Perpetual Tobin Machine
Once upon a time there was a Premier who ratcheted up the nationalist rhetoric and fixated on being the guy who, once and for all, would develop the so-called Lower Churchill.
He was gonna do it. He negotiated with the Innu, he was looking at undersea transmission, he played hardball with Quebec.
Why, once he even went upalong and delivered a series of barnburner speeches with the not-so-subtle threat that he might even be the one to “pull the plug” on the so-called Upper Churchill and force Quebec to do something or another.
Then, and now, there were, and are, those who say that it was all just bluster and blarney and a cynical long-term PR exercise designed to play to the home audience. In fact, at the height of this episode of lowerchurchillmania, in 1998, the government of Brian Tobin issued a total of 29 press releases about what it had taken to calling the “Labrador Hydro Project”, so that there was something “new” about this exciting development about once every seven government business days.
So perhaps it is wise to put today’s latest Announcement That Will Blow Your Minds into the appropriate Bore You To Tears context.
Kathy Dunderdale – His Good Name is nowhere near the announcement, for a wonder – claims that the government has, through hard-fought negotiation with itself, guaranteed 28 million person-hours of employment on the construction, engineering, and management of the so-called Lower Churchill project.
That’s some good stamps.
Or, it would be, except for the inconvenient math: 28 million person-hours, times zero chance of the project going ahead, equals zero million person hours.
Never fear, though; there will always be steady work writing, releasing, and spinning the latest press release extolling the latest important development in the Lower Churchill project that We are always twirling, twirling, twirling towards, but never actually building.
Apart from that annus mirabilis of 1998, the Tobin and Grimes years saw the provincial government comms shop pimping the Lower Churchill story about six times per year. Danny Williams-Government has roughly tripled that pace, with no signs of slowing down.
Today’s release makes sixteen for 2010 to date. We aren’t half way through July yet, and there are two more CRA polling months still to come. Without even factoring in the parallel campaign of