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

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

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.



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