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

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


Perhaps appropriately for the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation, Terry French has had to do a lot of heavy lifting this summer, making HappyMoney™ announcement after HappyMoney™ announcement after HappyMoney™ announcement.

Of the 282 full-fledged releases by Ministers between June 1 and August 9 inclusive — releases by arms-length agencies, and mere media or public advisories, excluded — fully 102 have been issued by the guy who dreamed, as a boy, of growing up to be Minister of Tourism, Culture, and Recreation.

That’s a staggering 36% of the summer’s total to date; trailing far behind in second place is the Minister of Pavement, Tom Hedderson, with 23 releases, for 8%. TCR’s output is larger than Executive Council, In-Turd, Municipal Affairs, Natural Resource, Fish, Government Services, Education, Justice, Finance, Business (Whatever That Is), Childrens, and Joan Burke as House Leader, combined.

Why the Tourism, Culture, and Recreation overload?

Well, for starters, as the former Minister of Walking Trails discovered last year, you don’t get nearly the same bang for other people’s buck when you set off one big firecracker, as when you set off a whole bunch of little ones. Lesson learned.

For two, a whole lot of little funding announcements, of a few thousands to tens of thousands of dollars at most, keeps the public mind dutifully associating Danny Williams-Government with the expenditure of money, in a wide variety of geographic locales, without the sticker shock of using roads, schools, or hospitals to generate happy headlines.

For three, there really isn’t anything of substance going on inside Danny Williams-Government that can be used to keep the flow of HappyNews flowing in a pre-pre-election summer. Anything big and important that can be delayed until calendar year 2011, will be. That leaves the smaller stuff.

So here’s Terry French announcing funding under the Cultural Economic Development Program (CEDP).

And here’s Terry French announcing funding under the Community Recreation Development Grant (CRDG) Program.

And here’s Terry French announcing funding under the Community Capital Grant Program (CCGP), which, sadly, no one thought to christen the Community Capital Contribution Program, for the high-larious potential retro-humour value of the acronym.

(And here, for good measure, is Terry French simply, and vaguely, “investing” money in some stuff without having to resort to another slurp of bureaucratic program-acronym alphabet soup. It is unclear if the proponents even had to resort to any kind of application process.)

But one of these things is not like the other.

CEDP press releases contain the standard boilerplate:

CEDP applications are considered based on the strength of the business plans, vision and potential for development within the sector. For more information on the CEDP program for heritage organizations, and application guidelines, visit:
CRDG press releases contain:

For more information on the Community Recreation Development Grant Program, and criteria for application, visit:
And CCGP press releases claim:

The Community Capital Grant Program is an application-based program that provides funding of up to $15,000 to assist municipalities and recreation commissions to improve their recreation and sports infrastructure.
Catch that?

Unlike the other two, there is no link to further information on the program, nor to the criteria and application guidelines. Which is just as well, because when you visit Minister French’s department’s otherwise very useful Forms and Applications page, you discover that there aren’t any.

This cleverly colour-coded graph shows the CCGP funding by district for 2010, according to Minister French’s barrage of press releases, in chronological order (oldest at left.)

Curiously, there has been a CCGP announcement this year for almost every ruralish electoral district in the province, while at the same time, there have been none for any district in St. John’s, Mount Pearl, or anywhere else in metro other than Cape St. Francis. It’s almost as if no one in Town (or in Humber West) thought to “apply” for this “application-based program”.

Curiouser: of the 29 districts receiving CCGP projects, each has received exactly one project, although that in Grand Bank was awarded – on an application basis, no doubt – to the three communities of Lord’s Cove, Lamaline and Point May which constitute “Greater Lamaline”.

Curiouser still: of those 29 projects, 20 have been approved for the exact maximum amount, $15,000, that is allowed under the undoubtedly rigorous application-based program guidelines.

Curiousest: of the six ruralish districts which either did not get CCGP funding, or for which a grant three just happen to be represented by traitors. The only opposition district to have had a CCGP announcement is the recently-treasonous Straits and White Bay North.

Perhaps no one in Cartwright–L’anse au Clair, Port de Grave, or Burgeo–La Poile, or, for that matter, in Torngat Mountains, Lewisporte, or Burin–Placentia West, thought to “apply”, either.


At 11:04 AM, August 11, 2010 , Blogger Mark said...

"A substantial number of MHAs argued that the nature of political life in
Newfoundland and Labrador is such that it is necessary that such expenditures be
condoned. In fact, some said that their lives as elected members would be intolerable if
those expenditures were not permitted. They talked in terms of the tremendous pressure
placed on politicians to make donations and give financial support within the community.
They said it was expected of the politician and that if he or she did not “play the game” there
would be consequences at the polls. They also argued that such expenditures, judiciously applied, made an important contribution to the community."

- an excerpt from the Green Report, referring to a different expenditure program, albeit with apparently similar oversight and delivery mechanisms...


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