association

The Premier gets email, telling the Bow-Wows today during Question Period:
I want to let the hon. members know that not everything is well within the NLMA. I had an e-mail from a doctor representing a group of doctors who has indicated not all physicians working in this Province agree with the statements made by the NLMA. We have been legislated to be members of the NLMA, hence are forced to accept their decisions whether we are in agreement or not. We are subjected to what is essentially mob politics; being outvoted in any decision which we object to.


So now mob politics is a bad thing in His eyes?



We won't bend our knee:

“He’s making statements … on behalf of Newfoundland and Labrador: we have to be good boys and girls or we won’t get anything from the federal government and we really should come in on bended knee and beg for what we’re supposed to get." (December 2007)

And we won't go cap in hand:

We must send a loud and clear message to those in Ottawa that Newfoundland and Labrador is no longer prepared to be the poor cousin of Confederation. We don’t have our cap in hand anymore. (September 2007)

But we'll bow down to anybody:
Yes, we have settled the nurses. Are you trying to get my goat because we bowed down? I will bow down to anybody if we want to get an agreement. This is about getting an agreement and bringing good health care to the people of the Province; not playing cheap, dirty politics like you do. Holier than thou, the Member for Signal Hill-Quidi Vidi!
Proud. Strong. Determined. Bowed. The Future Is Ours.