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

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Time warp again, again

Yet another disruption of the space-time continuum. In Our Dear Scrum in Happy Valley-Goose Bay on November 18, Dear Leader burbled:

As recently as today we announced that the government are gonna put $2.5-million into a study for small hydro projects. It’s my understanding, and John and Ed could correct me on this, that there’s more than a dozen possible small hydro projects for example in the Port Hope Simpson area is a good example right there.
At that time, this corner floated the possibility that by "today" We actually meant "more than two years ago".

As it turns out, Nothing Could Be Further From the Truth.™

"Today", in fact, meant "twelve days in the future".


Monday, November 29, 2010

Easy, tiger

Himself is eager to see how and why His Dear Name ended up in the latest WikiLeaks core dump.

Rest easy, Himself. Rest easy. Consider the timeline:
Williams is named in four cables sent by the U.S. consulate in Halifax. Those are dated Oct. 23, 2003, March 31, April 30, and May 6, 2004.

His name also comes up in two cables sent by the U.S. embassy in Ottawa on Dec. 29, 2004, and Feb. 3, 2005.
October 23, 2003, is days after the 2003 provincial general election.

March 31, 2004, is right after the first WilliamsBudget.

April 30 and May 6 coincide with the public sector crisis that rocked WilliamsGovernment — and Our Dear Popularity Rating — in its first six months in office, and the back-to-work legislation that had the public sector unions sporting “One-Term Danny” buttons. One-Term Danny quickly became Short-Term Memory.

December 29, 2004, was during the Big Snit and the Great Flag Flap.

February 3, 2005, was shortly after the We Got It announcment.

The Wikileak documents that mention Us are U.S. diplomatic staff’s routine précis of current political events up here in the Canada.


Sunday, November 28, 2010

Promise kept

On December 7, 2005, the House of Assembly considered an opposition motion on the Lower Churchill; a motion which, among other things, threw the Premier’s own 2003 election rhetoric back at him by moving that “Labradorians must be the primary beneficiaries of any development of the hydro resource on the Lower Churchill River.”

During the course of debate on this motion, Lake Melville MHA John Hickey, at the time the only PC member in Labrador, clewed up his remarks as follows:
And the last thing I will say, Mr. Speaker, we will not put everybody into the Aurora Hotel in a board room at the eleventh hour, fifty-ninth minute, when everything is all signed, sealed and delivered and try to shove it down Labradorians’ throats! I can tell you that, Mr. Speaker.
And they didn’t.

They didn’t put everybody into the Aurora Hotel in a board room at the eleventh hour, fifty-ninth minute, when everything is all signed, sealed and delivered and try to shove it down Labradorians’ throats.

They did it at Hotel North B instead.


Saturday, November 27, 2010

So many myths

The utterly hopeless John Ibbitson writes in Saturday's edition of the utterly hopeless Globe and Mail:
The myth of Newfoundland, like so many nationalist myths, jars with reality. The province is, for one thing, more urban than rural, with half the population now living in or near St. John’s.

Could whoever keeps telling this lie to Toronto journalists — or to themselves, for that matter — please stop doing so? Just stop it.

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Poker stars

The Halifax Chronicle-Herald's Jim Meek has some advice for you gamblers:

Say what you will about Danny Williams, the undisputed king of the Rock knows how to wrap up a deal.

For my money, in fact, the premier of Newfoundland and Labrador is the only political leader in Canada with the guts to do business like he means it.

Just look at the big three wins that Williams has secured since he came to power eight years ago.


3. This week, the Williams government signed off on a preliminary $6.2-billion agreement with Emera and the government of Nova Scotia.


Want to play poker with this guy? I wouldn’t advise it.
Now, you may or may not want to play at cards with Danny Williams.

On the other hand, if you like taking gullible people's money from them, then you definitely want Jim Meek at your table.

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Friday, November 26, 2010

Irrational exuberance

It would be a tough call, but this, from one of Danny Williams' DannyFan pages on the Facebox, probably takes the prize for the most over-the-top reaction to Our Dear Terms Sheet. (Screen cap is slightly redacted to protect the, um, enthusiastic):

An open memo

To: All the disgusting Tory plants who piled onto the public pillorying of Wally Andersen for choking up on TV
Fr: Your consciences, if you have any
Subject: Tears

I hope you are capable of feeling shame.




This is for “Jim”.

Last week, in another example of the paranoid xenophobia that both fuelled the Danny Williams era and is part of its legacy, commenter “Jim” observed, in the comments section of a since-deleted VOCM news story:

With a name like Dumaresque, it makes you wonder. Sounds like a Quebec name to me.
As it would sound. To a prejudiced, paranoid, xenophobe.

In fact, Dumaresque is a Channel Islands name, the heritage of the long, and much under-appreciated, historical Channel Islands connection to the fisheries and trade of Newfoundland, Labrador, and regions around the Gulf of St. Lawrence such as Cape Breton, Gaspé, and the North Shore.

Other common Channel Islands names in Newfoundland and Labrador include some or all of the Fequet, Letemplier, Roberts, Gushue, Puddister, Legrow, Fillier, Hawco, Nichol, Piccott, Furey, Norman, Noel, Ledrew, Grouchy, Murrin, Payne, Tessier, Grandy, Ayre, St. Croix, Cabot, Renouf, Bonnell, Sacrey, Chevalier, Corbin, Carey, Leriche, Thomey, Tibbo, and Goudie family lines.


Thursday, November 25, 2010

Pulled off

In her intro to Our Dear Resignation this morning, CBC’s Chris O’Neill-Yates made the following strange claim about Our Dear Terms Sheet announced a week before:
What no other Premier has been able to pull off, he pulled off.
C O’N-Y, Nothing Could Be Further From The Truth.™ It's bad enough when Danny himself ran around claiming superlatives that didn't rightfully belong to him, but come on, now.

They pretty well all “pull off” some supposed magic on the Lower Churchill, and then leave.

As the Canadian Press reported on March 2, 1979:
The Newfoundland government has started a major stufy for development of the province's 110,000-square-mile mainland territory (Labrador), Premier Frank Moores said yesterday.

Moores, in what he said was his last big announcement before quitting as Premier after the March 16-17 Progressive Conservative leadership convention, said an important aim is to rid the province of its dependence on Quebec for marketing hydroelectric production.


Moores said engineering work should be finished this year for the highway to run from Goose Bay to Wabush near the Quebec border.

He predicted work would start by the spring of 1980 on what likely will be a four or five-year job. Negotiations with Ottawa on cost-sharing arrangements have yet to begin.
And as Duncan McMonagle reported for the Globe and Mail, on June 15, 1988:
Quebec and Newfoundland have reached an agreement on three joint hydro developments that could end their 12-year dispute over hydroelectric power, Newfoundland Premier Brian Peckford says.

The two provinces wil shortly begin to discuss three new hydro developments that could counteract the economic loss suffered by Newfoundland from the controversial Churchill Falls pact, he said...

Mr. Peckford and Quebec Premier Robert Bourassa told reporters that they hope this is the way to end their battle...

The discussions will begin this summer [Bourassa] said.


Mr. Peckford would like to step down fairly soon, but he wants to be able to say in doing so that he ended one of his province's most embarassing defeats.

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Parting words

On June 24th, the House of Assembly, after sitting for a gruelling 43 days, rose for the summer.

There are a whole host of rituals associated with the pre-rising sitting, not least of which, the platitudinous speeches from the party leaders on what was accomplished during the long session to date.

One of the leaders' June 24th speeches was a bit longer, a bit mushier, and a bit more retrospective than usual.

This corner could issue a longer epitaph for the Williams era, and probably will, but for today, let's leave Danny Williams in his own words. With his impending resignation as Premier, leader, and presumably MHA for Humber West, and the extension of the "summer" recess until December 6th, to give the rest of the PC caucus a chance to scrape its collective jaw off the floor, these words will stand as his swansong as an elected politician.

See you at the Blueberry Festival, and take care:
PREMIER WILLIAMS: I just want to express a few words of thanks to the members of the House, but before I do so I just want to build on the comments of the Lieutenant-Governor.

Yesterday, as evidenced by the red face, I had the wonderful experience of having the opportunity to go in and observe the caribou experiments and research that we have been doing and went into Bay du Nord wilderness area in order to see it. I went in yesterday because it was the only opportunity before the actual end of the calving season, when the calves are on their own, to see first-hand exactly what is going on with regard to predation and the reduction of our caribou herds. I am very proud to report that the money that we have allocated to look at this has been internationally appreciated.

Shane Mahoney, of course, was heading it up and I was with Shane yesterday. He has attended worldwide conferences at the highest levels. What the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador is doing in order to protect its herds and to do sophisticated research, applied research in this particular area is world-class.

The reason I mention it though is to build on what the Lieutenant-Governor has said with regard to the Province as we travel around the Province – and it is not fair to say that Cabinet ministers are the only ones who are going to be working this summer. As we all know, MHAs, your work really begins as soon as you leave here because it is a summer of festivals, of being in your districts and being in your constituencies and having a chance to meet the people and answer to the people who you represent, good and bad, if they have any complaints, if they have any compliments, you have an opportunity to listen to it.

As he made the comment, as you travel around the Province do not complain about the weather, but as I, yesterday, had the opportunity to be out in the Bay du Nord wilderness area, it just confirmed for me the magnificent Province that we have, extraordinary, special place in the entire world. When you are there and you have the opportunity to come down in the middle of a caribou herd that is a protected area, to observe bears in their natural habitat, to observe the coyotes in their natural habitat, but to see the pristine wilderness that we have and the protected areas that we have, and to know that we as a people are protecting that culture. Yes, sure, we are developing oil and gas, we are doing all the modern things that have to be done in a modern society, and the things that of course are necessary in order for us to provide the social benefits and the things that have to be done in our Province from an infrastructure perspective.

We do have this magnificent land; this place that has been described as a marvellous, terrible place, I think by one poet. I cannot think of the author who did it. It is truly an extraordinary place, and we are all very, very privileged – I consider myself very privileged to be Premier of this great Province, but we are all very privileged to represent all of these districts and the people of this Province. I know that certainly the Member for Labrador – that is a whole other experience. The Big Land is just a tremendous experience. I am hoping to get up in a couple of weeks and do some salmon fishing up in your district, so I am sure I will be well received there, as I always have. We do - and I do not want to belabour it, but I do want to build on what the Lieutenant-Governor said.

The other thing is an event occurred here last week in my absence - and actually, before I even deal with this particular comment, while I was in Russia at the St. Petersburg Economic Forum representing the Province, we had an opportunity to see and hear from the best in the world on the whole global economic situation. What is really interesting is that the rest of the world is troubled. The rest of the world is actually concerned about where they are. When I am talking about the rest of the world, I am talking about major countries, like the U.K., France, Germany, the EU generally, and of course, we were in Russia. One of the comments that was made is probably the second country that is probably in the biggest trouble in the entire world is Britain. Now, it just came as a complete shock to me when I heard it, because we know the trouble that Greece is having, Ireland and Spain and Portugal, but Britain is going through a very, very difficult.

From our perspective in Newfoundland and Labrador, I think for the first time, and I am not standing to take credit for this, I am standing to say on behalf of the people of Newfoundland and Labrador, that I think we are in a really privileged position at this particular point in our development. We are in a bubble. I think we are in a protected bubble. The world situation is deteriorating. There is a lot of debt there, but one comment was made that the debt that is been incurred during the last twelve to eighteen months in order to get the world through the recession will not be corrected until 2030. A huge, staggering statement that it is going to take that long for the rest of the world to get up to speed. However, when I look at what is happening here in Newfoundland and Labrador, the fact that we do have our debt reduced, the fact that we have our pension funds under control, the fact that we have reduced taxes, the fact that we are doing things which countries that do not have the benefits that we have, that do not have the natural resources that we have – and that is in the area of research, development and innovation.

That is an area we are now moving in. It is a very, very important area that we have to address and this government is committed to putting that money into that research. That is why the experience that I had yesterday was an incredible experience, but it goes to show the importance of using those monies in the proper areas so that we can prepare for the future at a time when the oil and gas is gone. Hopefully by that time, we will have moved from a non-renewable energy Province to a renewable energy Province and we will have use the monies from one to move to another.

The other point which I wanted to make quite briefly is the news story that came in Reuters yesterday. It opened up by saying, "Newfoundland and Labrador has come a long way since staggering deficits only a few years ago..." The most important quote is one that was also reported in the VOCM News, was a quote by Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of Canada, who was in town last week for the NOIA conference. I was not here to hear him, but I heard of his comments in Reuters - actually, a worldwide, international news agency reported this. Mr. Carney said, "The economic forecast for this province is very promising… the rest of Canada would fare well using Newfoundland and Labrador as an economic example." That is a huge, huge statement.

Mr. Speaker, I am not here to take personal credit. What I do want to do is thank the members of my Cabinet, members of my caucus, and the members of the Opposition for their contribution in making us a better government through your questions, through your inquiries, through any attempts that you have made whatsoever to probe to get more information.

This statement, made by the Governor of the Bank of Canada, is a statement for which the people of Newfoundland and Labrador should be very, very proud. To say that our little Province, the tenth Province, one of thirteen jurisdictions, who was always considered the poor sister, the economically weak sister of Confederation, is now an example for the rest of the country is huge. So I think the people of Newfoundland and Labrador should be very, very proud of where we are at this particular point in our evolution. That does not mean, though, that we want to just try to stay the course and that we sit back and we rest on our laurels. I think we have to keep driving it and keep moving forward.

Having said all of that, Mr. Speaker, with regard to the last session, as I understand from the Government House Leader, it equals the record longest session of the House, so any criticism the hon. members opposite have about us not sitting around here long enough, we can stay for another couple of months, if you want to. I extend the invitation. I understand it is gruelling. I understand it is difficult, for all members of the House, quite frankly, but there were days when the Tories had three people in Opposition. I am sure Mr. Harris remembers those days. It is not easy, and they do understand that. At that particular point in time I was much younger, a political supporter, but I saw the hard work that the Opposition did. I want to give full credit to the Opposition, to the Liberal Leader, the Government House Leader as well, the Leader of the Party. I wish you well in the leadership, the upcoming leadership. You will probably be the only candidate. If they are smart, that is what the party will do, but having said that, I certainly wish you well.

From a perspective of the manner in which the House was conducted, there are going to be decorum issues, nerves are going to get frayed, but again, I refer to Mr. Harris, you watched a lot of sessions in this particular House, I was here as a clerk at that table a long, long time ago. It is part of the parliamentary process. People may say what they want and people may criticize, and people may say that young people who sit in the galleries are wondering what is going on, but that is the process. If you look at the British Parliament, if you look at the Canadian Parliament, you sit in the gallery in most of the provincial parliaments across this country, there is banter that goes on but it stays here, and when we leave here then that is where it stays.

I do want to thank the members of the Opposition. I do want to thank the Leader of the New Democratic Party for input. You are there all by yourself. I know that cannot be easy. There is not another shoulder to lean on at some point in time when you want to get a rest or you want to get a break. It is not an easy job, but I thank you for your questions. I thank you for the manner in which you conduct yourself in the House throughout, and it is appreciated. We realize the democratic process, we realize the adversarial process that happens here, but at the end of the day, it ends up with us getting the kind of endorsement that we got from the Governor of the Bank of Canada, which I feel is really, really significant.

I want to thank my government. I want to thank the Government House Leader particularly, for thirty or thirty-one pieces of legislation this time around. The longest session of the House. I think the session extended over twelve weeks. It does not add up to twelve weeks but it did extend over a period of twelve weeks, if we count the partial weeks. That is a long haul. That is not easy on anyone. Ministers are away from their departments. They have work to do in their departments and very, very important business. So if it does not get done here between 1:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. or in the evening sessions, some of which can go late, then it has to done on the weekends or in the nighttime. So I certainly appreciate that. I want to thank all my fellow ministers. I want to thank all my fellow members of the House who have made a contribution from time to time. It was probably conspicuous in my absence but I can tell you, I was working to the best of my ability and I must say I am very, very proud of what we have all achieved as a group.

I do want to thank the Speaker, a tough job. It is not an easy job at all but you are the referee, and that is exactly as I see it. You probably should wear a striped shirt, Mr. Speaker, but having said that, to try and control the banter that happens between us is not an easy job. You conduct yourself in an impartial way and I certainly appreciate that. You bring decorum to the House. We take it away and you bring it back. So at the end of the process, I think it serves the people of the Province very, very well.

I want to thank the Table Officials, the Clerk and the Law Clerks for your contribution. I realize to have to sit there day after day and listen to us sometimes cannot be very, very easy. Again, the House flows very well and we certainly thank you for your contribution.

To the Pages who are constantly on their feet and run back and forth and keep us full of water and keep us full of paper and everything else, I just want to thank you so much. Certainly, I want you to know that it is appreciated. I think in later life you will find that it will be a very good experience. You may sit back sometimes again and shake your head and wonder, but you do it with respect. I have not seen you do it openly or blatantly but you probably go in behind the Speaker there and just kind of shake your head back and forth.

To the members of the RNC and of course the Sergeant-at-Arms, again, thank you very much for your oversight and for taking care of us and also for the security personnel and commissioners here who take care of the galleries. Obviously, from time to time there are people who come into our galleries with very, very legitimate complaints and protests, people who are on strike, people who have been on strike or out of work for extended periods of time, but overall, we have to sit here, we have to answer, we have to face the people. I think that is why this is a good process that people are able to come to the galleries, and again, young people are able to come in and see exactly how a Legislature works. I think that is a good thing. Again, I want to thank everybody for making sure that it is a civil place; that it is a place where people can come.

As well, the media – again, the media have been very fair to us. I bite my tongue when I say that, but as a government, they have a job to do. I guess at times they have to be critical. I hope they are never critical for the sake of criticism. When, in fact, we disagree with some of the things that are said, of course we will take issue with it. We will do it either publicly or privately, but we will do it as we have a right to do so. Of course, there is the right - freedom of speech and freedom of the press, they also have a right of course to cast their opinions, and again, an attempt to make sure that government is inline, and we appreciate that. That is part of it. We do not necessarily always agree with what they have to say but we certainly agree with the process.

The staff at Hansard, the staff at the Broadcast Centre, the Library staff, I want to thank you all. Again, this has been a long session for everybody. It is like the last day of school, if we had caps on and we were graduating we would all throw them up in the air.

I want to thank our chief spectator and cheerleader there, he is non-partisan. He just sits there and he listens but you should write a book some time. I am sure it would be an interesting read and be certainly very much appreciated by anybody who has had the honour and the privilege to sit in this House.

So, having said all that, I went on a little longer but the Lieutenant-Governor sort of gave me a lead in with regard to the Province and how we feel about this great Province. I have to tell you, yesterday, for me, was a unique lifetime experience and I hope - I would encourage anybody, whoever gets an opportunity as members of this House, to do that and to get out and see and truly appreciate what a great land we live in and what a great land we represent.

Thank you very much.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!


The Cupids celebrations, 400th Anniversary celebrations - I want to make sure everybody has a great summer and you spend time in your districts and get a chance to get around the Province, but this is a very special celebration. This is the oldest English colony in North America. It is equivalent, in my opinion, to the Quebec City celebrations that were held just two years ago or a year ago. Get out there, it is in the middle of August. Make sure you spend some time out there, but it is really worthwhile being there and being part of it. I know, Roland, I am going to see you out there. So we will see you there and at the Blueberry Festival.

Take care.

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Ha! Funny!

The curiously-hard-to-find "Terms Sheet" of the "deal" between Nalcor and Emera is a laugh-a-minute piece of writing.

Take, for example, Appendix F.

Under the heading, "Project Schedule and Milestones", subheading "Muskrat Falls", item "Joint Review Panel Hearings"... they are projectedly-scheduled to be complete in "Q[uarter] 1 2011."

i.e., before the end of March.

Allo, Leacock Medal jury?


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Image is everything

Apparently it wasn't only Dear Leader who was working on his image during the worst of the Hurricane Igor emergency in September.

Via Citizen Meeker:
“I was on the Long Pond bridge, just after Hurricane Igor, when you had to walk across because there was no traffic allowed, and along comes the politicians. (MHA) Clyde Jackman was a darling, shaking hands and talking to people. And I’m organizing things for the Red Cross, when (MHA) Darin King tosses me a cell phone... ‘I gotta get re-elected,’ he tells me. ‘Take some pictures.’ And I’m there for the Red Cross, trying to get food out to people. I did it… But now in hindsight, that really ticks me off.”

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Blarney the dinosaur

We learn via NTV video of Us speaking at Our Dear Invitation-Only Reception last week, just how much super We have crammed into the superlative nature of Our Dear Muskrat Falls plan:
About twenty minutes away, you're gonna have a super-duper-mega-project.
No mere mega-project. Not for this Premier.

Not even a super-mega-project.

No sir. Nothing but a super-duper-mega-project will do for Our people.

We love He, He love We, He plays Premier on TV.


Monday, November 22, 2010

Time warp, again

In Our Dear Scrum in Happy Valley-Goose Bay on Thursday evening, Dear Leader burbled:

As recently as today we announced that the government are gonna put $2.5-million into a study for small hydro projects. It’s my understanding, and John and Ed could correct me on this, that there’s more than a dozen possible small hydro projects for example in the Port Hope Simpson area is a good example right there.
Now, there being absolutely no independent evidence that We announced anything of the sort "today", is it possible that by "today" We actually meant "more than two years ago"?

It wouldn't be the first localized disruption of the space-time continuum. Must be the Williams Effect.


Winner and new champion

The VOCM Question of the Day for November 19, 2010, "Do you like the Lower Churchill deal?", finally weighed in at 67,559 "votes".

It bumped the QotD for February 6, 2009, "Do you think the nurses should have accepted government's invitation to go back to the bargaining table?", 59,365, for all-time goosingest VOCM online poll.

Only two others have ever topped 50,000: "Do you think radio call-in shows like VOCM Open Line influenced Government's handling of the breast cancer testing scandal?" (May 13, 2008, 53,664* votes) and "Do you think Danny Williams owes an apology to breast cancer patients and their families for his recent comments on the Cameron Inquiry?" (May 14, 2008, 51,772 votes).

The former has an asterisk next to it, having been the subject of a fascinating experiment by Geoff Meeker which, ahem, distorted the results.


What a difference five years makes

In 2005, Danny Williams went to Labrador to push Our Dear Embryonic Energy Plan. As Andrew Waugh reported in the November 15, 2005 edition of The Telegram:
Premier Danny Williams guaranteed Labradorians a reserve of power from the proposed Lower Churchill hydro development at a public consultation in Happy Valley-Goose Bay Monday night.

During the meeting Williams also committed to holding consultations with the Labrador Metis Nation (LMN). The LMN recently linked their support of the project to a longstanding bid for formal recognition and have demanded the government sign a nine-point Memorandum of Understanding before any Lower Churchill talks commence.

While almost all of the 30-plus groups and individuals who gave presentations to the government team - which included ministers Paul Shelley, Tom Rideout and Ed Byrne and Lake Melville MHA John Hickey - backed the project, there were a handful of voices opposing the development.


"Firstly, to all of the people who think this is a done deal: nothing could be further from the truth," Williams said. "We are close to a year away from the final decision and if anyone thinks this is the final consultation ... that is not going to be the practice of this government.

"The reason we are here in Labrador is because this is your resource. We want to hear what your concerns are, what you don't want government to do with this resource.

"This province has given away your resources in Labrador (in the past). This government will not your give your resources away."
Last week, on November 18th — or was it the 17th? — Danny Williams went back to Labrador to sell his "deal" to continue talking about maybe doing something about the Lower Churchill.

His audience this time was much more exclusive:
The Honourable Danny Williams, Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, will host a reception this evening (Thursday, November 18) at the Hotel North B in Happy Valley-Goose Bay. The Premier will be joined by the Honourable John Hickey, Minister of Labrador Affairs; the Honourable Patty Pottle, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs; and, Ed Martin, President and CEO of Nalcor Energy.

The event begins at 5:30 p.m. It is by invitation only and also open to members of the media.


50's company, 100's a crowd

VOCM reports on Sunday:

About 50 people gathered Saturday for a public rally against Corner Brook Pulp and Paper's proposed plan to use tire derived fuel.
CBC reported on Saturday:

About 100 people marched through the streets of Corner Brook in western Newfoundland on Saturday morning to protest a proposal from officials at the city's pulp and paper mill.
And the Western Star met both of the broadcasters half way:

About 75 people took to the streets of Corner Brook in a protest march against Corner Brook Pulp and Paper's proposal to burn tire-derived fuel as an alternative energy source Saturday morning.
Perhaps the media outlets could have used the same crack team of accurate and reliable crowd estimators who counted 10,000 people at the totally non-partisan "Trust and Confidence" rally in St. John's the other year.


Sunday, November 21, 2010

His assurance (II)

“We will not develop the Lower Churchill unless the primary beneficiaries are Labradorians. You have my assurance on that.”

— Danny Williams, in The Labradorian, October 6, 2003

City Anticipates Benefits of Lower Churchill Development

With the announcement that the Lower Churchill Falls project will go ahead, the City of St. John's is eagerly anticipating the benefits of the development. Mayor Dennis O'Keefe says the project will provide much needed economic stimulus and jobs. O'Keefe says the capital city will be the major beneficiary of the development, as it is a supply base and will contribute to many aspects of the project.

— Dennis O'Keefe on VOCM, November 21, 2010


Saturday, November 20, 2010

Scraped clean and re-inscribed (IV)

An interesting aside from the CP wire coverage of the latest announcement that was intended to blow your minds:
Williams left no doubt that his drive to bypass Quebec and bring power through Nova Scotia using subsea cables was fuelled by the 1969 agreement to develop Chur-chill Falls power.

He said the woefully lopsided terms of that deal also drove him into politics.
Indeed. That was the leitmotif, the theme, frequently referred to in his barnburner of a speech, on December 5, 2000, when he threw his hat — the only hat, as it turned out — into the leadership ring for the shell of the former PC Party of Newfoundland and Labrador.

He expounded at length on the Upper Churchill agreement during this speech, long since bit-bucketted, but cleverly preserved for posterity, and your enjoyment, by an electronic gnome:
Thank you Glen for the kindness of your comments.

Thank you Norm and members of the caucus for your strong showing of support and a major reason for me being here today. (Happy Birthday Sheila Osborne)

Thank you to all who have taken time out of your busy schedules to be with us today.
This is a very important day for myself and my family, my wife, Maureen, my mother, Terri, my daughters, Katie, Jane, my son Daniel and our next generation family, Jillian, Trevor, Gabriel, our little angel, who is coming home from hospital for Christmas and Abbey who is here this morning.

I have been fortunate in my business and professional life. I have been blessed in my personal life I want to devote this stage of my life to public service because I truly love this province.

With the support of the caucus, my wife, my children, my grandchildren and our extended families and friends, I am proud today to announce my candidacy for the leadership of the PC Party of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Our decision today is not one that we have taken lightly without weighing the heavy responsibility of leading this great party of ours and ultimately becoming Premier of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador.

I have travelled extensively with various members of my family throughout the entire Province from St. Anthony to Harbour Breton, from Port Aux Basques to Trepassey, from Sheshashit to Bonavista, from Springdale to Burgeo and many many other great communities. It has confirmed for me the vast wealth of our resources, both human and natural, but in sharp contrast is the stark reality that our rural communities have been neglected terribly in recent years. People across the Province are crying out for a solution.

What has it come to?

Our unemployment is still the highest in the country
Our healthcare system is substandard
Our education system is in disarray
Our harbours are full of raw sewage
Our water is contaminated in over 200 communities

Our people are looking for New Hope, New Direction, New Leadership, Real Leadership.

Everywhere that I have been, I have received sincere words of encouragement from Newfoundlanders and Labradorians from all walks of life. They have asked me to accept the challenge, to stand up and be counted and I intend to do just that.

In my childhood, I never thought that one day I would be standing here in this position. I have always been involved in the political process on the other side of the podium - placing signs, dropping off pamphlets, making calls, doing polls and fundraising. But my late father and my mother, who I am pleased to say is healthy and with us on stage today, were always die hard Tories since Confederation and instilled in me the importance of providing a political alternative to people. We were PC's back in the 50's and 60's when it took guts to be a Tory!

As a result I have never been one to walk away from a challenge, political or otherwise. I have been saddened by some of the developments, which I see in our Province. Our child poverty is the highest in the country; our once proud seniors are using food banks to save money for heat; our communities are dying; our youth are moving elsewhere. I am also deeply touched by the number of people who've expressed confidence in my leadership and pledged their support for our joint efforts to find ways to improve the situation of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians. This decision today is not about me. It is about this party and the people of our great Province. It is about Hope and Opportunity it is about the Youth and the Future of Newfoundland and Labrador.

I hope to provide Real Leadership to this Province. What you see / is what you get. I have a proven track record as a team player, both in the sporting arena and business world.

I have been involved as a volunteer and leader in a number of amateur sport and charitable organizations, which have successfully achieved their goals through team efforts.

Through my law career, I have fought successfully for the underdog time and time again - for the abused, for the wrongfully convicted, for those who simply want justice. I know what it is to have the responsibility of peoples lives and future in my hands and I will not shirk that responsibility.

I believe in the team approach because I have seen it work. I am fortunate today to have the support and experience of a strong team of PC caucus members, our MP'S and my family. I want to extend an open invitation to the general public to come and join our team as workers or candidates who believe in building a better future for all of us.

I am proud to announce that my Leadership Campaign Manager is Loyola Sullivan, a seasoned veteran and former leader of the Party. My Campaign Chairperson is Agnes Richard, from Gander who needs no introduction and is loved, respected and admired in the PC Party. Come up Agnes and join us on the platform.

My western Vice-Chair is Tom Marshall of Corner Brook, son of Senator Jack Marshall. He is a long time supporter and activist in various leadership campaigns. Come up Tom. My Labrador Vice- Chair is Todd Scaplen of Goose Bay, a young man who is President of the Student Activities Council at the College of the North Atlantic and a champion for northern issues. Come up Todd.

When Maureen and I left for Dalhousie in 1971 we had $500.00 to our name and everything we owned in the back of a beaten up station wagon which caught fire just outside of Halifax. I know what it is to start from scratch, that success is achieved through a supportive family, a good education, pure hard work and a little luck. I have faced hurdles and challenges but I enjoy taking charge and accepting responsibility.

I feel that I can and will make a contribution to our Province and I offer a REAL alternative and Real Leadership for Newfoundlanders and Labradorians. As Progressive Conservatives, we know that Government has a role to play but we know the role of government is not to be all things to all people. It should, however, set reasonable priorities, encourage development, provide leadership and direction, create public and private partnerships and at the same time provide assistance for those who are less fortunate. We must build a strong foundation for our growth.

My commitment is to improve the quality of our health care system for those who need it and for those who provide it.

It is also critically important that we foster the investment and employment growth so badly needed, especially in our rural communities. The best social program is a job.

I firmly believe that the youth of our Province are key to turning the current situation around. A significant part of my effort will be focused on working with youth to ensure that they can have a prosperous future, at home. Today, I am issuing a challenge to our young people to get involved, to work with our team in a partnership that will develop a solution to a brighter future. We will find a way for affordable education and jobs within our Province.

That is the real alternative I am offering and it will take Real leadership to make it happen.

Real Leadership is not governing by polls but it is listening and responding to all Newfoundlanders and Labradorians. Real Leadership is making sure that your priorities will be my priorities and I'll make you one promise we are going to have some fun while we are at it.

A Progressive Conservative Party under my leadership will be an open, accessible Party that will embrace the advice and support of all Newfoundlanders and Labradorians. We will reach out across partisan lines and welcome everyone into our family. We will recruit the very best, whatever their political stripe. I see real leadership as a vehicle to bringing people together, young and old, from all parts of our Province from all walks of life. Our people are tired of being ignored, tired of being taken for granted, tired of unfulfilled promises.

Abraham Lincoln once said - Let the people know the truth and the country is safe. We will keep the people of this Province fully informed; there will be no secret documents, there will be no hidden agenda. If you and I know the facts then we will collectively decide the best course for our future. At the end of the day, the most formidable judge and jury I have ever faced will be the people of this Province.

We will reach out, We will listen, We will be responsive. Over the next few months, I will be travelling around the Province again listening to the concerns and suggestions of the people of Newfoundland and Labrador. I'll be meeting with our caucus , with individuals, with communities and with anyone who wants their concerns and suggestions listened to for a change. Through this process we will develop a comprehensive policy platform for our party to take into the next provincial election. There will be no shoot from the hip or band-aid solutions to our problems. We need a well-researched, well-reasoned plan for our future, one that is grounded in real opportunities to meet real needs, not crafted for political advantage.

We will be going to you, the people, to help develop the solution for our future. We will require your commitment, your co-operation and your belief in our goals. In return, I will provide the leadership, vision and hard work necessary to make it happen.

We must build on the Newfoundland tradition of people working together to solve their problems - a sense of community, respect for the individual and a conviction that we can be the masters of our own destiny.

Leaders must govern with integrity, diligence, hard work and good common sense. I hope that my experience and background and work ethic provide a real alternative in leadership for Newfoundlanders and Labradorians.

I will be decisive yet sensitive.
I will be creative not reactive.
I will be responsible and accountable.

I will build on the outstanding work of Frank Moores, Brian Peckford, Tom Rideout, Lynn Verge, Len Simms, Loyola Sullivan and Ed Byrne who have positioned our party to once again govern this great Province. I will continue the fight for maximum benefit to Newfoundlanders and Labradorians from our natural resources. Can I do a deal? Yes, I can do a deal but I will not do one just for the sake of doing it. Alberta, Texas, Scotland and Norway have all boomed on the back of natural resources, there is no reason why our Province should be any different. We deserve our fair share.

The people are tired of broken promises. The Provincial Government is running out of steam, out of talent and out of ideas. The Federal Liberal government has relegated us to second class, have-not status, they have clawed back our future.

The Red Tide is going out. A Big Blue Wave is moving across this Province and I encourage all of you to ride its crest to a prosperous future for Newfoundland and Labrador under our Progressive Conservative Government.

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Friday, November 19, 2010

Masters of Our Own House

After a brief 158-day respite, the overworked and underpaid legislative specialists will pick up on November 29th where they left off on June 24th.



Himself blurbles, on CBC Newsworld’s Power and Politics with Evan Solomon Thursday afternoon:
Well, because of the long haul, in order to get across the straits, down through the island of Newfoundland and Labrador, then across the gulf...
What more excuse might a body need to recycle this image?

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Financial comparison

For $6-billion and change, you can supposedly build 1550 MW of rated capacity along the La Romaine river.

For $6-billion and a little less change, you can supposedly build 830 MW of rated capacity at Muskrat Falls.

Or, for $6-billion and a minute amount of change, you can buy six couches from IKEA and have them shipped to your home in Nunavut.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Vocabulary building

David Jackson of the Halifax Chronicle-Herald makes an important distinction between two ordinary English words which have, erroneously, started to fuse meanings in the ears and language centres of those who want them to mean the same thing:
Stable — but not necessarily cheaper — electricity costs could be ahead for Nova Scotians with a $6.2-billion tentative deal to bring hydro-electric power from Labrador to Cape Breton.


By the clicking of their thumbs (II)

Another installment of an irregular series on what the Spontaneous Thumbs-Down Brigade are rather conspicuously disagreeing with, over on another bit of Big Announcement coverage on the CBC web site.

Total number of down-thumbs, as of this hour, in brackets:
Sad news...The Muskrat Falls are so wild, pure, and majestic. I guess no body cares because they are so out of the way. [161]

One more natural waterway area dammed and destroyed. There are very few left on the planet; it is a shame to see this happenning in even the farthest remote areas of Canada. [158]

more DEVASTATION of the land by Dirty Power! [166]

Headline should read - "Labrador Deal Worth $6B, Newfoundland and Nova Scotia benefits, Labrador People Nothing." [81]

The lack of political and economic sophistication is such in Newfoundland that the media would cheer and voters dance in the streets if Dictator Danny announced today that he had signed an agreement to plug a 1500 km long extension cord into his office wall socket which would be laid from St. John's to Halifax. [132]

THERE IS NO WAY that you can produce electricity at $0.10 cts/kwh and sell it for less. It is going to be VERY expensive power with nowhere to go. A 6.2 b$ white elephant. [167]

But no money for medical specialists? [127]

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We must support the Premier

A fascinating letter to the editor which appeared in the St. John's Telegram on August 11, 2001.

What ever became of this nice John Hickey feller?
Development in my 'backyard'? Yes, please

It's about time that we in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador started supporting Premier Roger Grimes.

It's about time we started attracting industry to set up here in Labrador. We here in Labrador expect the maximum benefits from our resources, which are really in our backyards, for the future benefit of our children and our communities adjacent to these great resources.

The days should be over when we give away our resources for the benefit of others, for the sustainability of communities on the island portion of the province and outside the province.

Labrador should be and must be the first to benefit from its own resources.

We are open for business and new investment opportunities for those who wish to participate in the many development projects available here.

I can also say that the town of Happy Valley-Goose Bay will be at the forefront as the site for any proposed Alcoa processing facility — after all, my community has the Lower Churchill hydro project in our "backyard," not to mention the cheapest electrical rates in North America, a world-class airport facility and a great seaport.

John Hickey, mayor
Happy Valley-Goose Bay



Arguably the most fascinating and important clause of the "Term Sheet", unveiled with much oomph today in St. John's, Labrador:
The Term Sheet expires upon the conclusion of the formal agreements or November 30, 2011.

The later-of fixed date for the expiration of this historic document is, conveniently enough, scant weeks after the 2011 fixed election date.



His Premierosity is a stickler for facts:
“We’re not interested in pursuing this kind of a dialogue. We’re not interested in talking about trusting doctors. We all trust doctors. We all trust our own doctors, and any other doctors our families come in contact with. When it comes to people telling the truth, all we do is state the facts as they are.”
So, apparently, is Angela Lonardo, a MUN librarian:
Even statistics from three years ago all point to an average family income of well over $65,000 per year. This is significantly different from Mr. Kennedy’s claim that the average family income in Newfoundland and Labrador is “about $32,000.”

Though the statistics above might not be easy for a member of the general public to find, surely Mr. Kennedy has staff who are qualified to find statistics.

And surely the public should feel confident that statistics, or any information for that matter, that are included in a ministerial announcement have been checked and rechecked for accuracy.

Blowing minds: bi-provincial edition

CP reports this morning:
Emera and Nalcor Energy — the Crown-owned utility for Newfoundland and Labrador — also declined comment. But Williams and Dexter have scheduled a news conference for 10 a.m. today in St. John’s to announce what Dexter’s office is calling a "significant energy partnership."

Dexter will then be joined by Energy Minister Bill Estabrooks and Kathy Dunderdale, Newfoundland and Labrador’s natural resources minister, at a news conference at 3 p.m. at Province House in Halifax.
No word yet on when the news conference will be held in, um, you know, Labrador.


By the clicking of their thumbs

Within minutes of publishing its scoop yesterday on the latest in a long series of Announcements That Will Blow Your Minds, CBC's web version of the story was flooded both with comments, and with large numbers of up- and down-thumbs on those comments.

It is probably probative of something that, as of approximately 7:00 a.m. on Thursday morning, the most-thumbs-downed comments are the following [thumbs-down vote in brackets]:

Best news boatguy? Let's see the details first - people thought that the original Churchill Falls deal was great news too. How quickly we forget. [106]

I hope all the Innu People from SHESHATSHIU to benifit this deal. This land is about to destroyed, this is their land and hunting grounds... [96]

boatguy this isn't green technology, once the huge reservoir is created, mercury levels rise in the water and fish/animals/people who have to use it, and not to mention the loss of animal habitat. I also find it funny how we have billions of dollars for a project such as this, and they can't find more money for the doctors. [105]

Danny Williams, October 2003: “We will not develop the Lower Churchill unless the primary beneficiaries are Labradorians. You have my assurance on that.” So much for his "assurance". Emera, take note. [118]

The issue with this will not be in the political announcement, (two premiers for a private sector purchase?) but in the details. Who is responsible for construction risk? Who is guaranteeing the financing? This has the smell of a political deal, not a business one. We cannot afford to spend oil dollars to give Mr. Williams a vanity project.
ps When will the link to NS be registered for environmental purposes? [90]

This means your power bill will go up to pay for construction, enjoy :) [116]

Danny Williams wants to make a deal for selling want he does'nt own...Williams needs to sit down with the Metis and the INNU if he wants to make a deal on this river.....otherwise it will never happen, the people will not allow it !!!! Our Labardor [120]

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Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Himself went before the microphones today and blurbled the following funny joke:
This inflammatory rhetoric does nothing to help that situation, and actually brings out the worst elements in society as a result of it... All we're saying today is that there's no need for this kind of rhetoric, coz that's gonna inflame the situation, it's gonna feed into the vitriolic atmosphere of politics that has now creeped into the province over the course of the last month. And that's only gonna get worse.
This is the same Himself who told an Ottawa audience in June:

And just what is Québec doing with all this revenue? They are giving tax breaks, reducing electricity rates, funding the best child care programs in the country and the lowest tuitions for post-secondary students for only Québec residents.

And Canadians are paying for Québec satellite offices – or mini embassies - in approximately 26 countries including the cities of Barcelona, Taipei, Munich, Mumbai, Vienna, Santiago and Damascus to name just a few.


Québec gets its own way because it has achieved the political trifecta. Their provincial special interests are protected by their influential Ministers in the Federal Government, the Provincial Government of Québec and the Bloc - a party that has a significant role in the balance of power which prioritizes issues only of concern to Québec.
And a local audience in September:

Quebec pours its money into huge tax subsidies for its companies, the best childcare programs in the country and massive electricity subsidies for its people valued at seven billion dollars.

Because of its electricity subsidies, it records less provincial revenue on its books, enabling it to qualify for additional federal aid.

Canadians are, in effect, paying Quebec to subsidize electricity exclusively for its own. And they have the skin on them to impede our progress after gouging us the first time.

And this is only the tip of the iceberg of the special deals Quebec’s citizens and enterprises receive from the government and people of Canada, including multi billion dollar subsidies to the aerospace industry. The latest suggestion is for a half billion dollar hockey rink in Quebec City out of public funds.


I understand your AGM this year is in Quebec, so I do wish you great success and if I might be so bold I would suggest that you keep your head up!
It's also the same Himself who, not long before His Ottawa speech, slurred the infamous slur:

If we could only keep the Quebec lovers quiet, Mr. Speaker, it would be nice.
It is refreshing, however, to see His born-again beliefs, the veritable zeal of the converted, in expounding on the immorality of inflammatory rhetoric that does nothing to help, that actually brings out the worst elements in society as a result of it; rhetoric that there's no need for, that's gonna inflame the situation, and that's gonna feed into the vitriolic atmosphere of politics that has now creeped into the province.

After all, Dear Leader, you wouldn't want that to get worse, now, would you?

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His assurance

From the October 6, 2003 edition of The Labradorian:
Williams visits with Labrador supporters

An enthusiastic crowd awaited PC leader Danny Williams as he paid a visit to party supporters in Happy Valley-Goose Bay.

Mr. Williams met with a crowd of about 60 people at the headquarters of Lake Melville PC candidate John Hickey Sept. 30, one day after the election call by Premier Roger Grimes.

“We have the next premier of Newfoundland and Labrador here with us tonight,” said Mr. Hickey, as he introduced his party leader.

“There is a big wave coming, a big blue wave. This is the time for new leadership, a change of direction. The battle has just begun. We’ll do it fair and square; we’ll take the high ground not the low ground.”

Mr. Williams said it was important for him to visit Labrador.

“Newfoundland and Labrador talks about getting a raw deal from Ottawa; I believe our province has been treating Labrador like second-class citizens,” said Mr. Williams. “With outstanding candidates like John Hickey and Winston White (for Torngat Mountains) it will change.”

Mr. Williams rallied the crowd as he vowed there would be no more “giveaways’ of Labrador resources.

“The Voisey’s Bay deal was over-sold, over-hyped - the Premier Grimes sold out,” said Mr. Williams.

“We will not develop the Lower Churchill unless the primary beneficiaries are Labradorians. You have my assurance on that.”


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Feel the presence

Bond Papers picks up the Frontier Centre study on federal presence throughout the federation, and observes:

The study effectively refutes claims that this province is receiving something less than its “entitlement’ to federal pork spending. The comparative figures also demolish two reports released by Memorial University’s Harris Centre in 2005 and 2006.
Well, it doesn’t so much “demolish” the work of the Harris Centre for the Promulgation of Newfoundland Nationalist Mythology, as it confirms it.

The Frontier study says:

Newfoundland, Ontario and Quebec have levels of federal employment that are approximately equivalent to the national average.
Just as Harris I said:

In regard to employment, the study confirms that Federal employment in the Province, as a share of total Federal employment, has been somewhat higher than the Province’s share of the national population.
And Harris II said:

As shown in the figure, throughout the 1980s, about 2.4% of federal employment was located in the province. That share rose to slightly more than 2.5% during the early 1990s; and this share of federal employment was larger than Newfoundland and Labrador’s share of Canada’s population. However, after 1996 there was a downward movement in the province’s relative share. By 2003, 1.8% of federal government employment was in Newfoundland and Labrador, which was little different from the province’s share of the national population at the time, about 1.65%.
It was only after the arithmetic turned out to debunk the popular, but wrong, notion that Newfoundland and Labrador a disproportionately small share of the federal civil service, that the HCPNNM turned to other figures to try and keep the grievance alive

There was the obligatory “we don’t get as much as Halifax” complaint:

The remaining provinces, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, Ontario and Manitoba, all have a greater share of Federal employment than they do of the national population. Newfoundland and Labrador is notably the worst-off of this group, with the share of employment almost exactly equal to the share of national population.
And the statistically unsound appeal to the absolute number of jobs, vs. the relative figure, thereby discarding the only way to meaningfully compare one province to another or to the overall picture:

Perhaps a more meaningful statistic is the absolute number of federal government jobs in the Province.
But above all, there was the fixation the overall change in federal employment during the fiscal restraint period of the 1990s. The HCPNNM conveniently chose 1993 as its base case – the year in which federal government employment hit its historic peak – which made the ensuing cutbacks seem all the more dramatic and somehow (how, is never specified) more unfair.

Curiously, the HCPNNM does not appear to have to have made any attempt to update its research.

In fiscal year 2004-05, the annual average* number of federal jobs in the province was 7018, or 1.36% of the total population.

For 2009-10, the figure is just over 7500, 1.47% of the population.

Yes, federal employment in Newfoundland and Labrador is not only higher than the all-Canada average, as has been for as long as statistics have been kept, it is also on the increase.

(And perhaps when the HCPNNM does its follow-up research on federal presence, it could also finally get curious about provincial presence.)

* Average, so as to smooth out the seasonal fluctuation in government employment.


Monday, November 15, 2010

Optimist vs. Pessimist

Two local news outlets cover the same press release:

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Saturday, November 13, 2010

The L-word

It would appear that Our go-it-alone Lower Churchill project has long since become a go-it-a-loan Lower Churchill Project. Himself goes on the air to debrief His public on His meeting with Michael Ignatieff:
His statement of favourable consideration for both the Lower Churchill guarantee and the sale of the 8.5% interest was music to my ears.
It makes a body wonder — with the usual caveats inserted here about ever speculating on any aspect of Our Dear Health — does He have some very rare kind of aphasia that prevents Him from inserting the word "loan" before the word "guarantee"?


All just a little bitta history repeating (VI)

Another object lesson from one of this corner's best book-sale finds in ages:
It is strange that so many of the reporters who regularly trooped out to meet Premier Smallwood when he visited Ottawa and questioned him, never seemed to be shocked — amused, yes, but never shocked — at his actions. They never seemed to be concerned with is rash decision to invest the better part of $45 million that he had received immediately after Confederation into a bounch of industries all within a couple of years.
– William J. Browne, “And now... Eighty-seven years a Newfoundlander”. St. John's: Dicks, 1981, pp. 292.

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Friday, November 12, 2010

All just a little bitta history repeating (V)

Another blast from the fading past:
I have never heard of a party leader in any country, outside countries ruled by dictators, who applied so much pressure to get all the members on one side. Premier Smallwood's strategy was applied to do exactly this. His idea in reducing the number of issues in the election to one — "how badly Mr. Diefenbaker's government has treated us over Term 29, therefore vote Liberal" — was clear because most people wished to see Newfoundland get more money. J.R. Smallwood was easily the greatest propagandist in Newfoundland, and he stressed how wicked Mr. Diefenbaker, myself, and Jim McGrath and the rst of the P.C. members in the House of Commons were. He called me "the greatest traitor of them all."


In my opinion, Mr. Smallwood's idea was, as one of the N.D.P. candidates said, to get people to forget all about his mistakes, especially in regard to his new industrial policy...
– William J. Browne, “And now... Eighty-seven years a Newfoundlander”. St. John's: Dicks, 1981, pp. 292.

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Thursday, November 11, 2010


Friday 10th [January 1919] Yesterday evening Stephen McDonald arrived from Battle Hr. being landed there by last boat from St. John's. He reports war being over 11 Nov.

Cartwright Hudson's Bay Company Post Journal, B.259/a/21 93 bis.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The terrestrial codfish

From a wire-service story which moved in February 1992:
Labrador native groups are accusing the Quebec and Newfoundland governments of dragging their feet as one of the world's largest caribou herds heads into a steep decline.

"Nobody wants to be accountable, and meanwhile the finest herd in the world is disappearing," says Peter Penashue, president of the Innu Nation.

"They're saying it's because of natural causes, but what if it's not?"

The George River caribou herd, which ranges across northern Labrador and Quebec, has declined by 20% since it reached a peak of more than 600,000 animals in the winter of 1987-88, says Stuart Luttich, a Newfoundland government biologist.

There is only informal contact among biologists about the state of the herd, he said.

"There's better communication between Alaska and the Yukon [about boundary-straddling migratory caribou herds] than between Newfoundland and Quebec," Luttich said.

"The informal contacts are operating on a very, very flimsy basis."

The Newfoundland government places the blame on Quebec, saying that province walked away from discussions two years ago and has not returned to the table since.

"We have never said we were not willing to pursue joint management," says Jim Hancock, directed of wildlife management with the Newfoundland government.

"It's in the best interest of both provinces to have a common plan, but there doesn't seem to be any commitment on the part of Quebec."

Michel Crête, a Quebec government caribou specialist, confirmed his government is not interested in co-operation with Newfoundland over the George River herd.

"There's no urgent need," he said. "The numbers are sufficient on both sides."


A regional wildlife director for northern Quebec cast doubts on warnings that the caribou population there is in trouble. Claude Despatie says Quebec native hunters have not reported difficulties filling their quotas.


Luttich says that if Newfoundland and Quebec had set up a joint committee to oversee the herd — as natives have asked — the population may not have dropped so significantly.

Native leaders say they remain powerless to do something about the slide in population as long as the political bickering continues.

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Tuesday, November 09, 2010

The Kennedy Principle

SuperMinister Jerome may have just hit upon a marvellous legislative expedient. In his press release earlier today, the Minister of Whatever Jerome Kennedy Is Minister of This Quarter says:
The public nature of this kind of information is supported by its routine public release in some other provinces. Both British Columbia and Manitoba have legislation which requires them to disclose, on an annual basis, salaries of physicians and other public servants.

Now, the wacky thing is that in a federation, each sub-national unit gets to make its own laws, in those areas of their constitutional competence, which apply within their own territory.

But, hey, now that Manitoba's Public Sector Compensation Disclosure Act applies in Dannystan, perhaps another of Manitoba's innovations in the field of openness and accountability, namely The Public Interest Disclosure (Whistleblower Protection) Act, will also be seen to have extraterritorial application, thereby, finally, fulfilling one of Dear Leader's solemn promises from some years back.

Or, on the other hand, maybe one of these months the House of Assembly could actually sit and autonomously come up with some legislation of its own.


Right to Know Week II


It's like Right to Know Week has come round for the second time this fall!

Minister Outlines Public’s Right to Know Salary Details of Salaried Physicians

The Honourable Jerome Kennedy, Minister of Health and Community Services, today stated that it was within his right to release information regarding salary details of salaried physicians.

"As the Minister of Health and Community Services, I believe that the public has a right to know salary details related to salaried physicians, paid from public tax dollars," said Minister Kennedy. "This is a matter of significant public concern. Part of government’s responsibility is to ensure the public has access to complete and accurate information to allow them to fully understand the nature of the issue under discussion, in this case, the resignation of a number of salaried specialists."

Minister Kennedy said the Privacy Commissioner has ruled in previous decisions that the public has a right to know this type of information. In an April 16, 2008 decision, the commissioner ruled that where salaries and benefits are paid from the public purse, the public has a right to know "not only the amounts to which an employee is entitled, but, for example, the amounts of severance pay or reimbursements for expenses actually received."

"This particular group of physicians made compensation a very public issue and government has an obligation to ensure that the public has full details," said Minister Kennedy.

The public nature of this kind of information is supported by its routine public release in some other provinces. Both British Columbia and Manitoba have legislation which requires them to disclose, on an annual basis, salaries of physicians and other public servants.

Minister Kennedy also outlined the breakdown of 10 weeks of annual leave for salaried specialists, as referenced yesterday. This breakdown includes four weeks of annual leave, two weeks of study leave, one week of compensatory leave, one week of miscellaneous leave and nine statutory holidays.

It is most curious to see the good Minister citing legislation in British Columbia and Manitoba, considering that his province is neither British Columbia nor Manitoba, and does not have a British Columbia- or Manitoba-style provision in its own provincial law.

It is doubly curious, given that on at least one occasion in the relatively recent past, when it was suggested that We might wish to model Our legislation on that of another jurisdiction, We went clean off Our head:
MR. PARSONS: If having these independent and impartial positions on the selection committee is good enough for the country on the Order of Canada, why are they not good enough for our Province?

PREMIER WILLIAMS: Mr. Speaker, it is a shame that the hon. gentleman opposite and his colleagues are minimizing what we have done here. We have bestowed an indeed greater honour again on the people who are members of the Order of Newfoundland and Labrador to be able to participate in that selection committee.

Now, if I take his advice and we follow what Canada does, then we would not have our $2 billion Accord money, or we would not be out trying to get custodial management, or we would not have the Upper Churchill boondoggle that we have now.

I am sorry, Sir, I am just not going to follow what the Government of Canada does. We are going to stand on our own and (inaudible).

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Poppie, what's a Silly Fish?

Another choice morsel from Our Dear Rant last Thursday night before an audience of people who certainly got $500 worth of entertainment:
Anybody knows me, I can take a joke with the best of them... But I gotta tell ya, when those things are said about you personally, when you put yourself in Our shoes, and like I said, you need to put yourselves in the shoes of someone whose grandchild says, “what's that all about, Poppie? why are they saying that? what does that mean? why would they mention something like that?” That's when it hits home. That's when it really hits home. And in politics, that's not necessary.
One hopes, then, that His Premierliciousness will not rest one minute until he finds out who leaked the Westcott email to the press, thereby precipitating all those news stories and radio interviews which linked the words “Danny” and “penis” and “Williams” and so on together in the same paragraph. No stone can be left unturned, no email account left unscoured, every inventory of brown envelopes cross-checked and tabulated, until that person, who caused, even if inadvertently, so much pain to the First Family, has been found out and dealt with in accordance with whatever the law is this week.

Giv'em hell, Danny.

On the other hand, it is a refreshing change, coming from Him, to learn that family matters, well, matter. It is a welcome turn that He now believes that the families of those in public life should be shielded from the slings and arrows that dominate the Roman arena that is political life in a democracy.

It wasn't always thus.

For example, on April 19, 2005, Himself rebutted questions about potential familial conflicts of interest not, as you might expect, by invoking the sanctity of the family, but rather by dragging the questioner's family into the debate as well:

MR. GRIMES: Again, I guess he does not want to tell us exactly whom it is that he divested the interest in.

Mr. Speaker, in light of these conflict of interest concerns and the potential of a minister who is participating in decisions that impact his immediate family, I ask the Premier: What conflict of interest guidelines do you expect your ministers to follow when participating in Cabinet decisions relating to family members?

PREMIER WILLIAMS: We will follow the same guidelines that were followed by the previous government, for the Leader of the Opposition. As a former premier, he knows what those guidelines are. He knows how we behaved when we were on the other side of the House. There was no character assassination. There was no attempt to defame someone’s character, someone like the Minister of Finance, who has an impeccable reputation in this Province. To go on a character assassination is really pitiful, quite frankly, and very unfortunate. As a matter of fact, this particular gentleman has a legal lawsuit against the hon. gentleman opposite for the statements that he has made. There is no doubt about it, what he said.

Also, Mr. Speaker, if I can, while the hon. gentleman opposite was in power as Premier of this Province, we acted as a responsible Opposition because - in fact, the hon. Premier’s brother Ross was a negotiator for CUPE, at a time when he was Premier, and he gave a raise to the public section unions. Your brother was a public sector negotiator. Did we come up and ask you whether you excused yourself? His brother happens to be a pastor, was he involved in the denominational education discussions? His other brothers actually work at Abitibi. In fact, did he excuse himself when the legislation was passed for the No. 7 machine in Grand Falls? Did he excuse himself on that? Finally, when your good wife, who works at NAPE, sits there in the office, in a very important position, did we ever, for one minute, question your -


PREMIER WILLIAMS: I am sorry, the NLTA. Did we ever question your integrity or try and attack your character or assassinate you or your family like you are trying to do this man? That is absolutely despicable!

The scene replayed itself the next day:

MR. GRIMES: Mr. Speaker, the Finance Minister has stated that he did not leave the Cabinet Table when the decision to implement production quotas was taken and he is stating that he will not leave the Cabinet meeting when the crab production quota issue is discussed in the future. He is taking this action even though he has brothers who may directly benefit from this government policy.

I ask the Premier: Is the Premier aware that two of the Finance Minister’s brothers are on the Board of Directors of the Association of Seafood Producers, an organization that has lobbied hard to have these production quotas implemented? If he did know that, why did he then still permit his Finance Minister to be actively involved in these discussions with such an obvious conflict of interest in play?

PREMIER WILLIAMS: Mr. Speaker, as I said yesterday, the reputation, the honesty, the ethics, the integrity, of the Minister of Finance is not in question. It is not questioned by members on this side of the House; it is not questioned by the people of Newfoundland and Labrador. For you to continue on this particular attack, which you are doing, is not only libellous and defamatory - as I have said to you before - it is scandalous and it is embarrassing to you and to your Party.

Now, having said that, there is a double standard. What happened in your Cabinet when things were discussed, when your brother was a negotiator for CUPE? What about when things were discussed concerning Abitibi and forestry, when your brother or brothers were working with that organization? What happened when the hon. gentleman from Twillingate & Fogo was Minister of Education and his good wife was a teacher, and he did allocations? What happened there?


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

PREMIER WILLIAMS: What about when the Member for Torngat, whose brother was a negotiator for the LIA -


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

Or on May 1, 2006, when the questioner did not even start with any reference to any government members' family:

MR. REID: I asked the Premier when he had discussions with FPI and Mr. Barry concerning this issue, because, just before the Easter break, in listening to the Minister of Fisheries and the Premier himself, they said they were not having discussions with FPI about anything; they were meeting with themselves in the Premier’s office. Yet we see, in a news release from FPI, that they did indeed have discussions with the government. All I asked was why or when you had these discussions. Mr. Speaker, obviously the Premier does not want to answer questions about FPI; he would prefer to hide away and cut deals on the side.

Mr. Speaker, in order to accommodate Mr. Barry and Mr. Risley, the FPI Act will either have to be amended or abolished outright. I ask the Premier: If this proposal is accepted, the one that your minister trotted out last week, which route will this government take?

PREMIER WILLIAMS: Mr. Speaker, what the hon. gentleman fails to understand is that there is no proposal being accepted; everything is being considered. All options are being considered.

The hon. gentleman was Minister of Fisheries and part of a government for years, and chaired an all-party committee. He seems to have all the answers now, but we inherited what they left us. You have to remember that the management of FPI changed under their watch. That is when it changed. The number of plants that were closed by that particular party when they were in government is a significant number of plants, and the problem, as we all know, there is a significant problem with the management of FPI. That is the problem, that is the root of the problem, so we are trying to work our way through a very, very complex and a very, very difficult situation; but, as to accommodating Mr. Barry or the brother of the Member for Grand Falls, or any of these people, these people are at the table. They are at the table; we are prepared to listen to them. If there are responsible business people in this Province then we are prepared to consider their offers.

And again on November 23 of that year:

PREMIER WILLIAMS: Mr. Speaker, whatever the hon. member is trying to imply, there is nothing untoward or anything improper about this process. This proposal was submitted to INTRD. It was not submitted to the Department of Business. It did not go through the Department of Business; it went through Innovation, Trade and Rural Development. That is exactly where it went, and that is the normal process.

Of course, the hon. member opposite is a former minister and she knows that, but she is still trying to imply impropriety and something wrong with this, and still trying to put a slur on this and talk about a public inquiry. I mean, where does that go? Do we now go back and start to review every single business transaction that has ever happened with this government?

The Member for Grand Falls-Buchans, her brother does business with this government all the time, a very reputable business person, and when he and his companies come with a proposal we take them in good faith and we deal with them in the normal course. If we have to bring him in to a public inquiry or an independent inquiry, or anybody else, any other people who do business with government - what does she say about when she was in government and the Apollogate or Country Ribbongate? You are so cute to use the term cablegate, let’s talk about some of the other transactions that (inaudible).

And, closing out that fall's sitting of the Bow-Wow Parliament, in response to a question from the current interim opposition leader, Kelvin Parsons:

PREMIER WILLIAMS: Mr. Speaker, you know this is an unusual procedure for a government to even allow an Auditor General to come in on a very reasonable business deal, an economic development tool, and allowing him to come in and even have a look at it. We are giving him lots of time to do that.

It is interesting you mentioned the word penny, because as a result of your new diligence, as a result of the cross, that we are on the road to Damascus, where now there is a whole new scrutiny in government, we have decided that we are going to take a closer look at what they did. Now that you mentioned the word penny, it would be interesting to note that the brothers of the Member for Grand Falls-Buchans, since 1998 to 2004, got $76 million in contracts from Works, Services and Transportation. Now, we are not alleging that there is anything wrong with that, but we are putting that out for public disclosure because we are going to disclose all the information. We will even disclose what your sons got when you were Justice Minister and the legal work that they got from the Department of Justice. Do you know something? They are good lawyers and we do not see anything wrong with that.

And from the then-member for Grand Bank:

PREMIER WILLIAMS: Mr. Speaker, it is interesting, the new-found righteousness that has come over on the other side. This is the same minister who decided to take her husband on a little trip.


PREMIER WILLIAMS: They went to Australia and New Zealand to see if they could find Crocodile Dundee maybe - Crocodile Judy. They also went to China and they dropped into Hawaii on the way.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

His family is sacrosanct.

Your family, however... your family might just have a target painted on them.


Monday, November 08, 2010

All just a little bitta history repeating (IV)

Another blast from the fading past:
When the Premier was asked when it was decided to give free tuition to all students at the University and to grant special salaries to the students, he said that it had been made the previous year but that the decision tom implement these plans was made only a short time ago...

When asked if the University authorities had been consulted, the Premier replied:
“No. The University was not consulted in this matter. We are the ones to decide how to spend the people's money.”
Such arrogance in the House of Assembly and to the administration of the University showed the dictatorial mentality of the Premier.
– William J. Browne, “And now... Eighty-seven years a Newfoundlander”. St. John's: Dicks, 1981, pp. 442-3.

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Saturday, November 06, 2010


Another strange statement, from among many, during Our Dear Unscripted Comments before people who got $500 worth of unplanned entertainment on Thursday evening:

You don't see the Quebec media eating each other up. When Quebec is doing well, or Quebec is getting something from the federal government or getting something from the country, no, sir, you don't see it happen.
All of which might seem perfectly true to anyone who has never watched a French-language political affairs show in Quebec, listened to a French-language news or current-affairs program in Quebec, or read any of the several French-language papers in Quebec. The French lesson on September 24th couldn't have taken.

Heck, for that matter, it's even true if you include the English-language Quebec political press. Maybe even especially true.

But hey, you don't see it happen if you don't bother opening your eyes. No, sir.

The problem with the under-resourced, and often much too-pliant local media in Dannystan, at least in the eyes of Danny and the Danfans, is not that they are too critical of Him.

It's that they are ever critical at all.

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Friday, November 05, 2010

Repent, Pardy Ghent

Poor Pam Pardy Ghent.

She makes a pointed, if off-colour, electronic commentary on the state of politics in Dannystan, by irreverently speculating about the state of — well, you know. It. The other It.

And within a short time span of having done so, a Deputy Henchperson from the Ministry of Love, Shawn Skinner, Minister, is on the horn, beginning her re-education.

So what Ghent sent in haste, she would repent at leisure. During several media appearances throughout the week, including print interviews and appearances on radio and television news and current affairs programs, she continued to profess her support for His Premierosity.

But Himself was having none of it. In his bizarre, rambling, and mostly coherent speech-like piece of performance art in St. John's on Thursday, before an audience of people who certainly got their $500 worth of inadvertant entertainment, Himself blabbered out:

The people that have been giving trouble lately: Westcott. Pam Pardy Ghent. Bob Wakeham. What do they have in common with David Cochrane, for example? You know what they have in common with him? They all worked for CBC locally. They all at some point were commentators for CBC.
Not even the profession of undying love for Him is enough to save you from excommunication.

And this is how he treats his self-described supporters.

All just a little bitta history repeating (III)

Sound familiar?
The interest of Newfoundland is not the interest of John Diefenbaker or William J. Browne. These two men have betrayed Newfoundland. They have betrayed Newfoundland. They are traitors to Newfoundland. Perhaps Mr. Diefenbaker is not a traitor because he is not a Newfoundlanders, but William J. Browne is a traitor to his country, to his Province, and no one can sit in this House and represent him without betraying Newfoundland. And I appeal from my heart to the heart of the Leader of the Opposition... I appeal to him to break away from Diefenbaker and Browne, push them where they belong, and take our side, take his place on the side of Newfoundland, the Newfoundland people, come over here and join the new party or the Liberal Party or if not, if he doesn't like these two, just move away to the right or to the left, but get away from the Tories, get away from Diefenbaker and get away from Browne and vote for Newfoundland.
– Joey Smallwood in the House of Assembly, during the Term 29 debate, July 27, 1959, as quoted in William J. Browne, “And now... Eighty-seven years a Newfoundlander”. St. John's: Dicks, 1981, p. 287.

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Thursday, November 04, 2010

Back to the drawing board

Apparently, the Joint Review Panel for the imaginary Lower Churchill Project got wind of Our Dear Speech at The Party's recent convention. In a letter to Nalco(r) on Tuesday, the Panel says:

The Joint Review Panel (the Panel) for the Lower Churchill Hydroelectric Generation project (the Project) has reviewed the information submitted by Nalcor in response to Round 4 Information Requests (IR) and the comments received from participants.

The Panel is also aware of comments from Premier Williams reported in various media on October 25, 2010 regarding a possible change in the sequencing of Project phases where Muskrat Falls would be constructed first, followed by Gull Island at some indeterminate time in the future. If the preferred Project phasing i.e. the construction of Gull Island followed by Muskrat Falls at a fixed interval after, with an overlap in the construction of the 2 generating facilities, has changed, Nalcor is requested to inform the Panel as soon as possible.

In light of these comments from Premier Williams and of your response to the Panel’s IR JRP.147, the Panel has determined that Nalcor must assess the implications of each possible alternative means of carrying out the Project as per the Environmental Impact Statement Guidelines (section in order for the Panel to determine sufficiency. In particular, the Panel is asking Nalcor to provide the following information:

IR # JRP.165 – Alternative means of carrying out the Project

Provide an assessment of the bio-physical and socio-economic effects of changes in the sequencing of Project phases and other alternatives and alternative means of carrying out the project involving generating facilities at Muskrat Falls and Gull Island identified by Nalcor, including (a) the development of Muskrat Falls followed by Gull Island at a fixed time interval (overlap of construction of the 2 generating facilities), and (b) the development of Muskrat Falls followed by Gull Island at an indeterminate time later (no overlap in the construction of the 2 generating facilities). For preferred sequencing and the potential alternative means, issues to be addressed should include, but not be limited to:

a. Changes to the project description, construction (including schedule) and operation;
b. Transmission interconnection lines;
c. Changes to accommodation facilities;
d. New cost estimates;
e. New socio-economic data and timing, particularly employment, work scheduling approach, labour requirements, goods and services;
f. Changes to reservoir clearing and impoundment and validity of model results (mercury, flow, ice modeling, etc.);
g. Harmful alteration, disruption and destruction of fish habitat and implications for the proposed Fish Habitat Compensation Plan;
h. Potential aquatic and terrestrial impacts;
i. Traditional land use and Aboriginal issues;
j. Any other relevant information.
Also, please provide a description of the implications of the construction and operation of either Muskrat Falls or Gull Island as stand alone projects in the event that, subsequent to the construction of the first generating facility, market conditions or any other factors affect the feasibility of the second generating facility.