labradore

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

Monday, May 31, 2010

How to look like a SooperGenius without even trying (II)

Today in the Chamber of Bootlicks, Inspirational Leader explains what is happening to AbitibiBowater:
We are now seeing today that the company that is losing half a billion dollars a quarter is now going to go through a restructuring: it is going to be slimmer, it is going to be leaner, and it is going to be fitter. We know how it has done that; we know how it is done. It has dumped off its environmental liabilities. It has sold off assets. It has closed down mills all over the country. So basically what it is has done is taken all of its financial obligations and dumped them on somebody else, but by doing by what we did, which the hon. member opposite agreed with and has stated so publicly, we have saved the Province from the embarrassment of being left with all of that liability.
AbitibiBowater is going to be slimmer, leaner, and fitter.

And – though he doesn’t say as much – still in business.

And not bankrupt

So much for that justification for Our Dear Expropriation. As He told the House on May 3rd:
Mr. Speaker, I will tell you what was not an accident. It was not an accident that we decided to take a bold move, as a government, and decide to step up and fight for the rights of the people of Central Newfoundland, in the Grand Falls-Windsor and other surrounding areas. What we did was unprecedented in this Province, and we are extremely proud of what we did. We took the bold move of going in, after Abitibi had broken their promise to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador, and we took back our timber, we took back our land and we took back our water, and when we did that we are very proud of it because it puts us in an extremely strong position. So that was a very deliberate move. As a result of that, we are now in a position, that because of the environmental problems and liabilities that have been caused by this company that really does not care about Newfoundland and Labrador, we are now in a position where we have these assets that have value. Not only have we taken pride in repatriating them, they also have value. So we can now use the value of these assets to deal with the environmental liability, which we would have been responsible for because they intended to go bankrupt in the first place.
On the other hand, Sooper Genius has managed to paint himself into the happy position whereby no matter what happens to AbitibiBowater, he predicted it. As he told the House on that momentous day of December 16, 2008:
Mr. Speaker, I cannot speak for the company but it is my understanding that they are realigning their assets and conducting the proper financing, obviously to keep that company a viable company. Its stock in recent days has dropped somewhat, and has dropped over a period of time. They did actually consolidate and are actually trying to improve their worldwide operations. We have no information before us right now that indicates that this company is going bankrupt under any circumstances.

Les monstres sous le lit

Inspirational Leader has an explanation for everything:
MS JONES: I ask the Premier again if he will confirm to the people of the Province today that there are no technical issues that will impact upon the feasibility of the Maritime transmission option under the Lower Churchill project.

PREMIER WILLIAMS: There absolutely will be technical issues that will impact upon the project. Anybody with a clue at all would know that is going to be some technical issues when you do a $6 billion to $12 billion project. I can tell the hon. member opposite that there will be no technical difficulties that will be a complete obstacle that would ever prevent that project from happening. All she has to do is read the journals.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER WILLIAMS: The problem is: what the hon. member opposite is doing is reading the nonsense that is being put out by Hydro-Quebec, that is being put out through journalists that write articles in The Globe and Mail, that say this technology is not available anywhere else in the world when there are all kinds of examples – whether they happen to be in Europe, whether they happen to be in Tasmania. They are everywhere. So she should stop reading Quebec propaganda and believing in it, and believe in Newfoundland and Labrador.

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Train 'em early (XVIII): Darryl Kelly

Darryl Kelly transports the hum from the Humber to the House, in his first speech on March 13, 2008:

I am so proud to be a part of the Humber team with the Premier, Minister Marshall, and my colleague Terry Loder, representing the Bay of Islands. I am confident that we will continue to support tourism and the other economic clusters that I have identified in this region and in the Province. With this team, the hum on the Humber will never be stronger.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. KELLY: I am excited about the opportunity to participate in the management and growth of our beloved Province, Newfoundland and Labrador. I am confident that the direction of our leader, Premier Williams, and his team, will result in long-term sustainable benefits for the people of this great Province.

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Passion over reason

Inspirational Leader confirms for the House on Monday where rationality ranks on his list of priorities:

MS JONES: After the Régie decision out of Quebec was delivered related to transmission capacity for Lower Churchill power, the Premier stated that he did not want to go through Quebec anyway, and the Maritime route was always his preference.

I ask the Premier: How far along are you in discussions on the Maritime route and what time frames are you looking at for its development?

PREMIER WILLIAMS: Mr. Speaker, my preference was always the Maritime route but that was because it was a personal preference; I think it was more to get away from Quebec than anything, but it also has to be a rational decision and an economic decision and based on good financial consideration. So, as a result, all the way through what we have done is we have done parallel plans. We have looked at the Quebec route and moving all or most of the power into Ontario, but we have also, on a parallel basis, simultaneously looked at the Maritime route, the Atlantic route. As we all know, that is more expensive because it involves underwater transmission. It is well along. A lot of studies have been done. We have left that work primarily to Nalcor. Of course, they work with the minister of the department, the Department of Natural Resources, but a lot of studies have been done. A lot of work has been done over the years, basically, on the underwater development as well, and goes right back to the Lower Churchill Development Corporation twenty or thirty years ago. Time lines are not finite on this; this is an evolving circumstance because everything is still tied into environmental approval, finalization of the Aboriginal piece, but from an economic perspective we are in situation where we have enough information to really sit down and talk with any industrial developer at any point in time.
Now, it's rather hard to square this "personal preference" with the still woefully-underreported fact that His Premierosity and Kathy Dunderdale spent five years, mostly after announcing We were "going it alone" on the imaginary Lower Churchill project, trying to rope Hydro-Quebec into participating somehow in this brave and lonely endeavour.

Hard. But in the land of doublethink, not unpossible. Perhaps, if someone asked Inspirational Leader, he'd give it a try.

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Sunday, May 30, 2010

Train 'em early (XVII): Terry Loder

One had better hope Wesley learns at an early age not to talk and drive. From Terry Loder's first official at-bat, on April 8, 2008:
As Mr. Kevin Blanchard of McIver’s stated during the campaign, when he met with the hon. Premier: You are the only fighting Newfoundlander left - implying, Mr. Chairman, that our Premier is the only fighting Premier we ever had.

This brings me up to another story, Mr. Chairman, that our Premier does have an influence on young and old alike. I would like to take this time to tell a little story about my grandson, Wesley, who, at the time of the visit to our campaign on October 8, was at the campaign headquarters when the Premier attended. I was looking at Wesley and saw him looking up at the Premier, who was standing on a chair and giving a talk, and since that time, of course, as a two-year-old, he was quite amazed and he never forgot that incident, to the point now, when he sees the news come on at six o’clock, he says: Come on Poppy Terry, the news is on; let’s go see Premier Danny Williams.

A couple of months ago I saw him with an imitation cell phone, talking to somebody on the telephone. I said: Who are you talking to? He said: I am talking to Premier Danny Williams.

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Saturday, May 29, 2010

Train 'em early (XVI): Derrick Dalley

Landslide Dalley, as is appropriate given his district, invokes moving nautical imagery in his maiden speech of March 10, 2008:
As a government, we are extremely proud of our achievements over the past four years and look forward to the future with a strong leader at the helm, a comprehensive and solid plan, and a team who is determined that these positive changes will happen. Together, with much pride and passion, we look forward to the future and strive to realize the potential of the people and the place we proudly call home, the great Province of Newfoundland and Labrador.

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Friday, May 28, 2010

Train 'em early (XV): Wade Verge

Wade Verge gives his maiden speech on March 11, 2008. Long before Danny fired the pfffft heard round the province, Verge showed what kind of opinion he was entitled to:
Mr. Speaker, I want to thank Premier Williams for accepting me as a member of this team. I am very pleased to be a member of the Williams Government and I intend to work with him, his Cabinet and this caucus to advance the issues brought to my attention by the people in my district and throughout the Province.

In closing, Mr. Speaker, I wish to quote something from Hansard that I came across in doing a little research. It was written on the opening day of the Forty-Fifth Assembly, on March 18, 2004, approximately four years ago.

Our Premier, Mr. Williams, said the following, "Mr. Speaker, Newfoundlanders and Labradorians are not looking to their government for miracles. They are looking for strong leadership that listens, get all the right information, makes strong decisions and moves ahead progressively towards concrete goals. They are looking for a government that will work on their Province’s behalf, creatively, constructively and compassionately."

Mr. Speaker, I believe our government under the leadership of the hon. Premier Williams has listened to the people. They have done the research and they have provided leadership, leadership that has brought this Province from a position of deficit to an era of surplus, from an air of gloom to an atmosphere of optimism and from an age of burden to a future of promise.

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Democrat to demagogue

More than a week ago, now, the petty little man who passes for a Premier blurted out the following in the priveleged space of the House of Assembly:

PREMIER WILLIAMS: What we probably could have predicted but we would have thought hopefully would not have happened is that Quebec and the Quebec judges and the Quebec courts would have shafted us once again and that is exactly what is happening, every single decision that we have had out of that Province in the last month. That Régie decision as I said in the House was absolutely shameful. Quebec lovers, if we could only keep the Quebec lovers quiet, Mr. Speaker, it would be nice.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

PREMIER WILLIAMS: Excusez- moi. I am going to go back there.

[…]

PREMIER WILLIAMS: Mr. Speaker, we are in the process and we are in the process of course of estimating exactly what those liabilities are. As I indicated in a previous question, from Mademoiselle, the Leader of the Opposition, 75 per cent to 80 per cent of this cost will actually be related to non-expropriated assets, those assets would actually be Buchans which is the lion’s share of all environmental liabilities, Botwood and also the Stephenville mill which is long past but of course obviously which we are going to end up with at the end of the day because they have moved those assets over to a shell company in order to avoid liability

In case you were labouring under the mistaken belief that there has been any social progress in Newfoundland since the 1940s, here's a little reality-check, as originally published anonymously in the original Independent on April 5, 1948:
We want no French Canadians, and what we have we'll hold
It has given us a living, and it's something more than gold;
I thought the French Shore question was settled years ago,
But like the cat that has nine lives it lives in Schemer Joe.

There'd be Frenchmen in their Galleons, and Frenchmen in their Sloops,
There'd be Frenchmen in their Batteaus, all wearing wooden boots;
They'd be full of false politeness, as they'd take our choicest berths,
They'd fly their flag the Fleur de Lis, oh, Mother, that's what hurts.

The Winsors, and the Barbours, the Blackwoods and the Keans,
The Sampsons and the Murphys, the Roberts's and Paynes,
Will all turn over in their graves, if Smallwood wins the day,
Cape Ann's will be forbidden - and we'll wear a French beret.

We're a Scotch and English mixture, and the fighting Irish breeds
We live in peace and harmony, and help each other's needs
We like our Brewis and Flippers, and a scattered time a Turr,
And we don't want any Frenchmen, with their talk of Mal de mer.
There was a time, less than a decade ago, when Danny Williams honestly appealed to the better angels of the public whose votes he was still seeking on his way to the Eighth Floor.

That day is long gone.

And this, this pathetic, disgusting appeal to bigotry and prejudice — this is what's left. It's all that's left.

It's hard to decide what's worse.

The fact that he now spouts the vile, demagogic bilge that he does.

Or the fact that, with very few exceptions, those people, inside the legislature and out, who should stand up to it, challenge it, and condemn it for what it is, time and again fail to do so.

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Pease in a pod (XVI)

Strict constructionists will note the absence here of a question mark, but Mr. Baird rose to respond all the same. ”Mr. Speaker,” he moaned, “the leader of the Liberal Party never misses an occasion to run down Canada.”

“Ohh!” the Liberals moaned back.

“You’re not Canada!” contended one opposition voice.
- Question Period in the House of Commons, May 27, 2010


PREMIER WILLIAMS: I can tell the Leader of the Opposition that I am not the one who quotes in the House of Commons. He refers to comments that are made by the Leader of Opposition when he supports positions that are anti-Newfoundland and Labrador. As a matter of fact, I heard him quote you in the House of Commons just over a month ago. So, it would be nice if you were on our side. That would certainly help, for starters.

- Question Period in the Bow-Wow Parliament, May 17, 2007


PREMIER WILLIAMS: Mr. Speaker, the level of betrayal of the hon. member opposite to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador never ceases to astound me.

She is asking today that we release the legal opinions that could possibly be used, if an action is commenced by CF(L)Co, and give them to Hydro-Quebec so that they can prepare their case against Newfoundland and Labrador and the people of Newfoundland and Labrador. Absolutely not!

- Question Period in the Bow-Wow Parliament, December 1, 2009



MS JOHNSON: Mr. Speaker, I have explained this several times over and over, and somebody said to me on the weekend, they wonder who the Leader of the Opposition works for: Is it the Quebec government or is it Abitibi? They could not figure it out.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MS JOHNSON: Her question certainly speaks to why that person asked me that.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Leader of the Opposition.

MS JONES: It is typical of the government opposite, questioning your patriotism in this Province, Mr. Speaker. How dare you speak against us? How dare you challenge us? Well, Mr. Speaker, if the Minister of Environment was doing her job no one in this Province would have to ask her a question.

- Question Period in the Bow-Wow Parliament, May 4, 2010

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Winds of demographic change

Wednesday’s Statscan release on population projections out to 2036 prompted a couple of interesting lines in a related CBC report:

Seniors would surpass the number of children 14 or under for the first time ever between 2015 and 2021, depending on the growth scenario.

[…]

The population of every province and territory would increase during this time, except under the low-growth scenario. In that case, Newfoundland and Labrador would be expected to see its population decline.
Let’s play around with the numbers a little bit: in Newfoundland and Labrador, as recently as 1998 the population of children and youth under 18 years of age was more than double the population of senior adults 65 and older.

In the five most recent years for which estimates are available, the number of children and youth has declined from between 1.4% to 2.8%, year-over-year, with an average decline of 2.2%. In the same time period, the senior population has increased between 1.8% and 3% each year, averaging 2.3%.

This chart shows the observed population of children and seniors up to 2008, with projections, based on the recent trends, to the end of the decade.

[Data source: CANSIM Table 051-0001]

The thick projected line represents a continuation of the “average” figures from above. The thinner lines bound a range of possibilities, assuming a continuation of the highest and lowest recently-observed rates of population change, noted above. The dark green diamond is the zone where all the likely demographic universes intersect.l

Insert caution about past performance here, but these assumptions mesh fairly closely with the provincial government’s own projections... although those, curiously, don’t show much variation between the Low, Medium, and High scenarios for the senior age brackets:


(The “Children” figure in this second graph includes those 19 years of age, which slightly delays the projected crossover point.)

Even under the most optimistic assumptions for growth (or slowing decline) in the young population, and for the smallest increases in the senior population, Newfoundland and Labrador will lead the country into the brave new demographic world where senior citizens outnumber junior ones. That crossover will likely occur no later than 2016, and as early as 2012.

And if graphs like these look familiar, you may be thinking of this sort of thing:

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Thursday, May 27, 2010

Mr. Speaker, do your job (XXIII)

Kevin O'Brien takes a break from his quest for fairity long enough to give the Dear Leader credit for making the grass grow. The chair occupant maintains the recent radio silence about the breach of decorum:
MR. O’BRIEN: Mr. Speaker, this success can be directly attributed to the hard work of volunteer directors, management and staff of credit unions. The Credit Union Deposit Guarantee Corporation also had a role to play in this success through the policies and procedures it has implemented over the years. It is also reflective of the right decisions that the Williams government have made since 2003 to grow the economy in this Province.

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Train 'em early (XIV): Susan Sullivan

Susan Sullivan makes a clever cultural allusion in her maiden speech on March 10, 2008:
We have set the stage to build a bright and secure future for our great Province. Newfoundland and Labrador has never experienced such a bright outlook for a more prosperous and self-reliant future. We have never been better positioned to take advantage of the opportunities before us, and this success is due largely as a result of the outstanding efforts and leadership of our proud, strong and determined Premier.

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The best laid "plans"

Fearless Leader goes before the mic on Wednesday and, in addition to something about kangaroos, burbles some stuff to reveal that He still, quaintly, believes in His imaginary Lower Churchill project:
This is a long-term plan, this is not a short-term agenda here, I mean, this is something that could happen over one, two, five, ten, fifteen, twenty years. Now that doesn’t mean, though, that the project would necessarily be delayed by that period of time. That means that this option and these avenues could be delayed until we get a proper resolution. But in the meantime, this government and/or Nalcor will be looking at all its options, and whether that happens to be the Maritime route or various segments of the Gull or Muskrat Falls developments, something we’d be looking at.
Now, this is odd.

Government and/or Nalcor (as if there’s a distinction) are still “looking at” options, not just for the imaginary transmission line, but for which of the imaginary dams and power stations they will imaginatively build… and this, in the calendar year after Our Dear Energy Plan (bloated 8-meg .pdf link here) planned, energetically, as follows:
To ensure this project has every opportunity to move forward, the Provincial Government is leading its development through the Energy Corporation. The Energy Corporation has established a comprehensive and clearly-defined project execution plan and will continue to advance the project on multiple fronts, including engineering and the environmental assessment process, analysis of market access options and market destinations, and a financing strategy. The project is targeting sanction in 2009, with in-service of Gull Island in 2015.

[…]

We recognize that developing long-distance inter-jurisdictional transmission is a complex process that must address many factors and mitigate numerous risks. Nevertheless, NLH is well-advanced in this process with respect to Lower Churchill and on schedule to present the Provincial Government with the opportunity to sanction the project in 2009.
Oh – speaking of 2009 and Our Dear Energy Plan:
In 1998, the Provincial Government imposed a moratorium on small hydro projects on the Island. We will decide by 2009 whether we will have to implement an alternate plan for electricity supply on the Island. If that is the case, small hydro may be an effective source of renewable supply and the Provincial Government will review the current moratorium to ensure availability of sources that are environmentally appropriate for the province.

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Polls were for dogs (X)

Real Leadership is not governing by polls but it is listening and responding to all Newfoundlanders and Labradorians.



MR. WISEMAN: In a most recent poll - I will find it here now in a second, Mr. Speaker. Most recent poll said that - they are all alike, aren’t they? I have some data here going back to 2006, I can pick any time, any time since 2006 - in fact I do not have it before me, but my memory serves me that prior to 2006, as a matter of fact since we have been elected in 2003 any time that the people of Newfoundland and Labrador have been asked about their level of satisfaction with our government it has always been eighty-seven, seventy-eight, ninety, eighty-four, eighty-two, eighty-three, consistently, Mr. Speaker, consistently. When someone says who do they want to be - when the people of Newfoundland and Labrador have been asked: Who do you want to be the Premier of the Province? Who do you prefer to have as the Premier, the current Premier or one of the leaders of the opposing parties? Do you know what they said? In 80-odd per cent of the time, every single time since 2003, they have said the current Premier, Premier Williams is the person that they want as the Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, I say, Mr. Speaker.

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Mr. Speaker, do your job (XXII)

Jerome! makes a ministerial statement on Tuesday:
MR. KENNEDY: Mr. Speaker, the Williams Government recognizes the importance of vision health, and proves that commitment through an annual grant of $664,200 to the CNIB to help support rehabilitation and blindness prevention programs.
And Tom Marshall is just his usual sad and sycophantic self on Wednesday. It'll take years to deprogram the poor man. Unlearn! Unlearn!:
MR. MARSHALL: I think in our Blue Book of 2007, we indicated that the Williams government would enhance the provincial gambling strategy incorporating prevention and treatment strategies based on research and consultation.

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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Train 'em early (XIII): Darin King

Dr. Darin King swats away handouts and, as a recovering educator, strongly suggests that you stop asking questions, in his maiden speech of March 19, 2008:
Members who sat in the House during the last session had a lot of tough decisions to make, and I think all of us who have been elected for the first time recognize that the first four years in government were not easy but we did create a climate, I think, of a focus on prosperity for the Province, one of sustainability and, as the Premier and all of us hope to strive for, one of self-reliance where we no longer depend on the federal government and all those who might have handouts to give us.


Certainly, I want to say that the message coming out of my district, I think, was loud and clear, at least from my perspective, loud and clear around constituent support for the vision of government, the leadership of Premier Williams, and the kind of team that we had in the last mandate and we have put together here today, and the vision we are trying to pursue and where we are trying to go in the Province. I do not think there is any question about that whatsoever.

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Polls were for dogs (IX)

Real Leadership is not governing by polls but it is listening and responding to all Newfoundlanders and Labradorians.



MR. KENT: Mr. Speaker, our Province was well equipped to deal with this recession. We have weathered the storm well and we have one of the strongest economies in North America as a result of decisions that this government has made, and I have no doubt that the growth will continue, Mr. Speaker. So it is no surprise that recent polls show significant support and satisfaction with this government.

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A fool for a client

On Tuesday in the Bow-Wow Parliament, Great Lawyer™ suddenly expressed reticence about answering Abitibi-related questions:
MS MICHAEL: My questions today relate to the AbitibiBowater sites environmental cleanup. The Premier says that we are better off because we have the AbitibiBowater assets, and the Province will use those assets to counter any liabilities incurred. So he says we are in a net positive position, Mr. Speaker. By the Premier’s own admission, the mill is not really much of an asset; the real assets are the forest resources and the hydro power.

So I ask the Premier, Mr. Speaker, to explain to us what the government is going to do to turn these so-called assets into real benefits that will put our books in the net positive situation that he talks about, taking into account the cost of the environmental cleanup.

PREMIER WILLIAMS: Mr. Speaker, I am sure the Member for Signal Hill-Quidi Vidi understands that anything that I may say in answer to that question would only help the Abitibi case in the NAFTA dispute. It is not available for me to do that, to be quite honest with you. What she does also clearly understand, though, is that without the expropriation of those assets we would have nothing. So, if you start to stack any of those liabilities, whether they are environmental liabilities, whether it is the generous severance that we paid to the workers, whether it is costs that we have had to use in order to represent the interests of the people of Newfoundland and Labrador, we would have nothing to offset against it. By way of example, and this is a very simple example, the land that we recovered, the land alone that we recovered for the people of Newfoundland and Labrador - forget the water rights, forget the timber rights - is three times the size of Prince Edward Island.
This sudden discovery of tact came just a leettle late. Just last week, Great Lawyer™ told the same audience:

PREMIER WILLIAMS: Mr. Speaker, as I said before, if we had not taken the action that we took, if we had not expropriated those assets, we would have absolutely nothing to put against the environmental liabilities that this company has left us with in this particular Province.

So we have those assets as a result of the action we took, and as a result of that we have given a severance to the workers in Grand Falls; we have put over $100 million into projects. The amount invested in Central Newfoundland this year is over $200 million in total. That is what we are doing with it.

So, as a result of our positive, our affirmative, action –

AN HON. MEMBER: Oh, oh!

PREMIER WILLIAMS: – and instead of our mantra of no more giveaways, we took it away. We took it away from a company that had abused this Province, had not fulfilled its mandate to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador, were given land assets and timber assets and hydro assets to run a pulp and paper mill and they did not. They tried to walk away from it, so we nailed them.

The next day, Great Lawyer™ decided, laughably, that the opposition, of all people, were undermining his own legal house of cards (and, naturally, committing treason or some such in the process):
PREMIER WILLIAMS: Mr. Speaker, and I ask the Leader of the Opposition: Whose side are you on? Are you on the side of the people of Newfoundland and Labrador, or are you trying to build the case for Abitibi so that they can go to NAFTA and say the Leader of the Opposition said this is worth $500 million or $600 million or $700 million? That is what you are saying; that is what you are doing.
It sure is a good thing for Great Lawyer™ that courts and opposing counsel, considering NAFTA actions or Upper Churchill challenges and whatnot, almost never read Hansard.

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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Train 'em early (XII): Calvin Peach

April 17, 2008. Calvin Peach reveals the name of his Muse (and your Muse, too):
Their help and dedication is without a doubt, one of the reasons I stand here before you in this great hon. House today. To say thank you just does not seem to be enough as these same people have told me time and time again that they would campaign all over because they believe in this government, they believe in our leader, our Premier and most of all they believe in me.



Mr. Speaker, I am energized about the opportunity to be able to contribute to the management and growth of the future opportunities for Newfoundland and Labrador. I believe that this proactive approach, under the direction of our great leader, the Premier, will result in long-term sustainable future for the people of this Province. He is an inspirational leader, our Premier, Danny Williams.

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The traitor in the cabinet

A bit over a year ago, one Mark Griffin, B. Eng. LL.B. dared to ask some heretical questions in public:

I ask you now as I did then, what will become of the power generated from the Exploits River watershed? To be more specific, I am inquiring if the power will ever be subject to a regional recall so if at any time in the future there is the prospect of industrial development in Grand Falls-Windsor or the Exploits Valley would low cost power be available to any potential developer to be used as a competitive edge for the benefit of the region.

In short, is the government prepared to apply the same principle of adjacency to those hydro resources as it regularly promotes in the fishery?
The two heresies, of course, were suggesting that the Exploits power be used for industrial development, and, in particular, that any such use be used in a way that gave central Newfoundland some kind of priority.

In response to such treachery, The Provincial Williams Government made it very clear it would brook no ThoughtCrimes:


"Some people in the region have been calling for the creation of a community trust fund, but government will not and cannot approach economic development in the province in this fashion," said Minister Skinner. "While we continue to work with the Community Development Committee – a dedicated 15-person team consisting of local community, business, and union leaders – to revitalize the central region, we are equally committed to the economic and social development of all areas and regions of the province. Our policies must balance regional requirements."

The Provincial Government has a number of economic development programs available to all regions of the province. In the central region, the Provincial Government has taken unprecedented measures, including the repatriation of hydro and fibre assets and making close to $100 million in new investments in the region.

"We have committed to using the repatriated assets to attract industrial development in the area as part of our approach to strengthen and diversify the region’s economy," said Minister Skinner. "We are providing financial benefits to displaced workers and certain entitlements under the Work Force Reduction Program and Supplementary Retirement Allowance. Available power from the repatriated resources puts us in a stronger position to attract industrial opportunities for the region. However, as with any investment, the collective impact on the province as a whole must be measured as these resources are provincially owned."

Today in the Bow-Wow Parliament, NDP leader Lorraine Michael asked some more heretical questions, and – shockingly – got heretical answers from the Dippity Premier herself:

MS MICHAEL: Mr. Speaker, the Premier knows that hydro from the Abitibi assets cannot currently be incorporated into the provincial power grid because of technical issues. This means that Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro cannot gain access to the power unless huge investments are made to upgrade the grid. The Minister of Natural Resources is on record saying that she is waiting for another major business to arrive in Central Newfoundland that can use the power; that was her hope.
Mr. Speaker, how long are we to wait? Five, ten, twenty years? I ask the Premier: How long are we going to have to wait before these assets are turned into real benefits, instead of pinning everything on phantom hopes?

MS DUNDERDALE: Mr. Speaker, as Abitibi went through its crisis, struggling and stumbling on its way to bankruptcy where it finds itself today, the overwhelming plea we heard from the people of Central Newfoundland in particular was: Please, do not let them go with our natural resources.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS DUNDERDALE: Give us, give our children, give our grandchildren, the opportunity to earn their livings once again from the land and from our hydro assets.
Mr. Speaker, we are not writing off Central Newfoundland. We may not have an industrial customer at the moment looking for that power, but that day will come, Mr. Speaker. When that day does come, we will have the assets to do something with, to drive economic development in that part of the Province, Mr. Speaker, once again.

Alrighty, then. We want an industrial customer for the power, and We want it to drive economic development in Central Newfoundland where the power is produced.

Two of the very same things that Mark Griffin, open and notorious traitor, proposed back in early 2009.

Isn’t it really unfortunate when one of our own comes out and betrays us like that?

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Faintest. Praise. EVER.

Wait a minute, isn't Friedrich Engels dead?

Friedrich Engels from London, UK writes: My better half Karl was correct as always. Bob, I doubt you could even read something as simple as the Manifesto, so quit while you are ahead. Kevin brown nose O'Brien is such an idiot he makes Paul Oram look like Trevor Tayler.

Polls were for dogs (VIII)

Real Leadership is not governing by polls but it is listening and responding to all Newfoundlanders and Labradorians.




MR. HARDING: - 700 votes roughly to the two Opposition parties combined. I think that was one of the main factors. That is one of the main reasons as well, Mr. Chair, why our party was showing in the last poll that was taken the satisfactory rate for our government is around 93 per cent.

[...]

MR. POLLARD: A Premier, rather than seeing a difficulty in every opportunity, we have a leader who sees an opportunity in every difficulty. In his address to the Province in January 2004, this is what he said, "Though the obstacles are great, I know that the opportunities are even greater." Now you wonder why we are so strong in the polls; there is the answer.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. POLLARD: Mr. Chair, no mistake about it. It is all about leadership. Every school, every town, every organization, every community, every government, every agency, every hockey team needs a strong, bold, determined leader – and we have that in Premier Williams.

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Monday, May 24, 2010

Train 'em early (XI): Steve Kent

March 13, 2008. Steve Kent gets his badge for flattery. If the transition from the old style of maiden speeches to the new style wasn't already obvious for you, gentle reader, it should be by now:

During the first four years in office, our hon. Premier and his government made many tough decisions to get our Province moving in the right direction. Getting our fiscal House in order is a critical first step in order to ensure that our Province reaches its full potential. Beyond being fiscally responsible, our government has addressed many important social needs that exist in our communities. Throughout my time in public time, I have learned that good government is about balance. That is why it was an easy decision to offer myself as a candidate for the Progressive Conservative team.



Mr. Chair, during the first four years of Progressive Conservative Government under the leadership of Premier Williams, Newfoundlanders and Labradorians saw a change in leadership but they also witnessed a change in attitude. The philosophy of no more giveaways is a mantra now in Newfoundland and Labrador, and one that is hugely supported.

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Polls were for dogs (VII)

Real Leadership is not governing by polls but it is listening and responding to all Newfoundlanders and Labradorians.




MR. WISEMAN: Mr. Chair, I know my time is running out. I just wanted to - before I wrap up I want to take the opportunity to congratulate the newly elected Member for Topsail. Elected with a resounding majority, I say, Mr. Chair. A vote of confidence in him as an individual and what he brings to that particular post that he has and what he will deliver to his constituents, but I say, Mr. Chair, he is a part of a team. He is a part of a team that has been embraced by Newfoundlanders and Labradorians. If you consider what has been happening in the last five or six years since we formed government in 2003. Since we formed government in 2003, Mr. Chair, just look at what the people of Newfoundland and Labrador have been saying. They have said it in an election in 2003; they have said it in an election in 2007; they have said it in by-elections since that time, and they say it in public opinion polls. When asked: Who do you want to be the leader of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador? Who do they say? Our current Premier. When you ask them: What party do you want representing you in the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador? What is it they say? They say the Progressive Conservative Party.

[...]

Mr. Chair, the people of Newfoundland and Labrador, the members of this House just should not take my word for that, just look at what elections have said, just look at what opinion polls have said. They have clearly endorsed the policy decisions of this government. They have clearly endorsed the sound leadership being provided by our Premier. They clearly endorsed the fiscal platform of this government, because I say, Mr. Chair, it is sound, prudent fiscal management. We have been focused on that since 2003, and we will continue to be focused on good fiscal policy that ensures that we develop the resources of Newfoundland and Labrador so that Newfoundlanders and Labradorians are the principle benefactors of that.

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Adjacency (III)

Adajcency is an important principle:

Fisheries and Aquaculture
May 19, 2010

Federal Government Ignores Principle of Adjacency in Application of Northern Shrimp Quota

Today, the Honourable Clyde Jackman, Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture, responded to the announcement made this week by the Honourable Gail Shea, federal Minister of Fisheries and Ocean, in relation to the northern shrimp quota for shrimp fishing area six. The Federal Government decision to ignore the principle of adjacency in determining allocations for this area will be detrimental to Newfoundland and Labrador said the minister.

“Against the advice of our government, the federal Minister of Fisheries and Oceans has decided to apply a last-in first-out approach to quota allocation reductions,” said Minister Jackman. “This approach provides a greater level of protection for the offshore sector rather than the inshore fleet. The impact of this approach is that one group in the province is losing access and the province’s inshore harvesters will see their allocation reduced by 18,000 tonnes. There are principles of quota distribution that are far more important to maintain than the last-in first-out approach. The principle of adjacency must be paramount.”

Newfoundland and Labrador is the only province adjacent to this shrimp fishing area.

...

Both the Provincial Government and the province’s fishing industry supported this quota reduction based on scientific advice and the requirement of the Marine Stewardship Certification. However, the province also took the position that those adjacent to the resources should have priority access. This has consistently been the provincial position across all fisheries.

“I advised the Federal Government that the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador did not support removal of any adjacent quota holders from this fishery,” said Minister Jackman. “We asked that Minister Shea consider the economic importance of this resource to the people adjacent to it. The impact of this decision will cause hardship for harvesters and seafood processors in this province, particularly on the Northern Peninsula.

“The Federal Government is aware that our province has been experiencing a very difficult year in the fishing industry,” added Minister Jackman. “While we understand that there are challenges in other areas, decisions which reduce our access to adjacent resources raise serious issues and concerns for the Newfoundland and Labrador fishery. Our government will continue to recommend adjacency to the resource as a primary consideration in the setting of quotas.”


Except when it isn't:

Innovation, Trade and Rural Development
June 26, 2009

[...]

In response to various requests to create a community-focused economic development trust fund for the Exploits Region, Minister Skinner said today that the Provincial Government will not introduce a regional-specific fund.

"Some people in the region have been calling for the creation of a community trust fund, but government will not and cannot approach economic development in the province in this fashion," said Minister Skinner. "While we continue to work with the Community Development Committee – a dedicated 15-person team consisting of local community, business, and union leaders – to revitalize the central region, we are equally committed to the economic and social development of all areas and regions of the province. Our policies must balance regional requirements."

"We have committed to using the repatriated assets to attract industrial development in the area as part of our approach to strengthen and diversify the region’s economy," said Minister Skinner. "We are providing financial benefits to displaced workers and certain entitlements under the Work Force Reduction Program and Supplementary Retirement Allowance. Available power from the repatriated resources puts us in a stronger position to attract industrial opportunities for the region. However, as with any investment, the collective impact on the province as a whole must be measured as these resources are provincially owned."

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Sunday, May 23, 2010

Train 'em early (X): Ed Buckingham

And finally the class of 2007, starting with Ed Buckingham's maiden speech on March 19, 2008, bringing the game to a whole nother level:
Mr. Chair, the PC Party, my party, prides itself in being open and democratic. The recent election has only served to strengthen my faith, not only in this principle, but in this party’s resolve to enact the principle. This is a party and a leader who not only talks the talk, but walks to walk and insists that the democratic process should unfold as it should.



My first media event for the recent election occurred at the RNC headquarters. The Premier rolled out the crime strategy. It was well thought out and addressed immediate concerns for areas we all knew to exist. When it was over the audience applauded, the cameras packed up and the politicians went about the business of hitting the streets to continue with their election. However, as I was about to leave I realized I had left something in the hall and I returned to retrieve it. There in the room was the Premier, out from behind the microphones, no cameras in sight, talking to a class of new police recruits, telling them of his concern for the social downside of the impending prosperity and of his quiet involvement over the years on this very issue and why their role would be so important.

As I listened from the side of the room – and I don’t believe the Premier to this day even knows that I was there – but as I listened from the side of the room to the Premier, I was struck by two things. First, that someone must have borrowed the full text of my concerns because the Premier was using them word for word, and secondly, I realized that I was in the right place in the right party and under the right leader. The rest, as I say, is history.

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That would explain all the centenarians

Real estate agent Jim Burton buys into another popular myth:

"It's estimated there's some 500,000 Newfoundlanders that live away from Newfoundland and they're always looking back at what's happening at home, and they're being smart and investing back in their province for the day when they return."
Estimated. Passive voice. Estimated by whom?

Between 1936 and 2008, there were a total 720,014 live births in Newfoundland and Labrador. Add another 250,000 as a highball estimate for those born between 1901 and 1935 inclusive (there were 7342 live births in 1936). Then add another 7,000 born since December 31, 2008, again a highball estimate based on the 4365 born in 2008 according to preliminary figures.

That gives you just under 975,000 people born in Newfoundland and Labrador since January 1, 1901.

If there are 500,000 “Newfoundlanders” living away from Newfoundland, that means that there are only 475,000 people who were born in the province still living in it...

That is, assuming that not one person who was born in Newfoundland and Labrador since January 1, 1901, has ever died.

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Tale of the tape

Thursday's sorry performance in the Bow-Wow Parliament, now with pitchers!

* * *

PREMIER WILLIAMS: Quebec lovers –

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

PREMIER WILLIAMS: If we could only keep the Quebec lovers quiet, Mr. Speaker, it would be nice.


PREMIER WILLIAMS: Excusez-moi, I am going to go back there.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

[Tracey Perry (in pink) has much more finely-honed desk-thumping reflexes than colleague Derrick Dalley's; Minister French's ability to laugh on cue is, how you say, sans pareil.]


PREMIER WILLIAMS: Mr. Speaker, we are in the process, and we are in the process, of course, of estimating exactly what those liabilities are. As I indicated in a previous question from Mademoiselle, the Leader of the Opposition,

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Polls were for dogs (VI)

Real Leadership is not governing by polls but it is listening and responding to all Newfoundlanders and Labradorians.



MR. LODER: Globally, the economic downturn has produced many challenges, and Newfoundland and Labrador has certainly not been immune to its impact. As a result of this government’s prudent fiscal management, however, we have gotten through it relatively well compared to some other provinces. This sound approach is very much appreciated and endorsed by Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, as demonstrated by the people’s overwhelming approval rating of this government and our Premier in independent public opinion polls, and we can proudly boast that Newfoundland and Labrador has the most popular Premier in this country today.

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Saturday, May 22, 2010

Train 'em early (IX): Tony Cornect

Another day, another by-election, another newbie. May 8, 2007 was Tony Cornect's day in the spotlight:
Mr. Speaker, I am very honoured and privileged to speak on this Budget: touted as the greatest Budget for everyone in the history of the Province.



Encore une fois merci au premier ministre et le gouvernement pour votre support avec les célébrations de la 400e anniversaire de notre présence à Terre-Neuve et Labrador.



Thank you, Mr. Premier! Thank you, Madam Minister!


Monsieur le Président, Les gens de ma circonscription et de la Province savent très bien dans quelle voie s’engagent notre premier ministre et ce gouvernement et ils partagent notre vision et appuient nos actions. Monsieur le Président, nous serons maîtres chez nous.

Mr. Speaker, the people of my district and this Province know full well the course of our Premier and this government is charting and they share our vision and endorse our actions. Mr. Speaker, we will be masters of our own house.

Merci. Thank you. Way La Lin.

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Feel the love (II)

A few days ago, in the federal prison in Milan, Mich., a fifth columnist got what was coming to him – and he didn’t like it.

He was a member of a religious sect opposed to war but this fellow carried things a little too far. He dodged the draft. He was caught, tried and sentenced to a term in the penitentiary. That apparently taught him nothing. He became a trouble-maker – the prison’s No. 1 problem child. He rebelled at everything. He tried to incite the other prisoners to violence. He damned the U.S.A.

Milan is also the “domicile” of a group of Nazis. Because of the danger of riots, the Nazis had been isolated from the other prisoners. Prison officials, finally at wit’s-end with their fifth columnist, came to this conclusion: “All right, if he’s such a Nazi lover, we’ll just let him live with them.”
- Jack Stinnett, Wide World Service, October 1, 1942

Breaking news!

According to Telegram commenter J M (A FORMER PC), Dear Leader now allows his cabinet ministers to make decisions!
Our once Charasmatic leader is SLIPPING, and allowing a very incompetent bunch of sheep (his ministers) make decisions that will not not only bankrupt this province but cause undue hardship and possibly death to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Polls were for dogs (V)

Real Leadership is not governing by polls but it is listening and responding to all Newfoundlanders and Labradorians.



MR. SKINNER: Where did those policies come from? They came from the strategies that the member opposite talks about. Where did those strategies come from? They came from talks with the people in the Province. They came from Shawn Skinner, the Member for St. John’s Centre, going out and speaking to small business people in his district and speaking to community based groups and speaking to homeowners and speaking to young men and women, students, and moms and dads, in my district, making sure that the grassroots were being listened to and heard and bringing that back to the table of caucus and bringing that back to the table of Cabinet. I am not the only one doing that. I would suggest every member in this House is doing it – not just the members on government side, but every member in the House is doing this. It shows because the indicators show we are doing well, and it shows because those polls that nobody likes to talk about when they are not favourable to themselves, but those polls that people put out, those independent, arbitrary outside agencies – they are not government polls – say that we are a popular government, and we are popular because of the policies we have. I would like to think it is because we are nice people too, and I am sure some people think we are, but it is our performance that is getting those poll numbers, Mr. Speaker. It is not the individuals, although in some cases we have some impact on that. We certainly have some role in that, no doubt, but it is the performance of government. If people were not happy with the performance of government, you would not see the kinds of poll numbers that you are seeing for this government. So people are happy with how we are doing because we are listening to them, we are taking their advice, we are listening to the grassroots, putting it into the strategies that we have, and those strategies are impacting the policies of this government.

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Friday, May 21, 2010

Train 'em early (VIII): Keith Hutchings

May 14, 2007. Another by-election. Another cheerleader:
Two reasons I got involved in politics, the first was that I always wanted the opportunity to represent the District of Ferryland, and the people, and as well because of the leadership of this government, and the Premier, in terms of having a vision, having a plan, putting our financial house in order and moving forward.

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Feel the love (I)

[U.S. Senator from Arkansas J. William] Fulbright doesn’t make many idle speeches – speeches merely for the record. When he takes the floor it generally is to make some specific point.

Occasionally one of these speeches stirs up the country, if not the Senate.

His latest stir-‘em-up talk came March 25 when he took the senate floor and, in a quiet talk, advocated a re-examination of U.S. foreign policy, especially toward the Communist world, urged that the country abandon “old myths” in the face of new realities and called on people to “think about unthinkable things.”

As has happened in the past, his office was deluged with mail.

In four weeks he received 12,000 letters. He was pleased to note that the writers favored his views about 4 to 1.

Much of the mail opposing the speech, both from Arkansas and elsewhere, was abusive.

Some of the letters from the home state began “You rat fink you,” “You Commie lover,” or “You pinko, why don’t you go to Russia?”
- Carbondale, Ill., Southern Illinoisan, May 31, 1964, p. 20

We Love the Leader

At least some of the commenters on a recent CBC report are not willing to stand back and let Williams get hammered.

Displaced Newfoundlander's last sentence would make for a particularly hilarious campaign slogan.
backspace wrote:
Posted 2010/05/21 at 8:35 AM ET
We need to support OUR Premier 100%. We need to trust in his leadership. We are the ones who voted him in in the first place. He will do whats right for Newfoundland. He needs more support from us not more criticism. If we as proud people of Newfoundland learned to back OUR premier up we would get more issues solved. More unity is needed in our province.

SecoundThought wrote:
Posted 2010/05/21 at 7:28 AM ET

We were aal in support of WIlliams move to exprpriate the assets and now people are ready to throw the first stone. We must support his position with these greasy and slimy international companies that have raped this province for so long. No one said the road to self rule over our resources would be easy or without roadblocks. We have to conitune the fight to support our premier if he has our good in mind. Once we turn our backs on him we will fail.

Displaced Newfoundlander wrote:
Posted 2010/05/20 at 11:56 PM ET

I'm originally from GF-W and it hurts me too when I see this whole circus act play out. But why won't all you Danny bashers let it play out. All your negative criticism will not change a thing. It seems as if you people will always bitch and scream harder at the very people who try to make a difference.Let them bring it to the supreme court, try to make Abitibi pay a portion of it. If it does not play out in your favor, you have to swallow the fact that the province would have been on the hook as tax payers anyway. STOP whining and support the best government leader this province has ever seen. He's trying.

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Predictability

On Thursday, the Rhodes Scholar told the House:

PREMIER WILLIAMS: What we probably could have predicted but we would have thought hopefully would not have happened is that Quebec and the Quebec judges and the Quebec courts would have shafted us once again and that is exactly what is happening, every single decision that we have had out of that Province in the last month. That Régie decision as I said in the House was absolutely shameful. Quebec lovers, if we could only keep the Quebec lovers quiet, Mr. Speaker, it would be nice.

So we had a terrible decision from Régie which ignored all the rules, all the rules and then we had a judge who was single-mindedly wanted to make sure that Abitibi was restructured even if that was at Newfoundland and Labrador’s expense. So you cannot predict that, there is there nothing you can do about (inaudible).

As previously noted, the outcome of the Quebec process was, once upon a time, entirely predictable, according to the same Rhodes Scholar:

With regard to the transmission of power and how the power is going to be wielded [sic], we took a unique approach and a smart approach, quite frankly. We made an application to Trans-Energy so that we would be able to wield that power through Quebec. If, in fact, we do not sell any power to Quebec, well then we would have the right under the FERC rules, basically, to transmit and to transport power through Quebec. That is a right which is there. They are allowed to wield into the States, therefore we should be allowed to wield through Quebec, and we do not expect to have a contrary ruling on that.

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More medical news

First it was Dear Leader's heart, now it's the Minister of Labrador Affairs' gizzard. From Thursday's after-QP entertainment in the House of Assembly:

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Labrador Affairs, on a point of order.

MR. HICKEY: Mr. Speaker, it turns my stomach to listen to the tripe across the way.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. HICKEY: Mr. Speaker, this hon. member is misleading this House, is making false comments in this House. The Department of Labrador Affairs is very much engaged in the business of this government and every department in it. We have now over thirty employees with the Department of Labrador and Aboriginal Affairs, fifteen in Labrador and fifteen here on the Island. I can tell you, Mr. Speaker, when she was – I do not know, maybe she was parliamentary secretary, I am not sure what she was there –

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. HICKEY: - I can only say this, Mr. Speaker, that department never had any say in what was happening inside of government.

MR. SPEAKER: No point of order.

The hon. the Leader of the Opposition.

MS JONES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The comments just made by the hon. minister opposite, Mr. Speaker, just shows the calibre of an individual that he is; the kind of language that he would use in this House of Assembly. It certainly speaks to the character of the individual, I say, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, let me continue because the reality is it is costing the taxpayers of this Province nearly $5 million to pay two –

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Labrador Affairs –

MR. HICKEY: (Inaudible) the hon. member the investment that is made in the Department of Labrador and Aboriginal Affairs is very relevant, Mr. Speaker, with $2.4 billion after being spent in Labrador from March of 2003 to March of 2009, I say to the hon. member across the way.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: On a point of order.

MR. KELVIN PARSONS: On a point of order, I just say one thing to the hon. Member for Lake Melville. It is better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.

MR. SPEAKER: Point of order.

MS BURKE: Mr. Speaker, I would like to say on a point of order that to refer to another member in the House as a fool is certainly unparliamentary language and we would like the comment withdrawn.

MR. SPEAKER: Okay.

MR. KELVIN PARSONS: Absolutely not, Mr. Speaker, to the point of order. It has been ruled both parliamentary and unparliamentary. In this case it is a fact.

MR. SPEAKER: The Speaker recognizes the point of order made by the Government House Leader. I ask the hon. member to withdraw.

MR. KELVIN PARSONS: I refuse to withdraw the remark, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: For the second time, I ask the hon. member to withdraw the comment.

MR. KELVIN PARSONS: For the second time, Mr. Speaker, I refuse to withdraw the remark.

MR. SPEAKER: For the third and final time, I ask the hon. member to withdraw the comment.

MR. KELVIN PARSONS: For the third time, Mr. Speaker, I respectfully refuse to withdraw the remark.

MR. SPEAKER: I name you, Kelvin Parsons, and I ask you to leave this hon. House.

[Mr. Parsons leaves the Chamber.]

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. Leader of the Opposition.

MS JONES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I will continue with my comments because it is obvious that the Minister of Labrador and Aboriginal Affairs got a very –

AN HON. MEMBER: – got a very weak stomach.

MS JONES: You got a weak stomach, you are probably right, but he does not have a tough skin either, I say to the hon. member. He does not have a tough skin that is for sure, and he cannot handle the facts and he cannot handle the information that is being portrayed here today around his department.

Polls were for dogs (IV)

Real Leadership is not governing by polls but it is listening and responding to all Newfoundlanders and Labradorians.




MR. HICKEY: It is indeed an honour to stand in the hon. House here today and to have a few minutes to speak regarding Budget 2010. It is also an honour, Mr. Speaker, to stand in my place representing the people of the great District of Lake Melville that includes the great Towns of North West River, Sheshatshiu, Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Mud Lake and Churchill Falls.

Mr. Speaker, we have come a long ways, this government, since 2003. We came into power at a time in which the people of this Province wanted change. I say, Mr. Speaker, according to the polls, I believe that that people of the Province are pleased with the work that our good Premier is doing, the Cabinet and, indeed, members of our caucus throughout the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador.

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Literary reading

For some strange reason, former MHA and Minister Trevor Taylor was a little shy about going on the CBC to further discuss his remarkable letter in the May 3 edition of the Northern Pen.

Never fear, however. The CBC's own Jon Soper did justice to citizen Taylor's literary work, reading it, in its entirity, during the Radio Noon broadcast one week later, on the 10th. Here's the .mp3 audio link.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Time travel

Yet more evidence that time, in the Eighth Floor universe, doesn't necessarily flow in the same direction as it does in the rest of the province. From earlier today in the Bow-Wow Parliament:
PREMIER WILLIAMS: Having said that, Mr. Speaker, we are not going to just rest on our laurels. When we go back and we look at our record, and we look at things that we did from a negotiations perspective - you look at the Hebron agreement, the White Rose agreement and Hibernia South - that has put anywhere from $30 billion to $40 billion extra into this Province.

The other ABC campaign (II)

Minister Blunderdale also underscores the importance of reading stuff:
Mr. Speaker, we are used to one rule for them and another rule for us. They are making such a big deal of the Régie hearing and the fact that they do not have an English translation, Mr. Speaker. I will try to say to the hydro, good luck with it. Good luck with understanding the English translation is all I can say, Mr. Speaker, because Nalcor came here with the lawyer’s interpretation and remarks. They were given a full briefing last week on the ruling and our lawyer’s remarks with regard to the ruling.

There is no reflection of that, Mr. Speaker. They might as well gone out and gave that to the moon because it means nothing, it is not reflected. Mr. Speaker, there has been a lot to say the last few days about not having to read documents, and how scandalous it is that people on this side of the House, that we have to be spoon-fed, that we are not under any obligation to read documents and we should be chastised for that; we should be criticized for that.

Mr. Speaker, again don’t do as I do, just do as I say because I just remind everybody when Mr. Grimes was getting ready to give away the Lower Churchill one more time, there was an agreement negotiated. Mr. Speaker, the Premier said to the then Minister of Justice and Solicitor General who is now the Opposition House Leader: Have you read the agreement? Have you read this agreement that is so fundamental and so important to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador? No, no, when they get it all signed and everything I will read it then.

Mr. Speaker, it is important to be here in this House of Assembly, but I am telling you sometimes, Sir, the hypocrisy in here is hard to take. It truly, truly, is. Mr. Speaker, I am glad in some ways that they are stating clearly how they feel about what we did in Grand Falls-Windsor because some of them had to be dragged screaming and shouting to the table. Maybe we will get a chance to talk about that a little further one day. But, Mr. Speaker, we will stand and defend the rights of the people of this Province through thick and thin.
Oh my, oh my, the irony...

How's yer bubble?

On October 5, 2008, Dear Leader, in a radio appearance of a Sunday night, revealed the existence of the magical financial bubble:
And on the other side of it, you know, from our own perspective, you know, our economy is strong, we're in a better position than we've ever been, we're also in a very good position now with the, you know, the international financial crisis that's underway. We now, for the first time in our lives, are in a bit of a financial bubble and that's a wonderful thing. We have that protection and the people of this province got the support of the provincial government.
According to the latest figures, (finally) published this week by the Newfoundland and Labrador Statistics Agency, all but two of the province's 20 economic zones saw a loss in the number of business enteprises between 2007 (the last of the pre-recession years) and 2009 (the most recent data.) They were the Northeast Avalon and Central Labrador, shown here in green.



Most zones had declines of up to five percent (yellow) or between five and ten percent (orange). The two zones in red lost more than ten percent of their business enterprises during the recession, despite the presence of the magic bubble and the operation of the Williams Effect (on a go-forward basis, naturally).

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Train 'em early (VII): Felix Collins

Another by-election, another warm body in a seat.

Mr. Collins, before he became Minister Collins, showed promise in his maiden speech on March 28, 2006:

MR. F. COLLINS: Mr. Chair, I am pleased, and in fact delighted as well, to have been given the opportunity to join this great team, this Progressive Conservative Government under the tremendous and inspirational leadership of our Premier, Danny Williams.

...

Having said that, I must also say that throughout the district I did find tremendous support for Premier Williams and for this government, and an overwhelming endorsement of this government’s policies. There was no doubt in the mind of the voters, and they expressed it strongly and willingly. As one senior, elderly man said to me - and I don’t think this gentleman had ever voted PC in his life - he said: My son, listen here; Mr. Williams is the man for us now. And that reflected the sentiment in a lot of the parts of my district.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. F. COLLINS: I don’t mind, Mr. Chairman, if there are those who might suggest that my credibility as a candidate played second fiddle to the Premier’s popularity. I am reluctant to believe it -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. F. COLLINS: - but I don’t mind it at all, if there are those who say I rode in on his coattails, because I am prepared and I look forward with great enthusiasm to working with him and with his government as part of his team for the great District of Placentia & St. Mary’s.

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Polls were for dogs (III)

Real Leadership is not governing by polls but it is listening and responding to all Newfoundlanders and Labradorians.




MR. DAVIS: As well, Mr. Speaker, the strong results of this by-election speak volumes to the great job this government is doing in leading and governing Newfoundland and Labrador, and to the confidence that residents have in the leadership of Premier Williams.

This confidence has also been evident in in-depth research polls, such as those conducted by Corporate Research Associates, and we heard these during the campaign. Their latest poll suggested that 93 per cent of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians are satisfied with the job this government is doing today.

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Faits accomplis

Let me say it, and let me say it clear: the deal is done. Do you want it, Mr. Sullivan? Do you want it, Mr. Williams? There are no more changes.
- John Efford, October 25, 2004

The matter is done, Mr. Speaker, the matter is final. Cabinet has made a decision; we have made a collective decision and that decision will not be reviewed.
- Danny Williams, May 20, 2010

The title of the post is French for "more than one fait accompli". Of course, an accomplished francophile such as Dear Leader would already know that.

Per the Efford Precedent, it is now open to anyone to attribute the words "take it or leave it" to Mr. Williams.

On notice

Dear Leader, burbling today in the Chamber of Sycophants (and again blaming the Leader of the Opposition for a government decision), put the Northern Peninsula's nasty negative traitors on notice.

(Given the geographical proximity, the possibility that they might also be nefarious Quebec Lovers can't entirely be ruled out):
PREMIER WILLIAMS: I was not aware, Mr. Speaker, that if we put a third new air ambulance in place that it would actually end up in Deer Lake. That would be the next choice. So, as a result of her actions, as a result of this study, St. Anthony has fallen far down the list. Just a word of advice to the people of St. Anthony, it is unfortunate, the mayor is trying to do a very good job, and the people are trying to do a good job, but there is a lot of nastiness coming out of St. Anthony from various groups. I would just ask the member to convey my concerns to the people of St. Anthony, things that have appeared on Web sites, things that have been said publicly, so it would be better if they toned down their rhetoric and ceased that kind of action because that does not help anything.

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Oui, monsieur le Président

Minister of Something Charlene Johnson jumps to the defence of Dear Leader today during Question Period:
MS JOHNSON: Mr. Speaker, we had no control over what happened in Quebec, but as the Premier clearly, eloquently stated yesterday, we have to fight back, Mr. Speaker, and one of those things is considering going to the Supreme Court of Canada.
Some of the more eloquent eloquence that emanated from the Premier yesterday, as recorded by Mr. Hansard, included the following:

So if we have to fight them in the courts or fight them at the Régie, or if I personally got to get down and go toe to toe or roll around on the ground with them to fight them, we will do it.

I think that, as a Province, we have to keep fighting Quebec because if we don’t they will take away everything we have.

As I said to the hon. the Leader of the Opposition, and I say to the Member for Signal Hill-Quidi Vidi, we will fight them wherever we have to fight them in order to prove our point. If that is in the Quebec courts - we know what the attitude is in Quebec courts, we know what the bias is in the Quebec courts, but there are higher courts than that and we are not going to give up.

So we will carry on as we (inaudible).

… instead of our mantra of no more giveaways, we took it away. We took it away from a company that had abused this Province, had not fulfilled its mandate to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador, were given land assets and timber assets and hydro assets to run a pulp and paper mill and they did not. They tried to walk away from it, so we nailed them.

The problem with the hon. member is it is never enough, but money does not grow on trees; that is the problem. That is the problem.

But wait! There’s more! Not only is He eloquent in English, He has secretly been working on His eloquence in Canada’s other official language. Federal leadership ambitions, perhaps?

PREMIER WILLIAMS: What we probably could have predicted but we would have thought hopefully would not have happened is that Quebec and the Quebec judges and the Quebec courts would have shafted us once again and that is exactly what is happening, every single decision that we have had out of that Province in the last month. That Régie decision as I said in the House was absolutely shameful. Quebec lovers, if we could only keep the Quebec lovers quiet, Mr. Speaker, it would be nice.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

PREMIER WILLIAMS: Excusez- moi. I am going to go back there.

[…]

PREMIER WILLIAMS: Mr. Speaker, we are in the process and we are in the process of course of estimating exactly what those liabilities are. As I indicated in a previous question, from Mademoiselle , the Leader of the Opposition, 75 per cent to 80 per cent of this cost will actually be related to non-expropriated assets, those assets would actually be Buchans which is the lion’s share of all environmental liabilities, Botwood and also the Stephenville mill which is long past but of course obviously which we are going to end up with at the end of the day because they have moved those assets over to a shell company in order to avoid liability

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Is renting votes OK? (III)

Apparently not.

Despite the Speaker's determination on Tuesday that the phrase "buy votes" did not lend itself to a point of order, another Speaker, under similar circumstances, not so long ago, came to the opposite conclusion:

MR. SPEAKER: I would like to advise all hon. members, I guess, being new in the Chair, I will start this way: It was a slip of the tongue when I took the motion for adjournment verses recess. However, we have reviewed the tapes. There is no indication on the tapes that there was a motion put forward, or if the motion was carried or defeated on the tape.

I would also like to advise all hon. members that our Standing Orders state very clearly that it is only on Wednesdays that the Speaker can adjourn the House.
On the ruling, I have listened to the tapes clearly and heard the Minister of Education make the comment that he was buying votes, in reference to the Member for Ferryland. I have to say to all hon. members that this caused quite a considerable disturbance here in our hon. House and I therefore would ask the Minister of Education if he would withdraw his remarks.

The hon. the Minister of Education.

MR. REID: I withdraw them, Mr. Speaker.

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Polls were for dogs (II)

Real Leadership is not governing by polls but it is listening and responding to all Newfoundlanders and Labradorians.


MR. KENNEDY: Yes, Mr. Speaker, I would say that if anyone knows about nonsense it should be that person over there, and there is no excuse for the way she gets on. We can see why she is at 6 per cent in the polls. I can only hope that she is around for the next election, so good luck to the Liberals when you elect your leader.

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Is renting votes OK? (II)

As noted yesterday, Ross Wiseman took great exception on Tuesday to suggestions that Danny Williams-Government would ever "buy" a vote.

Unfortunately for Minister Wiseman's feigned outrage, there have been plenty of similar such accusations from his own chosen team, directed at other provincial and even federal parties, going back to the day when they were still Danny Williams-Opposition:
MR. [DANNY] WILLIAMS: Mr. Speaker, rather than acting responsibly the day this government brought down an election budget that promised a little bit of something for everyone, instead of taking advantage of increased revenues to manage the deficit and bring borrowing under control, the Premier decided to defer any kind of fiscal restraint until after the election, just like he deferred any reductions in his Cabinet size and just like he deferred implementing fixed terms for his government.

Mr. Speaker, can the Premier please explain why he chose to defer fiscal restraint until after the election? Could it be that he is more interested in trying to buy votes, to buy people with their own money, than he is in doing what is in the best long term interests of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians? (March 31, 2005)

* * *

MR. [TREVOR] TAYLOR: Madam Speaker, you do not have to be a rocket scientist to connect the dots in this one. There is a lesson to be learned in that. There is a lesson to be learned in that, that the people in Newfoundland and Labrador want quality health care. They are not concerned about the building. They want access, on a reasonable basis, in a reasonable period of time, in a reasonable distance, at a reasonable cost. They do not want their health care system privatized. I do understand that also.

Madam Speaker, there is a lesson in this, as I said. Stephenville, who is there now? It is not Liberal. Burgeo still is. Port Saunders is not. Old Perlican is not. Harbour Breton is. Fogo is. Bonne Bay is not. Happy Valley-Goose Bay is not, and Gander is not.

Madam Speaker, you do not buy people’s votes by putting up bricks and mortar in this Province any more. You earn the respect -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. TAYLOR: You earn the respect of the people of Newfoundland and Labrador, and you earn their vote on election day by providing them with the services that they want. (March 24, 2004)

* * *

PREMIER WILLIAMS: What we do during an election is never to get votes. That is a practice, Mr. Speaker, that has been followed by the Liberal Party, by members of the -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

PREMIER WILLIAMS: - Liberal Party, in order to try and buy votes. That is obviously what is going on at the federal level right now. They are spending billions of dollars in order to buy favour from the people of Canada. That is not the way this government operates. That is not the way this party operates. (November 29, 2005)

* * *

MS WHALEN: I have to say, Mr. Chairman, with the bringing down of the federal budget this past week, I was very disappointed. I will also say that when Mr. Harper came here as the Leader of the Opposition, I was one of three ministers who supported the Prime Minister when he was looking to become the Prime Minister. I have to say that I am very disappointed that he would be a man who would break his word.

I came from a home of six young girls and a boy, my father raised, and we were all told that we were to be a woman of our word or a man of our word. I was disappointed to see that the Prime Minister could easily push us aside for votes, to buy votes in Upper Canada. I urge all Newfoundlanders and Labradorians to stand up and send a strong message to our Prime Minister, that we will not be traded for a few votes. (March 23, 2007)

* * *

MR. HUNTER: It became real exciting when the members were running for leadership, and the wheeling and dealing and the promises and the rumours of candidates buying votes. I mean, that is politics. We hear all those stories. Something that comes to my mind in particular is on the night of the leadership convention, when the new Premier was picked, and the acting Premier of the day - they had a bit of trouble. This is what I heard now. I have no facts on this, but I just heard that they were saying: How are they going to get all the candidates on stage? So, the acting Premier, Premier Tulk, went to Mr. Efford, put his arm around him, and said: It’s time to go up to the stage, Mr. Premier. (May 22, 2008)

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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Train 'em early (VI): Clayton Forsey

Fast-forwarding now to December 5, 2005, we meet our first by-elected newbie, Clayton Forsey. The Great Businessman theme by now would appear to have been ditched entirely:
Mr. Speaker, I also take this opportunity to thank the people who made up that incredible team, from my campaign manager, chief financial officer, the people who managed the headquarters, signage people, poll captains, including the people who went door-to-door with me day and night throughout the Exploits District for three weeks.

Mr. Speaker, to say thank you hardly seems fitting, but these people told me many times that they would do it again because they believed in this government, they believed in our leader, Premier Danny Williams, and that they believed in me.

...

Mr. Speaker, I am excited about the opportunity to participate in the management and growth of future opportunities for Newfoundland and Labrador, and believe that this proactive approach, under the direction of our leader, Premier Williams, will result in long-term sustainable benefits for the people of this Province.

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Polls were for dogs

On December 5, 2000, then private citizen Danny Williams launched what would become the single bid for the leadership of the opposition Progressive Conservative Party.

Among other things, he told his faithful followers:
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.
Just ten years ago. It seems like a lifetime.

Today in the Bow-Wow Parliament, the same man spewed the same talking point that his band of kool-aid drinkers spew, day in, day out, on the internets and in the talk-radio gutter; indeed, that his caucus of zombies spew, day in, day out, in the legislative chamber itself (and in the talk-radio gutter):
PREMIER WILLIAMS: Mr. Speaker, 93 per cent is a lot of confidence. That is the kind of confidence I think people have in this government as a result of our performance so far.
From not governing by polls, to being utterly consumed by them.

It's enough to make a body wonder: is he still having fun?

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Mr. Speaker, do your job (XXII)

From Tuesday:
MS POTTLE: Mr. Speaker, there have been many initiatives of the Williams government which will bring tremendous benefit to the people of my district.

MS PERRY: The Williams government has invested over $50,000 in tourism initiatives, including funding for a visitor information centre, money to develop Aboriginal programming at the Miawpukek Discovery Centre, and assistance for a marketing study. […] The Williams government has the responsibility for the running of this Province. […] Through the governance and leadership of the Williams team, Newfoundland and Labrador has reached an historic milestone. We are finally - we are truly - masters of our own destiny.

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Is renting votes OK?

In the House on Tuesday, someone hurt Ross Wiseman's feelings:

MR. WISEMAN: Mr. Speaker, I was reluctant to have done this during Question Period, but Question Period is now over.

I want to go back to a question posed by the Member for Port de Grave with respect to the Terra Nova district. I just want to remind the member opposite that when they left power, none of that road was done at all. Our government has actually paved about 75 per cent of that road.

I say, Mr. Speaker, the point of order –

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

If there is a point of order -

MR. WISEMAN: There is and I will get to it, Mr. Speaker -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

If there is a point of order, I ask for the hon. member to make it now.

MR. WISEMAN: I think it is important in this House, Mr. Speaker, that when we make statements, and when we make comments about other members, that they are accurate. You cannot stand in this House, with the protection of the House, and make comments that cast aspersions on members opposite.

I say, Mr. Speaker, the member opposite has suggested that I have done something that is illegal. In fact, I made a commitment - I made a promise to buy votes. Buying votes is illegal, Mr. Speaker.

I ask the member opposite to stand and apologize and withdraw that accusation that I was, in fact, buying votes. So, apologize, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I ask members for their co-operation. If members have a difference of opinion here and want to talk personal, I ask that they take their conversations outside and their differences outside.

There is no point of order.
Of course, it is not the use of the phrase "buy votes" per se that so offended Minister Wiseman.

Rather, it must have been the use of that phrase against the Williams Government. The Minister showed no such linguistic sensitivity a few years ago, on March 24, 2004:

MR. WISEMAN: That is that crowd over there. Exactly, I say to the hon. member. The people on the opposite side of this House said it was necessary to change. "While there may be no immediate solutions to these problems they need to be considered in the restructuring of the system."

They planned to restructure the health system in 2002, but did nothing about it. They just sat back and said, we should wait until an election. We should spend the next twelve months buying votes before we tell them what they are planning to do.
Or, a few weeks later on April 15:
MR. WISEMAN: I heard the Member for Torngat Mountains today talk about a waste. I could not help but think of how, in the last couple of years, members opposite build into their annual budgetary process an allowance for Liberal government members. An allowance of some $30,000 per Liberal government members to use at their leisure and their will to position themselves to be re-elected. A colossal waste of money. When you think about the twenty-five or thirty members that they had, what is the math on that? What is twenty-seven times thirty? Like, $700,000 or $800,000. So, for the last couple of years as our deficit has been increasing, our debt has been growing, our annual operating deficits have been going up, what has been happening? Seven-hundred thousand dollars or $800,000 on an annual basis has been there, not for members of this caucus, not for all MHAs in every district in the Province, but there solely for the pickings of individual Liberal members of caucus to use throughout and buy votes, position themselves, make donations to groups and organizations who will advantage their re-election chances.

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